I'm going to be honest, I love dating. The last year has followed me through a series of dates, from meeting at a gig, to meeting on tinder to meeting on a night out, I've been lucky enough to meet guys who do dating the traditional way, and whilst I'm not a serial dater by any means, dating has taught me a lot about myself, and even more about men.

In August of 2014, I made a subconscious decision to start 'dating'. I knew I would be going to university and having gotten out of two relationships due to distance, I decided dating was the path for me. As an awkward, chubby, teenage girl, I had zero to no experience with boys before the age of about 17, and the closest I'd ever come to a real date was a couple of awkward cinema trips which resulted in awkwardly avoiding each other in the corridor the next day. But taking a gap year and moving away makes you grow up fast, and I decided by the time I'd got back, I was ready to take on the world of dating.


Lesson Number 1: Learn the difference between wanting someone and wanting anyone

In February last year, I went on arguably the best date I'd ever been on in my life. We met at a concert, he asked for my number, and two weeks later we met on the steps in Trafalgar Square. I was then whisked mysteriously away to The Breakfast Club in Liverpool Street. There, my date, we'll call him A, asked the waitress for 'the mayor', at which she lead us to a smeg fridge in the middle of the room, and opened the door to reveal a staircase. I honestly thought this was a joke, and if it wasn't for how established The Breakfast Club is, I would 100% have ran for my life, fearing I'd been victim to a planned attack. However, he took my hand, entered the fridge, and we were greeted by a cosy cocktail bar, loud music and a cracking menu. 10/10 winner for A. I returned home on the last train to my flatmates all waiting up to fill them in on the gossip. I told them everything from meeting at Trafalgar Square to the leaving at the station and the cheeky little peck. Obviously the question on everyones lips was 'Well, when are you going to see him again?' But the truth is, I didn't want to. We'd had an amazing time, and he was a lovely guy. But there was no spark, I didn't have butterflies, and all the way home I was thinking about how cool the bar was as opposed to when he'd call me. Sometimes you just have to make a decision, however bad you feel and stick with it.

Lesson Number 2: If it's a first date, observe how they treat the waiter/bar man/staff, if they're rude to other people, they'll probably be rude to you

Lesson Number 3: Always tell people exactly where you're going and if you change location, let them know.

Lesson Number 4: Never go to the cinema on a date, you can't talk and you can't get to know each other at all.

Lesson Number 5: Put yourself in the higher position

This is a lesson I learnt recently, from date B. Date B was everything on paper and everything in person, attractive, funny, and into dogs. We went to a lovely homely pub with low beams and a roaring fire, and it just so happened to be a quiz night, we got on so well, fireworks and electricity and all of those butterflies were certainly there, and so when he asked if I wanted to go back for a 'cup of tea' I said yes. And although I don't regret it, because I knew that night I was absolutely happy to go back for tea, the next morning when leaving, I could tell we probably would never see each other again. My friends assured me men were men, they're often weird in the morning before coffee and before food. The next day they were saying he was definitely busy and despite all his promises of seeing my house, asking about walking my dog together, I knew deep down there was only one thing he'd wanted and he'd known exactly how to play me. Which is why, 6 days later and on the evening of my dog being put down when he said 'Soz, was in London all weekend',  I replied with 'I literally couldn't care less.' And deleted his number. Sometimes, it's better to rip off the bandaid. I could've replied and pandered to him and tried to force another date, but to be perfectly honest, I didn't want to be with someone like that anyway, and nobody should.


Lesson Number 6: Drunken chemistry doesn't mean sober chemistry, if you meet on a night out, make sure you text a bit first to determine a mutual interest

Lesson Number 7: Codewords aren't something from films, they're a dating necessity

 Lesson Number 8: Men really don't take notice in texting the same way girls do, if you want to get further, don't analyse every message post date, you'll know if they're interested by your gut instinct

Lesson Number 9: Try not to take everything too seriously on a first date, people get caught up in the moment and say things they don't always follow through with, don't let it hurt your confidence and just take things with a pinch of salt.

Lesson Number 10: Tinder Dating Isn't All Bad

99% of us have been there. You're single, you're bored, and your thumb accidentally slipped and pressed the install button on Tinder. I've been on a couple of 'tinder dates' although I do like to keep them to a minimum. I know people who have met through tinder and are now in relationships, I know girls and guys who use it as a booty call app. But at the end of the day, most of us love to hate it. With Tinder, I definitely think the best way to go about real dating from it, is to not talk for too long via phone. Once you've taken the necessary process to ensure he/she's not a catfish, life is too short to waste hours of your life texting somebody and not following it up. I have so far, never really had a 'bad' tinder date. Nobody has ever run away screaming (a constant fear of mine) and one of the guys I met through it ended up going to my University and we're still in contact occasionally. Although I haven't met the love of my life on Tinder, (I'm not too sure I want the word Tinder in my husbands wedding speech anyway), it's definitely a cracking stepping stone. And if you want to ease in gently, go ahead and download it. You honestly have nothing to lose.

Dating is definitely not for the faint hearted. It's important not to wear your heart on your sleeve when you're in the initial period, there's always the potential you could never see them again in your entire life. Having said this, it is a lot of fun. I don't ever feel more like I'm in my twenties than when I'm on a date, and even if it doesn't go down the path you initially thought it would, it can lead to friendships and you certainly meet some very interesting people. So whether you meet someone through tinder, or have a meet-cute in a coffee shop, it all boils down to being yourself and having fun. If it doesn't work out, it simply wasn't meant to be.

Ciao for Now!
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