I’d like to begin this post with the mantra ‘I like being single, I like being single, I like being single’. It’s pretty much the first time in 11 years I’ve been able to maintain my single status for longer than 4 months (issues, anyone?)

To be honest, I’ve embraced it. There’s a pure sense of justifiable selfishness that makes me feel liberated and free. I can wake up on a Saturday morning and not have to juggle someone else’s moods and requirements – if I want to stay in bed all day, that’s my call. And if I want to blow more money than my credit card can handle on clothes, there’s no one to make me feel guilty.

Having said that, I’m running with a pack of single girls in London, and they don’t all feel the same way I do. In fact some of them are actively on the hunt, and we’re all being roped in to join the game (mind you, some of them have been single for a few years now, so I can understand why they might be making more of an effort).

So we have a pact; that we will support each other in this quest and make as much of an adventure of it as possible. The rules? There are only two…

 (1) No saying “no” to a girlfriend in need (if she needs a chaperone, a friend to double date with, or you know a man who might be of interest to her, you’re bound to do the right thing in all this instances)

(2) No saying “no” to a man (you are obliged to go out on every date you’re asked on, you must make an effort and you have to tell the girls about it the next day – obviously you are not obliged to put yourself in any dangerous, lecherous or humiliating situations – a date simply means ‘an outing’ – nothing more!!)

So in the last few weeks I’ve found myself in hilarious situations, some of which I thought I might share with you (Mandy – I know you miss my installments of being ‘a single girl in perth’ so these are especially for you!)…

Joining Soulmates with all my girlfriends. Yes, it is an online dating agency. Yes, it did make me feel like I was far more desperate than I am.

Surprisingly it’s a huge thing over here. I’ve actually met tonnes of people who have met and are dating or married because of this one site. It’s considered a UK phenomenom. And a few of our group got quite lucky with this experiment (one has even moved from very much single, through the ‘optomistically dating’ stage and is now officially ‘off the market’).

However I found that Soulmates is never going to work for me. I’m far to nice. I don’t want to discriminate against age or size or race or religion or employment status. Which meant that my site got far more hits than anyone else’s… but I also got the highest ratio of “over 40, balding accountants” out of all of us. Thankfully only one of the balding accountants actually asked me out – so I was only obliged to go on that one date.

To this day I will wonder who he, a 43 year old with two kids, bitterly divorced, working in a dull job in the city, losing his hair and his battle with the bulge, and having a bizarre penchance for the colour beige (in that all the clothes he was wearing were varying shades of it) ended up with. I doubt it was any of the 25 – 32 years olds he was approaching on the site…

Going on blind dates set up by well-meaning friends. You all know who you are. Stop giggling behind your hands at what, retrospectively, was the worst idea either of you had. I was coerced into two dates (I managed to set up far more, and take pride in the fact that at least one of those couples is still seeing each other three weeks later – not bad!)  but neither of my dates was a raging success…

The first was a lovely man. It’s just that we struggled to find topics of conversation to linger over. Any subject I introduced as a potential conversation (such as schooling, books, music, family) quickly dried up. I like silence, but dating the living embodiment of it is far too hard, and too much work.

The second, also a lovely man, and also far more talkative – hooray! For the first half hour it was looking good. Sadly the talkative trait was what got him in trouble. He got comfortable, and began talking. He ended up monologuing at me for about two hours. I’d use the words ‘bigot’, ‘facist’, ‘homophobe’ and ‘wanker’ to describe him, but I’m not that sort of girl. Oh wait – yes I am.

Having the guts to ask someone I fancy, out on a date. Never done this before. I think I have good taste in men as a result!

Both have been Australians, (for the most part I find English guys a little too skinny and pale for me – also they don’t seem to be too interested in me either!) both are long termers (living in the UK with no intention of leaving), both own their own businesses in the arts.

So far, so good. Except both are into ‘non-exclusive’ dating.

What?

It’s also a very English thing… You can date as many people as you like, as long as you’re honest about it, and apparently no one gets hurt. Yeah, right! Haven’t bothered with second dates with either of them… frankly my life is crazy enough without having to compete with other girls for the attention of one man!

Speed-dating. Well, actually, I haven’t done this yet. But I’m booked in to go with the girls next Tuesday. I’m just whetting your appetite for next weeks installment!

What further dating mishaps lie ahead? – God, I wouldn’t even want to take a guess after the last few weeks…

In summary – dating in London is hard work, and should be attempted at your own risk, or at the very least you should be wearing a hard-hat and safety goggles…

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