Online dating… What a dark and soul-destroying place that world can be.
But what fun when you take it as seriously as you take men in general when you are a closeted dyke. Yay for me!
First, it seems relevant to metion that I don’t know any native Londoners who participate in online dating, though I am sure they must exist.
I asked my girlfriend, a Londoner, if any of her fellow Londoners internet-date and apparently they don’t. “We just say hello to one another” she said, as though it were obvious. Interesting.
At any rate, I did not date any native Londoners, male or female, in my online dating career.
I am going to dedicate this post to the dating website “mysinglefriend.com” – my first online dating experience and the only one where I dated men.
The premise of the site is that the single person does not write their own profile, they ask a friend who thinks they are “too fabulous to be single” to write it for them. If you see a profile you like you add that person to your favourites, if they add you back then that is a green light to send them a message.
A typical profile for a man goes something like this:
Dave is gorgeous and if I wasn’t taken I would be after him myself
Translation: Dave fancies me but I wouldn’t go there. Ever.
He is such a nice guy
He is just not attractive
A bit of a film buff
A nerd / watches a lot of porn
Really into his music
And takes it very seriously indeed. Music is not a game.
Lazy, rarely showers.
Very laid back
As above, but unemployed.
knows how to treat a lady
He throws some serious shapes on the dance floor
And your first date will be at the YMCA
I must admit, the ladies profiles are not much better. 90% of them say:
She likes going out partying but is also just as happy staying in with a glass of wine and a film
In the other 10% the girl comments at the end of the descripion,
I am not just a party animal! I also like staying in with a glass of wine and a film.
I have no right to be scathing, those words appeared on my profile as well. It was only when I checked out the other straight girls (let’s face it, their profiles were far more fun to look at) that I realised I was as unoriginal and clichéd as they come.
The thing is, it is so hard to sound cool in an online dating profile. No matter how edgy your picture is, and how wittily your profile is written, the fact still remains you can’t get a date in the real world.
Me and my flatmate discovered the site together and enthusiastically decided to sign each other up. These were the days before Facebook and we did not have 1,000 digital photographs of ourselves immediately to hand.
I took a picture of her, she is thin and blonde and very hot and pouted sexily for the photo. She took one of me, smiling with my crooked teeth.
We wrote our profiles of each other, uploaded the pictures and waited with baited breath.
Within 24 hours my flatmate had received 36 “favourites” and 15 messages. I had received two favourites, one from a bald, overweight banker and one from 58 year old Brazillian under 5ft tall.
Embarrassingly, two of the guys I had added to my favourites had not responded, yet both of them had favourited AND messaged my flatmate.
I was mortified. I was also furious at her! It must have been the description she wrote of me, she had called me “fickle” for goodness sake, no wonder nobody liked me.
I asked my other flatmate to re-write my profile and he made me sound a little better, even though it was probably not necessary for him to mention that I liked having baths.
Another 24 hours passed, hot flatmate was up to 54 favourites and already had two dates lined up. I still only had eight favourites, none of whom slightly appealed to me.
I sat down and wrote my own profile, writing a glowing description of all my wonderful qualities and asked the flatmates to upload it.
Still. No. change.
Another friend who joined the site at the same time tactfully pointed out that perhaps the photograph didnt show my best angle. Cue a mini photo shoot, resulting in some pictures of me pouting and showing off my cleavage taken with her flattering camera (the fewer megapixels the better).
Suddenly, I too had over 50 favourites and lots and lots of messages.
The first date I went on, I was incredibly nervous. Thomas I think his name was, not much taller than me, worked in pharmacuticals, nice enough.
We met in a bar in Central London, drank four cocktail jugs between us and smoked furiously.
It was a very typical mysinglefriend date, which went something like this:
I would meet the guy straight after work. In London who can be arsed to get the tube all the way home, change their clothes, line their stomachs and then get the tube all the way back into Central London again? It wasn’t me at any rate.
You meet in a bar and he looks not quite as handsome as his profile picture.
He asks “How was your day?” and buys you both a drink which you both down incredibly quickly. You then talk to this stranger about their life and tell him about yours, both smiling and being unnaturally polite. It is, of course, a strained situation, going into a bar and spending a few hours with a stranger talking face to face about private things with a view to possibly kissing or fucking (depending on what type of girl you are) at the end of the night. So you both get very drunk.
The guy makes a move about 8pm, you snog, go to another bar, have hazy recollections of snogging some more, you buy some food to share, he walks you to the tube, you say your goodbyes, swap numbers and then never hear from each other again.
Of course sometimes he does text you and you go on a second date. My second date with Thomas was a picnic in the park in Ealing, we lay on the grass drinking cava in the sun and snogging.
After a while I needed the loo, and made my way to find the ladies. A little tipsy from the Cava, I managed to trip over a tree branch… and landed in some dog poo. Yes that actually happened. One minute I was on a nice date kissing a boy in the park and the next moment I was covered in dog poo.
How could I possibly go back to him, after a trip to the toilet, with poo on my dress? He would think that the poo was my poo. It was too horrible to contemplate.
I called my best friend Emily who lived in Ealing, “I need to come round now, it’s an emergency” I said.
I raced straight round to a worried looking Emily. When I showed her the dog poo she wasn’t sympathetic,”For fucks sake Ro I thought he had assaulted you or something” she said, bundling my dress into the washing machine as I wiped myself down with antiseptic wipes “but dude, poo on your dress, that’s really unfortunate”.
We laughed about it the whole day.
The funny thing was, I checked my phone and Thomas hadn’t called to see if I was okay. I texted him to say sorry and that I had to leave because of an emergency and he never replied. So that was that.
I joined mysinglefriend.com within my first year in London when I was 24. About five of my straight, single, female friends joined at the same time and part of the fun was coming into work the next day (deathly hungover) and comparing notes over email about our dates the previous night.
We must have been on at least 20 dates each and not a single one of us formed a lasting relationship. It was rare to make it to a second date, and we all gradually came to realise that the “spark” of attraction you normally feel upon meeting someone is just not the same when you look at their picture.
Also, I don’t mean to sound mean, but there was something not quite right about almost all of the men we dated.
One wouldn’t buy a Magners for my friend as it cost £3.50. He made her have a pint of Strongbow instead.
One texted a friend and said “fancy a bit of flirting via text?” (Grow some balls and just do it! Don’t ask first)
One replied to my friend who said she couldn’t meet up with him that night, and said “no fair! I wanna be inside you”
One guy took my friend to a chess-boxing match, another was taken to Gaucho when he knew she was vegetarian and one guy, a psychologist, began their first date by talking about rape.
And when it came to the bedroom things went further downhill. One guy came up my friends nostril (yes right up it!) without even asking.
My friends were braver than me. If the dates were really bad they would say, “I am sorry, you are just not my type” and leave.
I am ashamed to say, if my dates were bad I would get drunk and kiss them anyway and then never reply to their texts. If they were really bad I would pretend to go to the toilet and then leave.
My worst date came in the form of Joel, who began crying on his third bottle of beer and said that he just wasn’t up to talking to women in real life. He then got up and left the restaurant, leaving me to pick up the tab.
On the positive side, the richer ones would treat me to dinner. The first time I visited Gilgamesh was on a mysinglefriend date with an investment banker who insisted on paying. I got a little lairy on sake and he never called again but it was rather a pleasant evening. I may not have discovered that restaurant if it wasn’t for that date and now it’s one of my favourites.
My subscription ran out after three months and I didn’t bother to renew it but I have no regrets. If it took dating 20 non-Londoner men in London to realise once and for all that I really was a lesbian then it was worth every awkward moment.