I have just under a month left to go, and ten dates left to finish my challenge.
As I’ve explained before, the further I get into this challenge, the harder it becomes to find date referrals – mainly due to the blog, the number of hits it has been getting, and how critical I can be! (I do try my hardest to review the date, and not the person I’m on the date with … though in some cases that’s easier said than done!)
There are other side effects of being two months into this challenge.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I am exhausted! Going on an average of three dates a week, along with various singles events, and writing about it all has been pretty time-consuming! I’m normally a really active person, and as I try to balance the challenge with all my normal social commitments, and still seeing the people I care about, I’ve found sleep and exercise are the two things which I’ve put on the back burner. That and tidying my flat!
Add into the mix the fact I got promoted at work three weeks ago, and moved to shift-work a week ago, and my life at present is a (very fun) crazy mess!
In fact, whilst those guys dating me in the final third of this challenge are meeting a far more relaxed and confident dater, they’re also meeting a way more exhausted and unhealthy version of me! I’ve had repetitive back ache because I’m practicing hot yoga so much less than normal, and I can’t remember the last time I had an entire day to myself!
But its all fun and games, and with only one month left to go, I figure I need to continue to embrace the project fully (and then just live in the gym for the entire month of October!) A lot of people have asked if I cut the bad dates short, and the honest answer is No – I figure I owe it to the guys to go on a ‘proper’ date, and not do a runner. Because I know I would judge them badly if they cut a date short, and I can’t justify judging the dates, unless I’m personally doing as much as possible to make the date successful.
And so I promise to make an effort with all of my remaining ten dates, no matter how awful they end up being, and treat them all like proper first dates (even if one does end up being with another girl!).
As I explained in Perfectionism vs Practicality, one unexpected side-effect of the challenge is that I’ve become the go-to girl for random date ideas, and dating tales. I’ve also become something of a font of dating knowledge, with various singletons (including friends’ parents!) emailing me to ask me for advice.
The project has expanded in so many different ways, that even now I still don’t know the nature of the beast. Is it a social experiment? Is it an urban dating guide to London? A search for the One?
I think events with the Enigma proved this could never be a search for the One! And that it’s definitely safest for me to enter any of the future dates in that frame of mind!
I’ve come to realise it will mean different things to different people. Recently I’ve tried some more abnormal sources for dates when I get to America at the end of this month, and faced some interesting questions about what I hope to achieve from the challenge. One guy at work actually misheard me when I told him about my challenge, and thought I was doing ’30 Dicks in 30 Days’! Something I am very definitely not doing!
The challenge is about First Dates (and maybe the odd second one!). If I wanted to just go out and get laid thirty times, I definitely wouldn’t be writing about it for the world to read! And my search criteria would be a fair bit more specific!
As the challenge has gone on, the dates have in general got better. Possibly because some of the guys have read the blog and are trying to create a perfect date. Maybe because I’m being pickier about the things we do on the dates, and trying to include more varied and interesting activities.
After ten dates the average date score was 7. After twenty it’s raised to 7.5. The average age of my dates has also risen from 30 to 31.
I think something refreshing I’ve learned from the dates, is how many interesting, normal single guys there are over 30. When all your friends are coupled up, its easy to see single people as a rare minority, but realising how many of my dates have been older than me (and completely nice and normal) has definitely put my mind at ease about approaching thirty and still being single. (Something the various speed dating events I’m been on hasn’t been able to do!)
The challenge is also opening my eyes to how much cool stuff there is to do in London. After two years living outside the City, the dramatic contrast of my dates in the capital as compared to those in my home town has made me realise just how much of a draw there is to London life.
A great lesson from this challenge is just how many cool things you can do on a first date. You shouldn’t have to be doing a thirty date challenge to go on a date which isn’t just a drink. The website DoingSomething has some amazing lists of date ideas, which you can go on with a stranger. For a long time one of the reasons I wanted a boyfriend was so that I had someone to go on cool dates with. But you don’t have to be in a relationship to be able to enjoy some of the weird and wonderful dating options that London has to offer. And sometimes, like HintHunt with Enigma or Toilet Dating with The Fresh Prince, some of the oddest date ideas can create the best dates.
The challenge has not been without some bad dates, but in all honesty they’ve been pretty few and far between. Each of my 5/10 dates has been bad for a different reason. There was the dull date – one with a random guy from a dating website who I wouldn’t normally choose to date. The rude date, who probably was feeling nervous and drunk, but which was manifested by being disinterested, unenthusiastic, and generally rude to strangers. And the painfully nervous and inexperienced date, who analysed everything verbally, and hadn’t been on a date in a number of years.
And whilst some of the best dates (Fake Pimpernel, Enigma, Best Man) haven’t necessarily been realistic examples of standard first dates that you might get from internet dating, my experiment earlier this week on Tinder proved you can get a blind date at short notice, and ask a complete stranger to try out some cool date venues with you (you might just have to lie about being a restaurant reviewer to do so ….!!)
The world of a London singleton is way bigger than I could ever cover in just three months (and I do have a fair few ideas of this blog’s life after 30 Dates, which I’ll tell you about as I get closer to my 30th Birthday), but a really interesting part of the challenge has been exposing myself to dating websites which I normally wouldn’t consider going on, and actively searching out singles events.
I’ve got a number more to go to this month, which I will tell you about in good time … including three different events this week.
And as word spreads about the blog, so too do the dating suggestions, so please keep telling me about weird and wonderful singles events, or any dating websites you think I should try. I’m hoping to line up some of the next ten dates from different dating websites, and to compare how easy / successful each of the sites are.
Speaking of weird and wonderful suggestions – check out the email I just got!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx