I think I speak for most single girls when I say that sometimes, it’s tough out there.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s mostly brill. Having spent a long time in a relationship (albeit with a lovely lovely person) that left me feeling like I was wearing a really hot, really tight jumper in a humid jungle of PURE PANIC (ahem or ya know, something a little less dramatic than that) I can tell you that there is nothing worse than being in a relationship for the sake of being in one.
Plus, you have the added benefits of being 100% selfish with your time, not having to watch any form of televised sport (good-BYE NFL – see you NEVER) and not screaming silently into your hands when you realise said love of your life has left remnants of their beard trimmings in your open pot of face cream.
However, from time to time, the urge strikes me to put myself out there and go on a few dates. You know, in the interest of not dying alone in a house full of cats.
Normally sparked by someone who had particularly bad dandruff/acne/halitosis at school getting engaged to a normal looking human and plastering it across facebook.
I think you are all aware that internet dating has not been kind to me in recent times. Indeed I have come to think of apps such as tinder as holding pens for lunatics. Therefore, it seems that to meet a sane and normal human you have to venture out into the real world. Scary stuff
But how do you go about this?
Considering my past experiences hardly qualify me to talk knowledgeably on this subject I decided to call on the opinion of the ‘experts’ at Match.com and test their theories.
‘Experts’ is in inverted commas here for three reasons
1) The article in question had this as its title image. These two look like they might be planning each others simultaneous murders
2) Related articles included: How to flirt with a guy from a distance (guys I’m great at this already. I spend so much time flirting with Carl from Love Actually from my bedroom!), How to flirt with a guy without making it obvious (um does ignoring them and then being borderline rude when they speak to you count? No?) and ‘How to move on when there is a lack of respect in your relationship’ (I felt that this was off topic. Namely because if you are googling ‘how to flirt with strangers in a bar’ you may not need to worry about being in a relationship where there is a lack of respect. Or in any relationship at all for that matter)
3) My friend A is on match and has been approached by a man whose picture looked, at first glance, like a group shot at a wedding and then turned out to be all him, photoshopped in different positions. I am seeking her permission to post it here. Keep your eyes peeled it’s a gem and a half.
Anyway – who cares for credentials!? Not I! Here we go
Oh Oh just before we do here are some starting words of wisdom from the Gods of Luurrveee (match.com)
‘You can be subtle when flirting or more aggressive’
Right. Not sure I’ve ever looked for outright aggression in a flirtatious exchange but you’ve piqued my interest…go on.
‘The choice is yours because there are endless ways to flirt. It depends on how comfortable you are with a particular technique’.
Ah I fear this may already be too advanced for me. Technique? Does getting blind drunk and walking up to men and saying ‘are you going to buy me a drink or shall I just drink yours?’ before trying to wrestle it out their hands and then falling over count as a technique? If it does I’d say I sit more in the aggressive camp…
‘Try flirting in a crowded bar. It may be easier because you are surrounded by strangers and will probably never see the object of your flirtatious moves again’
Wise words match.com. However, this only makes you feel marginally better when you…hypothetically…try to ‘dance alluringly’ and get asked if you are having a small seizure. HYPOTHETICALLY.
Match say: “Smile and make eye contact with someone in a bar. This is a simple way of showing your interest.”
Well I mean that’s hardly revolutionary is it! I was expecting some sort of step by step witchcraft designed to disguise the fact that I am, in fact, a social hand grenade.
“You can play coy and look at someone until he looks back, then look away for a few seconds. Look up again and smile at him. Assess his level of interest from there.”
In practice: OK. Sorry, I think this is quite hard. How does one assess anyone’s level of interest from across a bar having drunk enough wine to sink a ship?
However I’m a trooper so I tested this out with gusto. Upon entering the bar I did a quick scan around and settled on a nice looking young chap (yeah I’ve become my gran at this point) and tested step one.
To be fair…he smiled back. But he looked a little scared and also did that half glance over your shoulder that you do when you’re not sure why you are being smiled at. I decided to smile back more purposefully. He now looked really quite scared. Probably overwhelmed by my beauty. Bowled over by my allure.
My friend K then approached me and said ‘why are you doing that weird face? You look like you’ve sat on a seatbelt.’
Turns out my idea of winning smile translates to quivering look of strained pain.
Never mind – onwards and upwards.
Match say: “Walk up to someone at a Sports bar and ask him what his favourite team is”
OK wait. Stop. Why do I have to be in a sports bar for this? Did you not hear my cries of goodbye NFL forever and ever? I’m not a sporty gal. In fact, I’ve hated organised sports since the days that I realised gym lessons were no longer about arsing around with skipping ropes and more about being shouted at by an invariably large bottomed, often moustachioed sports teacher whilst running up and down a freezing patch of grass in a skirt designed to be worn by a ten year old. That’s actually what’s written in the OED under ‘Sports lessons’.
