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!

2. Choosing a photograph….

Dating site advertisements are full of photographs of men looking handsome, smiley and sophisticated!  Definitely not the motley selection I have on my screen as I write this! For the most part it’s not a question of “wow, he looks nice”, more like “ah well, he looks a bit cleaner/more sober/less beardy/less like a convict than the others”.

I’m constantly amazed at the photographs men post of themselves on dating sites. I mean, this is a kind of shop window right? If you were advertising yourself in Debenhams’ window, wouldn’t you shower, put on a smart, clean outfit and brush your hair (if you have any)?

If you’re a man reading this, here’s a list of what not to show, based on pictures of men that I’ve seen.

Pictures taken on mobile phones.

1. Closeups make your nose look big and your head misshapen, a bit like looking at yourself in the back of a spoon.  It also makes you look a bit cross-eyed and shifty.

2.  Arms length pictures of you, again taken on your mobile phone. Most of the picture is of your extended arm, holding the phone and with your face in the far distance so I can’t see what you look like.

3.  Photographs of you taken in your bathroom mirror showing the loo seat up and displaying sundry ointments for places where the sun doesn’t shine. Similar photos of you in the kitchen in front of a tower of washing up and in the bedroom with your dirty washing spilling out over the floor. One reaction…..ewwwwwww!!! What are you actually looking for, the woman of your dreams or a housekeeper?  Believe me when I say that the woman of your dreams will remain…in your dreams!

NOTE: If you’ve had to take your own photographs the connotation is “this man has no friends”.

Pictures with others

4. Photographs of you with young children.  Are you completely bonkers? Why would you post photos of your kids on the internet?

5. Photos of you with your arms draped around a woman. You might think this makes you look popular and charming, but actually it makes you look like a philanderer with wandering hands. Whether it’s your beautiful ex-wife or you paid a stranger to pose with you, chop her off or find another photo!

6. Photos of you posing with a large snake draped around your torso may make you feel macho but will make me wonder how small your penis is.

7. Why on earth would you think women would be interested in a photo of you holding a large fish? Any woman who has had a relationship with a man who goes fishing knows this is a strange and all-consuming hobby for loners with poor social skills (the same goes for birdwatchers). Better to keep it to yourself at this stage.

8. Pictures of you standing in the pub with your mates, wearing a football shirt and holding up a pint will make me assume you’re an ageing lager lout, even if you have a PhD in quantum physics and are an expert in string theory.

Miscellaneous

9. Please don’t post pictures of yourself wearing women’s clothes, even if it’s your favourite negligee. I’d never date a man who looked better in a dress than I do!

10. Closeups of your tattoos (even if you’ve spelt them correctly) will not make me want to date you. For people of our generation, tattoos are not something to be proud of and usually indicate a dodgy, not bohemian, past. Tattoos listing names of ex-wives and children just show that you have a poor memory or can’t count.

11. NO!!!!! I don’t want to see you without your clothes on, even if you think you are Adonis (and to be frank you’re not are you?)! (By the way I’m an expert on Photoshop and I can tell if you’ve super-imposed your head onto someone else’s body). One other thing….a string vest and Y-fronts is not the male equivalent of a Wonder-bra and panties.

12. My pet hate….very out of date photographs! The thing is….women notice these things. We’re incredibly observant and can spot a mullet and Wall Street era braces a mile off. I really don’t need to know that you were a Wham look-alike at Club Tropicana back in the 80s (even if you’re pretending the photo was taken in the Maldives last year). I want to see what you look like now!
13. I know that’s not your Harley Davidson because I can see the photograph was taken in the showroom and you’re sitting the wrong way round.
Think carefully about what your photographs say about you. Ask a woman friend to take some photographs of you, she’ll love helping out with this.  If all else fails PAY for some decent photographs.
Generally women are looking for someone reliable, honest and truthful, amongst other things. We have a gift for analysing and reading into things, and that includes your photographs. Everything we see in your photos gives clues about your character and lifestyle and believe me, we’re looking for clues! We might be able to forgive wallpaper choices, but if there’s even a sniff of something unsavoury in your photographs it will put us off you, before we’ve even started!

1. The Secret Diary of an Internet Dater aged 53 and three quarters

I lead a full and happy life, have great friends and a loving family, I do work that I love, but sometimes, just sometimes, it would be lovely to have a man in my life.  I’ve probably watched too many ghastly Jennifer Aniston films, but I live in hope of being swept off my feet by a George Clooney look-alike who treats me like a goddess and worships me daily.

I want to be Celia Johnson in the station buffet with something in her eye,  Trevor Howard saying “let me take a look at that, I’m a Doctor”, Rachmaninov playing in the background and a steam train rushing into a tunnel.

Life can be ordinary but I want romance. It’s not too much to ask for is it?

I’m not looking for someone to whom I’m joined at the hip, I don’t want someone interfering with me when I’m trying to do pottery, wear matching zip-up cardies and go on tandem bike rides, but it would be lovely to find someone  who will chuckle at my little jokes, sample my cooking (a brave man indeed), appreciate all my quirks….. actually as I’m writing this I realise I haven’t a clue what I’m looking for….but the truth is I do miss a cuddle and it would be good to have someone to share stuff with sometimes.

I don’t really believe in a soul-mate (or sole-mate as I read on someone’s profile the other day, definitely something fishy about him or maybe he just likes feet!). I don’t believe in love at first sight either. I reckon that if you went into a room with a dozen men, the chances are you’d get on well enough with at least one of them not to want to kill him.

It’s not easy to meet people when you’re in your early fifties though. Unless you’re lucky and meet someone at the supermarket checkout or a man drops out of the sky and lands at your feet, you may find yourself, like me, in the wasteland of internet dating.

