Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Toppest of Top Tips

1.2m dates over the last 7 years. 4 boyfriends. 2 nearly boyfriends. 2 very close friends. 10 nearly-boyfriends. 32,123,432 emails. 4,321,221 profiles viewed, some in Lithuania. 2 friends nearly married to people they met on the line. 1 friend loved up with someone else I met on the line. One person I met on the line perfect for another friend of mine, but they haven't met yet. I've seen it all. (Nearly.)

DON'T TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY.
Just don't. It's fun. Enjoy it. Meet people. Then behave like a right-minded person. In other words, don't think you're virtually in love after a week of intense emailing. You haven't even started to know them until you've met them at least 5 times.

IF THEY HAVEN'T GOT A PHOTO, SOMETHING'S UP
That's it really.

BE SENSIBLE
Meet them somewhere public. Don't give out your home number or address. Never, ever meet them at home for the first date. Tell your mates what you're doing, and who with. If he won't give you his surname, or if you feel at all weird about it, don't do it. So saying, nothing bad's ever happened to me, unless you count the maggot with the pin head. And lots of very boring evenings.

AVOID SLEEPING WITH THEM ON THE FIRST DATE
Well, don't, but it's sort of sensible, just generally. Obviously I always listen to my own advice.

BE HONEST
Don't lie in your profile. Don't pretend you're thin when you're not, or not mad when you are. Or that you're an air hostess when in fact you work in Barclays in High Wycombe. Just not worth it. And really tiring remembering what you've fibbed about. And anyway, what's the point. If you meet, it'll all come out eventually anyway. These things always do.

DON'T SEE INTERNET DATING AS A WAY TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BETTER
There are a lot of really decent, genuine people who really ARE looking for romance on the line. If you're just spit up with someone and need cheering up, or are having some kind of existential crisis, don't take the piss out of nice people. That's a general rule, come to think of it; what I'm saying, I suppose, is don't look to other people to make you feel better. It's not a salve for your troubled soul: it's other people going about their lives trying to find a partner. (Or a shag, but that's another story - see Guide to Internet Dating Sites).

IF YOU DON'T WANT A RELATIONSHIP, SAY SO
Nothing wrong with that, but don't pretend you're up for something long-term when in fact you fancy a quick rummage down the back of an alley and a few nights having championship drinking races followed by a drunken shag. There are ways of making this clear in your profile: a good one is: "I'm not looking for a relationship, but am interested in making friends and rummaging about down the back of an alley", for example. (Delete as appropriate.)

DON'T PISS ABOUT
If someone emails you, and you're not interested, don't ignore them: write back thanking them for their email, tell them you don't think you're compatible, and wish them luck. If you meet and you're not keen, email the next day and say the same thing - you know, 'it was great to meet you, but I can't see romance on the horizon. Happy to stay in touch, but if not - no worries. Good luck'. Or something. Tailor message as appropriate. And don't be mean (unless they were horrid). In other words, 'your ginger hair makes me feel physically sick' or 'I would no more introduce you to my friends than I would fly to the moon on a back of a winged monkey' would not be appropriate. You get my point.

AVOID DRUNKEN EMAILING
The problem with this is that when you get back a bit pissed after a good evening, having a look at who's emailed you before you fall fully-clothed into your bed seems just the ticket. But then so do kebabs, phoning up exes now happily married to someone else, late night films on Channel 5 and texting everyone you know telling them you love them. Please try not to do it. You will - I promise - regret it in the morning. Put a post-it on your laptop or something.

DON'T BE A STALKER
I really, really hate all those things like 'The Rules'. I think they're a load of absolute cock, designed for the kind of women who haven't got a boyfriend because they're idiots, not because they just haven't met anyone they like. At their heart, they are disingenuous and ask you to behave in a truly revolting, manipulative way. But, for your own sake, after a date, let them contact you. However well the evening went, and however many emails they've sent you, and however keen they've seemed in email, once you met you're in Relationship Land, and in Relationship Land, it's best not to frighten the horses. Once you've met, you have to put the timer back to 0 and start again. And anyway, isn't it more fun when someone phones you up and asks you out again out of the blue?

KNOW WHEN TO GIVE UP
If you've met and haven't heard from them for a week, give up. Time moves differently in Boy Land, but there are limits. Also, bear in mind that if they haven't had the decency to get in touch to even say "thanks, but no thanks", they're probably a knob anyway. And no, you don't need 'closure'; i.e. you DON'T need to send a snitty email saying "I haven't heard from you again so I assume you're not interested". Look at the evidence, my friend. Shout NEXT! and go on a date with someone else.

DON'T EXPECT ANYTHING MORE THAN A GOOD EVENING
If you go to every date hoping to fall immediately in love and be married within 6 months, you are going to be disappointed. You're going out on a date. One date. With someone you haven't met. Just enjoy it. And don't worry about what happens tomorrow. So saying ...

YOU ONLY HAVE TO GET IT RIGHT ONCE
A very wise friend said this to me one night. What he meant was that often it can seem a bit endless and tiresome all this meeting people and it not working out. But one day it will. So you can either stay at home picking your feet and watching the Coronation Street Omnibus, or you can put on clothes you look nice in, and go and have a delicious drink with an interesting sounding person, and just see what happens. You'll meet someone one day. Just enjoy finding them.

1 Comments:

Blogger brunette babe said...

If only I'd found your blog earlier! I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know when to give up. I needed 'closure', in direct violation of your very sound advice.

I am much wiser now...

11:52 AM  

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