I Am Not In Any Box

January 18, 2012 § 152 Comments

Sod it.

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.

Fucking ‘orrible.

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?

We’re history.


§ 152 Responses to I Am Not In Any Box

  • The Plankton says:

    I am afraid I am out all day today in meetings and so forth, so I don’t think I am going to be able to manage/approve comments till late this evening. I will try but if I fail, I shall do all of them in a big batch at once when I get home, hopefully before midnight. Apologies. Plankton

  • Aggie MacKenzie says:

    My feelings to a T – hilarious. There’s one degree worse than ‘lady’, and it’s ‘special lady’. Yeeurgh.

  • paolo says:

    If there was a way for me to put a “face-palm” emoticon in this reply, I would. Did you actually expect to find someone suitable immediately? Online dating is a process that usually takes months, sometimes years, before it produces the desired result. You should expect that you will have to look at hundreds upon hundreds of profiles before someone even remotely interesting pops up. I know this from experience.

    I think there’s some kind of psychological dimension to your knee-jerk rejection of online dating. Or maybe it’s just snobbery. Or maybe it’s an overblown sense of your own “specialness”. I don’t know what it is, but your aversion seems irrational to me.

    Yes, the vast majority of the people on these sites are ridiculous or boring or on-the-make. So what? They’re a microcosm of the larger society. Yes, looking at hundreds of these profiles is a bleak and soul-sucking process. Yes, hardly any of these “matches” will approach the fabulousness of your fabulous friends. But one might. And that’s one more prospect than you have at the present moment.

    Here’s some tough love for you, Miss P: Grow up.

    • Erin says:

      Dear P, I must agree with Paolo on this one. I am the butchest straight woman on the planet, no lady – told it like it is on my profile – and got plenty of interest at age 47. Yes, most were not a match for me nor I for them until I got an email from a profile with no photo that said “Curiouser and curiouser.” I went to this person’s profile and his hobbies were calibrating sundials, putter small things into bigger things and pogo-ing down the middle of the freeway. That wacky man is now my husband. He did not want his picture published because of his job, but quickly sent me one when asked. There is an enormous amount of time and patience necessary for internet dating but I think you are enough outside the norm to attract a lot of attention. Use your fantastic writing skills to form a witty and unusual profile that will get you noticed. Do yourself a favor and check the womens’ profiles. Do you know how many “I like long walks on the beach and cuddles in front of the TV” profiles are on the sites? Probably 99.9%. Your profile should reflect you and you are a very interesting person. Wasn’t it Winston Churchill who said never, never, never give up? Words to live by!

      • The Plankton says:

        Dear Erin, I totally take your point. THank you. I think my profile will be removed shortly because it’s incomplete and then I can think about it for a little while, and start again, perhaps with a more positive attitude! Px

  • Sarah says:

    Frankly I’d have thought you’d do better on The Guardian’s dating site. At least you start off with a similar taste in news and views reporting.

    Don’t be put off, P, and don’t enter into it in a spirit of failure. You are just widening your potential net, not signing the Book of Dead Beats.

  • zoe says:

    Yes, it is the case that men do tend to lapse into the unfortunate habit of describing women as “ladies”. They are trying to be polite. Not recognising that it is impolite in the extreme to imply that being a woman might not be sufficient in itself – or, worse, is in actual need of dressing up to be something more respectable. I would say that you should try to ignore this, but have to admit that for me too this is an automatic “reject’.

    As for men who need to advertise themselves on the internet being more challenged in the looks department. Wash your mouth out, P! They are here for the same reasons you are. Internet dating does not need this kind of stigmatising – no matter how “speculative”. In the course of my internet peregrinations I have met a part-time model, a former model and one current model who appears in international campaigns. One word of warning, however, about these types. The internet is a bit of a sweetie shop for the extremely good looking male and they tend to be in it for flings rather than relationships, which is why, in my case, only the part-time model made it through to the second date. As a fillip for the post-45 female ego, however, you can’t beat it. 🙂

  • Twinkletoes says:

    Ms P, your profile may not have lived up to your high expectations, but that piece certainly did!

    I probably wouldn’t be classed as a lady either, being an outdoorsy type, though not sporty. My profile makes it clear I’m outdoorsy, yet I still attract 25-stone-man who can barely put one foot in front of the other, let alone make it up a hill with me.

    You could have a look at Plenty of Fish and Guardian Soulmates, without having to register to search. I looked at GS yesterday and have to say the men were diametrically opposed to those on Fish. Would love to hear your opinion!

