Twenty twenty one was for most people another year of restrictions lockdowns and misery. For me it was a year of tragic loss and terrible stress. I muddled through Christmas and hated New Year with a passion that sent me into a serious sofa decline. Show me a sofa and I would decline upon it!
New year is a time to let go of the past and look forward to new beginnings but what does that mean when it comes to your love life and the world of dating. These days the choices are endless and so time consuming and wearing that we often lose interest afterthe first thirty swipes or so.
Yes I did say thirty! It takes that many to find even one possibility. The endless questions the banal replies. I decided that with many successful dating years behind me, ( and still in front of me hopefully) I would share with you some of my tips for getting a date and enjoying it. I’m not talking here about meeting ‘the one’ (trust me there is definitely more than ‘one’) or finding a husband or wife. I am talking about just enjoying the dating game again.
Lockdown changed our perception of what a date should mean. A walk in the park, a distanced coffee, nothing like the word Covid Test to kill the romance. We used to be worried about catching an STD but now a deadly Chest Virus is on the cards and that’s just from a kiss. Exchanging bodily fluids ? No Chance! You were lucky to even exchange air.
Is it any wonder that half the dating population is scared shitless and the other half are are so raring to get back on the horse they have forgotten how to ride. So before you get back on the dating merry go round let me give you a few words of wisdom.
So many to choose from, it’s best to limit yourself to no less than two and no more than three. Otherwise your whole life will become dating obsessed. Choose one from the swipe brigade like Tinder simple to operate and with instant gratification. Easy to set up and quick to get results.
Then choose one that’s in the middle like Hinge or Bumble. Bumble puts the ball in the woman’s court so you get to choose but don’t forget to reply if you like what you see. There is a time limit. Hinge can get the conversation going easily and lead to dates as I can happily confirm.
If you want a third choice try one of the more ‘relationship based’ ones like Match or Elite. Depending on your aspirations in the world of dating. You may have to spend a little money to upgrade and get more choice, If you feel you need it.
Keep your personal information simple and light hearted. We are focussing here on getting dates not marriage proposals. Do use the opportunity to post lots of pictures. Mostly of you by yourself but one of you and some friends is ok as long as it is not a guessing game of which one you are and don’t use it as the lead photograph.
Use the best photos. You may slouch around the house in joggers and PJs ( we’ve all done that during lockdown) but now is not the time to show your very relaxed side. A mixture of shots face and full length and keep them up to date. Posting photos of yourself from ten years ago will only make the date more nerve wracking and lead to disappointment.
Be very wary of anyone with a solitary photograph that looks like model perfection. If there are no others for comparison proceed with caution. If in doubt I sometimes run the picture through Tin eye to check if it shows up anywhere. The last time I did this the guy in question was using a toothpaste advert picture. Just keep alert. I wasted ages once on a guy in my early dating period only to meet him many months later and to find that the picture he was using was 10 years old, oh and as it turned out married! Next!
Once you have matched with someone and got the conversation going don’t spend hours on one individual it’s important to keep matching and talking. You need to keep plenty of balls in the air. The chances are that at some point you will lose some hopefuls to the dreaded Ghosting ploy. Always annoying but don’t give it too much energy just accept it as part and parcel of the world of dating apps and maybe do some Ghosting of your own. That said always (unless faced with deplorable behaviour) try to be kind. Romance may not be in the air but a little respect for peoples feelings goes a long way. Please take note Caspar!
As soon as you can switch to an easier form of communication. I always advise people to talk on the phone. If you can start building a rapport and get a feel for the person you will know that at least you will be able to pass a few hours together even if there are no fireworks! It takes the fear out of that first meeting. I know that FaceTime and Skype are popular.But unless I am putting my best face forward I would not agree to either. It’s rather like a first date and you need to be prepared. But that is a your choice.
I always think the simplest things work best so I would aim for a pub or bar for the first date. Preferably somewhere you know and can get home from easily. I am not a fan of the coffee shop date as its not a place which lends naturally to romance. Often full of noise and clutter and broad daylight it also gives you no opportunity to dress to impress. It also smacks of “can’t be bothered” to give you much time. Save dinner for date two when you are more at ease.
If you are attracted to your date make sure they know it. As the conversation flows make sure you make positive noises and before you ask no not like Sally in ‘When Harry Met Sally!’ But the odd compliment, the brush of the hand or the arm and don’t forget to hold their gaze. Laugh and smile a lot, after all dating is supposed to be fun. I also like to offer to buy a round of drinks I like to keep things equal but usually let them go first (again your choice) At the end of the date when you go your separate ways lean in for a kiss on the cheek and say you’ve had fun. If of course the kiss on the cheek becomes a full blown snog ( hopefully if your in close proximity this can occur quite naturally) then enjoy. Nothing like a sexy snog to check the temperature of the chemistry between you.
Of course if you decide very quickly that your date is not for you then ignore most of the above but still give it a bit of time. Sometimes things take a bit longer but if I’m honest you usually know very quickly whether the sparks will fly. But remember be kind the other person may be smitten so a gentle let down is the way to go. Then just move on to the next potential date in your inbox.
And remember as we come out of this infernal Lockdown and are able to mix freely make good use of any opportunity you are given. Get out and about with friends! be visible! and accessible. Men tend to prop up the bar so plenty of opportunity to squeeze past and strike up a conversation. Women on the other hand tend to gather in tight groups often in a circle, making it almost impossible for a stray man to approach. Try and not huddle like a witches coven but stand in more open groups. Maybe go to the ladies more than you need to and check out the scenery.
Say yes to every invitation and try new things. We have all become so used to isolation that we have forgotten how to just enjoy life and a night out is just the beginning. There are many ways to start a relationship serious or otherwise. Don’t focus on the end goal just stay in the present and see any date as a positive. It gives you a chance to hone and practice your skills even if nothing follows on. If you can, reinvent yourself a little with a bit of restyling. Anything that makes you feel more confident will be seen from afar.
Lastly keep your expectations real. If you get ghosted or let down don’t take it personally. It says far more about them than it does about you. By keeping a few people in your inbox you can check out the next person and gradually focus on the ones that shine. Good luck and I will let you know how I am doing as I get back in the saddle. Of course if you would rather just read about dating buy my book details below.(available on Amazon) Happy Dating.
Till next time Gaynor xx