More on this hatred later.
“This is an easy icebreaker because you can ask him questions about his team to further the conversation. Or if you know a lot about the team you can make observations about the team. Smile and make eye contact to show your interest”
In practice: I like to think I chose wisely for this exercise. Let me tell you, a bar in Camden does not offer up that many men who look interested in sports. Why not talk to them about their other interests I hear you cry? Because I had had a bottle of wine to myself and so interpreted the match article VERY literally.
I sniffed out one, very tall (v.g.) gentleman who had clearly got lost as he was wearing a barbour and some form of chino trouser in a sea of dirty skinny jeans and inventive facial piercings. A deep breath and a shot later, I planted myself at his side and got stuck in
Me: Hello. Do you like sports?
Him: um – is this going to turn into a weird chat up line or innuendo?
Me: No. Do you like sports?
Him: umm yes?
Me: OK great. What kind of sports?
Him: Is English your first language?
Hmm this is not, so far, going to plan.
It’s also making part B ‘if you know a lot about the team, you can make observations about that team’ quite difficult. Still – God loves a trier.
Me: Yes, it is actually! HAHAHAHAHA (attempted attractive laugh that ends up sounding like mad hyena)
Him: hahaha cool. Well I like Rugby
Me: What team do you support (mechanical robot voice)
Him: Well…England, obviously. But I also support Bath.
Me: searching for inspiration. Umm…do you…
Him: the thing with Bath is they’ve just got to overcome the…blah blah blah blah rugby. Blah blah blah blah sports blah blah blah I secretly want to cuddle men and call it a scrum blah blah
Ten hundred years later
Unfortunately for Chino Mcunexpected-extreme-rugby-enthusiast there is a man standing directly behind him with a pony tail, a beard and a neck tattoo. The triumvirate of sexiness. Very distracting. I am, therefore, finding it hard to concentrate on the sporting drivel he is spouting. I have also begun to need a wee quite badly.
Also his almost aggressive levels of enthusiasm about his team make it nigh on impossible to make any ‘observations’ which is extremely fortunate as I am hilariously uninformed about sports in general. In the end I settled for excusing myself to go to the loo* and then spending the rest of the evening ducking behind chairs lest he pop up with some more utterly fascinating facts.
*quite a loud bar so had to shout ‘I’m going for a wee’ in his ear.
Sorry Match – so far, so headed for spinsterhood.
Match say: “Sit next to someone and casually bump his arm at the bar. He will look up at you which gives you an opening to speak to him. Apologize for bumping into them and offer to buy them a drink. You have just opened the door to further conversation.”
So I should probably preface this by telling you that I had donned a pair of shoes that have been dubbed my ‘lady boots’. They are beautiful and black and suede but unfortunately also rather high. When standing still I look stunning*, when trying to move in them I look a bit like Bambi, if Bambi had got stuck in an ‘all you can eat’ buffet for five years.
*like a borderline normal human
This background info might explain to you why, instead of casually sauntering up to the bar and nudging the elbow of Sexy Von Neck Tattoo I ended up catching my toe on edge of said bar and careening into him with all the grace of a hippo on roller skates.
Match were right about one thing. He did look at me. But not up at me, down at me. As I lay on the floor in a spiral of shame.
I attempted a smile but decided against starting a conversation. Something about not being able to polish a turd springs to mind…
Match say: “Walk past a guy in a bar. Once you have passed him slowly turn around and make eye contact and smile at him. This gesture signifies your interest. This is a bold move. If he is interested, you will know because he will smile back or get up and speak to you.”
I’m sorry everyone. This sounded far too complicated for my liking. As my darling friend K put it ‘blimey that sounds like a lot of hard work’.
Honestly – after my walk and nudge went so heinously wrong the thought of trying to walk in my lady boots whilst coordinating a head flick around and eye contact without looking like a mad beetroot was too much to contemplate.
I was tired. I was drunk. I had given it my all. As my dear pal K said (once she had stopped laughing) ‘that’ll do pig. That’ll do.’
So I tried four out of the six of the match.com tips for flirting with strangers in a bar.
Did it work?
No…no it didn’t.
I think if we can learn anything from this (really scraping the barrel here) was that employing weird techniques will only make you look basically insane. Even if you can enact them perfectly (good for you) I still like to think that when you meet the right person you won’t have to trick them into liking you by smiling at them like a sex pest. It’ll probably feel all lovely like you’ve known them forever.
Yeah I know I made myself sick too.
Until next time!