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!

5 thoughts on “Date me, shape me

  1. My experience of living in north America is that dating there is more like the British experience than Sex and the City. Having said that, you could break the mold and suggest an ‘action’ date next time you meet someone you like.

    If you work out the solution to this problem let me know. Another of my friends just got engaged and I’m feeling like the last singleton on earth. 🙁

  2. Unfortunately, my dates always involve the usual affair, movies, and dinner afterwards. Then again, even though these are people that I meet online, we’ve been talking for a while and getting to know each other beforehand so I don’t mind 2 hours of silence only to enjoy the constant debates on how good the movie was and why later on.

    There are exceptions though, occasionally, I would bring my dates out to indie gigs around where I live (especially in cafes) since I do love small time musicians and for the most part, my date would express an interest or have never been to places like that before so it’s always a good conversation piece during and later on, though it kinda lacks privacy in between.

    Ironically, my girlfriend and I have never really been on a proper date ever since we got together sticking to the unconventional (there might have been 3 before we started being together but those were more like going out in groups). So our dates always involve a reading picnic in the park or shopping for things that we want and having lunch or dinner afterwards. Any excuse to be together alone and enjoy the moments which I think is the far better reason for dates.

  3. >As an aside, why do we say “let’s meet for coffee” when invariably
    >we’ll drink tea?

    Do you really? When I visit the Old Dart for the first time later this year, I’ll be observing this behaviour very closely!

    But could it be that the occasion called “tea” isn’t necessarily accompanied by the beverage tea. A lot of people of the Anglo-Saxon persuasion around here refer to their evening meal as “tea”.

  4. It’s weak to do the ol’ hum-drum coffee shop or restaurant thing, that’s true… but I would argue that it’s important to get to know the person before you start having fun experiences with them and possibly getting tricked into thinking you’re right for eachother when you aren’t. I mean, 99% of your relationship is going to be simply hanging out together… you can’t go rock-climbing 24/7.

    Also, I kinda like to see how dates behave in a dinner situation. What they order, how they balance eating and conversation, what they do about the bill… could tell you a lot about the person.

  5. Okay.. so my experiences are similar. “traditional” first date activites. the worst was a blind date to a pub and then after, a meal. The reality was 4 hours of hell with pauses as food or drink was consumed (and conversation was not possible). I recall we actually invited someone from the next table to talk to us as we were growing to hate one another’s voice so much.. lol! there was no second date.. :^)

    First date ever was to the cinema.. I caught the bus there and was worried I’d be late.. I was there 4 hours early!! WTF! I hung around, she arrived late and we nearly missed the film!..

    A particularly nice first date was a day out in the new forest and then having a MASSIVE car accident, journeying to A+E. Before you ask, yes we did date for a whole 2 more weeks.

Comments are closed.