6. Thanks But No Thanks

When I first started online dating, I would religiously write back to everyone who contacted me, even if I didn’t think they were for me, believing it was a polite thing to do. Not wanting to hurt people’s feelings, I’d send a courteous and sensitive reply saying that I’d enjoyed reading their profile but they lived too far away/didn’t share the same interests/weren’t my type.

These emails reminded me of the thank you letters my mother made me write after Christmas when I was a kid. Faced with a hideous hand knitted hat, a pac-a-mac and a pair of enormous knickers that I’d finally grow into in my twenties, I’d manage to write something so gracious that distant aunts would believe I’d been thrilled with their presents.

Although I’m often tempted to write back just to correct men’s spelling and grammar, I’m feeling a bit jaded nowadays and I’m afraid I rarely reply, particularly if it just says “hi” and their profile isn’t very interesting.  If they have put some effort into writing (they’ve written more than one sentence without including the words babe/hun/chick), I’ll send one back politely saying “thank you but no thank you”.

As gracious as my emails are, some men have taken exception to being turned down and I’ve received a few replies, like this one from HotCobra:

“No Worries hun, if you can’t hold a conversation ,then good luck , your loss ,Passion’s Fruit, cum’s to mind”

 

or this one from BigBoyDave:

 

“You think your so special. Well I thought you looked fat in your photo but I hoped it was just the angle it was taken from.”

 

Ouch BigBoy!!!  If anyone can enlighten me on what HotCobra’s talking about I’d love to know!

 

One of the “best” emails was one I received after a date.

Geoff had been looking at my profile on HeBay for weeks, but never emailed or nudged. Eventually I sent him a nudge because I thought he looked rather interesting.  After a week of nudging we played email pingpong for about two weeks. His emails were articulate, talking about his interests, places he’d been to etc. etc.

Finally he said that he’d like to meet up for a drink and “?”. I took that to mean “let’s have a drink and if we get on we’ll have dinner”.  He asked for my phone number and when he rang, we chatted for a while before arranging to meet at a local hotel bar.

The hotel is quite smart so I put on my favourite Paul Smith dress, not too tight, not revealing, and my beloved high heels.

Geoff was nice looking, well spoken and he looked clean. A little rotund perhaps, not my usual type, but not bad for a man in his 50s. He wasn’t 5’10” as he’d described on his profile which was a little disappointing as I towered over him in my heels, but I quite fancied him actually!

We drank G&Ts while he spoke about his job and asked intelligent questions about mine. We talked about our families, friends, places we’d travelled to. He seemed very nice and normal.

When I excused myself to go to the loo, he said “hurry back” but when I returned he seemed to change. He got fidgety and announced that he had to leave, he was tired. His exit was worthy of Steve McQueen in the Great Escape, I’ve never seen anyone move so quickly.

Possibly our wires were crossed. I was expecting dinner but I think he was expecting something else and realised he wasn’t going to get it. I rather suspect he may have had a backup plan and got a better offer while I was in the loo.

All dressed up, starving and with nowhere to go, I got KFC and returned home.

 

After two days I received this email:

“Thanks for Saturday evening. I enjoyed talking at you, cross examining you, possibly confusing you with schematics of [my job]! Most of all I remember trying not to stare at your magnificent bosom (it’s a guy thing).  I had to sleep on you so-to-speak!  

It’s like everything on the menu is good, but its so hard to make a decision …. “

 

Remembering my mother’s advice of “always say thank you even if you don’t like it”, this is the email I sent back:

 

“I too enjoyed Saturday evening. However, if I’d realised you just wanted to drool over my breasts I’d have worn a low-cut top so you could get a better look, and dispensed with the conversation. If you’d said you were only interested in me from the neck down I could easily have slipped a bag over my head. I kept crossing and uncrossing my legs so you could see up my skirt too, but maybe that was too subtle for you.

 Oh you men and the “guy thing”, that makes everything ok! In my limited experience most men keep those thoughts to themselves and don’t reveal them to a woman after one date, so I’m especially flattered that you decided to share them with me and not just with your male friends.

It must be really difficult to make a decision about whether or not you want to see someone again, especially when you haven’t been paying attention to their conversation. Again, thanks for sharing that with me. I’m touched that you’ve been trying to make up your mind about me for two whole days, and it’s really sweet that you’ve been thinking about me at all.  

