GREAT news. I think. Glasgow is a great place in which to be looking for love, with 44 per cent of the city single, according to an online dating company.Why does this matter? Flash back to Valentine’s Day. There I was, lying in a pool of poetical blood, having been shot in the heart with the killer question no single man over a certain age wants to hear: “How many Valentine’s cards did you get?” asked a friend.

I looked up and tried to form a bold smile as I lied through my capped teeth. “So many that my doormat took such a battering I’m off to B&Q this afternoon to buy a new one.”

I was entirely unconvincing. The reality consumed both of us. I’m single. Uncoupled now for some time, I’m almost the age of a Beatles song – and I don’t feel fine at all.

When you reach a certain age you simply can’t hang out in bars for fear of being seen as a saddo. The past is another country in which every Friday night was fun night, getting wrecked on white wine spritzers and meeting women themselves a little worse for wear.

Some 25 years on, meeting potential partners is far more problematic. And you can’t assume friends will endorse you to single women of their knowing; being unmarried at a certain age means women see you as a hopeless case.

So what to do? Give up? Get an allotment? Yes, I have to take matters into my own hands. As John Donne almost said, “No man is an island. And he needs someone to go to the Grosvenor with on a Saturday night with.”

But it’s not easy. As well as the lack of opportunity to meet people, you have to battle against your own torpidity. After a while you (sort of) get used to your own routine.

Then there’s the fussiness you develop over the years. I once went on a blind date and discovered the meeting to be utterly pointless the moment I noted the female’s shoes (flash, suede, with very big sailor’s hornpipe bows) – worn for a lunchtime coffee. (I was right to be shoe sceptic, as it happens. Turns out we had nothing in common.)

There’s another issue with being single and ageing. The passing years offer experience, a knowing of what you need in a partner, and this knowledge can be inhibiting. Realising you want someone who is intelligent, challenging and fun – but also someone who is serious, thoughtful and kind is a heavy boulder to shove. Realising blondes certainly assert themselves on the eye (but not exclusively), and that you’re a sucker for high cheekbones and a cheeky glint is daunting.

Yes, I’m asking a lot. And to add to that list I just don’t feel comfortable with women bigger than me. So, prospective partners have to be able to limbo under a size 10 bar.

There are notes of optimism, however, to bring to this rather cynical partner quest. Having mutually split with my long-term partner (okay, it was a little more mutual on her part), I’ve since learned where I truly went wrong: if you’re going to be with someone for a very long time you should assume they would love to be married. Even if they never offer the slightest indication of such.

Can I commit? I’d like to think so. So where to begin with this search to find a wife? (My mother’s description of my situation.) It’s been claimed that more than 17 per cent of marriages begin online these days, according to figures supplied by the Statistic Brain Research Institute. That’s good, isn’t it?

Well, I’m not so sure. It all seems like HMDI cable connection love. I prefer some form of personal interest to predicate the meeting. I quite liked the high school “My pal fancies your pal” arranged dating, and I thought the premise of the early lonelyhearts agencies to be absolutely sound.

My education into this world began in the Kelburne Cinema in 1970 when I watched Carry On Loving. I liked this world. All you had to do was wander into the Wedded Bliss dating agency, the little high street love shop run by Sid Bliss (Sid James) and the

big-hearted Sophie Plummett (Hattie Jacques), who would flick through a box of cards and pick out someone who’s exactly your type.

I recall at 14 wondering if Sophie could pick out someone for me.

Fifty years on, I’m wondering exactly the same thing, except that the personal finger of selection has gone and electronic algorithms, not Sophie, will be used to make the selection. No, I’m not keen on this online business at all. Yes, I know seven million in the UK alone are registered. But how can a list of preferences predict chemistry?

I tell myself to shut up. And haven’t the likes of Sharon Stone, Melanie Sykes and Ulrika Jonsson gone online to find a special friend? If nothing else, this suggests there are some interesting women out there.

Time to start. The first place has to be Tinder, doesn’t it? For one thing, the phone download is free. All you have to do is swipe in the direction of the female of your choice, hope that you’re her choice and arrange a meet. And before you can say “Congratulations,” you’re taking her up the aisle.

Or are you? For me, the reality of Tinder turns out to be something rather different. I wonder, “Do I look as old as some of the women I’m swiping away?” What a frightening thought.

What I also find hard to comprehend is why someone would post pics of themselves with a Bambi nose superimposed, or little devil horns, or cartoon whiskers. Christ, I don’t want to go out with a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

What you also learn is that some of the women are eastern European and, rather surprisingly, seem keen to have a much older, rather well-off boyfriend. Perhaps I should be wary.

What I do like about Tinder, however, is that people are fairly obvious as to their requirement. I like the women who say, “No hook-ups”, which means they don’t want a one-night stand.

Yet a Psychology Today profile of Tinder suggests I’m more likely to meet a short-termist on Tinder. “Some of those individuals motivated by such social pressure and instant gratification are also more impulsive, less likely to be faithful and committed, and more interested in having sex for casual reasons,” claimed the writer.

I’ve also discovered another possible Tinder problem. One PR company recently created male Tinder profiles, ensuring the name, picture and age remained unchanged, but changed the job title.

Claiming to be a builder, they said, nearly doubles your chances of a being Liked. Now, I can hammer home a decent metaphor, mix up a decent simile but I can’t treat a damp patch (unless with towels) for the life of me.

