Tag Archives: soulmates

Say no to couple envy

You’re in a half-empty pub.

Perhaps you’re waiting for a date, but more likely you are idling away the hours alone with some much-needed human company before going back to the stark solitude of the dungeon walls which hold up the roof on your supposed bachelor pad.

Suddenly, you feel a tingle. Someone in your vicinity is being romantic, you can feel it. Maybe you’ve heard the gentle, sickening slurp of a kiss or caught a glimpse of interlocking fingers out of the corner of your eye.

Whatever it is, you look up and see them, or it, if you think of them as a singular unit. They certainly do. They are your enemy, your nemesis – the beast that mocks your single status just by being. Yes, at the next table, you can see, in their natural state of togetherness, a couple.

They’re looking at a menu, you notice. They’re both doing exaggerated gestures as they slide their fingers up and down its offerings, making half-hearted suggestions and scrunching up their faces in mock disgust at the dishes they don’t like. One half of the couple, possibly the smuggest of the pair, will utter the standard line that comes in every Berlitz ‘Teach Yourself To Speak Couple’ phrasebook: “No, I don’t mind if you get the same as me. Go on, you like it. Honestly. You have it. Maybe I can get something else”. Continue reading Say no to couple envy

Say no to searching for a soulmate

When you’re dating you hear a lot of talk about ‘soulmates’, ‘the one’ or the perfect match. Even the singles website where I met most of perfectly willing – but not always able – victims was called Soulmates, as if everybody on it were hopeless romantics staring at the sky with mooncalf eyes, waiting for Mr Right to swing off a star and drop into their arms.

Quizzes, algorithms and your own ridiculous preconceptions help you decide who this person is likely to be, this ‘other half’ of you, and anybody who doesn’t fit your narrow criteria is disposed of, thrown to the wayside.

But in search of this soulmate, aren’t we really just setting ourselves up for disappointment after disappointment, and banishing fun – and perhaps some really interesting, educational sex – to the back of the class for flinging spitballs?

He watches Hollyoaks – you think it’s Satan playing with his dollies. How could you possibly go out with somebody who didn’t match you perfectly?

For such a drearily romantic notion, hunting for a soulmate is a fairly clinical process. You think about the things you will need, whether it’s shared interests, a certain hair colour or the ability to put up shelves. You dismiss any suitor that doesn’t fit into your narrow field of requirements. He was a bit too fat, you tell yourself. He said he didn’t like Rufus Wainwright. He’s never listened to Radio 4. He watches Hollyoaks – you think it’s Satan playing with his dollies. How could you possibly go out with somebody who didn’t match you perfectly?

If there is one thing I realised, rejection after rejection, it’s that it is almost impossible for anyone to live up to their date’s idea of what they should be. Humans disillusion and surprise almost every minute we’re awake; we can’t really be programmed like a Sky+ box. If you approach dating like you’re shopping for a fitted kitchen, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

I never looked for a soulmate when I was dating, mainly because I could never really understand what one was supposed to be. A perfect 10 who instantly ‘gets’ you? A drongo in a matching cardigan who finishes your sentences? Someone you know so well, inside out, that you never have to spend any time working them out or discovering more about them? A hug from a mirror?

The problem with ‘the one’ is, well, there’s only one of them. How many times have we told ourselves at the beginning of a relationship that this guy or girl is the absolute, the very end, the first prize, that ‘ideal match’, only to find three years later that you’re shackled to someone who wears the same socks for five days straight – and with Crocs in summer?

In your next relationship, is this one the ‘the one’ one or should you have hung on to the last ‘the one’ one? Do you decide not to venture into another relationship lest the actual ‘the one’ one is out there looking for you somewhere? Confused? I know, right?

What if you are with someone for ten years, etching tattoos on your buttocks, making public declarations about soulmates, and then they sod off and have sex with somebody else? They were your soulmate, right? Does that mean you weren’t theirs? Isn’t it a two-way thing?

If soulmates do actually exist, and I am doubtful of this, they don’t just appear in front of you, having ticked off every box on your checklist. You grow into them. If you start off with Mr Perfect, where do you go next? Another 30 years of never being pushed or challenged, of agreeable comfort? Endless Valentine’s Days in the same restaurant?

The fastest way to working out what’s good for you is trying a little bit of the bad.

Clear all your filters, chuck out your checklist and widen those parameters. Take a risk. Never mind the perfect match, fuck the barista with a threadbare bank account – he might own the place one day. The fastest way to working out what’s good for you is trying a little bit of the bad. Who are you missing out on while waiting for that star to fall?

