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Is Dating Worth It?

Anyone who has ever been on a first date can vouch for how nerve wracking the whole experience is. Before you’ve even left home, the worries begin: should you get there early?  Perfectly on time? Should you text in advance to tell them you’re running late? Then there’s the stress of whether they’re going to come at all or if you’ll be stood up. Luckily, seeing your date walk through the door of the restaurant or bar always makes up for it!

Channel 4 has just started a new series of First Dates, a show which sees unsuspecting singletons embark on first dates at a London restaurant. The viewers see everything: the candidates’ nerves, their attempts to hide certain more questionable aspects of their personality and the – at times disastrous – outcome.

The moments of awkward silence that are almost inevitable on any first date are shown in great detail, along with any half-hearted attempts to ‘lighten the mood’-a large proportion of which seem to backfire… I was glued to the edge of my seat the first time I watched the programme, thinking, “How are these people doing this?!” Questions like: ‘When was the last time you had sex?’ or ‘Do you always sleep with someone on the first date?’ resulted in more tension than some of the victims had surely imagined upon joining the show.

However, the programme does not, in my mind, do justice to quite how awkward a first date can be. Even the most unbearable of dates is entertaining from the other side of the camera, whereas in real life, they are torturous. I myself have experienced some awful first dates. Once I was taken to an unnamed ‘burger kitchen’, and half way through the meal an awkward silence ensued. At first it was comfortable; after about 3 minutes of total quiet between the two of us I began desperately thinking of something to say. I then flicked through my mental Rolodex of silence-breakers for 7 whole minutes more and had nothing, so had to resort to accidentally knocking my lemonade all over him to spark a conversation. While this is not something to recommend, it got the job done and the conversation flowed from there on in! Sadly though, I must report that a second date was not booked.

Up there with some of the oddest dates are those that you think will be sweet and romantic, but then the best friend tags along too. A while ago I was still in the testing phase before officially seeing someone and this exact thing happened to me. He asked if I wanted to go to the cinema late that evening and I, naturally, got all excited and spruced up for the occasion. Suddenly the friend was coming with us too and they ended up going to MacDonald’s for pre-cinema snack. This is not how I imagined it would go. Romantic date for them, but I’m not sure if they would have even noticed if I had left half way through!

One of my friends went out with a guy, who asked her within the first couple of minutes of arriving how long she had been single for. When she replied, honestly, that she had never been in a serious relationship, he then came back with, ‘Well, I broke up with my long term girlfriend last week, so I’m really looking for something serious now.’ Another thing to avoid: the man who immediately moves on and forgets about you!

There’s definitely a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to go about it. All of the above fall into the latter category. Rowan Atkinson’s 80s stand up on the topic of first dates is another great example of what not to do. Jumping on your date too early, telling him/her that they are gorgeous or screaming at the amount on the bill at the end of the evening will rarely produce the intended result.

In spite of everything I’ve said, and the several unfortunate experiences I have to my name, I believe dating is worth it.  Yes, the dating game is dangerous: there’s definitely an art to avoiding the deadly ‘sharks’ and other suspect characters, but it can also be a lot of fun. Whether you’re trying people on and seeing if they fit with your personality, seeing where it goes from there, or running as fast as you can in the opposite direction with a handful of hilarious first date anecdotes for the future, dating can only be a positive experience. So go out into the world and enjoy!

 

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Siena is a Graphic Design student who loves travelling and exploring the world. Her passions are photography and brunching with her friends.. and the occasional bout of lizard lounge. She loves David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac and can often be found trawling the charity shops around Bristol for their records.
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