More horrifying than a spider in your ear: that’s how I’d sum up my two years, so far, of online dating.
The immediate reaction to my stories is either laughter or nausea. Usually nausea, though.
So often, members of my circle spring up from their chairs and vanish to the bathroom, coming back ten minutes later patting their mouth with a napkin and looking a bit green. Either that or they shriek and then look at me with a mixture of pity and awe.
So we have pity, awe and nausea. Yet everyone says online dating is now the way to meet people. (Actually, I’d strike the word ‘people’ from that sentence and substitute it with ‘perverts’, ‘nutcases’, ‘footsluts’, ‘clowns’, ‘baldy Buddhists’, ‘Woody Allen lookalikes’…I could go on. Well, I do go on, despite these characters.)
The men you’ll read about here have made me cry and rage and stamp my foot and throw a Pyrex mixing bowl at the wall.
But they’ve also pulled me out of a slump when I was miserable and needed a parade of startling men to haul me out of it. It’s impossible to be lethargic and sad when you need to tackle these jokers every Saturday night.
Where Prozac failed, the pervs succeeded. So, I’m not bitter. I want to recall all the madness, write it down and hopefully make you laugh, or just curl your toes and thank God you’re not me.
I was reading about Nora Ephron this morning. Her idea was ‘When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you. When you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your laugh.’
So that’s the thinking here: my dates are an assault course of sinister, smirking banana peels and I need to manoeuvre through them without slipping. However, when I do slip, I’ll skip back here and tell you, so the joke’s on them. I’m taking back the power.
So, the first thing to do was choose a dating site. Many online daters go on several sites at once. They set up a profile, add pictures of themselves snow-boarding, then sit back and wait for the ‘likes’, ‘winks’ and ‘icebreakers’ to flood their inbox.
I couldn’t afford to sign up to lots of sites, so I chose carefully, and went with a slightly upmarket one. I’m no snob, but I checked out the other sites and this was the only one with men who knew how to handle punctuation, and there was zero-tolerance of the despicable LOL.
Writing my dating profile was agonising. I couldn’t write a serious profile, but neither could I take the easy route and say ‘I like to snowboard and chill with a DVD.’
Because I don’t. I have skied but never ‘chilled’, and neither am I likely to. So, I kept my profile short. In my arrogance, I thought my photos would do the talking for me.
After work, I checked my inbox. Seven e-mails already. A good haul, surely?
I was chirpy and my ego was soothed. I clicked on the first one. It was a man calling himself Pussy_Lover. Pussy? But I thought I’d gone upmarket!
Read Julie's experiences here
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