This week, in the UK, we’ve had a general election.
I won’t go into the ins and outs of politics too much here, because the focus of this blog is dating, sexual health and mental health, rather than current affairs (although I do think politics is relevant to absolutely anything, including sex and mental health; politics affects things like laws, funding for services and public opinion).
I really, really wanted to the party I support to do well.
The election was called unexpectedly – we weren’t due a general election until 2020. Initially, it seemed like my party were going to do really badly, and lose even more seats than last time. Then, suddenly, we got a surge of support, and it seemed like we had everything to play for.
We know that young people are more likely to support my party, but they are also less likely to vote. On social media, political figures I follow kept saying we needed to do everything we could to encourage young people to vote.
I mentally scrolled through all the people I’ve recently dated, and thought Yeah, this is something I could help with.
I decided to contact all the Whippersnappers I’ve recently dated, and remind them to vote.
I started with Whippersnapper 2. Things had not been left too dramatically with him. Also, he recently got back in touch, a few weeks ago, saying hello, so I thought he might be receptive.
He was a 26-year-old I went on one date with, but it was way too soon after the Original Whippersnapper and I wasn’t ready. Also, I didn’t think we actually had that much in common. When I explained it was too soon, we had arranged to meet for a drinks just as friends, but he cancelled at the last minute and I couldn’t be bothered to reschedule.
When he contacted me, a few weeks ago, he said “I debated texting you for a while. I still think about you a bit, but I didn’t think you wanted to talk to me.”
I thought that was really sweet, and I said “It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to you, it was just that I realised it was too soon, and also these days I have no patience with cancellations after being messed around in the past.”
He said “I know. That’s what I meant. I was kinda gutted to be honest. Still am really…”
Then “Sorry. I want to talk to you but don’t know what to say haha! Basically I’m going on a course near where you live which made me you think of you today. I haven’t really stopped…”
This was all very sweet and a welcome ego boost. The conversation ended up petering out though. I told him I had moved further out in west London, and he said “it’s so farrrrrrrr” with lots of ‘r’s. I thought You’re giving me problems not solutions, mate.
Anyway, the day before the election, I texted him, and this happened.
He then suggested meeting for a drink. I wanted to know who he was voting for, before committing to that.
We had a text chat about politics, and I think I got him to go from either not voting at all, or voting for the wrong party, to voting for the correct party.
I now have to go for a drink with him.
I am a political prostitute.
Next I texted Whippersnapper 3. He is a 25-year-old I very recently went on a date with.
I knew from ten minutes into the date, that we wouldn’t be seeing each other again. He seemed very sweet, but very young, and just… No. I think he was quite keen.
He sent me a drunk message at about 3am after our date, which I couldn’t quite make head or tail of, and I never replied (bit rude of me).
I texted him the same message as WS2.
He never replied.
I decided not to bother with Young Jaguar. He is 28, so slightly outside my target demographic range. He has also been come out of the woodwork lately and sent me a few messages suggesting we meet up again. He’s nice chap, but we just don’t have anything in common, so I didn’t want to encourage him.
Also, I wouldn’t be 100% confident he would vote for the correct party.
The Original Whippersnapper
I debated whether to try and canvas the Original Whippersnapper. I had deleted our WhatsApp conversation and deleted his number from my phone, but I still had the normal text messages we had sent, so I still had his number in my inbox.
I probably wouldn’t have contacted him, because even now, I’m still finding it so hard to get over him (I still want more than just his number in my inbox!). Whenever we’re in touch, it’s like tapping the wasps’ nest and making it worse. Also, he was probably the most likely Whippersnapper to vote without needing prompting.
However, after a couple of months of no contact at all, we had already been in touch a few days earlier.
There was a terrorist attack in London, last Saturday night. I was actually away in Bristol, visiting friends, and I only found out about it when I checked my phone at about 1am and my brother in Australia had texted me, checking I’m OK.
My first thought was “Whippersnapper!” Of all the people I know in London, he was most likely to be out in central London on a Saturday night.
So I texted him saying “Are you safe?” before I went to bed.
He replied in the morning saying he was, and checking I was safe.
So I texted him, the day before the election.
(He was joking about UKIP).
This was a dilemma.
I used to say to him “actually, she’s your age too!” when talking about my friends, who are younger than me, so I had assumed he would take ‘all the Whippersnappers I know’ to mean just ‘all the young people I know’.
However, he had taken it to mean ‘all the young lads I’ve dated’. The honest answer to his question “How many Whippersnappers do you know, Dater Analysis?” was that I had dated a few youngsters after him.
He had opened up a whole new demographic group to me, that I had never previously considered dating. There are lots of good things about young Whippersnappers: they seem less jaded and grumpy than men my age, you’re less likely to think “oh, that explains why you’re still single” when you meet them on dates (because they’re only just thinking about settling down) and their hairlines haven’t started receding yet.
I did quite like the idea of making him jealous, and I generally try to be honest, so I considered saying something like “I know enough Whippersnappers that we’ve got the London youth vote covered”.
However, I really didn’t want to set a precedent for us just being friends now, and even joking about our love lives. And I sure as hell didn’t want to hear about his.
So I said “I’ve worked with a lot of youngsters over the years. That’s how I learnt all the Youth Words I was able to impress you with.”
He said “Hahaha. You truly were down with the kids. Literally, some nights!”
I was pretty sure that was an oral sex reference.
I replied “Thanks. And it was only very rarely that I had to look up things you said on Urban Dictionary.”
He asked me how I thought the election was going to go, and told me he was really going to vote for my party. I told him how I was feeling about the election.
Then, the night of the election, he said “That exit poll is looking good, Dater Analysis!”
The election did go well. Although we didn’t win, the results were much better than had been predicted, and the current Government lost their majority.
I didn’t reply until the morning, saying “It’s a while since I’ve woken up to anything so beautiful.”
Then I regretted it.
But he said “What a charmer 😉 Same here as it goes!”
We exchanged some messages about the election.
Then, at 2am last night, he texted me saying “Well, it was awesome. And for the record, thank you for thinking of me, Dater Analysis. I do love you.”
Then he said something else about politics.
When I read the message, this morning, my heart started racing. I couldn’t believe he had told me he loves me, after all this time.
Again, I had a dilemma about how to respond. I didn’t want to pretend I don’t love him, because it’s not true. I don’t want him to regret saying it and think I’ve moved on, because I haven’t.
However, he has messed me about and sent so many conflicting messages in the past, I don’t want to say “I love you too. Here is my heart again, with a sprig of parsley on top.”
So I wrote “I feel the same.” And then I wrote a paragraph about politics, so it was unclear whether I was feeling the same about love, or about politics.
A bit of a politicians’ answer, really.