Call off the search

When someone goes missing, a search starts day and night. But after a few days they begin to lose hope, less people are searching, the search is inconsistent, and after a long period of time, it’s called off all together. My boyfriend is missing.

I mean, he’s non existent.

My ideal boyfriend is missing.

I’ve been searching, high and low. After searching the online dating apps, I think it’s finally time to call off the search!

My friends don’t even search for me anymore. Even they have given up. Sure it’s exhausting so I’ve gone on and off the dating sites.

I actually had two people recommend I join e-harmony only two days apart. I had a little look as I thought it could be a sign. All the ads on TV sure make it look good.

Nope.

So I joined Tinder, for fun. I’m telling myself that I can be footloose and fancy free and just enjoy myself without worrying about whether they meet my expectations…. I’ll be casual whilst I’m still young enough to enjoy myself.

First mutual swipe right- chatty chat, talk about our dogs, some attraction, try to meet up. Can’t meet in first 3 days, now no reply. It’s a 21st century, instant gratification problem. Thank you, next.

Second mutual swipe right, that messages back- chatty chat, meet up same day! I know this is casual. I feel casual. The date goes really well. Before I know it, in the next 24 hours I’ve imagined our whole lives together! How does this happen?

Iliza Schlesinger calls it Girl Logic. How our brains process all of our past, present and future experiences: “The genius and the absurdity!”

I think the guys use their hunting tricks. They’ve evolved from cave men but now have other tricks to drag us back to their caves. They must know our brains go into overdrive or have these elaborate fantasies. On my date, he threw into our conversation:

You’re cute

You’re fun

I like you

I told my parents I was going on a date… they said when are you going to settle down and I replied, maybe this one.

Is tomorrow too soon for another date?

I’ll call you, should I call you tonight?

All of a sudden, I’m wanting more already. Do guys realise the carrots they dangle that give us hope? This guy is a player….

He didn’t call that night.

We didn’t meet a few days later like planned.

I received an invite during the next week to come over and wear my sexiest underwear.

I’m going to be more aware of the subliminal messages guys are sending and the manipulative words they use. Game on!!

Rate my beaches

I decided to take a road trip down the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne for the day. Amongst the tea trees are some of the most beautiful beaches in Victoria.

The first stop in Rosebud was so relaxing, not another person walking along the beach, sharing it with the swans and the boat birds. Whilst the town is filled with campers and fishing folk from the foreshore camping and casual pubs, they certainly weren’t on the beach.

My second stop in Sorrento was for lunch and as you walk towards the cafes you actually have to leave the beach views behind. Less campers here, more holiday makers staying in their beach houses and where the rich or famous come to play. Day trippers come over on the car ferry from Queenscliff. At the cafe with me, is Martha and Michael from Married at First Sight fame. A nasty piece of work on the show, she politely let two young girls have their photos taken with them.

If my life was like these beaches, I’d be calm and peaceful, beautiful and rich! My local beaches smell like salt and seaweed with all kinds of plastic and rubbish washed up. Then I found one that was roaring in Portsea….

Imperfect rock formations, worn away over the years by the wind and the waves. Like most of us, trying to stand their ground but everyday faced with being stood on and washed over with the surf pounding away.

Like a single girl, you had to make an effort to get close to it (all the many steep stairs) and it wasn’t just going to let anyone near. If you make the effort, it’s worth it!

On the way back, I couldn’t resist stopping at Shelley Beach and it didn’t disappoint. I was collecting old sea shells by the waves when a dog approached me to play ball. Accidentally ending up in the water I stepped towards it just as the tide was coming in, fast. My skirt was saturated as I ran back away from the water, ball in hand, laughing.

As I continued walking along with the dog, it kept running further and further away with the ball. I soon realised it was used to playing by itself.

It knew that if it left the ball by the water, the tide would push it back to it! It was playing ball all by itself.

You don’t need a partner to enjoy adventures. I had a great day out by myself with my love of the beach! I hope you do something enjoyable for yourself this weekend.

Single life

In its absolute most simplest form there’s three types of lifestyles- those with kids, couples, singles. Of course it’s natural to compare and contrast what life must be like. I love the comedy, parodies and challenges that come out!

Here’s some of the best:

With kids-

People with no kids don’t know

Comedian Michael McIntyre shows how impossible it is for him and his wife to leave the house with two kids! Highly worth a watch as he replicates trying to get his boy to school on time and planning on going to a new restaurant… say, never.

