A New Year’s Resolution
The newest diet, the commitment to quit smoking, quit drinking? Join a bohemian bikram Yoga class, or perhaps to finally join an online dating site? Or in my case QUIT one and finally end aimlessly texting a man who you knew you’d never meet but kept up the charade because a) you kinda needed some form of human contact from the opposite sex that validated your existence, b) it was an electronic relationship that was easy to maintain, c) All of the above.
So having blogged the man from Basingstoke and labelled him the ‘November distraction’ I am ashamed to confess that he continued into December having lugged him (in text formation) to my mother’s where I painstakingly spent the entire duration of the festive period sulking like a teenager; wallowing in self pity about the lack of Christmas spirit (apart from large quantities of alcohol that were used to surpass each day) and the knowledge that I was surrounded by the monotonous moaning from my folks about everything and anything. I continued texting him every single day, sharing my daily gripes and groans. He equally of course was in the same disposition: a grown man in his 40s, single and stuck spending Christmas with his parents, regenerated into the teenager, living temporarily in the childhood home and feeling cabin fever escalate by the second.
The pair of us were missing home, missing independence, and the freedom to sit in pants in your lounge or blast music at 10pm. It was the worse feeling ever, and reinstated the view that spending Christmas as a lonely spinster with the folks (where sheer escapism was sitting on your arse in your room, hours on end with your marking or literally running first thing in the morning to feel alive) was the lowest form of clinical depression. But where is this blog actually going? Well it’s my way of finally putting an ending to something that was a false start for weeks on end. I loved the text messages from him, even if they were about his new mattress, or the second beer he’d just cracked open, it was just nice to share your life with another human being who was more or less in the same boat. But I couldn’t end it. I just couldn’t exit with, ‘hey thanks for everything, don’t ever message me again’, but I’d often say things like ‘I always live in the hope that you won’t message me’. But he always did, and I religiously replied because it’s a nice thing to do. However whenever there was a mention (from me) about ever meeting, I mean we had exposed our lives to one another for two months, it was joked off and it ‘always ended in a jade’s trick’ … and I began to feel ‘I knew him of old’.
I mean I had been there in spirit when he’d chopped his thumb off and had driven himself to A & E, or when he was sat alone in his bedroom over Christmas equally wallowing in self pity, and even when his car had broken down on his way home, I was there chivvy-ing him along until the AA man replaced me. Spiritually I think I’d been just about everywhere, throughout his working day right up until we clocked out for the night. It was odd but gratifying. In reference to the first blog about this man, beyond the fictional world the reality is pretty gloomy. A world where you have this cyber relationship but you’re ultimately alone; the amount of energy I was putting in was becoming more and more apparent, and as usual the imbalance was beginning to rear its ugly head. Face it, I had overstepped the dangerous line of desperation; made at least three calls he had never reciprocated, showed concern and had become the usual: the nurse, the therapist, the void, the crutch which all amalgamated to a ball of nothingness.
And so perhaps it was his New Year’s resolution which I had to accept. It was easy to message him. I mean I knew he’d respond. And he must have known that should he message me I would do the same. But we equally knew that this was going to go nowhere, not even a friendship. I’m no good with online friendship, it eventually puts you out of sync and out of touch with what you know and love – and that’s real people, real conversations that take place in a real place in real time.
His last message didn’t even acknowledge my usual brutal statement about appreciating that this was nothing more than a text friendship and possibly friendship but nothing more. I was trying to put his mind at ease lest he believed I had secretly booked tickets for us to get married in Vegas. He ignored my declaration and ended in a jade’s trick. I could respond but when it starts to feel unhealthy and detrimental you know its time to stop. So I didn’t return the message, secretly hoping he’d offer me the opportunity to respond. But he didn’t.
So this is my closing chapter, on yet another avenue where I pick up the same troubled man who needs to find himself before he can truly find anyone else. C’est la vie.
Snow White and the 8th Dwarf
So poor Snow White was harangued by the wicked witch, in fact she tried to poison her with a shiny red apple – which was really a contract forcing her to sign up for at least three months of online dating. The only little friends (with benefits) that came to her rescue were the dwarfs from her local estate, where they whistled whilst they apparently worked, though I bet Lazy was claiming fraudulent benefits. But what this story is really about is the dwarf no-one really talks about (first rule about Dwarf Club: we don’t talk about) ‘Rapey’ who looks like a rapist, has rapey tendencies and will most certainly lead you up a dark desolate garden path and well…be very rapey.
