Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Between you and me

I've been having a dabble in online dating recently. It's a thing I've done before, with varying degrees of success.

I went out with one guy for a few months. He lived in London as they mostly do on Guardian Soulmates. I was looking for a man who might read the odd book, you know? Or maybe have an opinion on something that would make me stop and think.

What I got was a slightly taciturn lad who refused to acknowledge me as his girlfriend after four months of dating. Dating that involved dragging my exhausted ass to London and schlepping round parts of the city at beer festivals and shit. Stuff that I wasn't, to be honest, that in to. I asked him outright if he saw me as his girlfriend and he said: "Hmmm. No, not yet."

And then it was one of those moments where the scales fall from your eyes. I realised that not only did I not care that he didn't see me as his girlfriend, I didn't want him to. So programmed was I, after years and years in a relationship, to feel I need a boyfriend that I literally hadn't stopped to consider whether I wanted to be with  him. Weird, huh? So I finished with him forthwith. Naturally, then he decided that he did want me as his girlfriend after all. None so queer as (male) folk. Never been at all sure why women have the crazy tag.

Anyway, I'm digressing. As I tend to do. My second foray into internet dating a couple of years later resulted in the one I have christened Twatface. Or Asshole. Or Knobhead. Broke what was left of my heart into tiny pieces so he did. Still, we had nice holidays.

Earlier this month, prompted by boredom and curiosity, I decided to reignite one of my profiles. I gave Guardian Soulmates a miss as it's filled either with London-based body fascists who live in Chelsea and work in banks, or really pretentious arty types with thick rimmed glasses and speak like they thought Nathan Barley was a documentary.

I decided to go to You know the one with the puke-inducing advert where a stalker sings to a girl at a tube station and she doesn't, as would be perfectly natural and understandable, spray her perfume into his eyes while simultaneously kneeing him in the bollocks. No, she falls in looooooove with him.

It's almost a month in and it's been hilariously predictable so far. I am actually considering branching out my freelance business in order to write profiles for men on online dating sites. Because they're SHITE. I mean, REALLY shite:

"I like staying in and going out, I like too (sic) watch films and eat nice food (really). I like too (sic) go out with the lads, LOL, (FUCK OFF) and play extreme sports (reaaaaaaaaaaaaaallly?). I'm looking for an easy going girl with no baggage, who is slim and athletic (usually from a man who most closely resembles a fat Karl Pilkington). My friends would say I am the life and soul (doubtful). I'm a really easy going (balls) and attractive (I'll be the judge of that, sonny) man who is looking for a partner in crime to snuggle up with on the sofa with a bottle of wine and a DVD(yaaaaaaawn)."

I play profile bullshit bingo. It's the most fun thing about being on there.

The point of relaying this is partly a symptom of my unedited stream of consciousness style of writing (you lucky, lucky people) but I will now get to the point of this post. Which is thus. I was chatting idly to a man on Facebook chat earlier. A man I met on the internet and went on a date with maybe a year or so ago. Lovely guy, but there wasn't any chemistry. We're Facebook friends. We chat every now and again. He told me he is seeing someone, to which I responded positively, because it is a nice thing. A nice guy is seeing someone new and is happy, which makes me happy about it. 's generally nice.

So, we're chatting about me and relationships and I say:

"i just need to stop being so picky i think, i'm not at all sure i actually want a relationship between you and me"

He comes back with: "that's not an option right now Deb"

I looked askance at this for a while.

Quite a long while in fact.

What's not an option? Had I said something else that had disappeared from the screen? Had I misunderstood something? WHAT'S not an option?

And then, I put myself in the mind of a man. Ohhhhh...

So he thought I meant that I was considering a relationship between me and him: "I'm not sure I actually want a relationship between you and me." As in, I was randomly and a propos of nothing propositioning him five minutes after congratulating him on his new girlfriend. And his male brain hadn't assimilated that and come to the conclusion that he had perhaps misunderstood. He went straight in with the: Oh, no, I'm sorry but you can't go out with meeeeee.

Quite obviously, I meant: "I'm not sure I actually want a relationship COMMA between you and me."

As in, I'm taking you into my confidence here dude.

It did make me snigger in an irritated fashion. Which is something to behold I tell you. And it also made me question, once again, whether men are born with an inbuilt level of self-esteem that wraps them warm in a cosy duvet of a life time's snuggly denial about their level of attractiveness. Because increasingly it seems to me that men have, at their core, the central belief that all women find them heart-stoppingly sexy and are either just being coy or are too shy. 

I guess my lesson for today is, do watch the commas when you're IMing people, yes? For you don't know what kind of scrapes you could get into. Scrapes that will most likely leave you spluttering incoherently about punctuation mistakes on a blog.