Belfast Telegraph

Eimear Ni Bhraonain: The Facebook, Twitter and texting men are driving me crazy

By Eimear Ni Bhraonain

Lottie Ryan comes up with the age-old complaint that men from here can't chat to a woman unless they've had a pint or three. Well, tell us something new Lottie!

Joe O'Shea responds by saying that anyone familiar with modern young women isn't surprised that men need beer goggles.

But both of them are missing the real point -- which is that Irish men are actually getting worse at the dating game. And the reason?

Facebook, Twitter, texting and all the other electronic aids of modern life.

It goes without saying that Irish men were never big on chatting up women, romance or seduction -- just ask an Irish mammy.

As bad as things were in the days of the dance halls, at least men were forced to make a move or utter a word or two to break an awkward silence on the walk home.

Modern technology has only exacerbated the man's inability to communicate with a woman he likes.

Texting means he doesn't even have to walk across a room, make eye contact or pick up the phone any more.

He can just use his thumbs to send you a random: "Well, how was ur wknd?" message.

If he doesn't have your phone number, normally because he didn't ask for it, he can look you up on Facebook.

Unless your privacy settings prevent it, chances are he can browse through your dodgy photographs from last year's girly holiday and decide you're not "classy" enough for him.

If you're really lucky, he might give you a virtual 'poke'.

Maybe I'm being too harsh on men here but you see I have my reasons which I will explain.

First-off, I'll admit, I'm not a typical woman but I'm not untypical and there are many more like me. I'm a 27-year-old woman who is happy, sociable and financially secure.

I am straight-talking and not afraid to ask a man out. In fact, I usually initiate conversations with men and help them along as I realise not everyone has my self-confidence.

I wouldn't think a man was a "weirdo" or a "stalker", as Joe puts it, if he randomly started chatting me up on the street. "Seriously, go up to a girl on the street or in a cafe and try to chat her up. You are as likely to spend the next hour talking to a guard as the lady in question," he writes.

Joe, on what basis do you think woman would report you to a police station for paying her a compliment and asking her on a date?

I'd like to know what Joe would say to a woman to provoke her to contact the nearest police station?

Another point Joe made -- on the beer goggles coming in handy for "combating the bleach-blonde, big hair, purple frocks and complexion that looks like she lost a fight in a spray-tan booth" -- well that is just plain mean.

Maybe that's what forces women to run for cover in the cop shop.

I've had two serious relationships -- neither of them worked out -- so I decided to give dating a whirl.

For the past few months, I have exploited opportunities to talk to men.

I've been on many dates and so far I think I've instigated every single one.

There've been plenty of opportunities for men to ask me out but, one by one, they've proven that they're either (a) unable to get the words out or (b) couldn't be arsed unless women are falling over them.

Again, this is just my experience. I'm sure there are Irish men out there who know how to woo an Irish woman -- I just haven't met one yet.

I have noticed a pattern forming among the men I've dated. They all seem to fall into one of the three following categories or some combination.

  • The Texter is a man who can't summon the courage, or maybe even the energy, to pick up the phone to speak to you. Instead he prefers to send you short texts that never lead anywhere. He's all text and no action and leaves a woman feeling frustrated.

He is the one who irks me the most. It's almost impossible to figure him out. If you're the straight-talking type, you will get bored before he gets his act together.

  • The Mammy's Boy has been handed everything on a plate, literally, all his life. His mother has ruined him. He can't be bothered to make any effort for a woman.

Leaving his house is too much effort. He will expect you to call to him and meet him on his terms. He won't budge -- and I would say changing him is an almost impossible task.

  • The Player is waiting for a better offer. In all likelihood, he will still be standing in the same corner of the nightclub when he's 40.

If the nightclub is still there, he'll be chatting up impressionable young women who fall for his (now fading) good-looks and the bold glint in his eye even.

He's Peter Pan -- he refuses to believe he's getting old or needs to settle down.

I asked a close friend, who happens to be a trainee clinical psychologist, if I just had terrible judgment when it comes to men.

She assured me that I was a good judge of character but the men I had met so far were not what they seemed.

While I was in her house on Saturday, a mutual friend, who happens to be tall, stunning and single, stopped by on her way to a wedding in Kilkenny.

My psychologist friend had introduced her to a Spanish man earlier that week for a "blind date".

The pair hit it off and the stunner asked him to accompany her to the wedding.

The same girl knew there was no point asking an Irish man to be her date to the wedding.

We know from bitter experience that Irish men don't do weddings unless they ask you. The Spaniard was polite, charming and eager to make an impression.

If I was to listen to some friends, who are married or in long-term relationships with foreign men, I'd rule Irish men out of my dating search.

I can't help feeling though that despite all their flaws, there is nobody better than an Irish man because he knows how to make me laugh.

Finally, Joe O'Shea, I'd love to accept your word that Irish men were doing their "level best" but from where I'm sitting, I need a man to give me a dig-out and do the running for a change because I'm nearly out of steam.

Irish Independent

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