I agree, I certainly have no problems leaving the house:

Baby mugging- I was literally begging my friends to take photos of their babies ‘in a mug’. Check out http://www.babymugging.org

black and brown short haired puppy in cup

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Cheese challenge– taking a cheese slice and throwing it into your kids face to see if it sticks and they laugh.

No kids and single- 

Dog moms rap: it’s an oldie but a goodie.

Casually strolling with a turd in my hand…..

This song’s for all the ladies who provide for their pup.

‘Cause they say you ain’t my baby, but I know that ain’t true!

Yo I don’t need a man to come home to, cos my bed is a literal bone zone. Fall asleep to the sound of you licking your parts…. (T-Spoon & ZZ Tophalf)

Dog Cheese Challenge- don’t have a baby, just need cheese and a pet!

There’s just not enough around for the singles.

We make too much food and have no one else to eat it so it gets thrown out, or like me, have a freezer full of leftovers I don’t want. On the flip side, why cook for one, just eat too much takeaway!

There’s no one to help with maintenance jobs so I have one light out that I can’t reach. I google everything or call Mum and Dad for a second opinion.

Hi Mum, I’m just wondering…. can you give me a second opinion on… (I really don’t have a clue but I’m 38 and should stop calling my parents)

Google:

  • What is a cubic metre?
  • Where is Niger?
  • How many kids does Constance Hall have?
  • Can dogs overdose on flea medication?
  • What did Luke Perry die from? 😩

Working in HR, I’d get personal leave requests when employees had to be a carer. Fair Work Australia states eligibility for carers leave:

A member of the employee’s immediate family means a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of an employee; or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner.

My family includes my parents, sister, dog and best friends. Is the immediate family definition old fashioned now?

We take melatonin to fall asleep by ourselves, coffee to wake us up in the morning. We tell our dogs about our day, and we ask them about theirs!

Don’t forget the single people.

Why we love Cruella de Vil characters

Have we all learnt from the Married at First Sight TV series that you can be cruel and popular? What a terrible message! Disney’s Cruella de Vil was both brunette and blond, representing all the cruel women. She was horrible and we were all worried about those puppies. Married at First Sights success is based around the same premise- we are all watching on to see if the puppies are okay and Cruella gets what’s coming to her.

Cruella has been played by Ines, Elizabeth, Susie, Cyrell and now Jessika. They havn’t cast many ‘normal’ girls as that doesn’t get the ratings. For last Sunday’s dinner party episode, 1.9 million viewers tuned in! (Source: Nine Comms)

The most watched show on Australia television.

MAFS Executive producer, Peter Walsh, claims they are not paid actors and it’s not scripted in an interview by Alex Carlton.  With the headline that he regrets this season, it’s just more hype for us to tune in to! A producer regrets nothing that gets 1.9 million viewers.

I think the reason we are intrigued by ‘car crash TV’ like MAFS is somewhat complicated. We want all these things:

1. They’ll get what they deserve and we get to see it! It’s rare that we have someone mean or rude in our lives and whilst we hope karma will bite them in the bum, or someone calls them on their bullshit, we don’t see the aftermath.

2. It distracts us from our real life or makes us feel better about our own issues.

3. It makes us feel connected- When others talk about it, we can join in with our thoughts and feelings. It becomes a real life social experiment for what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour to different people.

4. We are hopeful that good wins in the end! We have to check in on the puppies.

I had decided I wasn’t going to watch anymore. I wanted to take a stand against the lack of role models and decent people.

Girl code doesn’t exist to me …

Sam would make a really good Father because he looks great with his shirt off… (Ines, MAFS)

But MAFS talk comes up at parties on the weekend and at work during the week! My Mum and I text throughout the show when we watch it at the same time but live an hours drive away. Whatsapp messages with friends ping when Cruella does and says something stupid. As much as I hate it, I want to watch it for all the reasons above. Like the 1.9 million others, I’m sucked in.

This one time

The phone rang again. It was an unknown +227 number trying to call me through Whatsapp. I hadn’t answered so they were trying again. Two messages later, I blocked them!

I took your phone number off Instagram and I find your words very interesting.

According to google, the call was coming from West Africa. I don’t want to seem uncaring, but why would a guy reach out to me in Australia from West Africa via phone call?! What was his agenda? I am interesting, that much is true, but I’m sure there is other interesting people in Africa. If he was trying to engage with me because I’m single, there’s a lot of single people closer dude. This will not work out. I’ll never know. This one time that someone tried to contact me from West Africa, I blocked them!

