“Dating is like pushing a tray along a cafeteria. Nothing looks good, but you know you have to pick something by the time you reach the cashier.” – Caprice Crane.
With Valentine’s Day creeping towards my door, it has got me thinking about this crazy old world of dating. Just recalling my dating days sends cold shivers down my spine. But through my spiral of hot sweats and hyperventilation, I can just about piece together some of the reasons why I am glad to be well and truly over that whole dating game! I believe I had a lucky escape when I grabbed my dessert and ran with it! But things didn’t always taste so good, in fact, some things left me with a nasty taste!
Many moons ago, I was in that cafeteria pushing my tray along woefully and observing the unappetizing display of food growing stale under florescent lights. Crane was right, nothing looked particularly mouth-watering, but I felt like I had to pick something as I gradually made my way down the queue.
This crazy little thing called LOVE
Love. A meeting of two hearts, two minds and two souls. When we fall head over heels, our hearts beat a little faster, our palms begin to sweat and the faint flutter of butterflies fill our tummies. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed, other times we feel anxious and excited all at the same time. This might sound fresh off the pages of some starry-eyed love story, but love isn’t all romance and candlelit meals. Love is about facing challenges, overcoming obstacles and fighting to be together. Love is about growing together, trusting each other and taking the rough with the smooth.
But where does it all begin?
Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, once said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” His words are true. Love is like a chemical reaction. When we meet the right person our bodies and minds react. For some there might be a spark, for others it’s like a planted seed which grows over time, and of course, there are those reactions that go KAAABOOOM! Which brings me to the topic of, dating!
Some people fall instantly in love, and for others, there is dating!
The Dating Pool
I associate my experience of being single to being thrown into an enormous pool with a million other singletons (or not-so-singletons, in some cases!) and left to swim blindly through the minefield that is the dating world.
The dating pool, it’s not the pleasantest of places. Just dipping our toe in gives us an unwelcoming surprise. But the deeper we submerge ourselves, the more frightening it becomes. For under those dark and murky waters lurk a whole kettle of fish, waiting to suck the hope, energy and life from out our once-optimistic beings.
Sometimes I fell vulnerably into nets I had previously avoided, either wriggling my way out of the minuscule holes, or accepting defeat and being yanked out of the water, and often, into the arms of some slightly unhinged human-being looking for
love some fun!
Despite only dipping my toe in and rapidly pulling it out again, my experience in the dating pool left me feeling cold, bitter and too scared to ever return into those murky waters again!
Allow me to explain why.
Now, before I hand you the key into the dating history I so forcefully shut the door upon, I want you to bear in mind that we were all young once, and we all made silly mistakes!
Without further ado, I give you…
My History of Dating Disasters
Date number one: The older man.
First dates are always awkward, but matters weren’t helped by the fact I had turned up to this date…DRUNK! Yes, I may have taken to the wine cabinet to ‘calm my nerves’, but later regretted this decision as my date went from bad to worse with every slurred word that fell from my wine-stained lips. In my defense, I was 16-years-old and suffering from a spot of first date anxiety. The guy I had arranged to meet was, let’s just say, quite a bit older than myself.
As I staggered drunkenly to greet him, I remember thinking, “Jeez, this guy looks smart!” And there I was, unable to walk in a straight line or even pretend I was the least bit sober! God only knows what the poor man must have been thinking… “Why did I agree to this?” perhaps?
Hanging from every limb on my poor date’s body, we finally made it to the bar. I wasn’t legal to drink, so I snuck upstairs while my date purchased me some…water! The water didn’t even touch the large consumption of wine I had indulged in beforehand, and, therefore our conversation was interesting to say the least. Let’s just say, you wouldn’t have wanted to be a fly-on-the-wall during that tête-à-tête. The rest is somewhat of a blur.
In fact, the next thing I do remember is puking into my date’s lap. You heard me correctly! One linguine and bolognese mess on my fashion-conscious dates smart trousers. I can’t remember his reaction, I think I must have psychologically suppressed it into the deepest, darkest corner of my mind. The corner in which I stash my not-so-proud moments to become dis-remembered, like they never even took place.
But the discomfitures didn’t stop there. To put the icing on the cake, I then looked
lovingly drunkenly into my dates fearful eyes and uttered the words “I love you!” Shocked, we sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity, while I looked at him in anticipation, waiting for him to reciprocate those three words. It didn’t happen. He assured me that I didn’t love him, and kindly reminded me that we’d only known each for a few hours.
“No, I do LOVE you!” I continued, the sensibly sober Amanda screaming, “Oh Lord! Please don’t say another word! Pick up your handbag and LEAVE!”
The truth was, I did keep speaking, and with every drunken word to escape my lips, my date edged me more and more towards the door. He put me in a taxi and enthusiastically waved goodbye. “See you again!” He yelled as the taxi drove away.
“He does love me!” I smiled to the taxi driver.
“That’s great, Love! But where do you want me to take you?” He replied.
As it turned out, unacquainted love wasn’t my only issue, I had also forgotten my address.
Needless to say, that was the last I ever saw of date number one. No phone call, no text message…NOTHING!
As far as bad dates go, I’d pretty much ticked off a long lists of how not to’s, enough to know better than to go on date number 2.
Sadly the memories of my first dating disaster faded like the smell of vomit from my ex-dates clothes, and thus, I jumped back into the dating pool, ready to take a net to anyone who didn’t swiftly wriggle away!