Rapey Case Study #1
Meet specimen number one: James, the online slut – there’s not a lot of personal exchange, just parts of the body that are mentioned in the form of declarative statements, which are plentiful. Please take a moment to indulge yourself in the rapey world of Rapey:
“I’m waiting for you…I’ll grab you by your hair, kiss your luscious lips (luscious was spelt incorrectly by the way) and drag you by your hair to my cave and taste…” I can’t even type the rest of it, I think I’ve brought a bit of sick up in my mouth. Now James was a real try-er, God love him. No matter how many times I went online he’d talk about his hardened anatomy and despite me accusing him of circulating filthy photographs there was always the promise “How about I send you a picture, and if it doesn’t make you horny, don’t talk to me anymore? I’ll take it right now…I’m in my Pjs lol”. I did console poor James as he was an ardent fornicator and never gave up trying. I did admire his resilience, even his short statements which proceeded weeks later and that made me smile; “fancy sliding?” And of course there was a number that was left for me which funnily enough I didn’t call, as the visions of being trapped in a dark wet cave aggressively manhandled by James kinda put me off. God love you James, wherever you are, knee deep in women, strolling around in your gaudy pyjamas like a man whore.
Rapey Case Study #2
My absurd infatuation with beards this year had perhaps pushed me to the clutches of the bearded rapey. This wasn’t a man with a trimmed beard, not even a remotely styled beard like Gerard Butler from 300 – this was a full on ‘I’ve-got-animals-nestling-in-my-bush-which-date-back-from-last-winter’. My biggest flaw is curiosity, and we know what happened to the cat, but I’ve got nine lives and I responded to the ‘wink’ and began to talk to a very rapey looking man simply because he had a bushy beard. But we shouldn’t judge a man by his beard and I began by discussing his beard, making encouraging references to ‘Ripper Street’, the recent BBC drama I’m hooked on (generally because the Victorian constables look quite sexy with their facial hair, tweed and grubby fingers).
Bearded rapey was a strange specimen and clearly not as astute as the Victorian gentlemen from ‘Ripper Street’ because he began with imparting his love of ‘herbal detoxes and healing alternatives’. This is all very well but the conversation took a slippery slide as he ranted about preachers and ‘Bible bashers who dictate, “I am not a religious person at all, all these Islamic preachers are evil like Christians”. To which I retorted with “Why are Christians evil? I’m a Christian? I’m only evil at the weekends?” The bearded man became curiouser and curiouser as he spoke without the rules of politeness; evading the use of adjacency pairs and it was as if someone had finally given him an outlet to stand on a box and be the reincarnation of William Blake. However, I think this man had surpassed the age of enlightenment and spoke like a nutter. These were the gems he pronounced, all singular statements without any responses from me:
“I hate motor sports, boring as hell. I hate watching racing on TV, bores me to death.”
“I have a fantasy to go to the USA Florida Disney to go to the water parks on huge slides.” A worry to say the least, even Peter Pan didn’t take Wendy there on a first date.
“I like to be thrilled and excited by things beyond imagination.” Hmmm…most certainly rapey.
And the list goes on, and if anything, it just makes me question my innate therapeutic skills in being able to allow such rapey (hairy) men to use me as their psychotic outlet. I did excuse myself at that point and made an comment about Saturday chores. But rapey didn’t take no for an answer. For the next day I was hit with an onslaught of short declarative statements…all seven of them…”hi”…”how are you?”…”hi”…”I think I’ve been disconnected…” (Disconnected in the head you mean). I hope you’ve appreciated the slivers of rapey that are everywhere, some may already be in prison as I type, others, are just waiting to pounce on your body or your mind, rudely ready to violate you. Watch out. Online rapey monsters are inches away from entering your mind ready to flash or rape you of your humanity.
Oh and the final icing on the cake before I depart is the ‘wink’ I received from a man whose profile picture was a cock? Yes a big gaping cock that encompassed my screen like a loose tentacle from the Kraken, crashing its fleshy head at me. How on earth someone manages to slip through the net and post an indecent photo in the online world, I have no idea, but ‘Bigfun’ got reported by me because I felt it necessary to spoil it for all the women who were going to get an eye full of eye.
A conclusive ending to today’s rapey reports of men who are clearly undersexed, megalomaniacs or both.
It’s a word I remember for something you might buy at the Chemist to settle an upset stomach, but it’s also a word which makes me think of those people who ‘settle’ and take the dose that will take away your niggly crampy ‘single’ pain. And why? Because it’s about time or they’ve got to the end of the dreg and there’s not much left and time is running out. The term ‘settle’ – so what exactly does it imply? That you are ready to stop your spontaneous life of Riley where you squander nights on going to new and exciting places. Give up compromising and socialising with the people that will guarantee a fun filled night of debauchery, justifying the ache in the balls of your feet from sharp shoes that you know you should really stop wearing. Do you hand over all your chips in exchange for the greatest gamble? Part with your comfortable, independent, uncomplicated life and ‘settle’ for something that will keep you going? Offer you hope in old age? ‘Tomorrow tomorrow, I love you tomorrow’ but only in the secure knowledge that you’re not going to end up cooped up in a life that you really don’t want: “to thine own self be true” Hamlet. Despite being a miserable procrastinator throughout the play, he was right. The very thought of settling with a lovely man, who dotes on you, loves everything about you but has nothing charismatically crazy about them – well, that’s just not attractive. That’s dull. Nobody wants dull. Unless you’re a ‘settler’, willing to sit back in the passenger seat and ‘endure’ the ride rather than enjoy the ride.
