"DON'T COME EASY"
the words of the old song, "You can't hurry love; no,
you just have to wait…" But whether they have left
it too long (too busy looking after academic or professional
interests, climbing the corporate ladder etc), or whether
they have had bad experiences, or whether they are just tired
of waiting, many single people today are taking a more proactive
approach to romance (with a little extra help!).
western countries, "speed-dating" has taken off
in a big way. Basically, a group of 20-30 people sign up for
an evening, and spend approximately three minutes chatting
with each person of the opposite sex i.e. constant rotation
ensures that everyone meets. Interested individuals can share
speed-dating is successful because the pace of modern life
does not allow for opportunities to meet potential partners.
Sometimes the evenings are organised around professional interests,
but more often it is a general mix and match process. Of course,
how much meaningful information can be exchanged in the course
of three minutes remains questionable…And this is clearly
not for those who dread cocktail parties!
sensible (and definitely less frenetic!) option is provided
through computer dating web sites. Here, individuals create
"profiles" for themselves describing their personal
and professional interests, what they are looking for in a
partner, and post this, along with an (optional) photo on
the web site. Those who sign up for the service, can browse
through profiles on the web site and "wink" to indicate
their interest in someone. If the other person responds, they
can communicate with each other through web-chat. If they
hit it off, they can arrange to meet up in person.
this system is not without its hazards either. The most obvious
one of course, is that you end up with some nutcase who sounded
good in their profile (which was clearly well-written fiction!).
This extreme situation can perhaps be avoided by careful vetting.
More common though (according to an American friend), is to
find someone perfectly normal, with whom you have far less
in common than you had thought. You are then in the rather
strange position of having to "break up" with someone
without even having got to know them! Unsurprisingly, some
people find this rejection rather hard to take…
there is the problem, for the rejected person, to deal with
the question of why they have been rejected. Some people take
it lightly - or at least, graciously - wisely taking the view
that this is much like making new friends: you will naturally
have more in common with some than with others. Others however,
agonise over why they have been "dumped". I heard
about one woman who met a man for coffee, and was subsequently
told that he was not interested in her. Either because she
liked him, or because she was feeling hurt and insecure, she
became very concerned about the reason for his rejection.
In fact, she was even reduced to contacting him again, in
tears, to ask whether he thought she was weird because she
allowed her small dog (chihuahua) to sleep on her bed!!
to be making a particular effort to impress women, with a
recent survey in a men's magazine stating that two thirds
of men admit that they take the time and effort to look good
solely to impress women. Indeed, it has now been estimated
that single men in the UK spend an average of £12 a
month on beauty products in order to attract women! For men
in need of extra help on the dating scene, there are additional
options. A recent development has been the concept of "Wingwoman".
Under this scheme, an agency helps you to hire a personable,
intelligent woman to masquerade as your "friend"
(at the rate of only $50 an hour, for a minimum of three hours!).
In reality, of course, this is all part of a cunning plan...
who is your Wingwoman, will then accompany you to various
trendy bars and clubs, in her guise as your friend (note,
not your girlfriend). When you have looked around and identified
some interesting women, your Wingwoman will then strike up
a casual conversation with them. She will manoeuvre her way
back to you, accompanied by the relevant woman, introducing
you as "just a friend". This then gives you the
chance to impress this woman with your charm, wit and warmth
(or, in the worst-case, leave her wondering why the lovely
Wingwoman is even friends with a loser like you!)
the girls working for the service provided some fascinating
background information. The man who set up the service, apparently
did so after discovering that he always found it easier to
meet women in social gatherings when he was actually accompanied
by a woman friend (presumably it gave him credibility as a
nice guy, without making him unavailable i.e. as someone's
boyfriend). In the course of running the service, the proprietor
has only met the women selected to be Wingwomen once or twice
each in person, and most of the time he simply contacts them
on their mobiles and gives them directions as to where to
go for their current "assignment". She therefore
described the job as being somewhat reminiscent of "Charlie's
other tricks of the trade mentioned, were that it's easier
to do the job in smaller venues, because then it is easier
to "bump into" the desired women and strike up conversations.
And apparently among the most frequent customers of the service
are Arab men in the US, who find it difficult to date after
September 11th...! As with anything else however, hiring a
Wingwoman is not without its hazards. For example, if a man
is lucky enough to hit it off with one of the women he is
introduced to, and this develops into a long-term relationship,
he will have some explaining to do regarding his Wingwoman.
How will he explain, that this friend who introduced him to
this woman, is never seen around again? Does he tell his new
girlfriend that the original woman was in fact, never his
friend? Or does he tell her that they had a fight, and are
no longer friends? Either way, it's a difficult decision.
If he lies, he may be asked for more detailed explanations
as to what went wrong in the friendship (requiring further
lies); if he tells the truth, the woman may wonder why he
could not find a genuine female friend to do this for him!
if you found the whole Wingwoman idea bizarre, there are far
more desperate cases out there. An Austrian man, who found
it difficult to meet women, bought a police costume and a
siren to place on top of his car. He then started driving
around Carinthia, stopping women drivers, but letting them
off with a pleasant caution rather than issuing any false
tickets (I am glad he drew the line somewhere!). Police finally
picked him up, after one woman became suspicious and reported
him. He explained that he had done it, hoping that he would
run into someone who was attracted to men in uniform…!
(R) thedailystar.net 2005