The reasons for this are threefold:
1. It distracts me from other, much more important things, like writing and cleaning the oven on a reasonably regular basis.
2. I’m spectacularly crap at it and haven’t been on an actual date in months.
And 3. I hate it.
That is to say I hate it whilst at the same time finding it strangely, addictively, compulsive. A bit like a mind blowingly good in bed but otherwise entirely toxic boyfriend, it is full of promise, the highs can sometimes be amazing, but any woman with half an ounce of sense knows well enough that she’d best get her arse out of there sooner rather than later before it all goes wincingly, horribly wrong and her self esteem is blithely reduced to tatters.
Now – I upgraded fairly early on in my internet dating ‘career’ from the skin crawlingly awful, lecherous, punctuation free zone that is Match.com to what I thought might be the slightly more refined charms of Guardian Soulmates. The men there could at least spell and seemed, frankly, much better looking. But I’m afraid to say that my snobbery got me absolutely nowhere. Who was I kidding? Lechery couched in slightly more ornate, flowery, better looking terms, even with appropriate punctuation, is still lechery from whichever angle you wish to look at it. It got to the stage where I thought that if I received just one more e-mail containing a slightly politer, more middle class version of, “Phwoargh, ‘ello darlin. What a shame you live on another planet eh” (I have the audacity to live outside the M25) then my will to live might finally desert me. Forever. And I can’t have that.
I also decided that if I read one more profile containing any of the following phrases, then I would be forced to take a life times vow of celibacy. And honestly? I can’t have that either…
1. ‘I like going out and staying in’. (Good god, how about that.)
2. ‘I love to laugh’. (No shit, really?)
3. ‘I would like to meet a person who is comfortable in their own skin.’ (Whiffs far too suspiciously of self-help hippy woo bollocks for my liking. No, no, and no.)
4. ‘I want someone who is passionate.’ (Oh for crying out loud – what does that even mean? Passionate about what? I can go on and on for bloody hours about my job if you really want me to, but if what you’re after is kinky sex on the first date you can forget it.)
Yep – nothing quite like an online dating cliche to send you running to the local nunnery. I mean why do perfectly intelligent people write that kind of shit about themselves? It’s not that I lack empathy – I know it can be tricky to write something coherent and cliche free that makes you sound in any way dateable, but christ, even I managed it in the end. Or did I?
In fact I asked a friend (we’ll call her K) what she thought I should write. She had thought long and hard, her brow looking all suitably furrowed, and in the end said, ‘Well…. why don’t you put: Works for Women’s Aid, has tattoo on head, is a bit gobby, prone to occasional bouts of angry feminist ranting, and likes gazumping men in busy car parks, particularly if they are deemed to have a ‘wanky’ car.’
‘Aw Kaaaaaay’, I wailed. ‘I really don’t think that will get me a boyfriend any time soon.’
‘Noooo’, she replied. ‘I don’t suppose it will. In which case I should just put up a picture of yourself in a tight dress and say as little as possible, frankly’.
I made a face. ‘Do you think I should mention the fire spinning?’
‘No. That just makes you sound mental. They’ll all worry you’ll set fire to their curtains.’
I did mention the fire spinning in the end. And the fact that I drive too fast and swear too much. Try as I might I just couldn’t quite bring myself to say how much I liked laughing and going out and staying in.
I’m still boyfriendless believe it or not.
But what I do have is a functioning blog and a very clean oven.