Q: Is it possible to fancy someone you have never actually met, merely through the words they have typed on a screen and a couple of blurry photographs?
A: It would seem so. But in the relative security of exchanging messages at home, without having to get dressed, speak, let alone spend hours prettifying/planning conversational topics and the job-interview-over-dinner trial of a first date, anything is possible.
So, readers, some time ago, I announced that I was entering the largely dark and nocturnal world of internet dating. And this is where I am with it right now – typing messages to total strangers for whom all I have to go on are (mostly) poor quality photos and their names, heights, interests and ages. For some, disclosing just this is too onerous a task – the odd one or two just display their name, age and no photo, yet they expect someone to go out on a date with them. How naïve and desperate do they think women are? While for some, they attempt a photo, but lack the common sense skills to choose a suitable one. Examples on the cheap and cheerful site I have joined include a man in a Santa hat, one standing at least half a mile from the camera so all one sees of him is a dot in a green field, one gulping down a pint of beer so only his eyes and top of head are visible and one in a fancy dress costume wearing a mask!
Yes, it should all be about personality, but you need a visual to at least distinguish one ‘profile’ from another. And even if you are judging on character alone, many can’t be bothered completing the ‘tell us a bit about yourself’ box, so expect someone to choose them just from their height, age and marital status. Others will say ‘wud u like 2 have sum fun? Then chuse me.’ Or ‘looking for my Miss Right.’ And that’s it. My selection criteria at least requires them to say a bit more, be able to spell reasonably well and demonstrate some personality in their statements. It is surprising how few of them do just this.
Then, when there is some interaction it is like a strange game. I have received some odd messages – ‘How ya doing?’; ‘Wud u like 2 chat?’; ‘You live near me, would you like to meet?’ etc. The more normal ones I respond to begin a chat, we exchange a few comments then frequently they just disappear and stop corresponding. This is a little frustrating when I have spent time and effort trying write in a witty and charming way (as you can imagine, readers, this is no mean feat for me). The reality, probably, is that the glamorous blonde they keep clicking on has finally given in and decided to get in touch and send a private shot of her left nipple. So, despite persevering with this strange pastime for almost two months, I have still not been on a date.
But, things have not been a total disaster (although I do keep wondering why I didn’t join a better-known site like Guardian Soulmates) and I am currently having almost daily online conversations with one person. I am reluctant to say much about him, as I don’t want to jinx anything and, at present, I only have good things to say.
What I can say is that we began very coyly, both of us wary of revealing too much, but as time has moved on we know so much about each other, that it is almost like we have already met. We have covered all our interests, work, families, films, books, underwear… and then we began talking about sex. I have not reinvented myself as a demure, innocent young thing, but a lady needs to hold back a little, doesn’t she, readers? He wanted to cover all sorts on this topic – such as revealing each other’s fantasies, but it was I, the self-proclaimed drunken slut, who had to rein things in. I firmly, but nicely suggested this was something for ‘later on’. He sheepishly retreated and changed the subject.
I do admit, though, that the direction of the exchange did get me a little hot under the collar, even though the whole thing was being carried out on a computer screen over a couple of nights. Then, despite us behaving ourselves, our next conversation seemed to be littered with innuendo, such as me talking about a ‘nice warm shower’ and him pondering what underwear I had on.
The situation is an odd one, and one unique to the 21st century, I feel, as we have as yet never ever met. We certainly plan to, but is so much knowledge of one another an advantage or a hindrance? Will we have nothing to talk about or will this online acquaintance mean we can launch into a conversation without any small talk or awkward silences? Will we even fancy each other – couple of blurry photos is very little to go on. Maybe he will see me walking towards him and make a run for it.
The nerves have set in and I now have to wait a few weeks before the ‘big reveal’.
Just do me a favour, dear readers, if you run into him, don’t mention the blog – shhh!