Tag Archives: conversation

To Respond, or Not to Respond…

I’m sure you like to think you’re a polite person; if someone walked up to you in a bar and said ‘Hey, how’s it going?‘, you wouldn’t turn around, give them a once over and go back to chatting with your friends without so much as a second thought, staunchly ignoring the person who approached you. Because that’s ruuuuude.

So why is it different online? I’m sure there must be some people out there who take the time to respond to EVERY message they receive through their dating accounts, whether it’s to pursue a meet, or to kindly let the person messaging them that they’re not interested…But I don’t know who has the patience for that.

Why? Because on our beloved t’internet, things can get messy. Fast. An instagram site Bye Felipe is largely made up of men abusing women for exercising their right to have preferences, either by rejecting them, or by ignoring them which is essentially rejection without the message.

That’s not the only one! A sub-reddit, CreepyPMs, regularly has online dating conversations uploaded, again largely men berating women for rejecting them, with the help of a message, or without.

They all seem to go through the same motions;

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  1. Poor opening message.
  2. Rejection.
  3. Mental gymnastics asserting he wasn’t interested in the first place because either the rejecter is A. Too fat B. A slut, or C. A stuck up Ice Queen Bitch.

On the flip side, you could remove the effort of trying to be polite (because, it’s not always good for you to be polite) and try to avoid the confrontation that might ensue, assuming you were messaged by some strange man-baby hybrid who throws all the toys out of his pram because he has no chance in hell of seeing, let alone being anywhere near your glorious lady-bits, and ignore the people you’re not interested in.

Gosh you’re wrong again! You still might be in for some abuse! Lucky you!

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Okay, okay. Not all guys respond like this when rejected or ignored, and I’m sure women can throw a shit fit or two as well, the point of this article is, there’s more than one way to skin a cat (is there really? Who would skin a cat? And why? Why would you need more than one way to skin a cat?). Some guys prefer a rejection, some prefer to be ignored; unless you ask specifically, you’re not going to know! So do whatever you feel like doing. Helpful blog is helpful.

Me personally, I choose to ignore the people I’m not interested in. I can’t be dealing with boys throwing their rage at me because I’m too fugly to reject them, or that I’m shallow because they’re 40 years out of my age range, or a closed minded bitch because I couldn’t find anything to interest me in their profile.

I also preferred being ignored if I sent the first message. It was less of a waste of time than getting into a conversation with a guy who had no intention of meeting me and honestly, when I didn’t get a response I shrugged and moved on. There isn’t only one person you might be interested in on a dating site, you rarely find one person to message at a time, so why throw a wobbly over the few that don’t find you compatible?

If you don’t get a response, just keep one thing in mind, guys; She’s just not that into you.

“We’ll See”

I wasn’t in the mood for a date. It hadn’t been long since I’d been played but I hurled myself back into online dating; if you don’t get out and mingle, you’re not gonna have the White Knight turn up on your doorstep with a cheeky grin and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s.

I was running late so I text him. It was time to meet and I hadn’t even left yet. Sometimes I find it difficult to drag myelf out the door when I’m in a mood like I was in that day. I didn’t want to play act and present the Good, Clean Version of the Truth as you have to on first dates, what I wanted was PJs, shitty Channel 5 documentaries and alone time to recoup.

Bless him, my date arrived early and I wasn’t even ready. I decided to go for sexy-casual, a cute, bold colourful printed, extremely short shirt-dress I bought from a vintage market and a pair of hotpants to cover my dignity. It seemed appropriate for a lunch/beach date in the height of Summer. I slapped on a little eye make-up and headed out the door.

I saw him waiting outside the cafe we arranged to meet as I drove past and I felt a pang of guilt. 15 minutes late and I still had to find a place to park and walk around to meet him. He waited though, which showed me he was really interested. I thought it was a little odd that he didn’t find a table and get started on a cuppa while he was waiting, but it seemed respectful that he chose to wait outside.

I parked up and as I rounded the corner to the cafe, I got a closer look at him before he saw me. I like to see people behaving naturally; he was leant against the wall smoking. Self assured and bored, can’t really blame him! I’d kept him waiting 20 minutes now.

I saw his first glimpse of me, and I loved his reaction. His bright blue eyes flashed wide and his jaw practically fell open as he immediately flung his cigarette. He gave me a big smile and greeted me with warmth and palpable nerves.

