DATING DO’S AND DON’TS – Part 1

Ok so while I am taking some much-needed time to heal and recover from Mr Disaster part 1, I am going to take the opportunity to add in some do’s and don’ts of online dating. I have many conversations with many people about dating, us single folk are all doing it after all so I am going to honour us with the title of dating professionals. There are many, many unexplainable things being done by both men and women and there are many good things. I think it is necessary to highlight – from my point of view (and maybe the views of a few other lions and lionesses I have been speaking to) some of the Do’s and Don’ts of a) online dating and b) actually being on a date. So here goes…

 

The topics I feel need highlighting are as follows -

ONLINE DATING:

  • Picture choices
  • ‘About me’ section
  • First message
  • Conversation

BEING ON A DATE:

  • First message
  • Conversation
  • Home time
  • Saying goodbye
  • The ‘home ok check’

 

So for today let’s cover our first topic – Picture choices:

Something of a hot topic between me and my friends is to discuss picture choices on online dating sites, some of which are shockingly bad. Most dating sites have a profile in which you can describe what you are looking for, (everything I am writing about is on the basis you are looking for more than a one night stand, with the exception of tinder where you pretty much have no idea, I am going on the basis you have clearly displayed that you are looking to date). ((This may also help those of you on sites like tinder that are looking for more than some fun between the sheets with a random stranger)).

Fellas, there are some things you do well and some things that you do…..shall we politely say not so well – that leave us thinking you are morons. These are as follows:

  • Every picture is a group of you and your friends – HOW DO WE KNOW WHICH ONE YOU ARE????  STOP DOING THIS! One picture with a group of friends is fine but we are not psychic. DO NOT put pictures up with your incredibly hot friend either, you are setting us up for disappointment.

 

  • Every picture is from your last holiday in Ibiza – Ibiza does not have a reputation of people going for the rich culture, soul-searching adventures or mind stimulating and humbling opportunities. Whether or not you can find these there it has a reputation for the opposite. So wearing your ‘ I heart Ibiza’ top with glow stick halos around your head whilst pointing at your friend’s rear end that he is showing to the world and two half-naked women either side of you doesn’t scream ‘potential boyfriend’ to any respectable girl! Take them down!

 

  • Crotch pictures – I actually cannot believe that anyone who puts these up is looking for more than sex but, goodness me, could you take them down anyway please. I can’t speak for everyone of course but I haven’t met a fellow female yet who has admitted that seeing a bulge out of your boxers on the screen of her phone really gets her going.

 

  • Pictures with your top off – now there are some exceptions to this, if you are on a beach or doing an activity in which it makes sense you have your top off then fine, but if you are simply posing it gives an impression that you are arrogant and love yourself too much. We can see if you appear to have a good shape or not through your T-Shirt so don’t be so quick to bare-all.

 

  • Cringy, squinty-eye selfies trying to look ‘bad’.  YUK

 

  • Pictures of you cozying up with another woman – I don’t care if it is your sister or your best friend, don’t do it, it looks like you are still hung up on an ex – that is our first thought!

The Do’s I will add in because some of you have really got the picture thing down and whether or not you have planned it that way you deserve some credit, so carry on with the following:

  • Family events, weddings, christenings, your Nan’s 80th perhaps. Photos where you are dressed smart and showing that you enjoy family time!

 

  • Pictures with your nieces and nephew’s – perhaps even your own children (if you have them), ((however, sometimes it is best not to use these as your first picture because it is nice to just see you to start with)). These clearly show us that there is a possible future and that you like children (this activates something in a woman to say you will be an appropriate mate, even if we are nowhere (NOWHERE) near ready for kids ourselves!

 

  • Pictures of fun days out, even if they are selfies this is fine, keep them natural though ok!

The same can apply to women, ladies, no man will take you seriously and respect you if you have pictures up of you pouting like a duck straight into the lens or you are in your underwear. Caking yourself in make up screams that you hate yourself. A great tip is to ask your friends (the ones who you can trust) which photos they like of you and why, in particular if you have any close male friends they can give you some great tips and an opinion from the other side.

