About ten years ago, I was a rabid consumer. CD’s, clothes, Hi-Fi equipment, magazines, books & so on. Anything that had a decent advertising campaign, I was on it in a heartbeat. I lived my life the way I was told to live my life. Somewhere along my journey, that has changed. I no longer give a fuck about what I wear. I stream music rather than own it & I do what I myself decide to do.
Marketing does have its place though. People with businesses need to sell their product, but ultimately it’s all designed to entice you into parting with your hard earned cash so they can get rich.
Online dating works in a similar way. People sell themselves & present themselves in a manner that entices you pay attention to them, & perhaps spend your hard earned cash on a date. Should you jump through enough hoops & persuade them to say yes, they will meet you. Recently on Tinder, I began speaking to a rather lovely lady who resides near the capital city & works in (yes you guessed it), marketing. For this post we will name her Blondie.
Initial impressions were fantastic. She messaged first & the conversation just flowed. We straight away found our level of humour. We bounced off each other & over the next two weeks, messages & phone calls enabled us to really get to know each other. As is always the case with Tinder girls, I was asked about my past & how my previous dates had gone. I find this kind of question totally pointless. If my dating was successful, I wouldn’t be on the thing; I would be in a relationship. I told her I had some good dates but that’s as far as it went. I asked her the same question, & her response made me feel a little sorry for her. She had been in two relationships prior to entering the dating scene. Both of her partners had cheated on her & got their lovers pregnant. She also told me how she met some assholes on dates & was weary of anyone with a temper. Having had my own disappointments of late, I felt like we might understand each other more than most people would. It was safe to say we had clicked & we both got our hopes up considerably prior to our date. We flirted heavily, talked about our days, discussed our views on relationships, our interests & how we both felt things should be if we decided we were a good match upon meeting.
I was pretty excited. Blondie ticked all of my boxes for being a happy, independent person who had been through a lot & come out the other side stronger. She was also very good looking; a blonde geeky look with a very curvy body. She worked for a charity & seemed to have a caring nature. Blondie seemed perfect & everything I could ask for.
The day prior to the date was horrendous. A depressed mood seemed to hang over me for no reason at all upon waking. I just felt uneasy & on edge all day. It began in the morning. Blondie had messaged me to say she put on a pound in weight & was freaking out. She had been exercising a lot & eating a good diet, but this ‘revelation’ first thing in the morning had thrown her into a bad mood & I felt as though it was directed towards me. I comforted her & told her not to worry. But on she went saying ‘I wouldn’t like her’ because ‘she’s a fatty’. It was all a bit over the top. From what I had seen in photos she didn’t look fat at all.
As the day went on, you couldn’t make it up. It was one thing after another. The Doctor had been in touch to say she had failed her English exams & would probably have to go back to her country for good. My grandmother phoned me to say she wasn’t settling in to the care home she had moved in to recently. A few things at work had backfired on me in terms of the accounts I manage, & after messaging him back in October, my real biological father decided to respond by telling me I needed a serious sit down with my mother as he wasn’t my dad.
Regardless, none of this killed my enthusiasm for the date. We met the following day, me travelling ninety minutes to meet her. She was twenty minutes away by car & arrived forty five minutes late. This already pissed me off. I don’t like being kept waiting at the best of times but especially so on a first date when trying to give a good impression & furthermore given I had already travelled relatively far.
On arrival she was quite clearly nervous. But the person who sat down opposite me was certainly not the person I had been speaking to for the previous two weeks. She was tense, on edge, couldn’t take a joke & made several comments regarding my first date etiquette. I asked Blondie what she meant by this & her response instantly turned me off. ‘You know the rules of this game. You should be respectful & treat me like a princess’. She went on; ‘After being hurt badly before, I won’t settle for anything less than being treated like a princess. It’s the least I deserve’. Despite being highly irritated by this attitude, I responded in a relaxed manner, telling her to ‘chill’ & be herself.
But in truth, that outburst had already made the decision for me. I could see this wasn’t the person I would want to be with. Sorry Blondie, but I am looking for my queen. But as I was there, I decided to have a bit of fun & see what would materialise. I excused myself to the bathroom. I saw she had messaged me by text saying ‘please don’t hate me’ with a winking emoticon.
Upon my return, I apologised for my jokes (jokes that in the weeks prior were quite acceptable over message or phone) & assured her that I didn’t hate her. She then immediately resumed her entitled demeanor by telling me I had ‘all of the lines over text but not in person’ & threatened how she was close to going home, despite only having been sat down ten minutes. The previous morning she had been telling me she couldn’t wait to see me so she could kiss me & give me a big hug. On arrival, she said she had changed her mind about this due to the mysterious ‘first date etiquette’ she repeatedly referred to.
However, she did seem to accept my forced apology & when we left the cafe we were in, I decided to try holding her hand to see what reaction it got. She held mine willingly, so I stretched to putting my arm around her & daringly giving her a kiss on the head. I could barely stifle my laughing, as she began screaming at me, telling me she had just told me she didn’t want this & that I had not listened to her. I had been but was beginning to feel duped. Where had this confident, independent woman I had been chatting with disappeared?
We got to a restaurant & sat down. Again, she raised her imaginary issues about my etiquette again. I ordered a beer & her a soft drink, but when the waiter went to get our drinks I couldn’t take anymore. ‘I’m going to be honest’ I said. ‘I feel really disappointed. You have been a great laugh all week & I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you. But the person you have been today is not the person I have been speaking to over these last days’.
She looked shell-shocked. Her response was pure gold; ‘I am me. But over a phone, it gives me a comfort blanket where I can hide. It’s easier to talk that way than in person. However, this is our first date and I expect a certain kind of treatment’. ‘A certain kind of treatment?’ I replied. ‘You have pretended to be someone you haven’t been for two weeks. I’ve been nothing more than myself. You arrive late & then start calling the shots about how you wish to be treated, & I’m supposed to just jump through hoops because that is what you apparently deserve? I think you should just go home’.
With that, Blondie got up, called me a ‘fucking cock’ & left the restaurant. She had blocked me on her phone before she had got two steps out the door. I paid the waiter for our drinks & went to a nearby pub to watch the football. I actually felt the most content & happy I had been all day.
In terms of the date, I felt like had been duped. Why pretend to be someone you are not?
Once, I had bought a pair of premium brand headphones made famous by a certain hip hop icon. The packaging was superb, the product looked good & it made big claims of bass & studio quality sound. Barely able to wait, I plugged them in & gave them a listen as soon as I got home. The sound was terrible. They looked good, were highly fashionable at the time but the most important part, the sound, was a real let down. I had conceded to the hype, branding & been lied to, just to part with my money.
With princess Blondie, I saw right through it before I had even opened the packaging. She certainly wasn’t fat either. Nicely curvy. I would have happily gone all the way through those hoops, had she not sold me a false version of herself.
As it stands, I am having some downtime from dating for the foreseeable. Well, that’s the intention. But whenever I lay low, that is usually when the best things seem to materialise out of nowhere. Watch this space…