Everything’s going to be alright

Brexit
Frankly 2016 has been pretty shocking… Brexit, Trump, Internet censorship, Data retention, the increasing divide between the working class and middle class. I’m not saying its the worst year ever or the worst I have ever experienced, just its pretty bad.

I think this sums up so much

The Brexit campaign was centred on the idea of taking back control. That is what it said in huge letters on the red bus – a slogan that went far beyond the demand for control of our borders.

The point was that people all over Britain were desperate for a democratic system that gave them some semblance of control over their destiny, in a globalised and interconnected world where decisions often seem to be made by anonymous elites a long way away.

To them, the European Union was one obvious villain.

Ok enough… I decided a long time ago that I can’t worry about the things I can’t easily change, I can only change the things which I have direct control over. Actually trying to change everything drives you slightly nuts.

I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me

I happen to read laura’s blog while on the bus back from Bristol and it seemed to fit perfectly here, as I start to deconstruct this years love life.

Its been a busy year but honestly not nearly as much love as you would have thought. I made the effort to date less and have more purpose about my love life. This meant less time on OKcupid, PoF, Bumble and being more selective when speed dating. I tried going more organic with dating aka through friends of friends, its been ok. You do start to wonder sometimes… but I agree with Laura on bad dates…

The consistent comment is that I have such terrible luck, and always end up on these really ‘bad dates’, but I can’t help but disagree. There’s no such thing as bad dates, just the opportunity for a good story, a page in the autobiography, and the more terrible the date, the better the story. In my opinion, the worst possible kind of date are the ones that aren’t memorable, and usually they’re so because nothing of note, either good or bad happened.

Some would say this sounds odd, cold or calculated? But honestly it’s not, the point is each interaction changes you and your outlook. A new story a new experience, a new view. Some dates are memorable and some you forget about. It’s worst to be non-memorable and one worst to be memorable for the wrong reasons.

This is always a tricky time to be single and for some of my newly single friends it’s a lonely time. I can only say this is a good time to take stock, be honest with family/friends and share. Its not the time for judgement. Its time to listen and enjoy each others company.

Think about what makes you unique and focus on that rather all the things which you should be (no matter what people, media, etc say). Theres a lot of pressure to be this, that or another. One of my new years resolutions was to think humanity, being human we are not perfect but we can only be the best we are. We move through life in the best we feel (hopefully not harming ourselves or others). For me thats being as honest, genuine and open as I can be.

For me, I enjoy meeting new people (I’m very much an extrovert) and tend to make things an experience worth remembering. Focus on the present as thats what you can change now; don’t dwell on the past and think about the future.

Enjoy the holidays and each other…

6 Words to describe different types of Love

Macchiato love

I had always thought and stood by the idea that love is wider than the romantic love we are sold growing up in a western society. It wasn’t till I went to Laura Gordon‘s Dream Builders #4: Love Actually event, that I learned about the 6 words the greek use to describe love.

From what people at the event were saying,  it was bounded around on twitter on valentine day but I guess I was too busy at TedxManchester to see it.

So the 6 words are…

  • Eros, or sexual passion
  • Philia, or deep friendship
  • Ludus, or playful love
  • Agape, or love for everyone
  • Pragma, or long-standing love
  • Philautia, or love of the self

There was discussion about the need for all 6 in different ways and of course how we are sold the idea that love is Eros; especially in western society. I had never really heard the terms and it reflects on my own thoughts and what certain people say to me about my own love life.

People have commented that maybe the reason why I don’t need/can afford to be so picky, is because I  fill my time with the company of other friends. For some reason the percentage of female friends is higher than most men I know too. Don’t ask me why, but I have thoughts (for another blog post maybe)

This isn’t that blog post but in reflection on the 6 types of love, theres a whole lot of Philia and Agape in my life. This is also why I don’t necessarily feel like I’m missing something in my life.

Treasure those conversations with friends

I’m carving out something unique by spreading some love around by sharing my reality with friends and family, you only have to look at the amount of parties, BBQs, etc I do and have done. My hope is I’ll share it with someone who understands and loves the way I view the  world.

 

First dates hacked

The Town is All Their's Tonight

The man who usually trolls me Josh sent me a link to the lifehacker article about first dates.

First dates are tough. You’re trying to make a good impression on someone, but you’re also trying to read the person you’re with and see if they’re worth your time. Dating may not be an exact science, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use a little science to our advantage during that first interaction.

Once again, anyone who says its no big deal obviously has no idea what there on about, or hasn’t been dating in the last decade. Lifehacker has your back…

Here’s what you need to know.

