My date yesterday has left me confused and somewhat deflated. Considering I wasn’t expecting anything great, I think he’s exceeded expectations and delivered an appallingly poor standard of date.
This ordeal got me thinking, aside from the awkwardness that surrounds a ‘first date’ there is also undue pressure. Personally I’ll kiss on the first date – but only at the end, and only if I want to. I have been known to swerve a kiss in the past. Another restraint on the kiss is that it is mild, and does not involve my face being devoured. This pressure is working out the other participants morals and trying to mirror them.
For example, we went on the little train at the zoo, we had to sit fairly close to each other to allow another pair to sit on the carriage with us. He did not seize the moment and try to pull me closer to him, he could have easily taken that opportunity to initiate a flirtatious touching of hands or something. But no, we sat like two complete strangers almost repulsed by the thought of each other. Now you might say, ‘it sounds like he’s not into you’ and I would completely agree. If he hadn’t text me later saying how much he enjoyed the day. I mean, really? Was that his idea of a good date? If that date had been in a bar or restaurant, I would have walked out within the first 45 minutes. But I did pay for my ticket to the zoo, and I wanted to see the sea lions and the orang-utans, so I had to stay.
Realising the date was doomed to go on forever, I calculated my escape. We arrived there at 11, so I thought 4 hours walking round the zoo would be more than sufficient to get my money’s worth but not waste too much of my time with this wet weekend of a man. I very tactfully asked how long it took him to get there, and from there went on to say about leaving at 3 so that he could get home and still have an evening. He seemed ok with my idea, but dropped hints that he would be happy to stay later. In the end I had to tell a little white lie, that I was going to my nans in the evening. It’s not completely untrue, I could have gone to my nans with my mum, but all I wanted to do was get home, get in my Pjs and relax.
I find it very difficult to comprehend how someone can be one person behind a keyboard, and another in person. He’s so forward and lively over text, but in person showed great difficulty in portraying the man who asked me out.
Are we living in a world where people have multiple personality disorder of the keyboard warrior variety. From arguments on Facebook comments that would never be uttered face to face, to online dating where you meet someone who resembles their photos (or not in some cases!) but speaks and behaves like a completely different person. Has this over exposure to social media and online chatting distorted our personalities? Are we heading for an epidemic of social media induced schizophrenia?
What ever happened to meeting people organically? I think that this ability to say and do anything you want from behind the safety of your computer/tablet/mobile phone has hindered our capability of going out there and meeting new people. I know when I’m out and about, if someone strikes up a conversation, I immediately look around for a white van with no plates, in case the guy is trying to abduct me. (Although my mum assures me that I am 100% safe from abduction, because within 15 minutes they would be bringing me back begging me to get out of their van.) I honestly believe that social media has made everything too accessible. I am a huge champion of social media, I have friends all over the UK and in other parts of the world, and it allows me to catch up with them easily and keep up with new exciting occurrences in their lives, and vice versa, but there has to be the right balance of face-time and real face time!
For example, I used to work closely with a girl up north, we emailed and spoke on the phone every week, and then when we got made redundant, we promised to keep in touch. Which we have with the powers of Facebook, but we have also promised to see each other a few times a year. So I’ve planned a weekend up North to see her next month (look out for Single in Shropshire blog!). I think this balance is right, it injects a personal feel into a friendship, rather than a 2 dimensional online friendship.
Let’s hope we can break out of this computer based interaction we’ve all become so reliant upon, and let’s hope my next POF date is the same offline as he is online!
Single in South Essex