My dating videos have generally been pretty successful, this is the story of one that bucked the trend, and made the girl in question … well, run away quickly. There are some similarities here with The Last Date I Never Had in that despite making great progress in the e-mailing and phone chatting stakes, the girl had a remarkably swift change of heart at the very last minute when presented with more footage of what I actually look like. On this occasion, a slightly misguided choice of video topic, probably designed more to amuse myself than impress her, also contributed to her disappearance, and meant that I will have to be ‘amusing myself’ for the foreseeable future.
I decided to run some analysis for this story on the success of my videos. After crunching some numbers in a pretty advanced Excel spreadsheet, and poring over the results for hours, I discovered that 80% of the times I made a video for a potential date, it resulted in me actually getting the date and meeting the actual woman in real life. An impressive 60% of my videos resulted in me seeing the girl more than once, and a respectable 40% resulted in intimate relations / physical conjoining. Only 20% of all videos made resulted in a relationship, and so far 0% have resulted in co-habitation, marriage, children, the meeting of parents, or to be honest, a relationship lasting more than six months.
You can see the full stats and a chart which was created when I pressed shiny buttons on the Excel toolbar, on the left.
For this story, let’s focus on the one that got (ran) away.
My fleeting relationship with Alice had fizzled out after we realised we both wanted different things. For example, she wanted an adult relationship with a responsible adult, doing adult things and having adult conversations, and I was so busy thinking about LEGO I zoned out of most of these conversations. I was soon back on eHarmony, not because I desperately wanted to be with someone again, but more that I missed the banter of the “early dating” stage. And also they had a special offer on which gave me 2/3 off membership.
The discounted membership appeared to be reflected in the choice of women I was presented with. It was as if they had creamed off the top 2/3 of the members and left me with the remnants.
Pick of the bunch, and for a while the only one who contacted me was a rugby player who looked like a cross between Clare Balding and Bob Mills. I have learned from telling this story to friends that NO-ONE knows who Bob Mills is, which is a great shame. I have not yet sunk to the low moral depths of posting photos of people from eHarmony on here without their permission, but seriously, the image here is all you need to get an exact mental picture of what she looked like.
Bizarrely, there was a toddler sitting with her in her profile photo.
I immediately thought she had a kid, and I would rather not date someone with kids (since I can barely look after myself). But the kid was wearing a t-shirt that said “I <3 MY AUNT”. Right… so as her PROFILE picture on a dating site, she has herself pictured with a small child, who is not her own, and then to clear up any ambiguity she has dressed the child in a t-shirt which explicitly explains that it’s not her kid. Would have been easier just to not have a child in her photo.
The weeks drew on and Balding/Mills had so far been the only woman sparked by my profile. I was starting to think I’m getting too old for this shit, and then I got this message from an absolutely vision of a girl. I immediately assumed it was a mistake, “out of my league” didn’t even begin to describe it – almost to the point that I wasn’t even going to reply, because a technical error on eHarmony was actually a more plausible explanation for this message than her sending it deliberately.
I checked out her profile, we had so many of the same interests, she also wrote a blog, liked karaoke, she even played piano, we had the same outlook on various things. She even had a cute name: Carly.
We e-mailed each other back and forth for a few days, and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. Banter was top-notch, and I had even managed to keep up with her during conversations about “the game about the football”. E-mailing however soon became awkward. We established early on that she was typing on mobile, and I was typing on my PC. I’m a pretty fast typist (I did A-level in Secretarial Studies at high school. I know what you’re thinking, “gay”… au contraire, the class was full of nice girls, it was a remarkably astute idea and a very pleasant way to spend my educational time. And I got a qualification out of it).
Anyway, so I’m a fast typist, and I like writing anecdotes as you may have noticed, so my e-mails to her were always massive, and out of politeness her replies tried to be equally as long, but it was frustrating for her as she was typing on a phone. I suggested we move on to the next stage of our budding nothing-can-go-wrong relationship and actually talk on the phone. Crazy times ahead for sure.
