Tag Archives: dating

A different kind of love

6 Sep

Dear lovely readers,

Well, what can I say, I’ve been a BAD blogger the past week: failing to post, then promising to post, then not posting. I apologise. I hope the guys out there don’t think this is a reflection on how I’d behave in The Land of Dating…

The reason I’ve been so unreliable is because last week I had some ENORMOUS news, which occupied most of my head space and a large chunk of my time. You see, while manMap is a project that I love and have been working on for some time, I have a confession to make: manMap is not my only love.

For what feels like about a lifetime, I have been working on another writing project, a novel. manMap pushed my novel to the sidelines, demanding my time for surveying and blogging and the making of enormous spreadsheets. Like an attention-seeking child, it occupied most of my non-working time while my poor little novel waited in the corner for the moment it could spring back into my arms. Last Monday, this moment came.

As previously blogged, I’ve been busy chores with a few applications. One of these was the Australian Society of Authors mentorship program, where 15 emerging writers each get adopted by a published author to workshop their writing. On Monday, I found out that I was one of the lucky ones to be awarded a mentorship.

I’m beyond thrilled about being one of the chosen few, but this means I have Much Work To Do. I really want to make the most of this experience, so I need to spend the next month or so spending some quality time with my novel, so she’s ready to be ripped apart and analysed by my mentor.

So I hope you will forgive me, lovely readers, if I hang up my blogging and mapping hats for a space. Big apologies particularly to my new subscribers. I feel like you’ve been drawn in, only to be dumped. I hope you’ll keep reading in October, even if it’s quiet in September.

Keep an eye on the manMap facebook page so you know when I’m blogging again. I’ll drop by in an non-official capacity now and then. Until next time, I’d like to share with you a funny story.

A single guy-friend of a wing-girl was out with a mate the weekend before last. His quirky sense of humour inspired him to write this:

manMap embraces coasters

on a coaster and stick it on the table in front of him. Sure enough, it caught the attention of a few girls, who he invited to join him and his friend at their table. He hit it off with one of them and ended up going on a date with her on Saturday night (not sure how the date went, but snaps to him for his novel approach to dating). There you have it ladies: lateral dating strategies at work!

Happy Spring to you all and be sure to drop me a line if you have any adventures of your own,
Lucie.

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Sorry for standing you up…

25 Aug

Hi lovely readers,

Sorry for standing you up last night without so much as a facebook update to explain my absence. I’m still in hardcore application mode, but this will come to an end on Sunday afternoon with a bit of luck, and I’ll be back on the mapping trail next week.

In the meantime, I came across something interesting on the 7pm Project. A rural community in Victoria called Harrow has been actively addressing their woman drought since 2003, when they hosted their first Beaut Blokes weekend. Eighty city ladies were invited to spend the weekend in Harrow to meet rural blokes who had to meet the following requirements:

A bloke must be single, love his Mum, be kind to his sister and live in rural Australia.

Beaut Blokes has seen twelves marriages, a number of engagements and numerous friendships, so maybe if you’re keen to meet a farmer without going on national television, you should check out their website. If not, I’ll be back next week with hints of where you can find men in Sydney.

A big hello and thank you to my new subscribers. Seeing a notification in my inbox telling me I have a new subscriber always makes my day. 🙂

Strike a pose…

17 Aug

Just a quicky this week lovely readers, as I’m in hard-core application mode. I am curious for your opinion on something  though…

One of my lovely wing-girls is dabbling in online dating. This is a profile pic she stumbled on:

Wing-girl wondered if the photo was meant to be ironic. I figured the only way we’d find out is if she went on a date with him. If this man in the mud is striking an ironic pose, Wing-girl could very well end up on the most hilarious date of her life. What’s your opinion?

Hobby-honeys

20 Jul

manMap ponders hobbies...When it comes to love, my hobbies have always let me down. My teen years were dominated by two things: reading and horse-riding. As previously posted, I always hoped I’d find some boy-nerd clutching a dog-eared copy of my favourite book, but I knew it was a long shot. Riding, the only sport I’ve ever managed to do with any level of skill, didn’t prove helpful on the romantic front either. Even when I belonged to the local pony club, the only boys there were the young ones being dragged along with their elder sisters.  

