The art of dating

If you’re looking for advice on this topic, best you move along – you won’t find any here (perhaps you can point me in the right direction?). This is a kind of confession, I guess…

Milkshake couple

You’ll be excused if, judging from my online interaction, you were under the impression that I’m a confident and social person. Because I am that on-screen. In real life, however, I’m the poster child for social awkwardness and shyness, unless I know the people in whose company I am fairly well.

So the whole meeting new people (offline), getting to know them better (offline), and possibly building a relationship (offline) is pretty difficult for me. It’s compounded by the fact that I over-think everything. EVERYTHING! In my limited experience, dating is just plain awkward – where do you meet people (don’t tell me the grocery store, church, or through friends, and definitely not “on the internet”); where do you go on a date? There’s no point going to the movies because you can’t talk. Dinner dates have a similar problem, with the added pressure of what to order: if you order salad he thinks you’re a health-nut, if you order steak he might be intimidated, if you order sushi you could be considered a hipster or something, and pasta (spaghetti isn’t even an option!)… okay, pasta might be acceptable. I think. Actually, don’t let me think.

Even if you do meet someone you think you might like, and you go on a date somewhere you can talk and not have to worry about parsley in your teeth, I’m convinced that most of the time at least one person goes home disappointed. There are subconscious expectations about stuff – mutual interests, morals, physical appearance, etc.

And before you think about introducing me to your brother, friend, cousin, I’m in a complicated mindset about my relationship status. Strictly speaking, I’m single. I haven’t been on a date in years. I haven’t been wooed, sent flowers, been on the receiving end of a mixed tape playlist, or any such thing in longer than what I’d care to think about right now (oh look, I’ve found something I won’t over-think, hurrah! :P). But I love my best friend. Very much. It’s not completely one-sided, but he won’t ever get to where I am emotionally, and to his credit, he told me exactly how he feels about relationships the first day we had something resembling a date (incidentally we ended up sharing a few starters at Spur after we couldn’t agree on a movie to watch. And we met at work, in case you were wondering).

This is my problem. Sort of. I’m not sure I have a problem, but some of those close to me think I do; they all feel I deserve better. Better than what though? I’m curious about giving myself a chance to be loved by someone who might consider marrying me (and not just agree to be my absent-minded neighbour when we’re old and shaky). But my best friend will always be my friend – after everything we’ve been through, we’ll always be there for each other. He encourages me to find someone special that isn’t him, and I don’t know if I can.

And the fact that I’ll rather stick bamboo shoots under my nails than try the whole dating thing, is not helping the situation. So tell me about your love story; your happily so far… Where’d you meet? What did you do on your first date – and your last one? How long have you been together?


  1. Jacqui Malpass

    We met online (oh yes!), we went for a walk, he was supposed to come to dinner at my house a week later – he couldn’t find my house and went home – for nearly a year we had odd casual dates – then one day we clicked and on 6th Dec 2012 we married.

    I know I make it sound simple, but phew it wasn’t and then one day it was.

    I hated the whole pub thing, being groped and drunken exchanges and I loved the online researching, chatting, meeting, running away, finding new friends and that you could set expectations before you met. ‘So, here’s the plan, we meet for coffee, if we don’t want to take it further, after an hour we say thanks but no thanks’ Very empowering and I did have many a laugh.

    Good luck in your quest.

  2. Moosa

    I really feel for you (ladies). But I have to agree as well that it is tough out there and coming from a guy, guys are more afraid of you than you are of them. Yes there is the good, the bad and the ugly. The good guys are dull and boring, the bad guys are exciting and give you a rush..along with another 5 or 10 other women (give or take a few) and then there’s the ugly, or more accurately: creepy nut jobs.

    I’m sure you’re wondering “why can’t I have a bit of both?” and you very well can, just be careful because if you try to make a good guy bad, he might end up liking it a lot and not want to be good anymore and if you try to make a bad boy good, well that’s never going to happen! it will only end in tears I’m afraid.

    In my humble opinion, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re in love (no need to apologize for it or explain yourself, it is what it is you cannot help the way you feel) and its a tough situation to be in when the other person does not feel the same and the harsh reality is that you need to move on. The world is a big place and there are just too many interesting people out there to cut yourself of from. From experience, the best (and sometimes worst place) to meet new people is through friends (friends who would take a bullet for you and not feed you to the lions for a laugh). They know you best, your likes and dislikes, your personality and character and they may happen to stumble upon someone they know who is worthy of you. I chose my words carefully here because a lot of my single female friends who have been single for a long time start to feel unworthy of a relationship. I can promise you that there is someone out there who is ready and willing to appreciate and respect you as you deserve to be.

    You don’t have to go into the dating scene “blind”, you can make it fun with your friends for example ask them for profiles of potential suitors. Ask for pictures, profession, where he is from, likes, dislikes as much information as can be made available and from there you can weed out the bad and the ugly. And remember, you can always make the good guy bad 😉

    • Moosa

      My sincere apologies for the misinterpretation. Either way, good luck with moving forward 🙂

  3. shereesmusings

    Your vulnerability is refreshing and your best friend is blessed to have you in his life. Whatever happens.

  4. Robi

    My dude and I have been together for just over 7 years. We’ve known each other for 9. We met because my older sister and his older brother started dating. (They are now married with 2 kids.)

    He fell in love with me first. He was 20. I was 15 and really not interested. He’s very shy and the thought of talking to me back then made him want to vomit with nerves. (Aww, but also euw.) I’m outgoing and will talk to anyone. After rejecting him a few months after meeting him, he told me he’d wait for me to change my mind. I laughed and laughed. And then, 2 years later, just as I was about to finish matric it hit me, I love this guy. And we’ve been together ever since.

    Last November he proposed and this November we’ll be tying the knot.

    With regards to the early dating phase, we spent a lot of time with our siblings because it was just easier. When we were alone, it was a lot of walking and talking. Mostly at the Waterfront or in a mall. Somewhere not too noisy. I talk a lot while walking so it worked out well. The walking happened with the intention of watching a movie but there was always chatting before and after.

    Oh, and on the food issue, I find a schnitzel is always a safe bet. 😉

    • Robi

      You are very welcome. 🙂

      *All above-mentioned occurrences were 100% true. No names were changed to protect identity.*


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe Today!
Wired To The Web Logo
Recommended by CapeTownInsider

2021 Reading Challenge

2021 Reading Challenge
Martha has completed her goal of reading 120 books in 2021!