If what I’m hearing on social media is true, this season is “Hot Girl Summer” which is all well and good and empowering (woo!) but also of very little use to me as no-one is making use of this hot girl right here. I won’t lie to you, despite wading through an inbox full of endless marriage proposals from men who haven’t even read my bio to see where I’m based, my current romantic encounters are few and far between. It’s funny because a few years ago, my love life was unrivalled. Men were my hobby – I’d spend days at a time hunting them out, be it in real life or via dating apps, and because I’ve never had a “proper” job with proper working hours, I had more time than most to devote to my hobby. I only wish I’d put the same determination as I’ve put into finding men as I have following a career path or trying to buy a house as I would have been incredibly successful by now.
At my peak, I was collecting on average at least 10 numbers a day from dating sites and those figures were boosted exponentially on weekends, where I’d be collecting pins – of the Blackberry variety – like a cash machine. I am a very polite woman; I will answer every text I get or every catcall from across the road and so believe me when I say it was a full time occupation juggling all of these men and making time for as many of them as possible. When I was attempting to go cold turkey from the opposite sex and was clearing out my phone book, I found myself deleting over 100 names alone that were prefixed with the acronym “POF”. That’s not even counting the ones who got promoted to being saved as their name– or at least the name they gave me – in my contacts.
Looking for Love
Like a misguided maths professor I assumed that as long as I was giving my attention to enough people then by the law of averages, I’d find someone good. As it happened, I didn’t – or rather I probably did but at the time I didn’t deem them rich enough or fit enough (to my non British readers, “fit” refers to how physically attractive someone is and is not in direct correlation to their heart health). Nowadays a lot has changed and quite literally, I cringe when I think back to the things that I had decided were most important in a man, compared to now. When I was 22, if a man wasn’t spending at least two grand on a night out, popping bottles and letting everyone know about it, then I wouldn’t even look at him whereas now, the only reason I’d sit at a table with a man in a club is if my feet were hurting from all the dancing.
It was also obscenely important to me that the man in question was ridiculously buff. If they didn’t look like they spent every waking hour in either the gym or the barbers shop, with a few Selfridges shopping trips thrown in for good measure, then I couldn’t understand why they would even approach me. If they were rich though, I didn’t really mind if they weren’t that attractive. Money gets people a pass for most things.
It’s wrong to assume that the supremely attractive have very little going on mentally but often it is well warranted, and this is how I found myself spending hours chasing some of the dullest men in the world. Yes they looked good but we never had anything in common, other than the night clubs we both frequented, but again, our lack of conversational topics did not phase me. I was more than willing to dumb myself down for them, so they wouldn’t see my intelligence as off putting and saw no issue in the fact that they could barely hold a conversation, let alone make me laugh. I would never have expected someone that I was sleeping with to have been stimulating me mentally as well as physically and was genuinely perplexed by people who included “someone who could make me laugh” into their criteria for a partner.
“But, why?” I’d ask. “I’m funny – why would they need to be?”
Very few of the men I met had any interest in what I wanted to do with my life, my future plans or even any particular interest in my past. The present, in which I did and still do flash my gash for cash, was the only thing they ever seemed to want to talk about and at the time, I never saw their fascination with my profession as any sort of issue. I even once went on a prison visit and allowed myself to be paraded around the visiting area like a fucking show pony because most of the men there had seen me in the magazines. I had terrible taste in men and so things could only get better as I’ve gotten older….
As Bad As Each Other
At the time, both me and my friends were as bad as each other when it came to picking the “wrong” kind of guys. It’s a good thing none of us ever went swimming in the sea together because we all seemed incapable of recognizing any red flags that would appear. The shit that we would put up with and explain away to ourselves and the shit we’d allow men to say to us and get away with, well, it’s cringeworthy to think back on. We were all allowing ourselves to be continually lied to and undervaluing ourselves in a vain attempt to keep some knobhead’s attention, but so many of us are guilty of it.
We covered the whole spectrum of unsuitable idiots from the criminal boyfriends who used our houses as a place to store their stuff while they were off doing whatever with whoever, to the emotionally unavailable rich men who knew that a text back every few days would keep us sweet. There were the men who would promise us the world then go missing for days on end, turning up the next week having been on holiday with the secret baby mum who never knew existed or the men who were happy to play the boyfriend role but as soon as they were getting all the perks of a relationship would hit us with the “I’m not looking for anything serious line”. We were compromising so much of ourselves for men who didn’t even want the small portion that that left us with.
Although looks are still important to me when finding a potential partner, because you can’t fuck someone’s personality, I have definitely noticed a conscious shift in the men I now chase compared to those that I use to. These days, I can’t even start speaking to someone that doesn’t interest me mentally. Don’t get it twisted, a 6 pac will absolutely help their case as I will forever be a sucker for good abs, but I can no longer even entertain the notion of sitting across a table from a man who has zero hopes of getting a mortgage because he only deals in cash transactions or grown ass men who still want to ask me what my “body count” is. I don’t have time for “I’m not really looking for anything serious” texts three days after we’ve had sex or being uncontactable for whole nights at a time. I don’t have time for one sided conversations that only warrant emoji replies. I want to have conversations that draw me in, that have me asking questions and actually learning things.
I like finding men who genuinely interest me and are interested in me, not just the Jaye Rose façade because those men are quickly disappointed. Those people always wanted the hair twirling, giggling, no panties on Jaye – who, don’t get me wrong, still rears her head around the right company – but they never appreciated my quick wit or my sharp tongue. So many of my exes would take offensive to my sarcasm, if they ever even caught the joke. I couldn’t live with somebody who doesn’t get my humour or who doesn’t agree that Glenn Howerton is one of the greatest comedy actors alive. I like a man who is book smart not just street smart; someone who doesn’t throw “yeah, well you suck dick for a living” in my face at the first sign of an argument.
I’m going to be 30 next year and I actually get quite fed up of the people around me who tell me “you’ll find someone” as if there isn’t a million other things that make life worthwhile and fulfilling whether you find your life partner or not. Either way, I feel like I understand myself so much better as a person now than I ever could have in my early 20s, which can only mean that I am one more therapy session away from posting memes like “if you can’t love yourself how can you expect anyone else to?”. I still like to date but this time, I like to conversate not feel like I owe him sex afterwards – not that there’s anything wrong with first date sex, so long as you’re feeling that vibe.
The way that I’m dating now is so refreshing, to feel like I’m finally calling the shots in my own love life and picking people who fit with me. My best friend said to me the other day “I want to get rich and happy, not still be justifying a man’s stupid actions, telling myself “oh he’ll be serious soon” and it’s true. I’m not saying I won’t ever meet the man of my dreams but I’m also not really all that arsed if I don’t. Either way I won’t be compromising myself anymore to find him.