By the time I started uni, I’d switched riding for writing, but this didn’t improve the situation. In a way, it actually made it worse. I suddenly found myself surrounded by smart, funny, articulate men who loved the written word. But most of them were gay. I felt like I was on the end of an elaborate trick the universe had choreographed.

Over the next decade, I tried to find other things I enjoyed doing that men might like to do too, but it seemed that everything attracted the wrong kind of men (ie. ones way too old for me). And so it was that one day in my early 30s, I asked my older, very sociable, brother what he and his friends liked to do. I held my breath while he thought for a moment. The Holy Grail had never felt so close. And then he answered:

We like to drink, and we like to watch car races.

Now anyone reading this who doesn’t know my brother has probably got the complete wrong idea about what sort of person he is. Contrary to his devastating response, he’s not some liver-diseased yobbo who spends his weekends in Bathurst watching cars go round in circles. He’s a well-educated, smart and charismatic man who’s spent the last 18 years working in the arts industry. His response threw me into a whirlpool of despair. Was it possible I’d have to embrace man-stuff like football and race tracks to meet guys? Did this mean I’d be condemning myself to weekends of footy-tips and the smell of burning rubber?

It was this conversation with my brother that actually initiated manMap. I realised the only way I could ever find out what Sydney men were up to was to interview them myself. Still, I wasn’t ready to give up hope that somewhere out there was a man whose hobbies might be compatible with my own. So I ask the men I map what they do in their spare time. And instead of telling you what the most popular hobbies are, tonight I’m going to honour the quirky men of Sydney, the ones who, like me, probably think they’ll never find someone who can appreciate how they spend their non-work hours, the activities that fill them with a glee that gets them through the stress and demands of all the other bits of life. 

Unsung hobbies of single Sydney men:

  • Going to museums (and he was a chef!)
  • Theatre (yes he was straight…)
  • Graphic design (yep…straight)
  • Living a hassle-free life (ok, bit lateral but I can see how it would take a certain level of commitment)
  • Trivia
  • Violence (hmmm…can’t understand why I didn’t ask for his number…)
  • Getting stoned
  • Spending time with his dog
  • Watching Foxtel
  • Being busy
  • DJ-ing
  • Studying wildlife (I wonder if this is a euphemism).

If you’ve got a hobby that’s helped you meet men, please share it by leaving a comment. You might inspire a single-sister to give it a go!

Love in the time of Facebook

14 Jun

manMap ponder love and FacebookA while ago, I caused a romantic catastrophe. One of my wing-girls decided she’d try online dating, via Facebook’s Zoosk. Her Facebook profile reflected her busy social life, vibrant personality and her beautiful face. I had no doubt she’d be overwhelmed with admirers.

A few days passed and Wing-girl only had a couple of nibbles, all from men way too old for her. When a transsexual contacted her, she raised the alarm. We couldn’t understand what was going on. And why were they all commenting on how amazing she looked for her age?

Then we joined the dots. According to Wing-girl’s profile, she was well into her 60s, 30+ years older than she really is. And this was my doing. Entirely. I’d been telling my friends not to put their real ages online in case thieves tiptoed over their profiles and pinched their identities. Wing-girl had faithfully followed my advice and hadn’t even though about it when she opened herself to the world of Facebook dating. Mortified, she closed her dating profile and decided to seek love in more traditional places, like the pub.

One night, at a local pub, she bumped into a guy she’d met years before. They enjoyed chatting, had a few laughs and Wing-girl told the guy to look her up on Facebook, thinking he probably won’t. But a few days later, there was his Friend Request. He’d searched through over 300 women with the same name to find her. To me this was a modern Cinderella story, only with Facebook instead of a glass slipper.

“You’re meeting up with him, right?” I asked.

“I invited him to Sunday drinks,” she said. I shook my head. I thought he deserved more than group drinks after his efforts searching. But maybe Wing-girl was right. Facebook has turned most of us into ‘friend-sluts’. We’ll friend almost anyone, even if it’s just to keep tabs on them. Was the act of clicking ‘Request Friend’ enough to indicate a guy’s interest? We’ve downgraded the requirements needed to share daily activities, photos and even our location with people we don’t really know. And yet the general buzz across the city indicates we’ve upgraded the standards needed for a date.

Is it possible that Facebook is making us narrow-minded when it comes to meeting men? I love that moment in The Social Network when Zuckerberg discovers Facebook’s missing ingredient: the relationship status feature. I’ve been saying for years that a badge system would really help society. If we all wore badges indicating our availability and sexual preference, there’d be far less confusion over what was on offer. To a degree, Facebook has solved this. But it’s also introduced a new level of complexity: online stalking.

When Wing-girl told me Mr Pub had found her on Facebook, we logged on straight away to examine his profile and photos. And that raised questions. Who was that girl he had his arm around? Did he spend every weekend drinking himself into oblivion, or was it just that he only ever took photos when he was drunk? What did his taste in music say about him as a person? And what did that strange comment on his wall actually mean? Access to all this information distracted us from the fact that he and Wing-girl had enjoyed seeing each other, had both remembered each other from years before and that he had taken the time to track her down.

Depending on which version you read, the Prince fell for Cinderella after just one night. When she fled so he wouldn’t uncover the reality of her situation, he searched for her, motivated only by what had passed between them. Had the brothers Grimm written Facebook into the story and sat the Prince at a computer to search rather than sending him out in a carriage, he may have recognised the cinder-smeared face and discovered that the object of his desire was a commoner. Would he have cared? Would his experience with her at the ball have carried more weight than what Facebook told him about her? What do you think?

In our online world we can pick and choose men to date the same way we can pick and choose cosmetics and clothing. Is this helping us connect with men, or is it turning romance into a fairy tale?

The romantic history of a nerdette

7 Jun

There’s no point denying it. I am a nerd of the bookish persuasion. I was one of those conscientious kids, developing scoliosis from carrying around too many books. My taste in literature and music wasn’t quite in step with my peers. My eternal battle with acne and the inability to put together a decent outfit disqualified me from being cool. Luckily I had enough self awareness to realise this and in many ways relinquished myself to it. But in short, I felt I had nothing to say that would interest guys my age.

manMap seeks book nerdsIt was a blessing I went to a single sex school. There was no pressure to impress anyone. I dreamed that one day I’d meet a nerd like myself. I’d glimpse him in a corner somewhere, nose to page hoping to avoid the scorn of the cool girls. I’d psyche myself up, walk over and ask him what he was reading, only to discover it was my favourite book (I knew this was a long shot. I’m yet to meet a man who loves Room with a view the way I do).

It never happened, but I entered my uni years filled with optimism. I was studying writing after all. Surely my classes would be filled with row upon row of nerds like myself. And in one of those rows I might find him. But then I discovered an awful truth. Most of the people in my course were mature-age. The uni had only accepted a handful of school-leavers. And of the few guys, most were either taken, gay or way too cool for me.

After graduating, I hoped work might provide the elusive doorway to the opposite sex. I’ve met some wonderful people working in publishing, people who don’t think I’m slightly odd. But sadly, most of these people are women. And many of them single like me. And so, it was with mixed feeling that I made an important discovery on Friday night. 

The week had been pleasantly smooth: one big job finished at work, a cosy beverage at Grandma’s, delightful dinner with wing-girls at a new noodle bar, productive round of workshopping at my writing group and the purchase of a new book. By Friday evening, I felt like nothing lay between me and a successful round of mapping. But of course, there’s always the danger of A Bad Venue.

First stop: The London, Paddington. Empty and scarily well lit. Second stop: The Royal Hotel. Also empty. Third stop: Durty Nelly’s. Busier but not optimal, an uncomfortable number of women.

