This “first date” business is becoming a bit of a hassle.
With two down, facing into a third was incredibly unappealing. Not that I hadn’t enjoyed the other two, but there was a fun weekend with friends to be had and I wasn’t hugely enthused by the prospect of missing out in order to spend a few hours with a total stranger chatting about our lives in some sort of job interview fashion. It’s a very particular mind frame that is required by the first date scenario, and I couldn’t have been less bothered. 

Last week’s craving for an organic meeting was still at the forefront of my mind, and I swiftly realized it would be completely ridiculous to rely on a serendipitous movie meeting. 

How often do you hear of people who first met in a Starbucks queue or who fell in love because they took home the wrong dry cleaning? I could feel my cynical old ways creep back in, and the rants resurfaced as I tossed my iPhone aside in pure hatred of Tinder. 

This week’s swiping brought me a charming man who fully compared himself to a llama and felt a legitimate connection with these hill dwelling beasts. Every single conversation starter (bar the glorious Mad Man I wrote about last week) has proved lackluster and resoundingly dull. 

I have even started to come across guys promoting their small businesses and delivering heavy handed political messages through a series of grotesque memes in place of tiger selfies. Is nothing sacred anymore? 

With little patience, little desire and very little time, I did not feel like dating anyone this week. I tire of younger men and their overwhelming fear of absolutely everything as they trundle through the “quarter life crisis” -- which is suddenly a real thing? 

The millennial generation invents another excuse for everything and one which we all readily indulge in. “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Maybe I’ll quit my amazing job, grow a beard, move to the jungle and figure it all out among the trees.” Seems reasonable. 

My mind wanders, once again, to last week’s Mad Man who has now dropped off the face of the earth, presumably leaning towards some equally mature and beautiful female specimen as I’m kicked to the curb -- a negligible, idiotic 24 year old. Even that paranoid notion is testament to my younger years. 

I’m sure the 30-year-old women he dates are self-assured city slickers for whom men like him are pretty standard. What was that film with Jennifer Garner... 13 Going on 30? Only six years to go. 

Without wanting to wish my youth away, there is an undeniable appeal of the older man.  Whether purely conceptual or based on actual compatibility, it is a somewhat unavoidable attraction. 

A close friend of mine back in Dublin began dating a 36-year-old last year. Admittedly, I was skeptical about the whole thing and couldn’t help imagining the age gap at various intervals of their lives. (When he turned 21 she was making her Communion, etc.). 

However, when I met him in April I was put in my place. Calm, cool, collected, incredibly good looking and so on and so forth. He didn’t seem any older than us and had a friendly register that didn’t condescend or patronize, even though I was a stuttering fool unable to hold a conversation with a functional adult member of society.
After my encounter with Mad Man last week, I messaged her to say I finally understood the “age thing.”  She agreed that the difference is undeniable. 

This weekend, as my friends are now cripplingly aware of my summer project, I had the pleasure of being set up at a party. I say pleasure, but I mean torture and general loathing of the entire situation. 

“You’ll love him, he’s really grumpy and hates everything too,” wasn’t exactly the greatest selling point. About halfway through the night it looked like he wasn’t going to show anyway, so I momentarily forgot about the impending disaster. 

Next thing I know, I’m chatting away to a friendly, funny guy who had just strolled up and introduced himself as though it were a total chance encounter. It’s all going very smoothly until said matchmaking friend appears beside us and exclaims “Oh I’m SO glad you two met!” shattering the illusion of our natural meeting. “Isn’t he the grumpiest person ever?” 

I start shaking my head while choking on my vodka soda hoping the earth will open and swallow me whole. 

Mortified, I try to laugh off my reddening ears and frantically change the subject. I am under water and can only hear the blood thumping around my head. Like a child, I still embarrass alarmingly easily but have gotten better at deflecting. At least I hope I have.

Once we shake off the “friend” who is skittish with the success of his pairing, the conversation resumes. Much to my relief, he rescues the situation from total disarray and it transpires that we’re actually a decent match. 

I feel a little better about this one. Sure, we didn’t meet during an adorable subway turnstile collision or some cute-meet-sun-kissed situation, but surely a matchmaking friend is more traditional than a right-swipe on Tinder? 

And he is a little older. Total coincidence, yes?

The semi-accidental first meeting absolutely trumps any online arrangement, but does that mean I’ll want to see him again? In a world where everyone seems to be racking up first dates like it’s nobody’s business (and they’re so easy to come by thanks to Tinder, OK Cupid etc) is anyone even going for seconds?