  • Steve H says:

    Sheesh, you’ve barely dipped a toe into the water and already found huge numbers of things wrong with online dating. But are we really surprised??

    The funniest objection has got to be over some men’s use of the word “ladies”.

    Women are referred to as “girls” “ladies” or “Women”. A lot of people will see “ladies” as a respectful term. It’s not one I tend to use myself,but really…

    As you know that you’re never going to convert yourself into a “lady”, whatever that is, you’ve given yourself the excuse to opt out before starting!

  • Elle says:

    Internet dating seems to work for some but not for others. I think you would get bored very quickly with internet dating P, all the monosyllabic replies with fewer than five words or a request for a picture.

    Don’t mind all the men who say they are active. Sir Ranulph Fiennes has nothing to fear because few of them get beyond the front door in reality! It’s like this, if they were all that active, what the hell are they doing on an internet dating site? Active men do their courting on top of a mountain, at the bottom of a ski slope, or after a long day’s cycling or mountain biking. NOT on the internet!

    • Jo says:

      Elle. So you think P ‘would get bored with internet dating. All the monosyllabic replies with fewer than five words or request for a picture’? Really? That’s the whole of the internet experience dealt with right there is it? What. ALL the replies? How on earth do you know? Maybe some have done that. But that speaks for all? Don’t think so. A rather sweeping statement don’t you think? As is the information about where active men do their courting.
      Being on an internet site is not only for the inactive! That’s daft.

      • Elle says:

        Jo, monosyllabic five word replies are my experience of the internet. Like “hi sexy, nice pic, can I c more?” OK, that’s eight words but you get my drift.

        I’m open to giving the internet another shot but I’m not getting my hopes up. Most dating sites, in my experience, are money spinners for the site owners and few people have much success there. You do get the odd couple who wax lyrical about the internet but me being cynical, I often wonder are they friends or acquaintances of the site owners who are paid to tell their happy tale.

        Somebody mentioned that model types visit the internet for flings. In Ireland the average man visits the internet for flings!

      • zoe says:

        Elle, you can narrow your search. There’s one site that allows you to search according to educational attainment. I used to narrow my search to people with PhDs! I met a few brainy men I didn’t fancy that way. The model comment was mine. But don’t get me wrong, there are thousands of ordinary men looking for casual sex on the internet. They’re easy to spot though. Surveys seem to show that women tend to be willing to have casual sex with very good looking men but not ordinary looking men (whereas men are willing to have casual sex with most women whether they are good looking or not). This is why it’s such a playground for good looking men.

      • MissM says:

        Just back from being computer free so late to comment, but I have to say Elle’s experience is mine also. Maybe it depends on where you are but the equivalent of “hi sexy, nice pic, can I c more?” is all I have received also. Sorry Jo, but I find it a bit rude to jump on someone who described the experience they had just because it doesn’t fit your experiences. Elle’s experience is as real as mine is, and not something that is invalid simply because it didn’t happen to you.

  • Margaux says:

    Oh, P….

    There are sites where you can have a look around before signing up. Not even an email address required. The much mentioned Guardian Soulmates does that. Just go try the search box.

    As one who has also wavered at the edge of internet dating I have sympathy. It just seems to me that if, by some miracle, one gets a date- you both turn up knowing exactly why you are both there. Then comes the ‘sizing up’. We all know in a nanosecond whether we fancy someone ( both m&f) – so if one or both of you doesn’t – you then have to go through the ritual of the coffee or the drink or whatever.

    It just seems so clinical. Like a business transaction. No romance, excitement, flirting,catching someone’s eye across a crowded room etc etc ..But on the other hand – how often does that happen anyway?
    Seasoned internet daters I hope will tell me I’m wrong.

    But I guess when you’ve met everyone you ever think you are going to meet – it does seem to be the best option these days. 6 Million ( & rising) people can’t be wrong, can they?

    By the way – are you sure you didn’t accidentally sign up for ‘The Lady’s’ dating page? !!

    • Jo says:

      How do you know that Margaux? Do you know every single person who has been on a date with someone they met on the internet?
      Arrangements vary hugely. None of the people I know has ever had a meeting without being in contact for a while before and ‘getting to know’ the person for a time. Some have not worked out. Some – my god and how – have.
      What’s with the ‘you both turn up knowing exactly why you are both there’ stuff? Isn’t that what happens on ANY date? You’ve not been sent there from an escort agency!
      Generalisation. Beware.

