The Reality of a Shallow Dating Pool

Now that I feel as though I am in a slightly better state of recovery, I have for the first time in my life, begun dating and it is a dismal reality that the dating pool, particularly in Johannesburg, is more a children’s splash pool than an Olympic diving arena.

Over a period of four months I have been on roughly eight dates with five potentials and within those eight dates there has been a zero percent conversion rate into anything more than an awkward good-bye, or in some cases a horrified sprint in the opposite direction. Evenings filled with forced and shallow conversation, borderline midgets, perverts, and brain donors have proven for great comedic material and not much else. There was a brief experience with the horrific Tinder application where I quickly learnt that it is a freak magnet, and promptly deleted it with fervor.

Perhaps I am at an age where “all the good men are taken or gay” but the prospects of anyone remotely decent are not promising. I think part of the problem is that the last relationship raised my standards to a possibly unachievable level for any bastard but it also changed my view on relationships dramatically. I now find myself not believing in anything long-term, those fleeting weaknesses don’t last and I find myself disconnecting from my true self. I am looking for someone who can challenge me intellectually, provide fulfilling physical interactions, and to go on adventures with a few times a month, until we both find no further joy from each other and part ways amicably as friends.

These requirements, although simple I think, are proving difficult to find in a city like Johannesburg. I find the men to be rather dense, immature and stuck in the “get hammered every weekend” mentality. The people I have found most intriguing lately have returned from long stints in Europe or are well into their 40s, but for various reasons (like recent divorces or still in relationships) have fallen off my radar of potential. This has forced me to come to the conclusion that I need to move to Europe at some point to have any hope of an affair.

The Formidable Bachelor once told me that there were many men like him in Johannesburg, I am convinced that was a complete (and comforting) lie on his behalf, or maybe I am just hunting in the wrong forests. Perhaps, it is also that the kind of man I like spends the majority of his time (much like me), working.

Assistance dear reader; where have all the good men gone?

splish_splash

The Constant Pursuit of Happy

Damn the media for skewing my idea of happiness, it takes a lot of work to undo that which has taken so long to entrench. It also takes a whole lot of unhappiness to realise that life isn’t rosy and has little to no purpose. Perhaps I am just incredibly cynical and will become my own self-fulfilling prophecy.

I get the sense that this constant pursuit for happiness is unique to my generation. I think it is the combination of media telling us that everything is attainable through hard work and having too much choice for our own good. It is a plague of Generation Y that we have been fed lines like “if you believe it, you can be it” or “success is just around the corner” and this has resulted in a “never settle” mindset. There always seems to be bigger and better on the horizon and this applies to relationships, work, friendships, travel, nothing is ever present, it is always about next. So much happiness for our generation is placed on an idea of success that revolves around status and finance, where enough will never be enough.

Questionably the worst pictures painted are those of romantic success. Love is made to seem quite attainable but as has been proven to me more often than not, it does not exist in its idealised romantic form. We are fed this image of a breath-taking experience, of one day walking into a dusty bookstore and while paging through a book of Coleridge’s work you are taken aback by a gorgeous stranger who is fingering an edition of Ender’s Game to look up and to have his breath taken away in turn. Then you ride off into the Turneresque sunset living happily in some kind of beautifully intellectual forever. Well, that is pretty specific, but everyone has their list of perfection. You might find someone who takes your breath away initially but then once the romance is over and you both begin letting yourselves go and blaming your unhappiness on the other, it is slightly less breath taking. I think that I might find a lot more happiness in my own oneness. There is something satisfying in the deafening alone to me.

Let me not though make you cynical like myself, I wish that upon no one. It is important that you make your own definition of happiness. Ask yourself what your days and weeks need to be filled with to be joyful to you. Mine seems to be a simple life filled with writing, art, travel, financial comfort, quiet contemplation and stimulating conversation. Yours might be one filled with excess, a large family with the person you love, and a job filled with status, do not dampen those dreams if they will make you joyful. Each experience is unique and fulfilling subjectively, just ensure that it is true to you.

My most recent existential crisis that of course inspired this piece; was brought on by my realisation that I had placed a large portion of my happiness in what I thought was to be a dream job. However, like many romances, it lost its sparkle rather quickly and I am left feeling disappointed and have questioned what will bring me happiness in my work. How do I need to fill my 9-5 to be joyful and productive? I had begun blaming the people around me; my direct report, my clients, and previous employers but concluded that the job could make many people happy. If you had to place someone else into my position, they could find happiness easily and enjoy coming to work everyday. I could just leave and go to something else, but what I have also learnt is that I would probably be just as unhappy or unhappier somewhere else. The grass is not always greener, sometimes you just need to put in some effort on your side of the fence. Water your grass a little, plant a tree, maybe some install some sad attempt at a swing set and appreciate the sunshine until the garden gate opens itself to the next garden that will require some effort too. Never settle for a situation of unhappiness, settle for a path towards an idea of happiness and find joy in the walk, don’t pressurise yourself so much to achieve happiness, that goes against the idea.

TimMinchin

 

This speech by Tim Minchin has brought me great satisfaction in the past.

If this is the only interaction you have with this post, I will be glad.

Take it to heart dear reader.