Now I was up until the wee hours trying to finish this other piece, 'What you sayin' Bertrand?' I was doing so well but at 4am I had to give in and go to sleep and now I've got more pressing matters to discuss before I get back to Bertrand.
As some of you may know, over the last eighteen months, being unfortunately afflicted with singledom, I had been trying my hand at spinning the horrific wheel that is ONLINE DATING. I had intended to devote more time at some point to describing my experience on the three different sites I tried, on and off and on and off again (mostly off) for about ten months. Whilst the "highlight" of my year of Internet dating (slash, year of five dates) was probably being stood up by a man I thought was going to be a sexy Irish musician (INSTANTLY THE WARNING BELLS SHOULD HAVE BEEN RINGING), but actually was just a bit of a douche, ON THE WAY to the date, which was supposed to be AT THE ZOO. (Oh, and "Isn't the zoo a bit expensive?" I had said before we agreed to go. Oh no! Don't worry, he had an UNLIMITED MEMBERSHIP CARD! To the Zoo! Go figure.) ON A SNOW DAY IN LONDON (when the transport is all buggered up and even the animals are sensible enough to know they should just stay inside their enclosures) so I had already battled adverse weather and transport conditions whilst trying to look all sexy-first-date-cute in my winter woollens for several hours before I finally managed to get on a tube in South London and received a text from him saying, "... have you left yet?" ("Yes I've left, I told you hours ago I was leaving!") But unfortunately, "something had come up", even though the date had only been arranged two hours earlier and it had all been his strange idea in the first place. The words 'lucky' and 'escape' spring to mind.
Anyway, I thought I had given up on the dating for good.. it wasn't just the messages like:
Hi im writing this cos ya know how it is looking over folks . But ya know they do that hole lol thing . Well i really did . Looked at ya pics very cute. Ya know the hole thing ya style an that . Look as you can see i do have kids but im not looking for no baby mummy. I totally know the washing matchine. Im just sayin you look good an if ya did fancy that beer sometime . Yell me up. ;)
The worst thing was just being totally on edge for weeks if you did think you had found someone you liked and you would begin exchanging tentative messages, all the time just wanting to meet, until eventually you would... the problem with that then is that you invest so much of your time in something that could have been decided very quickly had you just met at a party. The problem with the British (and maybe lots of other Europeans- I cannot confirm nor deny) is that we just don't really do dating. Compared to the Americans, for example, we just don't small talk in that way either. It's like you need a personal reference from a mutual friend before you can so much as begin to talk at ease with someone you've never met before. Single? Want a new boyfriend or girlfriend? The best you can hope for is to scour your existing friends, colleagues or mutual friends of theirs and wait for a drunken opportunity to present itself. That's how it works here and although not a very dignified method for the earlier part of my twenties it had been working just fine.
So anyway, I thought I was over online dating for good. It was just another social networking procrastination disorder taking over my life and encouraging me to buy expensive jumpers that I thought would make me look 'cute but indieish' to impress the Creative Media Professionals I was meeting on GraniardSalemates. Then in the kitchen- in on my own- on Tuesday night I cracked. I LOGGED BACK IN. Before I knew it I was scrolling through pictures of men in the area... within minutes I had re-filled my previously deleted profile, zhoom zhoom, uploaded 9 different pictures of me designed to appeal to any tastes! Cute and indie, I can do! Sultry, I can do! Nature-loving, I can do! I could go on but, oh no, basically, I've done it again... and in record time: I have a date on Friday night. It all seemed so easy, "blah blah blah, you're new to town, let's meet up for a drink", "blah blah blah, YES". YES?! What do you mean 'YES'? I actually have to go through with it? Now for the hard part.... What do I ask him? How do I act? What do we talk about when we've run out of small talk? What if he's weird? What if I seem too keen? What if I use too many big words?
Life. So hard. All advice appreciated....