Having introduced my spiel, I would now like to without prejudice introduce you to the very lovely Antoine – the Spanish Vegan: a perfect exhibit for ‘the settler’. Antoine arrived looking slightly worried as he entered the busy shopping complex to meet his first date. The ever hopeful, ever reluctant, non committal dater – me.
Having sat around over 20 minutes from the arranged time, I hung on having read his last message which read that he had left; I couldn’t be a complete arse hole and just leave, though the long list of chores including Christmas shopping were looming and I could have easily just gone. But I didn’t and as soon as he turned up, I did the obligatory exchange and seeing as he was Spanish it was a cultural kiss on both cheeks intermitted with awkward pauses as we very quickly headed to Costas. And so the phatic exchanges began as they superseded into the usual hum drum of work related topics and no matter how hard I looked at him listening attentively to his authentic Spanish accent, the spark cells were dead. It wasn’t long before I had lost all inhibitions as he had morphed into some ordinary lovely bloke that I could say anything to. It didn’t matter anymore, because I was in mere company and he had an outlet for his misgivings; an opportunity to relay his relentless life at work his lack of friends and inability to do anything. Most disturbingly he declared his innate broodiness which could take place anywhere and at anytime (including the wailing toddlers that waded the shopping complex). Any disgruntled child could make him want to procreate. Not good.
Impeding doom. Here I was sat opposite a ‘nice’ bloke who was now willing to spend the rest of his day shopping with me (I don’t think so). And basically just didn’t have a life aside from work? Though I didn’t for a moment doubt that he would be more than happy to do whatever I wanted to him/with him/not so sure about without him. He was a guy who had lived in England for a long time but had gone from place to place without any sense of belonging. His pastimes included…well nothing apart from work. My incessant questioning made him speak of meditation that he used to do and a career break he had taken in the past. But the here and now was a man reaching 40 who maybe wanted kids and definitely wanted to have a ‘life’. Wait. I’ve got a life. Did I really want to share my metaphorical concoctions with him? Or anyone actually. The more he spoke, the more relaxed I became, but to the point where I had become his therapist/counsellor, telling him about the greater good of ‘doing’ other things – having a ‘focus’ and even meeting other women. I was hoping it was becoming clear to him that he was losing me. I became more and more loquacious and animated, gesturing with my hands, reinforcing the need to read and experience life. I was utterly frank, or a complete cow and continued to tell him how happy I was being single? I know, how inappropriate, but true? I proceeded to shower him with my kernels of wisdom and told him how being single was quite possibly the best thing that had ever happened to me because my life was uncomplicated and frivolous. He must have thought I was mad, but he seemed to agree with my vision and this removed him even further from any romantic notions. Like a careless bohemian with nothing to lose, I just didn’t care what he thought of me. I just wanted to be perfectly honest with him and tell him in not so many words that I was a selfish bastard who enjoyed binge drinking in my free weekends and taking lavish trips to London like a lush.
He told me how he felt people just wanted someone ‘perfect’, so I continued to defeat any expectations by retorting with ‘I pretend to be perfect’. But no matter how radical and mildly annoying I might have come across, my bold declarations seemed to make no difference to him. In fact they invited openness and he was quite happy to meet me again – why? Because here I was face to face with ‘Mr Nice’ – the guy who you could talk about period pains to; catch a movie on a rainy afternoon; offload your shit day and go home after a fat piece of cake and hate yourself because he’d put up with your mood swings and hang around in the hope that you might one day see past a platonic relationship.
The settler: offering you scope to ‘settle’, kiss your car chases in the fast lane good bye, cash in on your luscious life of pushing boundaries and touching the long list of desires you’ve got swimming in your head. Can’t do it. Won’t do it. So we parted and I probably gave him a glimmer of dubious hope that I might release his mundane life and invite him into mine. It wasn’t going to happen. So I sit, sipping on expensive Gin with a grimace but vowing not to just ‘settle’…at least for now…
A Pretty Piece of Flesh
“It’s incredibly refreshing to chat with someone who isn’t vacuous, self absorbed and who turns me on with their word play.” Finally, someone who had a wide vocabulary combined with a great sense of humour, wit and intellect. I put on my crash helmet and prepared to step inside the metaphorical roller coaster (again) that often caused sleep deprivation, minor injuries and sheer exhaustion: this was the usual onslaught of ‘online baiting’. I fastened by seat belt tight, ready for another journey where the destination was as usual, unknown.
So for the first time I had encountered a man who retained my attention, who presented his self worth by ‘words, words, words’, but it was true to assume that there was certainly something rotten in the state of Basingstoke. The beginning is always simple to mark, sending numerous text messages in response to mine which gravitated my lust for verbal stimulation. Sitting in the bath messaging him one evening, I gloated over the fact that there was finally something within me (at least a section) that was finally being addressed: my mind. It seemed he could actually converse without the use of text language and had a flair for spilling out words: the allure retained the spell. I enjoyed the fuller bodied texts that were now manifesting my mobile. It felt like the greatest achievement I had encountered since the exposure to online dating.
