Tag Archives: date

Online Dating is like Twitter

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When you’re setting up your profile on Plenty of Fish, it’s pretty hard to know what to say. I’m not sure if it’s just a British thing, we can find it really hard to sell ourselves as we’re a modest lot and it’s seen as pretty rude to brag. But that’s what online dating, and Twitter, is all about.

If you have a poor dating profile, you won’t get the messages and you’re less likely to find someone you could see yourself being with on the long haul. It’s all a bit messed up really, we don’t know what we’re doing to start off with. Which pictures are an accurate representation of me, but are also truly flattering? How do I not let on that I’m possibly the most boring person in the world without actually seeming to lie? Should I say my favourite pastime is chilling to Netflix? If I do I might be bombarded with first date suggestions of ‘Netflix and Chill‘ and the compulsory dick pics to show off their wares. Maybe not.

It’s not always about constructing your own profile either, it’s about looking at other profiles subjectively and working out their euphemisms for ‘most boring person in the world‘ or ‘after a quick shag in the back of my Corsa but I really do want a relationship (lulz)‘.

I’ve had similar reservations about setting up my own Twitter account (@soddinl – shameless plug over, thank you!) to promote this wee blog a little bit more seriously. Finding who to follow, trying to get others to follow you, the etiquette of tweeting and retweeting, getting everything I want to say into 140 characters, and oh, the hashtags *sigh*.

I’m sure we’ll get there in the end, it’s just a steep learning curve. The best part is, you can change your online dating profile if it doesn’t get you the attention you want, and similarly with Twitter you can change your tactics to find something that improves your visibility.

We’re not stuck in the marshlands of online dating and Twitter, it’ll just take a while for us to learn how to go with the flow. Positivity WIN!

 

 

 

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.

Expect Nothing!

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Online dating is hard. Really, really, ridiculously hard. You have to sift through a lot of shit before you end up finding matches you’re willing to have a conversation with online, let alone meet up with in The Real World. However I think online dating should be taken with little expectation one way or the other.

So you have a date lined up, you have compatibilities, you’re getting dressed, doing the make up, choosing the heels…What are you thinking? “This guy could be the one!”, “He’s so sweet!”, “I hope this is the one that takes me out of this world of fuckbois, players, creeps and losers!”.

No. Don’t do it to yourself, just don’t! Expect nothing!

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OK not nothing. Expect to meet a random stranger and get to know them. Don’t expect that this date will be the last first date, that you won’t come home at 8.30 and log straight back onto the dating site and look for more matches. Expect online dating to be your future for at least a year, and (I know this bit is hard) try to enjoy it!

When you change your expectations from meeting a potential boyfriend or future husband, whatever you’re aiming for in this crazy world, to just meeting someone new for a chat…expectation causes a lot of problems.

When you don’t already have this person tagged with a potential boyfriend label, it’s much easier to see the guy for what he is; player, manipulator, ‘Nice Guy’, fuckboi, or someone with potential. You can leave the nerves behind and be a little more blase, reserved and careful with your own heart.

Online dating can be soul destroying if you let it, so protect yourself and don’t have too many expectations. Doing this is difficult, it might take being chewed up and spat out as it did for me to take a step back and tame my expectations. But maybe being played was a blessing in disguise…

“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.

NEXT!

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Some women seem to love arseholes. The “Nice Guy” population can’t fathom it. It’s hard, when you’ve not been the situation before, it’s hard to understand even when you HAVE been through it!

Arseholes aren’t always arseholes. Scary, right?

Sometimes, the arsehole is hiding behind a “Nice Guy” facade; they say all the things you want to hear. They might show a few red flags but, he’s a nice guy right? And he’s interested in you! Awesome! Let those red flags be forgotten and they won’t come to anything…

It’s important in dating to delve into it with a little bit of a guard and a healthy dose of cynicism. Don’t necessarily close yourself off from your date, have fun, relax, enjoy meeting a new person! Exploring all these new and exciting prospects should be fun!

However.

Don’t let yourself be sucked in. He might say he’s a nice guy, he might act like a nice guy, but always be aware of the possibility he might just be ACTING like a nice guy until the ‘fun’ starts.