Three years ago a friend of a friend met her husband on the internet. As our mutual friend Jane put it: “It’s really easy, although you might have to kiss a few frogs first. Think of it as practice, like when you go for an interview. Ellen went out with a couple of men who weren’t very suitable and then she met Derek… he was clean, solvent and didn’t have any nasty habits”. It all sounded easy to me, although a bit like shopping on Ebay and about as romantic!

I signed up to Human Ebay, hopeful, optimistic  but definitely not desperate. Three years later I’m still there, aged 53 and still single, a little cynical but hopefully a little wiser.

If you’re a woman reading this, I thought I’d share my dating experiences, not because I’m qualified to dispense advice (far from it as you’ll see) but, if nothing else, it will give you a really good laugh and many of you will empathise I’m sure.

If you’re a man reading this, you may or may not recognise yourself! I’ve changed some names to protect the idiots, but not all (depends on where you are on the W**ker Scale)!  I’d just like to say here that I don’t believe that all men are W**kers. I’ve actually met some really lovely guys, some of whom have become good friends and who are not in the least bit W**kery. For some reason though, there are a lot of strange men on dating sites in my experience. Maybe that’s why they’re single!

Having taken the plunge and decided to put myself on Human Ebay, I was faced with my first challenge – my User Name. Should I use my real name (too risky – someone at work might see it, worse – my soon-to-be-ex husband might see it and would laugh) or make up something interesting?

I decided to make up something interesting – but what? Do user names really matter? I thought it would be nice to choose a name that reflects my character. Something that shows that I’m witty, intellectual, independent.  How on earth does one do that with a name? Will anyone care anyway?

I mean if I chose something like Sexy Babe, (1) I don’t really know if I am (it’s been a while) and (2) it’s a lot to live up to on a first date.

Ok, how about something more homely? Something that will show that I’m not averse to any physical contact, but I’m not going to have rampant sex on the pavement outside the George & Dragon  two minutes after meeting.  Something like Cuddles4U perhaps?  No, sounds like I’m motherly, smell of wee and have a lot of cats.

What about something like The_1_4_U?   Hmmm, sounds a little desperate, I don’t want anyone to think they’re dating Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, and I saw something with a similar name in Lakeland Plastics for getting stubborn stains out.

An hour of contemplating later I decided maybe I’d just use my name, Ruth.  Easier said than done.  Ruth had already been taken and I was given the option of using Ruth1286759; can there really be that many Ruths out there? I’d never remember it (I’m thinking of having my bank pin number tattooed on my wrist) so I decided to be clever and combine my first and middle name, Barbara.

Yet another hour later, filling in all my other personal details, I clicked the button confirming my membership, realising, too late, that I had created someone called Rubarb.

Now you might think that that would be the end of it, but I was then faced with the prospect of writing my profile. Up to 2,000 characters “describing yourself, your interests and your ideal first date”.

Hmmm 2000 words….practically a dissertation and nearly as stressful! Now I’ve thought long and hard about writing my profile. Apart from my photograph (and more about that later) it’s my chance to show all those lovely men out there what a witty raconteur I am.

I decided to put off writing anything on mine until I’d had a look at what other people had written.  Since I couldn’t access other women’s details, I bravely clicked on the first of many men’s profiles…….

Perhaps it shows lack of imagination, but for a first date it seems that hundreds of men enjoy “cuddling on the sofa with a glass of wine and a dvd”. Now I’m sorry lads, I can do that with the dog, and I’d cheerfully swap the cuddle for a bar of Galaxy.  If I’m going to endure an hour having my face threaded and my legs waxed beforehand, I expect more from a date than an evening on a saggy sofa with a glass of vino collapso and the World Rugby Highlights.  Apart from anything, I like to get to know someone a bit better before I go on their sofa!

Others have written that they find sharing a bag of chips romantic. Not on your nelly! I might share chips with a man at a later date but until I know  that he always washes his hands when he’s been to the loo, there’s no way he is sticking his fingers into my bag of chips! Aside from which, who told him that it’s romantic to share a bag of chips on a first date? Why did he believe them?

On Human Ebay there’s an option to click on “what you’re looking for”. There’s nothing along the lines of “Let’s see how it goes shall we?”  The choices are Long Term (hmmm, Fatal Attraction again), Activity Partner (um….what kind of activity? ), Intimate Encounter (ah, the last one obviously means sport of some kind, definitely not ticking that one. What’s this intimate encounter though? Would any woman in her right mind admit this unless she was touting for business at Ipswich Docks?), Hang Out (What does that mean exactly? Isn’t that what teenagers do in bus shelters? Would I need to turn up with 10 B&H and a pack of Haribos?) The last category was Dating (that’s what I put, seemed the most reasonable given that I didn’t fit any of the other categories and hopefully it would cover all eventualities).

It also suggests “If you want to be successful and not waste your time do this: 1. Talk about your hobbies. 2. Talk about your goals/aspirations 3. Talk about yourself and what makes you unique. 4. Your taste in music.”

  1. Hobbies? What hobbies?  Extreme knitting? Bungee jumping? Aha, reading the classics (but someone might test me on it and they’ll know I’ve only read the back cover of Northanger Abbey). Will anyone be impressed that I like Sudoku? Does walking the dog once a week count as sport?
  2. Goals and aspirations – Climbing Kilimanjaro? reaching the second level of Nintendo Brain Training? At the moment, writing my profile!
  3. What makes me unique? Perhaps my penchant for peanut butter and marmite on toast, the fact that I loathe housework and cooking with a passion?
  4. Music – is it cool to like Girls Aloud and Dusty Springfield?

Ok job done (no I’m not going to show you my profile, you might go peeking). More to come…..