Do manners actually matter in modern day dating?
So things are progressing incredibly well with Mr Boat Shoes, in fact surprisingly so bearing in mind my track record. (Note to self… do not panic/ try not to reveal manic side just yet. Try to remain calm and at least partially normal for as long as feasibly possible ..)
We are now on official double figures dates and have sort of had the exclusivity conversation.. albeit after about a litre of wine each. Oh dear Lord… These dates have certainly be of shall we say a somewhat diverse variety. Mostly alcohol infused of course, but we have managed to do a sober walk around Battersea Park. Too romantic? Eww… god help me!
We’ve also been on a few slightly strange dates…
Firstly, there was the Drunken monkey. Now, to give Mr Boat Shoes credit he had researched this and it appeared to be some quite trendy dim sum place which was of course located in Shoreditch. What it actually was turned out to be essentially what looked like a converted slightly smelly old pub, which had been converted into a semi—posh Chinese takeaway. Not Mr Boat shoes at all and when he saw the very limited wine list on a piece of slightly soggy laminated paper I swear I saw a little bit of a discerning frown.
Secondly, was the “festival,” idea of drinks at the magic roundabout. Don’t get me wrong if I was suitably intoxicated and clad in appropriately edgy clothing this would have been a great shout. But, I was not. I was in a Burberry mac, little dress and designer sunglasses – NOT appropriate attire. I also spent half the time wishing I could drink out of a proper wine glass and not a plastic cup. And the other half feeling as though as I was getting old for having such thoughts.
However, believe it or not we’ve made it through the obstacle course of dating so far and I’ve even let him into my house. He has seen my terribly messy bedroom and he has not yet made a mad dash to the hills, there is hope!
But, there’s one little issue. Is he too posh for me? Firstly, he talks as though he probably knows Prince Harry personally, (I bloody hope he does..)
I do not. I am from Stoke-On- Trent and regularly get asked if I am northerner. Clearly, I don’t have a soft Southern accent like no doubt every privately educated previous girlfriend of Mr Boat Shoes. He likes to say I have a soft Northern twang but is he just being nice? And has he got a clue where Stoke is?
Secondly, his holidays, how on earth would I ever be able to afford them?! He regularly jets off to LA, Barbados, St Tropez, skiing in the alps. My holidays this year have consisted of Glastonbury festival and a week away in Greece. If he ever was to invite me away I would have to take out a credit card to just buy the wardrobe for the trip alone. There is no way on hells earth I am setting foot on a St Tropez yacht without the right clobber. I mean what if I get papped?! I cannot be seen by the public in my Asda bikini…
Thirdly, and this is the biggie. Am I classy and well-mannered enough? When he told me I don’t hold my knife properly, I nearly died and he even brought it up not at the time but after the event. 🙈Which obviously clearly shows he was that repulsed by the fact I hadn’t held it properly he had been thinking about it after the event. How much had he been thinking about my incorrect knife handling?! Was this a deal breaker?😲 Fuck, can I go to some sort of finishing school asap? I even had to have a knife holding practice session with Tatiana in the office who was able to finally put some of the things she learnt at Cheltenham ladies college to good use.
It got me thinking about manners generally. How important are they in dating? And, do they matter? And how does one know how to hold a knife in the appropriate manner.
Yes, it’s not directly a class related issue but there’s certainly a link. I didn’t go to Cheltenham ladies college and I didn’t get taught any of these clearly very important life skills. Clayton hall Business and Language college spent too much time trying to break up fights and discourage underage smoking to concentrate on teaching students the key skills to attaining a boyfriend aka manners. What would they teach in finishing school anyway?
I decided to seek the advice of the dating professionals and was outraged at the results.
E harmony gives three seemingly important reasons as to why manners matter.
Apparently It’s important to create a great impression by firstly – not swearing. As someone who has a tendency to get a bit of verbal diarrhoea in situations where I feel slightly nervous my usage of the F word is likely to get worse rather than better in date scenarios.
Secondly, they tell you to not try and be too funny. Again, how is this controlled type of behaviour conducive to a date type scenario – clearly is not! (Has the person who ever wrote this advice actually been on a first date?! And also what if you are just incredibly funny what are you supposed to do then? Try your hardest to be deliberately grumpy..?
Thirdly, be nice to everyone. I mean come on, do you expect people to be outwardly rude to one another or indeed the waiters on first dates. I mean surely that’s a given? And how far does “everyone” extend? I mean clearly you’ll be nice to the person that you are on the date with but does this extend to people who barge past you in the street on the date? Or, drunk people on the tube home? This is central London -be too nice to random strangers and people will look at you like you’ve got three heads.
So, I’ve decided E Harmony have got absolutely no idea and I am creating my own criteria as to which manners really matter in the difficult dating world…. (In the hope I can obtain Prince Charming by at least 2037!)
1. Table manners. Now, here there is certainly room for improvement from my side. Don’t get me wrong I can hold a knife and fork. And I do know the difference between a fork and a chopstick. Also, I wasn’t exactly spinning the knife around my head or hurling it at him. But turns out he had a point. When I asked some posh girlfriends there really is a certain way of holding your cutlery. Thank god for Tatiana in the office who gave me a quick crash course during a quiet Friday afternoon in the office. Key thing to remember, keep those fingers far up your knife!
2. Swearing. Now I think that this should only apply to REALLY bad swear words, like the C world. Completely stopping swearing is non-negotiable… I swear subconsciously, constantly and swear words form a key area of my vocabulary. If I was to eradicate such words from my speech, I’d have nothing left to say. And no one wants to date a mute…if Mr Boat shoes want things to progress he’s going to have to get over the F word coming out of my mouth. (Just not the C one.)
3) Pronunciation. This seems to be the main area in which I need to improve and it’s a tricky one as you have to fail in the first instance to realise where you are going wrong. I don’t pronounce Bath like “Barth,” Or castle like “carstle,” but these aren’t the deal breakers. It’s silly words that seem to catch me out. For instance apparently , I pronounce pergola entirely wrong. Unfortunately for me, they are pretty on trend right now and every drinks event seems to involve attending a “pergola” of sorts. I also don’t say the drink, “Aperol,” properly either apparently. Again, something else very much in fashion this summer. Seems odd to me that all of these hard to say words are alcohol related. You would think if I was going to know how to say any words properly it would be the ones related to my number one hobby…
So, having identified the key areas in which it appears manners still matter in the modern day world of dating, I then got to thinking about what the solution to this really is. Do I cart myself off to some finishing school and pretend that I am Elizabeth in pride and prejudice? Do I start elocution lessons in an attempt to behave like Eliza Doolittle in My Fair lady? … Somehow I can’t see me incorporating into my social life lessons on how to appropriately chant and pronounce, “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane.” Zzzzz
No, seeking professional help is the not solution, and do Ieven really need a solution. Is this a modern day issue, so manners matter ?
After a bit of deliberation, (and a table etiquette crash course,) I’ve decided that yes it does helps if you can actually get the food you wish to eat into your mouth.
But if someone is really interested in you they won’t give a shit about any of the other things. As corny as it sounds and even I can’t believe I’m saying this… it’s finding someone who likes you for you that matters, not your manners….
Panic on the horizon though, he’s invited me to his parents next weekend…. !!!