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My Top Ten Posts of the Year (Mister Mischief)

At the weekend I posted my ten favourite posts and moments of the 30 Dates Blog from 2013, and I asked the other Experimental Daters to do the same thing …

First up … Mister Mischief!

xxx

Mister Mischief’s Top Ten Posts of 2013

1) The Enigma  -

Sounded like perfection and was rated 10/10.  Hint Hunt and The blind mans dinner are such interesting concepts.  Both of which I think would be memorable for anyone who went along.

2) The Big Kid -

One of the first posts I read.  Everyone should be a big kid I think, the enthusiasm, curiosity and laid back nature is endearing. Most importantly though – what’s not to like, Butterbeer and Hogwarts!!

3) art/love/life by The Mermaid -

I picked this post because I love the idea of symbolising emotions of dating and relationships in art.

Plus the art was really good – fire and water being my favourite.  My favourite artist is H.R Giger, who has a similar theme in his work :)

4) Where to Find a Dateable Man in London by Miss 32 -

I share the idyllic sense of how people should meet.

A serendipitous crossing of paths that blossoms into mutual affection would make for a much more romantic “how I met your mother/father” I think.  Although having recently had a blind date I now think there’s also hope in a planned rendezvous.

5) Parental Expectations by The New Realist -

I liked the analytical view / introspection of why we have a check list for a potential date / partner.

One of my main tick boxes is to find someone my parents approved of  - Christian or at least agnostic, minimalist tattoos / not too many piercings and doesn’t swear like a sailor in public etc.  However the moral of this post “it’s your life, be happy and most importantly have fun” makes me think maybe just aim to fall for someone and pray / hope they fall for you too.

6) The Polaroid Date by The Flash - 

I really liked the pictures. It’s such a cool idea, much more interesting than a standard drink in a bar. I so want to try this out with a girl who is also visually inclined / likes to take photos.

7) Planes, Trains & Automobiles by Miss 32 - 

I liked this post because of the sheer potential of attaining that Match.com “girl on the platform” meeting. I’ve met and chatted to a girl on my commute where I opened with “What are you listening to?” I really hope Miss 32 works up the courage to try again :)

8) The Christmas Orphan & The Story Box -

Bitter sweet story?  I like the idea of finding out more about a person through their writing.  A window into / glimpse at the inner workings and private life of Miss Twenty-Nine, shared for all.

9) A Tinderella Story – Shock & Awe Tactics -

I suppose some girls in general don’t have the same sense of humour as guys. But I reckon there are some girls who would have laughed or at the very least smiled at one or two of these.

10) Experimental Date Three – Her View (Fader) - 

Not all blind dates are a disaster :)

It’s not often you get to hear the other side of a date you went on, especially when you have inadvertently crafted a less than favourable reputation for yourself and are a little worried about what people think of you.

Plus the summary was nice: “Without the 30 Dates Blog, none of this madness would have ever happened.

Mister Mischief

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in 30 Dates

 

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The Seventh Date of Christmas … a Ghost from Christmas Past!

When I first started this blog, I mentioned that ‘public dating’ wasn’t completely new to me … During my Gap Year, I starred on my Mum’s favourite show … Cilla Black’s Blind Date.

When I first wrote about it, some of you commented that I couldn’t mention I’d been on Blind Date, and not share the clip …

And so, I had the video my parents taped back in the day put onto a DVD, and my incredibly talented sister has edited it down for your viewing …

It’s not pretty!

At the time it went to air, I was working in China.  My Mum called me to tell me how lovely I looked.  More realistically, my friends phoned to tell me ‘it didn’t really look like you’, and ‘you do your hair and make-up a lot better yourself …’

In my sister’s words – I have ‘Dumbo ears’, ‘prostitute lipstick’, and ‘this is the worst I have ever seen you look’!

However, as one of my best friends was quick to point out – at least I’m not looking back at 19 and wishing I still looked like that!

So Merry Christmas guys …. here are my five minutes of naughties dating fame!

As you’ll see from the clips, the guy genuinely meant to pick me, got confused, got rid of me instead, and as a result I missed out on a holiday to Nepal (or ‘nipple’ as the eventual winning girl called it!)

When the episode was filmed, they stopped filming because of the picker’s slip up, and went to the producers to see if he could change his mind, and keep me in the running for the date (in reality the only reason he wanted to choose me was because I was the only girl who could remember her lines first time.  We did several painful shoots for each of the other girls, with him eventually taking the mickey out of them through the screen.)

The producers decided Warren had already made his choice, and so even though he hadn’t seen me, I had to sit back down, and refilm the scene. (Something you can see when he announces my number the second time!)

I thought the whole mistake would be edited out, and when I went back home and told my friends about it all, no one believed me!

However the Blind Date editors left it in, and at least some of my dignity remained intact!

Ironically, Cilla Black can’t even get my name correct as she ushers me off stage, and if you watch carefully, I’m under strict instructions not to touch her face when I air kiss her!

Finally rather amusingly, I’ve spotted Daniel, one of the guys from the ITV2 show towards the end of the clip, on POF recently! So I guess I’m not the only one still single!!!

It’s probably one of the most amusing and embarrassing moments of my life so far, and something which will no doubt find its way into the speeches at my wedding one day!

There are countless highlights for me – my awful dance out, contestant number two describing herself as ‘bright’ after an elongated pause to remember her lines, and Ben’s comment about me offering him some of my banana-flavoured drink, to name but a few!

However, I’m posting it online as a thank you to all of you for reading my dating trials and tribulations over the past six months.  Thanks to your support, the blog has received over 100,000 hits, and I’ve received some really lovely, heart-warming emails from strangers all over the world, and built up a team of Experimental Daters, all in my quest to take the serious side out of dating, and just have a bit of fun!

