The Real Truth About Life in Your 20s: Part 2, Love & Dating

Continuing from last month’s The Real Truth About Life in Your 20s, Olivia gives us an insightful portrayal into the dubieties of dating.

A perspective on life in yours 20s by yours truly – a single, white,  female just trying navigate through life.

Part 2

I am 26, unemployed, single and fed up of kissing Class-A-run-of-the-mill-snakey frogs and I am most certainly over unrequited love of which I am an expert. Finding love in this city is like trying to get a good Brexit deal – a seemingly impossible task. So far dating in my 20s has been a comedy of errors (and I mean some really classic tales to be told here), attempting to slay singledom and find my Prince Charming – safe to say that this princess is not yet quite a Queen…

I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love me

I want to share the burden and end the shame around the issues of struggling with being single. Everybody wants love and often no one wants to admit it. But there, I’ve said it, “I WANT A BOYFRIEND” and I am tired of feeling mental for it. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – welcome to my dating life! Plodding along single for ages (practically my entire life) has made me doubt my sanity, as life starts to feel like an episode of Black Mirror. I’d like to think I am not that bad (different but not bad). I am not here to toot my own horn but it is important for us single gals to remind ourselves of what we have going for us. Par exemple, I don’t drink (anymore), tall with long limbs, blonde, not overweight, semi-intelligent, quite funny, quite stylish, relatively healthy, cultured & well travelled and bloody weird (some say it’s endearing). So how the hell are you single you may ask?!

Seeing as I’m bearing my soul here, I may as well be honest…I’ve never had a “real” boyfriend. This self-reflection has made me see the cold hard truth and as we all know the truth bloody hurts. I am part of an age group where we are stuck between finding out who we are and struggling with the pressures we get from our families about when are we going to settle down. After doing a lot of stupid things and watching my friends do a lot of stupid things, I used to think it was my fault – that surely I must be doing something wrong…

But the reason why I personally don’t date seriously isn’t because I am not capable. No. Rather it’s because when it doesn’t work out (which in my case is 99.9% of the time), it is not only hard to get over the past and that person, but also it is the harsh reality that your future is back to being solo – table for one please (depressing)! Thus I am on a dating hiatus – ‘F**k you dating’ is my current mantra in life. I have dated casually, slightly more seriously, played the bloody field and now the only relationship I crave is my bed. And Netflix. I am exhausted over the ordeal of dating and all the woes it comes with. As you can probably tell, I don’t deal well with rejection…I am the classic girl that takes everything to heart and will convince myself that it is my fault (even though most of the time it isn’t). So unless God decides to quite literally drop Ryan Gosling onto my doorstep, then I am not interested. I have accepted the fact that I will probably die alone and will buy myself multiple puppies to fill that empty void in my heart.

Whilst on this “hiatus” (just an excuse to get out of dating), I have come to the realisation that there are 2 main reasons for why I am perpetually single and as likely to find Prince Charming as getting killed by a vending machine (reminder – 1 in 112 million): the evolution of dating apps and the epidemic of the ‘softboy’ (explained later on).

Problem 1: Dating Apps

Dating apps have become a part of our culture and increasingly the norm to find love. I know a lot of people who found love through apps and they can provide opportunities. So the question we should be asking is not if they work, but how well do they work? Trying to meet someone is a never-ending battle. Even if you’re the most social of butterflies, it isn’t easy and dating apps, in my humble opinion, are pains in the butt and lead to the most lacklustre love life…I could drone on for years about my hate for dating apps, but I will save you from that and summarize the issues I have with them:

1. Casual: Most men (I have found) just use the app for easy, casual hook-ups, rather than finding relationships. This makes it impossible for people who, like me, are looking for something real and permanent…

2. Dishonest: the amount of guys that go on these apps and lie just make it harder. I was cat fished on a Bumble Date – the guy said he was 6ft1. When I arrived at the agreed destination and he stood up, he was a fair amount shorter than me (I am 6ft) – to say I was disappointed, put it mildly. Sometimes though, people don’t mean to misrepresent themselves but they are completely different in person when you meet them. Your expectations are then shattered…

3. Unnatural: Going on these apps and having proper conversations with strangers on a screen– you feel weird, uncomfortable and it feels wholly unnatural. They are diminishing the notion of good old-fashioned chivalry.

4. Vanity: Since when should finding love be based on looks? In order to make a match and get a date, you need to like someone based on a couple of photos…it is degrading, and what I have learned is that maybe one of the men I said no to, could be my Prince Charming and I may have missed out…

5. Time-consuming: You can spend hours of your life on these apps and often not meet anyone. Even when you get matches, having the same banal, small-talks over and over again – well it gets old and boring. You could be spending your time on more useful matters, such as watching Netflix or baking.

