I Am Not In Any Box
January 18, 2012 § 152 Comments
Yesterday, on one loyal commentator’s kindly insistence, I went at last onto an online dating site, one which I had heard about from a friend who had a friend who had a friend who had found a husband on it. Promising in a, That’s-happened-to-her-but-is-unlikely-ever-to-happen-to-me kind of way. But this severally-removed success story and with the commentator’s pleadings in mind, I thought, right, take the bull by the proverbials and all that, and I went ahead and clicked on the respected website.
In order to get to view any of the delights on offer, I first had to answer a million and one questions about myself, and write a short autobiography. I am not completely incapable of stringing a sentence or two together, but summing myself up in a sort of potted sales pitch? I’d rather crawl naked over broken glass. Anyway, out of duty, I crawled, and did cobble some sort of bollocks together, rather po-faced and up my own arse. Every word carefully chosen, in as much as I had a vestige of patience for the task. I wanted to put Bohemian for example, to make me sound interesting, but then thought, no, that is making me sound more whacky than I am, like those people who proclaim they are “mad” or “crazy” and the comment is parceled up as charmingly self-deprecating, but is actually one great big steaming turd of a boast hailing the speaker’s arty, singular, original, whacky, coolly disorganised, poetic, romantic nature and unique character. Fuck off: under your studied unkempt-ness and singular sartorial choices, you are as conventional as the rest of us. Bohemian: strike. And on it went with my word “choices”. I can’t remember what I came up with now, but I think “kind” and GSOH (or equivalent) came into it. Well, that’s really going to lift me above the fray, isn’t it, and make me stand out? Yet the stand-out stuff, is somehow nauseous. Trying to be whacky! Trying to be different! Nightmarrrre.
Anyway, I let my writing practice (I hesitate to say skills: who am I to judge?) down, and so had to come up with a false name and didn’t post a photograph because I haven’t got one and wouldn’t know how but I will, I will…
The torture continued. Did I want to meet anyone from [the other end of the country]? Well, not ideally, bit far, don’t need geography as a divider before we’ve even met. There again, if I cut out a great swathe of the British Isles, I am reducing my chances on a massive scale in one fell sweep. And, who knows, Mr Right may not be residing in my postal district, he may be lurking in the British equivalent of Timbukfuckingtu?
There were so many boxes into which I didn’t fit. When it came to religion, for example, it listed a whole load, but none described me. The nearest, I guess, were “Christian (Protestant)” and “Spiritual but not religious”. But neither was right. My religious box is as follows: brought up C of E, got a bit of residual C of E in me, but also quite a good dose of agnosticism and on some days even aetheism, though not really, because I do believe in something, though not entirely sure what, let’s call Him God; definitely spiritual, but in a very unspiritual sense, not quite sure how, and almost never talk about it; almost never go to church but do very occasionally (weddings, funerals, never Easter, not often Christmas except to school carol concerts which I love). Well, where’s the box for all that carry-on? That is me, but there ain’t no such box.
My height? No idea. Was last measured aged 16 or 17 in school and have a vague recollection of 5’5 and a half”, but have probably grown and shrunk since. Ideal height range for Ideal Him? If I put up to 6’4″, was I ruling out Mr 6’5″ Man of My Dreams? Age range… down to? Ten years younger than me? 37? Hey, yeah, right, as if! I put the upper limit as 57. Course, George Clooney’s doppleganger, 58, is bound to be out there, but he won’t find me! God, this questionnaire was full of more dilemmas than any normal person wants to face of an innocent January morning.
I could go on, but you get the picture. And it took so fucking long, whole morning! And I’ve got work to do! And my heart rate increased with the sheer stress of trying to get it “right”. Anyway, eventually, my bollocks-profile complete, I was at long fucking last allowed into the inner-sanctum of suitable male “matches”.
Well, not terribly suitable as it turned out.
Most the men were nudging or over my random upper age limit; none in the lower, more youthful reaches. I am not talking even late thirties here, I am talking forties. They were almost all very late fifties or 60. Fine. Just an observation. Half the men’s profiles didn’t have pictures, which made me suspicious. Why not? Perhaps they are technophobes like me and don’t have digital pictures of themselves or don’t know how to post them. Possible. Unlikely. Bet they all look like Caliban himself. Not that I am lookist! Just saying!
The few that did have pictures… How to put this without becoming an instant hate-figure? No, I don’t wish to become an instant hate-figure. I will not describe one of them but simply observe that single men in possession of above average attraction possibly do not need to advertise themselves on the internet? A speculative observation, merely, not a statement of fact or even an opinion.
And so many of them were outdoorsy and sporty and fancying being with someone who was slim and fit and enjoyed long walks. Now, I am not saying I am after a slob, far from it. I would like a man who enjoys the odd walk and doesn’t rasp when faced with an incline on a par with your average EU curve-free banana. But do they all have to be into a multitude of outdoor pursuits, which I am not? I mean, there were no end of those for whom golf and climbing and hiking and competitive sport and all sorts of out-there shenanigans was their thing. One had sailed the world. Try getting me into a rowing boat on the Serpentine! Of course, there’s fitness, and there’s fitness, and a fellow who becomes purple in the face just watching Usain Bolt… but these men, well… Exhausting. Some, hearteningly, said they liked to read, but most said they liked to do so “very occasionally”. Call me an intellectual throbbing snob, but I find the notion of reading as the burdensome pursuit implied in that loaded “occasionally”, faintly disappointing.
Perhaps I could overcome all of these little and not so little hurdles, but there is one which is a severe and possibly fatal stumbling block to trump all overcomeable hurdles. Nearly all of these men stated that what they are so merrily seeking are”ladies”.
I am afraid that this is where I have to part company, for the time-being, with my flirtation with online dating. For this is where I do not fit the bill and why no man on these sites will be even half-way remotely interested in me.
Because, I am afraid, by no known measure am I a lady.
Even if I were sitting in the House of Lords or married to the Earl of Fucking-Tiddlypush, I could never, ever be described, or describe myself, as a lady.
The very word strikes horror into my being. So if I am going to have any success at all online, first I am going to have to go off – and this may take a while – to overcome my un-ladylikeness and learn to become a “lady” good and proper.
Otherwise me and internet dating?