He continued to hang on my every word, applauding the syntax, typos and innuendoes that were subtle, sophisticated and entertaining. His personal anecdotes about online dating were equally arousing so to speak, his tales of women who volunteered masturbating videos and private pictures that he’d never requested were certainly intriguing. I was truly in awe and bewilderment at who these women were? My desensitisation of the cock however left me meditating on some rock; waiting for nirvana to penetrate my mind and awaken my downtrodden libido (that currently had the permanent expression of what the f@%k written all over it).
There are those moments that felt like you can almost touch something real, but the ever whispering inner voice reminded me of the frayed vulnerable girl loitering somewhere with a basket full of insecurities; these moments always vanished like a trick into thin air. It was perhaps easiest to stick to sexual innuendos, a vacuum of filth that sucked up the day’s gripes, replacing a hard day at the office with the fantasy of photocopying anatomy, or being chained naked to a desk – butt cheeks cold hard against the desk, sweaty and feverish propositions that might leave you feeling very hot under the collar, you know what I mean. The open conversations about sex were cathartic and exhilarating but equally bordered on a dark but farcical realm, such as his advice on sex toys. He could speak eloquently on just about any subject and like a vibrator guru he discussed my intimate needs as if he was a mortgage advisor “perhaps this package would suit your needs better?” There was definitely a hole in the matrix, because I had fallen straight through it like Alice, and found myself surrounded by vials that either said “eat me” or “drink me”. But the line I promised I would put into this story is one of my favourites: “I’m too tired to even touch it” – this continues to make me smile, one of his lines which drew an end to a prolonged evening of innuendo text messages – he’d clearly knackered himself out.
This guy, I actually quite liked. This guy I knew I would never really meet because for some unknown reason some people are chained to their inner circles and marked radius’ and are unwilling to cross the line. Just my luck – I had men willing to meet me from the realms of the emerald city to the highlands of Scotland. But a man whom I might take a leap of faith with, never spoke of wanting to ever see me in the flesh, unless I landed on his doorstep maybe. And it kinda gets to a point doesn’t it when you have exhausted the real you and left the alter ego straggling behind somewhere, and you are at the point where the delight begins to feel destructive. Every bit you impart of yourself is a further piece that dies within; a reminder that you are creeping into that vast vacuum of nothingness where it will never be anything and the futile embodiment of the virtual world has become this living breathing beast which eats you like a parasite. Sucking away and degenerating you further and further until there’s nothing left to give.
As much as I didn’t think he wanted to become one of my blogs, he and I both knew that this was indeed his destiny. So here he is: the invisible voice, my November distraction. His cock shot was knighted “Sir Pretty Piece of flesh” the day it arrived, bleeping its way through the aisles to my phone as I inspected cucumbers and firm bananas during my weekly food shop on a frosty Friday afternoon…
What’s in a name?
‘The Rock’, ‘Funbloke69’, ‘Quick draw’ and ‘Wicked Dick’ were just some of delightful names that might send you a ‘wink’ or a ‘chat request’ or quite frankly bypass that with just a phone number and the simple imperative ‘call me’ in the online dating world. The chances of ever meeting Mr Right, Darcy or Gatsby were dwindling; in fact Christmas landing on my doorstep in 45 days coupled with pigs in blankets was more likely. So what offerings had I already had from the world of online maters. Apart from being ‘virtually’ viewed (violated) by Maria the woman who was actually a 5’11 man with a willy, there were plenty to choose from. ‘The Rock’: a profile picture of a young fireman but the age says 43. His alluring profile read something like this:
Hi Girls/Ladies…I’m told I look like Gary Linekar, however that remains a mystery to me, I don’t eat Crisps lol. I have been in two adult movies in my younger days, but hey moved on since but you might recognise me from my movies. Looking for a girl/lady who can handle me, take me in hand and can keep up with my sex drive which be warned is very high.
I’m still uncertain what the fine line is between the ‘girls’ and the ‘ladies’ and moreover concerned at of having no adult movies I could refer to in any future conversations like “ I really like the one where you where you kept your socks on”. Fret not reader, I had already been offered a ‘weekend break in Belfast’ by another stranger who assured me he was a DJ. He had kindly given me his phone number lest I’m stranded by the next Ryan air flight that I was obviously going to book. Any further interaction with any of these Freudian case studies would only precipitate an onslaught of sexual fantasies and for this reason alone it’s easier to be a cold hearted bastard and remain stoic.
Hello, I’m Lee and I live in a caravan on a farm, I’m hoping one of you ladies will want to keep me warm as it’s ‘cumming’ up to Winter.
But there are some needy souls who I come across who share their sad stories of bitter break ups and yearn for new romances. Like an online therapist I warm the cockles of their hearts by listening to them – offering impartial advice and being the voice of another woman that will help them delve into the psyche of what women want. One man told me his disheartened tale of how he had been offered money for sex – poor man; another told me I was the only nice woman he’d spoken to as most just wanted money for shopping?
