I recently found myself single, in my late thirties, with two children. The feeling was initially a mixture of excitement and dread. I hadn’t been out in 17 years and had lost much of the confidence I had at 21.
I hit the apps with gusto to begin with. There was a whole world of eligible men and adventures to be had. Get me out!
Alas, as anyone who’s been single for a while can tell you, the glitter wears off pretty quickly and there’s only a limited number of bad dates before you start seriously considering going into long-term hibernation. . For anyone about to start this journey, I wanted to share some of the less desirable parts. If nothing else, this will make you laugh at my expense. Here are a few things I learned while hanging out in Canberra:
It’s all about apps
- Bumble, Tinder and Hinge are the most popular apps. Choose one or choose them all. The same guys are on all of them. Yes, it is true that if you are looking for a particular type of short-term fun, then Tinder is your best bet. However, I’ve discovered that even the nicest, most charming man on bumble can transform in an instant with an accidental innuendo. .
- Let’s put one thing aside, Canberra is small. That big country town vibe never hits harder than when you find yourself single and over the age of 25 in our nation’s capital. As a result, it doesn’t take long to get the alert from the app suggesting you to “go international” in your search.
- Don’t pay for the apps, it’s really not worth it. I subscribed to all of them and realized pretty quickly that I was adding zero value and wasting my money. You can enjoy all the benefits for free. Unless of course you want to boost your ego by seeing how many men like you, it’s always fun. Until you see who they are. Sometimes it’s better not to know.
- There are a few profile clips; blurry closeup selfie, bathroom mirror shot (usually half-naked, always with toothpaste splatter on the mirror), photo with sexy woman, gym shot, shot traditional with high visibility vest, the photo with 10 of your friends, the photo with his “best friend” (still a dog) and my favorite, the fishing photo (if you know, you know).
- Every man who lists his height in the bio section will always follow it with a sneer and a weird defensive “because apparently it matters” I think it matters…..to him.
- There are “very important” men who simply cannot add photos because their jobs prevent them from sharing such top secret information. They always want to get laid, but I guess they think a woman will fall for the charm and the bubbly personality and so pictures won’t be necessary. Massive red flag.
It’s a game!
Congratulations, you matched. Now the real fun begins…the jokes are about to get worse.
- If you manage to enjoy some good banter with a guy, the dating rules come into play. According to the “expert”, these can vary. Some say it has to be the man who initiates the first date and he has to ask within a week of messaging others say it doesn’t matter who initiates and a lot of guys like a woman to take charge . I have experienced both, no work.
Opinions are split on whether it’s best to get to know each other on the app before you meet or whether you should continue to get to know each other when you meet in person. The first date should always be a coffee or a drink, never a dinner. Again I have experienced both, my advice would be to go with the flow and trust your instincts. Just be sure to meet in a public place and always make sure your friends know where you are. My girlfriend and I had a “proof of life” arrangement where we messaged each other after a date to confirm we were okay.
- If you also have single friends on the apps, chances are you’ll correspond with the same guy at some point (see Canberra smallness above). My friends and I usually check matches before pursuing them. It only happened once and it wasn’t a problem anymore when the man kept chasing us both despite knowing we were friends and talking to each other about the double match . From the sleazy tone of his messages, it was clear he had a fantasy of a threesome or we were going to fight for him. No.
Wow, you made it to the date! Before you get too excited, here are some of my most memorable first-date experiences:
- The guy who did multiple lines of cocaine on a date.
- The guy who when we went to the bar ordered himself a drink and brought it back to the table, letting me order mine.
- The guy who confessed to showing my picture to his kids before the date because he was so excited, then halfway through the date said he was deleting the apps because he found his person .
- The guy who texted me on New Years asking if I could take him home because he was arrested the night before.
Listen, I don’t mean to be negative or mean. I am not a superficial person and I sincerely believe that what makes a person attractive is much more than their appearance. I would like to meet or chat online with a man who can hold a conversation without being judgmental, openly sexual, negative, rude, ignorant or just plain uninterested. Bonus points if after checking these boxes he is also emotionally available.
If you find it, please let me know but let me know in the summer, I’ve officially gone into hibernation.