Wednesday, 14 November 2012

eBoy pt. II - the returns process

As always, the usual apologies for leaving it so long between blogs. One day, I will be better. The day will dawn, and it will be soon, that I will do an hour of self practice yoga every morning before work, I will eat only brown rice and vegetables for every meal, I will return to my spiritual home of 7.5 stone. I will do every piece of analysis perfectly first time, I will stop drinking again. I will become incapable of saying any of those dumb things that come back to haunt me at night. When that time comes, I will also be writing a hilarious and gripping blog every week. Any day now. Six weeks, tops.

So, the eagle eared amongst you will remember that some time ago I wrote a blog about my foray into the world of internet dating. I promised an update, and here it is. (NB - I must also apologise. This isn't a very funny blog. I had had visions of turning various of the dates into hilarious anecdotes, but I find I don't really want to laugh at any of the fellas in question. So this is more of a musing than a stand up routine.)

I suppose it should have been obvious that finding true love via the internet was never going to be as easy as I had thought, but I'm not always great at grasping the obvious. I was so terrified at the thought of meeting strangers (people never believe this of me, but I am, like you, crippling shy. We all are, underneath. Aren't we?) that I think I sorta had it in mind that if I managed to be brave enough to overcome this, my reward would be - ta da! -  the perfect boyfriend. No muss, no fuss. After all, I'd filled in all the forms, I'd made it perfectly obviously what my requirements were. It's a bit like designing a t-shirt on SpreadShirt, right? I've put in the elements I want, and all that needs to happen now is that it/he is posted to me. What could possibly go wrong?

Turns out (well, duh) that life and love and lust are just not that simple.

I'm sure I'm far from the only person to point this out, but internet dating is such an alien environment. You find yourself going out with people you would never have looked at twice if you'd seen them on the tube, or in the swimming pool, or in an S&M dungeon. Not because they're hideously ugly or defective in any way, but because you can't tell over the internet whether you are genuinely attracted to someone or not. Whether that spark is really there. Damn, I wish you could, because everyone is more attractive on the internet. Why do y'all think I spend so much of my time on here? My internet self is so much better thought out, funnier, slicker, hotter than my real self. Turns out, this is the same for everyone else too. We all have time to go back and edit on the internet. Real life has fewer spaces for retakes.

This phenomena, where you find yourself on these weird, New York style 'dates' with people (which, let's face it, is not the way we get together with people in this country... we go to parties, someone is there, we make friends with them for a bit, we end up sleeping with them, we worry about when we can say 'boyfriend', and then he says 'girlfriend' and then you text all your mates, and everybody's happy. For four whole weeks, at least) who you wouldn't normally have considered is both good and bad. Good, because maybe you *should* be giving a few curveballs a chance. Bad, because honestly, if you don't fancy someone, is it ever really gonna work?

But then, you're this terribly strange situation in which the very notion of whether you do or you don't fancy each other and what that might mean is so tangible, so heavy in the air, that it might as well be the third guest at the table, making polite yummy noises about the tapas and wondering why it's drinking quicker than you. And that makes it nigh on impossible to work out what anyone really thinks of anyone else. This tends to be where I remind myself that I didn't fancy any of my recent boyfriends upon first meeting them. It has often taken a few months, or even years, to work that out. So what, are you supposed to keep seeing these internet boys for years, in the hope that you'll start fancying each other at some distant point in the future? That doesn't seem like an efficient use of time.

A recent boyfriend once screamed at me that I would never really be happy in a relationship because I have such unrealistic expectations of men. I have filed this in the brain-box labelled Least Favourite Memories Ever. I don't think this is true. Is it true? I don't know. It's probably true. I do expect quite a lot from people, or so I'm told. But you know what, I expect about 50% of what I expect of myself from everyone else, so it never really feels like that much to me. It can't be true. Can it?

The ongoing dialogue in my head throughout this series of dates with different boys I've had this year is whether I'm rejecting them because they're not right for me and no-one should be in a relationship with someone who is wrong for them, or whether I'm rejecting them because I'm an unrealistic princess who has watched too many rom coms. I have no idea which is correct.

So when my brain isn't doing the 'don't settle vs unrealistic expectations' tango, it tends to be occupied with another constant, unwinnable war, which I'm guessing all the single ladies and laddies may well recognise from their own crazy brains. The one where one part of my brain seems to be permanently screening every male I see, from the scandalously young boy in the coffee shop to the ridiculously ancient dude checking my library book out, to see if he might be potential husband material; constantly raging against the injustice of the fact that everyone else in the ENTIRE world (statistically speaking) has an other half and I don't; forever planning futures with people I don't really know and then getting annoyed when even in my head they don't go the way I'd really want them to.... whilst the other half of the time, I'm thinking hang on a moment, do I even want this thing I seem to spend so much time thinking about?

I know that I'm just as capable of being miserable when I am in relationship as when I'm single - it's a talent of mine. I'm lucky enough to have amazing friends and a busy life. I DJ and I take photos and I (sometimes) write this blog. I do my PhD and I go to yoga and I try to sleep right. When would I even have time to have a boyfriend anyway? And if I did get one, would I have to stop listening to Harry Potter at night? And pretend to like his music? What if he wanted to put his CDs on in the car? Would I have to pretend that was ok? Cos it's not, you know! Could I still spend entire Sundays watching the Big Bang Theory and eating cheese? What if he wanted me to spend Christmas with his family? I probably won't like his family, I only really like my family. Would I have to be quiet in the mornings? Have curries half of the time instead of always Chinese? Share the gin? Do I have time for that shit? Not really, no.

So the upshot of all this, dear reader, is that I've left all the dating websites. Maybe romantic love will find me. Maybe not. But (for now at least) I'm done trying to force it. I'm too tired.

What do YOU think, dear reader? Is love all its cracked up to be? Or am I better off sharing my bed with Harry Potter alone until my days are eeked out?


  1. My guess is that you would indeed have to stop listening to Potter in bed. I miss the science lecturers I used to listen to, and being able to wiggle and turn and toss around in bed without keeping someone awake.

    I was definitely more miserable when I was single though.

  2. Yep, the Harry Potter would have to go. But you could always find someone who drinks beer instead of Gin. You don't have to share yours then

  3. I'm not sure it could ever be worth it. Harry Potter will never let me down! The other options... I can't see it...