Hope Above All Else

Something strange happened recently: a random number messaged me on WhatsApp. Usually, when I exchange numbers with someone I’ve been speaking with (on- or offline) I save their number in my phone or they send a message not long after so I can save theirs. There were no hangers-on in the dating apps I was using so I didn’t know where this number came from.

He seemed to think I was called ‘Hannah’ (I’m not). I asked him where he got this number from and he told me I gave it to him on a dating app. I apologised for the confusion (why did I do this?!) and said maybe Hannah had given him the wrong number. Eventually, I discovered that he got my number from the app Happ’n (which I haven’t been on for over four years) but still had it saved.

Odd? Yes.

We were then chatting for a while; sending messages, voice notes and having the odd phone call – he seemed like a nice enough guy but was currently sofa-surfing. Life got in the way and he cancelled plans twice and I once but this evening was going to be the night.

The plan was to go for a casual drink, then I’d blog about it – title: The Mystery Man. That was until his lacklustre approach put me off the scent. More specifically, yesterday evening he cancelled our drink because he didn’t want to rush as I had dinner plans after. His use of the word ‘darling’ seemed patronising and I told him so, only for him to get eggy. Admittedly, I had a lot on my plate yesterday and probably could have used another adjective, but his microaggressions didn’t fill me with confidence. Earlier today, I messaged to confirm the pub – he replied, ‘Sure can do.’

Call me fussy, but I’d like a bloke who can offer more than three words and who can at least feign enthusiasm. Wanting a second opinion, I spoke to my best mate (who’s currently staying with me) – he agreed that this guy doesn’t seem to be worth meeting. So I messaged, ‘I know we haven’t met but let’s keep it that way. I wasn’t taking you for a ride but I’m not really feeling this.’

His response: Don’t understand. [2 minutes later] Ok. As you wish. xxx

Should I have trusted my initial reaction of thinking it’s a bit strange that he’s kept my number for four years and not messaged? Was I wrong to be a hopeless romantic for a moment and think that there must be a reason/this must be a sign and maybe he’ll turn out to be the love of my life? Why was I considering going on a date with him when I felt reluctant to do so?

More generally, why do we go on dates with people we only feel indifferent towards?

Because of hope.

We hope that for every five bad first dates, there’ll be one good one. And that this one good one will lead to a second, third and fourth date. We hope that someone can prove us wrong and convince us our city isn’t full of rubbish men (or that all the good ones have been scooped up). It’s hope that leads to us continually putting ourselves out there. If we’re wanting to find a partner, even just for a few months or a few years, we won’t find them sitting on the sofa in our pants, so we have to maintain the search and sustain the energy it requires. This is easier said than done when we have a full-time job, dependent parents, siblings or children, when we want to continue to nurture the relationships that nourish us, exercise our hobbies – actually exercise – and work-through our shockingly long to-do list.

Energy can only be spread so thin, so when this isn’t reciprocated it’s hard to keep exuding it.

And yet when you’re enveloped in a pandemic, you can’t mingle at the pub, nor can you eye up a potential date at a book event (oh how I miss those!), any chance an optimistic singleton has of finding love after lockdown might exist in our phones… and so the hopeful hopeless swiping continues.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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