 It seems that you still haven’t made up your mind and I’d love to say that I’ll just hang around until you do. In this case though, it’s not really your decision to make, since the dish of the day is off.

Rubarbs

PS. Following on with the hilarious menu analogy in your email, I was trying to take a sneaky peek at your packed lunch all evening, but it was hidden by your belly of pork. “

 

An overreaction? Maybe. Perhaps I have more in common with HotCobra and BigBoyDave than I thought. I was incensed though!  Geoff  turned out to be another numpty showing his true colours! Definitely a 10 on the Wanker Scale.

It seems to me that although men have a brain and a penis, for some there’s only enough blood to run one at a time.

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5. How to e-woo a woman….

As discussed in my previous post, it can take weeks of email pingpong to get to a stage where you arrange a date.

A man’s first email would be an introduction, where he says a little about himself and perhaps what attracted him to you.  Using the analogy of meeting in a bar again, it’s the equivalent of him coming over to you and chatting you up.

Unfortunately some men who’ve emailed me are clueless about what to write, even on some of the more “discerning” websites.

Here are some tips on what not to write:

1. Talk about your favourite food.

“You look delicious! would love to have you for lunch.”

Wow thanks Hannibal. With fava beans and a nice chianti perhaps?

2. Compliment her on her looks.

“I have not had much luck on here and I have started to target what I consider plainer girls”.

I’m not sure what worries me most, that you think I’m plain or that you used the word “target”.

 

3. Compliment her figure.

“Hi Sweetie,Lovely pics of you! Did you know that you are sitting on a GIANT MUSHROOM!!”

!!

 

4. Cultivate an air of mystery.

“Betchya wanna see a picture? Well, maybe not but if you’re curious, I’ll put one up. Nothing special but then again nothing to frighten you or make you go yuck!”

I can’t think of anything I’d like more than to see a picture of you to go with your eloquent prose, although funnily enough I can conjure up your picture in my head!

 

5. Be self-deprecating

“I wanted to say “Hi” even if you were to take one look at me and fall onto your back with your legs in the air laughing uncontrollably saying to yourself “he’s got no chance!””

No you haven’t. That’s because your photo is of you asleep on a sofa, balancing a pint on your belly and with a worms eye view up your boxer shorts.

 

6. Talk about your pets

“i see u have a dog like me ive got a laso apso lovley like her dad lol how about a stoll by the sea the dogs can meat each like wise over a chat and a drink or what ever u would like so hope to hear from u soon lol xxx”

I don’t have a dog like you. I have a dog similar to your dog. I don’t think they would have much to chat about over a drink, even if they were to “meat” while you and I have a “stoll”.

 

7. Check your spelling, especially with one-liners.

“hi u lok lovey”

Yes I am a bit of a drama queen at times, especially when I’ve had two late nights in a row.

 

8. Try to sound as normal as possible.

“Here in the surroundings of the Andes-mountains there are very few people I can thrust ,in spite ot the fact they talk a lot of “God” and “Bible” ans so on … don’t be afraid, I’m not the kind of person looking out on bothering you somehow, by sending you this “wink” I just wanted to show you apreciation, and sympathy.”

You’re probably quite harmless but I am ever-so-slightly afraid.

 

 9. Talk about where you’d take her for a first date.

“we will just do wot comes natural like goin to the pub,, or the next best thing………lol lol”

What comes natural is that we will never meet!

 

“if we get on an the vibes r right we will have a riot!! if not hasta la vista baby.”

Sorry Arnie, I won’t be back.

 

“Pie and a pint and think yourself lucky. Don’t want to be out of pocket if we don’t hit it off.”

Don’t forget to bring your club so you can hit me with it and drag me back to your cave.

 

“Meet up at a recommended dog-friendly pub, have a short walk and a meal.”

A walk and Winalot?  I’m wagging my tail just thinking about it!

10. State what you’re looking for in a relationship.

“aint got many interests these days, i aint got time, i go to work, come home, sort animals, feed me, wish i had a cuddle but go to bed alone. im a bloke if i get wrong tell me, if you dont tell me i’ll assume ive got it right & probably do it some more”

I bet your house is down a track, in the woods. Please read your email again, then ask yourself why you go to bed alone.

 

“looking for a nice lady that when you are apart from you cant wait to be next to and see again she must have no hang ups and who is definetly looking for longterm and not someone who will mess my head up again ( lol )”

Yes I was lolling too!