This one time I went on a date in the park. We brought our dogs along and walked and chatted. It was great! No awkward eye contact as we just strolled on as our dogs ran around. They weren’t really the right size to play with each other but they were both females so everyone was getting along. At one point, his dog was playing with another Staffordshire Bull Terrier and he had to call it back. Close call, or so I thought. He text me the next day:

I’ve had to take Tara to the vet. She was bitten on the head at the park. The wound has been bleeding and infected.

I sent back empathetic pleasantries and asked about his dog again a few days later. I never heard from him again! I didn’t bite his dog…

Last weekend I was stood up!

We arranged to meet around 9pm and when I left my house I messaged my old friend that after travelling by public transport I’d get to the venue at 9:50pm. She said no problem…. yep, it was a girl friend. She knew I was travelling into the city by myself but when I arrived, she wasn’t at the bar we had planned to meet at and wasn’t responding to my messages. 30 mins later she contacted me with a reply to one of my first messages…. not answering ‘where are you’?

I text everyone else that would respond. It was a real low point as a single girl. To have gone to the effort of getting ready, head out by myself, 50 mins into the city and then standing alone at night. Luckily I had a number of friends that offered me moral support. So I had a beer by myself and listened to a busker before I decided to head home. It took my friend that I was meant to meet another hour to ask me where I was?! She was heading to a different bar now. I didn’t want to chase her around the city, I was done.

It just so happens that one of the people I reached out to that texted me back was a new guy friend. We are going to catch up this weekend…

The challenge

I’ve detoxed off dating apps for a month. It actually feels amazing!

I wanted to work on myself without distractions. Imagine if I gave myself the same time and effort I’ve put into online dating. Let’s face it, the never ending cycle of men that don’t reply, sleazy come ons and small talk was exhausting.

Power is making decisions (The Outlaw King)

The first week off dating apps, I still needed a ‘hit’ from my phone. I was so used to checking it and notifications going off, I started messaging people more. I was proud of myself for starting conversations with people that I might not have if I was busy with dating apps. Then I realised…. I’m not chatting with ‘people’, I’m chatting with men. Single men. Single male friends. I’d just substituted Bumble for Messenger!

I eased off Messenger. Whatsapp became my next forum but at least I was communicating with girlfriends.

Matthew Hussey has some good advise on dating but also about being your best self. He set challenges for things to try….

The first time I walked past a good looking stranger- epic fail!

I found myself automatically looking down, or looking anywhere else, than directly at them.

As I live in an inner city, busy, beachside area there’s plenty of good looking strangers to practise on. Now that I’ve got my head held high and I’m trying to make eye contact, I may seem like a smiling psycho…..but I’m hoping it starts to become more natural!

I’m struggling with this one. I talk to strangers when I’m walking the dog and I’m nice but I don’t think that counts. I’ll have to keep an eye out for an opportunity.

I registered for Social Sixes (Cricket Victoria).

I didn’t go.

But I have lots of ideas for activities to try in the summer holidays.

Have I got fitter and healthier in the last month? No. I’ve drank more beer and eaten more chips than ever before.

Have I had a nice break from the dating merry-go-round, swiping R.S.I., bad spelling, mixed messages, and filthy suggestions? Yes. Let’s call it a success!

Chalk and cheese

I had two dates last weekend!!!! Go me! They were as different as chalk and cheese- what a strange expression. I thought the same as http://www.phrases.org.uk “There must be many pairs of things that are more different than chalk and cheese.” They claim it’s popularity is as simple as they are short and snappy words that alliterate. I’m going to work on coming up with another one.

Mr Suave was from an online dating app, the other was a ‘blind date’ (of course we checked each other out on Facebook first) set up by friends. Where Suave was tall, the other was short. Suave had dark hair, the other was greying. Suave had beers with me, the other coffee. Suave went halvies on the costs, the other let me pay. Suave lives within a reasonable distance, and the other is an hours drive away. Okay, it’s clear who I’m leaning towards.

At school, we teach the kids to identify similarities and differences, and usually make them put it in a Venn diagram! It’s also a reading strategy to compare and contrast which allows them to understand the book better and make real life connections. So what did these guys have in common that made them a good match for me?

They were similar in that neither of them owned a pet but agreed dogs were better. They both had their own home (whether rented or owned, we didn’t go into it) and had good jobs. Stable work that they somewhat enjoy, most days. Interestingly, I didn’t go into their family situations and neither did they. I think that’s a sign that we didn’t need the small talk about who has siblings and what age they are. Both were able to hold their own, and conversation flowed along the standard path of ask a question, respond yourself with a story, ask another……

Both were respectful- they didn’t try to touch me up or talk dirty!

