Category Archives: flirting

Great expectations …. and the art of letting them go

There is one thing you can be sure binds us together when it comes to relationships …and to be clear I’m talking about all relationships here, not just the intimate ones. And that is this ..we’ve all been disappointed at some point.

That’s not to say that every relationship will let you down, but in the main there will have been a falling short of the mark that caused us to retreat, sob, lick our wounds and sob some more in the worst cases, and to shrug our shoulders in resigned acceptance in less severe instances.

When we invite people into our emotional space we attach hopes to them in terms of their behaviour and consequential outcomes, we hope, will weigh heavily in our favour. The more we like a person, the more hopes we attach. It’s like planting a garden. If it’s of critical importance to you that it blooms to perfection then you’ll tend it regularly, ply it with fertiliser, stand and wait for green shoots to appear. If on the other hand you don’t care one way or the other, you might chuck a few seeds about in homage to whatever BBC2 gardening bonanza caught your eye as you channel-hopped one evening.

Hopes, dreams, aspirations … if you hang on to them for dear life and fail to implement a qualification process that tells you whether they are realistic or not, they become one thing. Expectations.

Some where deep down we might start to conjure pictures of a happy ever-after with someone we just met or else we possibly imagine our child opening his practice in Harley Street thirty years hence as he walks into his new classroom on his first day at school. If you’re really adept at this process you will imagine these things happening before there is a “someone we just met” or before you’ve even taken a positive pregnancy test.

We like to dream, we should all live in hope (despite there sometimes being no apparent reason why that’s a good idea) and aspirations gave birth to the profession that is marketing. Expectations, however, seem to be the root of disappointments and let-downs, dashed and disregarded like insignificant pieces of flotsam and jetsam floating on the cruelly hostile sea of hope.

Now I can’t hold my hands up as a visionary on this subject for I too was practically olympic-standard at imagining the “whole roses around the cottage door” scenario when it came to fledgling relationships. And then after what seemed to be an indeterminable number of gargantuan bitter pills my friend Ullie spelt out my solution in brilliantly simple terms…

“You should never enter any relationship with expectations. They are the seeds of misery. Rid yourself of expectations and you will enjoy the relationship for what it is in real terms, not what you’re willing it to become”

Ullie was unequivocally correct.

Only yesterday I had a vivid reminder of how ignoring this advice can play out when I was targeted with a nasty little message left “anonymously” on Facebook.

Some time ago I became aware that a chap had taken a liking to me, he wasn’t my type in any way shape or form but he could be mildly amusing so we occasionally swapped banter. Every time I reaffirmed the distance between us, he seemed to ramp up his attempts to preen and parade himself in front of me like some prize-winning bull, often in front of his easily amused friends.

It became harder to feign a smile in front of Mr Jack T. Ladd, especially when he proclaimed pearls of wisdom like “You and I are so alike. We both have an air of mystery about us.” Explaining to him that it wasn’t mystery in my case, it was indifference felt like it possibly would have popped his balloon with a force he wasn’t ready for. So I chose to dodge him at every given opportunity, often very unsubtly.

My opinion on events like this is quite straightforward. If you like somebody and you throw out bait several times which they chose to ignore, then they don’t like you. Simple. And when if you’re a man throwing said bait, be in even less doubt. Continuing to puff your chest up that bit more and plunge in once again is only going to ensure that when the realisation sets in that the interest is not mutual, the catastrophe will feel so grave it should make the six o’clock news headlines.

And so Mr J T Ladd went on and on and on. And I backed off and off and off.

And then yesterday evening to my Facebook Honesty Box question “Tell me something you probably wouldn’t say to my face” I got this (anonymous) response ..

“I think you are a coward which i find disappointing. I would never have a problem saying that to your face mind you, just never got the opportunity.”

Now anyone who can’t be bothered to capitalise “I” isn’t worth a huge amount of bother anyway, but that just happens to be a bête noir of mine that I battle with constantly amidst the many grammar and spelling affectations that haunt me.

And, in case you are wondering, I knew this to be Mr Ladd … for one simple reason. He and people like him can’t just let their expectations go because they think everyone is waiting for their next promised installment, so when they sense the game is starting to run away from them they seize on that critical match-winner … the last word, preferably a nasty toxic one.

Building expectations is never advisable, particularly when you have no knowledge of the person you’re constructing them around. Which is why Ullie was spot on with her advice.

But if you really can’t help yourself donning a hard hat and erecting some scaffolding in preparation…. then learn to let them go gracefully.

Or even better … live in the moment and let the rest go hang.


Bookmark and Share

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under dating, Facebook, flirting, Honesty Box, Life, love and the universe, Men, middle age, relationships, Women

How to write your dating proposal …. it’s all in the pitch.

A friend asked me briefly yesterday for my thoughts on a particular dating site; he stated that he thought it was less of a “cattle market” than the others he had seen. I agreed that it was but went on to add in my usual negative fashion that I reserve for this topic that said site had been a dead loss for me.

I make no bones about it; internet dating and I are not a match made in heaven. I suspect it’s in no small part due to the fact that I like quick results, so after half a dozen dismal attempts at finding the man who will emotionally complete me via my broadband connection I’ve “logged off” the whole idea. But my conversation with my friend did cause me to realise that my impatience is possibly due to my previous career in sales on the battlefield that is the city of London …

This was a job where strategies were not given an infinite amount of “time to work”. If there was no sign that you were making significant progress after deploying all your heavy artillery then you either a) completely re-thought your strategy or b) scrawled it off your prospect list and started hunting elsewhere.

I really was that girl. I was the one in the Armani suit stood on Waterloo concourse huffing and puffing because the train was ten minutes late. I was the girl sat in the American Bar at the Savoy sipping champagne with my girlfriends on a Wednesday evening just because we could.

I was also the girl that brought in £3.5 million worth of new business for my employer eighteen months before they decided to dispense with my services when I tried to return from maternity leave. So you see, it’s not always glitz and glamour … at least not once you’ve had a child.

The taste for all things designer and bubbly soon left me. Having a baby tends to do that to a woman. Priorities not only move, they get completely re-written. But the one thing I’ve never lost is the understanding that to get someones interest, be it in your product, your ideas or even you, you have to whet their appetite first.

To this end I would suggest anyone writing a profile for a dating website look at it in the same way as writing a sales proposal.

What you’re selling is you of course, but what you want to do is stir enough interest in your audience to motivate them to contact you. Don’t worry that you might be contacted by people you’re not interested in, of course you will, but you need options when it comes to internet dating and plenty of them.

The first thing anyone needs to decide is what type of match are you looking for. In the interests of keeping this post sensibly concise let’s suppose it’s someone like me; someone looking for a relationship but not to be engaged by Christmas and married in the spring. Here are a few pointers you might like to consider …

Photograph– Make sure you include one; not posting one looks suspicious (I’ve already talked about that). And make sure you’re smiling on it; in the main it’s only professionally-taken shots that don’t make unsmiling people look like convicts. Another vital point is make sure you’re properly dressed … a man naked from the waist up spells out P-L-A-Y-E-R only. You may be proud of your gym attendance record but keep it in your back pocket for now.

Written profile– Keep it relatively brief, two paragraphs only. Remember this exercise is only about getting people interested in you, they don’t need to know every last detail at this point. Mention any avid and passionate interests you have (that aren’t related to sex) and never, ever, ever mention your ex. Ever. Make sure your spelling and punctuation are correct … trust me, a thinking woman’s crumpet does not start off “well where i start im new to this my mates say i look great for my age i luv a good laff and im looking for that special laydee ….” You get the picture I’m sure.

Follow-up– When people contact you either initiate conversation with them or politely tell them “no thanks”. Don’t ever ignore them. The world is too small these days to risk gaining a reputation for being ignorant for the sake of not typing a quick message.

So, I’m sure there are those of you out there who are thinking “so if she’s so red hot at this, how come she’s single?”

The answer is this … you don’t always have to believe in the product to be able to sell it. You just have to get the buyer salivating at the thought of it.

Job done.

Bookmark and Share

1 Comment

Filed under attraction, dating, flirting, internet dating, Life, love and the universe, Men, online dating, Women

Physical attraction …. does it have a lot to answer for?

In this heady and dynamic world of social networking, online dating and cyber chat, this question looms large in front of me  …….why and how do we determine the connections we make?

How we make potentially romantic contacts is of course different to those we make for business or other social reasons ….. or is it?

Most online dating sites offer you the choice of either posting a profile photograph or not, but when I tested both options for myself I got around eighty per cent less interest without a snap as opposed to with. It was actually a man who advised me to try removing my photo but the sad truth soon emerged that when a woman is post-forty, men expect the worst. I’m sorry guys, but you do …. So the moral here is …. middle-aged daters need to validate their applications with some sort of evidence that they won’t frighten small children and horses, especially if they are female.

I’ve already talked about how when browsing men’s profiles that don’t have pictures, I’ve been automatically suspicious. No matter how “nice” someone is online, if on meeting them they turn out to look like something that could be towing the British army’s tank division single handedly, I will lose interest pretty quickly. Call me shallow, but there it is…

I’m Debsylee, and I’m an attracto-holic.

When we get a way down the dating line the cracks often begin to appear, of that there is no doubt. Take Mr Bunched Up as my most recent example of this; perfectly presentable (thanks to his relentless gym regime as he was keen to point out … ) but the personality of a giraffe on acid soon negated any good work he had done in the body shop. So whilst attractiveness might get you a second interview, it’s not necessarily going to secure the position of significant other …

In socio-business situations it’s slightly less obvious, but the basic model is the same. As a single girl I’d have to admit to having two types of contacts, those (male and female) who are married/attached and therefore kept well away from any flirtatious activities, and those attractive males who aren’t married or attached …. they go into a mental file labelled “Let’s not rule it out”. That’s not to say I would necessarily start plotting a takeover manoeuvre, but on a good day with a fair wind … Who knows?

