Ok, so I am just 1 Date into my 30 Dates Challenge, and so far the response has been completely overwhelming!!!
In just over a week, what started as an off-the-cuff Facebook comment has well and truly snowballed. To date, the #30datesblog has close to 4500 hits, and the @30dates Twitter page over 150 followers. Obviously a lot of those hits and follows are from friends, but as more and more people share the links, or talk about the blog, I’m beginning to see feedback and comments from people who I’ve never met, which is really pretty cool.
On an hourly basis I’m receiving private messages from friends I haven’t spoken to in years, telling me how addictive the blog is, or volunteering friends up as dates. Most single girls appear to have had some form of ‘Henley Boy experience’ at some point, and I even had an email from a friend’s mum telling me rather graphic details about her sex life! Most readers seem to love to hate Henley Boy, and the conspiracy theories are flooding in thick and fast! An old school friend who lives in Henley has admitted to eyeing up random single men in the street, wondering if one might be him! Meanwhile, one of my male friends is adamant that there is a not-so-pleasant explanation to HB’s odd behaviour, involving multi-dating and STDs!
I’ve been asked over Twitter what I would do if HB got back in contact with me now …. my response was that I would take a snapshot of the message, and post it on the blog for all of you guys to decide! As the Challenge picks up momentum, I’ve also wondered what the possibility is of someone inadvertently putting Henley Boy forward as a potential blind date for me! (unless of course the ‘married’ conspiracy theory is correct!!)
Single girls approaching the big 3-0 have messaged me saying how similar they feel about the dating scene. Married women admit to loving the idea of living vicariously through the blog, and at least three of my friends who are mothers have referred to the 30 Dates Blog as perfect ‘breast-feeding reading material’! I’ve been stopped in my office by colleagues I’ve never spoken to, and had people give me feedback from their children and mothers about the blog.
Most people appear to be enjoying the blog nicknames …. and so I think it’s time that I gave some of your readers some nice names!
This morning, as I arrived at work, I answered my phone to the Breakfast Team from my local radio station, thanks to some behind the scenes work from the ‘Turbo Shandy Girlz’ (two girls whose name comes from an amazing drunken afternoon at the Capital Summertime Ball). Matt & Michelle from Heart FM quizzed me for the best part of twenty minutes about the challenge, coming up with their own HB theories (Matt suggested maybe he just ‘loved me so much that I was distracting him from his Masters’!) and Michelle referred repeatedly to him as a ‘cad’. Obviously, as it was early morning radio, I couldn’t share my friend’s STD conspiracy theory with the rest of Berkshire and Hampshire, but the Breakfast Team did go so far as to ask me what base I had got to with HB on our second date!!! (something I replied very politely to!)
Over in Madrid, an old uni friend, who I will refer to by the name of Signor28 (because he is about as close to a male version of me as I’ll probably ever meet!) has not only put in a request that I change the colour scheme of my blog to one which he could read more discreetly at work, but also invited me out for a weekend next month, with not one, but two Spanish dates! However, rather than tell his friends about the blog (which the majority of my ‘referees’ have been doing when suggesting friends as dates), Signor28 has decided that he’s just going to offload me on his male friends, pretending he’d forgotten I was coming to stay for the weekend, and has other plans himself that evening, so they are needed to ‘entertain me.’
And so the Challenge looks set to go global!
There are also suggestions of a weekend in Dublin (I see a date at the Guiness factory on the cards!), and my idea of going to LA for my 30th may now have to include a layover in New York for a date or two! Seeing as one of my ‘referees’ on the dating case over in Los Angeles is a former pro-Baseball player, I’m really hoping I get to fit a date at a ball game into the thirty!
With every new location come new date opportunities. Back home, I already had plans to visit a number of friends in different cities, and so just tonight I managed to line up a date up in Birmingham, with a possible date in Wales later in the year! A friend I met whilst backpacking in Australia has demanded he gets to suggest date situations – something I’m not adverse to, provided he finds me men to go on whatever crazy dates he has in mind! And a number of my friends Downunder are trying to find me a Skype date or two … the idea being that we eat the same food and drink the same wine, with the small issue of ten thousand miles between us!
As the Challenge grows momentum, I’m receiving more and more texts from potential dates, and their link to me becomes weaker and weaker. One of the dates knows no one I know, but has a friend who did a ski season in Europe with a lovely girl, who I did a season in Canada with!
Some of the referees have told their friends everything, and so I will be going on dates with men who are reading this blog at the same time as the rest of you (and who will no doubt have their phone on Twitter the entire way through the date to make sure I don’t live feed anything!). Whereas more than one referee has suggested that they are not going to tell their friend about the blog.
Interestingly, the people who appear have the biggest issues with the blog are boys who I would consider ‘players’. Perhaps they recognise themselves in Henley Boy? Perhaps they don’t like the idea of a girl being the empowered one giving boys nicknames and ratings out of ten? Whatever the reason, I have a couple of friends who are really not keen on me giving the men nicknames! (even though I promise the blog will always be anonymous!)
And one whose only comment was that I’m going to get a very ‘sore v*gina’! So we all know what he does on a First Date! (Apologies to anyone who had tuned into the blog thinking I was going on 30 sexual escapades before my 30th … you must have really been confused by the nickname Boring Fish!!!)
Obviously Normal Fish had no idea I was blogging about my dating experience (let’s just home neither he nor Henley Boy listens to Heart FM tomorrow morning!!!), however the majority of the rest of my dates will be going into the Challenge with completely open eyes. As a result, all the guys I’ve chatted about it with so far have really been game for the challenge. I guess they see it as a chance to prove themselves, and earn a decent nickname! One guy started talking very competitively about how he expects to at least be one of the top 3, whilst another one has asked me if all 30 dates will be invited to my 30th Birthday Party. I jokingly replied that only anyone scoring over an 7 on the date will receive a birthday invite, which he then took as a personal challenge!
And finally, on the topic of ‘life after the dates’, there is an additional aspect of the 30 Dates Challenge, which I promise I didn’t purposely rob from the C4 First Dates program ….
As we’ve already established, I’m likely to be highly picky on my dates, and I’m not going into this Challenge expecting to find anything other than some great stories and new experiences. However, I will be dating 30 nice, eligible, single men.
Back in February I went on a date with a really nice guy I met on POF. I knew within a few minutes that I didn’t fancy him, but spent most of the date thinking how well suited he would be for one of my closest female friends. I thought nothing more of it, until I noticed him back on POF last week. Within a few text messages, I had matchmade him with said female friend, and fingers crossed, they have a date next week!
And so, with that in mind …
If anyone likes the sounds of any of the lovely guys I meet over the next three months, and I haven’t made clear on the blog that I plan to marry him (joke, joke …. please still go on dates with me Numbers 2 to 30!!), then if the guy is game, I’m more than happy to set up the guys I’ve dated with single girls following the blog! Just call me Cilla!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx