Around this time of year while friends and family are frantically chasing down last minute gifts for their loved ones, it always make me nostalgic. Thinking back to previous Christmases I’ve shared with girlfriends.
Admittedly, they’ve been few and far betwen – two in fact, which is kinda depressing, but it got me thinking.
Am I better off during this festive period with or without a partner? I’ve been back in Ireland for five months following my adventures abroad and am still on the single market.
A combination of new job, long work hours and shift in priorities (health/fitness, writing) have relegated the search for a companion to somewhere around 3rd/4th spot. That’s not to say that I haven’t been putting myself out there when the occasion does present itself – typically on weekends. Not having met anyone in the competitive (and tiring) bar and club scene of Dublin, I hopped onto the mobile dating app Tinder.
At best, the app filled idle minutes during bus commutes and was a nice ego stroke to find women who matched me – mutual likes. Having met a couple of people from it, after weeks of texting it was evident almost instantly we were incompatible. I could have saved myself hours of text conversation. You just can’t fake chemistry or the direct contact offline and in the real world to gauge whether there is an interest.
It seemed to be a lot easier to attract the opposite sex in my twenties. Perhaps the Ayahuasca experience straightened out some of the ‘bad-boy’ vibe I was giving off that seemed to appeal in the past.
In the dating arena, it’s become more competitive than ever. Irish men are now more body-conscious, forsaking heavy beers for cleaner spirits, trading kebab for High Protein, Low-Carb alternatives, Crossfitting, dressing well and generally becoming more health conscious at least in the circles and bars that I frequent.
THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED.
My closest friends are all hooked up. Either married or have long term girlfriends. It’s becoming harder and harder to find people to go out with, and when I do go out, the bar scene is very samey and artificial. Something I miss about South America was the fact that you could talk to absolutely anyone and even if there was no interest from the other party they’d be polite and cordial about it.
Here, there is an element of snobbery and if you grow the testicles to approach what society would consider to be a beautiful woman, the fear of being shot down is ever-present unless you look like you’ve just came from a Mens Health cover model shoot. I’ve had it happen in the past. It’s not pleasant and just downright nasty.
“Friends of Friends is where it’s at Aidan. That’s how you’ll meet the one.”
I’ve heard that a lot. I’m willing to buy into it. However as I get older, my social circle seems to get smaller and smaller as friends hook up and their social life expires, or mates emigrate and ex-colleagues lose touch.
There are other options available.
Join clubs/societies/find new hobbies. For the busy professional this might not be realistic, but I can definitely see the merit.
My last girlfriend and I dated for a year and I was in a similar transition phase. Finally deciding that I was sick of being single, I joined a Beginner Salsa Class, which was a pretty big leap outside my comfort zone. In my head, I was a good dancer, but that was always with 10 beers onboard and the right blend of European 90’s Dance Music pumping.
Learning to gyrate to a new sound, and freeing those Irish stiff hips SOBER was a whole new challenge and something I really struggled with, as did everyone else in the beginning.
The bottom line was that I bonded with a beautiful Brazilian girl and she became my sole motivation to see out those six weeks. Salsa took a backseat and she became the object of my attention thereafter.
I’m certainly not crying out for a girlfriend over the Christmas period, and I do enjoy many aspects of being single. But with that being said, this time of year is always that little bit more magical when you share it with someone you care about.
I just need to make more time for it in 2015 or ol’ Snake Hips might have to come out of retirement one last time!