Tardiness Sucks

Being late is rude. Whether you are meeting your friend, your sister, your boss, or your special person, it is rude. Because basically what you are saying is, ‘my time is more valuable than yours.’ But everybody is late sometimes, of course – sh*t happens. There are myriads of reasons or factors that can make one late, which is why it takes special care to be on time for important things like, for example, job interviews, or first dates.

On any kind of initial meeting, you’re setting the tone. By being late, you set a tone whether you mean to or not. It’s the reason employers will hesitate to proceed with a candidate that failed to show up for their interview on time, stellar as they may be. And in my case, it’s the reason this date ended up sucking. Well, one of the reasons.

This was my penultimate Tinder date before I decided to delete the app entirely (see previous post). I’d gone on a couple unsuccessful dates already and was losing steam, but decided to plow on in hopes that my luck would turn. (Dating is, after all, a numbers game right?)  After a bit of scheduling tag Mark and I finally decided on a time and location. Unfortunately for me and due to my complete inability to keep my personal schedule organised, I would have to leave my evening class immediately after it finished and hustle in order to make it to this date on time. But it could – and would – be done.

So the evening of the date arrives, my class finishes, and the hustling commences. The re-application of my mascara takes longer than planned (ugh), so I decide to hail a taxi. I could have walked to the venue but then I would have been late, and everybody (or so I thought) knows that it’s a cardinal rule to NOT be late on a first date. So after hopping out of the taxi and looking, in spite of myself, like a semi-respectable human being, I strolled into the pub with a few minutes to spare. Proud of myself but parched from the effort, I snagged a seat and had some uisce while perusing the drink menu. A few minutes in, I get a text from Mark saying that he’ll be ten minutes late. This message was received at 9 on the dot, the exact time we were meant to meet. Fine, I thought. I was definitely not impressed, but I wasn’t going to completely dismiss him for that either. Because sh*t happens and we’re all a bit late sometimes. Right?

But ten minutes turned out to be more like twenty, which in turn gave me plenty of time to a) become uncomfortable sitting solo in a pub on a Tuesday night and b) become increasingly annoyed at how long it was taking for him to just show up. My feeling is, you know by the time you are meant to leave whether you are late or not. Eg, if you haven’t left on time, you already know you won’t show up on time. So there is a bit of lead time in which you can communicate to the other party that you will be late. That he text me when we were supposed to MEET versus when he knew he should have left was an annoying red flag waving around in the back of my mind. ‘If he doesn’t show up within the next three minutes, I’m out of here’ I thought as I made awkward eye contact with the bartender for the umpteenth time. For the record, I had at this point never stood anyone up or ditched out on a date.

At any rate, Mark finally shows up and after apologising profusely, gets us both a drink and sits right beside me. He is as handsome as his pictures, so the ole bait and switch hasn’t been pulled on me. However, after leaning in closer to hear him above the music, it occurs to me that his voice is not only very soft, but unnaturally high. So I sit back, completely perplexed, wondering what I’m doing on a date with a gay guy. A very large, dark-haired, handsome, and GAA-playing gay guy. Not that gay guys only come in one shape and size, but his appearance added to the already jumbled equation. I’m also wondering how it’s physically possible for such a large man to have such a high voice, but at this stage this is secondary to the concern of his sexual orientation.

So I’m sitting there, brows knit, mouth open, trying to decide whether this dinosaur of a man is into other men and if so, if I can perhaps help him identify a partner since I am obviously not what he’s into. I eventually manage to find my way out of the sea of neurotic thoughts swirling around my head and join the conversation, only to realise that it is…boring. Not only is it boring but it’s strained. And then not only is it strained, but he is making fun of me. And not in a flirtatious or endearing or banter-ey kind of way that Irish men are masters of. So as the conversation drags on, a tumbleweed in the desert of our complete lack of chemistry, he gets around to mentioning why he was late. Here is where my ears finally perk. The reason, you might wonder, that he was nearly 20 minutes late? One of his roommates, who also happens to be from the same part of the world that I am, needed help changing her light bulb.