What I can’t nail is a Tinder match. At the last count, I’d counted up 80-odd likes and there are females I’ve liked the look/profile of. But the problem is we don’t like each other. It makes me wonder how an app which can have 800 pages about me on my file (according to a recent newspaper investigation) – and 50million users – can’t match me up. Surely Sophie Plummett would have pulled someone out of the hat?

It’s time to look online again. And be optimistic? A survey carried out by dating site Badoo found that people in Glasgow had the best chance in Scotland of landing their Saturday night date. But that’s not love. That’s a lumber.

It seems the problem with internet dating is it represents the paradox of choice. Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once wrote of “the dizziness of freedom”. He could have been thinking about the huge volume of internet dating options out there, the anxiety that so much online choice can create. He could have been thinking that, while choice has soared, personal connection has dissolved.

Psychologist Michael Rosenfield has underlined this problem. He suggests that finding an online partner is all about learning, narrowing down your criteria,

just in case you seek “a same-sex partner, or a partner who is a vegetarian mountain-climbing Catholic”.

Well, I don’t, as it happens. But isn’t this all a bit soulless? Does tossing more algorithms at a robot really increase our chances? Or at the end of the day, do we simply connect or not? How can we work out what we want in a partner – even when we can never be exactly sure until we meet that person.

And let’s go back to Glasgow. Online dating company Eharmony says it’s “the most single city in Scotland”. However, the reasons are not encouraging. “58 per cent of Glaswegians have given up on finding love completely, 49 per cent feel overwhelmed by the modern dating landscape and 64 per cent think they’ll be single forever.”

Wow. That’s depressing stuff. The company cites lack of confidence and low self-esteem as playing a major factor. Well, that doesn’t apply personally but I have to admit I’m edging towards “the 20 per cent who worry their age is having a negative effect on their search for love”.

The survey goes on to cite negative past relationships as a factor, and meeting the wrong people on bad dates. “In fact, a quarter of Glaswegian singles have not had a relationship in over 10 years.”

Oh, dear. The allotment beckons. Or having to sign up for a singles holiday in Machu Picchu where I’ll meet lots of sturdy women in combat pants and open-toed sandals.

I try another internet dating service. It’s called Ourtime and within a couple of hours of filling in the forms I have 12 likes. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I do know it will cost £39.99 a month to find out who fancies me. Then there’s Elite. Which isn’t very. It’s claimed to be the dating agency for professionals. I try that one too, but what is a professional? Elite seems to think it’s hairdressers or care workers.

The website also seems to disregard geography. I declared I wanted to meet someone within a 40-mile radius and up pops Sandra from Craigavon and Maisie from Nottingham (I’m not likely to meet a Maisie, even if she lived next door.)

I know. If I were really that keen on finding love I’d open my arms to Maisies. I need to widen my outlook. I need to be positive and, like the other singletons, remind myself I live in a city that’s been spiritually blessed by a love saint. St Valentine’s remains are to be found in St Francis’s Church in the Gorbals. And didn’t Glasgow proclaim itself to be the City of Love in 2002. That has to help?

What else can I try? My friend Liam suggests I try Thursday nights (singles night) at Waitrose and try to connect over a nice piece of haddock. But then he suggests I follow St Val into church. “Go to mass to meet women,” he enthuses. “There are loads of singles. And if they’ve got kids, all you do is wait until they send the weans up for the Eucharist before making your move.”

I laugh because I’m thinking it’s not the craziest idea he’s ever had. But on the other hand there’s a real chance I could be hit by a bolt of lightning if I recalibrate St Margaret’s Chapel as a pick-up place.

What of the standard places to meet people these days? Salsa clubs? Yoga? They’re such a cliché but then you have to be in it to win it. That’s the feeling of Yvonne Carvel, who, along with Diane Goudie, runs the Raeburn Supper Club, which offers a meeting place – dinner or events – for 40 to 80-year-olds.

“Internet dating is popular but we’ve been going for 23 years now and we realised it isn’t for everybody. We’ve learned of lots of less than pleasant experiences.”

Carvel points out chemistry can only be discovered with a personal meet. “If you come to a supper club you are met by one of us and it’s so much easier to break the ice. And those who register get the chance to meet lots of new friends, with the possibility this may lead to something else.”

She adds, smiling: “And it has, on many occasions.”

What I have learned is that effort is required, if chances of meeting someone special are to be realised. Yes, I’ll have to advertise myself because standard social structures for meeting people don’t really apply as you move into your fifties and sixties. I’ll have to submit to all-day-long evaluation before complete, often disinterested, sometimes mocking strangers who may find themselves just as dismissive as me because they’re feeling just as anxious.

I have to accept that single people need to shop themselves around. In an online blurb can I convince anyone I’m sexy, funny, intelligent, honest and decent – and the pics are recent.

I have to push aside the statistic that claims that 36.1 per cent of women agree that money plays a part in how attractive they find a partner.

And even though most online relationships fail, one in three begins online. Hang on, here’s another statistic to end on. Glasgow has been dubbed the British capital of female singletons, with the highest number of single women in the UK, the city having 40,000 more single women than men.

Surely these are odds I can work with?

But I can’t help thinking it’s a Sophie Plummett I need rather than an algorithm.