First impressions count as this is when we form a judgement of someone and you don’t want to give a man any reason to think you are easy purely from your photos, you will just be asking for trouble.

Now, perhaps you should think on that and in time we will get to some of the other points, meanwhile we have to meet the next date which will of course be posted next week, another boring evening of my life that was good for me polishing my conversational skills with almost mute strangers. I could honestly make good conversation with a slug!

If I have missed out any pictures that should be in the do or don’t pile please let me know below, other than that, have a great and powerful week Pride!

The first good thing…….that was bad

‘Set yourself high standards, after all, people will only meet the standards you set, they won’t raise them for you’.

Ok so Mr Disaster, where do I begin with him. He was a big, tall and attractive guy who trained at the Gym that I worked in. After I had my complete meltdown due in part to extremely painful break up, I had started to rebuild myself.  I got back into my training and had a sort of new lease of life.  Mr Disaster was someone who had recently started training with a few other guys in the gym. He was nice looking and there was something about him that I liked.  He wasn’t your typical young weightlifting male. He was humble and polite.  A friend introduced me to the group of them as an evil and militant trainer and said that they should train with me and eventually that is what started happening. A group of 4 guys on a Friday night and normally my friend would join or another PT would get involved. It certainly caused a lot of attention having one young woman pushing all these guys. It became a regular thing and they started participating in my spin class too.  Mr Disaster took my number and would text me when he wanted to be booked into the class or let me know if he couldn’t make it.

I remember speaking to my friend who worked in sales about him, she told me that at the time he had signed up he had been on the phone to his girlfriend so be aware of that.  Instantly I pulled back my little excited feeling and took it that we would just be friends in case he was still with someone.  We got talking in the gym one night just the two of us, we were talking for a good hour. We talked about lots of things, past relationships – no mention of a girlfriend – our careers and dreams – no mention of a girlfriend – family stuff – no mention of a girlfriend. I was subtle but left the door open for him to say if he had a girlfriend….no mention of a girlfriend – great, maybe there was a little spark here then.  How exciting.  He worked in sales in the city and was also building his own clothing brand.  He worked hard at it too.  I liked this guy, he was tall and a bit rough around the edges and he had banter.  He would come up with a new nickname for me every other day and he would always have me laughing.  We could also talk about serious stuff too, we would challenge each others opinions, we would argue and then be laughing two minutes later.  He started to text me from morning until night. Without fail I would hear from him.  I would even try to put my new self-esteem lioness attitude to the test and not reply to him if he hadn’t written anything exciting enough.  It worked, sure enough he would text again a couple of hours later.  This guy was definitely into me.  He then started to call me, he would text and call me all day and we would just be laughing and arguing and debating and getting to know each other on the phone.  Things were really looking up, someone decent had come along.

Eventually when we were training together one day he asked what I was doing on the friday – EEEEK he was finally asking me out!!!!!!! – I kept it cool and told him I might be teaching until later on but would be free after.  He told me that his work mates were all going out and that he wanted me to come too.  Ok, I have to go out with all his work mates, how terrifying.  Breathe Rachel and just do it.  Take an opportunity.  This is a nice guy who is clearly interested, go and have a good time. I mean for crying out loud he wants to show you off in front of the people who he works with, who he makes you speak to on speaker phone while he is at work.  This was a good sign, Ok frick!  What do I wear?  So I go shopping and I buy an outfit.

The guy does not stop ringing me to check that I am definitely going to come.  Wow, going on a date, this is madness.  So I choose an outfit and Friday finally comes.  They are all going out at 6 but that is too early so I decide to get there a bit later, he does not stop ringing me and messaging me, goodness me I am coming just let me get ready.  Somehow I have to be there at 6:30 on a Friday.  Ok Ok Ok I am coming.

