The Rules: How to take the fun out of dating

Romance 'n' stuff: This could be YOU.

Romance ‘n’ stuff: This could be YOU.

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” as bardy smartypants William Shakespeare once said. Fear not if you’re single in this day and age however, as there is now a multitude of literature and websites to help steer you through the murky waters of singledom.

Now that our elders have unhelpfully done away with betrothing us from birth or palming off their daughters to the highest bidder, it’s down to us to seek out our fame and fortune in the big bad world; and make no mistake, the dating world is as bad as they get; that is, if you disregard places like downtown Johannesburg, or Walkabout on a Friday night. Just how does one find their ideal match now that we’ve expanded our tribes from villages of tens to conurbations of millions?

Online Harmony

Sites such as eHarmony, OKCupid and Match.com all claim to have their own secret formula to helping you find your soulmate, because of course what better way to find your ultimate partner than using an unpersonalised online algorithm, based on profiles containing varying degrees of honest information?

I don’t want to appear dismissive on the subject of online dating, as I know several people who are in happy relationships with people they met through these sites, but I also think there’s no better way of discerning how much you like someone than meeting at a party and having a 2 hour heated discussion over the key tenets of a perfect fry up (yes, we’re back to that again), whilst spattering their white shirt with red wine from your emphatic gesturing.

Same Game; New Rules

Following on from a particularly confusing dating experience the other week, my housemate decided to impart her own wisdom to me in my time of (questionable) need, in the form of the book ‘The New Rules: The dating dos and don’ts for the digital generation‘. Now, I’m not usually one for self help books, but this time I was intrigued. Mainly because I find the whole idea of strategising dating and relationships the same as trying to analyse a gig you enjoyed – surely you’re taking a lot of fun out of the process by making it more complex and overwrought than it should be.

The impression I gleaned after an hour of flicking through the pages of this book (because make no mistake, I like to base my opinions on things I’ve properly absorbed and understood) was that women need to let men fulfill their hunter instinct and do the chasing, whether it be by letting them lead all communication, not responding immediatly to messages etc. Obviously this seems counter-intuitive to me, seeing as if I like a person, I consider it rude not to pull my weight in terms of suggesting things to do, or paying my way, or responding to texts.

It also seems to perpetuate this idea that a woman should tone herself down and let the man lead proceedings, as if your own feelings and instincts aren’t worth acting on. I can understand the need to have a bit of self control early on and not get too carried away with your feelings, but that’s a different approach to admitting that you’re letting the guy call all the shots, and not something I’m comfortable with at all.

False Impressions

It all reminds me a lot of the book ‘The Game’ by Neil Strauss, which among other things gives guys tips on how to pick up women, but is geared more at shy guys and employs some quite manipulative tactics to get and hold the girl’s attention. I’m all for people learning new ways to get confidence to talk to people, but when it comes down to doing things that essentially give a false impression of your general character and personality I start to feel uneasy; when did it stop being enough for people to be themselves and just see if they fancied eachother?

And who decided this was a ‘game’ to start with? The bottom line is that we’re talking about one of the most instinctive and base emotions you can have – there shouldn’t be a need to put all of this infrastructure around it, because it then takes away from the simple pleasure of just finding someone you really like and instead it becomes about the chase, the preamble, your move, then their move, ad infinium.

There will always be people who want to play the field, maniuplate others and get as much attention as they can – I’m happy to leave those people to court eachother and do my own thing, ta very much.

Let me know your experiences with dating advice and sites – I’m always keen to hear more stories!

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19 thoughts on “The Rules: How to take the fun out of dating

  1. Hi >>> being an oldie, the only experience I can quote was way before dating sites, and I’ve never considered the £2 that it cost me to send a letter to “the lady in question” anything but money extremely well spent! Boy, I knew how to splash out with the cash when I really needed to 😉 ! And in those days £2 was worth a lot more than it is now – maybe even £2.75!

    I’m right in there with you re the face to face, 2 hour heated discussion – getting away from all of this farting around with algorithms and online guardedness, there is simply no better way than face to face communication. As long as the venue is safe and known, that’s the way to do it – that’s the way to START to find out who the other person is.

    I’m also right with you about the two books. For the first one – blow (trying to be polite here …) the hunter instinct, blow the supposed roles of the sexes – all that might have applied 50 or 100 years ago but certainly not now.

    And the second book – deliberately giving false impressions just leads to problems later. Being honest is the thing, well unless you’re an axe murderer of course, but there’ll always be exceptions … Its long been my policy to be honest, simply because its the simplest way I suppose, and I’ve long been after a simpler life – which retirement is considerably facilitating!

    But getting older – I’m 63 now: quite antique, eh 🙂 ? – I’m caring less and less about what others think of me – I am who I am. This is probably an oldie trait, but its a good one I think.

