It’s a well-known fact that the gods have their fun by making us lose our shit whenever we meet someone we actually like. Yet every now and then you come across someone who doesn’t mind that, in your blind panic, you’ve just asked them what their favorite shade of curtain is, or spent the last ten minutes talking animatedly about rain.
By some happy miracle, they’ve stopped outside the shop window to your soul, liked what they’ve seen and decided to come on in for a browse around. So far so good, until you tell anyone else about it.
Once you do that, you open the door to advise. Now, most of it is good, helpful, sound advice. But some of it belongs to the black box of dating fears known as the Fuck Box. There is one Fuck Box per circle of friends, and inside the Fuck Box, we collectively and carefully store the dozens of terrible dating experiences we’ve had. Together, these memories try to entice us not to follow our instincts, not to be too keen, not to share those doubts, not to give away too much too soon.
It’s much like a broadband subscription, where we feel we have to entice someone up front with our pretend low-maintenance breezy outlook and then only once they’re hooked and too lazy to change, bam! We hit them with the astronomical cost of our actual personality.
The logic behind this is that since we find strong, confident people more attractive, and in reality, we are all actually anxious, needy and flawed, we, therefore, have to fake it. If we don’t, if we’re too vulnerable too early, we’ll scare them off.
This really sucks, because love is one of those things in life that is offered up to us as a counterweight to all of the nonsense. It’s not there to be held at arm’s length. It’s losing-your-mind-in-the-crowd-of-a-festival, leaping-into-a-pool, slamming-back-a-shot fantastic. Don’t sit there calmly and sip it!
So what’s the answer? Well, it’s emphatically not the trite “just be yourself” bollocks. We mean well when we say that, but in doing so we ignore the problem. If we follow the logic above, we’re clearly more worried about being impressive than we are about being genuine.
In fact, what we need to do is accept that those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. That in fact, the more vulnerable, weird and ‘us’ we are, the more confident and strong we look. We’ve all been at parties where the most attractive person gently bats away their own achievements in a self-deprecating fashion, whilst one absolute twat is overcompensating with yet another tale of their awesomeness. We see it and respond to it in other people, now we just need to do it ourselves.
So the next time the synapses in your brain start frantically banging the bell designed to tell you when you’re looking into the eyes of someone pretty damn special, don’t try to pass yourself off as a normal member of the human race. Give them the full, director’s cut version of your utter weirdness. Tell them about your hypochondria, your obsession with period armchairs or the fact that sometimes, when no one is looking, you add some excitement to your life by pretending that the iPhone you are holding is really a Walther PPK.
It will be a lot more fun.
After all, love isn’t about winning. It’s about accepting that we’re all just a bunch of losers. And we’re all the better for it.
P.S. This concept will officially become mainstream as soon as Cara Delevingne is photographed wearing a graphic t-shirt with ‘Love like a loser’ emblazoned across the top. I suggest you get on board now.