Date me, shape me

Lately I have been reading a lot of chick-lit and urban fantasy and books that, in general, could be considered the trashy side of good. Amusing considering by day I am busy making sure the children of the world have fantastic books to read! But back to my point; a lot of these books are American and there is a lot of dating in these books.

And it’s not just in literature, but in films and on the TV as well, that the characters go on fantastic or shocking adventures they call “dates”.

Boy/Girl likes Girl/Boy (or combination there-of) and he (it’s usually the guy) asks her “out” on a “date”, a bizarre ritual where they get together at some venue – bar, restaurant, cinema, countryside trail, paintball park – and spend time in each others company. Then they part company. Then the Boy/Girl does/doesn’t call after a certain time period (usually around the three day mark) and the whole thing is repeated. And repeated. And repeated. Till at some point the Boy and the Girl decide they like each other a lot and stop dating OTHER people, becoming “exclusive”, because during this whole process, they have been free to “date” other people as well.

Which leads to either marriage/permanently settling down together, or splitting up horrendously.

All of the above does, I will admit, lend itself to a fair degree of dramatic tension with a healthy potential for humour and pathos along the way. Who in America DOESN’T have a “bad date” story to tell?

But we don’t do that in Britain. We just don’t seem to have a dating culture. Most people I know went to school/college/uni/work with their significant other and invariably, they got together one night at a party or gathering of mutual friends (frequently with alcohol involved) and just started “seeing” each other. Dates where the guy picks the girl up, they do something, he walks her back to her front door, then goes away, just aren’t common. So when the British Male (and female, let’s not discriminate here) does want to go on a date because, for example, they are using this dating website, it tends to be one of four things.

1) Coffee
2) Drink (pub)
3) Cinema
4) Restaurant – though this seems to be less common, which is understandable. Just think how many fledgling relationships would have been doomed at the splitting-the-bill stage!

No ice-skating, museums, paintballing, absailing, pottery class, ice cream… No doing things. Just sitting down, face-to-face, talking (or watching a film in silence for two hours, then talking afterwards), and few things are more awkward than trying to think of something to say to a virtual stranger without coming off as 1) crazy or 2) someone who only talks of themselves.

Not that there is anything wrong with drinking coffee (as an aside, why do we say “let’s meet for coffee” when invariably we’ll drink tea?), the pub, films or food. Just… It would be easier, I think, to start out with a shared experience. Something to talk about afterwards. And just more fun! I don’t have many “bad date” stories because, well, I haven’t been on that many date-dates.

One memorable night did involve him calling me by another girl’s name and that all-important first kiss being interrupted by a cyclist with NO sense of timing, but that’s fairly par for the course as dating goes. I need me some good dating anecdotes, if only to give me something to write about on the blog!

So come on, who wants to share their dating experiences? Good stories, bad stories, both are welcome. Remind me that there is romance in this world. And then give me something to laugh about, because I do so love to laugh!