A couple of months ago I joined an online dating agency. For a week. It took me that long to go on a date and realise I absolutely wasn’t ready to be dating, online or otherwise.
The site I used is run by a left-leaning, well-known national newspaper – I figured I’d get a sensitive type who’d understand and respect my request for ‘friendship’ only.
The application procedure for these sites is brutal. Take the section entitled ‘Preferences’ for example. One bloke had written that his ideal soulmate would ‘go like a rocket and cook like Fanny Cradock’. (And he had the audacity to ‘like’ me. He clearly ain’t tasted my cooking!)
In my ‘profile’, I tried to sound as fun as possible – you know, ‘outgoing, bubbly, widow’. In my own ‘Preferences’, I resisted the temptation to write ‘Must be six foot tall, own hair and teeth an advantage’, and simply stated that I missed male companionship and longed for some manly craic over a glass of pop.
The big night came and I agreed to meet my sensitive, respectful date outside a pub. And sensitive and respectful he was too – he’d starched his shirt beautifully and polished his shoes. However, I realised immediately I saw him that this was not going to work. And it wasn’t his bald patch that put me off, honest. Even if Ewan McGregor had been waiting for me outside that pub I would have felt the same.
It just felt totally wrong, being out with another man. Insensitive and disrespectful gropes with a plumber, yes. But potential real-life ‘relationship’ with a sentient individual, no.
When you’ve loved and lost your soulmate, I guess you can’t imagine it ever feeling right.