It's Not Cool To Be Keen (But Is It Time To Stop Caring?)
It’s not cool to be keen. Not if you’re on dating apps at least.
If you’re dating someone, and find that you’ve caught, oh lord, FEELINGS for them, you can’t let them see that, for god’s sake. Are you kidding? You’ll scare them off.
That’s the fear, anyway. And as someone who easily develops feelings for someone, once they tick a certain number of virtual boxes, this is my eternal struggle when dating.
I know what I should do. Never double text. Don’t immediately text back, even if you’re bored and doing nothing when his text pops up on your phone screen. Let him make the first few moves. Hold back and let him organise some of the dates. Let him chase you.
Exhausting, isn't it?
I can confidently say I am utterly useless in paying attention to these dating rules. I’m very impatient, and way too enthusiastic, so I generally ignore all of them.
I’m an old-fashioned girl in that I like a bit of romance, but I’m also a feminist so I like to make sure the guys I date are also treated to a sweet gesture now and then.
And yes, I can report back that this behaviour does scare away a lot of potential Things. Sigh.
What I tell myself as I try to stop crying myself to sleep every night is that: Well, that’s ok, because I’m never going to work with a, what my best mate calls, a ‘wet flannel’ who just isn’t as keen as I am.
It’s not that I want to see the guy I’m dating all the time – in fact far, far from it. I just like to know when I’m seeing them, because I’m a planner and want to ensure I can fit them into my week.
But that means that when it’s been a few days since the last date, and I’m sitting on my hands trying to hold off on arranging the next one because I organised the last meeting, I can honestly go a bit nuts.
It's completely irrational, and I start acting in ways I never would if it was just a friend, or a family member. Worse still, I can feel how anxious and paranoid and frantic I get when it happens.
I twitch every time my phone buzzes. I worry what I’ve done to put him off. I have an internal argument with myself that goes as follows:
‘Look, what will be will be. Even if he doesn’t want to see you again, then so what? There will be others.’
‘Yes but… what did I do wrong? Why is this so hard?’
‘You did nothing wrong. Everything went as well as possible. Sometimes chemistry just isn’t right or he’s not up for dating, or a relationship. These things happen and it’s nothing to do with you.'
‘But but but I like him.'
‘Why do you keep thinking about this? Seriously, what is wrong with you? You're too intense, come on, this is why you put them off! You have great mates, a great job, a busy life that keeps you occupied. And yet you keep thinking about him.’
‘Waaaah, I'm so mean to me, I HATE DATING.
*Text from date buzzes on phone*
‘Oh my god, phew, he does like me still. Right, I’ll just wait a bit before replying so he doesn’t think I’m too keen…’
The only reassuring thing is: I know I’m not the only one who’s like this. Girls and guys alike have both told me they have these exact same internal conflicts and abide by stupid rules just to avoid their date seeing that they’re keen.
What we’re all really doing, of course, is shielding our hearts from being hurt again.
And that’s why, within reason, I don’t play these often abritrary dating games.
Because you know what, yes, I like that boy! I think he’s cute, and gorgeous, and he makes me laugh, and he likes the same things I do, and I want to see him again.
And I want to tell him. Because if that were me, I’d be delighted. Even if I didn’t feel the same way, if I was just enjoying his company but not feeling much else, I’d be flattered if I received the attention I like to give my dates. And bonus! We'd both know a lot sooner that the feelings weren't entirely requited, and we can move on with our lives.
That’s why, despite my little heart getting bashed and bruised this year in particular, I won’t stop being keen. You like Toblerones? I’ll bring you one on our third date.
You mentioned you like astronomy? Let’s visit the Greenwich Observatory on our forth date, before lying on the hill and looking at London’s skyline.
There is still a place for being keen, even in a time of Tinder. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary this year – which led me to take a significant break from dating at all – I have to believe that.
I’ll admit, however, there’s a fine line between enthusiasm and being a bit creepy.
This week, a guy went viral after he made his first date a Powerpoint presentation with three different options for where they could go. It had pros and cons for each location.
After being sent the document, the man he was supposed to be meeting blocked him.
I thought it was really sweet and refreshing that the guy wasn’t afraid to show how keen he was. But, if I’m being honest, I think I would be slightly freaked out if I was presented with that before I had even met the man.
It’s a different story once you get to know someone a little bit, and know that you like them and want to impress them. I just don’t see why we should be so afraid to take a risk on our feelings, and let them show.
Hell, even on the first date, I think a little gesture – particularly if it references something you’ve been talking about in texts before meeting – can really impress.
What’s the worse that can happen, after all? You'll feel disappointed and rejected for a while. And then, you'll move on.
Let’s face it, the world could do with a little more love right now.