Every so often I am compelled to revisit the scene of so many disastrous couplings of the last few years, maybe in the hope that I can exorcise the ghosts of men past by hooking the man of a daydream or two. It’s a place I’ve come to think of as the graveyard of romance … it wouldn’t be too out of place in some low budget late-night horror film where the men stand propped up at the bar with half an inch of dust on their rounded shoulders as they lasciviously eye the stitched-up women staggering past with lacquered mountains of hair smoking some disgustingly scented French cigarette.
I am of course referring to the den of inequity that is on-line dating.
Now it is only fair to say that when you get to a certain age meeting eligible men of a similar age is difficult. You can be sure that the conversation will take place on any date you make via one of these godforsaken sites …. “well really, where do you go at our age?” ….. “I don’t want to go to clubs …. hahaha! I put all that behind me in my twenties” ……. “I’m so busy with work and this suits me fine”
The truth, ladies and gentlemen, is this …. it’s a last resort, and as such, you can expect it to be inhabited by the types you might catch hanging around on the desolate pier of such. The fog is swirling around as they approach you with their beer-stained raincoats on …. “alright darlin’ …. you look pretty … fancy a chat sometime?”
Of course these sites are never painted like this by any advertisements you might see. No, on the billboards and magazine spreads you see attractive couples with fabulous teeth gazing at each other with such avid fixation that you fear for the ongoing survival of their personal identities. And as you enter the sites for the first time you will read testimonials written by couples singing the praises of clinical mate selection …..
“I couldn’t believe that after five minutes of joining I met Derek, two days later he proposed and now we’re expecting triplets … all in the space of three weeks” ….
“I’d given up hope of ever finding Miss Right until I joined and there she was, sitting in my inbox, on the very first day”…
“I haven’t met my ideal man but I’ve had loads of meaningless sex in some great cars” ….
OK, maybe not the last one, but I’m sure many have wanted to post it.
And so I found myself a couple of weeks ago with my admission fee approaching the Ticket Master yet again ….
“Oh hello little girl …. don’t I know you? Weren’t you the little one who thought she could easily ride the big dipper but ended turning a violent shade of green, running out and vowing never to return?”
“Yes Ticket Master … that was me….”
“Confident little thing, weren’t we, when we ran out shouting ‘over my dead body will I meet a man here’ …… very particular and fussy, weren’t you?”
“Yes Ticket Master …”
“Well, I hope you’ve learnt to lower those standards a little …. no man wants a wife who insists on punctuation the way you do …. now run along inside”
And so in I wandered, with a feeling of resignation coupled with dread.. No girl should have to be put through this, but I was here so I may as well see what freaks- sorry- talent the fair had to offer.
Within a few days I had rounded the selection down to two or three likely candidates, who seemed pleasant enough on the face of it but weren’t getting close to even seeing the blue touch paper, let alone igniting it.
Candidate number one had very complicated hair; there looked to be more product going on that head than Trevor Sorbie would know what to do with. I sensed ensuing battles to gain territory even close to the bathroom mirror.
Candidate number two seemed very pleasant but had no profile photograph. This to me is always a cause for alarm because it says “I don’t want people to know I’m on here” which in turn prompts the question “Married, are we?”. When I pointed this out to him, he duly sent a photograph, but it turned out that I found the kitchen units behind him more attractive.
Candidate number three again had a complex hair situation, but this time I sensed it was of nature’s making rather than L’Oreal’s. It transpired that Mr Three is action man … he skies on snow and water, and preferably on the same day if he can manage it. The inevitable question was asked “so, what sports do you like Debsy?” To say I struggled was a slight understatement, and the best I could come up with without lying was seeing how many peanuts I could lob skywards and catch in my mouth. Even on a good day I don’t think that counts as sport, or at least not to the outside world so I’m told.
But the death knell this time has to be the ulitmate faux pas in on-line dating etiquette …. I copied and pasted my messages to candidates one, two and three every night. Well, why not? It was the same news,wasn’t it? “Really busy day … blah blah …. wow, did you hear the rain last night …. blah blah …. ” Copy, paste, change the names and send. Job done.
With a sense that I was taking up space that was more suited to a willing candidate, I slipped out the back door and headed homeward, but not before I heard the Ticket Master bellow..