The Dating Game

The internet is weird. I think we can all relate to that, but when you throw in dating as well? Utter. Madness. It’s become a pretty normal thing in modern culture to meet a partner online, and for that matter meet friends online as well, and there are thousands of people using online dating. From Matched.com to Tinder, you may try one profile for a week then delete it or have five on the go. After a few years of living, and attempting to date, in London I’ve had my fair share of weird and wonderful messages, and from them I’ve had some great dates and some even better anecdotes.

Maybe it’s the romantic in me, and I’m sure there’s a little one in all of us, that ideally wants to meet someone not online. The classic meeting whilst out in the evening and they buy your drink, or you buy theirs, or the friendly encounter on the street. But the truth of the matter is that if someone approaches me on the street and asks for my number, no matter how cute I think you are, I’ll probably automatically say ‘Sorry, I’m in a relationship’ and make a hasty exit. Partly due to the culture we live in now, or maybe just in London, where social interactions between strangers on the street isn’t considered ‘normal’, and partly due to the many horror stories of being kidnapped and harmed that play on your mind whenever a stranger approaches. So, at least for now, online dating it is, and what better way to discuss it than with a post with my favourite ever messages – all of which are on the weird and whacky side.

Just a side note before we begin – some of these will be typed out instead of posting a picture to protect the identity of the person contacting me, whether they deserve my so called ‘protection’ or not.

To start with, an honourable mention to the random chap on my instagram who, in regards to a photo that showed my feet in fluffy socks, a book, and some chocolate, said, “Sexy stocks @stammydodger I’d so worship them and reply inbox”. First off, thanks for the instagram like and comment, I can always appreciate that, but I’m not a girl who really thinks giant fluffy polka-dot socks are sexy, and to make it worse the sentence loses all meaning at the end. First rule of making contact: grammar.

Let’s have a look at some opening lines – a very important thing, of course. You want to come across as friendly, but also interesting, without looking desperate or weird. A difficult feat to pull off, I know, but that line will guarantee how far that conversation will go. So here are my first two examples:

The first “lol whats up my lil croissant” and the second “Your dog looks very loveable/And So do you/Hahaha” to which I replied “Yes hilarious”. The first one, whilst bizarre, made me laugh – so I continued the conversation. It’s weird, it’s whacky, and definitely hit or miss – starting off with ‘lol’ is definitely a risky move. The second conversation I ended straight after replying. Starting the conversation off in reference to my dog is usually always a winner (I do love my dog) and extending the compliment to me is a bit off a ‘roll your eyes’ move, but what tops it off is the ‘Hahaha’. Overall, a hilarious interaction, just not one that I was going to continue.

Pictures are always important, and if you’re online dating they are even more so – because, let’s face it, we’re all vain, shallow little creatures. So sometimes if you send someone a message, they may comment on your photos – especially if you can’t actually see the person in any of them (as was what happened in my case). In response to these comments, or anything at all really, many people like to use a comeback or set up a joke. In the second case the guy wanted a recent picture, to which I made a joke and he responded with, what I assume, was a classic line. Corny as can be, and whilst it may work for you, it ain’t for me.

Sometimes it’s good to know what the other person is looking for, and other times it is not.

The first image makes me laugh to this day – in retrospect, it is perfectly friendly but stating exactly what the other person is looking for. Whilst I replied with a negative response, the other person was perfectly friendly and wished me well. However this second opener of ‘I honestly don’t remember liking you’ referencing the act of ‘liking’ each other to ‘match’, was an instant thumbs down. Definitely would not recommend. Not pictured is a message I received from someone who says “Hey, I am quite taken with your photos, would you like a sugar daddy style relationship? If so I would like to discuss it to fit my lifestyle”. Although this was definitely not for me, the message made me laugh a lot before deleting it. First off, the formal nature of the message is above and beyond, and to end it stating that you need something to fit your lifestyle with no mention of the other person? Brilliant.

And, finally, my favourite ever interaction. I’ll just leave it pictured below, for your enjoyment.

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Take note people: get the name right of the person you’re messaging. And on that note, I wish you all luck in your online dating adventures.