After a few false alarms due to her being out watching World Cup games, which I pretended to be watching too (“come on united, ref are you blind, go on the football”, etc), it was finally time. We’d had a running gag over e-mail about our accents so this was to be exciting. She had spent a lot of time in the US when she was younger, and various other places, so she’d warned me her accent was … full of character. I in turn had told her my incomprehensible-to-outsiders West of Scotland dialect had been tamed and/or bastardised by my time in Birmingham and now London. It was great because if there was no interesting conversation to be had when we chatted on the phone we’d have the fallback of being able to talk about our voices – fiendish.
We chatted for nearly two hours, the banter was great and we covered all kinds of topics, everything was so promising. On the subject of our accents I even told her the story of The Bosnian Hoax. In case you haven’t read it and you have your mind set on finishing this one before reading another, the jist of this was: I was out with guys from work and this guy in another department was convinced I had an Eastern European accent (not Scottish) – he was very adamant about this and at one point said I sounded “Bosnian or something”. I know a lot about Yugoslav history because it’s kind of my pet topic, and I ran with it, to the point that still to this day he thinks I’m Bosnian.
Much hilarity was had and the whole accent confusion and the Bosnian story became a running theme of our banter. By the end of the two hours I was vocally exhausted and thoroughly keen to meet Carly, and she was too. But… I was conscious of the fact she was a bit of a fitness girl (and she certainly looked it from all her pics) and my single head and shoulders shot on the site perhaps didn’t show her the full range of me. Hey, it’s a singles website, surely it’s appropriate to have a single photo…
My anxiety crept in that she had got it into her head, from my masculine vocal tones (minus occasionally girly/gay giggle) that I was perhaps a hunkier specimen that she had extrapolated from my picture. I didn’t want a repeat of Shallow Suzy who ran away after seeing a second photo of me. I decided, given we seemed to be in tune on humour and banter, I’d send her a little video.
Now… the video I sent her is about ten minutes of completely improvised nonsense, I had no notes or script or ideas of any kind till I switched on the camera, except one. I decided I would carry on the Bosnian banter, and try to pretend that the Scottish thing really was a joke and I actually was Bosnian. I would reinforce this with my ample collection of books on Southern Slavic history, my Bosnian flag, and generally anything else I had lying around. As a twist I would act as if I hadn’t actually read the books and all I knew was what it said on the cover (almost as if I’d gone to the effort of shipping all this stuff in for a gag, it’s the kind of thing I’d do). It would crack her up, and she’d then ask me where I got the stuff, she’d praise my ability to make a gag run and run, and ha ha ha etc and we’d arrange a date.
She had also mentioned in some texts that she didn’t think a video can really give a sense of a person, mentioned posture and presence and various things, which I lampooned in the video. I was pretty confident we’d definitely at least meet up after this. Watch the video below, and then I’ll tell you how misplaced my confidence was.
So I was awaiting her feedback, and was watching the video back laughing at in-jokes only I would fucking understand (this should have been a warning sign). Eventually I got a text:
“When I’m wrong I say I’m wrong. A video actually can convey compatibility, and I don’t think we’d be compatible relationship-wise.”
Now I took this to mean “you were not what I expected from the photo”. (yes eagle-eyed fans will remember that I did Photoshop that photo on my profile, but anyway…) OK, so I’d had my first video fail. But more surprisingly, I seem to have given her the impression that I WAS BOSNIAN. This baffled me, because of things like my blatant Scottish accent, but with hindsight, what other kind of person has shelf after shelf of books on Bosnia and a Bosnian flag.
I also got stick for the books featured in the close-up at the end, I got told that men should never wear short-sleeved shirts, and apparently her MacBook died on her (completely and unfixably) after watching my video. Which she took as another sign we were not meant to be. She didn’t mention anything about the fact at the end I’d suggested she send me a nudey video in return, but I’m sure this was also a factor.
I showed my boss the video the next day, as he was taking a keen interest on how I was getting on with this incredibly hot prospect. He seemed to see immediately why it might have come across as a total mindfuck for her.
He said to me, “You know what kind of girl would be just right for you?”
I was expecting him to say something like, you know, someone who appreciates me for who I am, someone who is not too shallow, someone who shares my sense of humour, something like that.
No. “A Bosnian,” he said.