Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Dating in 1998, A Simpler Time

Dating in 1998, a retrospective look at a simpler time, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Blogger, Writer, dating in newcastle 1998


I want to take you back to a simpler time, the year was 1998 and I'd just started dating after the end of my first marriage, I was 24 years old, a single mum and Iain was 2 years old, it was 2 years after my first marriage and a year before I would meet the man I married to for 15 years,  Simon Cowell wasn't on tv, mobile phones were in their infancy but if you were lucky like me you carried around a Nokia 5110, I'm sure you're all jealous, it even had the Snake game!!

When I say it was a simpler time, it really was, there was no such thing as internet dating, eBay, Facebook or Twitter and if you were looking for dates you did it in the pub, nightclub or for the really brave you tried telephone dating.  Telephone dating was a total lie, I mean for everyone who's fallen for someone with a photo on an online dating site it was 10 times worse to speak to someone with a sexy sounding voice imagining a Scottish adonis to turn up at the planned meeting place only to find they looked more like a Macsween Haggis than Ewan Mcgregor and yes Ewan was still yummy in 1998, remember him in Little Voice?

I digress just a little but let me take you on a date in 1998, so, you'd met in Baha or  on the Tuxedo Royale  (if you lived in Newcastle) a floating nightclub with a revolving dance floor, bad combination after too many vodkas I can tell you, especially for the male population of Newcastle who were not known for their stability and dance moves at the best of times.  Nightclubs would close at 2 am so if you hadn't spotted someone before then the men of the North known as the "Ten to twoers" would home in on you, if you wanted to you could kiss many lips but I was never one for massively casual encounters. On the few occasions, someone did catch my eye, I would kiss them, sometimes I'd snog their face off if I got the right spark and then we would exchange numbers and hope that we both had the right numbers or they hadn't given you a fake one (yes, that happened).  Then you would go home, go to bed and sober up!

The next day you'd question if it was too early to call someone and hope they called you first and when they did you would arrange a date, text messaging was a brand new thing and limited to 160 characters so messaging took a long, long time, mobile phones were also incredibly expensive in terms of calls and messages and not everyone had a mobile so you actually had to speak to people! Once you had spoken you would arrange a date and usually, that would be drinking, I'm not sure I did a lot of going out to dinner with dates in 1998 but it was very much a simpler time.  On the first date you would hope you came away liking them and I still had a rule of the kiss goodbye to see if any sparks happened, more often than not they didn't but I'm pretty choosy, I've had very few relationships in my 43 years on the earth.  Quite frequently it would be date 5 or 6 before I'd made my mind up and in between dates you would maybe speak once or twice, usually just to say hi and make arrangements for the date the next week.  The giveaway as to whether you liked someone after 5 or 6 dates was if you were thinking about them in between dates or if the frequency of dates was increasing.  There wasn't a great deal of overthinking and dating was just a whole lot easier.

Now it could be that I am wearing rose tinted glasses about the past and maybe it's because I was 20 years younger but really, I think in these times of social media and being constantly connected to each other it's all gotten a bit mad, whereas absence makes the heart grow fonder we as humans feel the need to worry if we haven't heard from people within minutes of us sending a message, a friend tonight was saying that she'd noticed that someone she had been speaking to on Whatsapp about a potential date had gone quiet and not only had he gone quiet, he'd seen the message and not replied, he wasn't even speaking out loud and yet the silence was deafening.  Social media, messages, WhatsApp, they're not good for us in a dating sense, we pensively wait for people to get back to us as quickly as possible and if they don't we internalise that we're not good enough or they don't like us and do you know what?  I don't think this is the route to happiness, I think it's the exact opposite, I'm like the queen of the overthinkers and often wish for a simpler time, Now I realise I'm a blogger, social media queen and I'm also someone who likes to be in constant contact but it wasn't always like that, at some point I quite happily existed with just a house phone,  I spoke to people, yes me, phone phobic me, I had real life conversations so I'm not sure when I sort of got lost along the way.

I think there's no point in overthinking and overanalyzing every move we make just because we have the direct line to do so, maybe we need to take some tips from 1998, chill out a little, relax a bit and see where the journey will end up taking us, we spend so long thinking about the destinations we're just missing the fun we're supposed to have on the journey and who hasn't had fun on a National Express coach on the way to your holidays 1998 style?

So I'm going to say something either brave or insane, take this tech woman back to 1998 for a week, to a simpler more straightforward way but while I'm there...Can someone email me my tweets/messages/FB requests/Instagram notifications, I'd hate to miss out on something important.
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