6 Aug 2013

A Phoney's Survival Guide to Dating

Him or the idea of him?

Whenever I fancied someone in the past and had my heart torn in two, I tormented myself with the following question: Do I really like a) him or b) the idea of him? Both can result in tears of frustration; the former results in genuine tears because you are pining after a man who can't be yours/ broke your heart/ doesn't know how ardently you adore him, while the latter tears are because you loved the fact that you had a shoulder to cry on, someone to hang out with when you had nothing better to do, someone to tell you you're beautiful even when you look like you've been pulled through a bush backwards...and now this has been shattered. You're so desperate to be in a relationship that you find yourself loving the idea of the happy couple more than loving your significant other. Essentially, you might have loved the way he made you feel, but you didn't actually love him.
Some women have a habit of falling for people who are just no good for them; too old, too young, too much of a bachelor, too noncommittal, too arse-hole-ish, too wannabe John Mayer or Tiger Woods. I know full well when he's all wrong for me, when I'm treading in deep waters, when I'm only throwing myself into a messy war of runny noses and hysterical comments like "I just feel so empty". You ask yourself how he ever managed to imprison and capture you in what can only be described as a vicious circle of mental turmoil. Him wanting you is the best feeling in the world but sometimes you ask yourself what it is or was about him that made you fall so hard.  Do you love him or the idea of him?

I'm reminded of one of my favourite novels: The Great Gatsby.  If you've only ever seen the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, I urge you to go pick F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece off the bookshelf this second. The question we forever ask ourselves throughout the novel (fuelled by narrator Nick Carraway) is the following: does Gatsby actually love Daisy, or does he merely want to recapture the idea of himself which went into loving Daisy? There's no denying (in my opinion) that he did truly love Daisy at one point or another, but over time this love turned into nothing more than a concept.

Are you falling for someone for what they represent rather than for who they are? Do you love their soul (as cliched as it sounds) or merely the fact that they fulfill a part of your life which needs fulfilling?

The time-bomb of ticking boxes

It's funny - I've been on dates where guys have asked me what I look for in a man. The awkward question which results in you lying slyly because a) you don't want to hurt his feelings by describing the polar opposite of him, and b) you don't want to accidentally describe him in case he thinks you're making a move on him. I usually say something along the line of "great sense of humour", "confident but not too full of himself", "down to earth"...I try to steer away from describing looks because while a certain appearance may appeal to me more than others, I'd much rather fall for a man in his entirety than only because he had piercing blue eyes, blonde curls and a strong jaw. I personally wouldn't want to be with someone who was that picky because it's a far cry from the "down to earth" nature which so appeals to me. I'd only be a hypocrite.

And as the subheading suggests, ticking boxes really grates on me. I know we can all dream up our perfect guy - how he'd look, his personality, his talents, his hobbies - and of course I'm not denying that certain traits may be important, if not intrinsic for a happy relationship, but that doesn't automatically mean that a man who ticks all the right boxes is going to be right for you, nor does it mean that you'll fall in love with him.

And searching for the ticking-all-the-right-boxes sorta fella may take forever. In fact, maybe the guy doesn't even exist. So quit worrying about how he's brunette rather than blond, 5'11" instead of 6'2" or doesn't have a stomach so chiseled that he could make chocolate bars melt on it. You can't pull up a list of pros and cons for someone - they're not objects. I mean, imagine a world where human beings were rated, just like products on Amazon. In fact, don't!

Call to Action

So stop your wasting time in a relationship where you feel miserable or serial dating losers who only want to pop your cherry.  And for Pete's sake: Don't date someone just because they're nice and possess all the qualities of a perfect boyfriend. His "perfection" will only end up getting on your nerves. If you can't find someone right for you right now, enjoy being single and relish your ability to be a little bit selfish. I know I am.
"You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love... I love... I love you." (Darcy, Pride and Prejudice). Now that, ladies, is true love.
So there you have it. A phoney's survival guide to dating. Or maybe, a phoney's survival guide to singledom?


  1. This is so stinkin great. You have no idea. Brilliant in every way. THANK YOU for this! I needed a little slap in the face. I love you. You are an incredible writer, and you know how to say everything in the most perfect way. I sure hope your future chiseled chocolate man has a smart enough brain to keep up with your wit... ;)

    1. Thanks Neenie! That's so kind of you!!! I miss you lots <3