And so the quest for a normal, real person continues. Ironically on an online dating website where men continue to strike the conversation with ‘boo sexy’ or ‘hello horny’. Such elaborate labels of love leave me desensitised: bait to the uncouth. I continue to seek for a sliver of wit or intelligence that might allow me to give at least one of the primitive creatures a chance to impress me. So far, no such luck. But like a crusader in search for the Holy Grail, I drudge through the online suitors, in the hope that some metro sexual knight in shining armour will challenge my stance.
Back to the future
You would assume that when I say ‘identity thieves’ I am referring to people who strategically find ways to steal your credit cards and spend large sums of money in different area codes. But I bet you’d never considered a dater dressed in conceited armour pretending to be the 1989 version of himself like Marty McFly from ‘Back to the Future’, posting a profile picture from his misspent youth? Say hello to the online dating identity thief, one who proclaims to be the younger version of himself.
And there you are again doing your regular trawl, perhaps a night of boredom and you’ve decided to just see whose online and within a 25 mile radius. Up pops a picture. He looks ok. He’s not Brad Pitt, but you’ve long buried that thought now and you’re willing to compromise for a ‘normal-ish’ looking man. The picture isn’t close up, it’s distant but enough for you to make a concerted decision to strike up a conversation seeing as he’s made initial contact.
So begins the banter, usual exchange of information, some personal some merely there to convey your witty, intelligent, gregarious self. There is a moment of hope as we realise we work in the same area of town, future lunches together are conceivable as are journeys together to and from work. He was keen to meet at the weekend but I was committed to a wedding in London, that’s ok as he’s made the bold suggestion to get on his motorbike and bike it all the way to London – find me – put me on the back of the bike and zoom it to the North Circular to a biker joint for lunch. Wind in my hair like a Bond girl in hot pursuit, the image was inviting but a little bit concerning – he was willing to bike it a hundred odd miles to meet me though I’d never seen him in real life. Unfortunately the wild child inside me quickly morphed into a dull Victorian spinster, one who couldn’t possible deal with breaking conventions; well someone biking it all the way could potentially be drastically awkward. I had to think quick. I didn’t want to lose the opportunity of a potential suitor but I certainly did want to be turning down a ride from a weirdo. A sensible alternative was put forward the suggestion to meet in his lunch break at a nearby pub as a first point of contact rather than a futile journey.
A date was fixed and 40 minutes would have to suffice. I arrived looking smart casual but catwalk material of course. Despite being lunch time I took some Dutch courage and was part way through my Cranberry and Gin (yes I know it’s an odd drink). A text alert – ‘are you in there?’ and I informed him I was. In cometh a totally different man to the one I thought I was meeting, I knew how old he was in the picture, mid forties, but in walked a man who looked nothing like his picture! A tired middle aged man, frumpy, fully armed with love handles and wearing more creases around his eyes than an origami master class.
I felt myself become the sand timer, eager for the minutes to escape and to run very quickly out of the pub we were in. But I clearly couldn’t and listened to his past times including regular visits to the gym? And Yoga? Yeh right. As he sat next to me I tentatively ordered a child’s portion of chips, there wasn’t much else I could order that was small enough and quick enough to consume. My body language was telling him to stay the hell away as I was practically on the edge of my seat clutching my handbag ready to hit the eject button.
There was no spark, no connection and I couldn’t see past the aged face that beared no resemblance to the photo. He spoke of his previous relationship and explained in disdain that the only women he seemed to attract were single mothers with four kids. Ahem. Stop the press. I have three kids? My tone was bordering on exclamatory and disbelief that this man hadn’t even bothered to do his homework. He looked at me in horror as he ashamedly said he hadn’t even read my profile! Even if he was ever in with a chance he’d blown it like an epic disaster scene where Bruce Willis yells ‘Yippy ka yay m*ther f%cker’. It was game over. ‘Have you even read my profile?’ I asked, appalled that you would even fathom meeting up with someone without having read their profile. ‘Er, no’ was the response. Not that that would have made any difference. And so we retreated outside as I reminded him of the time, but wait, the man still had a morsel of hope that he might be visiting me in London at the weekend.
As I did the awkward well I’ll be off then, nice to meet you line, he insisted that I try on the spare motorbike helmet he had brought along to check it fitted. So not only was I trying to escape from him, I was now stood with a biker’s helmet on my head in the middle of the car park looking like a contender in a Top Gear episode and feeling like a twat. He lured his way right up to my car door and asked whether he would hear from me, I sheepishly said ‘maybe’ though my lips were actually mouthing ‘like a hole in the head’.
Engine on as I said my departing words, foot heavy on the pedal, I sped my way out of the car park never looking back. Please punters, put a proper pic up!
Fast and furiously slow
Blanche Dubois may well have relied on the kindness of strangers but despite sitting in the passenger seat of a rather nice sports car with a man nine years younger than me, I wasn’t ready to accept the offer. He, however, was ready to give me the green light but it was never going to happen; despite being introduced to ‘Christina’ the car and her special ‘trip tonic’ features, Christina was going to take him further than I ever could on this date…
A thirty year old man with a well cared for body and a nice face – what more could I ask for? His profile wasn’t amazing but it was his sheer resilience through the constant ‘winks’ on the site (even though I had refused to even acknowledge them) which made me warm to him. In fact he had finally decided to put up some photos of himself just so that I might respond. And I did. He didn’t look like a transvestite, old aged pensioner or an ex convict after all, so I thought he deserved a meeting ‘as friends’ at least, as I was very conscious that he was younger than me.