Merry Christmas guys …. I have a feeling 2014 could be bringing more public humiliation on national television, so watch this space!

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in 12 Dates of Christmas, 30 Dates

 

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The Third Date of Christmas

So this one was a long time coming!

As I’m sure you all know, December is one of the busiest months of most peoples’ social calendar.  And to be honest, I’ve found it one of the hardest months to pin down dates.  Not only is everyone busy with work dos and family stuff, but people get ill … and cold … and tired … And it’s far too easy to sit on the couch rather than venturing out into the cold to meet someone you may not even fancy …

The Third Date of Christmas almost happened several times in the last fortnight.  Obviously there was my second date with Mr Mauve … but other than my speeding ticket and £100 fine, there was very little monumental to report … and that isn’t exactly something I would advise others to try on do on a date!

Plans of a trip to Windsor Castle with Guy Fawkes were postponed when he was called away with the Army.  And then my first attempt at a Simplicity3 Match (remember my Matchmaking experience?) fell flat when he sent me a wishy washy man flu text less than twenty-four hours beforehand.

To be honest I wasn’t overly fussed about the Simplicity3 Match.  So much so that I haven’t even bothered to give him a name!  He was selected by the Matchmaker … though from the look of the site, I couldn’t help wondering if he was simply the only guy amongst her customers within the requisite location and age bracket.  He wasn’t someone I would have chosen for myself on a dating site, however the whole point of the Matchmaking Experience is to date as I am told.  So to be honest,  it was something of a relief when he cancelled!  I haven’t given up on the Matchmaking just yet … but I’m kind of hoping I at least fancy the next one a bit before I (maybe get to) meet him!

If there was one date I hadn’t expected to cancel this month, it was Mr Mauve!  We’d got on well at the London Eye, and on our second date to the pub quiz (even after I got cautioned by the police!).

But when Mr Mauve came down with a mystery illness on Saturday morning (I’m assured he was genuinely ill!) I had just over twenty-four hours to find myself a replacement date for what had been the makings of an amazing date.

London Date Number Three was at Vinopolis.

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You may remember, my part-time role as a ‘Dating Expert’ for Guardian Soulmates was all thanks to a wine-tasting singles event which Miss32 and I attended towards the end of the summer there.  On more than one occasion that evening, Miss32 and I commented on what a great one-on-one date location the wine-tasting venue would make.  And so when the guys at Vinopolis invited me back for a date, it seemed the perfect location for one of the 12 Dates of Christmas.

However when Mr Mauve cancelled on Saturday, with no time to cancel our Christmas Tasting Experience, it looked like I was set to spend my Sunday afternoon drinking alone!

I have to admit to having a rather drunken Saturday.  For my sins I went to The Big Reunion Christmas Party at the O2, with two of my oldest school friends, and it was at the drunken nineties fest that I got Mauve’s text, pulling out of both wine tasting, and the Fourth Date event (which was scheduled in just a few hours later).

In between sets of 911, 5ive and B*witched, I trawled Plenty of Fish and Tinder for a last minute date (yes, I said ‘trawled’ … see I told you I was beginning to date like a guy!).

Having scared off the guys I’d been chatting to recently with my sudden uncharacteristic desire to meet the very next day, I resorted to friends of friends.  The trusted source of most of my 30 Dates.

In thirty blind dates, I had just three bad ones …

What could be so bad about a friend recommended by a school friend?

Turns out he wasn’t really a friend of a school friend.  He was a friend of a friend of a school friend.  And a lot can go wrong with that equation … and did.

I have to admit to not asking outright during the date.  However I would put money on two things being true -

1) That my Third Date of Christmas has at some point in his life trainspotted.

2) That my Third Date of Christmas was the first ever date of his life.

The entire ‘date’ aspect of the date was frankly cringeworthy, for reasons I don’t want to go into for fear of sounding like a complete and utter bitch!  Sorry guys, but I REALLY didn’t fancy him …

The Trainspotter was a lovely guy.  But we had zero spark.  And after an hour of pleasantries, next to zero conversation.  And I genuinely used to believe I could make conversation with anyone!

Thank God Vinopolis lived up to expectations.

The venue worked perfectly as a setting for a date.  The tour began with an introduction to wine tasting.

Those of you who followed my 30 Dates Challenge will know I’m quite the wine connoisseur …. when it comes to rose and lemonade! (Though ironically I did manage to teach the wine expert about my summer tipple during the tour, and the lovely guy actually managed to feign interest at my sacrilegious suggestion!)

So basically I needed all the help I could get!

We were shown how to hold the glass (not as obvious as it seems, I promise!), how to observe the wine, how to appreciate the different aromas of the wine, separating them out into different categories, and finally, how to best slurp the wine in order to taste it.

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We were then given credit cards loaded with tokens, and free reign of the different tasting rooms – White, Red, Spirits and Champagne.  Each area was filled with machines which automatically dispensed taster sized servings of various wines.  The wines varied in token price, and you could pay to load extra tokens on the card.

In the centre of both the White and Red rooms, interactive hubs allowed you to identify your ideal wines, by answering questions about different foods and tastes.

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I sampled a few white wines, before moving to my favourite section – the bubbles!

I spent the majority of my tokens on champagne, and sat somewhat awkwardly chatting with The Trainspotter. I couldn’t begrudge him, as he had stepped up at short notice, however conversation was really forced.  And it didn’t help that I was dating on about five hours sleep!

