So in a possibly misguided burst of enthusiasm a friend and I declared Autumn 'Dating Season' in which we would put more (read, any at all) effort into dating. Another friend was roped in and we thought we had a genius idea.
Yesterday I found myself running from a farmer's market to avoid a man.
So far, not so great then?
I would have thought that online dating was in fact perfect for me. I spend way too much time working at my computer, and way too much time looking for distractions so it seems too good to be true. Sadly it is. Aside from managing to briefly date a member of a well known male voice choir, which felt more like a therapy session than a date, my online dalliances have been unsuccessful. Earlier in the year I logged onto a dating website, more for the purposes of procrastination than actual intention (and who doesn't window shop a little on match.com every now and then?) the third person down was my old boss. I closed the window and ran (metaphorically) this week I ran away from another online date (literally).
But I also think how is someone in my position supposed to meet someone? I turn again to my favourite radio sitcom 'Cabin Pressure'
"Because when you're over 30 your on your raft, and everyone else in on their raft, and occasionally the rafts bump into one another but there's no raft hopping. And I've ended up on an all boy raft"
Though I'm not quite thirty, the point still stands. Everyone is in their little groups and it's difficult to break out. I've also got the unfortunate added element of having friends who are mainly younger than me. Which is fine for friends but breaks my, as I once so eloquently put it "Don't do anyone younger than you" rule. Though perhaps given that I'm writing this blog, I should consider revising or tearing up the rulebook entirely.
This is all PhD relevant as doing a PhD doesn't exactly grant you time (or inclination) to peruse a series of romantic escapades. And many an established relationship has been broken by a PhD. It does make you rather self absorbed, and also particularly time and cash poor as well as stressed. Not anyone's ideal date really. In my case the PhD itself almost physically repels a lot of men (not just men). What most people here the first time I explain it is 'Gay' and 'AIDS' In fact, the single best date I've had (not that there's a great crop to choose from) was the guy who actually listened and wanted to have a conversation about attitudes to gay people and AIDS. Major brownie points. The subject matter aside, I think girls doing a PhD scares a certain breed of men too, and granted they're not the breed I want to be dating anyway but clever women = scary to some. Their loss.
Now I'm aware that my timing here isn't impeccable. That maybe the final period of my PhD isn't the best time for eliciting romantic hassles. But when is a good time really? I've waited this long, there's always been some reason to put off putting effort in, or waiting for someone to drop in my lap. And actually a midst all the stress and worry, sometimes it would be nice to be taken out of all that and feel like I was liked for who I am and not just be those three letters 'PhD' but be four different letters a G.I.R.L. But then who wants a slightly odd PhD girl anyway?
I feel like I should write an honest online profile something like "Female, 28 (ish), PhD student quite clever at some things, extraordinarily dumb at others. Fairly (very) geeky (about many things not just PhD topic). Very accident prone and clumsy. Odd working hours. Rubbish car. Likes dogs not cats. Makes a good cake. Short hair, like really short. Weird (sometimes filthy) sense of humour. Time wasters need not apply."
But that's the thing, how do you find anyone to apply? My Mother says I scare men (thanks Mum). I've spent my life bouncing from job to job, I collect friends from all over without a cohesive group. Maybe they could help? So friends of mine, send me your men, go on I dare you. (maybe don't send any valuable ones my way just in case I do break them)
Of course if there's any men I already know who don't think I might eat them alive, who think I don't look like the back of a bus and aren't scared of the letters 'P. H. D' they could always ask me out for a cup of coffee. The worst that will is happen is I'll hide from you at a farmer's market....
p.s it's been brought to my attention it isn't clear exactly WHY I was running away from a man in a farmers market. Just to be clear, we had been on an actual date...and he was nice, perfectly pleasant. Unfortunately he had a habit of asking me out about 24 hours before he actually wanted to meet. Anyone who knows me, and particularly anyone who has tried to make a date with me lately knows I need a bit more notice. He also seemed rather clingy in general, which again sends this independent woman running for the hills...or in this case a pumpkin stall. Anyway, I'd not 5 minutes before told him 'sorry I can't meet today, and actually things look a bit busy generally...' when who do I see talking to the artisan Baker....that very same man. To that man I'm sorry, it wasn't mean to be. To any other men who may consider asking me out...I promise not to hide behind the pumpkins in future.