About three months ago my friend and I decided that we were going to delete our online dating apps - I had two and he was using four. We baited and teased each other all the way up to 30 April and at midnight that night watched each other hit the delete buttons, one by one.
We felt so good about ourselves that we decided hit the town to celebrate.
As you would expect nothing really changed, the world didn't stop moving and pigs remained flightless, the one thing I did notice however was that I suddenly had a lot more free time...A LOT more.
I was surprised by how much time I had spent hunched over my phone or computer. I discovered books again and friends didn't get angry as I wasn't checking my phone every 30 seconds. Life seemed filled with endless possibilities, but there was one thing that was missing: the boys.
I didn't notice it at first - I was too caught up in catching up on lost time - but after the first month I started to ask: "Where are all the men?"
Now I know what you are thinking, why not go out? Just walk up to a guy or buy him a drink and strike up a conversation. Easy right? Wrong. Every time I'd go out I'd find myself retreating to the corner, it was like I had totally forgotten how to talk to men. They were suddenly foreign, tedious and almost intimidating and I was meek, shy and completely lacking in mojo - something I have never been accused of lacking in the past. This world of meeting in person, having to have real conversations, was starting to become a nuisance.
I decided to give the clubs (and the prospect of meeting a guy at them) a rest for a while and just let fate decide.
A week later I decided that fate took too long and returned to the hunt.
My friend and I vetoed the club scene and decided we would meet men the old fashioned way, at a friend's house party.
The evening started out fine: I was meeting new friends, catching up with old ones and mentally picking out the guys that I planned to later approach once the second glass of red had kicked in. But this time, it was the men who were the problem. They were slumped over their phones or the guys that I did approach; well they were just as shy as me. I started chatting to one guy, who was lovely, but we both got so nervous that we started to talk over each other, causing our conversation to turn into a farce.
My friend, however, well he was in his element. He was chatting with one guy in the kitchen, another in the hall and even had a sneaky patch out in the garden. I cornered him during the night to ask how he had managed to pull of this seemingly impossible feat but he just told me to stop thinking about it, remember it's not meant to be so hard (it's just flirting after all) and that it's meant to be fun.
He was right. It's meant to be fun. That age old saying rings true: "Its not the destination but the journey." I had spent so much time online, where everything is plentiful and literally at my finger tips, that I had lost touch with the fun that can be had along the way. It shouldn't matter how many boys you speak to in a day or how long your favourites list is, what matters is how it makes you feel. I think we too often forget that.
Now don't get me wrong, I was (and still am) a big fan of meeting guys online but I think staying in that virtual world, limiting oneself to the 100 or so guys that are on your screen, for some, might not actually be doing you any favours. You might find that hitting that delete button, even just for a week, will get help you remember just how fun a good old fashioned face-to-face flirt can be.