Vinopolis makes a great date venue, if you have chemistry with your date.  In a lot of ways it’s like an extended pub, because after the initial tour, you’re left to your own devices … and your own conversation.

I soon found myself willing the tour guide back.  I’d enjoyed learning about the wine, and finally understanding expressions like the ‘legs’ or ‘tears’ of a wine for the first time.

As part of the Christmas tour, we each had a complimentary minced pie and glass of mulled wine.  When The Trainspotter went off in search of mulled wine, he bumped into one of the Supervisors, who knew I was reviewing the experience for the blog.  However, rather amusingly, as I have a unisex first name, he assumed my date was the journalist, and whisked him off for a lengthy tour of the Spirits Room!

I breathed a sigh of relief, and began texting around, searching for an alternative partner to the Fourth Date of Christmas, later that evening.  The Trainspotter had needed to pop into work for a few hours (yes, on a Sunday!), and had offered to return after he’d finished in the office, and meet me at the second part of the date.  However I think we’d both acknowledged that three hours in each others’ company had been painful enough, so when one of the Experimental Daters stepped up to the plate, we both breathed a noticeable sigh of relief!

Sadly, my favourite part of the date was when my date was otherwise engaged with the Vinopolis tour guide, as it was the first time during the date that I properly relaxed.  I sat, nursing my mulled wine, and wearing my favourite Christmas jumper, and took stock of my beautiful surroundings. If only I hadn’t wasted such a great date venue on a completely blind date!

At the end of our tour, we nipped into the Spirits Room, where an amazingly informative guide showed us the traditional way to prepare absynth, and teased me about downing it.  While I left most of mine on the side, I watched in awe as the Trainspotter downed his absynth (probably his fifteenth drink of the afternoon as his token card had been playing up!) and proclaimed he was off to the office!

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The Vinopolis staff were extremely helpful and knowledgeable (and not just the ones who knew I was ‘press’  or thought my date was press!).  I didn’t become a red wine convert over night, but the tour definitely showed me how much there is to learn about wine, and Vinopolis was a beautiful peaceful place to enjoy a Sunday afternoon.  The staff were approachable, and not snobby in the slightest (something you might expect when going wine-tasting), and I’m still taken aback by the guide’s enthusiasm when I made a joke about only ever drinking rose and lemonade!

Would I recommend a date there?  Most definitely.

Just take someone you want to spend the afternoon leisurely drinking with!  So maybe a second or third date?

As for who came on the Fourth Date of Christmas …. you’ll have to wait to find out!

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2013 in 12 Dates of Christmas, 30 Dates

 

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EXPECTATIONS – Walking into Lampposts, and other Great Dating Advice! (TOWTS)

In all honesty, dates – particularly first dates – used to worry me.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact I literally walked into a lamppost on my very first “official” date as a fifteen year old, who knows?

Anyway, I used to build dates up in my mind to such an extent that I became quite anxious about making a good impression. A few years ago, you’d never have caught me standing in one of the busiest spots in London holding a sign waiting to meet a totally blind date, or agreeing to go “silent dating”.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt from taking part in these Experiments is that dating can be a lot of fun, as long as you actually allow yourself to have fun. Dates can either be quite awkward, tense affairs or they can be light-hearted and enjoyable.

I think it all depends on how you frame them in your mind.

A big part of this is Expectations. We’ve all had those dates which, frankly, we expected very little from and thought about cancelling. You’ve had a long day at the office, you’d rather go to the gym or see your friends. You might even just want to sit on the sofa and have a night in. The “old” me would invariably have cancelled those dates, but I’ve learnt that you can end up having a good time on a date from which you expected very little.

In fact, there have been a few of those dates that have ended up going surprisingly well. Looking back on the various dates I’ve had, the ones that went well are those where I put least pressure on myself and was most relaxed. I just turned up with very few expectations or no expectations at all – not in a negative way, just in an open-minded way – and was able to embrace those dates for what they were.

We all go through some “box-ticking” when it comes to dating. It might be before the date, during the date or after it, but we all do it one way or another.

Does she like sport? Can she laugh at herself? Is she really passionate about something?

The more of these mental boxes we’re able to tick, the more pressure we put on the date to go a certain way because we think there’s potential there. I’m as guilty of this as anyone.

Except this is where I think we all go wrong every now and again.

Turning up to a date with a clear idea of how you expect the date to go based on your box ticking will only serve to raise your expectations, potentially making you more uptight. Realistically, you don’t really know the other person and you certainly don’t know how the date will go or whether you’d make a good couple, so there’s not much point in trying to guess any of this.

Let me explain myself - The more realistic your expectations are, the more relaxed you’re likely to be. The more relaxed you are, the more likely you’ll be yourself and therefore possibly make a connection with someone. So, by all means carry on ticking those boxes if you need to, but don’t take the exercise too seriously, as it could raise your expectations too much and potentially make for a slightly awkward date if things don’t go exactly according to plan.

Because the truth is you can’t know someone very well at all when you start dating them – particularly before a first date – and to project your expectations onto them and onto the date is not only unfair on both of you, but also counter-productive.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that in my mind the best approach to dating – as Miss Twenty-Nine has pointed out to me a few times since I’ve known her – is just to relax and be open minded. In other words, to forget whatever expectations you might have for your date because chances are, they’re way off.

To be honest, I never expected to actually walk into a lamppost on a first date. But I did, which really just goes to show that anything can happen on a date and your best bet is just to embrace that.

The One with The Sign

@TheOWTS

 

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2013 in 30 Dates, EXPECTATIONS

 

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#WednesdayDatingClub Tale!