      • Jo says:

        I’m talking about being on a date with a certain hope that it could develop into something good.
        I don’t mean you’re both there for sex!

      • Margaux says:

        Jo – you are right – I was giving my impression of how it seemed based on those I know who’ve done it. No, I don’t know everyone on the internet who’s been on a date – but I do know quite a few of all ages – both gay and straight- who’ve been doing it over the years – so it was them I was thinking of.
        One friend even wrote a piece for a magazine about her 100+ dates – but she did eventually meet her husband that way when she was in her early 50s. ( He was number 107)

        The advice I’ve been given is usually along these lines:
        Meet for a coffee or a drink on date 1 to see if there’s mutual interest.
        Date 2 ( if there is a date 2) allocate more time for a meal or something like a walk / or an art gallery/ etc

        I’ve also been told that one should meet quickly after initial ‘online’ interest as prolonged correspondance can give one impression – but actual meeting can give another. Is that right?

        I know one friend ( male) who corresponded with someone for weeks and got very excited thinking he’d met his soulmate but when they finally met neither fancied the other remotely.
        But I guess that can happen if you meet someone first then go on a date – as you rightly say.

        I still think we form impressions of how people are by the way they write -and the reality can turn out to be different – no? ( I mean I’m sure we have all done that here – yet how many of us will ‘look’ like how we imagine us all to be ? )

        Call it pheromones, or our own personal ‘love map templates’ – being attracted to someone you’ve physically met first and then going on a date seems to me to be the opposite to how internet dating works. And it’s that I find hard to get my head round.

        If I’ve got all this wrong – apologies…. I am not anti it at all. I finished my last post saying that it seems to be the best option and the rising numbers of people doing it must mean it’s working for someone…

        I guess there’s only one way to find out …;-)

    • zoe says:

      Yes. There’s no getting around it, Margaux. It really is different, And if you’re really attached to particular romantic rituals fashioned in a different age, it might not be for you. But every new technology refashions the relationships we have with each other. Personally, I like the way internet dating requires you to declare an interest very quickly. Why not? You know whether you fancy someone, as you say, immediately. By the end of the first date, you will need to put your cards on the table. The fact that there is no space for playing coy is a boon. In ordinary life a lot of people are not much good at negotiating the does-he-fancy-me-or-does-he-not space (witness P with Long Shot and Smidgen). Opportunities slip through the cracks all the time. Because I like younger men, “knowing why you are both there” is particularly helpful. If I meet someone, I know that the age gap will not put them off; indeed it is likely to be part of the attraction. This knowledge gives me a confidence that otherwise I would not have with e.g. strangers in a bar or new men at work or friends of friends; even if they were attracted to older women, the uncertainty and risk of social embarrassment would make it a bridge too far.

      • Margaux says:

        Thanks Zoe ! that’s really helpful – all points very much taken! But it’s not so much about hanging onto romantic rituals for me as trying to get my head round the back to front nature of how it works.

        Your explanation is great though, and I get what you say. Time to start thinking back to front maybe…

      • june says:

        You are very fortunate Zoe if you can meet younger men on the internet. I dont know how old you are,probably quite a bit younger than me. But the chances of a 60 plus women meeting anyone younger who would even contact her seems impossible. I would prefer to meet men in 50s but have rarely been contaced by any, if i have they live hundreds of miles away,men in my area do not want older women.

        Lots of my female friends are considerably younger than me and with them i feel no older, but unfortunately men seem to think differently to women and presumably think we over 60s totally past it.

      • MissM says:

        I agree with you 100% Margaux. It all seems very unnatural and backwards to me too. Normally one would date someone that you think of as having potential because you already fancy them, so what you do is date to see if you have enough in common to maybe form a relationship. The internet works on the idea that all you need are some interests in common, and the dating is done to see if you fancy each other enough to form a relationship. That ‘sizing up’ is indeed done in a nano second and the resulting ritual of coffee or drinks with someone you know you have no interest in seeing ever again is tedious in the extreme. (Even worse if you can tell they are visualising you in bed with them while all you really want to do is run away screaming.)

        Seriously I really don’t care how many interests I have in common with someone if I just don’t fancy them. Conversely if I fancy someone, as long as we can talk and laugh together, then I really don’t care if he has totally different interests to me. As they say, if two people are the same, one of them is redundant. Maybe I am just weird.

