Archives for category: past experiences

When I look back on my first few dates, and their inevitable tumbles into disaster, I’m honestly amazed that I managed to actually sustain a relationship long enough to get married. Admittedly I then didn’t manage to  sustain the marriage  but that’s another story….

The very first date I went on kind of set the standard for most of the dates I’ve been on since. It was borderline disaster mixed up with a large bowlful of embarrassment and awkwardness. Yay me.

I’d finally, after about 4 months of procrastination, decided to ask this person out. I say ask, but what I actually mean to say is manipulate the situation so that I get what I want without having to actually say it. We’d been chatting about what films we wanted to go and see, and I suggested we go together to see The Karate Kid 2 ( I know, excellent choice of date movie, BOOM! and all that ). They responded with ” how do you feel about going on a date to see it?” which of course was the plan all along.  ( More BOOM! )

At this point in the story dear reader, you’ll be forgiven for thinking to yourself well this doesn’t sound so bad, she’s got the person she wanted to ask out to actually ask her out instead, it was smoothly done ( well for a 13 year old anyhow ) and things are looking good…….well, don’t worry normal service will resume shortly.

We meet at the cinema. I am excited. Fizzy pop ( cherry cola ) and sweets (Jelly Babies ) are smuggled in, and we sit down. We sit on the end of a row, cause I like to stretch my legs out ( I am abnormally tall for my age ). This means that every 30 seconds we have to stand up to let people into the row of  surprisingly popular seats. Not the best start.

The cinema goes dark, and the film starts. I sit there thinking about how I really want to see this film, but also want to make out. I realise the fatal flaw in going to the cinema for a date and choosing a film you actually want to see. I start weighing up the options available to me. I’m focused. I need to make a decision, and then….she touches my hand……and I jump and let out an awkward half squeal, sending Jelly Babies and Cherry Coke everywhere.

People look round and tut. I go red. Thankfully it’s dark so this doesn’t matter so much. I look round and my date is looking directly ahead at the film with a mortified expression on her face. I get the impression that I may of fucked up a little. We watch the rest of the film in silence, not touching, not looking at each other, as if we were sitting at opposite sides of the cinema, and then, to ice the metaphorical cake,  Peter Cetera’s “The glory of love” comes on. It is the theme song for the film. I die a little more.

We still saw each other after the date, but we never spoke to each other about The Karate Kid 2 and what happened on that unfortunate afternoon again…….


Last time I was single I used an internet dating site to try and meet people. It was exciting, weird and fun, and also often awkward.

There was a guy who I was messaging on and off for quite a while. He seemed really nice, into the same things as me, definitely ( or so I thought ) a possible candidate. He seemed quite sweet, which I like, and he’d shared some fairly personal stuff with me ( not that sort of personal stuff, I never open emails with photographic attachments from people I’ve met on t’internets, obvs ), which endeared me to him.

Now I know what you’re thinking, you cynical internet people, you. You’re thinking, classic seduction move, what’s wrong with you! He’s only sharing supposedly personal stuff because he thinks that’s what chicks dig. To which I reply ‘uh dur, I know.’ and then ‘also,”what chicks dig” ? hate to tell you this but we’re not in 1955 any more Marty‘  

But anyhow, I know its all part of the dance, so I went with it. We made plans, and decided to meet up. I followed the rules, public place (pub), tell someone where you’re going (flatmate), pack a weapon ( fork cellotaped to inside thigh ). We both arrived at the same time, sat down, had a drink, went to the ‘toilet’ to let our friends know we weren’t dead/kidnapped and then, just as things were going reasonably it happened.

Hotel Yorba by The White Stripes came on.

We were mid conversation when it started playing, and he held up his hand. He held up his hand dear reader, in my face. I’d like to imagine that the pub fell silent as he did this, like in a western, and then I kicked his ass ( with my fork ). It didn’t. I didn’t. Things got worse.

 “you know”  he said “they were so much more real, more like proper musicians before they sold out to the man”  He paused dramatically. “Of course I was into them years before that happened , when they were raw and untouched by commercialism, it’s such a shame everyone started liking them”

Now, the hand thing was bad enough, but a music snob as well? Suddenly my future did not include him in it.

I expect you’re thinking that I came up with some witty and clever put down about how it must be awful for Jack and Meg to have millions of people loving their music, and how he’s ( the date ) just a prick, but life of course doesn’t go like that. My hilarious and genius reply?

“erm, I kinda like them, Hotel Yorba makes me happy”  

Needless to say the date didn’t go on much further, and we didn’t see each other again. And yes, Hotel Yorba still makes me happy.

So, being the Dumper is a different world. In the world of the Dumpee you have no choice, you future is dictated to you by another. In the world of the Dumper though, you make the future.

It sounds exciting right?  Changing the future, rushing headlong into new adventures, exploring new territories, living the dream. And it kind of is, but there’s a price. As always there’s a price.