If you’re in need of some inspiration to get dating, last Wednesday Experimental Dater Ruby live-tweeted her Wednesday Dating Club date in Vancouver.  Here’s a write-up of her date, and the first of two Canadian contributions to the blog tonight!

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

My Date with Mr. Pleasant

Well, what a nice surprise. I think my first #WednesdayDatingClub went well!

If you missed it, I decided to live-tweet the event.

Sorry if it wasn’t more eventful- there were hardly breaks to tweet and everything just went well- nothing too juicy or scandalous to spill.

I’m going to call this date Mr. Pleasant for two reasons. First, he was just … you guessed it … a pleasant guy.

The date wasn’t mind-altering shattering, exciting, terrible or boring. It was pleasant.

Second, most of our date took part in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver- a really great neighbourhood that was a good choice for a casual first date.  In a lot of ways it was a standard date. But in a lot of ways it wasn’t, because nobody has a standard dinner and drinks for a first date anymore!  I would say that a dinner date, as a first date, happens only 20% of the time.

I’m hot and cold on the issue of committing to a full dinner and drinks evening for a first date. On the one hand it’s nice to get a formal invitation and commit to a certain amount of time where you can ride out any bumps in conversation, making use of the allotted amount of time to get to know someone.

However, sometimes the date is just so horrendous that you end up wishing that you hadn’t committed to an entire meal with this person.

A coffee or even a speed date might be too long with the wrong person.

I also notice that a full dinner date is sometimes used as a way to get more time with a person that you don’t think you have a chance with. It’s easier to walk away from a coffee date than a dinner date and, clearly, it has its pluses and minuses.

Anyhow, this was a legitimate first date that was organised by a mutual friend of ours. Conversation started on the obvious point of how we knew the mutual friend and how we were convinced that a blind date was a good idea.

He took initiative in directing the evening- which is a very good move and definitely an impression-maker for my personality type.  Mr. Pleasant forwarded me a meeting place suggestion. We met a casual bar/pub called The Whip (one of my favourite bars in the city for their beer selection), grabbed a beer and had non-awkward small talk.

I think it helps that we are both rather close friends of the person who set us up, and had just never run in the same circles, so we’d never met in real life. This is possibly the best situation with blind dating- someone you would have likely been friends with if you just had the opportunity to meet them before.

As part of my challenge, I told you that he would talk about race within the first 15 minutes of meeting me. This didn’t happen. But ;et me explain why: my friend already told him that I do work on race and gender issues and I’m pretty politicized on this issue. My [White] date told me later at dinner that he probably would have brought it up in a stupid way if his friend hadn’t already warned him to approach the issue intelligently, if at all.

The second part of our date was at The French Table, a bistro/wine bar. Again, my date admitted that he knew nothing of wine but his friend told him I was really into wine so he chose a wine place. It’salways nice when someone tries to please you and make a good impression based on what he knows about you. From some of the smaller nice gestures and extra effort he made, I can tell that he was marriage-minded.

He just took everything with an extra seriousness. Made sure to do all the “gentlemanly” things so that there would be no excuse on his part if things didn’t go well. The dinner conversation was good- we talked about our travel experiences- both of us seem to have a taste for adventure and have a bit of experience backpacking.

A bottle in, and the conversation wasn’t getting any better and wasn’t getting any worse (Sometimes this is an issue with slight inebriation). We talked a lot about travel and chose the French Malbec as an ode to some of our travels in Argentina and France. It was nice to meet someone who travelled a lot as well because sometimes you find a lack of common ground in general life orientation when someone has no desire to live in places other than their hometown.

Our date probably lasted around six hours- we met early and ended fairly early because he had to get up at 5:30am for work. He does a mashup of jobs, none of which earn him that much money but he is passionate about them. To offset that, he told me he trades and follows the markets quite closely so he wakes with the NYC East Coast markets to do some money-making work before he goes to his actual job, which is in the charitable non-profit sector.

So, the budding question:

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One of the things I struggle with is finding a particular spark/attraction. There problem I am faced with now is that this guy is just an all round good guy and good date. He’s attractive, gainfully employed, good conversation, generally all the things you want in a date and someone you could easily introduce to your parents.

However the interaction was missing that spark, or that particular quality that attracts me to someone.

“Spark” can be developed in a wide variety of ways. For some people it is all about physical attraction. For some people it is having a similar sense of humour. For some it is about have a similar point of passion.

For me? it is a specific conversation style- a banter, to be specific, with someone. There has to be a great back and forth banter for me to see that spark in someone.

Unfortunately, it is a very rare quality.

I’m more than happy to be friends with Mr. Pleasant, but if he asks me out again I’m conflicted whether or not I should just go out with a nice guy and hope there is another point of attraction that can be developed, or if I should insist on only dating people with whom I have that definite spark.

People in successful longterm relationships, what are your thoughts?

Did you spark with that person, or is the attraction something that had to develop slowly over time and now you feel “the fireworks”?

Do I go out with Mr. Pleasant again or wait to find Mr. Spark?

Ruby 

 

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Experimental Date One – Her Side (Blonde Ambition)

On Saturday two of the blog’s Experimental Daters – Blonde Ambition & The Dapper Gent - met up for a blind date of sorts … I won’t go into detail as they both will, however it’s time to see how the blog’s first Experimental Date went, with write-ups from both parties!

Ladies first … it’s over to Blonde Ambition!

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

The Twelve Hour Date

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Miss Twenty-Nine contacted me a couple of weeks ago to see if I would consider going on a date with the Dapper Gent. I was sceptical and asked if the poor fellow knew what he was letting himself in for… had he read my blog? Miss Twenty-Nine said he had, and apparently he thought he sounded like my perfect date. I responded saying I would meet him to see if he lived up to his credentials. The characteristics listed on my blog were never meant to be easily achievable (hence the challenge) so this guy’s claims intrigued me.