He failed to meet me in the up market cafe I suggested, unable to even follow directions in the link I’d sent him; I had to find him in the end lurking near a perfume shop where he said he was. He didn’t look so far removed from his picture but when he opened his mouth, nothing but a cacophony of a strong Northern clipped accent coupled with banal words took exit. His thick ‘gangsta’ slang spoke of cleaning his cars, ‘chilling with his bro’ and working out at the gym. The end. That was him in a nutshell. There were awkward moments of silence as I prompted him to talk about something, anything. Our future life together was over in the first five minutes really when he’d asked me about the Remembrance Day Poppy I was wearing – no seriously, he didn’t know what it was and looked further bemused at my explanation – doomed from the instant. I rapidly retreated from the thought of having any food after the coffee and his last resort was to introduce me to his sports car in the hope that ‘Christina’ (the name he had given his car) might spark my fuse.
We walked down the narrow dark lane where murky puddles led me to the realms of some unidentified car park that charged pittance. Here he pointed out his shiny red pride and joy, I made a joke of how awful it looked parked in mire in the cheap non-descript car park. Time was of the essence and he said he wanted to take me for a ride to get a bite to eat, I suggested a ride home was more appropriate and made excuses about getting home in time through the pre-Christmas traffic that was clogging the streets.
The journey back was painstaking, but I had to keep the momentum and tried to be as honest as I could without sounding like a complete bastard. He kept talking about giving him a chance and complimented continuously; he even asked out right what I thought of him so I had to keep to the story of our age gap being the issue. Tedious, tedious, tedious. I even joked about helping him improve his profile, hinting that this relationship was a non-starter. He wanted me to think about it. A nanosecond later, I had thought about it and the answer was still ‘No!’. I was still sat in a stranger’s car pretending to be uber cool when in actual fact my pretence was starting to falter. Nope, seconds later I still failed to feel any pangs of lust for him.
Destination arrival: three blocks away from where I actually lived and I thanked him for the meeting and ended up kind of patting his bald head in a semi playful manner which suggested I had reduced him to a child in my mind. RELEASE. He said he knew he probably wouldn’t hear from me and I light heartedly reminded him that we lived in the same town and that we could have a drink some day (when the Apocalypse occured).
Another date. Another sigh. Another HUGE relief that I could shut the door and resort back to comfy slippers.
Lead us not into temptation
An alternative tactic was put into place. How much online trawl could one endure before you were screaming to be let back out into the real world? So I figured that I needed to become more proactive with the nonchalant sitting around in public places sipping hot chocolate and marking work. “Carpe Diem!” seize the day and be on the lookout for real men passing by in real places. I pictured the scene in ‘Meet Joe Black’ you know the one I mean, where Brad Pitt just happens to walk into a cafe and just happens to immediately fall in love – yes that Hollywood moment that suddenly carried more weight than the mentalists on online dating.
My weekly well being break at Costas to sitting and catch up with work now held a new dual purpose. Drop a Costas napkin coquettishly near a well groomed opponent or walk seductively across the way to collect another sachet of sugar. Both equally ridiculous and unlikely to ever manifest – but it was the thought that counted. But wait. Just as I thought I was just creating a cliché Romcom in my head I found myself sat opposite a well groomed, trendy George Clooney lookalike. A monument of the metro sexual man, he had swagger in his step, wore jeans and a T-shirt, quiffed hair – he even had a man bag. I watched him like a girl with a crush, he was in a word, hot.
Assuming this was one of those one off occasions where you happen to be in the presence of a good looking man, I distilled the dream quickly. But don’t despair my friends my luck took an unusual turn because when I returned to my usual coffee haul, the same day the following week, there he was in the same spot. Hot and flustered I texted my friend who told me to just approach him. I wanted to but felt like a spotty teenager again, sweating at the very thought of speaking to him. I backed out, though he caught my eye as I lusted in the corner with my hot chocolate.
A further reprimanding over the phone from my friend, who refused to listen to my desperation – unless I was actually going to take action. I was still not entirely convinced about just striking up a conversation with a stranger in the middle of a food court, but I was now afraid that my indecisions and lack of impulse would lose me the opportunity of a chance and if nothing else a great story I could re-tell. I turned up motivated and ready to try and be braver. Balls. He wasn’t there. However I had in the previous week managed to strike up a conversation with one of the women who clears up the tables (on this visit I had managed to leave my phone whilst exiting the place in distraction. I thought I’d bit the bullet and do some homework and just asked her straight out, “that man who sits over there”, I pointed in the direction of his usual space – “Oh that good looking man” she laughed “I know the one you mean”. I proceeded to tell her about my online disasters and asked her what she knew about him seeing as I’d seen her chatting to customers, she must have had some knowledge. Oh she knew. Not only did she tell me he was called Richard and that he was married with kids but that he was a…VICAR!! Just imagine the sheer embarrassment I might have endured had I chosen to thrust myself over his coffee. The very thought made me sink into a metaphorical confessional box.
