Friday, 20 April 2018

Remember when swipe left was how you turned the page on a kindle ?

You will be relieved to hear that I'm aware that my recent posts have been all 'me, me, me,' and frankly even I've had enough of that. So, in reponse to absolutely no public demand here is a welcome break from the pity party.

A friend of mine separated from her partner last year and is keen to meet someone new, so she's been internet dating. It's been 15 years since I did the same and the world of dating has changed a phenomenal amount since then. In the early days you never admitted to meeting anyone through the internet. I told only a few friends and my housemates were on hand to call me to give me a get out if things were going wrong. If anyone asked how you'd met you would be prepared with stories about shared interests or meeting at work. In actual fact the serious relationships in my life did come about through work and shared interests so maybe there's something in that ?

Anyway, this is my advice for you Britney* based on what I learned and I hope it's helpful. Feel free to disregard it all and throw caution to the wind though love. If you meet the man of your dreams in a wine bar in Beckenham and he's a keeper, what do I know ?

The experience of internet dating was a salutory lesson in what I didn't want. It helped me narrow down the qualities I was looking for and the 'non-negotiables.' At this point you want to meet some guys, have a drink, dinner, whatever. A profile won't tell you anything that matters, but it will give you the headlines. I can guarantee you that men always overrate how attractive they are. That's not to say they're trolls, but they will say they're an 8 when they're probably a 6 on a good day. When you've shown me photos I've noticed there are fewer passport shots now and more 'hey look at me on the beach, walking the Great Wall,' etc. type photos. That shows effort, or a good grasp of photoshop.

Where you meet matters. I was lucky that when I was dating I lived and worked in London so I didn't go to the same place twice. If I was really unsure about a potential date I'd meet them at the wine bar down the road from my house so I didn't have to give up my entire evening if it wasn't going well. Ok, so you have the added wrinkle of arranging childcare, but if you meet for lunch that solves that one and you have an automatic out if he's not your type.

Talking of type I've categorised them for you to save you the heartache and drama - I mean, we have kids, that's enough drama isn't it ? 

The Marrying Kind: 

This guy is ready to settle down. He's going to marry the next woman who meets his criteria. All his mates are settled and he was in a serious relationship, but that ended and now he's running out of time. If you want to get married go for this guy, but if not be prepared for him to move on pretty quickly so he can get to Mrs Right. 

The Cryer:

Emotions are good and all that, but this chap emotes all over the shop. And the cafe and the car park if it gets that far. He had a pretty crappy break up with his last girlfriend and while he's not bitter he is feeling every last bit of it. Still. So you will hear about it and how he thought they were going to settle down and have kids and that he misses the dog. He still goes to see her parents and plays Fifa with her brother, but he's over it. Honest. 

The lad:

The love of this guy's life is his group of mates. They have names like, "Banjo, Big D, G-Man and Tash." He won't explain any of them, "you had to be there." These friends have known each other since they were kids and they will have known every girl he's ever dated. It won't matter to him if you aren't his type, he's doing you a favour letting you into his 'gang' anyway.  

Heff wannabe:

He's fit and he knows it. Acts like a playboy, but never talks about what he does for a living. That exclusive club in town ? Yep he can get you in and he drops names that mean nothing to you. He gives the impression he doesn't have to work and can afford a lavish lifestyle. It's more likely he lives with his parents and drives their car. He's got all the moves and it's flattering that he wants to even be seen in your company, but you know he's always looking over your shoulder for a better option. Enjoy it while it lasts - you're just a pit stop. 

The Player: 

He's all about sharing himself around and will probably call you by the wrong name. Actually he will call you babe or darling or precious so as not to have to even learn your name. He won't pretend to be looking for anything serious so you'll have a laugh and go out on some dates with a bloke who claims to like women - so much he can't choose just one. He knows what to say and how to treat you like a lady - or a bad, bad girl if you prefer - and gets plenty of practice. If you don't mind not being his one and only this is your guy, well not yours exclusively, but you know what I mean. 

The Bad Boy:

Oh this one is so appealing and so very hard to give up. He won't make a firm arrangement with you so you never know where you stand. If he does show up he's sufficiently sexy to make you forget his misdemeanors. He's pretty unreliable (think John Hamm's character in Bridesmaids) but has you wrapped around his little finger. Thinking about him will make your heart flutter, but you know that he's also going to break your heart. Totally worth it ! 

Could go either way: 

Potentially a good guy, possibly a stalker. Too soon to say. He will be attentive, kind, romantic, thoughtful and there. Man will he be there. If he hasn't already cooked for you he's planning on it. He sent you flowers after the first date and calls when he says he will. Nothing bad about any of that but if he's not your type he's not going to give you up easily. It make take a while to shake this one off. Still it's nice to be wanted isn't it ? 

The jackpot:

If he's seen you at your worst, if he's around when you're being a total arsehole - hey let's get down to brass tacks, if he's held back your hair when you've overdone it at that Prosecco bar you both thought was a great idea - he's a keeper. He's not perfect - hell neither are you ! - but he's also realistic and knows that it's not always posh dinners and hot sex. He's around for the fun stuff and will still be there when things are a bit crap. You have a laugh and you can be yourself without fear that he's not up to it. For my money this one is the one to hold out for.

Of course the profile on your phone won't tell you any of this so you're going to have to snog a few frogs. In the meantime enjoy the drinks, the dinners and whatever else you fancy.

Good luck precious xx

* Britney is not her name, I'm being discreet. 

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