Exchanging numbers, I chatted to the Dapper Gent over the next few days. He said he’d come pick me up and drop me home after the date. I claimed there was no need in London… there’s a thing called the Tube (I suspected he just wanted to show off his car). He asked if he could have me all afternoon on the Saturday. I said I would keep my afternoon free. He wouldn’t allow me to know what he had planned (man of mystery), just that the first part may get a little windy and to wear flat shoes (absolute nightmare for a girl who is more comfortable tottering about in towering heels).

While he may have been unhappy to reveal any details about the date itself, he did inform me that he was growing a moustache for Movember. Cringe. Not only was I going to be meeting up with a complete stranger, he would be sporting some dodgy facial hair. I think Movember is a great cause (don’t get me wrong), it’s just not ideal for women in date situations.

Prior to the date, he asked me if I’m good at baking. If he’d read my profile properly, he would have seen it was the first thing I listed under my hobbies. I’m a pro-baker. Curious to know if there was anything I would like to learn how to bake, I said I would be quite keen to learn how to bake a Townie… a brownie inside a tart (thanks to ‘Mr I Love You’ who introduced me to the concept).

Over the course of the next few days, the Dapper Gent kept upping the dating ante… he said he had two date options. Option one would finish at 20.30, the other at midnight. Which option did I want to pick? Knowing nothing of the activities he had planned, I said I didn’t mind. Flip a coin… heads (option one), tails (option two). I doubt he ever tossed the coin. Instead he simply picked the longer option. This is how the twelve hour date happened.

I said it was a risky strategy; he may get bored after the first twelve minutes.

With details being finalised, I asked if I was allowed to know where we were meeting. He said he’d post a riddle on Twitter for me and the readers to figure out.

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Little did he know that I’m extremely good at solving riddles and I didn’t require any assistance; I instantly knew where he was referring to… the London Eye.

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I also guessed that we’d be doing something on the river (as the London Eye isn’t known for being a particularly windy date activity).

With the time and place set for the date, I didn’t really expect to hear from him anymore until we met up. Instead, I received text messages like the one below.

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I hate text messages like these.

Number One: they’re mundane and not at all natural… in real life conversation, you would never ask someone how their day is going.

Number Two: he made a silly spelling mistake. Yes, I am that judgemental. However, he should have known better. Unlike him, I have my own dating blog which highlights these dating no-no’s.

He also thought it’d be funny to play me at my own game and wait a couple of days to respond to one of my text messages. An instant black mark went against his name. Never attempt to play me at my own games because you don’t stand a chance of winning.

When he texted to check to see if we were still okay for the date the next day (less than twenty-four hours before it was due to start), I tried to cancel. Normally, if a guy had sent me those pedestrian type of text messages and then waited days to respond, he wouldn’t have stood a chance. In fact, I had tried to cancel due to having been off work that week with a virus (the idea of being cold on the river didn’t appeal) and neither did spending anytime with the Dapper Gent.

Luckily for the Dapper Gent, he had Miss Twenty-Nine fighting his corner… plus he had the whole day planned so I felt like I couldn’t cancel.

Needless to say, it wasn’t the best start to a date. He knew I didn’t want to be there.

However, we quickly got over the ‘I tried to cancel the date’ issue.

Meeting at the London Eye, he revealed that we would be going on a London RIB Voyage down the river. Having lived on the river since moving to London (let’s not mention those regrettable three months spent in Clapham South), I absolutely love any activity which involves being on the water. Grabbing a quick coffee beforehand, we did the normal small talk before heading down the pier to be supplied with extra layers and a lifejacket. As a cox, I knew the procedure and required no assistance with my jacket. I was just thankful that ‘Mr Summer Fling’ no longer worked for the company (I may have neglected to mention in my previous posts that he is a sailor).

London_RIB

Boarding the RIB, I took the outward facing seat. Big mistake. I got drenched as we bombed down the river. My perfectly applied make up was nonexistence within moments of being on the river. Normally when out on a launch with my rowing club, I don’t have any make-up on so it’s not an issue. Refusing to worry about mascara running down my face, I sat back and enjoyed the experience. With cheesy music playing, we didn’t have to make conversation – perfect planning on his part. I was able to point out my old apartment and office building to the Dapper Gent as the RIB swung around in Canary Wharf. After a rather humorous sightseeing tour on the way back to Waterloo Bridge, we disembarked and heading to the nearest tube.

Slowly thawing, we navigated our way to Finchley where the Dapper Gent had organised a private bakery lesson. He made out it was a massive surprise. He failed to predict that I might have an excellent memory which recalled him quizzing me on what I’d like to learn to bake. Arriving early, we had time to grab a quick coffee. I will give this to the Dapper Gent, he kept me well supplied in coffee… as a complete and utter addict; I do have a daily quota I need to get through in order to function.

Departing the coffee shop, he relied on his GPS to direct us to Rachel’s Kitchen. As an army officer, I thought he would have basic map reading skills… apparently not. Spending five minutes “orientating” the map on his phone (basically spinning his phone around in the palm of his hand), we walked back on ourselves until we found the correct road.

