Now, I am no Casanova but I know that dating is something which holds quite the prevalence in student life, the fact that I hadn't ever really been on a date until reasonably recently is of course, irrelevant. Students arrive at University with many objectives in mind, to obtain a degree, to establish friends for life and to potentially find love and or ecstasy, but usually love. Some students haul a long-term relationship with them to University, some remain single, and some find a relationship and others, well, others, find an unkempt beard, a wallet on a chain and an employment history that most recently includes Blockbuster and/or CEX.
For quite some time in my teenage years, I was single by choice, not my choice, someone else's. Some people do indeed prefer to be single, whereas some people are in and out of relationships like some kind of commitment-phobe-hokey-cokey. Some people prefer to be single because it means they can do whatever they want. However, this could mean a multitude of things, they might be selfish and struggle to compromise with others, they like to be able to do what they want without being interrogated, they are getting over an agonising break-up maybe and want to sample some of the goods left behind at the lost property depot of love, or lastly, they are a little bit slutty and have gigolo based behavioural tendencies.
The intrinsically excruciating problem with love and relationships is the recruitment process. Albeit, not as harsh as a studio spotlight being switched off on your impending rouge complexion in front of an audience of millions, sat at home with their families, watching your heartbreak as they gorge on what is likely to be fried chicken.
Dating is essentially a recruitment process, you sit opposite each other at what is likely to be a table, ask each other a few questions, share an awkward kiss and leave either hired or fired. The problem is, you want dating to be a positive experience and not hinge upon going to a Chinese all you can eat buffet with someone who definitely lied on their profile, parting twenty sterling and realising you have to pay extra for a crispy duck, only to be told it's not you it's them. I think dating probably can be a positive experience, until of course it begins to border on desperation and you start relying on the read receipts iPhone feature to know if they like you or not.
I'm not very experienced with dating, I have been on around eleven dates and ten of those were with my now Girlfriend. I hasten to add that two of the aforementioned ten were one of my stand-up comedy gigs and the latter, a drive-in cinema, watch and learn boys, watch and learn.
During my tenure at comprehensive school, a girl in my class who shall remain nameless asked me if I wished to attend the local cinema with her, I had little to no friends and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make one, so, of course, I said yes. We arrived at the cinema; I had arranged to meet her there. My mum dropped me off in the Car Park and gave me the best advice any son could wish for "whatever you do Thomas, don't be yourself, in fact, if you're going to be anyone, be Russell Brand". I stepped out of the automobile and nervously trundled into the cinema, eventually after a hostile encounter with a collective of Emo's in fluorescent hoodies, wearing empty rucksacks, pretending to be random and hugging each other, I located her.
First on the agenda of course was to decide what feature we would be viewing that evening. I'll be honest, I was gasping for Kung Fu Panda, however my new friend had other plans for that evening for I would soon be witness to the sheer horror fest that is Drag Me To Hell. Now, I don't want to have to issue a spoiler alert, but, in short, someone, well, gets dragged to Hell, as it were.
I won't venture into too great a depth, but there is a pivotal scene where an elderly lady is dragged to said destination, Hell, basically. I don't know what came over me, but as the ground opened up, the theatrical flames erupted and a lady of definite bus pass eligibility was dragged kicking and screaming to hell, I broke down. I shuddered, shivered, cried and clutched onto my new friend who looked on in horror not at all relative to the scene gracing the big screen.
A moment or two later, she shrugged me off and soon the film drew to a close, the credits rolled and the house lights brightened. We swapped glances of uncertainty and arose from our seats before exiting into the foyer; we exchanged little dialogue and awaited our respective transportation. Back at school, it was like it had never happened, and we were back to sharing a textbook as the latest PGCE effort to grace our institution told us everything we already knew about Fleming and Pasteur.
Fast-forward five years and I receive an email through my then website asking how life was treating me, it was only from said girl! A pleasant catch-up style exchange followed and I was soon made aware that our friendly hang out all those years earlier was indeed a date and following my meltdown said girl didn't have the heart to tell me it was just that.
So, my guidance to you on this occasion is simple, if you wait patiently and positively love may come your way, if you go on a date make sure you've established it is indeed a date and if you cannot be yourself then always, I repeat always, be Russell Brand.