In Defence of Serial Dating
To put it bluntly, I go on lots of dates with lots of men(mostly). It wasn’t always this way. Prior to my previous and only relationship, I was never a big dater and in the first 6 months following the breakup, I slipped back into a familiarly dateless life. But something had changed. The blissfully ignorant and perennially single life I had once enjoyed or maybe just endured, was tainted now, by relationship FOMO.For those of us dipping a tentative toe back into “the dating world”, the sole solution is no longer just to get trashed and hit up your nearest smoking area hoping to stumble into Mr. Right or as Swifty might beg to differ, your “next mistake”. With the ease of Tinder and the more laborious but effective route of Facebook stalking, it’s never been easier to have a creep, and so there has been a seismic shift in how we approach dating. Inevitably, I reached for my phone and downloaded Tinder. One eye still on Netflix, I began to swipe. Life. Changing. Not Tinder itself, I only ever actually went on one Tinder date, but the act of it represented a kind of sexual empowerment. I felt like I was finally grabbing my dating life by the balls, figuratively, and with any luck literally too. My Tinder experience was in fact a total cliché. I went for craft beers in a faux hipster bar with a slightly boring but rather handsome “self made tech up-starter”. Yes, that is what he called himself. While I wasn’t struck by cupid’s arrow, I realised that meeting new people is actually quite fun and just because you are going for a drink with someone doesn’t mean you have to jump their bones. Although it must be said, if you are so inclined, it is not discouraged. The initial date with the boring tech guy spawned a kind of snowball effect – definitely just figuratively in this case. After a number of casual dates I subconsciously formed a checklist. If someone ticked 80% of the checklist I would see them again. Then as my dating experience progressed I began to consciously edit the checklist accordingly. The original, was a pretty standard list that went something like “1 – Funny, 2 – Smart 3 – Attractive, 4 – Motivated”. Now, hardened by the ghosts of bad dates past, I have become a strategic serial dater. With every failed triste a new checklist emerges. Some traits are mentally crossed off, others get circled “NB”, some gain a clause – good looking, but not too good looking or smart but not in a nerdy, star-trek way. One suitor ticked all the boxes. He was attractive and funny but he was a little directionless and in the end the laughter just wasn’t enough to get over his lack of fucks to give. Then I dated an artist for a while. Initially attracted by his supposed mystique, I soon grew bored. His desire to have long conversations about quantum physics and the meaning of life were borderline soul destroying. In the end it was the large painting of my face I received as an early Birthday gift that put the nail in the coffin. Following on from The Funnyman and The Artist, on a mission to leave no stone unturned, I also tried dating a girl for a bit before realising that actually, I just fancy boys. The moral of this hedonistic tale is that it is an exciting time to be young and single. I don’t feel bound by social conventions or limited by a fear of being ‘slut shamed’, as was the case throughout my adolescence. There are less and less taboos. It’s a “you do you” kind of situation. We are all on our own individual sexual explorations, while simultaneously spurring each other on to divulge our curiosities. My most straight laced friend told our gal pal’s Whatsapp group “Vagina Monologues” only last week that she wanted to try out switching her Tinder settings to girls. No one batted an eye lid/used a shocked-face emoji. For me, it was never really about “hooking up”. It may have started with a notion of “finding a man” but it quickly grew into something else. It became about the journey and not the destination – Yes, I am applying buddhist aphorisms to serial dating. What of it? The best part about serial dating is that you meet people from all walks of life with varied interests, twitches, fetishes. Some are funny, some handsome, there’s the odd freaky one that unnerves you but hey, there is still a lesson to be learned there. That is the secret to successful serial dating, it’s never a bad date as long as there is a lesson learned. With every date you become more self assured about who you are and what you can offer as a partner and more importantly what you want from a partner. Pay attention and listen to the little inklings, good or bad, because these clues will lead you closer to finding the person you do actually want to spend prolonged periods of time with, which is not very many as it turns out! In the mean time, cast down your celibatic shackles and swipe right. Or just go up to him or her or whoever it might be and ask them out because y’know that is allowed too. You might even get a portrait out of it, or a few laughs at least.