Tag Archives: rule

Just Ctrl C Ctrl V (part 2)

I’ve recently described the phenomenon of the well-crafted generic message that is posted to hundreds of girls at once, equivalent to flyering your neighbourhood with valentine’s cards.

There are many different approaches to constructing these messages, and I would like to highlight some of them.

Speaking to a large group of people yet achieving that everyone in the crowd feels uniquely addressed is a form of art, and a skill honed in expensive management classes and nights down the corner pub. One strategy that I previously discussed, is to keep the message very short and concise. This will intrigue the reader and make them hunger for more.

Today I will share a message with you that followed quite the opposite approach. The writer decided to reveal everything, and draw me in with full, honest disclosure. He discusses his employment details, his goals in life, his hopes for our relationship, and his medical history. He also alludes to sexual preferences. All in all, a self-summary that could not be more open. What else could a girl want?

But read for yourself.

Example B:

I am Egyptian man I work a lawyer and I have 25 years love life simple hope that Atovq through this site to find a Wife is shared by my life in the future and had a children and live in peace and I am open-minded and it is not none other bad, to search for Wife by sites the net and I hope you understand me

I’m good-hearted man looking for love do not look for the shape I’m looking for a good heart and a sense of fulfillment I am sincere and I hope to get to know a lot about you and your love of your life and future .. Surely I do not know what is possible in the future I am, a pair for you.
Obviously, you are so beautiful white heart Ok I’m raring to get to know you.
Do not leave me

I want to marry you, I did not unprotected sex never in my life I really need to get married and wish to marry a foreign girl Do you agree, and I admitted I did not never unprotected sex with any girl in my life

Full message, no edits. Life is that good.

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FWB- a Three Letter Word

The topics for most of my blog entries usually come to me in the guise of dates I go on myself, occasionally through a story a friend tells me. Today’s post is inspired by not one, but two friends, who told me virtually identical, and in any case similarly frustrating stories.

Casual relationships, fuckbuddies or friends with benefits are a common occurrence in the realm of modern dating. This form of relationship offers people who don’t want a romantic relationship, or who haven’t met a suitable candidate, the opportunity of stability, familiarity and regularity while dispensing with the need for intense emotional involvement and romantic commitment. At its very best, a casual relationship can tick all the boxes. The prerequisite is that this level of involvement is what both parties want – a  casual relationships makes a rubbish consolation prize when you’re madly in love with someone.

However, all too often you’ll find that after a few dates you have two people with different levels of emotion and expectations. Person A is happy to keep dating casually, is open to a sexual relationship, but doesn’t want to become more involved romantically. Person B however is falling in love, would prefer to make the relationship more committed and exclusive, and wants to bind person A to them.

This outset can lead to the following scenario.

B: I really like you – I think we should consider a serious relationship!

A: Hm, this is fun, but I don’t want a serious relationship (right now/with you, etc.). If you’re interested in more, we should probably stop seeing each other,  otherwise you’ll get hurt!

B: Oh, don’t worry, I promise I won’t get hurt. Let’s just continue to see each other casually.

A: Sounds good to me!

We have two people, two different demands, two different emotional perspectives. Yet almost invariably, B will step down and through some sort of jedi mindtrick absolve A from the guilt of hurting them, while continuing the relationship to A’s specifications. In both of my friends’ stories, this was the case.

Let me make this really clear: I’m all for friends with benefits. Being FWB can be absolutely wonderful, giving two people exactly what they need. But in this scenario, only A  gets what they need, whereas B ends up making unreasonable concessions, out of fear of losing what little affection A is prepared to give them. Surely that can’t be right?

But how can you avoid this situation? What if you’ve fallen for your friend with benefits?

Oh, honey. Yes, it’s tempting to think that things between you and A are going to be complicated either way, and that being fuckbuddies is a good way of keeping them in your life. However, if what you really want is a proper monogamous doves-balloons-and-heartshaped-lollipops relationship, you’re setting yourself up for heartache. If A is willing to risk that just so they can still sleep with you, they’re not really worth your love, and they certainly don’t make a good friend.

Step away, please.

And what if you’re on the other side? What to do when you find yourself in A’s shoes?

What is the appropriate response when you realise your friends with benefits  is way more into you?

The usual answer from A to this is: Surely it’s not just my responsibility to deal with this.  B is a grown-up who is responsible for their own emotional well-being, and I should be able to trust them when they ensure me that they won’t get hurt.

That sounds nice, but somehow the resulting scenario feels all wrong. I’d therefore  like to offer the following caveat: As the less involved party you have a certain responsibility to protect the more vulnerable B. If you’re indeed friends, this might be the moment to look out for your friend. As previously mentioned on this blog, it’s unreasonable to expect someone in a state of mental delusion to make a responsible choice. Tell B that you don’t think its a good idea for you two to hang out anymore and then stick to it!