I get a lift to the station, uh oh, I didn’t think it would take this long to get there.  I am going to be over an hour late.  Oh god.  Ok I better ring him and tell him. So I do ‘Mr Disaster I think they have moved the train station because apparently it is going to take me an hour to get there and I really thought it would be quicker I am so sorry’ he gets angry ‘what the f**k, no that isn’t cool, you think your time is more important than other people’s bla bla bla bla bla…’ oh god this is not good ‘no, I really don’t and I am so sorry I really didn’t mean it’.  I get another ear bashing through the phone and I am starting to feel a bit upset, I mean, it’s a friday night who is out at 6:30 anyway?  I genuinely didn’t mean to be more than 30 mins late…..after all I am a woman.  So he is getting ruder and angrier and I am feeling annoyed ‘I can just go back home if you don’t want me to come now it’s no problem?’  He slightly changes his tune and tells me to hurry up and that he will meet me at the station.  When I arrive I ring him, it is raining outside – FRICK I didn’t bring an umbrella, my hair is going to be a mess.  He is on his way to me……bitching and moaning and shouting at me, telling me to start walking and meet him.  At first I try to follow his directions but I am going the wrong way, which makes him shout at me even more.  I finally find him, by this point I have threatened to go home again and actually feel really upset.  This is not what I had planned at all.

So we eventually get into the bar, put our jackets in the cloak room and I sort my rain-soaked self out quickly in the ladies and go and meet his colleagues.  They are all very nice and one of them makes a point to tell me how clear it is that Mr Disaster likes me.  He isn’t making too much effort to talk to me though and I feel a bit left in the lurch with a load of people I don’t know.  Eventually he comes over and it is just us talking, he makes no effort to hide that he is interested in me.  He is asking me some questions about my ex who he had also briefly known from the gym.  So I tell him and then ask him when his last relationship was.  The next sentence actually paused time for me momentarily and I will never forget it:  ‘See im kind of with someone and have been for 5 years’……IM SORRY WHAT THE HELL??? WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL???? WHAT?  My brain starts going at 100 miles an hour, filled with confusion, hurt, anger, disbelief and that sort of car crash feeling.  He finishes his sentence….’and the only reason I never told you was because you never asked’ OH…..OF COURSE….HOW ABSOLUTELY STUPID OF ME!!!!!!  This is the first time something seemed to be going good for me in a long time and there is a part of me that wants to drop to the floor and just give up, but, there is a new part of me.  A part that I have built with the help of my own determination and a few amazing other people.  A part of me that knows that there is nothing wrong with me, nothing shameful about having feelings for this idiot, nothing I have done wrong.  But he has, he has treated me badly and that doesn’t make me the idiot (easy to say but not so easy to feel).

I’m smiling but it isn’t a happy smile, ‘why am I here then?’  I ask.  ‘Because I like you a lot and have feelings for you, I didn’t know what to do, trust me.  I even asked the guys at work what I should do..’ OH YOU POOR THING, HOW YOU SURVIVE EACH DAY I JUST DONT KNOW.  I briefly process a million thoughts of the past the present and the future as he talks about his dead-end relationship and how he moved from South London to North London with her and it caused a load of problems with his family and that they don’t really have sex anymore and all these things she doesn’t do and just for a moment, I feel sympathy.  I know that feeling, being with my ex for 9 years it was exactly the same.  Thankfully my brain pulls itself together and I smile, he looks at me and says ‘ your pissed with me aren’t you?’  I look back at him and say into his ear ‘Mr Disaster, I am not pissed, I have just met every type of coward there is now, I understand your situation I really do but please understand that I had the balls to get out of my bad situation and certainly didn’t lie or mislead anyone.  Now I am going to go to the ladies and then I am going to go and get my jacket, I have tickets for both yours and mine, so you need to come with me to get yours, then I am going home.  We went and got our jackets.  He spent some time dragging me outside to try to talk and explain to me that normally he would just ‘have sex and go’ but with me it was different and he couldn’t lie to me and he really cares about me and wants us to be friends and BLA BLA BLA.  I had to get out of here.  I went to the ladies, wow I am a little too drunk for this.  I stopped inside the cubicle and let myself break just for half a second, I took a deep breath and pulled myself together.  This idiot did not deserve my tears, he certainly wasn’t going to get the satisfaction of seeing me cry for him.  I didn’t look anywhere, just kept my head down and ran out of the bar.  I am very good at running away when I need to and he didn’t see me.