But Mr Suave had it all.

He dressed well for the date and looked great in a floral (I don’t care what you think, I’m man enough to pull this off as fun and happy) shirt and nice shoes. As we sat down with our beers, I asked a bustling table and group standing if they minded us sitting down next to them. He handled it cool, calm and collected when a very drunk guy leaned in and told us with a slur and a wobble that you should just take things and not ask as he might have said no. We talked and laughed our way merrily into a second drink and then agreed to a third at a different bar he wanted to check out over the road. The third beer then turned into an espresso martini that he ordered for me as I had said I love them. We made our way over to a comfy couch and moved closer as it had got colder. Then it starts to become a blur…. We leaned in for a kiss and he suggested….. dancing! So off we went, walking hand in hand down the street and when I complained about walking in my heels, he ordered a taxi the rest of the way apologising to the driver “Sorry man, I know it’s a short trip. I’ll pay you extra.”

At the club, he paid for both of our entry costs ($20 each) and put our jackets together in the cloak room. He bought me a coke as I said I’d really had enough and we danced and made out for the next hour or so. He laughed at me as I danced to The Nutbush (OMG, I can’t believe I did that on a date!) and I laughed at him as we both enjoyed S Club 7. When I went to the toilets and realised how messy I’d become, I told him I had to call it a night and he put me in a cab home. We text all the next day… and lived happily ever after. Ha ha. No, we’ll see………

woman wearing white dress dancing on brown sand

Photo by Gabriel Augusto on Pexels.com

I didn’t put my best foot forward when I met my coffee date. I had drank too much with Mr Suave so I was still a bit tired and shaky. I’m not a morning person so I had dry shampooed my hair and I didn’t feel as banging as I had last night. Because of the alcohol, I also had a (diabetic) hypo during the date and whilst I tried to hide it, my speech wasn’t coming out the same and I couldn’t think of the right words. I might have got away with it as nervous and cute… but I probably also seemed like a downright drip! This date lasted an hour.

Chalk and Cheese.

I really like cheese- Mr Suave has to be the cheese!

My single vows

I have lost count of the amount of weddings I’ve been to over the years. Up until last night, the last one was about 3 years ago and there was not one single man there- none!

Getting ready for the latest wedding event, I suddenly thought

‘I might be the last single person left. What if the bride calls for the single ladies to catch the bouquet and it’s just me?!’

I tried to prepare myself for that moment and to find the courage to strive forward with conviction that I was single and proud. Luckily that moment never came. The bride didn’t throw her bouquet so we never had to find out who was still single. Let’s face it, why give away a gorgeous bouquet and the girl that catches it never gets married next!

I’ve written my own single vows.

I promise that I will never feel like half a person as I don’t have a partner.

I will take every opportunity to try new things, seek adventure, make new friends and enjoy the freedom that single life allows.

I will always love my baby, Sophie the dog, no matter how bad she smells and keep trying to find the source of her numerous allergies.

I will set myself up for success so that I can’t be a failure.

I’ve also imagined my partners vows! Yep, that’s what happens after hearing so many other people declare their love for each other’s little annoying personal traits or cute couple habits.

How to catch a fish

“Success is when preparation meets opportunity” (Nick Cummins, The Bachelor Australia)

The times they are a changing. Gone are the days you were guaranteed to meet someone out on the dance floor and if over 30, there’s no more single friends to introduce! So we resort to online dating and trying to get matches. Most sites are random. You throw in your fishing hook in a designated pool/area and decide whether each one you (swipe right) try to pull up or (left) let off the hook. Then you try to strike up a conversation. Hopefully make a date. See if you get along for a second date. But that fishing line can get snagged and snap at many stages.

One of Matthew Hussey’s strategies is to ask a man (in real life) to take a photo of you to break the ice and make contact. But what if you can’t see a man you want to approach? I figure that is probably still better than seeing someone you like but not knowing how to approach them. I have probably let many opportunities pass me by over the years! I’m working on being prepared.

So what are some of the options for online dating in Melbourne?

  • Bumble
  • Tinder
  • POF (Plenty of Fish)
  • Ok Cupid
  • RSVP
  • eHarmony

I’m using Bumble at the moment. The success rate seems to be about 1 in 5 matches with 50% response rate.