Entering Rachel’s Kitchen, she explained what we would be doing. I was excited to finally learn how to bake a Townie. She was so lovely, plying us with tea and coffee and slowly talking us through the steps. It was a rather unusual date idea but it definitely earnt the Dapper Gent some brownie (or should I say Townie) points. As Dapper Gent doesn’t have a sweet tooth, I was allowed to lick out all the mixing bowls… such an attractive first date look. I also scoffed a load of the butterscotch which we made. Not my normal dating etiquette, I assure you.

baking_rachelskitchen

While we had been baking, I discovered a little bit more about the Dapper Gent. He’s a professionally trained chef and went on a baking course. Not that he uses either of them with a live-in chef back home who is on hand to fulfil any of his culinary desires at the drop of a hat. I asked him why he had wanted to learn how to cook. He claimed that when he gets married, he wants to be able to cook for his wife. Most women would be swooning by this moment. As a natural born cynic, I retorted, what if she wants to be in charge of the cooking?! He countered that she would still deserve a night off. I still wasn’t convinced. Most guys dread the idea of marriage, let alone go on a cookery course in preparation. While women may have attended etiquette lessons in the hope of ensnaring a husband; it would appear Dapper has turned the table on this archaic ritual and is the very definition of the ‘modern man’.

Unfortunately for Dapper, his baking skills were no match for mine. I may not be professionally trained (and I rarely even get the chance to practice anymore) but I still managed to completely outshine him in the pastry stakes.

 pastry

Departing Rachel’s with a pile of goodies, I was feeling a lot more relaxed (it may have been a result of all the sugar). It turns out baking is a good ice-breaker… definitely something I would consider doing on future dates.

townies

We had planned to grab a bite to eat locally after leaving Rachel’s. However, we were once again reliant upon the Dapper Gent’s sense of direction. Getting completely lost on the way to the restaurant, I suggested we headed over to Notting Hill.

(Dapper had finally filled me in on the last part of the date while at Rachel’s. It’s in Notting Hill was his first clue; followed by… you can sit and have a drink while doing this activity. I soon guessed it was a trip to the Electric cinema. )

Luckily for Dapper, I knew my way around Portobello so I direct us to the row of restaurants close to the Electric. It was starting to rain when we passed a cosy restaurant called ‘The Portobello Organic Kitchen’. Finally, the date had some spontaneity… we were no longer tied down by Dapper’s plans and chose this venue for dinner. Both selecting fish and chips of the menu, we wolfed down our food. Hours wandering around London had obviously done wonders for our appetite.

portobello

With the film due to start, we made our way up the road to the Electric – where we discovered Dapper had accidently booked tickets for the wrong day. The show was sold out. Waiting at the box office we had to hope someone didn’t show. Fortunately, the guy at the box office took pity on us and allowed us to have the house seats. The Electric cinema is an experience like no other… placing my glass of Baileys on the side table, I reached into the footstall for the cashmere blanket and prepared myself for the film to start. The only problem with seeing a film at an independent cinema is the lack of choice. We were forced to watch The Counsellor, a typical blokeish film and not something I would have chosen to watch (especially considering the rubbish reviews). However, I was just thankfully to be able to put my feet up and have a drink after a tiring day traipsing all over London.

electric_cinema

Somehow managing to stay awake throughout what has to be one of the worst films I’ve seen in recent years, I was relieved when the credits began to roll. This is when Dapper leant over and said, “That has to be one of the worst films I’ve seen”. Thank god, I might have questioned his taste if he thought the film was good.

Catching the tube home, we had to switch lines halfway through the journey. Waiting on the platform, we were informed we’d missed the last tube so were forced to get a taxi (Dapper Gent doesn’t do night buses). I’ll also say this for the Dapper Gent, he ensured I got home safely, dropping me at my door and giving me a box of Townies as a takeaway token of our date. If only all dates gave me baked goods as a parting gift…

Blonde Ambition

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in 30 Dates, Dating Experiments

 

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Coming Up This Wednesday! (Ruby)

Over the past few weeks, the 30 Dates Blog has introduced the idea of #WednesdayDatingClub – a way to inspire singletons, as well as those of you in relationships, to get out and about and date!

There’s a big difference between being Single and actively Dating … and Wednesday Dating Club is a great way to motivate yourself to make the transition!  Just find a date – whether that’s through friends, by asking someone you like out, or by getting online and meeting someone new.  Don’t over-think it, just go for it.

And schedule a date for the folllowing Wednesday, knowing that even if your friends aren’t out there dating at the same time, there are other Daters all round the globe, doing the same thing – and happy to share their tales on Twitter @30Dates or on the blog, to keep you motivated, and feeling like a proper part of a Dating Community!

Here’s Ruby’s contribution to that Community …

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

I had the fortune to be asked out yesterday and I decided to make it coincide with the #WednesdayDatingClub!

I wanted my first blog post to be interesting and different so, instead of writing about it after, I thought I would live-tweet the situation.  So many of the Experimental Daters have started their own Twitter accounts just for this experiment and I felt peer-pressured by their lead in the awesomeness of social media.

Obviously I’m not going to whip out my phone every second something happens so I can tweet it- but think about it like texting your best friend to give them a play-byplay of Date Night – just in the form of tweets.

(Come on now, you know you’ve done that before- texted your best friend when either you or he is in the restroom!).

From my last post, you’ll know that I’m exploring Racial Identity under the “PHYSICALITY” Experiment.

In that post I explained how important race is, as a factor, in dating.  No matter what scenario, racial discussion is likely to be within the first five questions I get asked, OR within the first fifteen-minutes of conversation.  I already talked a little bit about my experience of how I am ALWAYS approached as an “Asian-girl” and never as just a person.  To give you a rough statistic of how serious that is, I will let you know that 99% of the time I am “picked up”, the first or second sentence that comes out of his mouth will refer to race.

My date for the Wednesday night dating challenge is a blind date set up by a friend.

I don’t know how much he knows about me, or if he even knows what I look like.

I have no idea what he looks like.