A perfect first date is different for everyone, but you can guess that anyone will want solid conversation skills and a good first impression. Beyond that, though, things start to get complicated. Statistics help, but to really craft that perfect first date you need to know exactly how to handle yourself. This is where that science comes in. A lot of the relationship research out there is pretty useless (with riveting studies about how an unpopular name affects your dating success or women find men more attractive when another woman smiles at them), but we went out to find some of the more useful studies to help us craft that perfect first date. Here are the more useful tips we found.

Without ruining the article it boils down to…

  1. Keep the Conversation Interesting (and Risky)
    Absolutely…! This is the part of the date I kinda of enjoy somewhat. Maybe another reason why I quite like speed dating? You start with the basic stuff and before long your in risky territory pouring over past experiences. Its slightly cathartic in nature.
  2. Use the “Right” Amount of Eye Contact
    The right amount? Well I tend to look at people mouths because I’m 25% lip reading and 75% listening. But I do tend to look around the face. I agree the right amount of eye contact is important, no one wants to be eyeballed for long periods of time, specially on a date.
  3. Watch for Mimicry (But Don’t Go Overboard)
    Ok this is something talked to death about in certain books. Its also called mirroring and its go to hear the downsides to mirroring as well as the good. I know certain people who mirror too much and it comes across as weird. No generally I don’t mirror much but I’m conscious of mirroring.
  4. Mind Your Body Language
    Another key one. I don’t generally make a lot of fast or close moves because I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable around me. I’m also not the kind of guy who gets super close at the very start. I know some people will sit side by side instead of ahead from the other. It seems cute but I think its too much.
  5. Be direct with plans
    Although I like the idea of this one, I’m not so certain its a good idea. That extra pressure at the end of a date seems like a bad idea, I mean who wants to go home thinking about how they were pressured into a 2nd date?

Generally the advice is good and the links are excellent…. Good work Lifehacker

Think who pays is meaningless?

So many people say, who cares who pays on the first date. Is it really a issue at all?

Well I’d direct them to the story of IT worker – Kishore Nimmala. Found via Tim Dobson

Mr Nimmala, from Leyton east London met Ms Sultana on dating website Zoosk. They arranged to meet-up for drinks in the West End on February 15. The IT worker said the evening was proceeding well and they had enjoyed two rounds of drinks by 11.30pm. Mr Nimmala paid for all the drinks spending £54 in total.

He said that when he asked Ms Sultana to pay for the next set of drinks she said she had not come out with any money as she had assumed he would be paying for the evening.

As a result, she cut the evening short and left.

Now if the date ended there, it would have been a crappy date agreed, and at least he could learn something from that experience. But of course it didn’t end there…

But he followed her to Charing Cross Tube station before snatching her phone in a bid to get her to stump up cash towards the drinks. He told the Standard: “I’m just very happy to be cleared.

“But it’s not just the money (£1,200), I have been struggling mentally for the last seven months. I could have lost everything had I been convicted. I feel like I never want to go on a date again.

“I don’t think you can get the right person online. You don’t know who you are talking to, I mean, I ended up in court.”

He added: “She said we would drink and dance all night, but she wanted me to pay for everything and I didn’t have enough cash to buy more drinks so she got upset.

“We had a heated argument. She took my money, I took her phone, but I never wanted to steal her phone and keep it.

“I just did it to get her attention and to get some money back. Then she started screaming very loudly, so I panicked and I ran (with the phone) for a few metres. When I turned back, the police were there and they arrested me.”

Yes he should never have followed her and took her phone! He should have cut his loses and walked away. Who pays is bigger than most people imagine and the politics wrapped up in the emotional issue is like a land mine. One day you will stand on it, and you will remember it forever more.

Mr Nimmala, who works on IT systems for major firms including banks, said the legal proceedings have cost him £1,200 in lawyers’ fees. He also said has not been on a date since February after being left emotionally scarred by his experience.

My general thoughts is if shes not going to buy some drinks on a date, then seriously its not going anywhere. You may be taken for a ride, get out quickly. A good relationship should be equal and both sides should contribute. This reminds very much of Nguna’s comments that she expects the man to pay for everything and she wouldn’t take her purse with her.

Speed dating a cure for internet dating?

Speed Dating

My now good friend Northern Lass 32 (well she feels like one) is writing again… This time about speed dating after I advised her that speed dating with online dating keeps things interesting and quite real.

The Manchester based dating blogger Cubic Garden had mentioned to me that he had more success meeting suitable dates speed dating than he had internet dating. So we figured it was worth putting any preconceptions to one side and giving it a go.

Not quite what I said but close enough. I’ve found the dates have come from both about equal but maybe speed dating wins out by a couple.