For example, if 100 men liked me, I would then find 20 are a mutual match. If I contacted all of them, I would get a reply from 10. From that, at the moment, I’d be lucky to get 1 date.

What are the best days to fish?

I’ve had the most responses on Wednesdays and Thursdays as well as Sundays. There seems to have been a big increase of the amount of guys online since the Bachelor Australia started 2 weeks ago! (Screening Wednesdays and Thursdays but it could be a coincidence).

When you are talking online, you need to have some talking points in mind. The most responses I have received have been after saying Hi and asking them a question about something in their profile or pictures.

I got 0 replies with these lines

Hey there 😁

2 truths & a lie…. ready, set, go!

These got 1-2 responses

There’s a lot of pressure making the first move, be nice to me 🤣

What’s one destination you haven’t been to yet or that you must go to before you die?

Almost Friday, can you describe your weekend ahead in 3 emojis?

Friday nights I get less matches but it seems easier to start a conversation ….they just don’t really go anywhere. I think Friday & Saturday chats are for quick hook ups. I got 3 replies with just ‘Happy Friday 👌’

I’d really rather talk to single people in person. I heard somewhere that if you read a magazine backwards in public, it’s meant to mean you are available! Some other countries have small gestures to show whether they are available. In Samoa, if you have a flower over the left ear you are taken, right side you are available. In Ireland, if you wear a Claddagh ring on your left hand and you turn the ring pointing away from you, this indicates you are looking for love. India has different coloured bindis where single or widowed women wear black or white bindis, with red signalling married.

Apart from traffic light parties at University, what could we start in Australia?

If you have one of these customs in another country, do they work as signals?

What online chats have worked for you?

Stumbling around in the waves

There was a strong wind today, causing the sea to lurch and sway with big foamy waves that tried to grab at my shoes as I walked along. Literally and metaphorically, the sea churned. It just wasn’t my day.

After walking along the beach this morning, a potential ‘great man’, stopped at the traffic lights ahead of me and took off his earphones, making himself available for conversation but I was so focused on making sure my dog was going to be friendly to his tiny, delicate whippet that conversation starters left my brain. As he moved the headphones back on and walked in the opposite direction, probably never to be seen again, great lines came to me!

“Good ear protection from the wind”

“Cute dog, what’s her name?”

“Hi, what’s your name and do you have a girlfriend?!”

What’s clear is that I need to practice the art of conversation. Matthew Hussey, dating coach, and his new show ‘Single Wives’ had them try three opening lines to approach men on the street. It seemed super scary but once they had done it, so simple! One was simply asking if they could recommend anywhere good for lunch. I have to stop hesitating or being nervous and just ‘Hi’! I’d much rather have real life experiences than online dating.

Later on, after surviving the crowds in the city to meet friends, I managed to inject the needle of my insulin pen into my finger as I went to inject into my Type 1 diabetic stomach on the train.

Got my foot trapped in the security door as it slammed closed on me at my friend’s apartment.

Missed my bus.

Smashed my phone!

It wasn’t just an awkward fumble that caused the phone to leap out of my hands, or lurch like the sea. My friend had been talking to me about fertility treatment and she warned me to be prepared ahead of my first consultation. She had ‘only taken folic acid tablets for 6 weeks’ and recommended I start straight away. My kind friend helped me out with her left over bottle of tablets as I left her place. I was already feeling like I should have stayed in bed for the day. As I walked to the bus stop with a huge bottle of tablets, the label screamed out at me “Pregnancy and Breast Feeding GOLD”. Not
mentally or physically prepared for this announcement to be made in my head or anyone else’s, I hurriedly tried to push the bottle into my tiny, black (Single and ready to mingle, no baggage here) bag and attempted to close the zipper. Imagine if a potential ‘great man’ looked in my direction and saw it. Things had to go to make room so in I went with my designated search claw and out came the phone.

And if one search claw proves inadequate...you may need the second.

Rationally, I could protect the phone in my hands. It was surely a good choice. But as the wind whipped around me and my barely there cardigan, freezing at the bus stop, my hands failed in their only job and lost grip on the phone. Down it went, onto the concrete floor. Cool as a cucumber, nothing to see here, I quickly picked it up and maneuvered it into my back pocket until the bus came.

Once I had taken a seat, it was time to inspect the damage. Yep, the top half was completely smashed. Although it still worked, it was a sign that it was time to just go back to bed for the rest of the day! The wind and the sea won today.  Sometimes it lifts me up, sometimes it sends me (and my phone) crashing down.