I used to think dating was simple: I would leave the palace one day, disguised as a commoner, accidentally shop-lift in a market place and get saved by a dashing young man and his monkey. We would fall madly in love with each other and he would tell me I’m the most amazing girl in the world and he would truly mean it. Blah blah blah, magic carpet, evil villain, he saves the day, we all live happily ever after. The end.
Sadly, I was wrong. Since the plot of Aladdin didn’t directly translate into reality I have been forced to wing it.
This is what I’ve been able to deduce so far: You meet someone by chance through work, friends or a strategic right-swipe. Following that there are numerous keen (but not too keen) text messages and ultimately you agree to interview each other for the position of ‘significant other’. There is food, usually a few solid sav blancs and about 40,000 screening questions. If someone makes it past the first date the process repeats until one person loses interest or finds someone cuter to text. Long story short: you meet, you eat, you battle it out to see who can act like a normal well-adjusted human for the longest, then someone gets burnt and you start all over again. Got it? Simple.
After an interesting conversation with a male friend this week I have started to question some of the assumptions I’ve made about the sometimes bizarre circus that is dating. Sure it can be full of freaks, we all know that. To my credit sometimes my dating life is like Cirque du Soleil: mesmerising, high-brow, and utterly brag-worthy. Other times though it’s a nightmarish fiasco with more sad clowns than strong men. [Note: I am not referring to those of extreme physical strength like body builders or weight lifters (who are NOT in short supply); I’m talking about the rare breed of men who do not suffer from emotional paraplegia]
Reflecting over my past experiences I realise I have been inadvertently providing a community service all these years – the ‘catch and release’ program I’ve been running ever since I hit puberty has had a striking success rate. More than once I have generously rescued a disheveled young man and through months of nurturing, spoon feeding, toilet training and general life-skills coaching I have released him back into the wilderness, a much snappier dresser and all-round more considerate guy. Rest assured I am not the first girl to experience the bitter pang of disappointment as my charge successfully integrates into the wild and uses his hard-learned skills to attract a new mate. At this stage if you’re having trouble following my train of thought just think of me as Demi Moore, wasting years of my prime training Ashton Kutcher how to be boyfriend of the year, only to watch him run off with that bitch Mila Kunis. *BURN*
Sadly, more often than not any significant emotional investment on my behalf has left me feeling like one of the contestants on The Block; back in that dreadful season where no-one sold their property above reserve. Like the poor tormented block-heads I too have wasted months of my life only to deliver some lucky stranger a structurally sound investment at well under the asking price. Lucky for me my ordeals have never involved a film crew or Scott Cam so perhaps at least, there is a god.
What haunts me about these failed relationships is not the fact that the other person changed their mind. I am not a desperado and if it’s not working for the other person then I kindly invite them to GTFO and stop wasting my time. What in fact makes me livid is the way in which I have been completely and utterly mislead by these bozos. Sorry guys, this may sound a bit harsh but let me elaborate. I think I speak on behalf of single women when I say we are sick of being told we’re the most amazing person ever and the best thing since sliced bread only to be dumped the following day, usually via a text message. This massive truth sandwich is usually filled with *sorry it’s just not working out…* and buttered heavily with *I’m a douche bag/ I’m a commitmentphobe/ I never actually liked you that much anyway/ thanks for the memories/ everything I said was BS*. I honestly don’t think it’s too much to ask that in future you refrain from using your fake romantic one-liners on us, because I’m ashamed to admit that we fall for it everytime… and then you have the nerve to call us CRAZY for hacking your facebook and slashing your tyres. Sheesh. At least we when we say ‘we hate your guts’ you can trust that we mean it.
In a state of unequivocal paranoia I started to wonder if there was a dating-specific code of conduct men kept a secret. Being a painfully honest person, I have always assumed that when people say things they actually mean them. I have started to wonder if I have been operating under a false assumption this whole time. When I jovially joked that in the past 12 months I have had free stuff and heart break in equal measures not only did I hear the resounding cackle of Karma, but I started to question the correlation. I realised in fact, that men have been trading their economic investment for my emotional one this whole time. Willing to pour in money and hollow compliments whilst I fell head over heels for what I though was genuine sentiment. At this point in my revelation I felt like I had just been punched in the face by an ice addict, whilst waiting at a bus stop.
My mind started racing. Do guys really think it’s okay to break our hearts because they’ve supplied adequate free meals and entertainment? Is there some kind of secret loyalty programme where you buy a girl 10 meals and then you get to stab her in the heart for free? I’m sure by now a lot of guys will be violently objecting to this notion, but I’m also sure many men would never even realise if they were participants in this movement. Arguments aside, I still strongly feel that guys have let me get far more attached than they should because of some cave-man presumption that as long of they have provided for the fairer sex their obligation is fulfilled, and any white lies or exaggerations that occurr are simply part of the natural process. I’m here to clarify that free food is NEVER a mitigating factor in rejection and by no means is it a free pass to mislead naïve young girls, who still believe one day Superman will save them if they jump off enough tall buildings (figuratively speaking, of course).
Although I may have said in jest (more than once) ‘Ah well, it didn’t work out but hey – I got a lot of free food’, it is in no way a relief to my heartache. Quite contrarily, the abundance of inflight meals you provided may have increased my overall padding, but it in no way cushions my fall when you suddenly rip open the emergency exit and push me out of the cabin mid-flight. To add insult to injury, as I hurtle screaming towards to earth, I suddenly realise that maybe I didn’t have “the most adorable face EVER”, “an awesome figure” or “the most beautiful smile”. Shit, you got me good.