write to you fresh from a ten-day dating extravaganza
culminating in yet another Valentine’s Day
alone. Truly, I did date 10 men in 10 days (although
greedy it worked out at more like 11 men in the
end – lucky me).
yes I chose to spend Valentine’s alone…
not because I didn’t have offers. Some of
you will be thinking that I am ever so lucky and
others will be wondering why I put myself through
that hell and maybe some of you will be wondering
what the point of it all was.
it all started after another truly terrible dating
experience. Rather conventionally, I met a guy
in a bar. When drunk we kissed and exchanged numbers.
Said guy and I went on a date, despite my vain
attempts to fob him off because of my sheer terror
at the whole notion of dating.
date went well, but for some reason I never heard
from him again. I work for a radio station as
a PR. When I told my work colleagues about this
odious man, they were unsympathetic and decided
to oust me on the radio as an abysmal dater. They
offered me up as a single girl who would go on
ten dates in ten days, documenting it and reporting
back every day.
was given one week to procure ten men and because
it had been mentioned on the radio… it had
to be done.
would I get all these guys from?
fear got to me soon after I heard my colleagues
talking about me on the radio. How the hell was
I not going to come across as a loser to my friends?
What man would agree to such an experiment? And
where would I get all these guys from? I’m
not wholly unattractive but neither am I a supermodel
size zero… would this matter?
tried to tackle the problem logically by going
to a bar to pick up someone just like most Saturday
nights the globe over. Regrettably, despite finding
a man who showed enormous interest he never called.
Hurrumph. Disappointed but not deterred I decided
to tackle my fears head on and after three days
I had found myself with a pick of men.
first lesson to be learnt here, is that in procuring
a man or woman, always plunder the friend network.
My friends didn’t think I was ‘lame’
they actually said I was very brave and out of
the woodwork they found me men that they hadn’t
declared before because they had been worried
I’d be offended! As if being single is something
to be ashamed of anyway.
other brilliant thing about using friends to set
me up was that the dates came with a certain pedigree
and a traceable history. And finally, whilst I
was initially worried no man would put himself
through the lab-rat style experiment; I’d
forgotten that men love ‘competition’.
How often do men get the chance to take part in
a cave-man style race to win the hand of a woman?
chose eight men
chose eight men from varied backgrounds and 8
very different dating experiences. Plus I left
two slots for someone I would meet through a dating
event called The Supper Club and someone I would
meet via online dating site www.mysinglefriend.com.
Over the course of ten days I encountered: a journalist,
a financier, a poet, a banker, a screenwriter,
a journalist, a lawyer, a marketeer, an entrepreneur,
a social activist, an old flame and an artist.
I dated men from 23 – 41.
had dinner, drinks, tango, cinema, casino, burlesque,
lion feeding. You name it, I did it. I was late,
cancelled, cancelled on, kissed, argued and reduced
personal favourite, both man-wise and date-wise,
was date number nine where I fed lions with an
attractive and funny artist who gave me butterflies
in my stomach. My worst date was with the man
I knew the best. He was a man I’d waited
a year for a date with - an old flame of sorts
– the build-up made the date awkward and
he finally admitted he has an inability to commit.
my last date he brought the whole experiment to
an extremely emotional end. It culminated in Valentine’s
day, when I collapsed in a lifeless, sleep-lacked
heap on the floor of my work canteen while my
gay boss dolled out man advice. “Enough
of men” I yelled.
realised what I'd learnt
guess you can say it all came to a head on February
14th. After I had picked myself up from the floor
of the canteen and thrown my burnt toast into
the bin, I discovered a packet of love hearts
on my desk left by my boss. Why are the best ones
a fit of Valentine's fatigue, whilst preparing
my final broadcast of the experiment, I popped
most of the entire packet of love hearts into
my mouth and started violently choking. Regrettably
acting in haste, as with dating, can kill you.
How ironic it would have been had I choked to
death on a packet of love hearts… on Valentine's
I survived and as I was catching my breath, I
realised what I'd learnt from my ten dates in
ten days. Sometimes in haste, you can have too
much of a good thing and you end up choking on
it; be it the commercial Valentine's day build-up,
dating every guy who puts himself in your path
or the constant images of happy couples in your
really is nothing wrong with being single and
in these busy times neither is there any shame
in joining an online dating site: www.mysinglefriend.com,
going to a dating event or asking your friends
to sort you out.
personally preferred my friends setting me up
and my favourite date came via a friend of a friend.
But once you have made that decision to find someone,
once you have been bold enough, take your time
and why not line-up a few for good measure.
the experiment I didn't have much confidence…
and whilst I met men in bars etc my conversion
rate (for actually dates) would be one in three
(either due to my dating phobia or their lack
those actual dates, a very small minority would
be vaguely suitable options for me but then I'd
scare them off by being over enthusiastic.
This experiment has forced me to do things differently
I've realised booze is not a substitute for actual
conversation. If it's not working why bother forcing
it, in the long term it's not going to work –
better cut your losses and run! My favourite date
was feeding the lions, a very sober experience
my confidence has grown. I've realised I'm not
hideous to the opposite sex and neither do I have
a personality that has them running for the hills
(well not all of them). Of my dates, I'm in touch
with all bar two. Maybe something else will flourish
but I'm certainly not going to sit by the phone
you always want what you can’t have. I chose
the only man (of my experiment) who was to be
on holiday for Valentine’s Day. So I decided
to spend it recuperating and you know what? I
enjoyed it more this year than ever before. I
received a packet of love hearts from my boss.
Text messages from some of my dates, an email
from another and a long phone call with one. I
also have a very able best friend who is great
company and whilst it's sods law that the man
I chose was on holiday, it's not the end of the
noticed that men don't take Valentine's day very
seriously so why do women get so hung up on it?
It doesn't mean they love us any less.
the whole, if I'm to take anything from this experiment
it's that we need to have more confidence in ourselves,
we shouldn't rush things and if someone tempting
from your past is lurking (my date number 10)
– be really sure you want to go there –
there's probably a reason that they are in your
finally, to all those men who have put up with
me (and my lateness)… thank you!
advice: What to do if you are single
summary – what to do if you are single:
1. Plundering the friends network is so the way
forward! Failing that do try new modern dating
options, it's really not as scary as you think!
2. On dates, the other party is like a spider…
more afraid of you than you of it! Sometimes this
is a great icebreaker, talking about the nerves
gives you both a level playing field and something
definite in common.
3. The more you relax about romance (without playing
games) the more your personality can shine through
and you don't end up frightening off your intended.
4. Looks aren't everything. I've had dates with
guys who have been great looking but with no personality
and the dates I've enjoyed the most have been
with men who have fabulous personalities and know
how to have fun.
5. Take risks. Don't stick to your normal type
of man or woman. Go out with someone you might
not normally consider, this could be where you
have been going wrong.
6. Try to avoid booze. It gives you a false sense
of security and if you need it as a crutch you
don't have anything sustainable going forward.
7. Low lit restaurants and bars are a winner,
but activity dates or themed eateries are even
better. There is something really dull about just
doing the whole bar then restaurant thing. An
activity gives you something else to talk about
– though I wouldn't suggest Burlesque or
tango unless you know your date fairly well already.
8. Little disasters – leaning on bread knives,
falling over, being late – really don't
matter, they make you more human. Just be gracious
9. Too many people are uncomfortable in their
own skin and really put pressure on themselves
and often their dates (when they find them) to
conform to some strange society view that as a
couple you are better. Rubbish. If you feel great
alone you'll be even better with someone else.
10. Have fun! It's not meant to be a stress, sometimes
getting from A to B is far more fun and you might
learn something along the way