Dating is difficult so as I stand at the cusp of turning thirty I thought why not engage in a little social experiment for the benefit of all twenty-something single girls venturing out into this dangerous dating world. Despite my fair share of knock backs, I don’t believe that anyone should give up on dating and quest for happily ever after. So I set myself the challenge of going on thirty first dates before I turned thirty. Not an easy task by any means but certainly a learning experience.
Top 10 Life Lessons from the 30 Dates before 30 Experiment
1. After an epic break-up, it's normal to think that life is over or that it’ll never be the same again. But really, life does go on and you will feel those butterflies again (probably sooner than you think).
2. The rebound guy will likely cause more destruction in your dating life than the ending of any meaningful relationship ever will.
3. You'll encounter lots of strange people as you play the dating game. Serial killer-types, foot fetishists and people with very very odd sexual preferences (e.g. the dude who told me that he and his partner were on Tinder looking for swinging opportunities).
4. Tinder may be commonly known as the hook-up app but don’t be too quick to judge because you might make a few best friends of it as well. You would never think that your first Tinder crush could turn into your favorite agony uncle somewhere down the line.
5. After about the age of twenty-five, everyone has baggage. Whether it comes in the form of trust issues after having been burnt a few too many times or something more epic like a divorce and three kids, baggage is something you can’t avoid. The key is knowing your dating deal breakers on how much of another person’s baggage you are willing to handle.
6. Religious fanatics. Do yourself a favor and avoid dating them. Unless you are one yourself in which case go for it. Believe me, it’ll only end in disaster.
7. Men will do/say anything if they think there is even the slightest chance they could get their leg over. Be clever and use this to your advantage. Let these imbeciles waste their time sending you epic declarations of ‘LOVE’ via WhatsApp and then have fun reading these out loud while getting drunk with your besties. If these Tinder fools want to drive you to the airport during the early hours of the morning because in their silly little minds this means they OWN you, go ahead save yourself the cab fare.
8. Friends. The true ones always have your best intentions at heart and will have your back even when you fail to take their advice and end up in tears for the millionth time in the space of a few months. They’ll buy you self-help books, feed you wine, stroke your hair and tell you things will be better in the morning. Treasure those ones and NEVER ditch them for a love interest. But remember that not everyone is so straightforward so beware of the frenemies.
9. Despite the lies we tell ourselves life isn’t a fairytale and love isn’t always easy. There are fights, cheating, and general drama to contend with and only the strong survive. People may overshare their happiness on Facebook but remember their lives aren’t one hundred percent peachy either. Try not to take too much notice of all the wedding albums and baby pics on Facebook. It’s totally OK that you are still living like a bachelorette at thirty.
10.Single time isn’t going to last forever (unless of course, you’ve given up on love like a spinster) so make the most of it while you can. Hang out with your friends, date every available bachelor in Cape Town, travel the world and have a few holiday flings and believe that when you least expect it your Prince/Princess Charming will materialize.