Yes, her lightbulb.

And yes, twenty minutes.

And yes, he cognitively decided to tell me this. After having had only one drink.

If you thought my level of perplexity had reached its climax, you can guess again. At this stage of the conversation (or what is passing for one), my head nearly explodes. ‘Is she ARMLESS??’ I think to myself while blinking rapidly and forcing a smile out of politeness. ‘Jesus mate, if that is in fact the real reason, make one up!’ I scream in my head, as I down the last of my wine.

Given my drink was finished and I didn’t fancy another one, it was time for us to wrap up this rendezvous, which couldn’t have happened any sooner. We walked out of the pub with our hands in our coat pockets and headed towards the canal together, like a pair of new and awkward friends who had been put in touch by similarly awkward friend. When it came time to part ways, he opened his arms for what I thought would be a friendly embrace. The rest of what happened, happened in slow motion with a bad-dream, underwater quality: I went in to return the embrace and when I pulled away, he went in for the most unexpected event of the night: a kiss. This kiss sealed the deal. The deal to not ever contact him again (as if I needed another reason at this stage). Because in addition to being completely unanticipated, this kiss enveloped my entire mouth and sucked my face. As time reverted to its normal pace I pulled away, blurted out what I think was the word ‘goodnight’, and walked as fast as I could in the opposite direction, shuddering at the sensation of a mouth completely sucking in my mouth, the way a hoover sucks up a spider in a dusty corner.

To sum it all up, this date sucked. And not just because Mark was late, and late for a really stupid reason, but also because he literally did just suck.

Ebs xx

The Text That Broke My Tinder’s Back

Online dating is to single people what moving in together is for those in relationships; you get to a certain age, and most everyone seems to be doing it. That the shackles of stigma have unhinged, Tinder has been running wild and free in Ireland, and as a single-and-looking girl in a new city, it seemed only right for me to jump on the bandwagon.

Let’s revert to basics. Tinder is defined, by Tinder itself, as: how people meet. It’s like real life, but better.

Google Play describes it as, ‘How people meet. It’s the world’s most popular app for connecting with new and interesting people around you. It’s free, fun and effective. That’s why every single day there are more than 26 million matches made on Tinder.’ 

Seems pretty straightforward and dummy-proof, right? Besides, it’s difficult to argue with a formidable figure like 26 million matches a day.

So I got on and started swiping. To Tinder’s credit, I got a good few dates out of it with some nice, normal lads. They weren’t ones I felt a spark with, but sure you’ll have that. And out of the matches I’d gotten, I only received a couple of overtly inappropriate messages. But you’ll have that too, and those are easily ignored…if that isn’t what you’re looking for. Given all of the above, it would be fair to say that Tinder had done exactly what it came here to do.

But somewhere along the lines, my online dating fortunes plateaued and then plummeted, and I will venture to say that this is no fault of the app itself. The app’s purpose is clear: it’s a mechanism for people to meet other people. It’s when this simple purpose isn’t pursued that the effectiveness of the app falls apart – and I think it’s the users who are responsible for this failure.

I’m not saying I’m without fault. I’ve heard of people in semi-serious relationships (of 6+ months) that met through Tinder, so evidently it is possible. And I am a firm believer that it takes two to tango, but I digress. My frustration, which ultimately led to my deletion of Tinder, came from running into the same scenario multiple times, in which the other person didn’t seem interested in meeting.

Here’s how the process evolves in practice:
1) You match
2) You either send a message, or receive a message
3) You arrange to meet

Here’s how it was evolving for me:
1) We matched
2) I sent a message, and never got an answer.
(Fair enough – you can’t win ’em all.)

But more commonly:
1) We matched
2) I sent/received a message
3) I sent/received a message
4) I sent/received a message
5) I sent/received a message (2-3 weeks in)
6) I asked when would be a suitable time to meet up
7) Nothing happened.

Flirting via text can be fun, sure. But what is the point in even messaging someone over an app designed to meet people, if you have no intent to meet them in the first place? It defeats the whole purpose of getting on Tinder at all. And, I don’t mean to be a total dry shite here, but having a pen pal doesn’t appeal to me like it did when I was 7. My penmanship is perfectly fine, thanks.

I finally decided I’d had enough when I’d been messaging this guy for a few weeks (which in my opinion is already too long), and he asked for my Instagram account. I thought that was a pretty lame move but gave it to him anyway (admittedly a mistake on my part). Then after a few more days, he asked if I was on Facebook. For the record, you can’t join Tinder without having a Facebook account, so I found that to be a suspiciously stupid question. But I decided to go along and play dumb (which I’m unsurprisingly good at), just to see what would happen. The rest of our conversation played out like this:

Me: Yeah, I’m on FB. Why?
Clown: Because I want to add you
Me: I don’t typically add people I’ve never met. Don’t really see the point.
Clown: Well, I guess we can meet.
Me: You guess?
Clown: I just thought it would be easier
Me: Easier to what?

I didn’t get him to ‘fess up to wanting to stalk me on yet another form of social media (I guess my IG doesn’t have enough selfies), but we both knew that’s what he was trying to accomplish. And I was absolutely not going to play that game (insert finger snaps), so I called him on it instead. But the most annoying part of the conversation was the, ‘I guess we can meet.’ You guess? Christ. If I were to draw a Venn diagram with ‘this clown’ and ‘the point’ in two circles, they wouldn’t even be on the same page.

I understand that he was trying to suss me out, and quite thoroughly at that, in order to decide whether it was worth the effort of going on a date. But that’s like asking a car salesman to promise that you won’t ever crash in the car you’re looking to buy. Everything has its inherent risks, and using Tinder to go on dates is no exception. The risk of not liking the person or even fancying them physically comes with the territory of online dating. It comes with dating in general, actually, just on varying levels depending on how you initially come across each other (see: meeting someone on a night out). So if you’re going to get online to date and message someone for weeks at a time, why not just take that chance? It’s more effort to examine someone from every avenue of the Internet and still not be sure than it is to simply meet them in person for an hour. Besides, if things go astronomically wrong you can always start a blog about it.

People who use Tinder to just ‘have a look’, are obviously entitled to do so. But once you engage in conversation with someone past a certain point, it’s kind of implied that the intent is to eventually meet up. Just in case you are a clown and didn’t understand what the entire purpose of Tinder is when you downloaded it. Because if one is looking for a pen pal, Tinder isn’t theoretically the right place. Maybe try prison?

Ah well, dating:3, Ebs: 0. Those are figures, like 26 million per day, that can’t be argued with.

Ebs xoxo

Lady In Waiting

Last summer was the first time I went to McSorley’s in Ranelagh, which has a reputation for being the watering hole for all the country folk who move to The Big City. Ironically, this is where I met the first (and unfortunately not the last) Dub I dated. We’ll call him Eoin.

The details of our exact introduction are, of course, hazy. But I do remember being instantly attracted to his dark hair, rosy cheeks, and blue eyes. Despite my temporarily impaired motor skills, I managed to give him my number and contrary to every (Irish) guy ever, he actually text me the next day!

Eoin and I met for a couple of drinks and had a great time; we were laughing and taking the piss out of each other straight away like old friends. After doling out a particularly funny string of abuse, he casually dropped into the conversation that he’d be leaving in 4 weeks’ time to travel for 3 months. Jealous, disappointed, and taken aback all at the same time, I decided to just go along with it and take it for what it was – a fling.

So Eoin and I went on a few more dates. We saw a show at the Bord Gais Theatre, went for a long hike in Glendalough, and I even met his parents (which in retrospect was entirely unnecessary and mildly uncomfortable). There was never any discussion about what would happen when he left, as I figured it was fairly obvious that when the time came, we’d shake hands and call it a day. I was hardly going to sit on my hands for 3 months in a new city while he gallivanted around an entire continent. Even if (massive IF) I was mad about him, I wouldn’t do something so foolish. Pffft.

As timing would have it, the weekend before he left I was off on holiday in the UK. When I made it back to Ireland, he was radio silent. In fairness to him, the few days leading up to a big trip are stressful and hectic, so I brushed it off. I text him and asked how his last weekend was, and he asked how my holiday was. When I sent him a picture of a panoramic view I’d captured from a hike in Scotland, his response was:
‘Right. You’re boring me.’

And that was the last I’d heard from him. Rude enough, wanker. Mind you, I wasn’t invited to any of his leaving do’s or send off gatherings, which was fine – we’d only known each other 4 weeks. I guess I didn’t really know what our goodbye would look like, but it sure didn’t resemble anything like that text. I was shocked and confused for days, but mostly because he’d called me boring. I may be a lot of things (annoying, odorous, slow), but I like to think I’m not boring.  So I mentally bid him a bon voyage and got on with my boring life.

The Irish are known for their storytelling, so naturally I had to disseminate my story – not so much to get sympathy from people but just to see what their reaction was. As a sort of litmus test for my own reaction. Was I crazy? Had I expected too much? AM I REALLY BORING?! After sharing this with a spectrum of people that spanned different age groups and both sexes, the unanimous decision was: what a dickhead. I then made a bet with one of my roommates that he wouldn’t contact me when he got back: I bet her a drink that he wouldn’t, and she bet that he would.

As time revealed, I would owe her a drink.

I went home for Christmas and New Year’s, and just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, I got a text from the man himself, much to my surprise. Eoin decided to reappear after four months of total silence with an uncharacteristically innocuous message: Happy New Year, Ebs. No sooner had I read it did I scoff.  Jog on there, buddy, I said to myself as I exited the screen.

A week later I was back in Dublin and embracing the countrywide custom of having a dry January. My first weekend back I woke up on Sunday morning, clearheaded and fresh (which is most unusual), only to find that I’d had a few missed calls, two voicemails, and a slew of texts from the ever-charming Eoin. To say the voicemails were offensive is an understatement. I won’t go into detail but if I wasn’t familiar with his sense of humour I would have had grounds to take said messages to the Gardai. Clearly he and his mates thought it would be funny to ring me several times at 4.30 in the morning and leave nasty, borderline threatening messages. Not unlike a pack of 13-year-old boys who have just figured out how to make prank calls.

I was just as confused and offended by his contact as I was before he left. I decided enough was enough, that I had to say something so he’d get the hint and go away. But before I could even craft my response, in came another text from him. Ah, an apology, I thought. What he did last night was finally dawning on him and he was embarrassed. Instead, I got this gem:
Are you still with us, Ebs? I’m back from my travels and have some good stories to share.

My feelings of confusion transformed into rage in about two seconds. Excuse me? I thought. EXCUSE ME?! Did you sustain some massive head injury while on your travels, Eoin? Did you ingest some drug that left your two remaining neurons misfiring? WHAT on EARTH makes you think that after your blatant demonstration of immaturity, poor communication and outright rudeness, that I would want you to share ANYTHING with me? The only thing I want to share with you is my foot up your ARSE.

I drafted several responses, each snarkier, nastier, and more scathing than the last. But in the end, I didn’t want a fight. Mostly because boring people are ill-equipped for a good fight. I simply wanted him to leave me alone. So, I sent him a neat and tidy message saying I didn’t find his voicemails from the night before funny, and could he please not contact me again.

Then it was Eoin’s turn to be surprised. Well you know what they say about making assumptions…

I think what made me angriest about the entire situation was that he just assumed that, in spite of everything, he thought we’d just pick up where we left off. As if I had been on pause the entire time he was gone, frozen in place, a lady in waiting. As if that rude last message had been an appropriate goodbye, as if his total lack of contact had been perfectly acceptable for what he thought was a relationship he could resume, as if I would still be interested in him after being on the receiving end of his ugly, childish behaviour.

I may be boring, but there are two things I most certainly am not: a lady, and waiting.

Ebs, xoxo

Will You Mammy Me?

We all know that saying, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” This would be especially true, in my opinion, of Irish women. The Irish mum, or ‘mammy’ as she is commonly referred to is the quintessential matriarch. She’s the boss lady holding it down – she’s the ringleader and there is never a mistake in her production. She makes sure all the children are fed and watered, always has the answer or solution, and keeps her (goon of a) husband in check.

One of the things I like most about Irish men is how much they respect their mammies.  An Irish man will describe his mammy with such sweet, genuine admiration that you’d be a heartless fool not to be taken by it.

But this admiration is a double-edged sword, I’m afraid. Because on some level most men want to marry some version of their mother. Or something like that. So what are we up against when the object of our desire has a mother that is an untouchable superhero and saint?

I’ll tell you what. We’re up against little boys in men’s bodies. Grown men who by date 3 (after you’re certain you fancy him, after you’ve shared that first tingly kiss, and just as you start to get giddy at the thought of seeing him again), envision you ironing their shirts, cooking their dinners, and possibly even wiping their arses.

Where I come from, gender roles are significantly less traditional. I’ll even go so far as to mention that my last (non-Irish) boyfriend’s culinary concoctions happened far more frequently than mine, and at a much higher success rate.

So you can imagine my surprise when, after date two, this guy I was seeing text me this:
When are you making me dinner?

He was without a doubt what you’d call a messer. He was hilarious; my face hurt from laughing so much after our first date. So naturally I took this as a joke and shot back with what I thought was clever banter:
Sorry, did you mean to text your mum? Or did you accidentally save me in your phone as ‘Mammy’? Can’t imagine why else you’d think a dinner was in order.

Turned out he wasn’t joking. It was a demand veiled in his playful humour, a trojan horse in the battle of dating. As the realisation  set in that his enquiry was made in seriousness, I was suddenly plagued by images of myself in a spotted apron, slippers in one hand and a spatula in the other.

I’m by no means against cooking for a man. I think cooking for someone is a lovely way to show someone how you feel – it is a labour of love, after all. Love being the operative word, as it indicates enough time has passed for this sentiment to develop. It was the blatant prematurity of the demand in this particular situation that had me reeling.

While I managed to evade the dinner demand, a few additional and similar demands were made shortly after that. Always in a cute and funny way though, so I wasn’t outright offended by them until it finally occurred to me that I was meant to step in as mammy for a guy I was only just getting to know.

Needless to say our courtship was short-lived. I really fancied him, both personally and physically. Not only was he funny, but he was smart and attentive, tall and handsome. But, like an optical illusion, we were seeing things differently. I saw him as fun, and he saw me as mammy.

Ebs xx

Enchanté

‘An Irish man would rather light his face on fire than tell you he fancies you,’ is what I used to tell people back home, back when I found that, for whatever reason, endearing.

‘Ireland is where the real men are,’ would be another one I’d throw around for affect to an audience of close friends with raised eyebrows. Well, if by real men I meant sweaty, blacked-out clowns whose grasp on the English language is questionable at times, then I was absolutely right.

I would like to note that these statements were made after a couple (very care-free) years were spent in Galway, where, at 22, I wasn’t properly exposed to the dating scene here in Ireland. Well, I should say…’dating scene.’ Or what is passing as such, anyway.

It is also worth noting that I am not Irish. As I mentioned, I spent a couple of years in Galway and now I am back in Eire, this time in The Big Shmoke. I don’t think it’s relevant to say where I’m from, only that I am a foreigner and therefore am learning said scene as I go. And it has been a steep, hilarious, and mystifying learning curve so far.

This isn’t meant to be a chronicle of where Irish men fall short (I think a quick look around a pub can establish that), or even to be a collection of criticisms of a culture that is different from mine. Rather, it’s meant to be a space where I can recount my tales of the tail; where I can share in excruciating detail some horror stories and (hopefully) humourous ones too.

Because isn’t that what being single and living abroad is all about? Exploring another culture and finding out where we are different, and where we are the same?

Nah. It’s about getting out there and making an absolute fool of myself, one Irishman at a time. And subsequently writing about it here.

So, dear reader – enchanté. I hope you come back, because hey – who doesn’t like to laugh or cringe at someone else’s expense?

Ebs xx