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Duel of the Dates

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

This may come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I’ve not been on a date for a number of years. And by “date” I mean a preliminary social/romantic meeting between two people, with the “end game” being entering into a relationship or marriage.

The truth is, it’s never really been high on my “to do” list. I have no desire to spawn children, while my work and my pooch consume every waking hour of my life. I’m just not one of these people who believe getting married, buying a house, and having children is the be-all and end-all.

I’m not going to divulge who I last dated, and nor am I going to give a specific timeframe, but, suffice to say, it was a good few years before I adopted my pooch. To be honest I’m not even sure if Instagram had been invented, but I know the date succeeded the film Hot Fuzz but preceded The World's End.

The date itself was a rare thing, in that the young lady seemed to like me more than I liked her. Although I'm not sure if she really appreciated my rather offbeat sense of humour, and her 'roadmap' for getting married and having kids didn't really appeal to someone who rarely plans one week ahead.

I know people who seem to go on a succession of dates, yet – in my lifetime – I’ve only met a small number of girls/women who I feel I’d actually want to date. And only a very small number of those make it through to the next round… where I actually ask them out on a date.

Unfortunately, my anxiety has meant that asking someone on a date is usually a huge no-no. They’d need to be a particularly special individual for me to utter the words “Would you like to go out on a date?” (or words to that effect).

History has taught me that, perhaps, once every six or seven years, someone comes along who I really like, they friend zone me within weeks, and before I know it they’re telling me all about the latest man in their life while I lament what could have been.

So I feel it's important to ask. Even if you're 90% sure they'll decline. Yes, a 10% chance is unlikely to yield the answer you want – but it's still better than a 0% chance.

However, words don’t flow from my brain to my mouth quite as easily as they flow from my brain to my keyboard. For me to actually ask someone on a date is akin to me collecting that information from my brain and then meeting a series of hurdles and challenges en route to the mouth. Like some kind of Ninja Warrior obstacle course.

Yes, this Hill needs to climb a mountain before that question is asked.

“What are you doing, Dave?” says an inner voice, before that annoying Microsoft Paperclip pops up and says; “It looks like you’re about to ask her on a date?” before being particularly unhelpful and catastrophising everything so I can only think about the worst thing that could possibly happen. “You’ll destroy a friendship!” or “She’ll never want to see you again!” or “Her diary is about to become very full!”

Funnily enough, nobody has ever responded with "I'll think it about!" or "Maybe!" as I generally receive the "no" (or the same words that mean no) there and then. While it can be beneficial to receive an immediate rejection, one isn't given hope. Sometimes it's nice to be left with a bit of hope – even if it's false hope.

Perhaps the problem is that I don’t really have a USP (unique selling point) that sets me apart from any other man in the country. I’m far from financially comfortable, my dog often restricts my spontaneity, and I drive a 14-year-old Beetle with a plethora of electrical issues. Not to mention my rather niche sense of understated humour that few people seem to understand.

Although, when I look at old photos of myself I can understand why there wasn’t an orderly queue – or even a disorderly queue – of ladies waiting to date me. I had the complexion of Casper the friendly ghost, the hair of Mick Hucknall and Chesney Hawkes’ love child, and the bar presence of the Invisible Man.

Yes I’m biased, but I do feel I’ve improved with age – like a vintage wine.

I’m sure anyone who’s been single for any length of time has heard the words; “You need to get out more!” or “You need to join a club” or “You need to get yourself on the Tinder!”

Of course you don’t need to do any of those things as some people are perfectly happy on their own. Also, the more people tell me to do something, the less likely I am to actually do it.

“You need to give up your dog” and “You need to get rid of that Beetle” are both notable examples.

Sometimes “well meaning” friends decide to stick their oar in and make things ten times worse by trying to force a relationship between two friends. They’re called meddlers, but also go by the more affectionate moniker of “matchmakers”. Personally, the only matchmakers I want in my life are the chocolate sticks from the Quality Street family. They go down a treat with a cup of coffee.

I'm not going to expand on if there is or isn't anyone I've asked out in recent months or if I plan to ask anyone in the foreseeable future. So if you ask you won't get an answer. I only really confide in Luna about such matters – and, although she doesn't offer many pearls of wisdom, she always listens. Well, except if she clocks a pigeon – and then I'm dead to her.

For the record, I am NOT on any dating apps or websites, and I have no plans to take this avenue. However, in another universe, perhaps my profile would read something along these lines…

"Creative male, night owl, dog parent, seeks female for evenings in front of the BritBox, walks along the coast (with and without the dog) and occasional trips to the pub. I'm also rather partial to a Chinese, or a McDonald's after a long day at work. Although, to be fair, I'm also partial to a McDonald's on a day off.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist with a penchant for even numbers, so if you can happily fill your tank with £13.43 of petrol then we may not be compatible.

My taste in music is anything from the forties to the present day (although the 80s feature more predominantly on my Spotify playlists), while my humour is rather dry and whimsical. Basically, if you don’t like The Beatles or The Detectorists then your journey on this long and winding road of dating hasn't found gold on this occasion."

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