 

“To be up front about it, I have messaged users looking for sex. This will put you off I’m sure. However, its not the be all and end all. The urge happens from time to time.” 

Yes you’re quite right, it did put me off! I too get the urge from time to time but I don’t email strangers asking  for sex. I find a bar of chocolate and watching Embarrassing Bodies puts the dampers on it!

 

“Without appearing to be rude, may I ask you not contact me if you are financially strapped, thank you. Conversely, if you are very financially stable, then I am sure that I could make the transformation into being a kept man, lol.” 

Ok, I won’t contact you. Not because I’m financially strapped but because you’re an idiot. lol.

 

These are all excerpts from emails I’ve received, from freebie sites to those run by broadsheet newspapers!

4. Proper v. online dating…..

Like me, I’m sure you’ve bought things online. It saves time and effort and you can do it in your armchair, wearing your dressing gown and sipping a G&T. It doesn’t always go to plan though.

Needing something for a party this Saturday, you browse the internet for hours before you find a little black dress modelled by Elizabeth Hurley.  It’s nipped in at the waist, cut low to reveal a neat décolletage and just above the knee, showing off her shapely legs.  Believing that it will look equally chic on you, you send off for it.

When it does finally arrive on Saturday you rip open the package, but far from the stylish little black number you saw online, it’s made of material like a tea towel and the seams are coming undone. As it’s now 7pm, you have nothing else to wear, and you’re hoping that tonight may be your lucky night, you dash upstairs to put it on.

The dress looks nothing like it did on Elizabeth Hurley, the only similarity being the safety pins holding the seams together. It’s baggy on the bum, too tight on the tits, and it cuts across the middle of your calves making your legs look like tree trunks. There are deodorant marks under the arms but you’ve expended so much energy trying to get into it, you’re not going to take it off again. You rick your neck trying to grapple with the zip and follow this with the mother of all hot flushes. Standing by the freezer with the door open for half an hour to cool off, you try not to think of the vision of Liz H. You look at your dishevelled self in the mirror and think “that will have to do”.

You really wish you’d made the effort to go into town and try the dress on properly in a changing room, so that you could see what it looked like, whether it fitted and what it was made of. You may even have found something even better, not in your usual style but that looked fabulous when you tried it on.

Meeting someone in a conventional way is a bit like proper shopping. Imagine yourself as a single woman at a bar/club/party one evening. You look up and see a rather handsome man watching you from the other side of the room.  He’s not your usual type, but there’s something about him that you find attractive. You make eye contact, look away and make eye contact again. He smiles and you smile back. This goes on for a little while before he plucks up the courage to come over and talk to you. He offers you a drink and you chat for a while.

He has a gorgeous smile and he smells delicious. He’s well-spoken, interesting and confident. His hair is combed, his shoes are polished and his nails are clean. He laughs at your witty anecdotes and tells you that he too adores Girls Aloud and Dusty Springfield. Eventually you have to go, but before you do he asks for your phone number and tells you he’ll call…..

Internet dating is much more like online shopping. You’re choosing from pictures and you’ve no idea what the person is really like until you actually meet him.  His photos could be twenty years old and, although he’s told you he’s 6’1″, that’s on tiptoes, wearing built up shoes and standing on a box!

One evening you’re browsing Hebay for hours and you find a reasonable looking man. His photographs look ok, he can spell and he has no peculiar hobbies (that he’s admitting to). A little message appears on your screen telling you that he has also looked at your profile. He sends you a “nudge” which tells you that he has looked at you and might be interested. You nudge him. He nudges you back. You nudge him again.

A week later you get an email from him saying “Hi” (nothing else, just “Hi”). You write back the next day, telling him that you’d enjoyed reading his profile, and you tell him a bit about yourself in a few paragraphs.

Three days later he replies in two sentences, one telling you a little about him (his name, age and marital status) and the other asking “how is your week so far?”. (This is a question many men ask frequently. I’m sure it’s in the Hebay “What to Write to Women” manual, along with “walking on a windy beach” and “cuddling up on the sofa with a dvd and bottle of wine”.  Tempting as it is to reply “nothing much” which is probably more truthful, I usually make something up, giving the impression that my social life is more hectic than Paris Hilton’s.)

This goes on for weeks, his sentences gradually becoming a paragraph, and you running out of interesting things to reply to his question about your week. It’s a bit like pulling teeth but you persevere, because compared to the other profiles you’ve seen, his is actually ok.

