Entering the world of blogging in 3,2,1……..

I have to admit I have dabbled with the thoughts of starting my own blog for so long, I cant even remember. I am a procrastinator, or at least I like to think I am. In reality I think I am just bone arse lazy and allow the weeks to go by with the idea I will definitely do something but never actually actively getting my shit together and sorting it out.

The idea hatched a few years back (I told you I was lazy) from a few posts I made on Facebook about the wacky wonder that is London. I am a huge people watcher and the tube provides a hive of activity from the very sweet to the downright mental. The urge to share this with the world became more and more frequent and lots of people started telling me I should document it and write a blog. I thought ‘great idea’ and then about 100 years went by!

The thing is, it had entered my head a few times and it seems easy…..just set up a blog and type……but then I overthink everything.

My friends would say ‘Ali you’re so funny, your take on situations is always hilarious and honest’ (or something to that effect, I may have embellished slightly) which sounds great on paper but then you think, what about if it translates to some vaguely funny crap on paper, or even worse, not funny at all.

You know those moments when you tell a small crowd of people a story from the night before which was side splittingly, wet your pants funny at the time and you get a bunch of awkward smiles……you then make it worse by saying ‘Honestly it was sooooo funny’ to ram home the fact that it was actually brilliantly funny and in turn you get a few charity laughs to help ease the bum clenching awkwardness of the hole you are digging for yourself. The end result is lots of mumbling into your drink while someone desperately changes the subject. Now transfer that to online…….but this time its in front of hundreds of your friends…….THIS is why I probably put it off for so long……fear of making an absolute idiot of myself.

Putting your thoughts, opinions, fears and everything else online is scary. You will of course have people supporting you, but then you will have the trolls and possible disagreements. What if I upset someone with my opinion on something? Will that friendship end up awkward and will we agree to disagree? Will that blog post be forever the huge elephant in the room waving at us every time we meet?

Then I thought to myself, you know what, get over yourself….its a blog. There are a gazillion bloggers in the world…….even 6 year olds are blogging! You are not writing for Vogue or The New York Times and its an outlet to just allow me to write, which is something I love to do but have fallen away from over the past decade. A place to download my (semi-edited) thoughts whenever I wish and hopefully give people a giggle along the way. If not, then fuck it, it can be my own timeline of London and my rants about all the things going on in the world right now – there certainly isnt a shortage of subjects to write on.

Some people will like it, some people will object to things I say, some people will hate it and probably troll the hell out of me! But you know what, I always say I would rather regret doing something and maybe failing, than not doing it at all and looking back from my death bed on a yacht in the Maldives (because thats the plan) thinking, why didnt you just do it?

My posts will probably be serious, funny, definitely angry at some point (I didnt get the nickname Angry Ali for nothing, however I promise I am not a psycho) and they will most certainly not be boring. It will just be a searingly honest, typically Irish view on the world with a sprinkling of sass along the way.

Deep breath and jump…………

Online Dating – BRB

To an outsider, London is the best city in the world to be single, right? There are millions of hot singles and every opportunity to bump into Mr Right.

Wrong.

Its a minefield people.

My Irish experience of dating is somewhat different to the London way of dating. For one, before I came to London I had never really been out on a ‘date’ with someone I had never spoken to before. You would meet your friends for a night out, they would have a bigger group of friends……you would click with someone in the same crowd, have a cheeky kiss and then probably meet up again and eventually fall into boyfriend/girlfriend category.

Here you fall in love or lust at least a few times a day on the tube, only for them to disappear into oblivion at the next stop. The unspoken rules of tube etiquette means if someone makes eye contact with you more than twice, they are practically stalking you or you them and no one makes a move……

So you think to yourself, I’ll try something a bit different……lets give online dating a go – everyone is doing it and it sounds fun.However, it is a shallow world where, lets face it, the initial judgement is on how you look in your profile pics. If that piques someones interest, then the next hurdle is your little self promoting ‘sales’ piece which can be either completely cringe for many different reasons or can make you laugh out loud. I will always go with the latter – no one likes someone who takes themselves too seriously, but you also do not wish to have a man with the mindset of a teenager either……

So I decided to sign up to a few free sites to test the water – rookie error. The free sites attract every freak you can imagine. Guys who think the way to start a conversation is to tell you all their darkest desires or make a very personal comment to you…..and then wonder why you don’t respond. So I binned the free sites.