A True Blind Date!

Anyhow, I promise you, within fifteen-minutes of my date, we will already be on the topic of race.

I plan to Live-Tweet the date and then write a follow-up post.  I will be in Vancouver for this particular date (I’m pretty much in a different city every month)- so we’re meeting at 7pm Pacific Time so I should be tweeting around then.

You can follow me here: @Ruby30Dates to get a live play-by-play (or catch up first thing in the morning, if you’re reading in the UK … as 7pm Pacific Time is 3am in London!).

Ruby

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in 30 Dates, Wednesday Dating Club

 

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Experimental Dater Twenty-Four – The Student

The thing about being thirty is you still feel young … and yes, I know some people will tell me it is still young! … but at thirty you’re not as young as you used to be!  And dating at thirty is definitely different to dating at twenty.  There are different concerns, and priorities.  Different turn-offs and turn-ons.

Which is why, in order for the 30 Dates Blog to truly explore all angles of Dating, I thought it important to introduce a younger Experimental Dater to the team …

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

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Blog Name:  The Student

Twitter Account - @TheStudent_30

Age: 22

Location: London/Sheffield

Relationship status: Single

Sexuality: Straight female

Religion: None

Height: 5’ 9″

Body Type: Slim, with junk in the trunk

Job: Student

Education: Bachelor’s Degree … almost!

Hobbies: Charity shop perusing, reading (I’m a Lit student), film, the pub, food, travelling.

Ideal Partner: Taller than me for starters, must be witty – sense of humour is key. Confident without unattractive arrogance. Intelligent and caring. So not too much to ask!

Longest Relationship: Three and a half years.

Why do you think you’re single?:  The uni lifestyle doesn’t make for the most ideal dating environment. Everyone’s more interested in casual sex, and I’ve been happy to wait for the right person to come along.

Good Relationship Traits: I’m low maintenance, loyal and happy to be invested in the right guy.

Bad Relationship Traits: Getting comfortable too easily and perhaps ignoring and not addressing fundamental compatibility issues. I need to take control of situations.

How would you describe the way you date? I enjoy being wined and dined but if the company’s right I’m just as happy to do anything.

What do you find most attractive in a date? Assertiveness, and good chat.

What do you find least attractive in a date? Someone who can’t listen and prefers the sound of his own voice. Bad manners.

Best Ever Date: My first date with an ex. Just a lovely dinner and fabulous company. That’s all that matters.

Worst Ever Date: A blind date, set up by my co-worker. The guy was an hour and a half late – I only waited because my co-worker insisted that I stay and wait – and I was knackered and not in the mood anyway. He takes me to shisha bar where we have dull conversation, we clearly had nothing in common, and he took four or five phone calls without apologising and then asked me if I want to continue the evening by smoking weed with him in his car. I declined, and insisted he take me home. I just wanted to leave as soon as I arrived.

Celebrity Crushes: Too many to list! Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Donald Glover, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Michel Roux Jr. I could probably go on for a while longer!

 

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30 Lessons I’ve Learned from My 30 Dates

I’ve never really been into self-help books, or spiritual journeys.  For me, the aim of 30 Dates was pretty fun – enjoy some nice simple dates, where I hadn’t invested anything into my ‘relationship’ with the guy beforehand.  Proper blind dates.  No expectations.

And yet, as the Challenge progressed, I found myself becoming an unwitting dating guru for my friends!  Not just date ideas, but friends came to me with queries about dating websites, singles events, and even what to message guys they’d met online!

Even some of my Dates would ask for advice – asking me where to take girls, and how to create successful online dating profiles … and who could forget my painful date tutoring ‘The Pupil’?!

And so, inspired by a question Cosmopolitan asked me very early on in this Challenge … here are the 30 Lessons I have learnt from my 30 Dates.

