So, I have found myself in the extraordinary position of 32 and single and currently hiding in my childhood room to avoid my parents. In short, I have become 13 all over again. It’s funny how when you return to your home to revert immediately into the terrible teen- whether it is introverted, sulky, argumentative or contrary- you suddenly find yourself re-hashing arguments with your parents you had 20 years ago and wanting to slam doors and scream, but its so unfair!
As my mother insisted upon telling me whilst I was growing up, life is indeed unfair. She used to inform me that ‘you think things are bad now dear, wait till you grow up’ and she wasn’t wrong. For all the teenage heartache and hormonal turmoil never really dies away, you remain feeling that age forever, its just teh stakes are higher. You still fight with your friends, you still hate your boss just as you hated the school teacher, you still deal with the bullies at work just like in the playground. The only difference is you cannot justify crying at the back of the bike sheds or booting them int he shins and running away. Well you could but you may get locked up!
So here I am. Single and 31. I often now lie awake pondering what that really means. It seems I live in two worlds. One int he countryside, where I grew up and where my childhood friends have all got hitched and are now sprogging up. The other is my professional life, in the city, where 40 is the average age for first time mums and being single and playing the field seems to be acceptable. The trouble is I don’t know which one I want. I am not sure anyone who has chosen knows either, I am fairly certain most of my married friends are not entirely happy and equally I sense the facade that the single city chicks portray is nothing but a veil of confidence and behind it lies a bunch of women just like everyone else, desperate to find someone to love them.
So how did I end up here? Well, I left my boyfriend of 5 years and made the leap to start again. It took a lot to do it. I am still not sure it was the right thing to do, but I suppose time will tell. We weren’t happy and frankly 2013 was a bitch. His dad died, one of my best friends died, I had a psychopathic boss from hell who forced me to quit and so, along with all that crap, I decided to leave the relationship in 2013. A new Year, a new start and boy is it a brave new world.
Last time I was single I dabbled in internet dating, it seemed straight forward enough. A bit of fun and it never really led anywhere. Since then, at least 3 of my friends are now married after meeting online. And its not just internet dating anymore, its like full on psychometric tests and I swear some of the guys were on there 6 years ago. Not a good start.
So I have been encouraged to brave Tinder. For those of you who do not know what Tinder is, it is basically a phone application that allows you to make snap judgements about whether you find someone attractive based on a cursory glance at three pictures. It picks up people within your GPS area and you then swipe yes or no and move onto the next. If they also swipe yes, then it tells you that you are a match and you are allowed to text each other.
Its like speed, speed dating without the face to face awkwardness but with all the superficial shallowness. However, it is also bloody addictive! In fact I shamelessly found myself bored at a train station recently with an hour to wait and no cafe’s open, so I plugged into a power point outside the ladies loos and was sat seeing who was around. One strike for feminism right there!
Still, my single friends have insisted that this is the way forward and after a month on internet dating and no dates, I have 3 tinder dates lined up.
The only trouble with tinder is its a game of numbers. The more people you like the more matches you have and the more guys you speak with. But then you have to carry on 4 or 5 consecutive small talk conversations over text. Fine if you are good at making conversation but beyond, how are you and whats your story, it gets a little dull repeating yourself. Inevitably some fall by teh wayside. Others stick around. I have been chatting for a few days with one with a guy who seems nice- not hugely attractive but we have a lot on common and he will be my first date. Another i have hardly spoken to but he asked me out almost immediately so figure why not. The third- well he was a bit more of what I expected on Tinder- all about sexual innuendo and very much hinting about hook ups- though our shared love of Bon Jovi had led me to agree to a date. Of course there are always the weirdoes- a rather fit fireman was messaging me today and kindly informed me that he has already satisfied himself to my pictures- needless to say, that conversation ended swiftly!
Now if I don’t write again, this may be because they are knife wielding maniacs. But I sincerely hope they are just like me. Looking for some fun and the slight hope that they might strike gold and find something more.
So I shall report back after date number one!