 

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A letter to my younger self

*this is a letter I wish I could send to my younger self, with things I wish I knew then, and although this letter won’t be received by myself, maybe it will help someone else*

Dear Eleanor,

Reading through your thoughts in that ridiculous diary of ours makes me laugh and cry, in good ways and bad. You should really say some of those feeling out loud, but I understand – you’re better at writing things out. It’s like if you press you pen hard enough against the page, forcing the paper to absorb the ink filled with your feelings, all those emotions tumbling out from your body and embedding into the page, then that will help. That will work, for now. You’re a pretty emotional person, dramatic too, but most of your friends just see the sunny side. I know, I know; you think that if your friends see only light and laughter from you, then they’ll like you more. Any hint of sadness or tears or anything not just good an happy, then maybe people will like you less. Here’s my first tip for you: they get it. Your friends will understand it if you have a bad day and need someone to vent to. You might pride yourself on being a good listener, but it doesn’t mean you’re the only one that knows how to do it. So stop acting like a martyr, don’t arrogantly think no one will understand you, and start whining to your friends. It will help.

You’ll probably want to know what’s going on with me – how many books have we published, how many celebrities have we met, what incredible adventures have we had? Well, you might be a bit disappointed to hear that being nineteen-going-on-twenty does not an adult make. No great bolt of knowledge of how to be an adult has shot out of the sky and struck me – at least, not yet. In all honesty, I’ve still no idea what I’m doing. My plans change every day, the path on how to achieve the far-off dream of being an author twists and turns in unpredictable ways. What I’ve learned? Just go with it. Don’t bog yourself down with panic over the future. Don’t stress and fret and let the days pass you by. Just live in the present while you’re there – you’ll figure out what to do.

One thing I can say is I’m glad I don’t have to relive everything you’re going through right now. Homework sucks, and I can say that work from uni isn’t much better – but what I try to remind myself is at least I’m doing work on a subject I actually like and that I chose, instead of chemistry. Or physics. Or worse, maths. What I can say is that it will be over soon – just get through it all now, work your arse off, and you’ll get there. Don’t let other people tell you what you should and shouldn’t do – especially that person who says ‘what can you even do with a *insert humanities subject* degree anyway?’. They’re idiots. You can do whatever you want to do, as long as you work hard and keep your head on straight (and, please, for the love of everything, stop being such a drama queen).

Speaking of idiots, I’ve got some bad news for you. We were blessed and cursed with going to a good school. Unlike some other people, we can’t later sit back and watch our bullies end up with a shitty job and living in a shitty place and look down at them. We have to watch those bullies, those secondary school bitches, do well, and that sucks. Really sucks. We have to watch them and hear about them going to university, getting degrees, getting jobs, getting married and having great lives. But I’ll let you in on a secret – when you hear that one of them hasn’t done so well? It’s. The. Best.

Now for a bit of a pep talk. You need to bloody well stand up for yourself. And, again, I know, you’re rubbish in the moment. Even now I think of brilliant comebacks to insults hurled my way over five years ago. You’ll write what you think are fantastic stories (don’t worry, your ideas are good but your writing isn’t so great right now – that will get better) with these strong female characters that don’t let anyone hurt them, standing their ground retorting with the most incredible comebacks it’s a wonder their enemies don’t just fall at their feet. You get hung up on that a lot. So much so that you call one of your best friends the Comeback Queen, because she seems so unruffled and somehow manages to snap right back at anyone who tries to be mean to her. You’ll try to be like her for a while, convinced that she is who you want to be, but you need to stop trying to be other people. Honestly, you’ll figure it out soon, but just try and be yourself and stop getting hung up about everyone else.

Time for some good news: we get into our dream uni, we manage to get onto our dream course doing our favourite subjects, and we make fantastic friends along the way. We learn that it’s ok to be the one who’s obsessed with books, so much so that you start working at a well-known bookshop and start up a book blog to help control your addiction. You stop caring that you become that person who always posts dog photos on social media (oh yeah, did I mention that we get a dog? Because we do, and he’s our best friend) because really, it does not matter what other people think. You be you.

Now, keep your head up, keep going and, once more, stop being a drama queen. Don’t splutter at me, you know very well what I mean. Now go back to pestering Mum and Dad about getting a dog – I’m 99% certain they bought Pete just to shut us up.

All my love (and luck),

You from the future.

P.s – stay away from boys. They’re icky.