Online dating is far from perfect, but I barely know anyone who’s single and hasn’t tried it. And don’t get me wrong, I know they can work…but don’t worry, you are not the only one who finds them frustrating – they were made with the intention for people to connect and find true love, but they have been corrupted and become the portal for one-night stands or casual sex. They are now the enemy and an unnecessary evil (great – just another problem to add to a long list of reasons why dating is hard) #alwaysaprincesssneveraqueen.

Problem 2: ‘Softboys’:

A new epidemic has surfaced in recent time and that my friends, is the epidemic of the ‘Softboy’. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, they are like ‘fuccbois’ (Manipulating snakes who lead girls on to get them into bed) but worse, as they use their feelings as an excuse for their douchey behavior, often spanning the line between manipulation and self-pity. To give you a better picture, I have outlined their characteristics:

– The Softboy is polite and seems genuinely nice (at first…)

– The Softboy adds you on Facebook.

– The Softboy is probably named Tom, Max, or Oliver.

– The Softboy is neither a nerd nor a lad.

– The Softboy drinks cocktails and whiskey.

– The Softboy is a sensitive soul, artistic and self-aware.

– The Softboy is dressed well but not preppy or ‘edgy’.

– The Softboy has bailed or not messaged you back FOR A REASON, all of which ARE NOT HIS FAULT: he’s had a bad day. He got stuck at work. He’s trying to figure some s**t out. He has run low on funds…usually in the first week of the month. And sometimes he’s just a bit useless (oh cry me a f***ing river…)

– The Softboy listens to you, never disrespects you, opens up to you and is a self-proclaimed feminist.

If any of the above sounds familiar to you, well then well done, you have bagged yourself the newest 21st century snakey douche-bag! Why are they worst kind, you say? Well Softboys are emotionally available and sensitive for the singular purpose of shagging you…arranged marriages don’t sound so bad after all…

Recent life experience with a Softboy: Man (name changed to protect their privacy but if you are reading this you’ll know who you are). I was at a point in my life where I was fed up of not meeting anyone. I was telling friends the usual statements of:

  • All men are knobs and I’ve lost all faith.
  • I am going to focus on my “well-being” and getting myself that Victoria Secret Angel body…(yeah right)
  • I am considering checking myself into a nunnery.

But as I was moaning away to my friends, I get a Facebook message from Man asking me out #WinnerWinnerChickenDinner (in reality #DisasterDisasterHeWasThePieMaster). Man was 100% my type on paper: had a complicated family life (like myself), liked German literature (I am half German), very tall and skinny (the way I like my men), awkward and sensitive (I find this endearing) and in a band (always wanted to date a musician) – I thought I had hit jackpot…6 dates had passed and all seemed good UNTIL Man re-arranged latest date more than 5 times (each one with an excuse as outlined above). I must admit that even whilst I write this article, I am still waiting for him to come up with another possible date for this date number 7 or even just a note to say he is no longer interested…reality check – he ain’t messaging me and looks like I have now been ‘ghosted’ (ignored / left in the dumpsters). BUT I am grateful, as now, for if (probs never) that hotline blings, I can firmly say “nah mate – go fudge yourself!”

We are all looking for someone to love us for just the way we are and as much as I idolize Bridget Jones, I do partly blame her for actually giving us average girls false hope (I am still waiting for Hugh Grant and Colin Firth to fight over me, or actually just one male vying for my attention). But the majority of the fault lies with the Softboys…you know who you are and well done, y’all have diminished our childhood dreams of finding Prince Charming…

A Happy Ending (and no, not the kind you get in a Thai massage shop)

Your 20s are extremely important because it’s the time where you’re trying to figure out who you are and start building a foundation for your future. You don’t want to get too caught up in another person’s life, when you can barely figure out on your own sh*t. At the end of what seems like long, tiresome and hardship filled days, you’re still so young and this is where “You do you”. (Kirsten – one of my best friends – this is for you). Thus far, through my own experiences, I have learnt:

  • Relationships do not define or validate who you are.
  • The most important relationship you have with yourself is YOU.
  • You have to be open and willing to be vulnerable, if you want any chance of having a relationship.
  • Cling to hope – hope is your lifeboat.

This is the time for kissing the frogs – some will use you and others will bring the best out in you. Remember you have to love yourself first, before you can think of sharing it with somebody else #cheesy. But for now being single ain’t so bad, I promise. The struggles of being single in your 20s can be tough, but do enjoy it whilst it lasts, because your Prince Charming could be just round the corner (I cling to this hope every day) and then you’ll soon be wishing you were single again. But most importantly remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE and not the only person feeling sad about their lack of love life.

So to all the 20-something single laydez out there, I salute you. Remember to stand tall, be single, be proud and channel your inner Beyonce. After all, Who are we? What we run? The world.  BOOM.




Illustrations Olivia Dueser

Read Part 1 here

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