ABOUT ME

I'm 49 and feeling menopausal. Apparently it's called peri-menopause, or peripause. What this really means is that on a good day I cry at the John Lewis advert with the boy and the Christmas gift for mum and dad, and on a bad day I want to throttle the gal sat next to me on the train for tweezing her eyebrows in public. I have a child who is sweet and beautiful and smart, and nuttier than a box of rocks. I am single - as in unmarried, unattached and at times feeling just 'un'. I've got near-constant chatter clogging my head, and not in a schizophrenic kinda way. I thought an online journal might be a good place to deposit my middle-aged chatter. Here goes...

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Guardian Soulmates – all cats, no pussy

Every so often someone will email me via this blog to tell me a story. And that's exactly what happened recently, when I received an email from a man in an undisclosed location, who wrote a beautifully crafted and HILARIOUS email about an experience he had ages ago with a lady he met online who put the "eek" in freak. I replied and asked him to be my guest blogger – to tell us about his experience of online dating – and he obliged. So, Dear Obliging Mr Anonymous, I thank you for this delightful contribution to my middle-age lament about looking for love in all the wrong places.

******

I’m not normally one for New Year’s resolutions, but starting a new year as single, unattached and unloved by all but my cat for the first time in my adult life… this tends to focus the mind. So, I registered with Guardian Soulmates, determined to find lurve. Or at the very least, coffee for two, and the possibility of an awkward kiss goodbye on a pavement.

I’ve followed Peri’s adventures with some interest on this blog. It’s been like listening to myself speaking. (Single ladies reading this – I don’t do that, the talking to myself thing. A little modest swearing at the Today programme in the car on the way to work in the mornings, but no long, involved dialogues with myself. Just saying). While reading about some of the frankly hideous men on Guardian Soulmates is enough to make me want to emasculate myself with a pair of my son’s safety scissors, actually trying to find a normal woman on Guardian Soulmates who’s not a pathological liar or plain rude is proving more difficult than I’d expected.

Examples will follow. But for now, let’s rewind to a few weeks ago and set the scene. I was actually greatly heartened and encouraged by Peri’s experiences. If the typical man on Guardian Soulmates was such an utter shit, by comparison I was already ahead of the game. All I needed to do was a) not swear at anyone, b) not define my perfect woman as something unattainable, like a feral foreign faerie, c) not be a pretentious, lying hipster, d) be lightly amusing, and last but not least, e) not look like Joseph Merrick. Easy.



And you know what? It worked. Truly, Guardian Soulmates is a very cornucopia of attractive women who were prepared to ‘like’ me and then swap a few emails. Unfortunately, it’s not taken long for the penny to drop – for every fickle, rude and downright scary man on that website, there’s a fickle, rude and terrifying female counterpart who’s as mad as a barrel of badgers.

Really, the only notable difference is the fact that these women all have cats. I know, it’s a cliché, but trust me on this; it’s true. Mind you, I suspect that the truth is that a lot of the men do too, but they’re just not owning up to the fact that the nearest thing to daily affection they have is a cat waking them up in the morning by licking their face with a raspy, fishy tongue. I speak from experience, here. And who hasn’t woken up alongside a person like that, come to think of it?

Just me? Oh. 


Anyway, let’s not get sidetracked on the cat thing. It’s a given. Point is, the whole damn website is infested with outwardly normal-looking folk who, given half a chance, will scare you off before you even have a chance to meet them and discover that they’ve lied about their height / weight / age / nationality / marital status / whether they’re a vegetarian or not.

And it makes me wonder… could it be that using the Internet’s actually just a really crap way to find love? Because we all lie on the Internet, right? We’re actively encouraged to. From the little things like making up usernames for websites we register on, to the big things like not entering your precise date of birth and so forth. So when you’re selling yourself on a dating website, the temptation to lie is enormous. Or at the very least, to tell the car salesman version of the truth; you know, the one that flatters the thing you’re selling by not mentioning the dodgy alternator, the knackered brakes, the fact that you’re still married and sharing a bed with your legal spouse…. the little things.

But it’s not just the lies. It’s also the truths that are a problem. The way that, late at night when you’re emailing that seemingly perfect match, you’re way more candid than you’d be had you just bumped into that person in a bar. Face to face, we have those mental filters that filter out, well, the mental bits of us. Sat staring at a screen, they seem to go missing.

I’m not making excuses for the genuine fuckwits. There are, alas, plenty enough of those out there, male and female alike. I suppose I’m just pleading for people to be a little more mannerly as well as honest, up to a point. Don’t lie about the big, important stuff. Really, I am going to notice the tan line left by the wedding ring you’ve taken off before we meet for coffee. But do, please, spare one another’s feelings by not being needlessly, brutally and cruelly honest.

And hold the cats.

*****

Sorry about the Lanvin ad. I'm not plugging Lanvin - it was the only sexy cat lady pic I liked on Google Images. Peri x



5 comments:

  1. For a few reasons, including the lack of stretching the truth about my modest offering, my experience of Soulmates has also not been great, but a bit different from Mr Anonymous.

    I speculate, that the gap found between the promise and reality is due to the same huge range of hopes and expectations, the difficulty of separating the really awkward from the ordinary, and the seemingly tiny investment that so many need, or want, to make.

    I have found approaches have a strange all or nothing character. It's a polite but quick cut to the chase, to find or be the right option. None of the security and diplomacy of someone met through more typical routes (but what do I really know, I met my ex years ago when I was 24).

    I have, I think, at least avoided anything too rude or unpleasant, finding just a little clumsiness and my own tendancy not to mislead about anything. I would love to know what Mr Anonymous means by being being needlessly, brutally and cruelly honest. Tell us more please.

    For now I come to take a break from Soulmates, with at least one lovely friend found, almost by accident, and a final crossing of the fingers for a little bit of sparkle Tuesday evening.

    Wish me luck.

    If Peri likes, I'll put something more together at some point.

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  2. I wish you all the luck in the world and will keep my fingers and toes crossed for you and will wish upon a star as well. And, yes, I am always happy to hear your stories.

    I'll tell you a quickie, OK: I had a look on Guardian Soulmates recently. I saw many of the same faces, telling same lies, the same nonsense - although my favourite ones are gone. Perhaps they've finally found their faeries and nymphs and muses and lithe young things.

    I saw the profile of a man I met for coffee ages ago. At the time we were both 47 years old and he admitted during our date that he was actually 53. I am nearing 49 but he is STILL claiming to be 47. Le sigh...

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  3. Do you live in London? That may explain more than GSM does. If ever you run out of 'material,' give Plenty of Fish a try. A whole different breed.

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  4. Couldn't agree with Mr Anonymous more. Very amusing and refreshing comments

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  5. I live in London, yes. I'm not so sure about Mr Tim above, though. My friend was on Plenty of Fish once. He said it was a freak show - lots of ladies baring their tits and men all too happy to bury their faces in them. No doubt hilarious, but probably not the place to find someone sensible!

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