14th Feb is Valentines Day and in Australia it’s closing in on the end of Summer, lonely heart singles must scramble to find a Valentine to be coupled off for the cold, rainy Winter months ahead! Actually, In all honesty I don’t think many of us single folks are all that desperate to be coupled off but it doesn’t mean we don’t believe in finding true love!

There are so many options now for the romantic soul to fall deep in love, find friendship, engage in digital love or even a casual sex hookup or two, three, four all at the touch of a button! I think it is fair to say online dating is now kosher with even the most respectable folks giving it a go but don’t be fooled, just like ordinary dating there are pitfalls and players online also. With some practice you can become better at sorting the wheat from the chaff as someone once told me. There is also the bar, club or pub option but chances are you’ll end up drinking too much and your judgments might be a little less than perfect!

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Nope, the smart phone can sort out your love life with some savvy  txting and selfies you can virtually line up a date and explore the universe of LOVE in the hope you meet your match and are on your way to match making heaven. Or remain single, being a pair is not for everyone… I’m still waiting for Siri to arrange it all for me, right down to the very last details!

Many people say to me that men and women are different creatures, men are from mars, women are from venus blah blah, do we really have different intentions and go about exploring relationships in round-a-bout ways across alternate universes, where does that leave the gay community and everyone in-between, perhaps they at least are on the same planets? Do the men on mars hang out at bars? Do we ever really fall in love at first sight? And how is it that a word typed on a screen can administer a biological response in us without ever meeting the creature behind the glass? Enter the digital age of courtship….

What do you look for on a first date? I wanted to research and interviewed a small slice of the Melbourne’s singles scene to find out more. I took my answers from a wide variety of ages, sexual orientation and both studly, gorgeous men and beautiful, independent women. For privacy reasons I have identified them with a simple M for male and F for female and included their age.

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M 41: Call me superficial but I first have to be attracted to them. That will grow further with conversation but their looks need to draw them to me. After that I look for a connection. Values are aligned. I was raised a Catholic but am an atheist but spiritual. Closest is Buddhism.

F 40: Physical attraction initially, good character, manners, moral integrity and conversation dynamic.

M 48: In a first date I look for a sense of attraction and rapport first. There has to be mutual interest and tingling excitement, which we can build on. I dont want either of us to be apprehensive or nervous. I will try and use humour, self deprecating if necessary, to break the ice. I will try to find areas of common interest and connection or even mutual friends or acquaintances. To arrive at a date there must be a spark between us so the date should try and fan that spark so the ember glows bright and catches fire hopefully without burning either of us.

F 26: I’m so far out of the “dating scene” and don’t even want to have that idea in my consciousness ATM!

F 27: First dates can be tricky. If you are too eager, you risk coming across like a complete try hard. Keep it too cool, you can then come across vague. A little mystery is always the best solution. Give a little away then retract. I look for a good listener and someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. I Try to figure out if we have enough in common and if we share the same interests to go on the second date. Being a gentleman helps and no that doesn’t mean having to pay. Open a few doors, pull out her chair at dinner and walk on the outer side of the footpath. It works wonders.

M 33: I am primarily looking to foster a relationship, so I want to be attracted to the person physically and intellectually. I think physical attraction is important and is kind of a hurdle for a potential relationship, but being attracted to their intellect is what will sustain my interest over time. I also want to feel as if it is reciprocal. I’m not going to put in a lot of effort if I don’t feel my interest is matched. I guess there are a lot of other factors that are harder to quantify that people would generally refer to as chemistry; how well does conversation flow, matching body language, smell even. Ultimately I don’t think there is a way to completely spell out what I’m looking for, because some of it is based on a feeling, or could even be subconscious.

F 35: I want me man to show up, be present for the date, switch off his phone and focus on me making me feel special. I want him to make an effort, look stylish, shave and brush his teeth! Looking for a strong man, I want him to share his stories of courage with me and an obviously adventurous spirit, someone I can enjoy and feel inspired with. I am looking for confidence on the first date, seeing that he is not shy, nervous and has a strong sense of self love. Be open, positive and answer questions truthfully and show me who he really is.

M 29: Just see what kind of person they really are, whether you get along as well as you hopefully did online too to see if perhaps a relationship could even eventuate. perhaps even a kiss but who knows? no expectations really.

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So there we have it, some evidence of similarities, differences and also that some people really just love being single and free and that’s ok too. I know from my own experience, especially as a single mother there is a lot of pressure to be coupled off by society but reality is sometimes you just want to be solo for a change. For those of you enjoying the dating scene and looking for true love here are some 101 dating mistakes NOT to do if you’re trying to attract your perfect match. And if you go on a date and it does go horribly wrong, get the hell out of there fast, sometimes it’s more polite to sit through the meal and bite your tongue, this is where with some practice  you shouldn’t have to endure too many bad dates…. If all else fails, a good strategy is have your mates number dialled and press call to give a warning to them to call you back and fake an emergency! But for now follow these rules and you can’t go wrong!

  • Give your full attention to the one you’re with, don’t look at your phone constantly, don’t perve on others passers by and try to establish eye contact, try humour to break the ice and be honest, real love can only happen when there is an authentic connection. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not!
  • Widen your definition of a compatible partner and open yourself to the possibility you can fall in love with someone who doesn’t meet your criteria for the perfect partner.
  • Don’t come on to strong, watch out for behaviours that can be construed as needy, dependant and insecure.
  • Respect the natural progression of intimacy, gradually reveal your inner thoughts and feelings as to not put to much pressure on your date early on.
  • Don’t get lost talking about yourself in the past, leave the baggage where it belongs in the past and go to your date with a fresh perspective, open and kind  heart.
  • Approach others with curiosity, kindness and compassion. Early dismissal of someone can be a one-way ticket to overlooking a potential love match.

Hope that helps and remember like all things in life, experience and persistence is the key to success! Don’t be afraid to loose what’s not right for you. Would love to hear more from all the singles out there, sharing funny experiences and advice we could possibly find we are not all so different after all!

 

Thanks to all the brave folks who let me interview them,

Marion x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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