Where is better to find inspiration for new narrative than from one’s own experiences?
As I have been single, charting the occasionally murky waters that can be the digital-heavy swipo-sphere of modern dating, it has only been now, at the dawn of my 30s, that I have had sustained single-time. Having been in long-term relationships for the bulk of my life (heck, I like having a partner, someone to adventure with and chew the fat with on a Sunday over a stack of pancakes), off the back of the end of a recent long-term relationship I have been exploring the somewhat turbulent map of what it is to be a single woman in 2017.
If you’re expecting a blog post-Sex and The City style rife with hot hook-up details, this isn’t it, I would just like to point out. Rather, this is what I have been discovering during these solo-outings into the single world, and my perceptions of what modern-dating has been like (obviously objective). Off the bat, I would like to say that for sure, I am very independent and can handle myself pretty well. Many of my romantic encounters have been positive and I love being single for all the freedom and hilarious stories like you are about to read.
My last-short lived single-spell before finding love in 2016 saw me to decide to hazard a try at Tinder, that RSI inducing app of bewilderment. After a few hilarious encounters (some good, some bad, just dinner, no cigar),
Including one with a Swedish Director who actually looked exactly like Thor (if you know me personally, you’ll know I’ll have died on the spot. Shwing), and a dude with a penchant for booze that would give Slash back in the day a run for his money
(necked 10 rum and cokes at a posh members’ club and drunkenly did a runner leaving me with £80 the tab, thanks buddy), I deleted the app after about a month, ascertaining it wasn’t for me. This decision was propagated by a solid amount of casual sex requests I was receiving across the app (I wasn’t in the market for that), and compounded by a date with another charming boke who informed me on the 3rd date I looked like I had put on “some pounds” (adios loser).
Speaking to other single girlfriends, I became acquainted with words like ‘Ghosting”. No, not a ghost-hunters special of hunting down Caspar, rather, being such a douchebag, you deal with not wanting to continue to see/speak to someone by just flat-out ignoring them 'til they get the picture. Classy. The prevelance of the swipe-culture dating apps can be argued to now have manifested the same behavioural trait into the swipees. Discovering that any encounters’ feelings are no more worthy of time, effort, or just honest human-interaction to inform them that thank you but no thank you, “ghosting” appears to have exploded into the dating-consciousness as a viable method of dealing with peoples' feelings. How and when did this become acceptable I don’t quite know. Likewise is perhaps a lack of maturity in confronting with and dealing with one's own feelings - something I came across with a guy who, on a romantic trip abroad with me, hadn't been not just truthful with me, but more, with himself. It was when I received messages on a social channel from his ex-girlfriend who he was only just confessing undying love to days before she informed me, to warn me of his behaviour and if I knew the full picture, that I saw then the full picture. This guy lacked the maturity to confront his feelings (and a respect for his ex, someone he had loved, we were just a fleeting romance) and therefore be respectful not just of his own feelings, but of mine, and his ex girlfriends. I slowly drank a glass of wine, savouring it, enjoying my surroundings because heck, I was happy, and after 15 minutes told him he'd blown it and that was that.
A recent late night-snogging session in France led me to perhaps the most disturbing of discoveries. We all have different approaches to dating and what we want at any given time. At this particular instance, buoyed up by post-surf good vibes and fine (well, semi-priced) French wine, I was keen for some Gallic summer romance. Making out with the chosen Romeo, I then pointed out that I didn’t want to do anything else than make-out, that’ll do me, thank you sir. Man, that went down like a lead balloon, and I was incredulous at what I heard back.
Shit, I thought the very word “frigid” had died out sometime in the late 1990s frat scene, along with even more archaic approaches to “wooing” women such as bashing them over the head with a club and dragging them into a cave.
This just continued and I was also in-turn accused of being “neggy”. Don’t worry about me dear readers, I am in a strong place so can take this in my stride and laugh it off (which I did, after throwing the thwarted Romeo out of my room). But what did concern me after was that shit, there are actually still prehistoric, stupid dudes who go around saying this to women if they won’t want to have sex with them? For me, I could shrug this off. But for someone feeling less capable, confident, perhaps a younger girl, that can be a savage stroke, something that can stick with you, or lead you to do something you don’t want to. Discussing it afterwards with friends and fellow writers, there was a mix of shock and disgust that young dudes still go around saying this to women.
It is, of course, our own choice who we choose to kiss, canoodle, fondoodle, full-around with and whatever. To try and break-down someone by casting insults if they aren’t keen, yes it can be laughable in a situation like this, but is also hugely disconcerting. As women we can find ourselves in these situations, and knowing how to deal with this kind of dim-witted douchery can be hard to do if at a younger age, or just lacking in some self-confidence (which we all damn well do at times in our lives). The older you become most of the time the more you see any form of bullying as an exhibition as just the other persons own issues, or just plain old idiocy and naiveté.
Reminding yourself of your value and worth, and never questioning it, especially in the face of situations like this, is critical. As I have seen with girlfriends, we often can have a long-run of frogs before we find our princes. Circumstances like this can batter self-confidence cumulatively, but each time these moments happen, also serve to buttress and cultivate our own confidence.
If you are confronted with stupidity, you should actively remind yourself of your own awesomeness and worth. That guys like this, they are another example of what you actively aren’t looking for, and what qualities and traits for a hook-up/partner/life partner matter to you, to make YOU feel radical and happy.
In reminding oneself of this, when navigating the tempestuous single landscape, batting off the sex-pests, broken souls, old-fashioned neggers who still think bringing someone down is the key to unlocking the code to their pants, and the fast-swipe culture that has manifested from the smart phone into the ghosting real-life domain, is critical more than ever. Often we can be so quick to hunt and dismiss, such is the nature of modern dating. Taking a step back, allowing a more organic approach, putting less pressure on oneself and also remembering that everyone is a human with feelings, being kind can take you a long, long way.
Keep At It Lovers ❤