Welcome, friends. Can you believe that there are less than six dates to go in the experiment, and less than a month (26 days to be exact, irony is not lost) to go until until I turn 26? (23rd July, mark it in your diary, pals, I want a card or the very least your best compliment) I better get a jog on with publishing these date posts – you would think a schedule of once a week would be more than do-able… except I HATE a schedule. Too much pressure. However, I absolutely promise that you will get six date posts before my Big 26. PINKY PROMISE.
But before we dive into the last leg of this experiment, I want to tell you tales of the dates that could have been. Well, at least initially I did. I wanted to include three stories of near-misses, however one in particular was so long, that when editing down, I realised that it really needed it’s own post. So here it is, quite possibly one of the craziest things that’s happened to me in these last few months, and we didn’t even go on a proper date…
Remember when I went on that speed dating event where I played Cards Against Humanity with several groups of strangers? What has happened with one person in particular has been a RIDE, to say the least.
I matched with one of the guys from the event and we got to chatting a bit on Original Dating’s messaging platform, before swapping numbers and making plans to meet up. A date was set… but then I cancelled. When it came to the day, I wasn’t feeling my best; I was in the middle of figuring out whether I was moving or not, AND I had discovered some pretty shitty personal news the day before. I wasn’t really in the headspace to be in ‘date mode’, so I messaged CAD Man and asked if we could reschedule for another time.
He was very understanding, saying that he hoped everything sorted itself out soon, and to get back in touch when I was ready to out another time.
A couple of weeks go by. Things settle down and I feel like I’m in better stead to go on dates again. I message CAD Man and we make plans to meet.
That is until, on the day of, he drops me a text hay simply said, “Hey E, can I be straight with ya?”
Never a great message to receive, if I’m honest. Plus I was not a huge fan of how he so casually referred to me as ‘E’ felt a bit overly pally for someone I barely knew and had only briefly met once. But I entertained him, and told him to go ahead.
“Cool,” he shot back, “Now bare in mind… I mean this in the nicest way possible. Because I like to think of myself as a cool chill guy 🙂 totally not big headed lol.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but if someone describes themselves as a ‘cool chill guy’ and ‘not big headed’ it’s gonna make me think that, no, you’re not chill, and yes, you are big headed. Because who in their right mind would need to establish this if it were true? I digress…
He continues: “I came across a blog yesterday. 26 dates before 26 years old… If I’m completely honest, I’d really like to get to know ya ‘cause you seem like a cool girl. But I’m not game for being date number X in this project you’ve got going on. I hope you understand.”
I’ll be honest, I laughed out loud when I received that message. Because this is not the first time someone has said something along the lines of, ‘hey aren’t you that girl blogging about going on 26 dates?’ It’s weird and cool and I don’t know, I thought my SEO was getting really good or something.
I asked him how he found my blog, and then said, “If it’s just that you don’t want to be written about, we can still go out tomorrow and I just won’t blog about it?”
I won’t lie, the potential of going on a ‘secret date’ that I wouldn’t be able to blog about was *slightly* inconvenient. Because what if something really cool or crazy happened, and I would have to keep schtum?! After consulting with some friends though, I decided it wouldn’t be the end of the world, because what if it actually worked out and lead to something? And at the end of the experiment, I could be like, “Surprise, bitches, I went on secret date number 27 and now we’re in love.” It would be a cool twist.
I also told CAD Man that I respected the fact that he didn’t want to be part of the experiment, however he would have to wait 6 weeks (at that point).
Then the reply came. And WHAT a reply…
“Let’s put it this way, El” (again, why is he being so casual with me when we BARELY KNOW EACH OTHER) “My best mate is a bit nosey. She’s like a big sister and thus maybe takes too much interest, lol.”
Let’s pause it there. So what he’s saying that this ‘big sister’ friend of his SOUGHT ME OUT after he told her he was going on a date. And let me clarify: this guy only knew my first name, phone number, and that I worked in Marketing. How in the ever-living Christ did this ‘friend’ track me down with so little information?? I took to Google. I typed in my first name and wrote every combination of keywords I could think of from the little information about me I gave him. It returned nothing. I Googled my number. Nothing. I even did a reverse image search (like they do on Catfish!) of the picture I used on my Original Dating profile to see if it returned anything for my blog or Instagram. Still nothing.
