Recent Lessons In Online Dating

If you know ways to meet single men that do not involve a profile and 300 finely honed words about yourself, I take my hat off to you. Three years into the dating game and I’m still none the wiser: I’ve dated the only two friends-of-my friends who are single, joined a gym, gone to bars and struck up conversations in coffee shops. And I still don’t have a boyfriend.

Nada, nothing.

It’s been one of the greatest wonderments to me in my single life: where are all these mythical unattached men I keep hearing about?

And so, not unusually, I’ve turned to the internet for the majority of my matchmaking: Tinder, Happn, Bumble, Guardian Soulmates, My Single Friend, You name ’em, I’ve tried ’em, though my last date via the wonders of an internet algorithm was in February, so you could say I’ve become somewhat weary meeting men this way.

But still, one of my favourite ever things to discuss with my friends (and you) are online dating stories. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t date before meeting my ex-husband – I was only 18, so my previous ‘dates’ involved Snakebites and a gentle mosh to ‘Livin on a Prayer’ in the SU – but I take almost a sick pleasure in hearing just how uncomfortable those experiences are. Because they can be uncomfortable. Really really really uncomfortable. Just ask my friend Sam, right Sam?

This line of thinking got me wondering about the whole process of online dating. I know some of my married friends scroll through my Tinder profile with glee, but you see, it really isn’t that much fun.

For a start, when your thumb is swiping left at such speed you kind of stop noticing what the men look like, and just start feeling sorry for the fact it’s come to this: a meat market where the prize goes to the cow with the biggest udders and the thumb that doesn’t get RSI.

Or something.

Though I’ve been told, by quite a few men now, that Tinder is an impossible way to meet women. Apparently a large proportion of the females on there are cam girls, or women trying to entice men to pay for their services. Which explains the dodgy approaches I’ve had by some.

I KNOW! I had no idea that happened, either. I reckon if I was a escort trying to catch a buck there would be a few places I’d try before Tinder. Like, anywhere.

One scary realisation I had recently was the fact that, the men you meet online, they’re actual real-life people. They exist outside of their 2D Dating App frame. You see, when you’re swiping and chatting via an app you always have the perception of distance. It’s like – yes, this man might be perfection until I read his profile and clock his height – but if I go off him that doesn’t matter because I can unmatch him and he will cease to exist.


Because there I was, having a lovely dinner with my children at Jamie’s Italian last week, enjoying the smallest guilty pleasure glass of Trebbiano, when I clocked someone on the table next to us. “He looks familiar”, I mused. And he did. Because we’d exchanged two weeks of emails on Guardian Soulmates a couple of months back.

And he was on a date.

It’s kind of impossible to stare at your pasta the entire time at Jamie’s Italian, especially when you’re building one of those tiny lego airplanes for your three year old, so yeah, we made eye contact a couple of times.

It just shows that when there are only six single men in your city (according to Guardian Soulmates), you’re going to bump into them once or twice.

That was one of the nicer chaps – though I thought he seemed too nice, if you know what I mean – but he was one of those  who didn’t abuse the ‘LOL’.

Yep, there’s nothing worse than receiving a ‘LOL’ in response to each of your witty anecdotes. I’m funny, but I’m not THAT funny, and I never know what to say in return. It’s like receiving unsolicited willy photos: what’s the etiquette around that? I’d wager the first point of willy pic etiquette is not to send them in the first place, but that’s probably an unrealistic suggestion. And so I go with the polite “thanks”, before circulating to my friends. Natch.

It could be worse. I could be the guy in my current office who booked a date with a woman, only to discover she was a man upon meeting. Apparently the bloke got off on arranging dates with men and then seeing their reaction in person. That’s not weird at all now, is it?

And so I’ll keep going. Swiping. Not meeting anyone because there are too many LOLs. Going googoo eyed over the Policemen at London Euston (anyone else? Just me?).

Until next time.

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  1. Joanna Frangos wrote:

    Hi Alice – and may I join you in a collective sigh……… yes online dating. I am still “doing it” too. The guy I met around the New Year turned out to be too feminine for me, have a poverty mentality and huge amounts of unresolved baggage around his ex-wife and his three girls (all disturbed in some way). When there is an issue as to who pays for a cup of tea (£4.20 for two) that has me running for the exit. I am too old and too experienced to overlook the small things that happen in the course of spending time with someone. They are usually tips of much larger icebergs that have a long history. And he was a trained and practising therapist. Dear dear. So back to the drawing boards of Tinder and Encounters.
    I do believe that you will meet someone and he will be the “right enough” fit for you and your children. I also believe the same for myself but navigating the straits in the meantime is tiring and disheartening. And to be honest, I have times when I don’t believe that I will meet someone “right enough”.
    I do have friends who have met and are in relationships with guys they met on-line. It clearly does work. Maybe it is just a numbers’ game.
    And for me it is also about loving myself, loving myself in my current state, exactly as I am.

    Posted 5.4.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Ahh, I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work out, Joanna. Lightbulb moment as you mentioned quibbling over who pays for tea was a nod-along moment, I’ve had this too!! This frustrates me so much; in no way do I expect to be paid for but even when I go out with my girlfriends we take turns paying for dinners, it all equals itself out. Niggling over 50p is not attractive!
      Love what you’ve said about loving yourself in your current state. So on the nose, so very important. Here’s to that, and for both of us in the numbers game! x

      Posted 5.4.16 Reply
  2. Nicola wrote:

    I could have written your post myself! I fluctuate between positivity that there will be someone out there and completely giving up, deleting apps and throwing the towel in. The worst bit is settling though. I find myself considering men I really wouldn’t look twice at ordinarily.

    I’m not sure what the answer is, maybe playing golf or tennis! I’ve been single for essentially 14 years and I’m really trying not to take it personally or get demoralised. But I’ve lost track of the dates I’ve had!

    I’ll enjoy reading your dating updates though and hope for the best!


    Posted 5.4.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Yes! I definitely fluctuate too, have moments of positivity and times of “Why bother?”.

      Settling is a definite issue, I’m similar. But realistically there aren’t that many single men out there… luckily I seem to have a very low tolerance level for when I’m annoyed so if I’m settling my brain soon lets me know about it ;)

      I’ll hope for the best for us both :) x

      Posted 5.4.16 Reply
  3. Lauranne wrote:

    Oh hun I am sending a hug and a large glass of wine, I have done the online dating thing and am now sort of not doing the online dating thing as I am sort of seeing someone (who I met online) but we are taking things slow and it is almost as complicated as being single and trying to meet people for the first time.

    On the positive ever bad date is blog fodder, that’s what I used to tell myself when I had bad date after bad date. Or even worse the date that wasn’t bad but just wasn’t that good either.

    I can’t offer you any words of advice that wouldn’t make you want to punch me in the face, so I can only wish you good luck!

    Posted 5.4.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Oooh sounds exciting Lauranne, fingers crossed!

      I almost started an anonymous dating blog when I first started dating but I thought no, I’ll never be single long enough to do that. ;) Should have started the blog!

      (by the way I’m loving your relationship posts) x

      Posted 5.4.16 Reply