My new found favourite dinner-time viewing is Dinner Date. This crazy-ass show where people have to lure in a potential partner via their 3-course menu (that is not a metaphor) and then wait to see if their pork loin is enough to woo their potential suitor. If so, it’s ALL fun and games when they have to knock-up said 3-course meal and entertain a total stranger, with a camera in their face and a burning crème brulee. I watch it and think holy cow I am glad I am not on that programme and also a tiny bit that looks all kinds of weird fun.
Between my new Dinner Date obsession, the imminent Valentine’s Day (gah!), and a few recent D&M conversations with friends about their own dating adventures (through which I live vicariously) I have had plenty of time to reflect on my own dating persona (it wasn’t pretty a one), what I learnt from 5 YEARS of singledom, and what I’d do differently if I were to go back and do it all again, but with 3 year’s worth of loved-up hindsight under my belt.
Admittedly it has been a few years since I left the dating game, hung up my sword and took to the restrooms for a snack, exhausted from years of T R Y I N G. So I might not be best placed to comment anymore, but I have a back catalogue of ‘Single’ experience big enough to build a stairway to Cloud 9. It breaks my heart though, when I watch my single friends get so down and so hard on themselves with every single he or she who doesn’t work out.
I understand it– man, have I been there. For the first half of my singledom I did it terribly. It was one big car crash. Then I got strong pretty much overnight, and then I did single really well. You know, how you’re ‘supposed’ to, like in the movies. I enjoyed my own company to the point I wasn’t sure if I would have time for a man in my life, I worked on my confidence, I became proud, I re-evaluated what I wanted from a man, and I learnt that the unknown is exciting not scary. I also learnt that when it is meant to be, there are no questions, no games, no chasing or guessing. It just is.
I learnt to work the field confidently, swaggering even, in such a way that Beyonce would have personally called me up to congratulate me. And LO, I received the respect I finally demanded and I was rewarded for my strength. Who knows what heartache I could have saved myself if I had demanded that respect years ago, if I had placed more value on being treated kindly than I did on being with someone?
What changed me so suddenly had a lot to do with realising I was more important than finding someone to be my ‘him’. I was valuable and had all the ‘resources’ any one person needed to be happy, why was I letting a few unsuitables stop me from being happy in the only life I will ever live? And also, as every girl knows, WE ARE BEYONCE.
When my friends come to me now, struggling to find their Single Swagger, I recall everything I learnt from my mistakes, and I do everything I can to impart onto them that same strength I discovered. My mates come to me if they need ‘sorting out’, because they know if anyone has been there, HANNAH HAS! This is highly embarrassing a person to be, the friend who has been through EVERYTHING, but what harm can it do to share my lessons with the world?
Behold, go forth and date impeccably! What would your number 1 dating lesson be?
5 Years Single, 10 Huge Lessons
It sounds obvious, but it wasn’t to me. It was only when a very good friend pointed out to me that I was behaving like that girl, instead of the girl I wanted to be, that I was able to see I was behaving like a moron.
2. Take the god damn hint
If someone isn’t interested, you will know. If they are, YOU WILL KNOW. Don’t create an idea of someone or something in your mind to the point you ignore what is happening in reality. If someone wants to be with you, you will know about it pretty quickly. Rip off the plaster and move on.
3. The science part
Having a partner in your life is supposed to enhance what you already have, not make or break it. Knowing if someone is right for you is easy as science. Meeting someone is about them complimenting your life and making it even more colourful, thus bringing POSITIVE thoughts and feelings. The moment someone brings negativity to your life – and this applies to people in relationships too – that is the moment they are no longer worth your time. I wish wish wish I had known that 8 years ago.
4. Trust and dependability start from day dot. If it is not there now it never will be.
5. Don’t blame yourself
Some people focus on one thing about themselves which they think must be stopping them from meeting someone. And then obsess and obsess and obsess over it. Whether it’s how you look or where you come from or the things you like. It isn’t any of those things. It is simply that you haven’t met the right one. That is all. We can’t be special and attractive to every person we meet. If we were, we would all be going out with the boy next door.
6. Have other passions
Nothing is more attractive than someone just so happy living out their own life, that they don’t notice they are single. If I didn’t have my friends, family, interests and passions, I would feel like I needed a man more. Not least because of the voids of time spent alone. Even when I was single, I looked forward to my alone time, because I made the most of it doing things that made me happy.
7. Hold onto your ‘you’
I have worked hard to hold onto those interests and passions, because it is those things which make me the person I value, and it is those things I can rely on no matter what. People who have a passion are attractive because it gives them independence, and people who enjoy their own life all by themselves are bloody priceless. BE ATTRACTIVE & PRICELESS.
8. DO feel Blue
I could write for days about the importance of being strong and proud, but ultimately I know heartache is inevitable at some point for everyone, single or not. It is easy for people to feel they ‘should’ learn to be okay and happy at all times. NO. That is just not possible. I am in a relationship and I have down days. My single friends have down days. We all have down days, and sometimes those down days are about Love. Accept it, cry, and wake up the next day ready to smile again.
9. Have fun
I am grateful for most of my mistakes, because I can clearly see how they shaped my life today, but my biggest regret is not having enough fun with dating. Dating can be a minefield, but it can also be a freaking fairground, with the right attitude. Some people just know how to work the dating scene , others have to learn it. If I ever find myself back there again, I will remind myself every day to enjoy it and not worry so much.
10. YOU ARE THE TREASURE. Quit hunting.