Last night, I popped my proverbial sober dating cherry. Not literally, I hasten to add, but I climbed back on the horse of Tinder and got myself a date.
Dating is a minefield when you’re drinking but feels even harder when you’re not. It’s not a pleasant experience weeding out potential fun/drama/chaos/love, just by a lone snapshot of their face, captured in one millisecond of time. It’s insane how some can people look so different from photo to photo, or what some men think is attractive to the opposite sex.
Common dating site photo themes men obviously think are attractive to women are –
The ‘fish shot’ – ‘me holding a giant fish’ – evidence they are a hunter? Or a fish lover? Or a murderer?
The ‘poking out tongue shot’ – why? There is nothing sexy about this .. in fact it just looks like they’ve lost their mind
The ‘holding a child’ shot (not necessarily their child) – why would you plaster your child or someone else’s child or any child whatsoever on a public dating site. Women are not stupid. If you ‘borrow’ a child thinking this makes you look loving & caring, you are wrong. It makes you look like a psycho.
The ‘obligatory bathroom selfie’ – loo seat up in the background showing a complete lack of basic skills essential for a meet up.
The ‘group shot’ – the entirely intelligent shot where women are expected to guess which one is on offer, praying for the hottie on the left but knowing full well it’s highly likely to be the minger on the right.
The ‘obligatory pint shot’ .. ‘I know how to have fun, I can down a pint in less than 5 seconds’ titter titter.
The ‘shot that isn’t even of your face’ .. and believe me, sometimes it’s worse than all your wild dreams put together .. various body parts, sex toys, plants, views, Halloween photos, cars, stockings, heels, fish (I don’t know what it is about the fish), and children again.
In order for me to pick someone, I scroll past all of the above. Which leaves me about 1% of the population. Then I change my radius. Which leaves me with even less. Then I swipe, hoping for a match. If we match, he’s now one in a million. And then he can’t spell.
If anyone thinks online dating is easy, that you have the pick of the crop, that it’s like being in a sweet shop, you are very much mistaken. It’s more like being in a maze, in the dark, blindfolded, with earplugs in, being spun round and yet by some miracle, you find the exit and survive.
My date last night was a modern day miracle making it through the callous swiping game. He managed to avoid all the photos mentioned above, was within radius, could spell and actually suggested something other than getting smashed on the first date. We met for a walk on the beach and he could actually converse too.
I was upfront and honest about Soberdom and he seemed to take it in his stride. The evening ended with a cheeky snog, proof that I’ve still got it .. I just needed to convince myself that I do!
Sober dating is nerve wracking. It’s like exposing yourself like you never have before. There is no protective cloak to blame if things don’t turn out well. It is you against the world and you have to be strong and convince yourself that it’s worth it, that you are worth it. And I’m slowly starting to believe that I am.