Don’t dismiss the Red Flags, depending on the severity, collect them. See if it builds a bigger picture. If the picture ain’t too pretty, it’s time for you to move on.

I’ll give some examples;

This guy I dated. I asked, before I slept with him what his aims were in dating. He told me “If I met the right girl, I could settle down“. He wanted me to assume I was quite possibly the right girl, and being a wee on the trashed side, I did. Don’t drink and date, I learned from that one!

This guy kept talking over me, ignoring what I wanted to do in favour of what he wanted to do, then called himself my boyfriend without discussing anything of the sort with me. He was a nice guy, people kept telling me, and he kept telling me. I should’ve trusted my gut earlier. I cut him loose way too late, after 2-3 months. The picture he painted was a control freak which he proved during our little break up chat, and thereafter.

Another guy I know, calls all of his exes pyschos. Gosh, well, I can only assume that as he’s the common denominator in these relationships, it might be something to do with him…Red. Flag.

Your Red Flags might be different to mine, however I think a few should be pretty major whoever you are and no matter your preferences;

Controlling behaviour
Planning a date is great, but perhaps taking you to a gore-porn flick when you’ve made it clear you can’t stand horror films, or even ordering your food and drinks at your dinner date shows they can’t really give a rats ass about your preferences. It can only go downhill from there. NEXT!

Flaking on dates
If someone’s in A&E, it’s probably best to let this one slide, but backing out of a date half an hour before you’re supposed to meet for any other reason is a big NEXT. He’s well aware you’ve been getting ready for an hour and you might even be on your way. Unless someone’s dead or in a coma, there’s no excuse for this disregard of your time. NEXT!

Negative outlook
This might be more of a preference, however I find people with a negative outlook tend to drag you down to their level. People are supposed to be on their best behaviour on dates, and your date is whinging about the food, the wine, the weather, the month…oh dear god. Good luck to you if you want to pursue those with a negative outlook, but for me it’s NEXT!

Insults, thinly veiled, back handed or otherwise
OH Hell no. A bit of banter can be fun, I love a bit of back and forth trading playful insults, however there is a trend of ‘negging‘, giving a girl a backhanded compliment in order to ‘bring her down to your level’; to wound your self esteem, essentially manipulating you into clawing for their approval. Oh what fun. NEXT!

Boundary pushing
Not into having another drink? Tough, date over here wants you shitfaced so they’ll coerce, manipulate, whine, insult, harrass, nag or even guilt you into having another drink. Not into making out? See Above. Not into having sex so soon? See above. NEXT!

No interest in you
Yeah people love talking about themselves, but dating is about finding out about each other to see whether you’re a good fit, compatible, don’t want to kill each other, all that romantic jazz. It’s not for the other person to monologue about themselves and forget all about you. You’re there too, do you really have nothing interesting worth talking about? (Hint, you do: It’s you!) NEXT!

To much, too soon 
Dropping the L bomb after spending 2 hours in each others company might not happen, but they may well blow up your phone with calls and texts, making incessant demands on your time, they might push for an exclusive relationship quickly i.e. before you actually know anything about each other, and they might make a lot of ‘us’ statements about the future. It can feel great, but this level of obsession with a basic stranger is pretty extreme. Maybe don’t NEXT! But take a big step back and proceed with caution.

Have I missed anything? Which Red Flags have you come across on dates?

 

 

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.

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 Talked At: The Death of Conversation

“A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That‘s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers rarely meet.” – Truman Capote

I’m inclined to agree. I have recently discovered that I seem to attract people that ‘talk at’ me than ‘talk to’ me. What do I mean by that? They monologue at me, my part of the conversation is non-existent. The point of me actually being there, being involved with this ‘conversation’ is negligible – I am literally there to hear what this other person has to say – they may as well be talking to themselves.

In conversation there should be give and take, questions and answers, turns taken in talking and listening; it doesn’t always have to be in equal parts. Information should generally be exchanged, commented upon and the conversation often ends up going in tangents onto other subjects as one party or another interjects with a related piece of information. You know how it goes.