If you’re not friends, just fuck them over and enjoy your ride. But please don’t complain to your other friends afterwards about how you didn’t see it coming, and really wish B would get over things and you could still be friends.


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The Right Kind of Signal

or: How to Avoid Accidental Dates

After I posted about how I have accidental dates and then have a hard time maneuovering out of a second date,  a friend asked me the valid question how I end up on these accidental first dates. I’m not entirely sure, but I blame it on a mix of culture, personality and general naiveté. This post looks more closely into the details.

Firstly, one has to identify who the accidental date is likely to happen with. Simply put, it depends on the relation of the strength of my attraction to him to the strength of his attraction to me. Because I love visualising data, and can’t get enough of that in my day job, I have compiled this problem in a graph.

The fine line in the middle represents equal levels of attraction. As you can see, the main danger for accidental dates rests in the top left zone – where you reasonably like the person, but they like you quite a bit more. This disparity causes situations where you are quite comfortable having them around  and don’t suspect anything when they suggest outings. As you aren’t that attracted to them it maybe hasn’t even crossed your mind that there might be a subtext.

Secondly, I think that my non-verbal communication skills must be deeply flawed. Part of it might be that I’m foreign, and have different cultural values –  however, this is a feeble excuse seeing that my home country is not really known for its touchy feeliness, so it must be my personality. I’m extremely tactile, and will happily hug even people I have only just met. With my friends this becomes more pronounced, and I like to show my affection by touching their arm in conversation, walking with locked arms and hugging when greeting or saying goodbye. The way I was raised, affective touching is not necessarily sensual but can also be friendly and comforting.

However, I’ve learnt the hard way that especially among British born-and-bred males friendly touches are almost exclusively construed as coming on to them. So once you have identified your vulnerable accidental-date population, stick to the following:

Rule 1) No unnecessary touching.

Walk somewhere?  – Walk on your own!

Meet someone in the street? – Nod your head and say “You alright, mate?”

Have a quiet conversation somewhere? –  Keep your hands to yourself!

The next part is a bit more subtle, but also concerns my personality. I have the tendency to be very enthusiastic about things, and express this enthusiasm quite vocally. When I like something, I’ll probably tell you. And I like a lot of things. I also laugh out loud at jokes that I find funny. Again, I get the feeling that this natural enthusiasm and my way of showing it is not widely spread in England, which leads to my friendly interest looking like I’m way into someone. In reality, I’m just way into people in general.

Rule 2) Be cool.

Don’t squeal “OMG, me too”, at every second utterance of the other person. Don’t fall off your chair laughing. Don’t suggest seeing this absolutely cool band you’re sure the other person would just love.

The last one is crucial, so I’ll make it its own rule.

3) Don’t ever suggest a date-type outing to someone in the accidental date danger zone.

Ever.

Even though it kills you because you know you could have a great time making cookies together, or there’s this vintage café you really want to try out. Don’t expect someone who’s a little too into you to mindread that “Oh hey, let’s spend more time with just the two of us” actually comes with the implied caveat of “…as friends only!”. Sure, you know what you meant- you want to hang out, you think the other person would be fun to hang out with, and it all seems breezy. But from the rose-tinted view of someone with a crush it will almost certainly sound like you’re asking them out.

Date-type outings will include (but aren’t limited to) the following, if just the two of you are present:

Any type of sit-down meal, any type of event that requires tickets (cultural, sporting or other), any activity that takes place in one of your houses (absolutely no DVD nights!), any kind of trip or any nighttime activity outside. Come to think of that, I think any nighttime activity with just the two of you present is a date-type event, so best to avoid evenings altogether.

Grey areas are shared interests such as working out together, any of the aforementioned with another couple present (could be construed as a double date) and meals that are eaten while standing up or moving (only the truly desperate will consider a late-night trip to the kebab shop a date).

Safe events:  talking in your coffee break, time spent in a common group of friends, time spent on public transport.

See how this list is much, much shorter than the first list? This means suggesting events in general is probably a bad idea.

It is not fair to assume that the person with the massive emotional bias will sort out your ambiguous signals, so try to be as clear as possible.

Good luck.


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Dealbreakers (III)

Ok, this should be such an obvious one, yet lots of people don’t seem to get it. This story is actually a few years old, but still worthy recounting. Not that I’m bitter, or anything.

I went to a party, and was introduced to D.. We started talking and found out we had lots of interests in common.  We moved to a quiet corner of the room and talked from 9pm until our host got incredibly impatient and threw us out at 3am.  I couldn’t tell you now what we actually talked about, but it was one of those really intense first-time-you-meet conversations with lots of chemistry and mutual agreement.

D. offered to walk me home (that alone is probably worth another post. I love being walked home.) and we continued to chat. At my house I asked him in for a cup of tea and we again continued to talk for hours. At around 7am, we were snuggled up on my sofa, still talking. He said he was going to leave for the 18th time, and then he left after a long lingering hug.