Weeks on, I contemplate joining his Church of love. I still sit in the same spot opposite him on a weekly basis, catching his eye, wondering what sinful thoughts he harbours when he looks up. Damn. Lead us not into temptation.
Luck of the Irish
I think I love you” were the heartfelt words that destroyed this online romance. Meet Mr Irish: lives somewhere in the realms of Northern Ireland far removed from me in a distant land where there are no readily available women. Not just any old Irishman but a circumcised one who confessed to having visited the Ukraine to find the girl of his dreams. Apparently this is where the ‘incident’ of kosher occurred – an unfortunate entanglement where he got all caught up – ouch.
And so we begin the same dark tale of an unknown man who strikes up an online conversation which quickly moves on to text banter. So what is on offer behind the banter? Well, not a lot really apart from the ‘carry on’ style innuendoes that painted sketchy visions of swinging from chandeliers in ecstasy. Did I even speak to him? Perhaps three occasions at most, and although I declined the Skype invitation, the messages continued to feed like oxygen to the brain of a lab monster.
At what point did the tell tale signs immerge? Was it the fact that he’d often question his own ability to sustain my attention “I think you were bored in our last conversation” or “do you think I’m boring?” coupled with “I think you should stop going out” were enough to show me the light. But the weeks of late night chat and his attractive Irish accent were enough to fill the void until he said he’d informed his mother about me (alarm bells are ringing). Suddenly the messages have taken an emotional one way street – “Are you my girl?” Erm nope. “Yes but are you my girl?” NO. But the man wasn’t taking no for an answer and the day I had the message reading “I think I love you” I knew it was time to pack up the stage and disappear without a forwarding address. My intrinsic and frank response was “don’t be ridicules” but this was followed by “I’m serious”.
It was time to take action. It was time to wean him off this deadly drug. I ignored him for days after the declaration and when the conversation resorted back to garden tools and weather it felt safe enough to tentatively enter the arena. It was the night that I was out indulging in cocktails that he asked me about whether he should “bow out”. My prayers had been answered; the psychotic Irishman had finally given me a get out clause! “Yes” was my sure fast response. Little did I know that my honest clinical response would result in a barricade of abuse? I had led him to believe he was on to a good thing? That’s right; somewhere in his mind he had envisaged a life with me in England in my house. I was now that harsh ‘f’ and ‘b’ word. He had turned from the boring uninteresting generic man from Ireland to a foul mouthed caricature from ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’. The horrific holiday romance came to a close, though I’m still expecting a letter bomb from Belfast to arrive in time for Valentine’s Day. However the stalking menacing messages of “I’m not going to stop messaging you until you answer” proceeded. Ah online dating linked quite nicely with the summer anthem ‘Blurred Lines’ this year.
You’re havin’ a giraffe
London boys. A breed of their own: confident, cocky, arrogant loveable rogues. Exhibit c) Slightly overweight, more than a pound of flesh on offer, cheeky smile, intriguing enough for me to respond. And so begins the hot pursuit. Despite feeling jaded and delusional, I choose to pick myself up again from the sheer awfulness of these ordeals and agree to exchange a number or respond to a message.
It begins as normal. You don’t even need a cue card now; the messaging begins which quickly fire into outrageous flirtation. And then stops. Days of silence. Do you text? Do you wait? Is that too eager? Do you play cool? Hang on a minute; I never opted into the dated game? I’m trying to be proactive by throwing myself onto these sites and here I was part of some bizarre intricate plot to throw my mind off course. Not fair.
There is an agreement to call and I hear him for the first time; to be honest I’m totally taken in by the coarse cockney voice; the dominance although foreign to me is equally enticing and I’ve decided this could be exciting.
Days go by. No word. More days go by. No text. Although HE has agreed to set a date and meet, the exchanges have suddenly become jilted and barely make it into the inbox. I take the plunge and ask him to re-confirm to avoid being dropped the night before. But rest assured reader; he has confirmed and tells me to ‘chill out’ as he will definitely meet up as agreed. The little voice inside me says this isn’t right as the interaction is no longer engaging. I’m fighting it, I don’t want to give in – I want to be undefeated and take up the challenge and the sweating out continues. Why do people do this? Why the chase? What do they actually want or need? Feeling awkward as time creeps closer I almost want it to not happen. No problem. He beats me to it.
8am text. “Sorry I can’t meet”. No explanation. No shame. Done. I respond with “What a surprise”. Do I hear from him again? Nope. Does he continue to be on the dating site? Yes!
