Monday, 9 June 2014

Fifteen reasons not to get romance advice from e-harmony...

Yes, yes, I know it's a goddamn dating website and I know that e-harmony was only having a bit of fun with its clickbait article "15 Reasons to Date a Reporter" and I know I am a curmudgeonly old bag but seriously, it was one of the daftest things I've read in a while. And I have been trying to read a 290-page report written by NHS bureaucrats so I am spending a lot of time reading daft things at the moment.

I really hope the e-harmony article was not written by an actual journalist. Maybe they got the work experience kid to write it, someone who has not yet become a cynical, ageing, alcoholic hack, someone who still has a ridiculous, romanticised idea of what the reporter's life is like, because the following 15 points are bunkum.

1. Reporters have a great "B.S radar." They expect honesty and transparency - and know how to find out the truth if it's not being told.

Firstly, I have never heard a reporter say "B.S". It's "bullshit". We are potty mouths. You may or may not find that attractive. Also, knowing how to find out the truth in a work context can be a different kettle of fish to doing this in one's personal life. You have been warned.

2. Reporters are usually self-employed and have flexible schedules. If you're free for lunch on a Wednesday, your significant other might be able to join you.

For "self-employed", this may actually mean "unemployed" or "I'm only freelance because the media job market sucks and it is largely because of people working for free or next to nothing and because of the rise clickbait-as-news and Twitter-as-a-replacement-for-reporting." True, there are plenty of journos who are freelance by choice, and that is great, but it doesn't mean they have all this time for lunch at the drop of a hat. And if your beloved reporter does have a staff job, they are probably eating an unhealthy lunch at a crumb-infested desk. The glamour...

3. You'll be getting a great Scrabble partner. (Don't try to use fake words. He/she will know.)

Since when was Scrabble a game you played with a partner? Surely you mean "opponent"? This is strictly a game where it is everyone for themselves. This probably suits the egos of most journalists. While there are plenty of journos out there who are terrible spellers, there are plenty who could spell for their country. Think very carefully before playing Scrabble with such a person, especially if they are also competitive and/or prone to gloating.

4. Reporters meet deadlines. If punctuality is your thing, a reporter won't let you down.

I know of a monthly magazine that didn't come out for six weeks because of deadline failures. And I know of journalists who are so obsessed by the work deadline that everything else in life becomes secondary, including dates and loved ones' birthdays.

5. Feeling out of touch? Your date will be up on all the local news and current affairs.

Alternatively, go read a damn newspaper...

6. Successful reporters (like the one you're dating) are ambitious and aren't afraid to take risks.

But they are still probably chronically underpaid so if you're a gold-digger, you might want to reconsider. Also, "risk" can include "being sent to a war zone at short notice." On the flipside, you may be bitterly disappointed if your journalistic paramour is ambitious in the world of trade magazines and aspires to be the editor of something that is only ever seen by the wider world as the guest publication on Have I Got News For You?.

7. Related to #6, your date might even make the first move. (Or ask why you haven't.)

Here's the thing. While reporters are paid to ask fearless questions, this doesn't necessarily translate to dating. There are plenty of journos who will shamelessly ask the Prime Minister an embarrassing question at a press conference but are barely recovered high school nerds with terrible social skills when out on the pull. Alcohol may help or hinder this process.

8. Reporters make great dates to parties and family events, as they're great at asking questions and engaging others in conversation.

Good Lord. See Point #7.

9. Your date will always have interesting stories to tell.

Sure, plenty of us love the sound of our own voices and regaling people with tales of journalistic derring-do. And plenty of us are not the charismatic social animals that the e-harmony writer seems to think we are and we'd rather have a quiet drink than be performing seals at weddings, parties, bar mitzvahs...

10. Remember the time your ex forgot your birthday? Reporters pay attention to important details. Your date will remember your birthday, the way you like your coffee, and that promise you made her last week. Your words will matter.

Crap. We rely on Facebook birthday alerts just like everyone else does. And we may be so wrapped up in the details of a story that we forget we are even in a relationship. Honestly, we are just as rubbish at remembering adorable little things as anyone else.

11. Reporters are passionate communicators, excited to share stories with a wider audience. They also want to hear others' stories.

Unless your stories are completely tedious. On a night out, we don't need a flashback to working on a local paper and getting the dreaded "I've got a story for you!" phone call. The "story" invariably turns out to be something like: "The council forgot to collect the bins this week and I blame immigration!". And they will refuse to go on the record or have their photo taken. Much alcohol will need to be applied.

(By now, you might be learning that, despite countless pop psychology studies showing journalists up to be terrible partners, we tend to date, shack up with, and marry each other in the hope that, despite our often disproportionate egos, we find someone who understands us.)

12. Reporters are trustworthy. And when you're in a relationship with one, everything is off the record.

Unless you have the misfortune to be Liz Jones' boyfriend... And since when were journalists ever immune from not cheating on partners? How adorably naive. Or you may recognise your failed relationship in an embittered column written by your ex after a truly horrendous break-up. Don't laugh. I have done this.

13. Reporters can act fast, redirect questions and problem-solve on the fly. If you like smart guys/girls, a reporter will keep you on your toes.

Alternatively, after a long day at work, we probably can't be bothered to keep anyone on their toes. Like any profession that involves long hours, really. And if we do have the energy for such nonsense, we morph into the world's most annoying people with whom to have an argument.

14. Reporters get invitations to swanky events. If you've ever wanted to hobnob with the mayor and other local celebrities, dating a reporter helps.

And we can't always bring a guest to these allegedly "swanky" events. Swanky? Hello, 1978! If the reporter is going to an event in the hope of sniffing out a story, it might not be as much fun as you were hoping. Or, if your beloved works on Tiles and Taps Monthly, you might only ever accompany them to some thrilling event such as "Bathroom Sales Team Of The Year". Or your presence might be a hindrance rather than a help. In any case, no journo wants to be used as an accessory to social climbing. Grow up.

15. Clark Kent. Enough said.

Oh, do fuck off.

Photography by George Hodan

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