If you can find someone who’s a good kisser, smells nice, has an intelligent thought in his head and a sense of humour and – crucially – doesn’t make you want to kill, you’re already onto a winner.

Anyway, your soulmate probably doesn’t exist. Either that, or they’re married to someone else.

Image: Flickr

Boom! Deathly dull dating myths exploded

Because society is obsessed with promoting the idea that being in a couple is the optimum way to live your life, being a singleton can be tough at times. Luckily, people who are probably already in relationships have invented lots of ways to make sure life’s soloists are never short of an opportunity to form a duet.

Online dating, awkward introductions to friends and getting drunk at Christmas parties are just three ways of launching into a love match. There are also reams and reams of über-helpful handy hints to steer the poor stumbling unattached fawns through their dating forays — books full of ‘rules’, well-meaning blogs (Just like this very one. Ooh, META.) and boss-eyed dating experts on the television all earnestly put forward their guide to surviving singledom. And in many, many cases (and I’m not excluding myself here) they’re peddling a right load of old balls. Sick of reading about the ‘no-nos’ of a first date? Doing everything ‘right’ but still coming away empty-handed and hearted? Let’s rip up the rulebooks, unfavourite those well-meaning bloggers (Except me; I NEED you. Don’t leave me.) and do whatever the hell you like.

Let’s deconstruct some of these dating myths for ever.

Just be yourself
This is one you’ll see everywhere. It’s not terrible advice, of course, as nobody wants a consummate liar sitting opposite them, spinning tall tales of exciting expeditions to the Sahara and a minor involvement in a multi million dollar jewel heist, but the problem with being yourself is that sometimes our good selves aren’t really first-date material. Better to be whatever version of yourself you think is appropriate. There’s nothing wrong with talking yourself up a bit or laughing a bit louder than usual or toning down your dirty jokes for the first date. If you lay all your cards on the table from day one what’s going to be left to get to know?

You’re not being duplicitous if you lay on the charm a little or suppress any of the more bonkers aspects of your personality. What is the true ‘yourself’ anyway? We’re all shapeshifters to a degree, changing our personality to suit our surroundings, and a date is no different.

Silence is bad
You can’t talk all the time. You really can’t. If you’re that frightened of dead air and feel compelled to fill it, you’re probably going to say something a bit stupid. Not all silences are awkward; there can be comfort in a bit of downtime from chatter. If the conversation drops and it really is making your brain want to implode, make a joke about the silence. And if your date doesn’t get the joke? Well, who gives a shit?

You can stop a date going bad
Bad dates are essential to the love-seeking process. If you don’t have any godawful, arse-twisting clangers of dates then how are you going to get enough experience to realise when it’s going well. Unless you’re lucky, you’re probably going to end up going on loads of dates. Don’t be frightened if your date is a stinker; just notch it up to bad luck (or usually being seduced by a sexy photo without realising the personality vacuum beneath) and add it to the pile of ‘never agains’. You can try to turn things around if you like — and you may well succeed — but if it’s going wrong, maybe it’s just meant to be that way. No loss. Except your train fare and that expensive cocktail your date ordered. Make sure you get an equally expensive drink back in return.

Don’t have sex on the first date
This is the most heinous date myth at all. I hate it so much I want to grab it by its sanctimonious throat and throttle it in the middle of Trafalgar Square for all to see. I don’t always have sex on a first date — not even when it’s offered to me — but don’t see anything wrong in doing so. There is some warped idea, which really should be euthanised as soon as possible, that withholding sex from a date, or not having it even though you really want to, will lead to you ‘being respected’.

Yes, everyone, you can be as rude as you like to other people and generally a dreadful nightmare to be around, but not having it away on a first date will somehow elevate you to a higher status. The concept that being strong-willed enough to keep your trousers on makes you in any way more honourable is horribly outdated and unfair.

Sex isn’t bad, or wrong, and it doesn’t make any difference whether you put out on the first date or the fiftieth — you’re still going to do it eventually, with someone. It may turn out that after having sex with this magical someone, you don’t like them that much after all. Oh well, eh? Never mind. At least you know now.

There are much more beneficial ways of earning respect than keeping your knees together. Some people are only interested in one thing, yes, and that can be pretty unsexy, but if you’re having a good time and there’s something in the air? Go for it. You don’t have to get married and nobody is going to alert the village elders. You decide. Let society go to bed by itself and read a book — you’re getting some.

There’s a soulmate out there for everyone
Oh, COME ON.

If anyone has any other suggestions for dating myths which really should go the way of the dodo, tweet me.