I was pretty calm. I liked the guy from chatting on Plenty of Fish and our few text conversations, we had a lot in common and he held a conversation well on those platforms, but I’ve done online dating before. I wasn’t expecting much. He was a strange mix of confidence and nerves, it was sweet and strangely comforting.

We had good conversation, bloody unusual conversation but I have to admit unusual is my forte, and I didn’t feel I had to ‘perform’ as much as I’ve had to previously. Few awkward silences plagued our lunch and we made each other laugh, so I thought it would be good to carry on to the next loosely planned stage, to the beach.

He didn’t exactly have on beach attire, trainers and jeans, but it gave us something to giggle about. We carried on chatting bullshit and nonsense and he complemented my legs just enough to let me know he was interested but managed to avoid being creepy.

I had an excuse to cut the date short lined up, a nice endorphin blast at the gym, but instead I let him buy me ice cream from his favourite parlour and we carried on with our banter; I was feeling comfortable and enjoying his company. I let a few entendres drop and revelled in watching my gentleman date blush and fluster.

I had planned on staying an hour or two, but after 4 hours he walked me back to my car and we parted with a hug. I wasn’t sure how I felt, I liked the guy, he had a lot of attributes I was looking for; funny, confident, outgoing, cute and interested enough to be adorably nervous…most of all I was surprised just how comfortable I was with him. I wasn’t drained or disheartened, tired or emotionally shrivelled. I didn’t need the gym induced endorphin high as I anticipated I would, I left the date feeling happy, open and positive.

When I was asked how it went by my family, I hedged;

He was nice…we’ll see.

REJECTION – Y U NO WORK??!

How is it best to reject somone? It’s been likened to taking the plaster off a wound before; rip it off quickly and the initial sting is quick and fades quickly, or peel it off slowly, each hair follicle being torn out individually. The sensation lingers longer perhaps, but it’s less of a shock with each prick of tingly pain.

Until fairly recently, I haven’t had to reject anyone really. The guys took the burden upon themselves to reject me for the most part, so it’s been a bit odd that I’ve had to dive in at the deep end with rejecting dates for a variety of reasons; we just didn’t click, I didn’t fancy him, he had the personality of a loaf of bread…among a few reasons.

I’ve attempted to reject guys both ways, figuring it’s something that should be worked out on a case-by-case basis.

I figure if you’ve been out with someone on more then 2 dates in a brief space of time, the slow fade is a bit mean, but one date? Meh. Sporadic e-mail contact before or after a date? Meh.

I’m not here to debate the morals and ethics of each mode of rejection though, I wanted to share with you the efficacy. Straight up telling the guy “you’re clearly a good bloke but I’m really not that into you” (in a nicer, more fluffy way of course) should be the end of it, really. You don’t feel the thing, time to move on with no hard feelings, end of. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Remember this guy? There was another who, despite it being pretty obvious I wasn’t into him, decided to be petty, passive aggressive and whiney when I told him I didn’t see us going anywhere (not surprisingly, one of the 23 year olds).

The other route is equally flawed. I have slow burned a few, and to be honest, it has a better success rate. It’s not foolproof, but most guys send a couple of texts or emails, they don’t get a response and they move on. Magic!

The reason I decided to write this post now though, is a slow burn is currently epically failing. I had a date with a guy, my needs were not met and his were. Typical. We e-mailed back and forth a bit, we both failed to respond to e-mails within a decent time frame and quite frankly, I couldn’t be arsed to carry on. Geographically, there’s a pretty large wedge between us as well as the rest of the gubbins I didn’t particularly want to deal with.

I stopped responding to his e-mails. I got a couple from him; ‘hey how you doing, lets catch up, blah blah‘, which you expect using this method. Except, this carried on much longer than it usually does. Much longer. Months longer.

Then I finally recieve the email that indicates he’s cottoned on, at last, but of course rather than sucking it up and moving on, he employs the ‘I’m going to manipulate you into writing back to me by expressing my concern that you’re ill/injured/dead in a ditch somewhere‘ technique. Which fails. He drops in the old ‘unless you just don’t want to talk to me 😉 lol!‘ and adds the bonus manipulator of ‘if you don’t, just say so!‘ because that’s just another way to open up a dialogue, which I don’t want. So I don’t respond to that either.

