The Catch 22 of Being a Dating Blogger

It’s a weird situation, dating and blogging about it.

I’ve always tried to be as open about the blog as possible with guys.

In the beginning, the blog was all about the 30 Dates challenge, and my dates were willing volunteers. Often they’d read the blog before signing up to be one of the 30. And as such, it tended to attract guys who were up for a laugh, and not necessarily looking for something serious. By the time I finished 30 by 30, four of the guys had moved abroad! (Having agreed to go on a date with me, with a view that it would simply be a one off event before they left the country.) My dates would pose for photos, send me texts pre-empting their blog names, and wait eagerly by their computers to read the final write-ups.

As the blog picked up pace, and continued after the first 30 Dates Challenge, I faced a quandary. I no longer needed to tell guys about the challenge, because my dates no longer needed to be pre-arranged blind dates. Instead, I could go about organising dates in the more traditional fashion – at dating events, online, or on Tinder.

So should I keep the blog a secret, or come clean? And at what point should I tell them?

I never wanted 30 Dates to be one of those ‘name and shame’ blogs. I think there are two very different sorts of dating blogs. The man hater ones, where the writer attempts to take the moral high ground in every situation, and belittle the men courting her (often without them realising). And the more self-effacing blogs, which are more about the mysteries and mistakes of dating, as opposed to damning anyone in particular.

I’m as imperfect as the next dater, but I learn from my mistakes, and I like to think I can help other daters out by sharing the lessons as I learn them!

With all this in mind, I’ve always been very careful about maintaining my dates’ anonymity, and try to write the post remembering that the guy I was on a date with could access it.

But when it comes to actually telling a guy about the blog, to be honest, it’s a very odd situation. The writer in me wants to tell you all the weird and wonderful stories from my single life. But the single girl in me still entertains the possibility of finding a bonafide boyfriend in the process.

Tell someone too early, and you scare him off. Wait too long, and it becomes a rather large dating elephant, which I’ve been keeping a secret.

A few months ago I trialled the Simplicity3 matchmaking package, part of which included a profile creation service. And I was surprised when I viewed my profile and realized the fact I’m a blogger had been disclosed on it, before I’d even begun talking to anyone on the site.

I never include ‘dating blogger’ in my own dating profile. I think it goes without saying, to advertise something like that, without any validation, or context, would scare off most men immediately.   Something it did at first to Mr SC, when he worked out early on in conversation that I wrote a blog (remember he started life on the blog as Mr Sackoff?)

Most of the time I’ve actually told men about the blog prior to arranging a date, but I like to be able to read the conversation. I can tell quite quickly if someone is likely to be fazed by the idea that I review date ideas and locations, and depending on the way conversation develops, I can work out how to address the blog and what it does.

Even if I haven’t brought up the blog in the run up to the date, it tends to be impossible not to mention it during the date. A huge part of my free time is taken up by the blog, dating-related events, and seeing people I’ve met thanks to the blog.  As you know, I’m travelling all over the world to complete 30 Dates Around the World this year, and the blog has begun to open up a lot of writing an work opportunities for me, so dating affects a great deal of my daily life.

I’m also a painfully honest person. Often too honest. If you ask my opinion on something, you get it! And so if something comes up in conversation related to the blog, or to writing about dating, then I won’t ever lie about what I do. Which is why, when Stitch suggested I write about my dating challenge, I came clean about the blog (despite knowing he wouldn’t react well to the news!). And why whenever blogging comes up in conversation at a singles event, I will be open about the fact I blog.

But the blow of learning about my dating blog, is often easily tempered by actually meeting and talking to me – which is why I find telling someone about it far easier in person. I’m quite a bubbly, approachable person. I’ll answer any questions about it completely honestly. And I’ve had enough experience now telling people about the blog, that I can make clear its intentions, and its tone.

And often the easiest way to appease someone’s fear about the blog, is simply giving him access to it. When Mr SC originally sacked me off before our first date, it was the link I sent him to the blog which saved the day, and ensured our New Year’s Day date went ahead – a date I now count as the best I’ve ever been on.

But apparently that doesn’t always work!

At the moment I’m trialling the dating website LoveStruck, as part of my comparative reviews of all the dating websites available online. And I was genuinely surprised to find myself organising a date thanks to a paid dating website!

In nine months of rather aggressive online dating, I’ve never found a guy I wanted to date, who wanted to date me, on any website or app other than Plenty of Fish or Tinder. Yes, that’s right – I’ve never arranged a date through a paid dating service.

So I was genuinely rather excited when a rather eligible-seeming man approached me on LoveStruck and pretty quickly asked me on a date next week.

As you’ll have noticed from my dating site reviews, my user name on a lot of the sites is Miss Twenty-Nine. Obviously I could choose anything, but I guess it’s part of my ethic of not keeping the blog a secret. If someone went so far as to google the username, it would be obvious pretty quickly that I write a dating blog!

Anyway, the guy’s opening line was to sarcastically point out that I’m 30 not 29.

In the spirit of honesty, I replied that it was a name I blog under, and then answered some of his questions. Conversation carried on for another twenty-four hours before he obviously remembered to google my blog.

‘Ah … you write a dating blog. Not sure I want to be number 22 on page 135’

(His counting skills were obviously as good as mine!)

I reassured him that the blog is always anonymous, I don’t write about guys who don’t know about it, etc etc.

He seemed placated, and we carried on with our plans to meet next week.

And then I asked him a couple of personal questions related to things he had mentioned, to which he became very defensive. I joked that my life is online for everyone to read.

And his response was to very abruptly tell me that he had noticed that, and that he didn’t think we’d get on. Apparently we thought too differently on too many things.

To be honest, I found the comment intriguing, as more often guys have seemed more interested in me as a person from reading the blog, than they have from simply reading my dating profile. And I don’t think the blog represents too many extremist views which could completely put a guy off …

Evidently I was wrong!

Out of curiosity, I asked what particular views or opinions conflicted with his.

He simply replied that it all seemed ‘too much of a game’ and that he was ‘too old for me’ anyway. (Surely something I should have been judging him for?)

I guess the idea of being Number 22 on page 135 really did put him off …. Even though the blog doesn’t come with page numbers, and he’d be more like Date 122 …. (I didn’t tell him that don’t worry!!)

And whilst perhaps that should put me off telling people too early that I write a dating blog, I like to think that this blog is quite a good representation of my personality, and the person I am. So if a guy reads it and is put off (as opposed to Mr SC who read it, and was more interested in me), then really he isn’t the man for me.

I’m not saying my ideal man is someone who overtly wants to be blogged about.   But at least someone who understands I have the ability to pick and choose what I write about. And that if something or someone is important enough for me to keep it/him out of the blog, then I will do so.

As for my attempts to finally secure a date with a guy I might actually fancy on a paid dating website …. I guess my search will continue!

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

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