Spurred on by a conversation I had last night with a fellow date hater, I felt the urge to write about how much I dislike dating and why. I would definitely class myself as a ‘relationship’ person and have been in a string of long term ones for most of my adult life. I used to love hearing about the exploits of my single friends and laugh at some of the awful, devastatingly mortifying situations that they’d got themselves into and thank god that I didn’t have to deal with stuff like that. Having been single for around 6 months now, the tables have turned and I’m increasingly finding friends in couples advising me to ‘get out there’ and go on dates, if not for any other reason, to entertain them and their boyfriends.

Now as much as I appreciate their concern and ‘Leper’ looks, I am fundamentally against the act of dating for a number of reasons. Firstly and probably most importantly, it’s all just so cringe worthy! The thought of going for a meal with a guy I barely know and having to order a salad even though I want the double cheeseburger and chips is bad enough, but to top this, you then have to engage in that wonderful thing called ‘small talk’. I struggle talking about myself in an interesting way to my actual friends at the best of times, let alone to a potential Mr Right. So the thought of explaining what I do, where I went to school, what degree I did etc seems just so tedious and unnecessary to me. And who gives a crap anyway? I’d much rather sit there for 3 hours and talk about cheese or badgers, at least it’d ease the nerves that way.

Secondly, what happened to spontaneity? Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic, but I do still believe that I will bump into someone on the metro and get talking, or reach for the same pepper at Tesco’s, or even just get introduced through mutual friends. The problem I have with dates is that they’re so planned and predictable. There’s so much expectancy and pressure on that one evening to have a good night that half the time, you forget to actually enjoy it. And then there’s the whole, do we kiss, don’t we kiss at the end of the evening, the thought of which literally sends shivers down my spine in horror.

Before you even get to the date part, there’s the whole issue of how you ask. As a woman, it’s been drummed into me from a young age that it’s definitely a man’s job to do the asking, yet I’ve increasingly found that guys are equally as nervous about the asking as us women. I probably don’t help myself out – I don’t know whether it’s because I’m an English graduate, or had lecturers for parents, but I can’t stand grammatically incorrect texts. Is it so much to ask for, for a guy to take time and effort to think about what he writes, how he spells and punctuates it and then read it back a couple of times for good measure? Ok, maybe it is…but come on, do you really think I’m going to respond to a message that says ‘soz to be rude, but can i have ur numba?’ when we’ve never met? I want a bit of intelligent banter, something that’ll make me laugh, keep me intrigued and wanting to know more. After all, the chase is half the fun anyway.

I have recently been the victim of a number of, shall we say, ‘bad experiences’ with guys trying it on. Much to the amusement of my coupled friends, I somehow find myself in situations where the only guys that actually try it on are the ones you don’t like or are quite frankly, weirdoes. It never ceases to amaze me how persistent some guys are despite you turning them down on several occasions – I’d like to think that all this is just someone’s way of testing me and making sure when the right person does come along I’ll spot them a mile off but in all honesty, these so called ‘bad experiences’ have if anything, made me more weary and nervous!

I’ve always found in the past that I’ve been friends with a guy first and it’s just naturally progressed into something more, but I’ve recently been struggling with how to let that ‘friend’ know you’re interested. If you don’t like dates, hate small talk and don’t want to make the first move for fear of getting shot down, then what can you do except sit it out and hope something eventually happens? I think the reason I don’t like being single and hate dating is because I simply don’t know what I’m doing! I have male friends coming out of my eyeballs because I always go for the same ‘arite dude’ approach and am instantly seen as ‘one of the lads’. Although this is great and I love all my guy mates, at some point or other, it’d be quite nice to actually be seen as something more than ‘just friends’.

And so here is my dilemma – how do you attract guys you actually like without going on dates, or outrageously flirting (which again is something I seem incapable of doing without cringing at myself) or making the first move? I want to be myself, but at the same time I feel like the only way to ‘put myself out there’ is by doing things that aren’t me, which kinda’ defeats the object. So my conclusion is this – after much consideration, I have decided that I am in fact destined for a life of male friends and Leperdom and will just have to live in hope that one day, one of them will accidentally fall in love with me.