I keep asking men out on dates and they keep knockin’ me back with big fat nos
When it comes to dating, it’s very important that at least one of the two people involved knows that they are, in fact, on a date. It would be increasingly helpful if all people involved were aware of this but one person is a decent starting point.
Even though apps like Tinder, Happn and Bumble make dating seem like a very normal thing to do these days, dating is actually quite a new concept to the people of Ireland. Before these apps, we just shifted each other before closing time in pubs and clubs across the country and awkwardly lurked around the object of our unsteady affection until we attached a label to these not-so-accidental hangouts that were born from Facebook stalking. But now… now we date. We meet for an innocent drink, we meet for coffee. We meet sober. And while this feels very metropolitan (Oh! You’re such a Samantha, Gráinne), it takes a while to actually put this new cultural phenomenon into practice and the best way to begin is to actually say the word out loud. Date. Date. Daaaaaate.
You can’t be coy
Date. It’s a scary word. It’s a word that either ends in rejection or its namesake, and then the namesake can result in either more rejection or an aul smooch… if you worked up enough courage to get that far. You see, courage and bravery are the things we need to initiate a date and through practice, this bravery dissipates as dating becomes something we no longer fear. It becomes part of the threads of our social life. With the dating apps, we are cushioned by the assumption that everyone is using the app for the same reasons; to date, to love or for sex. To ask someone out for a drink on Tinder isn’t preposterous; it’s an inevitability, but to ask someone you know – someone made out of actual flesh, bones, misgivings and feelings – out on a date needs to have more structure. You can’t be coy here and dance around the issue; you have to be outright and say that dreaded word.
Like most people in their late 20s and early 30s, my existential crisis flits between “What am I doing with my career?” and “This is it, I’m going to die alone with not even a beloved yet scraggly cat to eat my remains”. Part of my psychological makeup leans more to the dying alone side of things because I’m not relationship driven, I’m certainly not baby-driven and marriage is not in my game plan whatsoever. I happen to think that marriage will slow down my plan of world domination but… it’s just that I have an awful lot of weddings coming up in the next few years and I need a +1 to roll my eyes at during the ceremonies and speeches. When the rest of my friends are all up to their arms in nappies and impossible-to-collapse buggies, I need someone there to drag out the arse of my 30s, 40s and 50s with as I officially grow into one of the oldest people at any music festival at any given time. I need someone to validate that the decisions I’ve made in life have been alright, even if my friends will look at me with pity or despair as we all move onwards in life. I am the eternal storm and I need a port to dock in sometimes. That’s my view of commitment. I’m an old romantic really.
With the revelation that suitors don’t just come knocking at your door, I’ve been quite brazen with the word date. The more practise you get with saying it out loud, the more character you build up and the fear of asking lessens. I woke up in a drunken panic on New Year’s Day after a pretty miserable real-life rejection with a former beau, fuelled with the need to start the new year on the right path. I asked a man I hadn’t seen in over a year out on a date. He said no. Practice. I’ve lobbed the gob with friends as house parties come to an end – think of me like a 6am Sniper that’s ready to strike a victim at the nth hour – and then asked them out for a date later on in the week. They’ve also said no. Practice. Online, I’ve rejoined Tinder and Bumble. I keep asking men out on dates and they keep knockin’ ‘em back with big fat nos.
Being so frivolous with my date requests, I’ve been getting all this practice out of my system and building up one hell of a character. I’ve got character built out of steel at this stage. But… at least I know where I stand. I am very much not on a date right now but when I am – oh! – we will know exactly what it is. And that’s a goddamn date.