I have just re-entered the dating scene after seven years. And it has changed. In fact it had changed last time I re-entered the dating scene after a four year relationship.
When I say things have changed, I don’t mean that the basics have changed. The basics will always be the same. Man seeks woman, woman seeks man, man seeks man, woman seeks woman, or I guess variants thereof.
What has changed are the ways in which you can meet that random stranger. Unfortunately, I don’t think these changes are for the better. The feminist in me is very sad about the evolution of the dating scene over the last decade.
11 years ago…
In 2004, my friend and I went speed-dating. You don’t hear much about speed-dating these days. As a dating methodology it is very last decade. There are variants of speed dating still out there, like shush dating for example. There is also the fact that corporations and businesses have stolen and perverted the concept to create speed-networking. ‘Have 3 minute chats with people who could further your career‘ kind of takes the appeal away from speed dating for pleasure doesn’t it?
Now speed-dating hardly lives up to Feminism’s high standards – in fact far from it. My friend and I stayed in our seats for the evening, whilst the men rotated every three minutes (men, like sperm move, women stay still, men are the movers and shakers, women, well, they just aren’t). Three minutes hardly allows much time for an assessment beyond ‘yes, (s)he’s hot and I’d like to sleep with him/her’, but at least there is a requisite 2 mins and 57 seconds more of conversation before you tick, or cross, and move on. 30 men/women in 90 minutes, with a much needed 20 minute interval, you have to admit is incredibly efficient. I did actually meet someone that night and we had a fun-packed four year relationship – those were the days when I was footloose and fancy free.
7 years ago…
My next foray into the world of dating was about seven years ago. By this time speed dating was very much on the decline and the phenomenon of online dating was up there. I had a profile on mysinglefriend.com. My friend, a different one to the one who came speed dating with me four years previous, and I wrote each other’s profiles and watched the ‘likes’ come in. The nice thing about mysinglefriend is that your friend writes about 500 words about you. An appraisal if you like. I guess the concept is not that different from matchmyex.com just without the underlying bitterness. If you pay about £10 a month (these are 2007-2008 prices I am not sure how much it costs these days) you can then converse with your matches (people who like you and who you like back) .
In the end I went on four mysinglefriend dates. None of them led anywhere. I did go on a second date with one guy, but to be honest, on that second date, I think I realised that I’d probably had too much to drink on my first date. I shouldn’t have kissed him. I didn’t find him attractive and he didn’t really have any interesting conversation (beer goggles, or in my case the wine goggles are quite dangerous you know!)
There was one guy who, in the email conversation beforehand, showed a lot of promise. I had told him that I liked drinking tea and that I had booked a trip to Iran. It was a guided tour in a group of eight and I was planning to see all of the sights. He suggested we meet for an afternoon tea and then take a visit to the Iran exhibition that was then on at the British Museum. Oh my God, I thought I’d met my life partner; someone who liked tea and culture.
We met outside the British Museum. I knew instantly that I didn’t fancy him. He probably felt the same. He had a dog, not with him, but he was a dog owner. I am very allergic to dogs and that day I was more than a little bit allergic to him. I nipped off to the toilets to use my inhaler for the asthma and to take some antihistamine for the red eyes and irritable nose. We went into the exhibition.
I am not usually the kind of person who reads every single information board in an exhibition. I am quite a visual person, I relate more to pictures than to words. But I was really interested in this exhibition. I had bought my ticket to Iran and had about five weeks before I was due to go. I was mega excited that I would soon see the places first hand that were exhibited in the British Museum.
But, I had this annoying, allergy inducing, moaning stranger next to me. He was annoyed that I was going too slowly round the exhibition. He asked if we could speed up. I am nothing if not cantankerous and slowed down further; I read each information board twice. He eventually suggested we sack off the exhibition and go and get a pint (not even the afternoon tea that we had agreed to!) I declined and stayed in the exhibition while he left.
The advantage of dating is that you get to tell stories about your disaster dates. I have a story about a date to whom I was actually allergic. He has a story about a date who was uptight and geeky. One all I reckon. We are both winners.
About 4 minutes ago…
Re-entering the dating scene in 2015 and as a single mother in her mid-30s is a little bit tricky to be honest. What do I want? At which point do I say that I am a single mother? Which dating sites or apps do I use?
So, first things first: what do I want?
Well, I do know that I am not ready for a relationship. The last one was stressful enough and is still stressful because although we are not in a romantic relationship we are in a co-parenting one and that my friends is a bundle of laughs … not!
I also know that I am not a one night stand kind of girl. I am a single mother with scar tissue and haemorrhoids (this is why this blog has to remain anonymous!) I take my hat off to people who enjoy sex with strangers. It probably makes life a whole lot simpler in the long run, provided you use adequate protection. It isn’t me though.
So, where does that leave me? Probably looking for someone who likes afternoon tea and exhibitions to be honest, oh and who doesn’t mind fitting into some very limited free time slots when I am neither working nor looking after my son. This doesn’t make for an appealing dating profile to write!
Fortunately, the dating world has moved on and you don’t even need to write anything anymore. Apps like Tinder and Bumble allow you just to put up a few photos, the text is both limited and optional.
You’ll have heard of Tinder. It is trying to shake its image of being the hook-up app for those wanting one night stands. It isn’t working in my view. I have had a man ask me whether I want to be his sex toy and another asking whether I like c**k. Fortunately, it is quite easy to unmatch people.
I have recently signed up to Bumble. Bumble has been branded the Feminist Tinder, but I doubt many hardline Feminists would agree! Bumble is different to Tinder because men are not allowed to message women. Women have to message first and have twenty four hours to do so. No offers of c**k on Bumble, not as an opening gambit anyway. I quite like this. Women can message first on Tinder, but there is some unwritten Tinder etiquette that dictates that men message first. I personally prefer Bumble because for some reason, I find the men more attractive (ok, so I am not that Feminist after all).
Aside from women having to message first on Bumble the apps are very similar. On both you swipe left if you are not interested, right if you are. A few words of caution for using both apps, particularly if you are flitting simultaneously between the two:
- To see more photos on Bumble you swipe upwards. Sliding upwards on Tinder means ‘super-like’ – eek! … unmatch…breathe a sigh of relief.
- Some people don’t take things that seriously… Check out a prospective date on Tinder.
- You can waste hours and hours and hours swiping left again and again and again and again. I am quite convinced that you can get repetitive strain injury from dating apps. I swiped left so many times on Bumble the other night that, to my embarrassment, this happened:
Do you have any tips for single mums dating in 2015?
How did you meet your partners? I love to hear a good dating success story.