Some previous articles on this phenomenon have called those people that talk at you as broadcasters, they monologue, like the villain in a movie. When in the grips of a ‘broadcaster’ you feel about as helpless as Mr Bond strapped to a table with a laser slowly inching towards his junk. There’s little you can do to stop a broadcaster from monologuing. They don’t care if you’re bored, they won’t pay attention to the fact you stopped listening half an hour ago, they won’t notice your eyes wandering, your hands fidgeting or even your attempts to interject with questions, comments or opinions of your own.

It’s impossible to have a conversation with a broadcaster, I’ve found. I have been dating a broadcaster for approximately two months; the amount of actual dialogues we’ve had can be counted on one hand. I wrongly assumed that this monologuing would subside, and conversations would be borne from the rants and we would get to know each other.

The broadcaster’s diatribes tend to be rather superficial; about interests, or hobbies, or things they want to advertise about themselves; never about the intimate details of their lives. If you’re lucky enough to share the interest the broadcaster enjoys rambling about, you might be able to enjoy their company. But it wouldn’t matter if you lacked enthusiasm; the ‘conversation’ would remain the same. Mostly, the speech is not altered for your lack of understanding on the subject.

If you feel the need to comment, several things could happen. The broadcaster could wait for you to finish speaking and continue with whatever they had to say before you had any input, clearly having not acknowledged your ‘part’ in the conversation, giving perhaps a small nod, ‘mm’ or ‘yeah’ before continuing what they were going to say before you rudely invaded their monologue. More often than not, they would begin to talk over you after you begin to speak. You could either stop and let them carry on, giving up on your attempt to interject an opinion or observation, or they could talk over you louder and louder until they have effectively drowned you out.

When I met this man that I’m dating I admired his passion about the interests we share, at first. I put his behaviour down to perhaps meeting someone who shared his interests, wanting to show off his knowledge a bit and mainly, down to nerves on the first few dates. As time wore on I started to realise that it’s incidental whether I was interested or not, and actually; this outgoing, confident, passionate man, was incredibly socially awkward and did not know how to carry out the give and take of a conversation. I empathised, being a little socially awkward myself, and waited it out to see the more we got to know of each other, the more he would relax and conversation and intimacy would blossom.

Two months later, after a lengthy dialogue with a friend of mine, I’m giving up. I still know little of him, and despite my occasionally getting to interject with some of my experiences, he knows nothing of me. All I can wonder is, what is my point in all this?

With some people it seems like bragging; I understand this, to a certain extent. When you discover something new and exciting you often love to share this new found whatever it is (a new boyfriend, a diet and exercise regime or a hobby for instance) and it can end up being a bore to your audience. I’ve done this on numerous occasions! But this doesn’t seem to fit the bill here.

With other people, it can come across much more as egocentrism; their monologues have a self aggrandising, narcissistic tone. It appears as if the role of the audience in this relationship is to affirm their opinions, massage their ego, laugh at their antics and admire their insight. It seems at first glance as a person who thinks a lot of themselves! However, I feel this ‘broadcasting’ is a sign of poor self-esteem, and certainly a sign of lacking self-awareness. A lot of these episodes seem to be seeking validation; validation that they are smart, that they are knowledgeable and that they are perceptive.

Perhaps this is why true conversations never come; perhaps the insights of the audience may be threatening to the broadcaster; the audience is not allowed a plinth in these monologues as it would undermine the broadcasters’ own observations, either because the audience came to the same conclusion as they did and the significance of their ideas and opinions are less noteworthy as a result, or because by disagreeing this renders their search for validation void.

It seems innocent enough, however…However, what about the psychological impact this type of behaviour has on the you, the audience? You do not have a part to play, you are the audience; a faceless mass, an observer. You could be anyone! If you speak, you are spoken, or indeed shouted over. Your comments are left unaddressed. You may have learned something from the monologue, but you would not have imparted anything. Your opinions are not worth hearing. You have nothing to say that is important enough to be heard. You are nothing.

It is most likely subconscious on the part of the broadcaster, but spend enough time with one without being heard, and you begin to feel belittled, and perhaps a little worthless. You add nothing to the relationship, after all. It’s a slow process of eroding the audiences’ self-esteem.