The confessions/mistakes of a serial dater?


I was reading this piece in the guardian written by Twist Phelan about the amount of dates she went on.

I was a dating novice. I’d recently emerged from a 20-year marriage, and the last time I’d been single the dating landscape was totally different. I’d moved to Denver and didn’t know a soul, so my cousin Erin signed me up to a dating website to help me meet people. I’m the sort of person who does nothing by halves, so to really throw myself into the singles scene, I set myself a challenge: 100 dates in 100 days.

This is very similar to me. When I became a divorcee after 4.5 years, I also moved to another city (Manchester). The Dating landscape had moved on quite a bit and I found it difficult to grok at first but I just rolled with it (throw myself into it). However I didn’t set myself a challenge, I just saw how it went.

It became a full-time job just wading through them, sifting out the weirdos and identifying the contenders. I didn’t start dating immediately; I had a strict protocol. First we would exchange emails, then talk on the phone for a few weeks, and only after I had gauged that he sounded genuinely interesting would I arrange a date.

I was sending out a lot of replies to woman who I thought were interesting or I could see myself liking. At the start there was a lot of matches and to be fair I was lucky I discovered OkCupid and Plenty of Fish (Fun) early on so it wasn’t costing me anything to contact them. It was over time that I became much more picky (rightly or wrongly). But I can identify with the exchange emails a few times before going out. I did have quite a few woman who were interested in just meeting up (mainly on pof) but I wasn’t so keen. Funny enough the talking on the phone part never really happened, yes text but not really calling and talking.

I decided always to use the same restaurant; it seemed sensible to be somewhere familiar while meeting a stranger, so to avoid the waiters thinking I was the world’s oldest hooker, I let them know what I was doing and booked the same table each time – table 14. They were lovely, and would give me secret thumbs-up or down to signal whether they thought a date was going well.

Yes I made that same mistake too many times. When I first moved to Manchester I lived in Deansgate Locks and meet woman there too. I was far too regular in the pitcher and piano, rain bar and knott bar. Then when I moved to northern quarter, I booked far too many of my dates in at Simple. I wasn’t double or triple dating on the same day like this woman but a couple times a week and before you know it the waiters are looking at you funny.

I met some fascinating people – rocket scientists, playwrights – and went to amazing places, including Paris for lunch, with me flying the jet. I never grew bored of my endless dates – if I didn’t feel in the mood at the start of the day, I perked up by the time I was brushing my hair: this one might be “the one”.

Yes I’ve met some lovely people, some are still friends or I will never see again. Doctors, nurses, musician, bar staff, personal assistants, designers, writers, a chinese restaurant owner, illustrator, developers, a architect, etc.

I didn’t feel sad that I hadn’t found love – I’d had a brilliant time, Denver had become my home and I’d made six very close friends, including the architect who remodelled my house.

Angie asked me the other day, why don’t I go for one of those dating experts which will match me with a bunch of people they recommend. I thought about it and said pretty much the same thing. I was having a great time, gain some great friends and heck a talented architect remodelled my living room!

Ok I have threaten myself to one day write a book about my experiences because some of them are shocking but I don’t think I will because unless your dating 1 person a week or 100 dates in a 100 days, no one will care. It recently has turned into a challenge of how many or how quickly. Thats not me, I’ve become a lot more choosy and I don’t see this as a game. Maybe one day I’ll tell my story but it will be one of many as this is just the way people date in the new millennium.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.