Since writing about anyone I actually know is a no go, I have to rely on dating websites for this experiment. Men reduced to words and pictures.
So, guy in the orange tank top and visor, that’s a no. And you, posing next to the Lamborghini, also, no. To the man who put an apostrophe in the word “car’s”. No.
Dude who wrote saying, “I’ve never been with an English girl, but could be into that.” They have freephone numbers for you.
And the guy who mailed me, waited until I checked his profile, gave it five minutes, then sent me this: “I saw you looked at me. Was there something you did not like?”
Also wanting to speed up this 40 dates business, on the advice of a friend, I joined plentyoffish.com. It’s free, so there’s a lot more traffic.
I may as well have posted naked photos of myself on Craigslist. Every two minutes my iphone bings with another e-mail from Sleazebags R Us.
So what is the point of online dating? It’s not really the story you want to tell your grandkids is it? On the one hand I have massive respect for the people who are genuinely trying to find love online, putting themselves out there, being open and receptive, honestly admitting they haven’t found anyone in person.
But after paddling in the online pool for a month, it just feels like a giant bar. One that’s about to close. There are a couple of lonely guys drinking through breakups, a socially-inept geek and a slimy bottom-feeder circling the overserved chick who just dropped her keys down the toilet.
There are a few exceptions, of course. Like at the bar, you get your normal, well-adjusted people who just fancied getting blasted tonight. They happen to be hanging around, because no better plan came along.
Sadly this was not the guy I went out with last night. Last night was socially-inept geek guy.
Sweet and shaking with nerves, he seemed like he wanted to run from the moment I sat down. I applaud him for making it through a whole hour in fact. I had to restrain myself from patting him on the arm reassuringly. He had things to offer, a great and interesting career in movies, a history of adventurous travel and award-winning musical talent. He wasn’t bad looking, ruggedish, tallish, nice eyes. But he was terrified of me.
I’m not ready to forgo finesse and chemistry. I know everyone says that stuff disappears in the long-term relationship anyway, and maybe one day I’ll be ready to settle for less, but not yet. Call me unkind, immature, cold even, but I don’t ever want to coax a guy through a date.
Friends say I need to consider the ‘nice guy’. Actually scratch that, my mum said it. My friends still believe in looking for fireworks, ‘pizzazz’, or as Carrie Bradshaw put it, ‘the za za zhoo’.
Ok so my mum has turned out to be right about everything else, but for some reason I can’t give up on the kind of player who keeps me guessing, who doesn’t care that much.
Recently my brother asked me why I suddenly showed interest in a guy I’d previously thrown on the ‘nice guy’ pile. I gave it some thought, then finally traced the moment my interest flared.
“He started acting like an arsehole” I said.
It’s not just me. Men have so often asked, ‘why do women like pigs? Why does the player get the girl?’
It’s more than simply, ‘we want what we can’t have’. It’s that we want someone who likes themselves, someone with self-respect. That’s attractive.
But what looks attractive can easily be a cover for rampant misogyny. And in women, steely resolve and high standards might be the thin paper over some serious fear. Or she could be someone who reels a guy in, only to move onto the next ego boost.
Dating is a high-risk, high-stakes game. Luckily my cards aren’t genuinely on the table.
Geek guy wants to go out again. I’m ignoring him. If nothing else, there’s plenty more sleaze in the sea.