Young woman smiling over cup of coffeeLet your freak flag fly!

If you’re single right now, you’ll probably get a lot of varied advice on dating dependent on who you ask; some of the most common ones I hear are “Ask questions about them and act interested”, “Why don’t you get your hair styled properly” (eh…thanks), “Don’t bring up anything controversial” and “Offer to go halves for dinner”.

Some of these are completely reasonable: I’m totally gonna pay for my own dinner and act interested in my date and despite my complaint, I could probably do with a haircut. But asking me not to bring up something controversial… seems a little ridiculous. Plus, there’s evidence that talking politics on a first date can increase your chances of getting a second date by 91%.

I mean, I’m not just looking for someone to warm the bed beside me. I want to go out with someone who shares my views on political and social issues and, if I’m really lucky, someone who shares my weird obsession with The Black Cauldron… yes, I know it almost killed Disney movies.

Here’s why I believe in letting my freak flag fly, even on a first date.

Note: As I identify as pansexual, I’ll be using gender-neutral pronouns in this piece.

1. I hate pretending to be normal.

You know that whole rom-com practice of pretending that you’re normal when you start dating someone and then letting the crazy slip in overtime. Yeah, I’m not about that at all. I understand that you’re supposed to act “normal” on a first date because you want the person you’re with to have a nice time and ask you on a second date, but in all honesty, I think that’s a waste of time.

If someone wants to be with me, they have to accept that I sometimes talk to my cat-like she can actually respond and that I repeatedly crack my joints… I know it’s gross, my mom tells me all the time.

2. I like talking over the TV.

I like talking while watching the TV, whether it’s pointing out plot holes in fantasy shows, screaming “don’t go in there” during horror movies, or making snide comments at the news, which irritates anyone trying to pay attention to the program. I want someone who enjoys my colour commentary enough to watch bad TV with me and will talk through the programs with me, even if you’re wrongly criticizing Jess and Rory’s relationship in Gilmore Girls.

3. I’m not great with the socializing thing.

I’ve never been especially great with the whole socializing thing and sometimes I have anxiety attacks about going for brunch. Honestly, part of the reason that I’m single is that I feel bad enough putting my family and friends through this, let alone someone new.

I need someone who understands if I need to take a break – usually hiding in the bathroom – from a social situation to get my nerves under control.

4. I work…a lot.

I work in the media and, as a result, I sometimes keep crazy hours. My working life doesn’t fit into a 9-5 schedule and that’s kinda the way I like it. A lot of people don’t like that, they want to know that I’m always gonna be free after 7 pm on Wednesdays so that we can have dinner and watch Criminal Minds together. I need someone who will understand that I’m not always available on a typical schedule and is prepared for breakfast dates or 10 pm dinners.

5. I don’t want to have to explain my jokes.

I want to be with someone who understands my sarcastic, self-deprecating, and slightly angry brand of humour because there’s nothing less hilarious than having to explain your joke. I’m not saying that I deserve someone literally ROFLing after I make a joke; I’m hardly the next Tina Fey or Kate McKinnon but I want my partner to understand where I’m coming from.

Besides, I don’t know that anyone would want to date someone that they didn’t find funny.

6. I have strong views.

My mother describes me as opinionated and passionate but that’s because she’s my mom and she loves me. Others would call me an angry bitch and you know what… sure I’m a bitch. But bitches get stuff done.

I’ll admit right off the bat that I am an acquired taste, but honestly, I don’t have time to listen patiently to a date who wants to tell me why they think conversion therapy is a good idea or why they don’t think global warming is real or why they voted for Trump.

I already know that I don’t want to date them anyway, and they’d probably be happier dating someone who agreed with them.

TL: DR I’d rather be with someone who loves me for my quirks rather than in spite of them.