I got as far away as I thought was safe and I broke down.  I couldn’t hold the tears in anymore.  I text Katie (my little sister) to say I was going to hers – I had keys to get in so whether she was up or not I was going.  I then rang a friend to cry to her.  The best person I could think of.  She was great aswell and really made me feel together enough to get on the train.  When I got out at the station I had lots of messages on my phone asking where I was, I ignored them and rang my friend back but he kept ringing so finally I answered. ‘WHAT?’  I shouted ‘Rachel where are you? Are you still in Central?’  I had one response:  ‘WHY DON’T YOU ASK YOUR GIRLFRIEND WHERE SHE IS’ I practically screamed at him.  I wouldn’t let him speak and hung up.  I erased his number, his Facebook, his Instagram and his Twitter.  I got rid of all the messages we had ever sent to each other.  Done.  I got to Katie’s, demanded she order me a pizza and opened a bottle of wine – a scientifically proven way of coping with pain.  He of course messaged me a long sorry essay but unfortunately words meant nothing to me anymore, I’d heard too many of them.

That weekend I was on a course, not really a great time to have a hangover or heartbreak but nothing was going to stop me doing something good for me.  I didn’t stop hearing from him.  LEAVE ME ALONE, for goodness sake let me just get on with my life.  On the Sunday I decided to speak to him and tell him how I felt.  I explained that I had feelings for him and that what he had done was unfair, he said he had feelings for me too and that he was really sorry and just wanted us to be friends.  I told him I didn’t need any more friends and that he needed to stay away from me so I could heal.  He promised he would leave me alone.  He didn’t, he would still message me, I would ignore him or ask him what he wanted and then tell him to stop contacting me again.  I felt like such a lioness, I had been honest and not ashamed of my feelings but hadn’t stood for being mistreated.  I was growing up, becoming a strong and confident woman!  Eventually the messages cut right down and I didn’t hear from him.  That was the end of Mr Disaster…………….or so I thought.

I think it is important to remember that you should never be ashamed of your feelings. Never be afraid to tell someone they have upset you for fear of being told you are over reacting or that you will look silly.  Your feelings are there for a reason and they should be considered and respected.  It is important to set yourself standards and be clear on your boundaries and do not compromise these for anyone.  You have to love and respect yourself first and foremost, after all, you are fabulous.

 

 

The first, first date!

Being in a relationship for such a long time meant that I knew nothing about single life as an adult. I had been with one person for a very long time and I thought that is how all relationships were. The problem with this was that I believed that men didn’t prioritize women, found them a nuisance or a nag, didn’t really care about them, didn’t want to be seen out with them once they had gotten them and didn’t listen or support them, among MANY other damaging beliefs that we will save for later. It is very safe to say I was in a very unhealthy relationship and it had left its mark. I found myself as a 25-year-old woman feeling like a teenager, completely clueless.

So after finishing a long-term prison sentence – also known as the 9-year relationship I was in and my best friend declaring he had feelings for me and me running for the hills in fear, my friend suggested I join an online dating site. I was very unsure, I wasn’t up for meeting crazies that were going to try to lure me back to weird sex caves and wear my face as a mask thanks. She assured me that it was quite common for people to meet through online dating and that she herself had used one and it was a good way of talking to people. She suggested I use it purely as an ego boost ‘put up a pretty picture and just watch the messages come flooding in, it will make you feel good about yourself’. Well I do like being adored I guess…..so I decided it couldn’t hurt, and besides, I didn’t have to actually meet anybody.