He keeps this up for a good few e-mails over a few weeks. I feel I should point out, he’s e-mailing me more now than he did when we were having an actual e-mail conversation. Hooray for extinction bursts!

He then sends me a text with the same ‘concern’, before reverting back to e-mail, dropping the ‘dead in a ditch‘ technique and carrying on with the ‘hey how are you, lets catch up‘ stuff. It’s never ending. He’s not giving up.

I don’t feel bad for him. It’s been made clear in previous e-mails he really isn’t all that concerned about my welfare, which is part of the reason I stopped responding. It makes it all the more ironic that he expresses his ‘concern’ that I’m not responding is because of something more drastic than just not wanting to talk to him any more.

For now, I’m keeping up the ignoring; if I responded, even negatively, negative attention is still attention – I don’t think he would be deterred. I could block his e-mail address, but I’m (morbidly) curious as to how long he’s going to keep trying…

I’m happy to take bets in the comments.

23 is NOT the Magic Number

When I first started the whole internet dating malarkey this time around, I thought ‘I might be a little closer to 30 than 20 these days, but fuck it, I can still hang with young ‘uns‘.

Staunchly ignoring the fact that I call 20-25 year olds ‘young ‘uns’ in my mental dialogue, I truly believed that to be the case.

Wrong.

So very, alarmingly wrong.

My first date was with a whippsersnapper of 23. He was gainfully employed, had a degree, we had a good banter over t’internet so I had no reservations meeting up with him for a date.

To be fair, it wasn’t exactly a horror story. At first anyway…the real horror here is suddenly realising, fuck. I’ve gotten old. How the fuck did that happen? When the fuck did that happen?! I was truly and utterly convinced my mental age was 23 and here, on this date, the catatonic coma inducing realisation that actually, no, I do not have the mental age of a 23 year old.

Thankfully, apparently I still look like a 23 year old….sometimes. I thank the people who ID me for fags these days. (It’s dawned on me that is NOT how a 23 year old behaves when being IDed. Next time I might pretend I’ve left my driving license at home and skulk off with an exasperated Kevin-like flair. I hope there’s a next time anyway…)

The kid was nice enough I suppose, but he was a puppy. Overly enthusiastic, pawing for reassurance and basically just trying to impress too much.

I’m not the most confident of people, but as I’ve apparently matured (sob!), I’ve grown into myself. I pretty much know who I am, know what I like and know that I definitely can’t be arsed wasting time with people who I don’t like or who don’t like me so I’m pretty much myself, or at least a Good, Clean Version thereof. I don’t consciously set out to impress, and honestly, I think that’s an attractive quality. It’s a quality I like to see in the men I date at any rate.

I wasn’t entirely put off though. Apparently I’m quite a hit with the young lads, especially 23 year olds (about 4 different 23 year olds contacted me! Get me and my fiiiiine self!) so I thought it would be best to just make sure the younger option was not entirely full of puppies.

The second one appeared more mature on the surface but there were some glaring indicators of inexperience. We met for ‘coffee’, not particularly wanting to be stuck on a night out with another immature youngster. When I bought my own drink, and the chocolate brownie we shared (no offer to even split the cost of the brownie), conversation was incredibly stunted. I had to work my arse off to try and find something he would talk about. He asked no questions leaving the conversation ball entirely in my court. Sigh. I left after an hour, but the level of conversation we did have was ‘mature’ and somewhat intellectual…by my gauge anyway, probably not by the majority of others’, ha!

After our date I was considering going on another date with the guy, until…well, until he started clumsily and overtly flirting with me, before I even confirmed I wanted to see him again. Honestly, it felt a bit uncomfortable – I don’t remember exactly what was said, but it started off with nice compliments which I appreciated but essentially brushed off, and they became more and more sexual without indication that I would be interested in anything of the sort.

I gave up on that guy and added Rule 6 to My Internet Dating Survival Guide: Don’t date boys under 25 years old. They don’t have a clue how to handle me.

My Internet Dating Survival Guide

I made myself a few solemn vows after a few months of delving the pits of internet dating to find love, or at least a suitable plaything for the time being…

They end up coming to you, almost subconsiously; you find certain repeating patterns of interactions that wind up with wasted time in lacklustre conversations, or even better, ending in Dating Horror Stories.

