Dating can be hard and there’s many things that can count against you appealing to others. Here’s a list of my own potential flaws:
I’ve got kids
Yes, I’m a dad (there’s a clue in the blog name), which means I’ve got responsibilities and need to spend time with the children. So any potential partner will have to realise they aren’t going to be the focus of attention 100% of the time. It also means I’ve got less disposable income, as kids are expensive to run. So I can’t just shoot off on a two-week luxury holiday to the Maldives at the drop of a hat. My kids also live with me, and I still haven’t made my mind up whether I’d want someone else in the house living with me. There’s also the mother problem, unlike childless break-ups you can’t detach completely from the mother of your children. You still need to communicate with them for parenting purposes. So any new partner has to realise I will need to speak to the ex on a regular basis, no matter how much I dislike doing so. Oh, and exes are expensive. They bleed you dry of any spare money you may have, so any hope of saving a few quid for a couple of drinks on a potential date tend to vanish pretty quickly.
On the upside, being a dad should mean I’m more mature, more caring, and probably more domesticated (makes me sound like a cat). It also means I’m probably more attractive to single mums rather than childless women, which I still can’t decide is a good thing or not.
OK, age is a relative thing when it comes to relationships, but there are some absolutes in there too. The obvious ones are the age of consent and the human lifespan limit, but I don’t think we need to be concerned about these extremities. Without wanting to generalise, most straight men want to meet someone who is no older than them. I’m in my early 40s, so getting to the age where I appear to be considered really old in the dating world. Women have it even harder when they hit the big four-oh, were they are considered only good for the nursing home. On many women’s profiles (POF seems to have a desired age-range category) they seem to have an upper limit of 42 years old for their desired man. Not 43, but 42. I’m not sure what happens on your 43rd birthday, but it must be pretty drastic for you to become utterly unappealing. So I’ve decided to stay 42 for a while longer, a white lie never hurt anyone.
I don’t have a six-pack
Not many men in their 40s have six-packs, particularly dads who don’t have time spend hours in the gym when not working and looking after a family. Yes, dad-bods might be the new trendy thing, but that’s just typical gossip column bollocks. I’m not fat, but have a little bit of a belly which I can hide for a few seconds if I breathe in. If a woman wants a man with a body like Christiano Ronaldo, they’ll have to find a man who will spend most of his day in the gym, and not spending it with you. His cooking will be rubbish too, you don’t end up with a body like that by eating tasty food.
I’m a engineer
Ok, my profession shouldn’t really matter, but engineering isn’t the sexiest occupation in the world. In the UK, the view is particularly bad as many people don’t even know what an engineer is (no, the man who comes round to fix your faulty mains socket is not an engineer). We are considered geeky, which to be honest is pretty true. I do work with some very geeky people, but they are intelligent, kind and caring too; they just don’t have the effortless charm of a George Clooney.
Engineering, in the UK at least, is also a very male dominated industry. We’re desperate for more women to become engineers, but there’s simply not enough girls taking an interest when at school (that’s a whole different conversation I might blog about in the future).
So there’s simply very little chance of meeting a female partner in the workplace, and so we have to go online to meet someone. So this means we’re not very used to speaking to women, not that we would treat them any differently to men. But if you want to meet someone in the workplace you need to go beyond the professional colleague type of relationship and be able to push the conversation to more personal levels. Most of us engineers don’t have any experience at doing this, so struggle when talking to women on a more personal and flirtatious level.
I don’t live in London
London is expensive, overcrowded, smelly, congested and noisy. However, it is where all the single women appear to be. Whereas my small home town is full on families and retired people. There aren’t any singles, and the population isn’t very diverse, so the chance of finding anyone suitable within a couple of miles is zero.
Of course London is full of great things to see and do, and I usually enjoy my visits there, and often work there, but I couldn’t live there (I simply couldn’t afford it anyway). So my on-line searching has to focus on London, but of course when I mention to a potential date I live outside London I’m treated like I’m living on the moon. To many Londoners, the world is split into two regions: London and Outside-London. Outside-London contains places like St Albans, Slough, Manchester, New York and Timbuktu. These places are all in Outside-London so are considered equally remote and inaccessible where they have no shops, electricity or running water (OK, that might be true for Slough). When you try and explain it takes less time for me to get from my home counties house to reach central London than it does for someone to get from Bromley to Harrow, they splutter in disbelief. They treat the idea of visiting Outside-London as some epic journey the equivalent of David Livingstone’s trek across Africa.
So when I discuss my location to potential dates I really need to emphasize the time I spend in London, to stand any chance of not being treated like some remote relationship.
These are all things I’ll struggle to hide or embellish on a dating profile, and short of abandoning my kids for hours in the gym, jacking my job in and moving house, I’m going to struggle to get hits. But at least I’m not going in there with delusions of grandeur, and my expectations are very well managed.
Having read the Thought Catalog blog, which is from a woman’s point-of-view, at least I don’t seem to be hitting too many of those black marks. She does appear to be American too, so a frat boy is a completely alien concept to us Brits. But you can see from her list, some women (and men for that matter) can have some pretty stringent and, quite frankly, contradictory requirements. For a more British viewpoint from a woman on the dating scene Anna Dates seems to coming from a more realistic viewpoint.