As I begin to set the tone of the various experiments, and recruit my trusted band of Experimental Daters (check out the profiles of TOWTS and Fader which have gone live tonight … twenty-eight more to come very soon!), a lot of the initial Experiment posts will be commentaries, but I want to make clear, this is not the only aspect of The Experiments! They will definitely get more active, but some will take a little bit of time to prepare!
I’ve purposely divided ‘Dating’ into thirty date-related topics, and will dip in and out of these topics accordingly. As the Experimental Daters are announced, they will also begin helping me with the ‘Experiments’, either writing articles, or taking part in relevant challenges or dates.
But for now, I’m going to tell you a story. Because this afternoon I think I learned an important lesson about Dating, and Flirting in particular.
I mentioned before I went to America, that in one of the final weeks of the 30 Dates by 30 Challenge, more men were texting me than ever before (and that’s not including Henley Boy and his sporadic replies!). (BTW Did the eagle-eyed amongst you notice that one of Henley Boy’s best mates commented on The Return of The Henley Boy – Part Three the other day??!!! I actually had to edit his comment because he revealed HB’s real name!!)
Anyway, as usual, I digress!
A few weeks ago, I had a number of different guys texting me. A couple were Challenge dates, arranging our future plans. Others were guys I met through the 30 Dates Challenge, still in touch, and flirting with suggestions of second dates. And a number were guys unrelated to the blog, but who had shown an interest in me since I became more comfortable and confident with my single status.
In the later weeks of the Challenge, I noticed a dramatic increase in the attention I was getting from guys I already knew.
It’s not rocket science. When you’re happy and confident, you project that without necessarily realising. And whilst I wasn’t at the crazy Cheshire Cat-level of infatuated excitement I had radiated during my few short weeks in Henley Boy’s radar, I did have a bit of a bounce in my step.
As a result, I found myself flirting with attractive guys in my everyday life, who I would never normally think I stood a chance with. And the cool part, was that they were flirting back.
Now, you’ll have already noticed how much I enjoy talking. I’ve always been bubbly, and I absolutely love banter. I thrive off communicating – whether it’s gossip, or an email, or a text message, or a really interesting conversation. I’m like a kid at Christmas checking my postbox each day, and when my phone buzzes with a message or a Tweet, I genuinely get excited.
Communication is a big thing for me. As are words. As an aspiring writer, I love words, and have always found that I express myself better on paper, or in an email, than I do face to face … as I tend to gabble when I talk, and not always fully engage my brain!
Before I started the 30 Dates Challenge, I dabbled with online dating for maybe six months, and one of the reasons I met up with so few guys, was because often I would pre-judge them based on our ‘conversations’. Inadvertently I would read into the messages we exchanged on the dating sites or, if I got as far as giving them my number, the texts they sent me, and often decide from their words and conversation, whether I was interested in them.
Looks would obviously be the thing which got me chatting at first. (The Tinder Effect) But if a guy couldn’t keep me entertained and interested with his words, then I would get bored quickly, and not get around to meeting up with him.
Leading up to a date, I would want to know he had something to say for himself. One of the reasons Henley Boy was one of only two guys I met up with after using Plenty of Fish was because his replies to my messages were just as long and detailed as mine. Our texts and messages over POF were like actual conversations, rather than curt one liners.
With the 30 Blind Dates, things were obviously a bit different, however I still built up first impressions before the dates, based on the way the dates got in contact with me. Interestingly, of the guys who I spoke to over the phone before meeting them – The Fake Pimpernel, The Enigma, The Superhero Alter-Ego and The Voice, I completely guessed wrong about who I would fancy. Which just goes to show how little you can tell from someone’s voice, and a few minutes of conversation!
F-Pimp sounded fun and exciting, which was true on meeting him. His general enthusiasm for fun was pretty hard to hide on the phone. However The Enigma came across very superior and dismissive on the phone (because it turned out his boss was trying to have a conversation with him at the same time!). The Superhero Alter-Ego sounded older, and far less attractive on the phone (I imagined an overweight, balding posh boy!) and I definitely had way more chemistry with The Voice on his first call than we did in person.
Given the choice, I always text.
I remember The Enigma saying he’d actually researched online about how to ask someone out, and if you were over 25 the advice was to call. However personally, I hate answering the phone. I realise that’s an odd thing to say when I’ve already admitted to being chatty, but I like to formulate my answers, and answer in my own time, so texting always works best for me.
But because I’m a chatty person, that often means I have full, long conversations over text message. Something which initially worked well with HB, because he was the exact same.
I waffle. Which can come across over-keen to the wrong person. But if I’m chatting to someone who writes equally long texts, then it’s not an issue.
