At 30, I found myself single having just ended a 6-year relationship, and a cancelled wedding. After taking some time to ‘find myself’ and do all the things I thought I couldn’t do whilst in ‘coupleville’, I found that re-entering the dating game was harder than I thought.
Fast forward three years and I am now at the start of a new relationship. Well, I think I am.
The rulebook has changed, and the lingo is different from the last time I went down this path. Firstly, my friends have differing views. Some say that my current beau (we are on date 7) and I are ‘seeing each other’. Others say that we’re ‘dating’. Personally I’m stuck in limbo trying to work out how not to screw this up, and what the hell the difference is.
When, in fact, do you become boyfriend and girlfriend? Is there a timeframe? A conversation that has to be had? Answers on a postcard please.
Let me explain myself a little better. After realising that Prince Charming and I were never just randomly going to meet, I plucked up the courage to try internet dating. After completing a questionnaire, which felt like hours and hours of answering the most bizarre questions, I was given the promise to ‘match me to the one’.
I got a few messages from men, and then some dates followed. There was Rodger, who turned out to be 45, not the 37 he had promoted himself to be; Chris, the pilot, who rather cheesily offered to ‘show me the world’; and then there was Liam, the Probation Officer who lied about his height (he was closer to 5ft than 6ft). None of these led to a second date and my self-esteem hit a low point. About to give up, thinking that the world of spinsterhood was my only option, I got a message in my inbox from Andy. And this is where my story begins.
Andy’s photo showed him to have the friendliest smile I had ever seen. He looked like a genuine, fun guy without arrogance. He appeared to be someone you could laugh with for hours. Deciding to delay my calling to spinsterhood a little longer, I messaged him back, and we eventually met up for a drink.
The date had gone well. I managed to avoid knocking any drinks over, conversation flowed, and there was no need for an emergency call from my friend to end the date early (she was a pro having done it three times previously). With the end of the evening and our time to say goodbye soon approaching, we boarded a train to get to our various destinations.
My stop came up first, and we both got up to say goodnight. I went in for a cheeky kiss; the train jolted, and instead of a bit of a smooch, I head-butted him. As you can imagine, it wasn’t the most impressive thing I’ve done. As I got off the train and looked back at Andy, he put his thumbs up. I wanted the platform to open up and swallow me on the spot. Thankfully, Andy had found this amusing and date number two happened.
On date number three, I invited Andy over to mine for dinner. Cooking is not my forte, and why I offered to cook dinner still astounds me. Thinking Macaroni and Cheese was a safe bet (after all, what should you cook on a date?), I got busy in the kitchen with Andy chatting away about his day.
You know you’re bad when someone else ends up just taking over. The nerves had got to me. I didn’t add enough water to the pasta; I forgot to turn the hob on when trying to make the sauce, and then after I turned it on, I nearly caused a small fire when I put the tea towel on the hob. Even worse, I stayed quiet when Andy raided my fridge and found some nearly out-of-date rocket. You see, I own two tortoises, and the rocket was, in fact, their dinner and not actually meant for us. Unsurprisingly Andy has not been too keen for my help when he has subsequently cooked dinner.
As we hit date six, Andy met my friends and survived their interrogation tactics as they tag teamed each other in the search for information. None of my friends had ever done the Internet dating scene, so they were curious to find out how ‘normal’ Andy was, without letting on that they knew we had met online. They liked him, and thought he was a ‘good guy’. They were impressed that he had agreed to meet them so early on in to our ‘dating / seeing each other’ journey.
And this brings up another question: when should you introduce someone to your friends? It was just drinks in my head, but perhaps a little more daunting for Andy as he met seven of my closest friends.
As date number eight looks to be on the horizon, (I am secretly skipping on the inside that there is even a possible date 8). I still feel like half the time I don’t know what to do, and I’m thinking, where this is all going?
For example, we have just got to the phone calling stage, with the longest being three minutes and very businesslike, and our texts have just started to have ‘x’ at the end of them. We are just beginning to hold hands in public. But maybe this is what it’s like to date in your 30’s? It proves to be a much slower way of doing things compared to the hormone fuelled dating of my early 20’s.
I’m enjoying the ride, but I really just can’t help but wonder where it’s going!