The first rule that came to me, I’ve written about before;

1. ‘Hey, how are you?’ does not warrant a response. 
The people who send these messaging don’t appear to be great at conversation, they don’t really have anything to say, they aren’t willing to make the effort to acknowledge the time you spent refining your dating profile, therefore, why bother replying? It’s basic social etiquette that the person initiating a conversation asks something to which the response is not going to be ‘Yep, fine. You?’

And always…ALWAYS the second question is…“Up to much?”
“Currently sat at home on the internet, on a dating site. Strangely. You?”
And so it goes.

2. Bare profile = barely responsive.
I can’t be arsed to try and make a conversation out of nothing. No one has ever felt compelled to respond to a message saying ‘Hey, how are you, what do you do for a living? What hobbies are you into? BTW I’m only interested in you based on your 312 profile pictures, especially that one of you posing with a drugged up tiger…’

Ignoring either Rule 1 or Rule 2 inevitably leads to;

3. If a decent conversation doesn’t start within a few messages, there’s no point in continuing.
I had an exchange that went something along the lines of;

Guy: “Hey, how are you? You have a dog, do you like animals?”

Soddinl: “Yep, love animals. How about you, do you have any pets?”

Guy: “Yeah my whole family loves animals.”

When I failed to respond, the guy pestered me a week or so later, questioning why I didn’t reply to his lack of further conversation.

Soddinl: “Well the last response wasn’t exactly much of a conversation starter.”

Guy: “I answered the question, what more do you want? lol”

Soddinl: **Keyboardface**

At the beginning, there’s about a million questions someone could ask in the attempt to get to know you. An epic fail of not bothering to A. expand on the answer with further points of conversation and B. Return another question makes me wonder how disasterously awkward the date would be, should we meet…I could only imagine I’d have to drown out the agonising silence with a range of alcoholic beverages and have conversations in the loo with other, non socially inept total strangers to get through the awkward date tragedy, before I seize upon the first opportunity to haul arse out of there.

4. If he doesn’t message you, he’s just not that into you.
I’m making up the statistic here, but approximately 90% of the guys I messaged first either didn’t respond, or had polite but nondescript conversations with me because ‘Eh, why not?’. As a result the conversation fades quickly, there are longer intermissions between messages, and then poofgone. Time = wasted.

When a guy messages you however, you already know they’re interested…in your photo at least.

The men who messaged me first, they were really interested in impressing me in sweet, simple ways (buying the first round, taking me to a nice bar with good music, attempting good conversation, asking questions and responding appropriately etc.) for the most part at least.

There are exceptions to every rule, however. There was the guy who messaged me first, took me to a dive bar and made repeated jokes about my ‘balls’ and other transgender related chortles. I feel I should point out, I’m 5ft, curvaceous in mostly the right places and I am pretty certain I don’t grow designer stubble. Don’t get me wrong, I can take the piss out of myself like a pro, but the 5th mention of my imaginary balls, I had to refrain myself from making his balls imaginary…

I did coninue sending a few sporadic messages to men, one or two resulted in a date which weren’t too bad, but for the most part, the minimal results weren’t worth the effort. Sitting back and relaxing, letting the guys come to me and picking which ones I liked the look and sound of was my chosen path to a date.

5. Sexual innuendo before even a few basic minor flirtations are exchanged.
RUN. RUN AWAY. Block the fucker, change your phone number, move house, fake your own death…Seriously. Just no.

During my first few weeks on dating sites, before I began implementing rules 1 and 2, I got a lot of lotharios inviting themselves round to mine or inviting me round to theirs even before conversation basics were covered. That and a few deeply unneccessary prick pics. (Maybe they thought I might burst into The Sweetest Thing’s Penis Song…?)

One time I stupidly ignored my gut and let certain excessive innuendos slide before a meet…notice I say meet, rather than date; I had no sexual or romantic interest in the guy and made no hint that I was interested at all, no flirtations, no nothing…All I can say is, I’m glad we met in public, because even in that situation, he did not want to take no for an answer. I managed to get out of his grasp relieved that I only felt violated rather than actually being violated.

None of these guys seem to understand No, Sod Off or Cease and Desist orders. For your own safety, avoid.