Date number two: The horny hairdresser (AKA fake tan man!)
Once upon a time, I visited this hair salon where a handsome yet overly-tanned young man once worked. Now, I say ‘young’ man, he was actually a few years older than me (Yes, I had a thing for older men!) Every time I saw him he would shower me in compliments and make me feel good about myself. In fact, he made it evidently clear that he was fond of me. What gave it away? He may have rubbed his nether regions on the nape of my neck as he caressed my tresses. The modern day mating call, perhaps? Despite his forwardness, I fell for him hook, line and sinker and ended up arranging a ‘proper’ date.
Unfortunately, the reality didn’t quite meet the expectation that played so enchantingly in my head. No, the reality was that he spent most of the date talking about himself, preening himself or looking at himself at any given opportunity. He’d also put his brag-rags on and boasted about pretty much everything, from his modeling days to how many exotic holiday destinations he’d travelled. I didn’t get so much as a word in edgeways, nor did I get a special neck massage courtesy of his large trouser-snake (his words not mine!)
As it turned out, his man parts were pretty much the ‘bulk’ of
our his discussion. By the end of the night, not only were penises circling my mind, but I even found his David Dickinson/mahogany-sideboard tan had lost its hilarity! I was ready to make like a tree and leave! Only his roots were wrapped around my ankles, barricading me from movement, and screaming “Please let me bore you with my brags! Please let me bore you until you never want to go on another date EVER again!”
Surprisingly, not even Mr Trouser-snake managed to put me off for life! I still went back for more.
Third time lucky, right?
Wrong! I was in for a treat with this singing sweetheart, or shall I say… my ears were!
Date number three: The aspiring singer!
Date number three was, how can I put this politely? …A bit of a wet blanket! Not only did he have smoother skin than I did, but he also took ’emotional male’ to whole new level! Our date consisted of deep conversation…Not the sort of deep I wanted to go on a first date, admittedly, but at least I wasn’t drunk and he wasn’t rubbing his man parts on me! What ruined it for me, was the fact he spoke about his ex-girlfriend the entire night, except for a short pause when he decided to serenade me with his
slightly offish abysmal rendition of ‘You’re beautiful’ by James Blunt! Which he just so happened to stretch out over six GOD-FORSAKEN minutes, while I tried desperately to keep straight-faced and stifle my impending roar of laughter. It was all too much, I had to step out on the balcony and laugh until teardrops rolled down my cheeks.
My spontaneous outburst of laughter didn’t stop there – As they say, “once you pop, you just can’t stop!” My laughter lid was open and throughout our deep and meaningful conversations I continued to experience spontaneous outbursts of hysterical laughter. “Why do you keep laughing?” my sensitive date asked. Now, I couldn’t really tell him that I was, in fact, laughing because his James Blunt rendition was so shit, therefore I made up some elaborate story which just didn’t add up at all. What can I say, I was somewhat under pressure as he anticipated my answer with what appeared to be MAN TEARS brewing in corners of his eyes. “Do you want to hear another song?” He asked.
My stomach could take it no longer, I had to end the date, but before I uttered the words “It’s been great to mee…”He strummed his guitar, closed his eyes and begun to sing his unmelodious tune. Only this time it was his own song about the time his ex-girlfriend cheated on him and his heart broke into a …thousand shards of glass (in fact, I think that was the title of his song!) needless to say, I wanted to run for the hills at this point.
And who brings a guitar to a first date?
With a dating success rate of, dare I say, zero, I jumped out of the dating pool, dried myself off and decided the ‘no-strings-attached’ approach was the way to go. I could wave goodbye to the awkward silences, the pre-date nerves and sitting through renditions of shit songs!
But this is life, and life doesn’t always go to plan. Despite detaching the strings, I still managed to get myself into a tangle. Of course, there was that time someone got a little enthusiastic during an embrace and ended up licking my eyeball, and I’ll never forget the time… HOLD UP! Why am I telling you this? All you need to know is that it involved a sharp pair of gnashers and a delicate body part *Shudder*
After a few weeks of despair, frustration and…PAIN, I decided a girl’s night out – minus the intentions of hooking up with a guy – was just what the doctor had ordered. Or shall I say, Love doctor? As it turned out, that night, I just so happened to meet my future husband for the first time. The moral of this story is, when we stop looking for fish, the fish will come to us! Sometimes we don’t even need to submerge ourselves into the murky waters of the dating pool, we can sit on the side and casually observe from afar. One day, we might just catch a glimpse of the perfect catch, and if it’s meant to be, you’ll ave eee for tea! (Nah, just kidding!) If it’s meant to be, we can fling our fishing rods in and reel that fish out of the water and into our arms!
Midst my dating days, I often pondered how much easier it would be if dating were like buying a car. We could not only talk to the previous owners, but we could take a glance over the full history. We’d be able to avoid any car crash disasters and swerve any potholes down the road. Unfortunately, we have no backlog of history, nor can we talk to any previous owners (well, we could, but it might be a bit stalkerish!) we are left to swim blindly through the big open waters.
Sometimes we strike lucky, but other times the only spark we get is the one coming out of the exhaust pipe amidst a thick fog of smoke! But whether we jump into the pool and leap back out again running, or find ourselves behind the wheel of a dodgy drive, we have to admit, its one heck of a ride!
So maybe my dating days weren’t all I hoped they’d be, but at least I can laugh about it 10 years on! As I lock the door to my dating past (and throw away the key!) I think it’s safe to say…