Sunday 8 January 2017


My most read blog of 2016? August's dating post, by a mile. Post-publishing, several lovely things happened to me. I received a couple of job offers. I was sent some kind messages complimenting my writing (which meant the world, words have always been my passion). And - most encouraging of all - single acquaintances, some close, some distant, some male, some female, began to confide in me. When you're in a relationship, it's easy to forget that being single can be a lonely business, which is why opening the conversation, sharing advice, laughing at the disasters, are an important part of the process. 

I'm not sure where to begin when I review the 6 months of dating that followed my previous blog. It's been eventful, but rest assured my 'love life' (I'm using this term loosely) is as tragicomedy as ever. Dating in a small pool - (don't be deceived by square footage - London is an incestuous hotbed) delivers a plethora of comedic moments. In December alone I bumped into a grand total of three ghosts of my Tinder past - in the club, in the pub, at Sainsbury's self checkouts... if Dickens had been alive today it would have made a compelling narrative for Christmas Carol; The Sequel. 

And so to a new year and new chapter...although I already have a weird sense of dating deja vu - the characters are new, but the stories are the same. In an effort to impede groundhog day, I've put fingers to keyboard and typed up the dating mistakes I made in 2016 that I'm vowing not to repeat 2017. And if you're also single, hopefully you can learn from my mistakes, too! 

1. I went on too many dates

‘Dating is a numbers game’ the relationship experts preach. Heeding that advice I booked in date after date in 2016. Come October I was jaded and knackered, not to mention broke and all out of polite conversation (when I found myself asking one dude which his favourite tube line was I knew my small talk had taken a serious hit).  Then I had an epiphany. I sat down and looked at the bigger picture. I was blindly going on dates because that’s what single people do,  isn’t it? In theory - but I'd advise any newly single person to question what is it they are seeking before hammering the dating scene.  The irony in my case? I’m in no rush. I’ve always enjoyed my own company and feel at my most liberated when single. Marriage, babies, I hope they are in my future but I don’t desire them at present. My career comes first, and that's primarily why previous relationships haven't worked. My resolution? Chill the f*ck out, enjoy being single and quit extolling the virtues of my favourite tube line (it's Victoria, for the record.)
2. I ignored my gut instincts

Gut instinct suggested the folk musician had an super-sized ego when he boasted about his album advance within the first five minutes of our date. Gut instinct suggested something wasn't right when he passed off my joke as his own on twitter the next day. I finally paid attention to my gut instincts when I arrived at our next date, to be greeted by the folk musician and all his friends (who invites their mates along to a second date?). Understandably, I freaked out and cut off all contact. The moral of the tale? If you've got a feeling in your gut, good or bad, it's probably right. Don't ignore it.

3. I relied on Dutch Courage (Just the once - do not panic, mother)

Resuming dating after a long-term relationship was nerve-racking, on a par with the X Factor 5 chair challenge (that sh*t is brutal). It's when I'm nervous, that I unintentionally sink one or two more drinks than planned. And so it was that I made a swift exit from my first date of 2016 with the parting, oh-so-demure closing words - 'I feel sick.' (The fact that fated first date lead to a second, third, fourth and fifth date, still amazes me.) Take my advice, don't rely on dutch courage to get you through the nerves, it ain't classy. With practise, the nerves all but dissipate and dating gets easier, I promise.

4. I confused fantasy with reality

If you want to loose an hour of your life, let me recount the story of 'Overground' - the painfully trendy, super-hot, Peckham-dweller first sighted on the aforementioned mode of transport (to explain the pseudonym). London being the small pool it is, it was no time before we'd matched online, and so began a summer-long, merry dance of matching and chatting on each and every dating app, simultaneously taking it in turns to block one another . In hindsight, I shouldn't have repeatedly gone back for more. Yes, the game was fun, but it was also a total waste of time. My friends could see it, but I couldn't. The whole non-affair came to an excruciatingly awkward end in a by chance meeting with Overground, on a Pimms-fuelled summer's day. I realised the fantasy I had constructed of the attractive stranger sighted on the overground was just that - a fantasy.

5. I did some 'Ghosting'

I'm not proud of this one. For the benefit of my mother - ghosting is the act of ignoring messages, rather than confronting an issue head on. A combination of dating inexperience and emotional f*ckwittery lead to my ghosting a couple of guys in 2016. Ironically, both times I did this, I really liked my dates, just in platonic, non-romantic sense. Finding the words to express this felt awkward, so I chose the coward's approach and ignored their texts. Karma came back to bite me in the ass in October, when I found myself on the receiving end of ghosting. And do you know what? I'm glad I received a taste of my own medicine. I realised whatever the motivation, ghosting is at worst brutal and at best plain rude. I won't be doing it again, and you shouldn't, either. 

EDIT - BY THE WAY: if you have any suggestions for the topic of my next dating post, comment below. I'll probably have a dating anecdote fit for purpose. 

Photos: Natasha Marshall.  


  1. Sophie, I love this post. Obvs I'm not dating but I'm loving reading about your dating life. If only it was on TV too.

    1. Thanks lovely! Means a lot coming from a content Queen! x