In my case, and I imagine many others as well, that price is making someone else, someone you cared about, someone you may still care about, feel terrible. We’re talking making them feel rejected, ugly, empty and torn apart. It’s not an easy one to take. Being told by someone that they wish they’d never meet you,  that you’ve destroyed their faith in people, that you’ve broken their heart kinda sucks.

Dumping someone is hardcore, everything is tougher, the guilt, the trying to stay friends, the actual dumping. The being the Bad one, even if you know you’re actually not.

Saying all this though, if you have to do it, then you have to do it. After all, at the end of the day, the only person you’ll spend every waking hour with, for the rest of life, is you. And if you’re not happy then that’s going to be one miserable life. Without getting too theological about it, what if this all there is? If this is it, and then you die, you’d really kick yourself if you spent it being stuck in a relationship that was broken just because you didn’t want to hurt someone.

I dumped someone. I felt pretty shitty about it. I still feel shitty about it. But despite this, it was the right thing to do, because i’d feel even more shitty if i’d stayed.

Part of breaking up with someone is what happens next. You go from one relationship with that person, into another, very unlike the one before, and it’s disconcerting to say the least.

I’ve been the dumper, and dumpee, and both times we actively agreed to stay friends. Which is not easy. In fact its confusing, tricky, complex and awkward. It’s also totally worth it.

The first time I was the dumpee, in a mutual sort of way. It was a long long term relationship, we’re talking double figures years wise, and it was also my first relationship, so double wammie there as well.

It kinda had to happen, we wanted different things, blahdy blah, you know the story, it’s been told enough times, but anyhow, even though we couldn’t be together, we still wanted to remain friends. It was hard, especially as she went into a relationship fairly quickly after the break up, whilst I stayed a singleton. Meeting at first was awkward. Do we kiss? If we do, where is okay? ( okay some places are obviously not okay, but I’m talking lips, cheek, air above the face, hand? ) How about paying for food? talking about current relationship status-y things? hell, talking about our relationship? What’s okay?

Anyhow, once you get past that bit, it’s okay. It seems, to me anyhow, such a shame to loose someone who once meant so much, and as long as you both can get over not being in the relationship, and get into being in a friendship then it can be a great thing. I guess, like everything it needs time, willingness, and work.

And the other relationship, where I was the dumper? That’s a different story again, and one i’ll go into more in the next post…….

There have been many, many awkward love moments in my life, some more so than others and I feel, in order to prevent others from making the same mistakes, I should share some of mine.

This particular moment happened when I was sixteen, sweet, dumb, naive sixteen.  I’d plucked up the courage to ask a girl out that I’d ‘liked’ for ages, and she’d said yes! How my little heart raced! I may well of done a little dance but it was a while a go so don’t quote me.

Nowadays we live in the future. Arranging a date is easy, we text, we phone, we email, we get our robot butlers to deliver messages to our love interests in their flying cars. Life is simple, organising dates is simple. But in the old days it wasn’t like now. We didn’t have mobile phones, we didn’t have home computers and robot butlers were just a twinkle in a scientists eye. Oh the early 1990’s were dark days indeed, it was a technological wilderness where people still believed CD’s were indestructible and Microwaves were the future of cuisine.

So, anyhow in order to arrange a date, it was either phones ( as in telephone boxes if you wanted any sort of privacy from parents/siblings/pets ) or writing letters.  I decided letters were the way forwards for arranging dates, and duly wrote to arrange a date for 2 days time. I think you can see where this is going.

After waiting at the ‘pre-arranged’ location for three hours the penny did drop that maybe letters were not the best way to arrange to meet someone.

As you can imagine this was pretty awkward, but stick around, it gets worse.

For the second attempt at a date it was decided the phone was definitely the way forward. The whole instant-ness of it seemed to work better for arranging stuff involving a time,date and location and so things seemed to be back on track. The day comes, I wait at the officially pre-arranged location and she turns up. Things are looking up. She asks what should we do. I hadn’t thought this far ahead. Things take a nose dive.

My brain whirs. Think! What would The Fresh Prince do? A walk! That’s what Will Smith would do, he’d suggest a walk! ( Nope, I have no idea why I thought this. ) It’s a hit, Walks are good, we start walking. She even suggests a place to walk to. A lovely secluded spot, by a stream, in a little wood. Oh yeah! I love streams in woods!

We get to the stream, in the wood, and sit down against at tree. There’s some silence. I feel I should be doing something. There’s more silence. There’s a tension in the air. It’s not so much sexual tension, more OHMYFUCKINGGODIDONTKNOWWHATTODOFUCKSHITCOCK tension. If I could speak to myself then, as I am now, of course I’d say ‘ Hi, I’m from the future, kiss her you idiot’. Sadly though this didn’t happen. Instead we just sat there for about an hour punctuating the overwhelming silence with occasional painful small talk. Then we got up and went home.

A few days later I got a letter from her. I think you can guess what it said regarding the future of our relationship……



Freiya Benson

Writer & Photographer.

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