…Or rather, that’s who it’s supposed to be for. That’s who it was always meant to be for. Online dating was invented for those who struggled to meet people in real life, weren’t shiny and good-looking and fashionable, lacked some inter-personal skills, didn’t go out to bars, in fact barely left the house and could only meet new people using the internet and computers. Basically people like me.
But something has happened, it’s become mainstream. At some point, all the people who were perfectly capable of meeting people during their busy social lives and active sporting activities and year-round globe-trotting, decided they just couldn’t be arsed anymore.
This occurred to me recently, as I was perusing profiles and some common threads were apparent. “I love travelling”, “I love meeting new people” “I love socialising in bars” “I love the outdoors”, “Here’s some pictures of me with my tonnes of friends”.
Fine, I thought. But what the fuck are you doing on here then? You love travelling? Hook up with a gypsy. You spend all your time in bars meeting new people with your friends? Shag one of them. Leave online dating for the freaks like me who HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE. I’ve never come across anyone, in my year of recent online dating, who says “you know what, I don’t really travel or go out much, I’m actually not that sociable, and – you know – that’s, well, that’s kind of why I’m here.” THAT’S WHO ONLINE DATING’S FOR!
I used to stand out on internet dating sites for the fact I was not a virgin and didn’t live with my parents. I now stand out for not being well-travelled, popular and cool enough. I come across as some kind of weirdo because nowhere on my profile does it say “I’ve been to 60 countries and want to make it to 100 before the end of the year”. There are no photos of me riding elephants, kissing tigers, participating in flashmobs or playing the flute on the international space station. And it’s getting worse, the dating sites are organising meet-up events in bars. “Hey come and chill out with single people like you, and have cocktails and flirt.” If us freaks could do that we wouldn’t be looking for dates on the fucking internet!
It has to stop. The internet was supposed to be a haven for normal life’s rejects. Now the normals have stormed in and think they own the place.
At this stage I just want to point out that this rant has nothing to do with the fact my 12-month subscription to eHarmony has just come to an end, and I haven’t been on a single date in that time. Not one date, in twelve months. At one stage, a learned colleague who is an expert in the field even rewrote my profile. It did not work, and suddenly my lack of dates was causing disappointment for two people.
I admit, to be fair on eHarmony, I did come very close to a date at one point. A very cute oriental girl called Steph e-mailed me, seemed very keen – it was a breath of fresh air after all the fruitless searching. She seemed genuinely into me, she was in my age group, was very eloquent, profile was nice. Incredibly exciting times. AND I’d recently been perfecting some nice homemade Chinese cooking. Everything was falling into place.
Thing is, she mailed me quite late, about a quarter to midnight, so I’d decided to get back to her in the morning with my usual introductory mail of “HEY HEY PLEASE DON’T GO ANYWHERE, YOU’LL LIKE ME HONEST.”
I went back on the site in the morning to find myself locked out and unable to look at her profile. My subscription had expired at midnight. This was last weekend.
What are the chances, eh, that 15 minutes before my subscription was due to expire, a hot Asian girl messaged me. I think she might have been the only girl in those 12 months who made the first move and e-mailed me first. That really is a coincidence. I’m sure it is, although it could also be, now that I think about the sequence of events, more likely that eHarmony are a bunch of fucking scamming cunts.
But I guess I can’t really complain; for that bargain £120 I got to look at pictures of fully clothed women on the internet – unlimited times for no extra cost. And I’m not trying to make out that I got no attention at all. I did get attention from a couple of girls. One of whom bore a striking resemblance to Philip Seymour Hoffman – so much so that I genuinely thought that perhaps Hoffman had faked his own death and was now living a new life under the name Shirley from Dagenham.
Then there was the Turkish girl who seemed too good to be true. And was. She was keen to arrange a date, then promptly disappeared into the ether.
And lastly, the comedy promoter. Yes, she was a comedy promoter. This was going to be the beginnings of one of these celebrity partnerships, where I’d become an internationally famous comedian and my partner, in business and pleasure (oo-er) would be the driving force behind my success. Louis Theroux would one day spend a weekend with us and make one of his shows where the two of us come across as a bit eccentric and wacky, but at the same time amiable and solid as a rock.
We were all set to meet up but I had to cancel because … I had mysteriously gone deaf. I had gone almost completely deaf in both ears. Rotten luck double whammy buy-one-get-one-free ear infection. I had the choice to 1) cancel, 2) go along to the date, pretend nothing was wrong and try to wing it using gestures and shouting, 3) tell her all about it and have her think the whole thing about the ear infection is a ruse, and that I am actually deaf and I just didn’t want to tell her. (1) was the only option, and as I suspected, she didn’t take the blow-out well, probably thought I made it up (and have a very vivid imagination) and I never heard from her again. To be honest, I’ve had a couple of dates in the past where I would have quite liked to have been completely deaf, but not this time and there ended my dreams of a comedy partnership and stardom. And maybe sex.
But anyway, I must stop being bitter about the 12-months, no dates experience. After all, I only spent £120. Oh hang on, PLUS the £7000 I spend last year on getting my teeth straightened and various genetic dental problems fixed, so I could be more confident on dates. Mustn’t forget the seven grand.
Looking back, there was one true highlight of the past year of barren loveless rejection. I logged in last summer, quite early on in my subscription, to find a vaguely familiar face among my matches.
It was bugging me all day, where had I seen her before. Had I met her, was she a friend of a friend, did she look like someone I knew, did she have a passing resemblance to a celebrity, did she just have one of those generic everyday faces? I couldn’t figure it out. I’m normally good with faces. I’m normally flawlessly OCD-like with cute girls’ faces. Where did I recognise this girl from? After a day of racking my brains I figured it out.
She was in rehab with me!
I toyed with the idea of sending her a message. “Hey, remember me? You probably don’t because of the, well you know, the medication and stuff… Fancy hanging out and reminiscing about the time you went totally apeshit at me and everyone for absolutely no reason because of, well you know, the medication and stuff?” Decided against it in the end. Probably best to let sleeping dogs lie – dogs that are sleeping because of the, well you know, the medication and stuff.
So anyway, you’re probably wondering where all this leaves my online dating status, and when you’re going to start getting “hilarious” dating stories from me again. I know it’s the only reason people read this blog, and you’re all torn by the idea that whilst a small part of you wants me to be happily settled with a soul mate, a bigger part of you wants every date to be nightmarish fucking disaster so you can read all about it in one of my incredulous rants.
Well, naturally I wasn’t going to let a year of eDisharmony faze me, so I’m back on Match.com again, and so the endless ping pong of dating site disappointment is set to continue.
In fact, I’ve already made contact with my first paramour. Someone, who, just like me is more concerned with the spiritual and the emotional connection than with “how hot someone is”. She went on at length about how a guy’s looks are not important, and these things don’t impress her. And about how attracted she was to intelligent, witty men. And she had a cracking pair of boobs too.
In the opening to her profile she says “the sexiest part of a man is his brain.” And then at the end of her profile she says “Must be at least 5 foot 10”.
I messaged her saying that I found her profile really refreshing and it was nice to see someone less concerned with physical appearance and more on the intelligence and personality, but I didn’t think it would work out between us because my brain is 2 inches too close to the ground for her.
I took a wise lesson from this encounter and vowed to remember, true love is not about physical traits, it’s about the person inside, and how tall that person is…
My adventures continue…