Preconceptions out the way and they go for it… Its a weird one, I’m not sure whats worst in most peoples minds? Online dating or Speed dating? To be fair I’ve done more than enough of both to go well beyond most peoples preconceptions.

On the way to the club, Dan was also growing increasingly conscious of what to ask when it came to opening questions. It was beginning to dawn on him that this was a night of intensive small talk. “Dunno,” I helpfully advised. “Pay them a compliment, then hopefully they will start asking questions?” We hadn’t thought this through … Dan doesn’t like small talk and I’m nosey so would probably seem a bit interrogate-y. But we had arrived and there was no point backing out.

What do you talk about is the number one question most people ask me… And I refer to the Stanford research on speeddating

Two researchers at Stanford University in California were just as intrigued by speed dating as I was. They found that there are a few key factors of the standard four-minute speed date that predict whether two people are likely to hit it off. They rounded up students to take part in a series of recorded speed dating sessions, then analyzed 1,100 transcripts of the subjects’ dates.

According to the study, men and women most often said they clicked when their conversation focused mainly on the women. Women were more likely to report connecting with men who used appreciative language (like “That’s great!”). Women also reported greater levels of connection with men who interrupted them — but only when they did so to show understanding and engagement (like “Exactly”).

Counterintuitively, asking questions was not necessarily a hallmark of a good dating conversation. Asking questions actually signals a lack of connection, most likely because it indicates that the participants feel the need to put effort into keeping a boring conversation going. Signs of a good conversation are much more subtle, like the variation in speech volume.

While some previous research on speed dating has found that physical attractiveness is the most powerful force determining whether two people are initially attracted to each other, the Stanford study proves there’s more going on. Another study found that speed-dating couples with similar speaking styles were more likely to report a mutual connection.

Its the small talk between a small number of questions. Too many questions and some-things up. To be fair if you can get a load of questions in 3-4mins then your questions are pretty crap and very much yes/no questions leading no where fast.

From inside the cubicle I could hear two girls discussing Dan and how nice they thought he was. Resisting the urge to be the source of mad squealings from behind the toilet door – “Yes – date Dan … both of you … he’s ace!” – I casually walked out and then ran off to the bar to tell him. Apparently a kind of friendship paradox had just occurred, as he too had stood next to a couple of blokes who were discussing how they would like to “give me one”. Aaaaawww … this was turning out to be dead romantic!

This is the factor which is really interesting… After the main event, specially on a weekend. Its a good time to hit the city with a bunch of new friends and a love interest. If your good you might even turn some of those no’s into yes’s in your love interest’s mind. Of course its too late to change the written sheet of but its been known to maybe walk away with a number or three after a night out. For love or forever friends.

It really depends how you look at things but the night is young and opportunities are abound.

The funny thing about speed dating is its almost the total opposite of online dating. You know nothing about each other and your thrust together for a short while face to face. Can you sink or swim?  Can you hack it or will the hackles get you? Its certainly not for everyone but that’s like online dating too I guess.

It works for me, (meeting lovely women and all)  with a certain amount of caution required, as you can see in my last post

Lastly… interesting and lovely to hear Northern lass has found someone and it seems to be going well…

I looked at the details of my match on the email. I knew I wasn’t going to call him. While all this had been going on, I’d been on a couple more dates with the man I’d met on a dating site a few weeks previously.

I’d been honest with him about everything from the start, the Facebook stalking of him before we met to ensure he wasn’t a mass murderer, the writing of this column, the speed dating with someone I had met dating, and he didn’t seem fazed by any of it.

We had entered into that relationship grey area. Though there had been no discussion of us being an item, it just didn’t feel right to be contacting another person

Looks like her post months ago was maybe a little rushed/misguided (remember how it irked me and irked her) and of course adds a little more strength to my argument that Facebook is online dating’s biggest threat.

Hope it all works out Northern Lass 32! Honestly… we’ve only known each other a short while but through her writing and our brief date I feel like I know her a lot more. Good on you…!
And remember 32 isn’t far off 34 *smile* I’m still here and can always be tempted to give out more hints and tips I’ve build up in my wikipedia of dating memory *smile again*

A review of Channel4’s Dates so far…

Dates

Channel4’s Dates is currently on its 3rd episode, next one is Tuesday? As the site says, Modern Dating. It’s complicated… Yes it darn well is… And dates starts to do it justice.

Spoilers below… you were warned!

Episode 1: David and Mia

Loved this episode, so many things about it. The way Mia waits at the bar, the way David is over dressed, the reaction of Mia at the honesty of David’s 4 kids, David’s pin point deconstruction of Mia’s in-security and finally Mia putting her foot in it with the question about her David’s ex-wife. So great and the interplay between them both is something of joy.

