I returned to Dublin 3 years ago and had recently become single and disillusioned with the world of dating. I spent some time working on myself before venturing into dating again, as all the conventional advice goes. I received recommendations from friends who had had some incredible success on dating apps; one meeting their future wife and another meeting a long-term partner. I had improved my physique as well as my mental health and I was feeling pretty good about myself before approaching the daunting prospect of using dating apps for the first time. I went about downloading Tinder and Bumble and I had never felt so uncomfortable in my life. I have always been a shy and awkward person and trying to create a dating profile to promote myself unnerved me greatly, regardless of the good work I had done trying to feel better about myself. The embarrassment of seeing people I knew from school and old friends that were active on these apps made me feel anxious about them seeing my profile.
I eventually got over the embarrassment of putting myself out there and started searching for a date. I noticed a huge number of girls who rode horses, too many hiking photographs, and a lot of skiing photos on these dating profiles. I presumed there was some sort of widespread advice on the internet to always show you’re an active person; the sort of advice you would see in a BuzzFeed article: ‘Top 10 ways to get the perfect man on Tinder’. I persevered and started to gain some success in matching with women who seemed promising in terms of what I was looking for. However, I then sabotaged it by talking to these women for weeks and never gaining the confidence to ask them out on an actual date. I would bore them into giving up and never speaking to me again. In some cases, I had the incredible skill of ruining the relationship in the flirty getting-to-know-you phase.
I remember specifically one woman I was getting along famously with on the Tinder app; we had sent messages back and forth every day for a week and we seemed to have made a good connection. She looked very pretty, seemed to like my sense of humor, and took an interest in my reintegration into life in Dublin. I was building up the courage to ask her out on a date. I went out to dinner and the pub with friends and had been texting with this woman all night. I was making my way home when she asked how my night was; to which I replied, “It was really good to see some friends, but I drank too much beer and now I’m a real Burpy Ahearn”. Needless to say, she didn’t care for my gassy pun on the former Taoiseach and ghosted me before I ever got a chance to meet her in person.
I eventually refrained from making belching jokes, grew some courage, and started asking women out on dates. My first actual date was horrendous; when she walked in the door of the bar, I went to stand up and greet her and knocked my chair over in the process. My chair fell over making a loud crashing noise, the entire bar turned and looked at me, standing there with a face that was bright red like a baboon’s arse. I never lived that moment down and she never spoke to me again after a difficult 2 hours of small talk.
My 2nd date was a lot less embarrassing and much more successful. I met her on a sunny August day in Dun Laoghaire to walk the pier. She was 30 minutes late, but I forgave her when I saw how pretty she was and after she made me grin for immediately wanting to get giant ice creams that almost sent me into a diabetic coma. We walked around for hours in the sunshine, laughing and telling each other stories about living abroad. We immediately clicked, had our first kiss later that day, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Fast forward a year and a half, and we just recently signed a lease to rent a cozy little flat in Kilmainham and I’ve never been happier.