Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Think My Soulmate Might Possibly Read The Guardian...

Now Ex and I are living in the same country and sharing the parenting once more, it seemed time to dust off my libido (shoved hastily into the 3rd drawer down on the left), tenderly cradle my bruised and battered heart...and enter the fray of Online Dating once more.

Oh, more fool me.

The first hurdle is setting up a profile.  I guess there are worse ways to spend my time.  But really, I can't think of many.  It's right up there with writing a new CV...and I have been successfully putting that fun pastime onto the back burner for over 2 years now.

Oh to be able to skip this part of the process altogether.  It's a shame it is pretty much essential.  I did attempt to do without it (I sat and simply stared at the Guardian Soulmates website for quite a few days) but nothing much happened as a result.  No winks.  No emails.  No totally fantastic, compatible man beating my door down and sweeping me into his arms, before carrying me off into the sunset...

Turns out guys on GS may have many weird and wonderful talents or characteristics.  But telepathy isn't quite as common as you might expect.  This was an unfortunate discovery, particularly where my writer's block was concerned.

I think the reason I hate sitting down to write a profile is due to the fact that my expectation of being able to write something out of the ordinary is quite high.  But the reality is, I don't have a single innovative idea when approaching a piece orchestrated to capture the essence of 'me'.  I sit and stare at those stupid empty boxes, waiting to contain 2,000 characters, and feel a fug of distinct antipathy.

Put down on paper, I sound much the same as every other woman featured.  Which is very annoying - given the fact I like to harbour the illusion I am pretty bloody special, most of the time.

Whilst pootling on the edge of 'am I going to dip my toe into these muddy little waters, or what?' I did a little site research and was staggered by the ease with which most people were able to blow their own trumpet.  It would appear that all the attractive, intelligent people in this country are - in fact - single, judging by the content of most of the profiles.  I felt more intimidated than ever.

Finally I sat down and scraped an unimpressive profile together, then uploaded a few photos which vaguely resemble the real me, if you look at them from a distance with a squint.  Then I ran from the computer at a sprint that Linford Christie would be proud of and waited for a reaction.

Sweet FA.

That's what happened.

Well, this is reassuring, I would think.  Yet another lesson in 'well, if you were going to make the mistake of ever thinking too highly of yourself...then please, don't'.  A week went by and every now and then I would furtively check into the site and see if my profile had been viewed.  Honestly, I have seen the carcases of dead chicks, which have fallen out of nests into remote gutters, get more attention.  It was depressing stuff.

I hadn't paid anything at this point and was considering aborting the whole exercise and simply hiring a sandwich board with "I have been single for so long I will pretty much consider dating anybody", then standing outside my local Sainsbury's handing out my phone number with the headline "VERY single (and just as desperate...) call me".

And then *PING*, I received my first email.

I opened the message with caution.  It was funny.  In fact, it was original and funny.  So I read his profile - which was also incredibly witty.  I was impressed (but also, let's be honest here, a little pissed off that he had succeeded where I had failed).  There were two photos, which were so-so.  Not necessarily my cup of tea, but he looked interesting all the same.  And, most importantly, the profile was right up my street.

I replied and we bantered back and forth for a few days, before arranging to meet.  I was curious but not particularly excited.  The ongoing trials and tribulations of Captain Underpants were unnerving and distracting me.  However, I thought a coffee with this guy would be a pleasant distraction and, after all, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I had at this point paid a subscription, so may as well attempt to get my money's worth by actually meeting up with at least one person of the opposite sex.

The next day I bump into a friend in the playground, who is also on Guardian Soulmates.  She is slightly embarrassed and reveals she has just received the exact same (original and funny) email from the guy I am due to meet.  Identical, word for word.  Which kind of throws me a little.  I am not surprised that he is still approaching other women.  That's the whole point of the site, after all.  But I didn't anticipate that his initial approach hadn't been specifically crafted just for me.  He had said my profile was 'witty and delightful', after all.  What a big, fat fibber.  He quite possibly hadn't even read it.

After the initial shock, I thought it was quite ingenious, if a little lazy.  It had been a really funny email - I could see it would have been a shame to have wasted such literary genius on just one woman alone.  If I had managed to be so inspired, I would have been emailing men left, right and centre.  I actually quite admired his tactic, I thought to myself ruefully.

My friend emailed the guy back and said something along the lines of, 'gee, thanks for the email, but you are due to meet up with a friend of mine shortly, so I think we'll just leave it here, shall we?'

A couple of days passed.  I was supposed to be confirming our meet up plans, but, what with one thing and another, just hadn't got around to it

At which point he panicked and emailed:

My only thought was: I hope it's not Nicola!
Anyway, it looks like it was.
Shame, because you are definitely the main reason for me staying on here.
I think you are COMPLETELY gorgeous, and very funny.
I'd rather put dignity to one side, than miss a chance like this..
30 minute coffee?
I think that was an email worthy of absolution, don't you?  I chucked to myself as I replied to put him out of his misery.

And as it turned out, the coffee meet up was great.


  1. Love the label to the post... but also it's about getting out there right? And you did it, one small hurdle at a time!

  2. ... and then I read the tag. *disappointed face*

    PM x

  3. I like a man who can put dignity to one side.

    Sorry about the punchline.

  4. And you are completely gorgeous and very funny. Glad you're getting out there gorgeous. I'm not ready for that yet but I think the Guardian might be the way to go when I am. :D

  5. He's right, you are completely gorgeous and lovely. Well done on getting that first date out of the way, will you be meeting him again?

  6. I just hope he wasn't putting dignity to one side for both you and your friend!
    Good for you anyway - Guardian Soulmates should be so lucky to get such a catch.

  7. Noble Savage11 October, 2011

    Fantastic! Can't wait to hear of further developments. Your dating posts always have me in stitches, or tears, or both.

    We should meet for wine sometime! Breakfast in snowy Chicago is just not as good as a bottle or 3 of wine in a cosy London pub.

  8. I'm sorry - but if you start out with a lie, or a fib or whatever, it's only going downhill from there. You may like the cheeky type but they come with a price!

  9. You must keep internet dating if only so that we can all live vicariously through you.

  10. Loving this. My sister stepped back into dating a while ago and decided on internet dating. The site, run by Sarah Beeny of all people, was fab. A friend or relative writes the profile for you. In this case I wrote about her, giving probably a more accurate and honest account!

    Good luck and looking forward to reading more about your dating adventures ...

  11. Thank you lovely bloggers, for your fab comments.

    Such a shame I am not seeking to date any of you...you seem to think far more highly of me than any of the blokes on GS!!!

    I love you all for it xx

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