Anyone who’s ever dated for any length of time will tell you that it’s a perilous world out there. So many pitfalls. So many dos and don’ts (Guys, do use mouth wash, and girls, order an appetiser as the main course and don’t touch dessert). So many weirdos and perverts.
And so many liars.
People who date tell the most terrible lies.
Saffy once went on a blind date on the strength of a picture she found on Google Images. “He’s very cute, don’t you think?” she asked Amanda who peered over Saffy’s shoulder and grunted.
“Is that a yes or a no?” Saffy asked, her chest puffing up to obstruct Amanda’s view of the pixelated picture of the well-built man in Speedos on the beach.
“Hard to tell. Wait and see,” said Amanda, seasoned serial dater.
Turned out the picture was taken when the guy was still in college (“Thirty years ago!” Saffy shouted when she came home) and he was now bloated, fat and practically bald.
“I thought so,” Amanda said. “Either that, or he was gay.”
Saffy huffed. “Listen, if he had been gay, it might still have been a fun night. But he was straight, so there was nothing to talk about after the introductions!”
And there was the time this really cute guy bought Amanda a drink at Zouk, and she immediately began fantasising about her dream wedding on a beach in Bali, but it wasn’t until the sixth date that he revealed that he was about to leave Singapore and move to Hong Kong. With his girlfriend.
“Don’t you think that he should have led with that little bit of information?” Amanda ranted over a tub of post break up ice-cream with the girls. “Isn’t that just plain deceitful?”
“Did you at least sleep with him?” Saffy asked.
“Aiyoh!” Sharyn said, her eyes gigantic large behind her Coke bottle glasses.
“Not even!” Amanda moaned as she shoved a spoonful of Madagascan vanilla into her mouth. “I thought he was special and therefore worth waiting for!”
“Just goes to show,” Saffy said.
“Show what?” Sharyn asked.
It occurred to me recently that our grandparents had the right idea with the whole thing about matchmaking. We get head-hunters to match us up for a job. We get real estate agents to hunt down the perfect house for us. Why not a marriage?
“Don’t dating agencies do that already?” Amanda asked.
“They only arrange dates, not marriages. Plus they don’t really do proper in-depth checks like they did in the old days. My grandmother said that when she got married, the nosey old matchmaker grand-dad’s family hired dug so deep into her family background looking for every piece of dirt she could. Apparently, she found a few bankrupt uncles, a mad aunt and a great uncle who went to jail for embezzling. But thankfully, they were all on her step-mother’s side, so none that contaminated her!”
“And was it love at first sight?” Saffy asked.
“Apparently, Grandmother said it wasn’t till the fifth year of the marriage that she realised she loved her husband. They were married for sixty years. When she died, Grandfather lasted another eight months. My mother said he just withered away.”
It’s such a different world we live in. Today, we expect to meet someone, fall instantly in love/lust, get married and live happily ever after. Only to wake up one day and finally admit to ourselves that we can’t stand the person we’re lying next to.
We think we know best, that we should be allowed to choose our life partner. But the reality is, we’re often the worst judges of what’s best for us. I’ve been to so many weddings now. I can count on one hand the couples who are still together. The rest are onto at least their second spouse. And of the ones who never married, they’re all still dating, convinced that each successive date will be The One.
But of course, they rarely are. Or if they are, they’re rarely given the chance to prove themselves.
Saffy says that’s a depressing thought. “So, you’re saying that all my ex-boyfriends could have been The One, but that I’m just too fussy?”
I shrugged. “It’s a thought. Back in the day, nobody married for love. It was usually an economic or social alliance between families. But out of that, love often grew. And the marriages lasted.”
This morning, Saffy pulled out her Little Black Book of Exes, turned to page 1, picked up the phone and dialled a number.
“Hello, Brian?” she began. “It’s Saffy! Yes, remember me?...”
Sharyn says this might take a while.