Physical attraction, therefore, seems to be the number one motivating factor that determines whether communication is pursued with significant interest initially … or not. If the interest grows with the onset of emotional, spiritual and mental attraction too, then you’re on very fertile ground and you’d better prepare for all possible outcomes. Just in case.

I’ve pursued contact with a couple of men that really should have been parked when an alarm sounded but because I was visually hooked and the mental pairing was progressing well too, I chose to ignore the siren and battle on regardless.

Cat in the Hat is a perfect example. He was a substantial number of years older than me, but very learned, great with words and had a fabulous American accent. I was without doubt in the latter stages of “liking too much”. So when he chose to impart the information that he was going to have a “surgical procedure” that would involve some pumpage in – ahem – intimate moments, I chose to brush it off as unimportant.

Now, sane, rational and clear-thinking Debsy would scream “you what???” at that prospect but no, not the case for the newly mesmerised and smitten Debsy. My one remaining slightly concerned and clear-thinking brain cell chose to discuss it with Mr Distant Cynic, who after composing himself mentioned that a fit and healthy woman in her forties would soon tire of mechanics in the bedroom … I maintained that true love would see us through. How deluded was I? More on Cat in the Hat on another day. Needless to say the relationship was soon a deflated  version of it’s former self (not as the result of any test-drives, I should add …)

One lady commented to me some time ago that being very beautiful can be a curse; it can attract the wrong sort of attention. I can see why that would be … beauty can act like a magnet, attracting people from every direction. If the attractor has a well-honed selection process to eliminate all the ne’er-do-wells and retain the gems, then all well and good. But you can only imagine the number of times you might have to fall flat on your face to get that system operating well, without sentiment or emotion.

When all is said and done we remain a species that acts first on the visual; we might like to think we’ve evolved but the truth is that the progress has been negligible.

We may be phasing out beauty contests, but that just puts the judges back out on the streets ….

Bookmark and Share

5 Comments

Filed under attraction, dating, Facebook, flirting, Friends Reunited, Life, love and the universe, Men, middle age, relationships, sex, Twitter, Women

Don’t tell me to grow up … this is as far as I go

A little while ago I saw a discussion on TV about people’s mental age and after giving it the once over to ensure it wasn’t simply more garbage plumping out daytime TV, the thought crossed my mind that I could well have an explanation here for ongoing sillyness that those around me have to endure.

When I mentioned this to my father he too indicated in familial fashion that he thought it was rubbish, until I pointed out to him that my brother (who is three years my junior) in practice acts fifteen years older than me. At least.

My dear old dad had to concur that it was true; I am still a little girl (my words and not his, but I’m sure the thought ran through his head as he sighed in accepted resignation)

Only yesterday I visited my “older” brother and we took our offspring to the park. During the visit said bro shot me a glance that said he was mildly embarrassed when I got my swing to at least eight feet off the ground at it’s peak. The only thing my biological age has done is instilled a fear in me that now stops me trying to do the 360º.

And then this very morning my five year old boy caught me with my hand in the Maltesers bag at breakfast time. I smiled nervously at him explaining that it was OK for Mummies to have chocolate instead of weetabix, at which point he muttered … “Oh Mummy …. sort yourself out”

I have to say I found his middle-aged approach to my perceived weakness a tad worrying, until I realised that it could actually work well for the both of us. I’ve long since known that I need the voice of reason whispering in my ear on occasion, I just didn’t think it would be coming from a person quite so tiny.

Our teatime dancing sessions that more often than not involve gyrating to Girls Aloud have become legendary. I rarely can wait for the ice cream to have been devoured before I’m up shimmying to Can’t Speak French; we can now perform the cheeky wiggle with such panache that you’d think we’d choreographed it personally for Cheryl and co.

This is all standard parental practice you might think, until I admit to the fact that these dance frenzies take place all the time … even when I’m alone. I’m guessing I’m possibly around the nine year old mark, so perhaps I still have some jurisdiction over a five year old.

I think little Debsy only came out to play about two years after said son was born. I really was a proper grown up until then; you need to be in order to select the drugs you want in the labour ward.

So what drawbacks does this have in practice?

It can make me an incorrigible tease; I’ll push and push until I’m staring over the precipice mouthing “oooops ….”

And coming from a family of “adults” (save for my auntie who is around the same “age” as me), I frequently get cast as the “lost cause”. I do tend to find that dipping my head and flashing my eyes gets me out of most bothersome situations though, along with extra helpings of cake.

Of course, the grown up version of acceptable cheekiness is flirting. Oh, don’t we love that? Once you have the grown-up attributes to drive as fast as you want down the suggestive highway, it’s the most fun you can have that’s legal, calorie-free and non-taxable. And when you add a childish predisposition for high jinks it can add a propulsion that leaves standard interaction stalling on the start line.

Whatever the true reason is for my apparent refusal to grow up, you can be sure of one thing…

Tea will be late tonight due to last minute dress-rehearsals of “Love Machine” taking place in a dining room near you NOW …

Bookmark and Share

5 Comments

Filed under dating, flirting, Life, love and the universe, Men, parenting, relationships, Uncategorized, Women