As last night’s awkward solo post-Speed Date dinner proved, it’s always a lot easier to go to Singles Events with other single friends. And back in July when I first suggested trying out some of the London speed dating events, I was taken aback by how keen my single female friends were to join in.
Admittedly half of them just sat downstairs laughing at my live date-by-date Twitter feed at the first appalling Speed Dating experience! But for the most part, we’ve been in it together, sharing the pained expressions across dimly lit bars, and listening to the same random four minute-long conversations about computing and public transport, until our faces ache from fake smiling and polite nodding.
Unsurprisingly, whenever we’ve had a post-match debrief, laughing over dinner about the awkward silences and clammy hand shakes, conversation has revolved around dating. And it was during one such conversation that Miss Nameless (the one who didn’t want to tell any of the guys at Speed Dating her real name!) admitted to currently living her life according to several different dating books – all of which seemed to revolve around playing games to get your ideal man.
Now, I promised once (just before I went to watch the Bull Fighting with The Argentine Matador on Date Sixteen), that I would never judge something without properly investigating it, so I won’t cast judgment on these books just yet …. (insert ironic book cover dating cliches here!)
But what I will say, is whenever anyone asks me advice about dating (something that happens at least twice a day since I started this blog!), the best advice I can give, is to just be yourself. Because if you want to end up in a longterm relationship with someone, there’s no point pretending to be something you’re not! Eventually you have to drop the guise!
Whether it’s creating an online profile for a dating website, choosing photos of yourself for Tinder, or telling stories on a first date … be honest! If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, why pretend to be someone else for them?!
I do understand where some of these dating mantras come from. When you’re in that excitable honeymoon period, getting to know someone, it’s easy to get over-excited. And so a lot of dating books and attitudes are designed to curb that excitement, and stop you acting like an unnecessarily over-excited version of yourself! So in a way, you’re still being yourself, just a muted version of that self ….
But as someone who has turned up on thirty dates in the last three months, being a (sometimes too!) honest version of herself, I’ve never really seen the point in playing games!
As Miss Thirty-Two will happily tell you – If a guy likes you, he’ll text you. If he doesn’t, he won’t.
No amount of game playing and waiting is going to change that in the longterm. Sure, you might appear more exciting and aloof at first. But when it comes down to it, if the guy is only attracted to you because of the chase involved, the excitement is likely to wear off pretty quickly.
To be honest, the only dating book I’ve ever actually read is ‘The Game’ by Neil Strauss – ironically one written for guys.
I was backpacking in the States years ago, and a guy in my hostel in Miami had been reading the book by the pool. Towards the end of the week, he lent me and my female travel buddy the book – only for us to realise that he’d been (unsuccessfully) trying moves from the book on both of us all week!
The Game is a gateway into a huge hidden world. Pick Up Artistry is big international business. It’s literally an international community of men, the majority following each other on internet forums and at global seminars, but also sometimes living in frat-house style lairs.
Some of the ‘art’ is based on psychology – playing on ideas like peacocking to attract attention, and the age old adage of wanting what you can’t have. Other plays like the ‘kiss close’ are more creepy! Check out this video – I know I wouldn’t let any of the guys in it nibble the inside of my elbow!
I remember reading the book, and thinking a lot of the ideas were self-explanatory, and others would only work if the girl was physically attracted to you before you begin playing The Game. But that was over seven years ago, and to be honest, I remember very little about the specifics. In the years since reading The Game, I’ve had various experiences of Pick Up Artists, and wannabe Players, and understand enough about Negging and Peacocking to talk about the book for a few minutes on a date, but beyond that, I remember very little.
And so this is where Experiment Two will come in.
Yesterday, I went to my local book-shop, and bought five dating books.
I’ve never looked more desperate! Actually, I probably did later that evening when I sat alone in GBK, nursing my loner dinner for one, and still wearing my speed-dating name tag!
Part of me wasn’t over-enthused about the idea of lining the pockets of people who I think, for the most part, are taking advantage of sad singletons. However, the other part of me (who has now been approached by three different dating websites, and two singles companies, for my ‘dating expertise’!) realises that Dating has now become my hobby. And that if I’m to talk knowledgeably about Single Life, I need to understand where other singles are coming from. And Miss Nameless isn’t alone in buying books like ‘The Rules’ and ‘Why Men Marry Bitches’.
Self-help books are big money spinners, and dating and relationships are the topics with which people most often need help.
And so the first stage of my Dating Games Experiments will revolve around these self-help books, and dating guides.
First I’ll read and review them all. And then … against my better judgment, I’ll try out some of the advice, and let you know how much of it genuinely works.
It goes against my ‘honest dating’ morals. And I’ve just invested £50 in books which contradict everything I believe about relationships. However I’m coming at this like a social anthropologist! The same way I sat in the crowd in Madrid, cringing at the bulls being murdered.
I won’t judge until I’ve seen it all.
And worst case scenario, we can call that £50 an investment into saving the rest of you from buying all those books! I guess I never know … maybe some of the advice will actually work??!!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx