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, 31 March 2013

Online dating: you've broken me

When I started this blog, I had only just embarked on what would eventually become a dispiriting and pricey journey to find someone with whom I might connect: someone with whom I might have an enduring, loving, respectful relationship. I had no idea, while I was choosing a template background for PeripauseForThought, that my father in New York would die, that I would lose my best friend in London to all manner of hallucinogenics (see Alcoholism, sodomy and that thing called tough love), and that a balding mystery man on Guardian Soulmates, with a half-head of unkempt black hair, well above the 53 years he claimed in his profile, would put me off internet dating for good. I don't know why his email was the final straw, but it was.

What started as a goofy blog about the eloqwankers on Guardian Soulmates evolved into a full-on, heartfelt blog at times, one that reveals way too much about what’s going on inside my head and heart – and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The last time I was on Guardian Soulmates, I had an active profile for about 10 days and then deleted it outright in an act of self-preservation. In those 10 or so days, I contacted 12 men. I met one of them, who turned out to be adorable and smart – and spent an inordinate amount of time talking about having cheated on his first wife. I avoid cheaters – even adorable ones: they tend to be insecure, and insecure people wreak havoc on the lives of others.

Everyone else I contacted viewed my profile and did not reply. One man did, though, and this is what he said:

“Thanks for your email. I’m sure you’re a lovely person, but you just don’t do it for me.”

If I’m honest, his candor jolted me - and I'm not sure why. So, at long last, I’ve decided that my aging skin is not thick enough for online dating and I am planning to content myself with the one person in my life who loves me more than anyone, who respects me, and values me, and needs me, and for whom I will always be beautiful, and lovely, and funny.

My son.


  1. That is sad.

    The main issue with internet dating is that people are not "anchored" in an environment where they think bad behavior will reflect poorly on them. In that sense anonymity encourages somehow rude attitudes, as well as lies.

    The endless display of pictures also encourages a shopping mentality.

    And unsurprisingly people overestimate their value (psychologists will tell you it is almost always the case when said people are asked to evaluate their own qualities - we tend to see ourselves better than we are). However the real problem with internet dating is the absence of reality check.

    For example, some men (quite a lot, considering) look for partners 15 to 20 years younger: at the pub or in the office, they would quickly be ridiculed if they systematically tried to approach much younger women - not to mention, they would be quickly rejected. Unless of course, the man is wealthy or famous and can offset the age difference with a great lifestyle.

    Which leads me to my last point: a disproportionate amount of men on GSM are "self employed" or unwaged (of course they will try to have you believe they are "artists" ... who are they fooling, really?). That means they can hardly take care of themselves, let alone of anyone else.

    It is likely women are just as deluded about who they are and what they can aspire to but I can only talk about my own experience.

    I have chatted with a fair amount of men, been on a number of dates and reached the conclusion that GSM was not for me. Most of the men were not genuine, were socio-culturally inferior to what they had let on, and displayed an array of unacceptable behaviors (i have spent dates having to listen to their stories about their ex wife, girlfriend, past relationship or worst of all GSM dates: why do they think I would be remotely interested? I felt rather insulted instead and surprised they thought I would see them again).

    So good bye GSM! And great blog Peri, thank you.

    1. This is very sad. And true. I am with you both.

      I am 44 and have been online dating off and on for 5 years now, since my divorce. Mostly on GSM and I share many of your experiences Peri. I have even met one of the guys you have referred to in one of your blogs!

      But almost four years ago, I met a man on Match.Com. He could be perfect for me... if he wasn't so messed up. We maintained a friendship and we have shared many great times in those years. So much so, I've often thought, if it feels so good... why can't it just be? Anyway, we were out last week and were messing about with our phones when I discovered that I am listed in his contacts not with my name, but as 'Forest Match'... formed partly from where I live and from how we met!!! Probably in between Croydon Match and Highgate Match. I accused him of pure assholery. He accused me of over egging it. I walked out. And this was my friend. Cataloging me for his convenience. So demeaning. So hurtful. Awful.

      So that jolted me. I share your lovely sentiment about your son. I have two brilliant teenagers who think the world of me. I have a great job, a lovely home and many fantastic and varied friends. I look after myself, enjoy my hobbies and I go out. I hope the man for me finds me in the 'normal' way and he will be very lucky.

      On line dating has ruined romance. Good luck to every one else but I, for one, won't be paying to open my stall in public ever again. Nor shall I be looking for it.

      Fantastic blog Peri.