Does Michael Myers Ever Die??! Letting Go Is Hard To Do…Apparently.

Once you get attached to someone it can be really hard to break free of the idea of you and them being together…I know what it’s like from first hand experience, quite often the product of unrequited love/lust/crush, but you get over it and if you’re sensible, you don’t do anything more freaky than a little bit of Facebook stalking…

A guy I dated seems to be having trouble letting go of me. The dude from my first post. We dated for not quite two months, but from a couple of weeks in, I was starting to have doubts. By 6 weeks, I was dreading having to spend time with him. I’d rather have had a surprise hysterectomy. Fully conscious. It got that bad.

What was worse is that he was utterly shocked when I broke it off with him. People that know me find me to be as transparent as sheet glass when I don’t particularly enjoy something. I try to hide it, but I fail. Epically. And yet, this guy was so self involved he didn’t notice…or didn’t care that I didn’t really like spending time with him. He didn’t see that I just stopped responding to him talking at me. That my smile was tight lipped, or that my tone of voice was flat, apart from when my frustration with him rose, which was far too regularly.

When I broke it off, I made it clear that my decision had been made, I’d thought about it, I’d come to a conclusion and I was staunch that I was ditching him. It seemed only fair on both of us.

He tried convincing me that I was being too rash. Because fantasising about slapping a guy round the head with a halibut is not proof enough that this was not going to work out…

During this attempted convincing, he told me he was planning on taking me for a trip to London. First I’d heard of that. At that point, I would’ve preferred spending a relaxing weekend in the Tower of London tied to a rack being made to watch a dude sharpening implements of torture.

I state my case again, this is not working, I’m not happy, it’s over.

He dropped the L bomb. He loves me, says he. Fuck me, says I (in my head, of course). That’s desperation for you. He didn’t even know me, he wouldn’t let me speak and didn’t have a clue what I was feeling despite it being painfully obvious, but he loves me. Bull.

Enough is enough, says I. Time to bring out the big guns.

“I just don’t want to waste your time. I really can’t see myself ever loving you.”

I felt like I was murdering Bambi in front of him. This is it. He must be aware, now, exactly how it is, this will end all the arguments, retorts, emotional manipulations and convincing, I tell myself.

Wrong.

“I think you will.” Says he.

Bollocks.

He looked pretty damn sure of himself as well. Maybe Stockholm Syndrome got the better of the previous girlfriends?

After this, I gave up. Left him to his tears and delusions and walked home. There was no convincing this guy that I had made my decision and it was final. Abandonment was the way to go. Sure, I felt like a heartless bitch, but there’s only so many ways to tell a person ‘Dude, I’m done with this shit, seriously’, and have it be ignored before it’s time to just GTFO.

I didn’t hear from him for a couple of weeks, and I was relieved. I thought it might have sunk in, and that maybe he would go back to his Mothers (think Norman Bates), talk at some other poor unsuspecting girl and leave me the hell alone.

Wrong.

I got a message from him on Facebook, along the lines of ‘I really miss you and I want you back.’

BOLLOCKS.

I basically told him to get over it, find someone else, delete my number, move on, I’d found someone else, and I actually said “It’s not happening”. He kept messaging me. I blocked him.

He must get the message by now, surely…I’ve told him in no uncertain terms is it EVER going to happen. Ever. And then I blocked him to drive the point home.

Wrong.

He messaged me on the dating site where we first ‘met’ TWO MONTHS after I dumped him. We have now been ‘broken up’ longer than we were together. It was a long and emo, possibly drunken (but I’m not convinced) message about how I was the best thing that ever happened to him and that again, he wants me back.

This guy is like Michael fucking Myers. No matter how hard you shoot the bastard down, stab him in the heart, douse him in petrol and flick a match at the sadistic twat he keeps coming right at you. He slinks away when you’re not looking only to appear 5 minutes later from a fucking cupboard wielding the giant ass carving knife you rammed into his heart…

I didn’t respond. It doesn’t matter how I respond. What the fuck else can I say? I’ve given him plenty of reasons, the main one being ‘I don’t want to’ and I’ve found about 50 ways to say ‘…er. Thanks…but fuck off now yeah?’ I could not have been any more clear.