Have I ever been on a date with Mia? Not exactly but I have met some very confused woman who don’t know what they actually want from the date or even life. I have also met the female equivalent of David, Fresh faced new to dating. Unsurprisingly I was nothing like Mia to them.

Episode 2: Jenny and Nick

This story I was kind of enjoying but then it took a turn into something quite weird and unbelievable. I admit I have dated a couple teachers in the past and they have been quite a English rose like Jenny.

Talking of confused, lets talk about Nick. I swear the bar they are in only has men except the woman (was she a woman?), who was in the toilet. Nick also has quite a strict personality, he’s the kind of guy I can imagine some woman quite hating. When dating I tend not to, leaving anything expensive alone. Overall the episode was much more stereotypical of what a person who hasn’t been dating recently imagines its like now.

Episode 3: Mia and Stephen

Interesting story this one. Having met before and going through all that, Mia and Stephen go the street for a quick shag (once again like episode 2, I rolled my eyes a little) but it got interesting after the pub. Mia turns nurse and somewhat witnesses Mrs Black’s death. She gets a real feel of what its like to be Stephen. But Mia steals Stephen’s heart and breath at the end.

Interesting to see Stephen at the start and then at the end with a rewatch. Never had such a thing happen to me before, actually the closes story I got to that is seeing the same woman at speed dating again. Luckily things went well on the date, so we just laughed about seeing each other again for 3 mins.

Next week?

The preview looks good, some stereotypical date and a gay date. I’m interested to see if more of the characters we have met already come back, as Mia is a great character and I’m sure she’ll be back.

 

The confessions/mistakes of a serial dater?

Date

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.

Welcome to Love in the Time of Algorithms

Imran sent me a link to this book titled Love in the time of algorithms which instantly I instantly liked…

Love in the time of algorithms

The description is exactly what I would write if I was to publish my own thoughts instead of talking about it and doing it. Actually this post pretty much sums up what I think the book is going to cover

“If online dating can blunt the emotional pain of separation, if adults can afford to be increasingly demanding about what they want from a relationship, the effect of online dating seems positive. But what if it’s also the case that the prospect of finding an ever more compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, a paradox of choice that keeps us chasing the illusive bunny around the dating track?”
 
It’s the mother of all search problems: how to find a spouse, a mate, a date. The escalating marriage age and declin­ing marriage rate mean we’re spending a greater portion of our lives unattached, searching for love well into our thirties and forties.
It’s no wonder that a third of America’s 90 million singles are turning to dating Web sites. Once considered the realm of the lonely and desperate, sites like eHarmony, Match, OkCupid, and Plenty of Fish have been embraced by pretty much every demographic. Thanks to the increasingly efficient algorithms that power these sites, dating has been transformed from a daunting transaction based on scarcity to one in which the possibilities are almost endless. Now anyone—young, old, straight, gay, and even married—can search for exactly what they want, connect with more people, and get more information about those people than ever before.
As journalist Dan Slater shows, online dating is changing society in more profound ways than we imagine. He explores how these new technologies, by altering our perception of what’s possible, are reconditioning our feelings about commitment and challenging the traditional paradigm of adult life.
Like the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s, the digital revolution is forcing us to ask new questions about what constitutes “normal”: Why should we settle for someone who falls short of our expectations if there are thousands of other options just a click away? Can commitment thrive in a world of unlimited choice? Can chemistry really be quantified by math geeks? As one of Slater’s subjects wonders, “What’s the etiquette here?”
Blending history, psychology, and interviews with site creators and users, Slater takes readers behind the scenes of a fascinating business. Dating sites capitalize on our quest for love, but how do their creators’ ideas about profits, morality, and the nature of desire shape the virtual worlds they’ve created for us? Should we trust an industry whose revenue model benefits from our avoiding monogamy?
Documenting the untold story of the online-dating industry’s rise from ignominy to ubiquity—beginning with its early days as “computer dating” at Harvard in 1965—Slater offers a lively, entertaining, and thought provoking account of how we have, for better and worse, embraced technology in the most intimate aspect of our lives.

Its not available till Aug 15th but is available to pre-order if you so wish

I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one and hopefully if Dan does a book tour or something I can rope him into doing something in Manchester which has the 2nd biggest singles population in the UK behind London. Maybe it can be a special #smc_mcr event or maybe a return to prestonsocial with something more solid?

The obvious thing would be to do a relationships 2.0?

Its not the first time I’ve seen Dan’s name come up, he wrote this critical piece about dating algorithms. Which is one of the pieces,  which got me thinking about dating sites and are they actually doing what they claim to be doing? His articles reads similar to my own blog if you go by the titles alone. Just need Onlinedatingpost and Datinginsider for a full house? Anyone know how to contact any of these people?