Internet dating, GSOHs and bad apples

Reading an email from yet another friend who appears to have found her Prince Charming, I’m feeling a bit defeated on the dating front.

Sitting having a coffee with a sympathetic girlfriend, we once again bemoan the lack of decent fellas in our life, our city, our hemisphere. We spend a few minutes analysing the unaccompanied male clients of the coffee shop, of whom there are, it has to be said, rather few.

In fact, there are just three: an elderly gentleman with a zimmer frame; an eccentric-looking middle-aged man with vivacious tufts of hair coming from his ears; and the workman who’s fixing the electrics, and is wearing a wedding ring.

This pretty much sums up the state of available men round here.

“You’ve not done any internet dating,” says my mate.

I wrinkle my nose. It’s not that I’m against internet dating per se, it’s just that I’m not sure it’s right for me.

There are so many potential Romeos online that you just can’t read every profile. So, inevitably, you start judging by appearances. A flawed strategy if ever there was one. By the tenth profile, I’m rejecting people on the basis of their dodgy jumper or the fact that they chose to be photographed with a horse.

In the real world, I’d never dream of choosing my mate by their appearance. Yes, they have to have something that appeals to you, but that isn’t necessarily their looks. In fact, I quite like the surprising oddballs – the ones whose appeal sneaks up on you until you realise you’ve developed a massive crush and would do anything to snog them, despite the fact that they possess a succession of dodgy jumpers and insist on bringing a horse to the pub.

I once met a guy who was so offbeat, and to be honest, so creepy, I just couldn’t imagine who on earth would ever find him attractive. Turns out that person was me, and I ended up dating him for more than two years.

That’s the kind of magnetism you just can’t identify through an online profile, where everyone’s so keen to put themselves in a good light that they eradicate all their foibles, and you’re left with a cookie-cutter collection of guys who invariably ‘easy-going’, with a ‘GSOH’ and who enjoy ‘cuddling up on the sofa with a movie and glass of wine’. Bleugh! Give me a quirky weirdo any day.

Another reason for my reluctance with internet dating is my inability to identify the Bad Apples. Being an open and chatty sort, I can get on with almost anyone for an evening. So it seems entirely reasonable to spend another evening together, then another… and then when I finally realise that I’m wasting my time and the guy’s a control freak/psycho/all-round weirdo, my mates express incredulity that I ever gave him more than five minutes of my time.

I guess it just gets to the point where you’re so grateful that someone – anyone! – might find you attractive enough to date, that you’re willing to give them the benefit of your many doubts … just in case they turn out to be The One. Never mind that they still live with their mother and consider the careful logging of train numbers to be a perfectly valid pastime.

But since my biggest problem is actually meeting single guys of an appropriate age range, maybe I should brush aside my worries and get myself online. I guess the worst that can happen is that I end up dating a trainspotting mummy’s boy with a pet horse and a selection of dodgy jumpers.

And really, in these straightened times, what single lady wouldn’t jump at the chance?

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