Continuing on from last night’s post …
N is for The Nudge
The Nudge is a website which describes it as an ‘eclectic and irreverent guide’ to what’s on in London. With sections dedicated to bars, restaurants, entertainment and pop-up London, it’s a great place to find new date ideas, and another good site worth signing up to for ideas. Time Out is also worth checking out.
O is for Options
The reality of London dating is that everyone has a LOT of options. It’s worth remembering this, particularly in the early days of getting to know someone. Until you’re exclusive with someone, never jump to the conclusion that you’re the only person he or she is seeing. And keep your options open until exclusivity is on the table. There’s nothing worse than assuming you’re in a relationship with someone, only to realise he’s still going on dates with other people.
P is for Pop Up London
I know people think the phrase ‘Pop Up’ is over-used, but I have to say this is one of my favourite parts of London life. There is always something new, innovative and a little bit wacky going on! Whether it’s Disappearing Dining, Secret Cinema, Safari Supper Club, Grub Club, Mile High Dining, or some other new concept, the pop-up side of London is a lot of fun and worth keeping track of.
Q is for (Ps and) Qs
Yes, I’m cheating again, but manners are key!
Dating is a game of first impressions, and those first impressions can be greatly affected by manners.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of chivalry – walking on the road side of a girl, holding doors open, holding out chairs – but manner work both ways. No one should ever have to tolerate rudeness on a date – towards themselves or others, and even if you know the other person is offering to pay for something, everyone likes it when the other person at least offers to pay the bill.
The money dance is a well-known tradition of dating, and so if a man offers to pay for your drinks or dinner and you plan to let him, at least make a gesture to offer paying!
And if you’re a girl, you should never expect to have things paid for you – if someone offers, it’s a courtesy, not a necessity.
R is for Romance
Ok, so it may not be Paris or Venice, but London is still a city of romance. It’s simply a question of recognising the spots. These days you don’t have to be a tourist to see the city from up high. A number of bars and restaurants are tucked away in London’s tallest towers, allowing you to drink and dine from a beautiful viewpoint.
And on the ground, there are hundreds of hidden gardens, beautiful alleyways, and picture perfect areas of the city. If you have the time, take a walk and explore the city on foot – you never know what you’ll find. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I retained from one of my original 30 dates was number 15 – the Booby Prize. He taught me to always look up in a city – you’ll be surprised by some of the things you start to notice!
S is for Safety
Your safety is always paramount when dating. Always meet in public places, let someone know where you’re going, and check in with a friend once you’re home if you live alone. Never leave your drink or your personal belongings unattended, don’t give away personal data to a stranger, and don’t give out bank details etc. I know that might sound silly, but you’ll be surprised how persuasive people can be, and how people prey on dating sites for victims of fraud. Never lend money to someone you don’t know well, and if you’re worried about cat-fishing, check out your date on LinkedIn and Facebook before the date to make sure he or she is who they say they are.
When it comes to sex, remember how easily STDs can be transmitted. Use condoms, and get regularly checked out!
T is for the Tube
Thanks to the Tube, London can become your Oyster (no pun intended!). You can literally date on all sides of the capital, and drink as much as you want, knowing you can still get home safely and responsibly! Learn your way around the Tube map, and get an app on your phone that estimates times between stations. Always leave yourself a bit of extra time, to get in and out of the stations, and make sure you’ve got an Oyster, for cheaper, more efficient travel. Remember – if your journey is delayed by more than 15 minutes, you can claim back your fare from TFL, so check out their website for details and don’t suffer in silence.
The other cool part about the Tube is that you’re always surrounded by a new group of strangers. And whilst we all complain that no one ever speaks on London public transport, unless drunk, be a bit strategic choosing your seat if you spot a hottie in the same carriage. Make an effort to catch someone’s eye – if they’re attracted to you, and single, they’ll hold your gaze. And if not, just pretend you were looking at the map behind them!
U is for Uber
I find their cabs indispensable. As a single girl dating in London, I love the safety of being able to request a cab wherever I am, wait for it to arrive before leaving the date venue, and knowing who my driver will be, and what his car looks like. I never carry cash on me, so it’s great being able to jump in the car, and know the payment will be sorted automatically with my card details.
PLUS – if you’ve never used Uber before, download the app and add the Promotional Code ‘30DATESBLOG’ and they will give a ride up to £20 for free. No strings attached!
V is for Variety
If I’ve learned one major lesson from 30 Dates, it’s that my perfect guy a year ago is very different to the ideal man I imagine today. Dating is all about trial and error – about establishing what does or doesn’t work for you. And you’ll be surprised by the outcome. Certain ‘must have characteristics’ may go out the window once you’ve met a few different dates, and by spending time with different members of the opposite sex, you might identify things you’ve never thought of, which make or break a potential relationship.
W is for Whatsapp
Nine times out of ten, if conversation progresses from talking over Tinder or a dating site, it moves to Whatsapp. It’s far easier to pick up messages instantly, and share photos, and you get a name and photo pop up on your phone, to hopefully help support the knowledge that you’re not talking to a catfish!
Just be careful about over-sharing. And remember whatever you do send across gets saved automatically to a complete stranger’s phone!
X is for Exes
(Sorry, but come on … there aren’t too many words that begin with an X!)
The thing about London is that you think it’s a big place, but social circles can be extremely small – especially if you all attend the same annual events. In my experience, if at all possible, end things as amiably as possible with an ex, and treat other daters with the respect and kindness that you would expect people to treat you with. Tinder has only served to make London smaller, so you never know when or how you might come across an ex, or an former date, and in under what circumstances.
Y is for YPlan
Fancy organising some last minute fun? YPlan is just the place to do it. The app shows you events Tonight, Tomorrow, and Later, at the flick of a finger. The app includes entertainment, sporting and dining events, from mainstream, to niche alternative events. All the relevant information can be found at the touch of a button, including prices, venue details, and special offers. And the app also allows you to book tickets, all in one place.
Z is for Zen
Everyone needs a dating detox once in a while. The thing about dating, is that in order to make the most of it, you can’t be half-hearted. People lose interest, so if you’re not keeping in touch with daters, don’t be surprised when options disappear.
Dating can be exhausting. So if you start getting bored of it, or bored of constantly meeting new people, give yourself a break! Find some inner piece, chill out and do something else for a bit – just for you! Dating works best when yourself, and happy and confident within that self, so if you’re starting to see it like a job, take a step back and do something else instead.
Whenever I get bored of dating, I enjoy some ‘me-time’ at the gym, or at a yoga class. It helps with my self-confidence and inner happiness, and means when I do resume dating, I’m in a far better place.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx