*Please read the following exchange in a frantic, stressed, high pitched, girly voice*
Friend: “Blaire… oh my God… Blaire you wont believe what he said to me?”
Blaire: “I don’t know if I want to know… he doesn’t have children does he? Holy crap, is he married?!”
Friend: “Haha, no. Though I think I would prefer that to this.”
Blaire: “Just tell me, I am prepared.”
Friend: “Blaire… he told me he loved me.”
Blaire: “I… I don’t know… HAHAHA!”
Friend: “Don’t laugh at me! I want to get married and have babies and the only guy interested in me is a hairy backed, comic obsessed, overly attached dude!”
* * *
Let me start by staying that I am a horrible friend. I honestly laughed incredibly hard when I had this conversation with my good friend. The people I walked past as the conversation took place looked frightened and stared as I howled with laughter in the middle of a Sydney street. I’m not sorry. There is also nothing wrong with hairy backs or comic books… in moderation. We’ve all been there though. We’ve all been that girl or guy who has had the overly attached girlfriend/boyfriend that we weren’t even aware was in the preliminary stages of being considered as a potential date.
In the age of Tinder, where swiping right can be misconstrued as true and everlasting love, how on earth do we tell if someone is actually properly interested in us? When does the line between friendship and relationship start to blur? More importantly, why is it that when it’s unrequited, the infatuated ones are always completely oblivious?
My friend from the above exchange has been playing the dating game for a few years now. After a nasty break up with her ex (who we all thought she would marry, but when they returned from a brief move to QLD we realised things weren’t as great as we thought), she’s tried everything; Tinder, Facebook, friends of friends, blind dates, and none of them have proven to be successful. I find it strange simply because she is a beautiful, intelligent, pole dancing woman who likes snowboarding and F1. When we discussed in great detail exactly why she was having such awful luck with men, she put it very simply: They move too fast.
At first I thought she meant sexually (get your head out of the gutter Blaire), but then she explained that they weren’t being sleazy, instead, they were being over emotional and giving too much away too quickly.
Even the guys she saw as ‘just friends’ were starting to skip flirty fun and charge straight for professions of love.
Understanding that sometimes her friendliness could be taken as flirting, we went through it all and it still didn’t add up to enough for a guy to think that she was interested in anything more than friendship. But nek minute: I love you.
We hear a lot about girls being the ones giving too much away in early stages of relationships. We have to be careful, if we’re too emotional, we’re crazy and overly attached and have memes made about us. But if we don’t give enough away, then we’re probably emotionally unavailable, which, given the right guy is great – because it might mean we’re an easy lay. If we flirt but then say we aren’t interested in anything major happening yet, then we’re a tease. And sometimes, as hard as we try, we just can’t win.
Guys – even though we whinge and whine about you not being emotionally available, we don’t want you to go full Romeo on our asses and start investing way too much, way too early. Just relax. Chill out. If we said ‘I love you’ in the first few dates, you’d run screaming for the hills, telling your mates “Bro… thank God… never stick your dick in crazy.”
If we swiped right, we found you physically attractive and thought your little bio was intriguing. Keep up that air of intrigue! We love it and we thrive on the thrill of getting to know you little by little. It makes the eventual real ‘I love you’ stage of the relationship so much sweeter.
I encourage men to be a little bit emotional – we all require that as a basic part of human bonding, but it’s just like alcohol: all in moderation. A little bit now and again, with the occasional binge is perfectly acceptable. But ease your way into it. The first date or the stage of relationship evolution called ‘just friends’ is not appropriate for letting them know how much you like them. Fun dates, a couple of cute texts and jujutsu the right amount of innuendo is going to keep us hooked.
I guess at the end of the day, the best thing to do is follow your gut instinct. Women are blessed with the ability to really read a situation perfectly if we just take the time to stop and look at what is going on around us. We apply this logic to job interviews and to meeting new people in social situations. Just think about the effect it would have if we used it when we were out with someone that could maybe, possibly, be a ‘more than a friend’ person? Is it a brunch date with general chit-chat and catch-ups, or are they staring into your eyes like they’re big pizza pies (that’s amore’…).
So hence, my new dating mantra for all the singletons out there: Swiping right does not equal love. A poke does not mean marriage. And the two combined does not mean a baby in a carriage.