It’s not you, it’s him

Sometimes you can go out with a man and the chemistry just isn’t there. You can spend an evening with the nicest man in the world and you just don’t click. It happens! It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either of you, you’ve chosen each other from a picture in an online catalogue after all.

I had a date a few weeks back with a nice man (yes it does happen sometimes). Neil was polite and nice looking but I think we both knew within about half an hour that we weren’t attracted to each other. Nevertheless we spent a few hours together and at the end of the evening we kissed on the cheek (no tongue tiddlywinks!), said our goodbyes and that was that.

As I’ve said before, if a man shows any red light behaviour then you’re perfectly at liberty to leave early. In this instance, two polite people decided to “see it through” even though they both knew it was probably going nowhere. Why?


1. It’s the decent thing to do! Some people would dispute this and say it’s a waste of time spending an evening with someone when it’s not likely to go anywhere. However, you’ve both invested a certain amount of time getting ready (in his case he’s shaved and sprayed himself liberally with Lynx!) and you can still have a really good time.
2. Love doesn’t always smack you around the face the moment you set eyes on someone. There’s always the chance that attraction will grow when you start to get to know each other.

3. It’s an evening out and even though you don’t fancy each other, maybe you’ll become friends. I’ve become good friends with a few men that I’ve dated.

From what I hear and have experienced, men are less likely to see a date through than women. I’ve had several dates that lasted less than half an hour with lame excuses such as “Oh no, I left something in the oven”, sorry, I’ve just remembered I have to go to work” and “I’ve just realised I’m supposed to be at Dunwich beach to see the full moon, you don’t mind if I just go do you?”. Actually yes I do bloody well mind. I had a 45 minute drive to get here, I haven’t eaten (because you invited me to dinner), and I endured the agony of having my moustache waxed for the occasion! Actually though, you’ve shown me that you’re a complete wanker so clearly you’re not worth getting to know anyway!

My friend Susie arranged to meet a man outside a bar. He’d suggested a drink and dinner so she’d dressed up to the nines. He was late and she was standing outside the bar on her own, but surrounded by other people. Eventually he arrived, looked her up and down, said “nope” loudly and walked away. The poor woman had to endure the stares of other people and feeling utterly humiliated. Add to this the cost of her taxi fare, babysitter and having her hair done, not to mention the time getting ready, and she’d invested quite a bit on this date. Worst of all it completely crushed her confidence and she didn’t date for ages afterwards.

Another friend, Natalie, agreed to meet a man, Dick, at a local bar for a drink. She could tell that he wasn’t interested by the way he looked her over but he suggested that they went inside for a drink. At the bar Dick hardly spoke to Natalie and sat with his back towards her, giving the impression that they weren’t even together. He went to the loo and a minute later his pager bleeped (she thinks he paged himself).  He made the excuse of a “construction site issue” (on a Saturday night?) and hurried out the door, never to be seen again.

If you’re unfortunate enough to meet someone like this, it’s important to remember that this is HIS wankery behaviour and it has nothing to do with you. Both Susie and Natalie are gorgeous, articulate and intelligent women.

Some of these 50+ men are on their own for the first time in 20 or more years and carry on as though they’re testosterone charged teenagers with no social skills.  They treat dating sites like an online candy store, rich for the picking! They’re probably looking for sex and their shag radar has developed just enough to sum up the kind of woman you are within the first few minutes. In their eyes, if you’re not going to give out, it’s not worth the effort. If they leave now, there might be time to get in with their back-up plan! In a way it’s a compliment because you’re far too good for them. Perhaps they should think about how their sister or daughter would feel if she was treated the same way!

All right, so maybe you’re not his type, but unless you’ve behaved in a red light manner a decent guy will stay and go through with the date, at least for a couple of hours.  It’s possible that he might enjoy your company if he tried to get to know you!

Just remember that you’re gorgeous, fabulous and a real “catch”. Carry on being yourself, enjoy your life and believe that there are truly decent men out there! The old adage is true, you’re going to have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet a prince!

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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…..