There were only two plausible things I could think of. 1) He told his friend that he was going on a date with a girl called Ella, and said friend already happened to be following my blog and put two-and-two together. A bit of a major coincidence, but still plausible. Or 2) because he has my number saved to his phone, I came up on his Facebook or Instagram as a recommended person to add (as it can do that sometimes) and he found all of my stuff from there.
But he didn’t say any of that. He didn’t mention his friend happened to be following me OR that I came up as a recommended follow. He simply insinuated that his ‘friend’ (who clearly is too invested on a someone he hasn’t even gone on a proper date with) did a MASSIVE deep dive on me based off very little information, because apparently she’s some kind of master detective.
But he went on:
I’ll be honest, I still really wanna meet up with ya and get to know you better. Maybe it’s better on both sides if we wait until your project is done. But there’s nothing to say that we can’t stay in touch… That being said, I’m sure you’re worth the wait.”
I hated everything about this. There were so many warning flags in all of his messages – like implying that blogging was somehow shady and untrustworthy, for a start. I can understand not wanting to be written about (even though I keep things uber anonymous that you can’t tell anyone from Larry), but I found it weird that even when I said that I wouldn’t, he still didn’t want to go out until my ‘project’ was over. Despite hammering home that he ‘wasn’t big headed’, there was an air of cockiness to his message, like he deserved special treatment.
A friend of mine said that maybe he just didn’t like the idea that I would be actively going on dates with other people. And I kind of get that. Kind of. But isn’t that point of dating, at least in the beginning? That you go on different dates with different people to see who suits? I know everyone does things differently, and generally you don’t openly talk about the fact that you’re also dating other people, but isn’t it better to be upfront?
It all didn’t sit well with me: the overfamiliarity of calling me ‘El’ or ‘E’, the insistence of being a ‘cool chill guy’, the internet stalker best friend, and the holier-than-thou attitude. I wasn’t gonna put up with all this just for the sake of one date.
So, in reply, I told him that it was my turn to be straight with him. I basically told him what I just told you – that it made me uncomfortable that his friend went to such great lengths to seek me out (surely if your friend was going on a date, you’d just be like, “cool, good luck, tell me about it when you get back,” not all this?!). And while I respected if he just didn’t like the idea of being part of a ‘project’, I still didn’t like his attitude towards this all.
“This has all put me off,” I typed frankly, “I wish you luck but I think we should go our separate ways.”
And you’d THINK it would end there. But it doesn’t, because he then replied:
“No worries. Chewing it over a bit, you’ve made the right call for both our sakes. To put your mind at rest, I didn’t give your number out, but your stuff is very public and easy to find… my friend found it very quickly.”
I’m not sure it does put my mind at rest, to be honest. I still wasn’t sure if this ‘friend’ thing was all a cover up and he did somehow manage to find my social media through searching my number. Yes, a lot of my stuff is public – if I didn’t want it that way, I wouldn’t put myself out there in the first place. I don’t have issues sharing certain aspects of my life with the internet. But there’s something really icky to me about someone looking up my whole internet presence before we even really have a chance to get to know each other. It’s why I don’t link my Instagram to any of my dating profiles. I just don’t want to go into a date with someone already having preconceived notions of me judging by my highlight reel. My blog and IG are just one side of me, after all.
I didn’t really want to entertain this crazy situation anymore, and I blocked and deleted his number. He can go be weird somewhere else, and quite frankly, I dodged a bullet.
I also want to say, though I met CAD Man at a speed dating event, but don’t let that put you off! I have since been at other speed dating events, with Original Dating, and met some perfectly sane people who didn’t do a background check on me (or weren’t so open about it, at least). I just think, in the dating game, not all of them are gonna be winners. You’re gonna find weirdos everywhere – in bars, apps or speed dating events – regardless.
(This is the part where I shamelessly plug Original Dating and ask you to pls use my code ELLAS26DATES for 25% off the price of one of their speed dating events. K THX BYE)