With my 30 Dates, I tried not to judge too much before the date. Partially, because I knew I had agreed to meet up with them regardless, and had promised myself I wouldn’t back out of any of the dates. And partly because the whole point of the Challenge was not to build up the dates beforehand. With HB I had gotten so excited about how well we were getting on, that the Dates became a really big deal. I was way too nervous about them, and then had a massive come down after the excitement of it all went sour.
However, whilst the initial phase of my 30 Dates was different to my ‘normal’ experience of dating strangers (as opposed to falling into relationships with friends, which is the way I’ve often dated in the past), once I’d actually met the guys, I reverted to my normal preferences. And those would revolve around flirty text messages.
Even if there is an initial attraction, a spark can easily fizzle out. And one of the things I know I need, in order to keep fancying someone, is banter.
I LOVE flirting. In fact, I know I flirt with guys I don’t even fancy. So if I fancy someone, or am considering dating someone, then flirting is key. The distinction I’ve noticed, in my behaviour at least, is if I’m just playfully flirting with someone I don’t fancy, it will always be verbal. If I actually fancy someone, I will normally flirt over text. And I will never text someone I don’t fancy.
I’ve talked before about how a shared sense of humour is important on a date. But once you get past the first date stage, and you’re thinking more about the physical side of things, then you need to actually fancy the guy. And for me, flirting plays a massive part in that.
Like most people, I want to feel attractive and desired. And flirting is a way of achieving that.
There is nothing worse than flirting with someone, and having them either ignore it, or respond with a flat, response that isn’t remotely playful.
For me, in the early stages of a relationship, you test the water. You make assumptions about as-yet unknown aspects of a potential match’s personality based on a number of things. And I know I make assumptions about a guy’s sex drive, and intentions, based on the way he flirts.
If someone moves too quickly, I assume they’re just after sex.
If a guy I’ve never met demands cheeky photos, that’s an automatic self-destruct button. And even after a first date, if a guy makes too much of a big deal about sex, then I’ll assume that’s all he’s after and lose interest.
However, there is a flip side to that. And it’s something I experienced today with The Rugby Boy – a guy who I have previously flirted with a lot.
For several weeks The Rugby Boy had flirted with me to just the right degree. Cheeky enough to keep me interested and guessing, but never veering on the seedy side. I think it helped that I knew him. If he ever bordered on too naughty, I knew him well enough to be able to add tone to his written words – which is something you don’t have the luxury of when you’re meeting strangers on online dating websites.
But he always toed the line – never asking me for naughty photos, and always playing the gentleman … just a gentleman with a cheeky glint in his eye. And that’s an attractive play (for me at least).
And then he just lost his mojo a bit.
To be honest, I think it all just went on too long.
And that was what I realised today.
Flirting comes with a definite time-limit.
And if nothing comes from flirting, then even the most promising of sparks can completely die out.
Because flirting is like foreplay. It can only go on for so long, and then it needs to turn into something else.
I mentioned earlier that there are different types of flirting. And if you flirt verbally with someone in a playful, not-going-anywhere manner, then obviously that doesn’t necessarily have a shelf-life. But if you’re flirting with someone more seriously over text, (or God forbid, work email!) then there comes a point where you either need to upgrade to something more than random texts, or give up.
Depending on the nature of the flirting, it’s normally either targeted at a first date, a second date, or a shag (to put it bluntly). And if you don’t achieve the aim within a reasonable period of time, the chances are one of you will give up.
And that was what happened to me today.
A guy I fancied before I left for America, and who I had amazing banter with, just kind of dried up. He was still chatting to me, but it was as if all the umph had gone, and our flirting window had closed. Who knows – maybe if I hadn’t left the country for two weeks (and been serial-dating 30 other men!) things would have ended differently? But I just think the Flirting Deadline expired … and what we were left with was pretty blooming awkward! Because unfortunately our entire relationship seemed to be based on cheeky flirting, and with that gone, it was all rather painful!
But this blog is all about a learning curve – and no longer just my learning curve.
And what have I learnt from The Rugby Boy?
That sometimes you have to strike while the iron’s hot. It’s always good to play hard to get to some degree, but you can’t be so hard to get that you get forgotten.
Flirting is important, and someone needs to be on the same wavelength with you when it comes to flirting, otherwise it’s no fun, and you can inadvertently end up feeling rejected. But even if you get on well and there’s a spark, if you don’t act on it in some way quickly enough, one of you will get bored, and stop trying. And the minute one of you stops making an effort, whatever the flirting was leading to will be dead in the water.
Words are great. But sometimes they need to develop into Actions, otherwise they’re meaningless!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx