Here's the deal. I've been single since time immemorial. So, in an attempt to remedy my eternal singledom, and to get over my nauseatingly pathological fear of dates, I've decided to challenge myself. The challenge? To go on one first date a week for a year! So in 52 weeks time, I will have either found my Mr Right, or I'll stay forever Miss Write. This is what happens...


The Rules

Here are the rules to the 52 First Dates challenge...

1. A first date must be had once a week, EVERY week, for 52 weeks.

2. Taking someone home after a drunken night on the cider does NOT count, otherwise this challenge would just be slutty, and none of us want that do we?!?

3. Second and third dates are allowed, I must continue first dates unless there are exceptional mitigating circumstances. For example, God forbid, the start of a relationship.

4. Each date must be blogged.

13 February 2012

Date #36 - as told by Mr #36 himself

In case you’ve not read my write up of Mr #36, I think perhaps you should get up to speed first right here. As Mr #36 and I walked to the pub before  the date we chatted about 52 First Dates,  and I offered him the chance to write his review of how the date went.

 This is what he said...

 Unedited...

 ‘I want to start by saying that "You should see my pigeon fanciers film" is a tried and tested line, it's melted the heart of many a date in the past.  Granted the anecdote about swinging a toddler into a tree was a bit of a Hell Mary and the awkward silence that followed has led me to reject it from my future repertoire.

With that out of the way I should go onto the meat of the evening which on the whole was good.  CTS is fun, smart and noticeably weary 36 dates into her experiment although that could have been a reaction to my hulking appearance. The night began awkwardly, in part due to the speed in which it came about but also because I was distinctly aware that my terrible banter would be scrutinised and in a very public way.  Despite that I was determined to act no differently to how I would on a genuine date, despite the numerous slaps, glassed over expressions and restraining orders it's provoked in the past.  You know that on first dates first impressions count and this is where I think I fell down. I wasn't expecting to meet anyone that evening so was dressed as a dishevelled hipster farmer, an olive green burlap sack of potatoes tottering on a pair of burgundy chinos and black brogues.

 After my awkward introduction we headed to the pub and the evening was pleasant, right up until the text. Lots of topics were covered a good few laughs shared and I felt it was going ok.  When I read the message I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed, (not that she didn't fancy me, I'm an acquired taste, think Sloth from the goonies with a touch of Vince Vaughn), but because she couldn't wait until after the night had ended to crystallise her opinion of me and tell my mate.  Like CTS said I was expecting to be critiqued but not at that very moment.  It was a genuine mistake and one I can't be too sore about because it was at least a compliment (in part). What she did fail to include in her account of her reaction was what she said when I showed her the message, which I think was the most telling part of the entire evening. Having shown her the embarrassing error she responded by saying, "Well I guess you're lucky I wanted to stay this long." And this is where I think CTS's adventure is going to fall down, she is looking for that instant spark, that unrealistic staple of the American rom-com, the stars have to align and ideally shine in the eyes of her handsome romantic male lead (probably Ryan Gosling, he'd totally be my pick!). Her impatience to look past the confines of the dreaded first date, to see guys for who they grow to be instead of just that first ungainly encounter means sadly 52 first dates may never be enough. I say sadly because she is clearly an awesome catch (if you like parrots, Dominoes and jokey conversations about 85 year old holocaust survivors), and within a more traditional encounter the fact that she enjoyed my company could have led to her seeing me in a different light and a happier ending for all you good readers.’


I think we can probably all agree I got off lightly don’t you?

 However, I can’t really end this post without a little bit of justification from my part, as I’m sure many people out there will have been questioning the whole process and the fact that it’s so rare I meet someone I click with. I think we all know I was a Grade A goon for my texting antics on this particular date, and I know I’m not the only person in the world to have done such a thing. Let’s face, it, it could have been a LOT worse, if I had done so on pretty much all of my other dates. But that’s not the point. I suppose the point here is the questioning of my expectations from 52 First Dates. Don’t get me wrong, a date with Ryan Gosling would undoubtedly be the best thing to happen to me ever. But I doubt very much he’s lurking around dating sites looking for a small round brunette with a penchant for parrots and cupcakes...

When I started out on 52 First Dates, I did it to get over my pathological vomit-inducing  fear of first dates, which 36+ dates in I can safely say has worked. I also wanted to meet as many different people as I could to try and broaden my horizons and counteract the pickiness I’d previously had that led to me only ever accepting 2 dates a year. And as you can tell, I have also done just that *pats back*

One of my main dilemmas throughout the process has been leading my dates on. I think considering the volume of dates I go on, to see many more of them on more than one occasion ‘just in case’ will mean I’m on a date every night of the week which would not just be knackering and expensive, but more importantly that doesn’t feel very fair on these other dates who’d be investing more than one evening with me if I’m doing it ‘just to see’. I’m not here to toy with other people’s emotions, waste their time or get free meals. That’s just not cricket.

This experience is definitely making me learn more about myself than I ever expected. I do make a lot of poor choices (especially when I have to pick a date last minute) and a lot of mistakes (when I text the wrong person whilst actually on a date - eejit). But I’m only human. I am also learning more and more of what I’m looking for. I am neither naive nor sappily romantic enough to expect a thunderbolt love-at-first-sight experience on a first date, but what I would like is that small funny fizzy tingly feeling you get when you meet someone and there’s just something a little more there, something that just clicks and makes you want to dig that much deeper. I have experienced it in the past, and I hope I will experience it again.
 
Of course I would love my own happy ending, happy endings are ace (and I’m not talking in massage parlour terms). But this is real life, and I genuinely don’t know when or where it may come from, if at all. I’ve not found it yet, despite having met a fair few unexpectedly nice guys that haven’t quite worked out, but rest assured, I won’t be giving up until I do. 52 First Dates has become such a big part of my life now, I can’t just let it go for just anyone. But for the right person, I will want to.

Read some of the emails that didn't make it to the real life date stage...