London boys: (fat) arrogant men who live in a bubble world where people outside the radius are just too inconvenient. But he got my attention and that was the important part for him – at least I think so – but I’ll never really know…
“I only ever date thick people.” Gavin
So, let’s start with Gavin. Date one. A nice restaurant, drinks, we get on really well and I invite him to a birthday on date three, we had agreed to spend a day out in London midweek which in turn was a success – I had ensured that every bill was split so that I felt no obligation to repay him in kind of course. The foreshadowing to impeding disaster had begun to prevail with ominous comments such as “I only ever date thick people….and it feels like I’m with an equal” were speculative. In Putting those aside and rekindling the positivity of on line datingsp date three arrived and he decided to drive in, car park overnight, erm no pressure that I have to put him up for the night or anything!
The choice phrases however got worse “I didn’t realise you weren’t going to put out” – charming to say the least and by the time we get to the third bar he confesses to being on therapy, gets flustered and upset insisting that he has to go home. Despite my offer of tea and couch, he declined as he vanished into the taxi in the rain. The unstable behaviour however manifested further through texts that said he was overwhelmed with emotion and crying on the way home? He then did a semi-film critique and compared me to the ‘beautiful’ dancer from ‘Carlito’s Way’. Bipolar? Neurotic? I’m still guessing as I write but the best bit is yet to come. After the texts became sporadic dwindling to decent, monosyllabic and disinterested, he does the noble act and professes that he couldn’t possibly woo me in the way that I deserved; he needed to focus his attention on his divorce and in fact he didn’t even see me as someone in ‘a man-woman relationship’ bearing in mind I think I was supposed to be his pudding on date three.
We part texts and being ridiculously intrigued by the odd text I agree to his invite to see a comedy show months later. I turn up with a new air of confidence knowing that I no longer need to impress this man who remember is in part therapy part rehab state – I mean what could possibly go wrong, it’s not like this was a date or anything.
We proceeded to the venue and can’t have been stood anymore than an hour; this was proabably payback for not even offering him the couch the first time round. I can’t quite remember at which point it occured to me that he was no longer in vision. I trawled around the small bar area, got someone else to check the toilets, texted, phoned, left messages on his phone like a mad woman. That’s right people. He had left the building: “Gavin has left the building”. Disapppeared, eloped, vanished like an impressive illusion. Disaster dates, One where the date just….well decides to just exit. And did I ever hear from him again? No. Left to feel disarrayed, dazed and quite frankly shocked that people think this behaviour is acceptable. I’m still here fighting the complex world of online dating, slightly jaded but fighting the cause of true love! Gavin…wherever you are, I hope you managed to find your mind because I would have loved to give him a piece of mine.
Close encounters of the rebound kind
You constantly wake up in the early hours of the morning because you can’t sleep. The endless break up scene plays in your head over and over again and you try to play it out in a different way like a bonus scene at the end of a film. But the truth is no matter how you decide to play it, it always ends in the same way. You being dumped. That’s right, you’ve cried and you’ve cried and you’ve tried to figure out how you could have changed the motion in its tracks. Then there are those great days when your friends remind you of what a good for nothing bastard he or (she) was and you reside back into the semi comfort zone of the singleton: incapable of really entering into any meaningful relationship. But the consolation prize is you are now the perfect contender for online dating – say hello to match.com sorry I mean damaged.com. And if there was any moment in your life apart from the teenage years of black heads, black clothes and revolutions, you are now the very meaning of Radio Head’s ‘Creep’ and every single Adele song is about you.
Ahh enter the world of megalomaniacs and frayed around the edge people or people who want to simply have consented sex with you to heal their equally fresh wounds of separation. But my favourite offerings of malevolence have to be the photo of personal anatomy. That’s right photo messages which entail a graphic unsightly image of genitalia. And just when you think you might have encountered a real person behind the facade of ‘hi, I’ve been single for a while’ and you fall into the trap of confidence. Incoming alert. A picture message corrupts your inbox. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s as a picture of a willy. Sigh. How has this become the rules of engagement? Is this what I’ve missed during the stable years of a relationship? And yet again all those hopes of ever meeting anyone half decent are crushed as the picture message is deleted, with frantic hands of disarray and revolt.
You vow that you’ll never exchange numbers again…until the next time. But hang on this time it isn’t a full view it’s….the peeping sort. ‘These are a bit naughty’ but they’re not that bad’. Help. You’ve been metaphorically suffocated by the all encompassing creature from the abyss. You never want to see one again incase it insidiously appears in a secret message that only says one thing. “I would like to copulate with you and end your troubles for a night. Here’s my nob, I mean here’s my mob. number”.
The World of Online Mating
So here lies the rub. You kinda advertise yourself, but you secretly don’t want them to read into who you really are because you’re putting yourself out there like you know you should, but you don’t know these people and they can’t possibly be even remotely close to your intelligence levels entwined with your exceptional wit and appreciation of culture and the world in general. So like a bitch you’ve written them off before they are even allowed to try and get to know you because you are full of trepidation that by exchange five a picture message might obliterate any morsel of kindness you might have stowed away for a rainy day. The longer your trawl the ape world of online dating, the more apathetic you become. Each day rips away at your disillusioned dream that Darcy, Clooney or Gatsby might seduce you through rhetoric. Alas. Another rapist face and fragmented conversation where you are now pretending to want to know about them and they are begging to send you a photo message.