Nearing 7pm, I was starting to think the clear winter’s night was going to waste when I found myself at the well-packed Beresford. Always mindful that I run the risk of getting thrown out, I headed to the courtyard and away from the diligent eyes of the bouncers. After surveying every guy who wasn’t obviously gay or on a date, I decided a quick round inside wouldn’t hurt. If I got thrown out, it wouldn’t matter. I already had a healthy bundle of completed surveys in my handbag. Two guys were just settling into a table with their pints as I approached. What happened next will renew your faith in chivalry. I smiled and said hello and one of the guys said, “Oh I’m sorry, did you want this table?” Hurrah, I thought, here sit kind, decent men. Modern Mr Darcys. I asked them if they were single, thinking such nice guys must be firmly attached. But they were both available. Double hurrah! I asked them if they belonged to any social groups which meet regularly. One played tennis. The other spoke words that would make any single nerdette swoon. He was part of a men’s only book group.  

Surveys filled, I hurried off into the night, head filled with images of men sitting on comfy lounges discussing themes and character development. Mecca, I thought, If only I knew where they met.

But then I got cranky (partly because I was hungry). How could the man-nerds of Sydney be so cruel? Since adolescence I’d been searching for men who read. Now they were sectioning themselves off from their female equivalents. Were they afraid we’d force them to read chick lit or emasculate them with tea and iced vovos? I wished I’d ignored my hunger pains and thought to ask the surveyee before I’d left. On behalf of all the nerdettes out there, I’ll try my best to track down the exclusive book groups. They may not let us in, but we can always loiter by the door.

PS. Over 80% of the surveyed guys at the Beresford were single. Worth a visit ladies!

Poll-dance

31 May

Hello lovely readers,

This week I’m a tad tight on time so instead of the usual dose of shenanigans, I thought a bit of a poll-dance might warm everyone up during our rainy Winter week. So here we go:

Poll

Dance

How far would you go for love?

24 May

manMap ponders changeThis week’s post is a modern-day fairy tale.

Once upon a time there were three less-than-happy singletons. All in their 30s, they often wondered if a helpful fairy godmother/online dating service would deliver to them a man they could call their own. But day and night and month and year passed, and despite their loveliness and best efforts, no such man appeared.

Weary of singledom, these brave crusaders decided things needed to change, things about themselves. It wasn’t that any of them where heinous vipers with disturbing hobbies that might turn a man off (or an undesirable man on…). They’d been told by friends that they’d make delightful girlfriends, and in quieter moments they themselves knew this was true. They were just in a Large Single Rut. They’d hoped a Lovely Man would wander by their Rut, bend over to inspect it more closely, smile and then lift them from the Rut with warm, strong arms. But when the wing-girls realised this was not to be, they decided they’d have to de-Rut themselves.

And so, in their own ways, they made little changes. One took up golf and discovered she loved it. One changed the way she dressed and was suddenly bubbling with confidence. And the last wing-girl decided to ignore her insecurities and acknowledge that she was worthy of a relationship.

Although these changes might seem a bit simple/Oprah-esque, they held their own set of fears. The wing-girls had to courageously go forth, risking humiliation, exposure and potential wardrobe malfunction. And by the time our little planet had passed once around the sun, they were all paired with their own Mr Lovely and set to live happily ever after.

These wing-girls are a huge inspiration to me (sorry for reverting to the Oprah-esque). They decided to be open to change and it made them happier. Their Mr Lovelies were a bonus. A big one. But when The farmer wants a wife fills the dinnertime TV slot, I’m always a little ambivalent. Joining a golf club is one thing. Moving to rural WA is another.

This past season I had an added interest in TFWAW, purely for reasons of vanity. I liked seeing the name Lucie on the screen. I never had personalised mugs or novelty number plates as a child. The only thing my mum could ever find was The tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, starring a little girl obsessed with her handkerchief. So when Lucie was chosen for the farm stay with Farmer Charles, I was excited. After all, we had a lot in common: we’ll both spend a lifetime saying ‘with an ie’, we’re both inner city girls, we’re both blessed with long, thick, gently curled hair (ok, I have to wear a wig for that last one). I was cheering for her but I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Does this Lucie really, really, really want to leave her delightful inner city apartment, where she has access to everything, to live in the Sticklands?’ Sure, she might not have a boyfriend, but there are over 300,000 single men in Sydney. Could she really be content with such a massive sea change when love was just a possibility and not a certainty?