I put up a nice picture and barely wrote anything about myself. The messages came flooding in. I mean tons of them. Most were boring messages such as ‘hi’ or ‘hey babe how are you’ (you will hear plenty more on why I dismiss these kinds of messages on online dating sites later). Some messages were more inventive and would have a funny joke or a cheesy chat up line. Some were just vile. I think the most shocking message I received was (if you are particular sensitive to crude or vulgar suggestions please look away for the next sentence, also if you are under the age of 18 perhaps it’s best you too skip the next sentence) ‘fancy a rim job from an experienced tongue?’. Well, just in case for any reason you are wondering whether or not I replied….I am happy to tell you I did not. I wonder if he gets many responses ‘yes please that would be great’.  Anyway, the site was working wonderfully as an ego boost. One guy sent me a message and I had a peek at his profile, my jaw dropped – wow, he had a great modelling picture as his main photo and the other couple of pictures were not too shabby. I probably should have considered that any of the men messaging me had only seen one very flattering picture of mine from a photo shoot and they had not read one bit of information about me so therefore could only be interested in a complete fantasy in their head, but no, I forgot to consider that and decided to message back in hopes that I had found Prince Charming straight away. We talked for a bit via message and he rang me a couple of times. He seemed nice enough, I was working in a gym at the time and he was big into fitness and martial arts so we had things in common. He asked me out for a drink and we arranged to meet not too far away from where I lived.

This was going to be my first real date. My first date! I put on a face full of make up and did my hair and dressed up – smart, sexy but casual – I think I must have looked more like a very good-looking drag queen because at the time make up was my very close intimate friend so I was well acquainted with it. I was so nervous and excited. I was more excited to be able to say I was going on a date than actually meeting this guy.

I arrived and he was there, he was ok looking. He bought us both a drink and we sat down. I had no idea what you were supposed to do or talk about on a date so I went into my ‘I’m nervous so I am just going to talk talk talk’ mode and the conversation was flowing. Most of the time I was so happy that I was on a real date I forgot to listen to what he was actually saying and the rest of the time what he was saying was giving me a secret roll of the eyes because he said eevvveerrryytthiinnng iiiinnn thiiiiiisss slooowww ‘I’mmmm juuusssttt sooooo atttt onnneee wiiitth thhheee wooorrrlllddd’ voice. This guy frickin loved himself. Too much. Everything he said sounded structured, planned, not authentic! At one point I noticed he was wearing a very smart watch so I complimented him on it, he came out with this story about buying and selling watches before arrogantly smiling and saying ‘yeeessss, I liiiiikkee toooo thiiiinkkk offff iiiiiit aaaaaassss a tiiiimmeeelleeeesss piiiieeeecccceeee’ and then he laughed at the irony of what he had just said. Oh god just shut up, just say thanks for the compliment, it is taking you forever to say anything. Why don’t you just sit on a throne and arrogantly smile at all your minions below who live to serve you!  He then went on to tell me how he is moving to Israel in a couple of months – hang on, you didn’t mention this the entire time we have been speaking….it started to register, he is on a hook up.  Well, I am not interested one little bit. I painfully listened to him talk on for a while longer, slumped into the couch we were sitting on as if he was sitting at home – probably because everything on this earth is his right to own as King. When we left – finally – I very politely thanked him for a nice evening and kissed him on the cheek, I could tell he had just registered I was heading straight to my car and he didn’t look at all happy, I didn’t care, I had been on a date – a real date! I didn’t hear from him again and I wasn’t surprised.

The problem was that I had a) no experience in the dating world and b) no experience enjoying life on my own. This meant that I gave someone credit for simply showing an interest in me (something I hadn’t been used to for a very long time).  Had I had any sense I would have known what he was all about from the beginning but I had fun and it was nice to be out with someone who wasn’t treating me like one of the boys. Besides he was just a tiny bit of preparation for many a disaster to come and at least he didn’t push me into the arms of my best friend who had declared his love for me and then left me heartbroken……….to then go on date number one with Mr complete and utter disaster (part 1)……………………………………………(oh wait, that is exactly what happened)…

EXPLORING THE JUNGLE….

In my first post I talked about embracing every part of ourselves so that we could live real authentic lives and I mentioned a rage of topics I would cover. So far I have been talking about ways to empower yourself and take a look on the inside. Well now it’s time we step into a new jungle as promised and talk about a whole new journey we go on in life – men! That’s right, the Lions we come across, searching in hope to find that King of the pride, the protector, someone strong and fearless, someone who will care for us and support us, maybe even someone worthy of fathering our offspring, that someone known as Mr Right!