Go to plan B. I’ll try one of the biggest paid dating websites which you see advertised all over tube posters and TV, where they match you to your ‘perfect partner’ according to the 10,000 questions they ask you when you sign up. Filling in the questionnaires is tantamount to the process of applying for planning permission for an extension on your house – its never ending. Yet you still persevere and try to come up with your wittiest comments and pics so you can stand out from the sea of pouting duck faces you are up against in the line up.

And then you wait…….and its a bit of a bust. Yes you get lots of guys matching with you and wanting to speak to you which is great. This is where it gets tricky for me. I love humour and banter and they are deal breakers for me. Texting or Whats App can be slow and tedious and talking on the phone can be worse if you have someone pretty silent the other end. It doesn’t help that I have this need to fill silences, which is where the babbling starts………bum clenchingly awkward situations ensue.

However, even getting to the talking stage can be tricky and there are a lot of components (for me anyway) which make me swipe left or right. Lets talk profile pics & bio’s. Online dating is a fickle, judgemental world. There are several identifiers you will see as you scroll through hundreds of profiles on a bored Thursday night……….and yes I am a judgemental person sometimes, but in the world of online dating its kind of a given.

Welcome to the Online Dating Site museum………..

Exhibit A: The guy who has 4 pictures……and they are all group shots….with several of the same friends in each. Am I supposed to be psychic and know which one you are? Seriously? Swipe Left.

Exhibit B: The guy who is surrounded by a bevy of hot chicks in each shot. We get it…..you are a regular Casanova, fending off the advances of hundreds of girls every night you are out…….way too try hard…….and a bit creepy. Swipe Left.

Exhibit C: The Traveller/Lad pics/Car Pics/Topless Pics: Contains lots of shots of you posing with a drugged up tiger on your travels/at the Full Moon Party/Doing ‘mad’ stuff with your mates….but your profile says you are 41………Man Child. Oh and dont forget the posing by a flash car which probably isnt yours, or 20 topless mirror selfies which would give Kim Kardashian a run for her money. Swipe Left

Exhibit D: This is a cousin on Exhibit A. Lots of shots of you in the distance with some amazing scenery. Even if I zoom in I can just about make out you are human. Swipe Left for fear of accidentally being matched with a distant cousin or someone you know and desperately want to avoid. Yes London is a big place, but as lots of matches are done geographically, you would be surprised how many friends you see on dating sites. Declan in Accounts…..oh sh*t, I accidentally swiped right……..*never goes to work again*.

Exhibit E: The Guy Who Seems Normal & Turns Into A Sleaze. His pics look great, witty cleverly written bio. All seems normal and then he sends you something. You may think its enticing  to send an unsolicited pic, but let me tell you, doing that is the human equivalent of a cat bringing you a dead mouse as a ‘gift’………..

Finally you connect with someone who is normal, doesnt look like Quasimodo on Acid and there is the initial convo and awkwardly arranging some sort of date which is equidistant for both of you and doesn’t involve travelling to Zone 6 for someone who may not even look like their profile pic…….

Exhausted yet? Then there is the date. There are nerves, anticipation, fear and every other feeling thrown in the mix. Will he look like his profile pic or will I have to keep drinking until he does? Will his voice be high pitched as we have only texted and I havent actually heard him speak? Will he stand up and be up to my shoulder? Then you turn things on yourself. Do I look like my profile pic? Have I put on weight since the last pic I put online? What if he doesn’t get my humour……..

And then it all goes well and is surprisingly easy and normal. Then you are at the post date stage………Do I message him or leave it a few days. Do I respond immediately to his message? What emoticon do I use 😉  Mmmmm, he has read my Whats App but hasnt responded in a few days………and the cycle begins all over again.

Reading back on this, I realise I make the online dating world sound so overcomplicated, and it can be. However, I know people who actively go on 4 dates in one week and love dating sites – its a law of averages really. The more dates you go on the more likely you are to meet someone who could be great. I am slowly but surely starting to change my mindset somewhat, as it can be a way of meeting great people and it can also be exciting to step into the unknown.

Plus, lets face it, if all comes to all and it does go to sh*t, then at least I will have some witty stories for the pub…..and that in itself is worth its weight in gold!