Poor Lucie handled her rejection gracefully, especially considering she was on national television. I couldn’t stop myself wondering if she felt the teeniest bit relieved as she drove back to the city along those long country roads. Sure, she was heart-broken but she was returning to her habitat. And yet there were lots of city/suburban girls like her competing for the heart of a farmer.

So I wanted to put it out there: how much change would you be willing to make in the hope of attaining love? I’m not talking about after you’ve met someone you think might be your Mr Lovely. I’m taking about the changes you’re willing to make on the way to meeting him. Would you change your lifestyle, country, hobbies, social circle, profession? Would you hope that he’d be willing to change parts of his life too?

 And for all of you who would like a farmer without the tv drama, check out Thank goodness he’s a country boy. For $620 you’ll get a weekend in the country, complete with pampering sessions and dinner with the country’s finest off-screen single men.

Thank you to my mum for the clipping about Thank goodness he’s a country boy … and for Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.

Where can a girl go when she’s feeling low?

17 May

manMap's feelin lowLast week, Saturday night was survey night. I find it harder to survey on Saturdays because people tend to start their nights later, rather than straight after work. This means I can fall victim to meeting friends for dinner first, losing track of time over a bottle of wine and then deciding that the only possible course of action is staying for a second bottle. So this Saturday, I thought it best to avoid temptation. I ate leftover schnitzel from my Friday visit to Una’s and forced myself out the door by 9pm.

The night didn’t start well. Hoping to investigate the theory that men like small bars as much as women, I headed to Love, Tilly Devine. This meant walking past the Lord Roberts, an inoffensive local. Outside the Lord Bob was a sign stating the football odds for the game being screened upstairs. I had a minor melt-down. I thought football was just on Friday nights. Why was it suddenly invading Saturday nights too? Although barracking for a team is an easy way to meet guys, they’re hardly in the mood to answer questions about their social habits while the game’s on. I took a few deep breaths, told myself that small bar guys might not be into football and pushed on into the laneway.

I had high hopes for Tilly. My boss had been there the week before and had told me it was packed. When I arrived, it was comfortably occupied with its patrons neatly arranged into pairs. ‘Man and woman’ pairs. A mapper’s worst nightmare. Abandoning hope of a blog-post about love in laneways, I headed back to Crown Street to see what was happening at The Owl House. Although busier than Tilly, it was dominated by multiple-couple groups. All I could hope was that there wasn’t some poor Last Woman Standing hiding in the bathroom, wishing she’d never agreed to venture out with her happily paired-up friends. Strike two for me.

Ignoring the voice in my head telling me to join my friends at the pub, I headed along Crown Street toward Oxford Street, with no firm plan of where I’d go next. As I walked past Crown Bar and Grill, I saw a table of seven nice-looking men dining with one woman. I considered barging in to remind them that while they were selfishly in a restaurant, women in bars all over Sydney were wishing men like them would ask them out. Or just speak to them. Or even just throw them a smile. Feeling lower and lower as the hill grew steeper and steeper, I decided I should head toward to light, Gaslight Inn that is.

I’ve always been fond of Gaslight and felt sure it wouldn’t let me down. But when I got there, it was empty. Strike three. I couldn’t understand what was wrong. Yes it was cold, but it was a beautifully clear night. Was I too early, too late, too ignorant about the habits of football fanatics? I decided I’d keep walking until I reached The Dolphin, before succumbing to the cosiness of my flannelette pjs. Then I heard the happy buzzing of male voices coming from a darkened bar. Begging the mapping gods to help me, I smiled at the bouncer and found myself inside the wonderfully busy Low 302.