The next day (the same day, but just later) I had a conversation with the friend who introduced us. I asked him how he knew D. and he said:

“Oh, I think I first met his girlfriend through my course.”

Woah, what now? Girlfriend? The guy I had been talking to for ten hours straight – four of which cuddled up on my sofa stroking my hair- had a girlfriend? And somehow that girlfriend had not come up in ten hours worth of conversation?

I know we weren’t kissing or anything, and I didn’t explicitly tell him “Oh, by the way, I’m really attracted to you!”, but still.

Dealbreaker.

(of sorts. because there doesn’t seem to be that much of a deal going on).

Please drop a hint in the conversation if you’re taken, somewhere in those first ten hours of conversation.


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Laws of Conversation

A casual observation of a tremendously boring date. I think this is the only useful conclusion to come out of that evening.

I went out with a guy I met through a website a few days ago. We didn’t get a great start, because he seemed incredibly nervous, and we just couldn’t get a conversation going. While this might be less noteworthy for other people, for me this is somewhat of an exception. I don’t want to sound conceited, and I’m fully aware that this is a double-edged sword, but I sure talk a lot. I’m naturally bubbly and uninhibited, and under normal circumstances can hold enough conversation for several people. While possibly annoying when in a group of people, it’s a blessing when on a date – I tend to fill all the awkward silences with my babbling.

However, this time even my stream of consciousness completely failed me. Every time I started to veer off into an anecdote, he interrupted me and pointed out the single most boring fact about this story. Case in point my hilarious story about how I cycled into a lamppost when I was younger, resulting in severe concussion and a seriously cool scar. This could have been the start for several possible chats about childhood stupidity, medical horrors, scar comparisons or emergency care provision in different countries.

His take on it? “I used to cycle to work, too.”

After two hours, I left exasperatedly. When my friend asked me how it went, I tried to sum up how boring the evening really was. The best I could come up with was: we talked a lot about how much we used to go out when we were at university. And then I realised that this is an excellent gauge of how much you’re connecting with someone.

If you have to resort to stories about how drunk you were at uni, then the conversation is not going well.

Stories about drunken antics at uni are fine, but I think we all know that they are the lowest common denominator (or more accurately the greatest common divisor). These stories are not sign of a unique connection, but rather an acknowledgement that yes, we’re both human, drink alcohol and have been to uni at one point. They are thus what you can resort to with any middle-class uni graduate between 20 and 35, even if you have nothing else in common.

If this is all the two of you got, you might as well leave the pub now. Except you probably don’t dare to, so better brush up that story of this awesome house party in your second year.

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Dealbreakers (Part II)

Although I usually go for the interesting storyline rather than the actual boring details, I’d like to point out that this story did not need any embellishments of my imagination.  All texts are quotes and only edited for privacy.

I had gone on a nice first date, which ended without any major complications. We had walked past my university on the way back, and I pointed out “my” building.

Imagine my surprise when receiving these texts a few days later:

Him: You don’t happen to be around [name of uni] do you? X

Me: No, I’m at home- it’s saturday morning!

Him: Damn, I even went and had a poke around the [my department] dept to see if I could surprise you… X

Let’s keep the perspective that this is someone I’ve only met twice. Yes, twice, including our first meeting ever (15min) and a date in the pub. And now he’s poking around my office on a saturday morning.

DEALBREAKER.

Just don’t be the weird stalker dude. If I don’t take you to my office, don’t come to my office. Definitely don’t go into any buildings that I haven’t invited you in. And if you do so, please turn around in the lobby. Don’t go to reception, and find out where my department is. And if you do so, please just leave with that information. Don’t go up the stairs.

And certainly don’t “poke around”.

I’m extremely glad to tell you that I’ve since moved offices for unrelated causes.

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Dealbreakers (Part I)

A while ago I had a post about sucky second dates, and about these little things that immediately make up your mind about never calling someone again. It can be something they say or something they do, and I think these dealbreaker moments deserve their own little category.

When I first met O., everything seemed fine. He was funny, attentive and nice, and we got along just great. We liked the same music, the same food and shared the same sarcastic attitude – all very good signs for an evening out.

However, I soon realised that it wasn’t a long way from dry wit to cutting derogatory remarks about everyone in our immediate surrounding. I watched astoundedly as the good-natured fellow turned into a bitter critic of everything between shoddy waitressing service and bad dress choices on the part of our fellow dinners. This wasn’t funny, light-hearted banter with a  helping of self-deprecation- it was plain nasty.

I think the switch in my head flicked over when the waitress came and brought us another table’s drink order. After O. curtly sent her back he turned around to me and said exasperatedly “I mean, how hard can it be- she’s only a waitress!”.

Dealbreaker.

This is the time to impress me, so please show me your good sides. Don’t be mean.

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