  1.  A first date doesn’t have to just be dinner or a drink – my best dates have been the more adventurous or unusual ones (The Enigma, The Fake Pimpernel, The Oxford Blue)
  2. Spontaneity has a Time and a Place – It’s one thing to go for an unplanned drink at the end of a date (The Enigma), but quite another to have no plan whatsoever, and end up eating at a random restaurant in the middle of nowhere (The Booby Prize)
  3. There are some amazing things to do in London – and there’s something new or different happening every night.  Look at Disappearing Dining (Queen’s Guard), and Dine Mile High (The Jet-Setter)
  4. Laughter can be the best ice breaker - two of my best dates started with humour – BUG at the BFI with The Superhero Alter-Ego, and (inadvertently!) the cringey Toilet Tour with The Fresh Prince.
  5. Burlesque is not a first date venue! – But if you’re already sleeping with the guy, by all means go for it! (The Burlesque Dancer)
  6. New York is a bloody exciting place to go on a date! (The New Yorker)
  7. Bullfighting is really brutal!  I said I wouldn’t judge it until I saw it …. The amphitheatre was beautiful, the bull-fighting seemed pretty unnecessary.  My favourite bit was when the bull got saved by a herd of cows … even if I did mishear the Argentine Matador and think he said clowns before they appeared!)
  8. The fine for climbing the Hollywood Sign is only $103 ….. is it bad that I think that’s probably worth it?! (The Hollywood Actor)
  9. Everyone loves a surprise – How often in life do you get real surprises?  Birthdays maybe?  If you’re lucky, you might have a partner who regularly treats you with surprises. But as a singleton, proper surprises are pretty few and far between.  So the surprise elements of the dates were amazing!  (The Challenger, The Fake Pimpernel, The Enigma, The Best Man, The Superhero Alter-Ego)
  10. You can have some really fun dates for free – (The Best Man, The Stallion)
  11. But if you do want to splurge, there are also some amazing restaurants to try in London! (The Enigma (Dates 1 and 2) and The Superhero Alter-Ego)
  12. Afternoon dates can be just as fun as evening ones(The One with The Sign, The Hollywood Actor, The Original Pimpernel, The Stallion)
  13. There are some really fun, cool single guys out there.  No one need panic about approaching thirty and being single!! Trust me, there are some really eligible guys out there who aren’t taken!  Even if some online dating sites and singles events might suggest otherwise!
  14. For the most part, you can trust your friends to spot a good date! Seriously, with a couple of notable exceptions, my friends did really well!  I’ve repeatedly admitted how picky I am, and yet looking back over my thirty dates, they really were an upstanding, eligible bunch!
  15. Going on a blind date with a friend’s brother is an automatic comfort zone – Both my dates with friends’ brothers – The Model Brother and The Big Kid – were really fun and banter-filled from the start, and I think knowing their sisters put me more at ease more quickly
  16. Speed Dating attracts men who never normally talk to women …. Or usually frequent bars!  If your ideal man is a member of the IT Crowd, fill your speed dating boots!
  17. Tinder is amazing!  An app which has managed to dodge the stigma of online dating, and attract nice normal guys who aren’t (all) just after a one night stand.
  18. If you’re going on a Blind Date, and you’re taller 5’6’’ or over, definitely wear flats!  Three of my dates were shorter than me – one by a good four inches!
  19.  Confidence is attractive – And not just in the guys.  Some guys were really affronted when they heard about my crazy challenge, but I’ve definite noticed the effect it’s had on a lot of hot single guys I know.  The more confident I’ve become thanks to this Challenge, the hotter the guys hitting on me! And by contrast …. a lack of confidence is really unattractive – something I noticed with The Pupil.
  20. Arrogance isn’t …. so if you’re confident, you also need to be able to laugh at yourself at the same time.  (The Exhibitionist)
  21. Enthusiasm is everything – As my date with Mr Twenty40 proved, being enthusiastic about what you’re doing (or not being enthusiastic) definitely affects how attractive you are to the opposite sex.
  22. GSOH is a must.  You need to share a common sense of humour … otherwise it can be really pretty awkward (some of my jokes on the date with The Exhibitionist were literally met with tumbleweed silence!).
  23. Make sure you know where you stand – Not everyone is an open book, but sometimes you need to know what the other person is looking for.  Don’t assume just because a guy is on a date, that he’s looking for a relationship!  (The Enigma)
  24. You can have a really fun date with someone you almost immediately mutually acknowledge no attraction to! (The One with the GSOH)
  25. You can have still have a really bad date with someone you thought you had a connection with! (my real date with The Skype Date)
  26. Sometimes He’s Just Not That Into You – it’s a harsh lesson to learn, but I’m definitely beginning to learn the virtue of Miss32’s dating experience.  Her mantra – if he’s interested, he’ll text you.  If he’s not, he won’t.  (Return of the Henley Boy – Part Three)
  27. That you can make anything happen - look how this crazy challenge developed in a few short weeks, from a simple Facebook idea, to an internationally-stretching adventure
  28. That I can write … and people want to read it!  That may sound a stupid thing to say, but the reaction to my blog has been really touching, particularly from readers who really aren’t my target audience.  It’s really cool to hear guys regularly reading the blog, and appreciating a humour, which is often just me talking how I would normally talk.  It’s a nice feeling to be completely honest, just talk how I normally talk, and have people appreciate it.  If anything that’s probably been more of a confidence boost than the dates!
  29. You should feel like he’s a prize.  You need to like him as much as he likes you – because no one likes to feel like they can ‘do better’.  And sometimes someone being too into you can be just as much of a turn off as them not trying at all. You should never feel like you’re having to settle!
  30. But you always need to treat yourself as the ultimate prize.  It’s something you always need to remember when you’re dating, and generally in relationships.  If you don’t love yourself, then how can someone else love you?  And if you have no self-respect, you’ll let guys walk all over you. (Return of the Henley Boy Part Three!)  And sometimes, no matter how eligible you are, you might end up on your own for a period of time, and you need to be happy and confident when you’re flying solo.

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 2, 2013 in 30 Dates, Dating Commentary

 

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The Full List

Here’s the full list of the thirty men who have helped make the past three months one of the most memorable and fun summers of my life! (and the one guy who started it all off ….)

The Trigger – The Henley Boy

Date One – The Normal Fish

Date Two – The One with The Sign

Date Three – The Burlesque Dancer

Date Four – The Model Brother

Date Five - The One with the GSOH

Date Six – The School Crush

Date Seven – The Challenger

Date Eight – The Fake Pimpernel

Date Nine – The Attic Mouse

Date Ten - Mr Twenty40

Date Eleven – Stitch

Date Twelve – The Enigma

Date Thirteen  - The Original Pimpernel

Date Fourteen – The Upgrade

Date Fifteen - The Booby Prize

Date Sixteen – The Argentine Matador

Date Seventeen – The Pupil

Date Eighteen – The Fresh Prince

Date Nineteen – The Best Man

Date Twenty – The Surprise Package

Date Twenty-One – The Stallion

Date Twenty-Two – The Queen’s Guard

Date Twenty-Three – The Oxford Blue

Date Twenty-Four – The Exhibitionist

Date Twenty-Five – The Big Kid

Date Twenty-Six – The Jet-Setter

Date Twenty-Seven – The Superhero Alter-Ego

Date Twenty-Eight – The Voice

Date Twenty-Nine – The New Yorker

Date Thirty – The Hollywood Actor

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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