Although there are no stools at the fairly short bar, Low 302’s set up is great for single women. With the exception of one room next to the bar and the smoking area out the front, the space is open and easy to move around. I intercepted a group of men who then introduced me to their mates, who then sent me on to another group of guys. They were so helpful, friendly and sincere that I met my quota in less than an hour. It was a new record for a Saturday night, where I’m often competing with loud music, special occasions which I accidentally intrude and alcohol-fuelled frivolity. A huge thank you to the guys at Low 302 who reminded me that not everyone is in a relationship or watching football. If you’re looking for a smart, kind professional guy in his 20s or 30s, slip on some heels and head to Low 302. More than half the guys I surveyed were single, so you’re bound to have a great night.

Size matters

10 May

manMap ponders if size mattersThe advent of the small bar has been tremendous gift to Sydney women. We now have a myriad of civilised, social options. There are cosy places we can share wine and conversation with a few friends. Comfortable places with great music and tapas give us a burst of joy after a day at the office. Places with refreshingly quirky décor and delicious cocktails reinspire us if we’ve been exposed to too many hard-lined, modern bars. And best of all, the smoking laws mean none of the new places have that whiff of yester-year’s nicotine, which older venues are still trying to purge.

But, as with many aspects of contemporary life, Sydney women are now even more saturated with choice. With new small bars opening every other day, how do you know where to go? Which venue is going to suit your mood? And more importantly, which venue will help you meet single men?

Bar Zine’s Dan Kaufman is Sydney’s expert on bars. Kaufman spends his evenings exploring Sydney’s bars, new and old, and reviewing them on his website with an honestly that comes from working independently. Although Kaufman doesn’t question people about their relationship status à la moi, his knowledge of the Sydney bar scene means he knows what makes bars popular. And as I’ve said before ladies, it’s all about the bait.

When I met Kaufman last week, I was delighted to hear him echo some of my own theories about the features a bar needs to help strangers mingle and flirt (oddly enough, room for palm-flashing didn’t come up). If you’re socialising with just one or two wing-girls, or if you’re enjoying a wine alone, Kaufman believes the essential ingredient is the humble bar stool. By sitting along the bar, you’re in the space that nearly everyone will enter at some point. It makes you easy to approach if someone likes the look of you and you might end up speaking to a nice guy sitting next to you. Plus there’s the benefit of flirting with the bar staff. Kaufman uses The Grasshopper as the perfect example of this set up. It was only later that I remembered I’d sat along the bar with a wing-girl when I was there. I was early and chatted with the lovely barman until my wing-girl arrived, and two guys ended up sitting next to us. We should’ve embraced the opportunity to speak to them.

For some time I’d been thinking the target for small bars was women like me: thirty-somethings wanting somewhere where the music isn’t blaring so they can chat, where the menu and wine list are good and the furniture comfortable and interesting. Speaking to Kaufman, I realised I was wrong about this. Lots of guys are looking for the same thing (although they probably wouldn’t use the word ‘chat’). After a few walk-throughs of small bars in my area, I realised he was right. Lots of small groups of guys were there. And a small group is always easier to infiltrate.

Kaufman explained that Sydney’s experiencing an ‘anti big bar movement’. It seems that despite our harbour and sunshine, we’ve been craving what Melbourne has known for so long: a smaller bar unafraid to have personality. Sydney-siders have been so deprived that any new little bar is going to create interest, meaning people will go to them. Meaning men will be there. Meaning you might want to go there too. And in Kaufman’s opinion, one crucial element for meeting new people is the ability to make eye contact. In a small venue, where everyone is contained in one main area, this is so much easier.     

So where does Kaufman think single women should go to meet men? If you’re after a suit, he recommends The Argyle, Ivy or Establishment. “Show enough flesh and at some point someone will hit on you, how quickly depends on your body language.” Not into the meat market? Head to the small bars in the CBD, Monday to Friday. Kaufman’s picks are Grandma’s, Stitch Bar and The Grasshopper. If you’re looking for a more suburban vibe on Saturdays, try the Green Room in Enmore or Vice Bar in Balmain. And of course, if you’re not in the head space to meet men and you just want to enjoy the company of your wing-girls, visit Kaufman’s website and take your pick.