This has gone beyond desperate to mental illness now. This is personality disorder type shit I’m dealing with here. This is freaking me out. This nutter knows where I live, knows the car I drive, knows where I work and clearly doesn’t give a fuck about consent.

It’s been a couple of weeks and after blocking him on the dating site I haven’t heard anything, but I’m not entirely sure that I’ve heard the last from him.

I’m just waiting for him to appear in the back of my car wearing a William Shatner mask.

“Why can’t we give it another go?”

The Good, Clean Version of the Truth

The fun personality I put across when I first meet people could be seen as false; it’s attractive and charming, witty and clever, but its upkeep takes effort. Is this the fault of being an introvert, or is this what everyone goes through? It’s not like the façade is a lie, the façade is me, I have the thoughts, feelings and attitude that I project; some thoughts I decide to reserve and have a giggle to myself when something pops into my brain that I’m not sure the other person would appreciate. Which is, frankly, usually something perverse… I remember being in a lift with a co-worker that I have fun flirting with occasionally; I was going bright red and biting my lip as there was an awkward silence and all I could think to say were euphemisms about ‘going down’ – that would’ve taken the playful flirting to a whole new level (badaboom tssh). However, if I’m truly being myself, why is it so exhausting?

I wasn’t always charming, witty and adept at conversation. It’s a skill that has taken a long time to learn, with great thanks to my best friend for helping me to open up and show me how to drag the intimate answers out of people that they certainly wouldn’t have brought up had she not asked with such aplomb. Often people would explode with laughter at her directness in actually asking the question that nobody else had the balls to ask, then answer her with as much honesty as they could provide – talk about skill!

I was terse, monosyllabic and made no bones that I was a miserable misanthrope and conversation was not interesting to me; I was a goth after all, I had a reputation to uphold. Even my best girl took a long time to break me down and get me talking, despite her skill. The fact she carried on trying, succeeded and still considers me good enough to keep around, I am endlessly thankful for.

Perhaps it’s much like anyone else. The façade is a good, clean version of the truth. It’s the editing that’s the exhausting part, the cold-reading of the person I’m talking to. What’s working, what isn’t, what should I say about this, what should I leave out? Is that too risqué? Hmm, he didn’t seem impressed by my repartee about size being important…Quick! Change the topic! Telling him I have a thing for men in heels probably wouldn’t really be appropriate, would it?

One might suppose therefore that the more exhausting a conversation, the less comfortable I feel. The more editing that has to be done, the more awareness I have to ensure. With people I feel more comfortable with, I don’t really need to edit; they know who I am and my humour, they know how to take it which can be a stumbling block for people. However that comfort only comes with familiarity; when meeting new people you always have to work them out, and edit yourself to a certain extent.

It’s exciting and enthralling meeting new people, and I think I’ve learned to sell myself, which is what you do when you someone new and shiny, isn’t it? I would never have attempted to sell myself before, I figured people could accept me for who I am, misanthropy, eyeliner, fishnets and all, or screw them. But it makes life much easier when you have the choice to sell yourself, or even the opposite if being in a tragic accident involving 3 clowns, a leprechaun and Ted Bundy is more appealing than going on another date with this guy who makes Charlie Manson look like quite the catch.

Being Emotionally Manipulated: 101

If you’ve never been manipulated, you’re a very lucky person. Or oblivious. I’ve had several experiences of being manipulated, from a few different people. I’m a smart girl, I’m sure plenty of victims of manipulation are, so how the hell did it happen?

It’s pretty complicated, and yet so simple…

So, I’d known this guy for a long time. He had moved away, so we chatted online until circumstances brought him back home, to his parents. This is when things started to go downhill.

Sad thing is, he’s a nice guy. He’s an absolute charmer – aren’t all those pesky manipulators though? He’s confident to the point of arrogance, he’s ‘deep’, thoughtful, ridiculously intelligent and seems to have it all worked out. Somehow though, he’s also a massive, walking fuck up. This, to me, is an important part of the manipulation. He has so much potential, he just needs some nurturing and pointing in the right direction…right…

What I failed to realise is that he isn’t as much of a fuck up as he would’ve had me believe. He has all the skills he needs to get what we’re expected to want from life; a job we like, an income, supporting ourselves and society. It became more and more clear throughout the few weeks he imposed himself upon me, that he could get any of that, but he didn’t want it. He wanted the care-free life that many of us crave but aren’t sociopathic enough to get.

