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In our digital world, dating can be both an exhilarating and soul destroying experience. While it's never been easier to find a date, it's become even more challenging to find a genuine connection with someone.
I've been dating on and off for roughly two years now, and while I've met some nice people, I am yet to find anything of substance. However, while I've had my fair share of good and bad dates, my most recent dating experience was probably the worst I've ever had.
I'd arranged to go on a date on Saturday with a guy I'd been talking to non-stop for about a week, and as embarrassing as it is to admit now, I was very excited and hopeful for the date.
The guy (from his pictures anyway), was very handsome and completely my type, with his quiff hairstyle and well groomed facial hair. We'd been chatting for hours each night about everything from life, to music, to relationships and in my head, we had lots in common. The guy had presented himself as witty, with a great sense of humour, yet still down to earth: all traits I find attractive.
The day of the date arrived. I'd purposely made sure I got an early night the day before, so I could be fresh for meeting the guy. I'd bought a new outfit for the date and had spent some time prepping with a face mask and styling my hair so I'd look my best.
In the hours leading up to the date, the guy (let's call him Richard, or Dick for short), frequently messaged me, as he was worried I wouldn't find him attractive in real life, which I found endearing and quite sweet to be honest.
The time for the date finally arrived. I got there a few minutes before him and waited anxiously in the bar. He walked in, although I didn't recognise him straight away. He wasn't necessarily less attractive than he looked in his pictures, if anything, he actually looked like a different person. His facial features were different, and he was stockier in real life. While I was a bit taken aback, I was still interested in getting to know him as we seemed to have a spark, at least when texting anyway, something which is much more important to me than looks alone.
However, his charm, humour, and warmth was nowhere to be seen. He greeted me with a smug smile and immediately demanded we go to a different bar, as this one was too loud. After settling on the third bar we walked past, I bought us some drinks and we sat down.
While I tried my best to make conversation, he was more interested in his phone. After having our conversation disrupted five times by incoming messages from his flatmate, I gave up and waited for him to stop. A few minutes later, literally 15 minutes into the date, he abruptly got up to take a phone call.
At this point, I was pretty p*ssed. He came back, and gave me an obviously bull sh*t story about his flatmate's brother coming round for a night out, which he had completely forgot about, and that he would have to leave after our first drink.
Understandably, I was quite angry. I called him out on his rudeness and the fact that I'd given up my Saturday night for a date with him. About a minute later, he casually said "anyways, I'm gonna go now," and he left like that, while I still had half my drink left.
I was left speechless and mortified. I'd been ditched on a date after 25 minutes. I sat in the bar on my own for another ten minutes while I finished my drink and then went home with a bottle of wine from the off-license and the shred of dignity I still had left.
My suspicions about his bullsh*t story were then confirmed after checking his Twitter to see his attention seeking half naked bed selfie, captioned #LazySaturday.
While it would be all too easy for me to beat myself up about this awful experience and examine every 'mistake' or 'wrong move' I made, it made me think about the bigger picture and everything that's wrong with modern dating.
As you've probably gathered from this article so far, the guy clearly wasn't in to me, and made a snap decision that he wasn't attracted to me. I get it. I'm under no illusions that I'm perfect, I'm far from it and I know that I'm not everyone's type.
I've been on dates before and realised early on that the guy wasn't for me, but what about decent manners, or at least the common courtesy to buy your date a drink back? Then there is always the chance that while a romantic connection might not be on the cards, a possible friendship could be.
It seems like a lot of us have forgotten that when you meet someone on the likes of Tinder and Grindr, there is a real person on the other end of the screen, and that your actions can have a real life impact to another's self-esteem and self-worth.
Sadly, a few of us have the same approach when it comes to dating: "I don't like you, but it doesn't matter, I can be on another date, hook-up, you name it, in a few hours."
However, with everything in life, too much of something can be a bad thing. When I first moved to Manchester, I was going on roughly two or three dates a week and while it was fun at first, the novelty soon wore off. I could never allow myself to get attached to anyone or actually build a relationship, as there was always someone round the corner that I thought I'd get on better with, and so the cycle repeats.
Even now, while I go on significantly less dates than I used to, I'm still guilty of moving on too quickly. When a fling hasn't worked out, rather than taking the time to achieve some sort of closure, I immediately go back on my dating apps and am back in the game a few days later, but I've realised this isn't healthy. You never actually get over someone, you just become fixated on someone else.
However, the most important lesson I've learnt from this awful experience is that online dating for the most part is just fake. When you're talking to someone online, it isn't the same as chatting at a bar. They have time to articulate themselves, to read your messages and formulate intelligent responses, and to create a completely different persona: one that you'll be attracted to. For some of course, they find their true love through online dating, but for others it just may never be the case.
Sadly, this is the world we live in now, and it's unlikely to change. This writer will be taking a much needed break from online dating, and who knows, I might even meet someone the old fashioned way!
Featured Image Credit: NBC
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