Happy New Year

Well, here we are in January; another year over and a new one just begun.

Yes, the last mince pie has been digested, the Christmas tree has been packed away, and – much to the little guy’s chagrin – the jingle bells are nestling neatly in their box once more.

The festive period is always pretty low key round our way, mostly because my family is tiny: I’m the only child of an only child, and my other parent is one of two. Even if the whole family were to herd into one room, we’d still barely be into double figures … which is a shame, because I love to be amongst hordes of people at this time of year.

To be honest, I love nothing better than being amongst hordes of people at any time of year, but once there’s a chill in the air my thoughts turn to mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and convivial evenings with rosy-cheeked friends. Once a year, I manage to gather my friends together and make good on the mulled wine and mince pies but … one solitary evening does not a toothsome Christmas make.

Living in Italy, I got used to huge family Christmases: my ex’s dad was one of nine and his mum was one of eleven. Even when half the members were absent, family get-togethers were still monumental; I rarely knew the names of everyone present but that didn’t matter because everyone was family and that was that. Compared with such epic gatherings, anything else can’t help but feel a smidgen underwhelming.

So, in an effort to swell the ranks of our little family, I’m back on the dating site again – and this time I’m being extremely lenient in my appraisal of the profiles before me. After all, I’m not really getting anywhere by being stringent. And since good banter and online compatibility seem to say precisely nothing about the likelihood of getting along once the likely candidate is before me, I’m limiting my judgement to a very meagre number of criteria:

  1. Does it look like we have anything – anything?! – in common?
    Obviously, we don’t need to have the same interests, but there are plenty of things I find interesting or intriguing, without necessarily wanting to participate. Equally, there are many things that are never going to float my boat. If the potential candidate’s three joys in life are beer, football and computer games, it’s probably best to nip it in the bud
  2. Are they literate?
    I’m willing to overlook the misspelling of complex words, but, “Your sexy LOL” isn’t going to cut it. I’m a writer and it would bother me. End of story. Better to be harsh now to avoid problems later on
  3. Do they smoke?
    I don’t and I hate it. Enough said

And that’s it.

Of course, looks come into it a little bit, but I’m trying to give that as little weight as possible. In real life, looks aren’t the be all and end all, and almost no one I’ve met has looked exactly like their photos anyway.

So, with this new outlook in mind, I’m set to meet Smiley Man this weekend.

Of course he’s a software developer – of course; I mean, who isn’t? – but I got a good vibe from his profile and he seems very easy-going when we chat.

I’m taking a bit of a punt because although he seems to have a very nice smile, there’s only one pic of him online, and in my experience this doesn’t usually bode well. But … new year, new start – and heaven knows I must be due a bit of luck by now.

So keep your fingers crossed for me. In fact, cross your fingers and your toes and maybe even your eyes. Experience suggests I’m going to need all the help that I can get.

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