    Interesting post! And thanks for liking my images – I appreciate that! Adrian

    • Glad you agree with my sentiments – I just find it frustrating that there are so many rules and expectations imposed on people nowadays, whether it be appearance, behavior, interests, opinions or whatever and it just takes the fun and individuality out of everything.
      In any case, I tend to continue doing things my way, and I’m glad to hear you’re doing the same!
      Oh and I love your photos – the one of the shirt the other day really caught my eye in particular, so unusual!
      – Shonette

      • Oh absolutely, so many rules and expectations – they drive me up the bloody wall! I’m really getting very angry about this burgeoning push to conform. I recall reading about a female photographer of nudes, who finds that she has to be very careful about her images because of the very fine line between the acceptable and the taboo in our society.

        We’ve come up through the ages, supposedly becoming more sophisticated and intelligent etc etc, and what do we end up with??? ******** political correctness and puritanism!!! It drives me into the ground.

        Talking of the female photographer, I’m looking for female photographic models – know anyone who might be interested? I did a couple of my daughter recently – they’re in the People category – called Earring and Ring – these show one of the kinds of thing I’m thinking about. I don’t get to do enough people pics.

        Thank you for the kind words about my photos. As you may guess, photography is a passion, and I revel in the creative opportunities it drowns me in. And the great thing about today’s cameras, together with digital’s creative possibilities, is that if I can see something with potential, I can probably photograph it – whether it be huge, small, distant or whatever.

        Thanks again. Adrian

      • Re: models – do you have a sort of person in mind? I am happy to ask around. Otherwise I’m also happy to oblige, not sure how interesting a subject I’d be though!
        -Shonette

      • Hi Shonette – thanks for the positive response! I’d be grateful to you for both being a model and for asking around. The scope for genres is vast and I have no concrete plans for what I’d like to do. Hence its difficult to be specific about a type of person, but I can be clear on two things.

        First, that the type of thing I am NOT aiming at is the standard smiling portrait – anything but that blandness! Second, that the model’s thoughts and ideas may well be valuable – I’m completely open minded on this. One of my photographic fundamentals is that if an image looks good it is good – and this applies equally to ideas from others, as well as my own. The project will be very much one of thinking about ideas and trying them out – and where it will lead, who knows?

        Maybe it would be good to meet for a coffee or something to eat, to talk this through. I can bring examples of my work, and also of others’ images that have given me ideas. Would you like to do this?

        In the meantime, if you have the time, go to my blog’s sidebar and find the Category drop down menu. Select People – here you can see much of what I’ve done already. Adrian

  2. Good! I’m retired, so can make most times – after 6.30 weekdays, or any time on weekends. For a chat we’ll need somewhere relatively quiet and not heaving. Friday evenings are probably not a good idea!

    I can drive somewhere to meet you – tho the FATmobile will need some garage work soon. Or we can meet in the city centre. You know the city better than I do, and I’m happy to go anywhere you think good. Adrian

    • Next week is a bit manic, but perhaps a weekday evening the following week? The harbour is always a good shout for me 🙂
      And thank you so much for mentioning my post on your blog, very kind!

      • Ok, what about 6.30pm on Tues 6 Aug, outside the Pitcher & Piano? We can then find somewhere quiet to chat – maybe a table outside is good, always assuming the English summer is still around …

        No problem re publicising your post – I’m >>>always<<< happy to give other people's blogs a mention where I can.

  3. Here here! What’s with all these dating services? What happen to ” across a crowded room”. You spot some one, the sparks fly, and we’re off!!! Such fun. Like Adrian (I got here through his blog) I am older 61+a little ) and I do NOT consider myself old fashioned, but I do like the thrill of the hunt. I’ve met the most interesting, attractive, fun, hunks – I mean people – while out and about. Plus I think the whole computer game is scary ( as much as I love my computer, iPad, and iPhone). Good luck with your photo shoot. Anything Adrian photographs turns to gold!

  4. HA! I love your comment about the women letting the men do all the chasing etc. I most definitely asked my partner (a man) out, and we have been together 3 1/2 years, have a house and two dogs, and are well on our way towards being “old married people.”
    Also, my Mom asked my Dad to marry her way back in the 1980’s.

  5. Hi there – noted your “like” on my dinner blog (thanks!) and came to check out what you were up to. I enjoyed this post. I’m an oldie too (“R” on my blog is our son and he’s 41) so take anything I say with a grain or a tablespoon of salt, but: if a guy doesn’t like you taking the lead sometimes, coming up with ideas, asking him out, or if he goes all to pieces when you accidentally splash red wine on his shirt after two hours of conversation, *you really don’t want that one.* Reminds me obliquely of a conversation I still remember when getting ready for college. Told my Dad I was making my own formal (that’s a dress, for dances 😉 and he wondered if my new friends would look down on me for having a homemade dress. “If they’d look down on me for having a homemade dress,” I responded (to his satisfaction, I might add) “do I really want them as friends?” Same goes for a lot of things: if this college doesn’t actually want me, maybe I’m better off not going there anyway. Etc. It can be quite a helpful attitude to adopt.

    • Glad you concur – I’m very much in the same school of thought, in that you shouldn’t have to alter your personality to someone – people should accept you for who you are and be attracted to that rather than your gameplay! Thanks for stopping by the blog and for your comment 🙂

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