Transitioning from the mating ground of university to the corporate working world was never going to be easy. Watching too many episodes of Sex and the City had certainly played its part in (falsely) glamourising the world of a young professional. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting to slump out of university and stride in to a power woman career. Wishing, maybe, but I've always aired on the side of cynicism and had no delusions about what starting at the bottom of the food chain would be like.
The world of creative agencies, in particular, seldom allows for a weekly wardrobe of high heels and tailored suits. Many envy my jeans and lumberjack work attire, but I'd swap snugness for sophistication any day of the week. Older creatives will ask if Mad Men was the reason why I decided I wanted to go in to advertising and PR, and, after a rather unconvincing "of course not", will proceed to say that back in the day, the show was a near exact depiction of the industry.
Now I'm not saying I want to be Joan. I'm grateful to be working in a society where women rule alongside men in the workplace, rather than reduced to wall flowers occasionally dragged in to the office to seduce a potential client. But to be surrounded by men suited and booted wouldn't go amiss - but perhaps I'm just being superficial.
It was only at dinner with a fellow singleton recently that we began to realise the true plight of the single City girl. We'd both somehow got it in to our heads (again, still blaming Carrie), that when we started work we'd network like crazy and meet more men than our younger fresher selves had. We'd heard of women 'dating', and wanted to be one of them. But that's just it.
How does one 'date'? You hear the recently dumped girls, emerging from their mound of tissues, with a defiant sniff of the nose suddenly exclaiming: "That's it. I'm ready to date again." It's like a secret club that I don't have a pass to. I'm not socially awkward, I'm not inexperienced, and (to my knowledge), I'm not overly offensive looking. I just can't seem to meet people. Unless you rely on friends, it's hard to just randomly get talking to a complete stranger when you have no connection to them. Save a bit of Dutch courage, and unless you are on a night out looking for some 'casual fun', it is becoming increasingly tricky to meet 'The One'. Or 'The Maybe'. Or the 'Not at all but at least I know that now'.
"The internet is to blame!" My friend exclaimed. And I didn't disagree. Social media has definitely had an impact on how we communicate. These days, adding someone on Facebook is a grand gesture, not asking someone out for a drink. It's either a divine compliment or slightly creepy if somebody adds you after having met you only once prior, bizarre if not at all, and downright rude if you're waiting on a friend request to be accepted for longer than a week. And let's not talk about Facebook deletes - I've put myself in enough awkward situations to know that it is worth putting up with someone's annoying statuses than feel the wrath of their anger when they release you've officially defriended them.
Long gone are the days of being courted - all of that exists online. Thanks to Facebook's Timeline feature, prospective suitors are welcome to see just how embarrassing my 17 year old self was. I've met people I know an embarrassing amount about before exchanging two words. Should Facebook ever reveal who looks at your profile, I'll be the first to jump ship and leave the country. Often it isn't 'what's your number?', it's 'what's your name so I can add you on Facebook?'.
The key to meeting prospective partners in the 21st century is to advertise yourself on online dating websites. Or so I'm told. But the romantic in me will be damned if it has resort to the virtual world for a real man. There's something artificial about putting yourself of the market like that. Not that I blame those who do. Those that are tired of living the lives of Bridget Jones minus Mr Darcy, I praise for their courage. I'm just holding out for a bit of serendipity to sweet me off my feet.