Adventures in Dating: 26 Dates Before 26.

Me waving hello after a long absense…

One dreary December day, when I was inevitably hiding from all of the Christmas furor, an idea popped into my head. I don’t know how or why exactly, but I remembered a blog post by Hannah Witton where she revealed a scrapped book idea in which she wanted to go on 25 dates before she turned 25.

Hannah’s book idea didn’t come to fruition as she ended up meeting a lovely man who she’s now been with for a couple of years. However, this idea was always quite intriguing to me, and on this December day I found myself thinking, “Hey, in January it’ll be 6 months until my 26th birthday… what if I went on 26 dates in the lead up to it?!”

But… it was too good of an idea to pass up. On New Year’s Eve, I tipsily posited the idea to my friends, who immediately screamed “OHMYGODYOUNEEDTODOTHIS!!” in my face. And I wanted to do it, obviously I had, otherwise I wouldn’t have been thinking about it or brought it up to my friends in such a faux-blasé manner.

So, I thought today was as good a day as any – on 23rd January, officially 6 months until the Big 26 on the 23rd July – to announce… yes, I’m gonna go on 26 dates!

Me, laughing at this very mad, time-consuming idea…

It’s going to be the ultimate dating experiment. I’m going to be examining every aspect of millennial dating culture, from swiping to meeting, and write about it every week on this little blog of mine. Kind of like a dating column. I’m gonna be the millennial Carrie Bradshaw! Except far less problematic (I hope) and with far less money for designer shoes and a grand New York apartment.

I think this will be an interesting way to learn about myself. There are two situations where I feel the most naturally confident: job interviews and first dates. And if you think about it, they’re kind of in the same realm – you’re selling an idea to yourself to the other person, while also seeing if they’re a good fit for you. And because of my aforementioned major introverted tendencies, I think it’ll be a good exercise in putting myself out there, meeting new people and embracing new experiences.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with being introverted, but I do think that I hold myself back in a lot of ways. I’ve been hardened by previous experiences, but it’s time to learn that not everyone has the same agenda.

I’ll be giving my dates pseudonyms in form of a letter of the alphabet, and won’t be disclosing any distinguishable features to protect the innocent (and the guilty!). To make it a real examination of dating culture, I’ll allow myself to see the same person up to three times. This is to alleviate the pressure of me finding 26 individual people to date, but also because I think that the first three dates is an interesting time in dating, so why not open myself up to potentially explore those early stages of courting. This means that, quite possibly, I may not be going on 26 first dates, but I will be going on 26 dates in total, I can assure you.

Me thinking “what have I done??” vs. coming to terms that this may be fun

Alongside the blog posts will also be a companion podcast, where I’ll bring in guests to talk everything about millennial dating. The episodes will be less frequent, maybe every two weeks or so, because I want it to differ from the blogs. And, as I’m currently finding out, getting guests in and coordinating schedules takes some time – and I’m incredibly disorganised! But it will be nice to have a format where I can talk, laugh and commiserate with others on the awkwardness of dating, and have an alternative medium for those who may not want to read my posts each week. Watch this space for podcast details soon…

And yes, I know it’s incredibly contradictory of me (maybe even…. hypocritical??) that the last post on this blog was something about everyone being obsessed with love… a lot can change in nine months, okay?! I still stand by a lot of points made in that post, and this isn’t an experiment in finding love, per se, but more a study on human nature, I guess. If I happen on love along the way, then great! I’ll be sure to write about that, too.

Okay, that’s about it from me, for now. My first dating ‘column’ will be up soon for you to feast your eyes on. If you’re not interested in all this dating malarkey, then don’t worry, I have plenty of non-dating related posts coming up, too, namely which books and films I was loving in 2018 (very late, I know).

(Photos in this post taken by Sian.)

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