He was also an alcoholic, part of the fuck-uppery; it did exacerbate the manipulation, but it wasn’t the cause. I thought it was at the time, but thinking back, no, it was there before. He saw the nurturing side of me and used this alcoholism as a reason for me to look after him, and I put myself out much further than I would if he didn’t have this problem.

“I have nowhere else to go” was often his greeting at 11pm. “My dad would kill me if he saw me like this”, he would say, reeking of Special Brew and looking like he hadn‘t showered for a few days. I would agree, and in he would come, often keeping me up until well into the morning, past dawn, talking and listening to the same songs on you tube. Iggy Pop was a regular. His wide-eyed insanity and lack of inhibitions related to a cocktail of various psychotropic substances seemed to be something to be admired. Kansas’ ‘Carry On My Wayward Son’ was outright banned, I simply couldn’t take it any more. Usually, he passed out drunk and I would then be too worried to sleep, often curling up in my chair next to the sofa where his comatose body lay, periodically checking that he was still breathing.

I enjoyed his company. I live on my own and despite being an introvert, I love having people to talk to, especially people that I don’t have to pretend around; I didn’t think I had to pretend around him. He was excellent at flattery and at first, my confidence sky-rocketed with him around. He would compliment my style, my strength as a person and my overall personality. He didn’t like a lot of people, but he loved spending time with me, because I was ‘Interesting’.

Nothing unpredictable really happens in my life either, and he brought that element of chaos; going for a walk and chat down the beach at 2am rather than going to bed and to sleep like a normal person generally does. Showing up on my doorstep at random times, making me alcoholic-by-proxy, having drunken rants and ridiculous conversations; he brought out my wild side, and I loved it. Until it started to affect my life, my real life.

He promised to make up for his fuck uppery, he’d take me rock climbing, take me out for a meal, he hoped that I was paying attention to how much he owed me, that he would pay me back, every penny. The promises became less and less; the meal wound up being a couple of bottles of wine and his company for an evening, and yet that was still too much. It was clear after a while he never had any intention of repaying my hospitality either financially or even by offering a solid friendship any more.

I’m not sure if he started to get lazy or I worked out that I was being manipulated, maybe a combination of both, but the end of the ‘friendship’ came after he didn’t bother showing up one day. We had previous talks about how this made me feel worthless; if you can’t make plans with someone, at least make a phone call, send a text, e-mail, face book message…communication isn’t exactly hard these days. But it carried on. We would make plans, he wouldn’t bother contacting me and wouldn’t bother showing up. The last straw for me was when this happened one day, I was beyond pissed, and I heard nothing from him. Until I sent him a message wishing him a happy birthday four days later. No apology, but contact was made. I asked him to make it up to me. He was far too busy, naturally.

It was at this point I think it fully dawned on me; I had my inklings that I was being manipulated before but whether I was having too much fun to care, or I was lonely, or I just didn’t want to accept it; I’m not sure. Possibly a fatal combination of all three, and a few more I haven’t thought of.

Some of the last words I said to him were along the lines of, if this situation was happening to a friend, I’d tell them to drop the dickhead, he is no friend. What kind of person takes you for all your worth and can’t even be arsed to pick up the phone if you can’t make it the half mile to see them? After all I’d done for him, the stress, the worry, the sleepless nights…

He didn’t take it well. The power he had in this relationship was over once I took control and said I wasn’t standing for it any more. It was an invigorating feeling, wrestling that power away from him. If you find yourself in the same situation, trust me, it might be heart wrenching at first; they sure as hell don’t make it easy for you. Why would they? You’re a metaphorical goldmine. But do it, the relief you feel once you’ve realised you’ve rid yourself of a sociopathic vampire is indescribable and more empowering than you could really believe.

I still half expect him to call me at 2am when he has ‘nowhere else to go’ or ‘needs a true friend’, but that bridge is well and truly burned. I know his true face now, you can’t unsee that level of disregard for your well-being, emotions and self worth.

Good Dates are More Terrifying Than Bad Dates

This time round I’ve only been dating a few months. I’ve had my share of bad dates and some that were ultimately forgettable.

