When I was 15 I had a list of 35 reasons I couldn’t make a date with the guy I fancied. My go-to excuses were: “I failed my history exam, so I’m grounded” (blatant lie, I was a straight-A geek) and “my aunt has suddenly gone into labour – and she thinks it’s triplets.”
It’s not because I disliked the guy who I was seeing – it was more that I hated the built-up to a date.
And I still do.
Arranging a date feels like a task. I spend all of my day at work trying to get celebrities to agree to an interview with me, sending emails back and forth to PRs, agents and book publishers. Finally, after days of trying to find a day we can all do, the date is set for the 10-minute chat.
This is how I feel when I’m going on a date. We need to pick a date, a time, a place. It’s a lot of work. Too much work. It’s dating admin.
And it’s the reason that I’ve been shying away from my dating apps. Because even if I find someone who is fit, feminist and left-wing (the trifecta), how will we ever meet if we are both busy?
Take, for instance, the policeman I was chirpsing on Tinder. We talked for two weeks, with a lot of left-wing comments and sarcastic jokes flying between us. He asked me out two weekends ago, but I was going on a trip. I suggested we do something during the week, but he has to work late shifts because he’s a policeman (very attractive).
So last Monday we decided we would go for a date on Sunday. That meant chatting for six more days with someone I had never met, where we both knew a date was now set in stone. It was rather anticlimactic, a “now what?” moment.
Perhaps that is why he ghosted me.
All I did was message him on Friday night, “hey, are we still on for Sunday?” and I received no reply.
Which is what made me think of 15-year-old me telling unsuspecting boys that I could not go to the cinema because I was going on a spontaneous mid-school-week break to Peru.
The stress and effort of making a date are just too much.
The best dates, like the best celebrity interviews, happen organically. I may spend hours every day organising celebrity interviews, but my best one to date happened when I was rather un-sober at a press party. I walked up to a reality star, got out my Dictaphone and we had the most honest and hilarious chat (sample: I blurted out “what’s your type?” as one of my first questions).
Similarly, some of my favourite dates have been with people that stumbled into my life. A man I met on a ferry, a guy I met on a street in France. When you take out all of the planning, dating is actually quite fun. Who doesn’t like getting all dressed up and telling their favourite stories to strangers?
So, henceforth, I shall put less effort into arranging dates. Will never send a “just checking you’re still up for Sunday” text again. Will also not arrange a date further than three days in advance. Instead, I will try to meet people more organically (sorry, Tinder) – maybe take my friends up on their blind date offers, or finally stomach a speed-dating event.
And if that’s as horrendous as it sounds, at least I have 35 tried and tested reasons to cancel.