After six weeks of email pingpong, and at the point of losing the will to live, you pluck up the courage to email him your phone number. He writes back with enthusiasm, telling you that he’s been wanting to ask for your number, but has been too shy to do so. Now he can’t wait to talk!  This email is positively encouraging and contains three paragraphs! You’re practically excited!

He says he will call you on Wednesday….. he doesn’t…..he texts you on Saturday saying he’s been busy and he will call you on Sunday…..

3. Writing about yourself…..

If men can be clueless when choosing a photograph for their profiles, let’s see what they write about themselves. Here’s an example of someone whose photograph was interesting enough for me to click on his profile:

I do’nt have a hobby probaly being single I like fishing but do’nt go regerly I like to make wine but not often I supose I would change if I met someone interest was in the same subject the stuff I have written here is true but boring well my kids are’nt boring but I would say that I am there dad I am an excelant cook but I have no one to cook for and cooking nice meals for youself is just sad”[sic]

I was tempted to write to him as follows:

“Dear Happyandsmiling306

I felt so depressed after reading your profile that I needed a lie down with a large G&T and some chocolate. It could have been written by Eeyore, it’s so downbeat.

The grammar and spelling is awful so I’d suggest you use spell check or ask one of your kids to check it for you. The lack of punctuation is fine if you’re James Joyce experimenting with the stream of consciousness, but as you’ve put your qualifications down as a CSE Grade 5 in Resistant Materials, I’m guessing you’re probably not.

It’s good that you’re willing to write the truth but in this case I don’t think it’s doing you any favours. I didn’t think you were THAT boring until you drew my attention to it! It’s possible that you were attempting to be self-deprecating, but my impression is of a man with such low self-esteem, he can’t be bothered.

I’m sure they are wonderful but nobody is interested in reading about your kids, women want to hear about YOU!  Unless you’re one half of the Brady Bunch, just leave your children out of your profile. You can talk about them later, hopefully on a date!

You need to try writing as though you really want to meet someone. Your chances of meeting a woman who likes fishing and winemaking are about 0.1% so I’d ditch the idea of finding someone with those interests and concentrate on your excellent cooking skills. Women LOVE men who are able to cook.

You’re right, cooking for one isn’t much fun, unless you’re Heston Blumenthal. All single people know that, we just don’t admit it to anyone else!

Nice photo though!

Rubarbs”

Some of you may think I’m really mean criticising the way someone writes (I’ve been occasionally known to split the odd infinitive myself). Yes I know some people are dyslexic/can’t spell/are uneducated/can’t type and it’s not their fault, but if you were applying for a job wouldn’t you ask someone to check over your application? Well it’s the same on a dating site.  You’re trying to make an impression, sell yourself, whatever! Like I said in my last post, it’s your shop window.

One thing in HappyandSmiling’s favour is that he doesn’t use text-speak.  Am I the only person on the planet who doesn’t understand this? Some men’s profiles are so littered with abbreviations and acronyms that I’m completely unable to read them without the help of transl8it.com or the surly 14 year old next door. It’s hard enough trying to decipher a one line text message but a whole profile would have been a challenge for Bletchley Park!

Here’s an example:

“I M a 🙂 LuvN guy n my 50s w a gud senS of humr. LMAO. I wk hard & plA hard & I’m l%kin 4 a lik mnded wmn 2 plA alng w me. ROFL. my ideal 1st D8 wud b a wlk on th bch w a bag of chps LOL”

This translates as:

“I am a fun loving guy in my 50s with a good sense of humour. Laughing my ass off. I work hard and play hard and I’m looking for a like minded woman to play along with me. Rolling on the floor laughing. My ideal first date would be a walk on the beach with a bag of chips. Laugh out loud.”

See what I mean? These are profiles written by 50 plus men who are trying to appeal to 50 plus women, not teenagers. They may as well be written in Japanese for all I can understand them! What’s so difficult about writing the words “in” or “the” in full?

Now aside from the ridiculous abbreviations, I just don’t get these acronyms. LMAO? Do they actually speak like this in real life? When the boss cracks a joke do they say “ha ha, too funny, I’m laughing my arse off boss”?

What I really don’t understand though is WHY they’re laughing their arses off, rolling on the floor or laughing out loud. It’s not like they’re saying anything vaguely witty or amusing!

A date with someone who uses text-speak in their profile? OMG I’m LMFAO just thinking about it … FFS!