Chances are, unless you’re dating someone completely oblivious, your date will know that you are not a good match, that you won’t be contacting them again and often, you can get away without outright rejecting each other with that awkward conversation at the end of the night, or the next day.

Needless to say, I have had a couple of dates who did seem completely oblivious, and the conversation had to be done, which is a blog post in itself…

This past weekend though, I had the much sought after good date. There wasn’t a moment of silence past the initial slightly awkward walk to the bar, not quite knowing what to say to each other and trying to stick to small talk, which I admit, I utterly suck at. We had a similar sense of humour and laughed all night, he was a gentleman and offered to buy all the rounds. I did manage to convince him that I should buy at least one though. I got good vibes from the guy and felt ridiculously comfortable in the presence of this stranger which for me, is a big deal.

Physical intimacy can be quite difficult for me with people; not sex, but hugs, caresses, invasions of personal space; I‘m generally pretty reserved. By the end of the night I was draped over his shoulder. Had we not taken it back to my place, onlookers would’ve been thinking ‘Jesus, get a room!’. He was equally affectionate, and very complimentary despite my messy, alcohol addled state.

The days after were terrifying. They still are even though we’ve arranged to hang out again already. When I like someone, I jump in with both feet, and if they don’t like me, or if they do like me but don’t want the same things I want, there’s no bones about it, I get hurt. A lot. This post resonated a lot with me today.

I do know my worth, and I won’t be settling if this guy doesn’t want what I would like with him. I already have a way of sorting out my physical needs, I want someone to help me with my emotional needs; a good guy to hang out and have fun with, laugh with each other, share experiences with, travel with and be a shoulder to cry on during the utterly shitty days where you just might not survive without a hug.

It can be complicated though, working out what the guy wants. A straight up conversation about it is a bit scary, possibly bunny boiler-esque, especially this early on. But I need to know what he’s hoping to get out of this, so I don’t get any more invested than I already am…

I’ve learned, through my dating experience, actions speak louder than words. It’s easy to get caught up in flattery and easy intimacy, then be dumbfounded when the words were just lip service. But I’m going to try my best at chilling out and going with the flow, as anti-me as that is.

Edit: There’s an update right here! 

How Women Wind Up Being Bitches

Chances are if you’re female, you’ve been in this situation. You’re a friendly person, you smile at a guy, you say ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ and you’re generally friendly, jovial and nice.

Turns out, this is flirting. You’ve just given the guy the green light to pursue you.

You might be oblivious at first, you were just being nice after all. You can be friends with men without considering them as sexual partners. I’m not entirely confident that men can be friends with women without at least an element of attraction. It’s that old ‘When Harry Met Sally’ debate.

So, the guy thinks you want him. It takes a lot of convincing on your part that really, you don’t. That you were truly just being nice. You’re concerned though, you want to let him down easy; rejection isn’t fun for anyone, including the rejecter.

You politely decline date requests, ignore his implications that more fun is to be had at his place, you might even have to struggle with him in a deeply uncomfortable ‘play fight’ and again, politely request that he keep his goddamn mitts off you, that you don’t appreciate it.

But hey, you were nice to him right? All those denials mean you’re just being coy, or playing hard to get. Maybe you’re even being a *gasp* prick tease! (Robin Thicke inexplicably popped into my head there…)

After one too many ‘play fights’, inappropriate hugs and perhaps even an attempt to grab your face and struggle to kiss you, you’re probably gonna have to bring out the Bitch card. You’ve tried to be nice, and look where that’s got you.

The ultimate rejection has to be cold, it has to be hard, and most importantly, it has to set boundaries.

After the attempted kiss scenario, mine read;

“I was deeply unimpressed with how last night unfolded. I know I said we should hang out, but that won’t be happening.”

What I really wanted to say;

“What the FUCK is wrong with you, dickhead? When did I give any impression that I wanted you to touch me? Was it when I told you I didn’t want to come back to your place? Was it when I said no to you coming back to mine? Was it even when I was struggling, backing up and saying ‘really, this is happening?! REALLY?!’ when you attempted to forcibly shove your tongue in my mouth?? I felt violated, you absolute delusional prick. Get the FUCK out of my life.”

So, the first message, I feel, was quite restrained. But I’m sure to that guy, it probably made me a bitch.