When is a date a date? And when is it definitely not one?

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For a long time I put off online dating, for many reasons, most of which were ridiculous and purely stemmed from my own insecurities. However, they all seem irrelevant now as I am dive bombing into the online dating pool and thoroughly enjoying myself. The best thing about online dating is that everyone knows where they stand – there is none of that “Is he? Isn’t he?” People are either interested or not and if they’re getting in touch with you they are, and if you meet up with them it’s definitely a date. Simple.

Unlike my previous debacles, where, as ridiculous as it may sound, I often found myself wondering: “Are we? Aren’t we?”

There was the time the flirty colleague said he had a spare ticket for a gig. I convinced myself it was a date, and that it couldn’t be coincidence, as  it was my favourite band and I had told him this months ago. When I met him, I discovered it was a “lads’ night out,”  where one of the said lads had dropped out and he had offered me a ticket, as he saw me as one of the boys. (Definitely not a date.)

Then there was the time my Mum had organised for a friend’s son (self-confessed-computer-geek) to come over and help me set up my own website for my new business, Mum said it was a freebie, I had got a couple of twenties out the cash machine to, you know,  say thanks, cheaper than a web designer, kind of thing. He turned up with a bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine. His Mum had inferred we were being set up, news to me; unchanged from the gym and charmingly dressed in jogging pants, gym top with sweat patches to boot. (Had to pretend it was a date.)

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But my all time favourite dating mix up was my fishing trip with an old family friend. There I was, outside my parents’ house, when an old friend of my brother’s rode past on his BMX (7 years my senior and still riding a BMX!) with a back pack on and extendable fishing rod poking out. So the extendable fishing rod started a conversation and before I knew it I had handed him my number and agreed to go fishing with him.

“What on a date?” my girlfriends asked immediately.

“No of course not” I said “It’s fishing.” Then started to worry I added “he probably won’t text anyway.”

But he did. And I found it easier to go, than lie. But this was only after some ruthless texting where we agreed it was definitely not a date – just old friends going fishing.

So there I was, in my wellies and waterproofs, standing by his little canoe, definitely not on a date, when he suddenly declared the weather was too rough and fishing was off the cards. Both feeling a bit awkward and in need to fill the time, we decided to head to the nearest country pub for lunch.

“Still not a date though?” I joked on the way there.

“Oh definitely not” he confirmed.

However, the pub may have had different ideas. We arrived, “table for two” chirped the waitress with insinuation, then lit a candle (it was 2 in the afternoon) and offered us the “two’s company” menu “Ideal for sharing” she unsubtly pointed out. We were the only two in there as a log fire roared and Barry White crooned in the background.

It was awkward and uncomfortable, and that’s not because I was still in my wellies. I gave myself indigestion eating too fast and left abruptly. Later on that evening he texted “BTW you looked lovely today sweet cheeks” unsure if he was joking or not, I decided to childishly ignore him.

So that is one of the many reasons I am grateful for online dating, both parties know they are definitely on a date. I am never adorned in wellies or sweat patches, never humiliated to discover I have got the wrong end of the stick. It’s just the other things I need to worry about now: do they really look like their picture? Are they really 35? Do they really work in medical science? Etc etc. Still it’s fun finding out!

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