Having had two long term relationships pretty much back to back, I said to myself that I was going to stay single for at least two years before I even contemplated dipping my toes back into the world of dating. (Just so you know, that two years has turned into four, my social life is non-existent, and I’m beginning to think I may die a lonely 94-year-old cat lady). I digress. Those first two years were spent focusing on myself and my daughter and I wouldn’t change it for the world. However, the evenings often got lonely once my daughter was tucked up in bed and Netflix had not yet become my regular pastime. Sitting in the office one day with the girls schmoozing about their better halves, one of them asked whether I had thought about online dating. ‘Some of my best friends found their husbands online’ they told me. I went home and wondered whether it would be worth a shot. After all, there no longer seemed to be much of a stigma surrounding online dating, and it couldn’t hurt to give it a go. So, I went ahead and set up a profile on a well-known dating site. It took me hours to find a half decent photo as the majority of my camera reel was full of pictures of Olivia. I also spent a good while trying to describe myself without sounding like a pretentious moron. But after reading and re-reading it around 25 times, I pressed ‘post’. It wasn’t long before my inbox started to ping with new messages and ‘winks’. I never got the point of winks, to me it screams lazy before you’ve even gotten started. If you’ve taken the time to set up a profile and take out a small loan to pay the monthly subscription fee, at least go the whole hog and send a half decent message! Although, judging by some of the messages I got, maybe that’s not the best advice. Some of the first ones went something like this:
BobandDog: Hi I’m Bob
BobandDog: I am 23
BobandDog: I have a dog
BobandDog: I like books like you
BobandDog: I live with my parents
Dave2003: Hey wanna meet up?
Until finally I received a message worth reading. Liam19 said that he liked my profile and made reference to a joke I’d added in there for effect. At last, someone with something about them. We sent a few messages back and forth, discovering we had lots in common and the same sense of humour. However, I kept my guard up because I know only too well how someone can talk the talk! Finally, after a couple of weeks, we decided that as we were both too nervous to ever meet up with someone we’d only met online, we should be each other’s first blind date just to get it out of the way. Once you’ve been on one, you’re likely to be relaxed on any more after that, surely? As a side note, which does have relevance, I advised him that bananas were good for nerves, and that we should eat a couple beforehand.
So, we set a date at a place where we could get a bite to eat and maybe some drinks afterwards. Liam19 told me he’d spoken to his grandad about the date which, I have to be honest, made my heart melt a little. I had high hopes for this date. His grandad had told him to always be there before the lady so he promised he would not be late. He was. I stood outside waiting to see the picture I had in my head, which from his profile looked like a tall muscly man with tattoos and great fashion sense. What walked up to me was a very short man in a bright pink shirt. Never mind, I thought, I’ve always told myself to never judge a book by its cover.
We said the standard ‘you look nice’ stuff and he handed me a carrier bag. I looked inside and found, not a box of chocolates as you (or I) may have presumed, but a bunch of bananas…yes, you read that right. Funny, I thought, but seriously? We went in and sat down and the chat was okay, but okay was not what I was looking for. We looked at the menu and, as I consider myself quite adventurous with food, I was keen to see what he would order. Would he be a fellow foodie? ‘Can I have a margherita pizza with no tomato and no green stuff’. Oh god, he’s one of them!
We then got talking about what we do for a living and where we lived. It transpired that he still lived with his parents. I get that everyone’s situation is different, but he then proceeded to tell me that the only reason he is living with his parents is because his ex had left him for another guy. They used to live together and had planned a wedding just a few months ago. He must have mentioned his ex at least five times that night, so I could tell he wasn’t over her. I’m not here to talk about our exes, I thought, but that was the hot topic of the night.
He then asked to walk me home, and being safety conscious I tried to say I’d be ok but he promised his grandad he would see me safely home. The awkward part came where we had to say our goodbyes. Literally, what do you say at the end of a date when you know full well you don’t want to see that person again? I tell you what, you pull a Joey from Friends and blurt out ‘well this was great, lets do it again some time!’ and then close the front door with no intention of ever meeting up with them again. I did mean to send a message afterwards explaining that while he was a nice person, he was not for me, but there just so happened to be a couple of news stories the following day of people who had been murdered by someone they had met up with via online dating! Rather than risk it with another online match for a slim chance of finding ‘the one’, I deleted my account that same day. And so, £65 down but a bunch of bananas up, my quest to find love continues…
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