Well, depending on your age and experience there is a good chance you, like myself have met many a Mr Wrong too. If you are lucky enough to have plain sailed straight to your Mr Right then congratulations and perhaps you will enjoy the entertainment value of the dating world for a single woman. If on the other hand you too are single, having men troubles, still shaking your head and wondering how the male species can be so….SO different from the female, then welcome to my world. It is now time to share with you some of my many failings, or, as I like to call them, adventures.

Failure is such an important part of every aspect of life. It is how we learn. Everyone in our lives is either a blessing or a lesson and if we do not learn what we need to from the people who are in our lives for this exact reason then they will come back again and again, be it the same person returning or the same traits in each new person. There is no escaping learning, just the ability to prolong the process. This said, there is value in meeting many a Mr Wrong!

I myself have only been involved in two relationships, one that lasted in total about 9 years and the other that lasted a rocky 1 year. I have since had to introduce myself to the world of dating and even online dating. I have had some ups and a lot of downs but, through it all I have learnt more about myself than I could ever imagine possible. I have turned from Mouse to Lioness and learnt to not give anyone else control or power in any kind of relationship – unless of course I choose to let them borrow it for a while.

Whilst I have been on countless dates from good, bad, tediously boring, awkward, confusing, exciting, funny and even somewhat scary, I have enjoyed and still enjoy dating. I do not let my experiences put me off, lose faith in the whole of the male species or determine who or how valuable I am. They are all an experience and who knows, eventually I may even find one good enough to keep.

I have spoken to countless women who struggle with dating, struggle with what they do wrong, why they are not liked and why they haven’t found a good one. Some even fear dating and hate the process. Well I am not saying I am an expert but I can tell you that I have learnt to love dating and feel nothing but empowerment from it. So maybe I can at least help some of you fellow Lionesses that struggle with dating do the same. To the others that manage to enjoy it too, I hope I can give you a good laugh and maybe even a few reminders of some of the ‘ordeals’ you too have faced with men.

To all the men out there who are kindly taking the time to read my posts, please take this with a pinch of salt and maybe even try considering what I am saying next time you take a woman out. After all, if you want to find a Lioness, you simply must learn to be a Lion.

Until next time pride….!

I WANT WHAT I’VE GOT!

What is that you want? What don’t you have that you have been wanting? I bet a list comes to mind easily? Put that list aside and now make a list of all the things that you already have that are amazing and wonderful. Every single one of them. It may start off with things that seem more important such as family, friends, pets, a roof over your head.

Wow, if you are blessed enough to have those on your list then really and truly you hold so much already. Many of my friends I consider my family and I am thankful for them everyday. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world, would you?

Do you have a roof over your head and a warm bed? Hallelujah, there is nothing like climbing into bed after a long day. Laying your head on to the pillow and spreading out under the sheets. Gorgeous!!!!!

Ok so maybe some things that may seem a bit smaller in comparison, such as a paying job, a hobby, a big TV.

Money to be able to afford things you enjoy is a great feeling. A sense of achievement after hitting work deadlines or making a difference is really rewarding.

A hobby means you are dedicating time to yourself and your passions. The importance of this is infinitely high. We are on earth, in a body, living a life. We have to dedicate some of that time for ourselves.

A big TV? Yes!!!! Movie night. Relaxing on the sofa or in bed and snuggling up with some snacks. One of my favourite things to do.

I have just named 7 things and briefly touched on them. I could go on with this list forever. I haven’t even gone into great detail about the 7 things I have just named. I haven’t given you the name of each of my friends and why I am so thankful for them. I haven’t told you every single movie I have loved watching on my TV at home where I enjoy the roof over my head.

My point is that if you want more things to be grateful for in life or happy about, then be grateful for all the things you already have. You will be surprised at how long and detailed this list will be. By the time you finish you will realise that you already have so much that any more would simply be a blessing. You are in fact opening a doorway to allow even more to come to you. The more we focus on what have to be grateful for the more we will be given even more things to be grateful for. It’s a win-win.

What are you grateful for right now?