Would Like to Meet – The Dating Game So Far: the Great, the Ghastly, and the Greek Nose

According to the magazines and the movies, it is easy.

You’ve just got to give them the impression that that you’re strong, but still a little vulnerable; you’re sassy, not stony faced. Show them that you care about this, but not too much. Don’t give away the fact that if this goes really well, you won’t put your phone down for at least three weeks on the off chance that they appear online on Whatsapp. Speaking of text etiquette, don’t ever send too many kisses, since you only went on like, one date, who do you think you are? Their partner?

Aim to look good in a natural way; tell a few jokes, even if they’re not side-splittingly hilarious, at least you gave it a go; show them how fun you are, show them you’re game for anything, show them the real you – but on a good day. The real you on a good day, that’s who they need to see, not you on the days when you wear tracksuits and cry over a film you’ve watched at least thirty times and fine, yeah, you pick your nose and “forget” to shower.

And another thing, you shouldn’t order salad or they’ll think you’re dull, but also don’t order a burger because let’s face it; you can’t notice how chiselled anybody’s cheekbones are when they’re eating a burger.  Never mention your exes or you’ll turn them off.  Don’t fidget or you’ll look nervous. Remember it’s all about showing them “the real you on a good day”, remember, remember, REMEMBER.

If you remember these rules, then yes, dating should be easy. What is widely known as “the dating game” should be less of a “game”, more of a straightforward instruction; follow the rules, et voilà – your destiny is not limited to being just a forgotten name in a phone book. What could go wrong?

Well, most of us have found that there is actually a distressing amount of room for things to go wrong when it comes to navigating our way around the dating scene.

I have found that they are usually cringe worthy, awkward and rarely lead into anything more serious; your face ends up buried in your own palms in embarrassment, not passionately attached to your date’s mouth. The majority of dates leave you looking like less of a star crossed lover, more a stark raving lunatic, so much so that your date turning around and saying “I reckon we’ll just be mates” is actually not the worst case scenario. In fact, I’d rather one of my past potential suitors had said that than shot me an intensely disdainful look after I choked on my chicken in Nandos (yes, this did not go very far) or when another told me my nose was “quite Greek” (nor did this – “Greek”? What does that even mean?)

Certainly, it has all been very bleak. I’ve occasionally wondered if people ever go on dates to find actual partners, instead only showing up to have some experiences that will eventually turn into anecdotes they’ll share with their mates in Vodka Wodka over a pitcher of Woo Woo.  And that’s precisely what I’ll be doing in this column for your reading pleasure/a reminder that your love life will always be a bit better than somebody else’s/small doses of schadenfreude. I’ll be chronicling every detail of my own navigation of the notoriously tricky dating game – the good, the bad and the goddamn awful.

Yep, call me crazy but I’m all set to re-sample these – apparently, eligible bachelor-filled – waters, after a yearlong stint of ready meals for one, a rather quiet phone inbox and going perhaps a touch too far with celebrity crushes. I’ve got an iPhone full of apps, a joke or two lined up in case the situation gets desperate and my best “check out these pins” heels. I’m ready to face the dating game – and I’ll be playing by my own rules.

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