I recently celebrated another birthday, and as I sat with my best girl friends drinking wine and discussing all the interesting (or otherwise) things happening in our lives at the moment, I was reminded that my friends, though all of a similar age to me, seem to have made a lot more progression than me in the relationship department. I often wonder during quiet moments (on the bus, during the morning briefing, very occasionally in the middle of a live striptease) about how effective my dating strategies are? I deliberated at length before committing to online dating this time last year, and was pleasantly surprised with the results1. I also discovered that despite spending a large proportion of my adult life singling out tall men with beards to date, that there are some very nice average height clean-shaven men in the world (well...Greater London), and shock horror, that there are literally thousands of single people living in London2 who also wish everyone would be a bit nicer and politer and not randomly send obscene text messages to people they met once on a blind date in a chain pub at 5pm3
1including the sex pests - statistically they helped me maintain a high average success rate
2and I presume the rest of the UK, but a lot of that is up north, which is really a bit too far away, and very cold, and despite statements to the contrary, not very friendly
3see #7 - making an exception that leads to a date with a sex pest...bugger the statistical average, it’s just rude
For many years I have lived by my own Golden Rule(s)4 of dating, and although not successfully shacked up and shagged out yet, I haven’t experienced any major disasters5 by following them.
Fanny’s Golden Rule(s) for successful dating
1. Tall enough that I can’t tell if they’re going bald.
2. Own teeth
And that’s it. Really, that’s it. Am I missing something? I always presumed that having flexible6 standards would not only offer more opportunities to meet different people, but also ensure that I never became the girl we all secretly hate, who is never satisfied with the appearance, personality or income of her partner (but also manages to never be single!)
4the notion of a Golden Rule implies that, like Highlander, there can be only one. But I have two. So there.
5although looking over my blog does make me question this...
6not low. Just low key.
Some of my particularly honest friends would say that these rules aren’t the sum total of my dating preferences, but I blame this on bringing one too many California boys7 home during my university days. They somehow got it into their heads that I only go for the uber-hotties of the world, but this is a tough one to call because, in my head, all the men I have dated have been uber-hot. It’s no secret that I enjoy a man with a beard (and my current celebrity beard of choice is the Big Hairy Growler, aka Dave the Bear. Phwoar.) but this preference is more aesthetic than anything else. I have also given up on exclusively tall men, as after years of rejecting my best friend’s sage advice (on the grounds that she is 4’11” and has no concept of what it feels like to be taller than your boyfriend) I have come to realise that you really can’t tell the difference when you’re lying down.
7see #6 – discovering how unsatisfactory being shallow can be...
And so as another years passes I have started to redefine my golden rule(s) for dating, and as I creep ever so slowly towards 30 with no clear idea in my head of what I may be doing in 6 months/a year/5 years8 , these rules are becoming more and more useful when making decisions. As with my taste in food, alcohol and trashy television, my taste in men has improved with age, and requires a more clearly defined set of rules to reflect my refined man palette...
Fanny’s Brand Spanking new Golden Rule(s) for successful dating
1. Manners – whether you are making a joke at my expense, or subjecting me to some latent sexism (and it happens ladies, when you least expect it someone will do some sexism towards you!) then take a moment to consider: am I being rude? If my face looks like a smacked arse then the answer is almost certainly – yes, you’re being very bloody rude. Shut up please (see, manners.)
2. Consistency – it’s all well and good to send speedy responses to my text messages or phone calls when you think a shag is on the cards, but if you are unable to write a reply to a general enquiry about dinner/the whereabouts of my keys/why daleks are rubbish villains9 in under a week then you are probably just being a bit rude. Because it’s a message, right? Not War and Peace.
3. Lies – lying is pointless, it only prolongs periods of distress for the person doing the lying. Being lied to is really only a drag when you find out, but you do at least get months, possibly years of blissful ignorance. Liars get months of potential heart failure due to increased stress levels. Don’t lie. It’s just common sense.
4. Looks – are entirely subjective. I had a conversation recently with a man about how quickly the novelty of a buff gym body wears off, noting that if a man looks like he spends most of his time working out at the gym, then he probably spends most of his time working out at the gym. This also means that a lot of his stories start with ‘So I was at the gym...10’ Do you see where I’m going here?
5. Love – is easy to find, but less easy to say. I have managed it a few times, and enjoyed a varied range of responses, and in turn discovered that it is never, ever OK to respond to ‘I love you’ with ‘thanks’. In this instance, manners will not save you.
6. Own teeth11
8I wrote out my 5 years plan, then hid it somewhere very safe...location currently unknown to me...
9they are overgrown pepperpots. Oooh, I’m so scared, I may sneeze myself into oblivion
10Which is far less entertaining long-term than ‘So I woke up in a skip next to a sign that said “Autobahn”...’
11Because sometimes you need to be a little bit shallow
With my new and improved list of rules I am feeling ready to get back into the dating game. Unfortunately I do still live in the arse-end of nowhere, and there are now only two eligible men left in a 50 mile radius12, so it looks as though I may be heading back to London soon, if only to sit in a room full of people I don’t already know for a while...
12I leave it to you to work out where the third one went – answers on a postcard...