        If only all the people on the online sites could just be placed in one venue and be able to just gravitate to those they have a natural attraction to instead. Which is pretty much what the situation when you are young and at University (or College if you are in the US I think?) which is a time when almost everyone is available and in partner seeking mode.

      • The Plankton says:

        I so agree with all of this, MissM! px

    • rantywoman says:

      You stated my problem with online dating to a T: the immediate sizing up.

      I do seem to recall that there are sites that you can peruse without being a member.

      I’ve seen all sorts on online dating sites, including cute, semi-successful performers (can’t believe they would be willing to post a photo on those things). In fact, the vast majority of the men I know have been on them at one time or another, so they are probably fairly reflective of our real-life options.

      I quit using them after I passed forty though because at that point, if a man was appealing, it became almost guaranteed that he wouldn’t write me back. Only the morbidly obese, the men fifteen years older, etc., would write or respond. It all became far too dispiriting.

    • Elle says:

      Jo, do you own or have shares in a dating site? Why are you defending internet dating so much?

      • fi says:

        I think Jo’s right though. I was on one, only for a few weeks, and had probably about 200 emails from blokes, half of them were just looking for a quick bout of sex, and loads were far too young, but there were probably about 15 that I chatted to. In the end I came off but I’ll go back on again at some point and I do feel that if you go on one and you’re prepared to put the sustained effort in, the chances are good.

      • Jo says:

        No Elle. I don’t own nor have shares in any site!
        I’m defending internet dating because I have known plankton over the years (40 to 60+ – yes really -) who have had real successes on the net. (Guardian Soulmates. And yes, you can look in for as long as you like, without being a member). All were discriminating, fabulous women like us. Who did not lower their standards. Accept any old shit and put up with crappage and/or fuckwits…And are now happily coupled. These successes forced me to change my own stringently sceptical mind about internet dating. Believe me. I had views every bit as hardened and/or prejudiced as anyone else. But I do think it’s worth a go. Whether one continues (after a while) or not.
        I have always made the proviso here that yes, of course there are more times things don’t work out (or even start), than do. The successes are less common than the contrary. That you must have a realistic head. That there’s a great deal of crap out there. Eons of them. That of course there are NO guarantees. I’ve always said all of this. That’s the reality.
        But I’ve defended the net against any generalisation about everyone and everything on it. Based on one’s OWN experience on it. Or other’s views alone. Based on THEIR experience. True and difficult though these have been.
        Above all I’ve been moved to defend because it CAN work. Rather than it be wholly and totally damned..
        It CAN work. And it only needs one……….
        That’s all I’ve tried to say.

    • Erin says:

      Even if there are no sparks you can still have a nice time over a drink or cup of coffee with someone. I had a date with a very nice man whose wife had walked out on him the year before and left him with 4 teenagers. There was no chemistry between us but we had a very nice 3 hour non-stop conversation about kids, single parenting, etc. And you never know when one of your dates might have a friend you might be more suitable for.

      I am not understanding this aversion to “ordinary” looking people. Most of the population is ordinary looking. Have you ever met an average looking person who after you got to know them, became quite attractive and the converse, an attractive person who was so ugly inside that they became quite unattractive?

      My god, we have been railing on June for this kind of attitude when it seems to be pervasive. Give people a frigging chance!

  • tassiedi says:

    Fantastic. So brilliant, Plankton. “Ladies” says it all. Surely there must be some lads there who are keen to meet real women?

  • Barry says:

    Dear “Plankton”,

    I wrote something cruel ..then deleted it…you don’t deserve cynicism, but please think about a little self depreciation , not your comic prose; a real look at what you want from Life , and how to get it .
    To fit into a 36″ waist ..I need to diet…just hoping they will fit really wont cut it …. to find a Partner you need to GIVE as well as Grab ….. or you wont cut it either; I’m 100% sure after these Months of reading and growing frustration for you .

    On y Vas !

  • MissBates says:

    Don’t be put off by the lack of photos; of all of my friends (male and female) who “do” internet dating, none of them put their photo up because they don’t need/want clients or colleagues to see them on these sites. They simply state in their profile that they are not putting up a photo for professional reasons, and that one will be readily provided if they are contacted.

    I do understand about your reaction to the men who indicate they read only “occasionally.” (And in such cases, usually the last book they read was about golf….Sigh.) Why not try a more specific site — you yourself have mentioned the personals ads in the London Review of Books. Surely that would narrow the field for you in a productive way.

  • rosie says:

    P, you have my sympathies entirely but unless you’re the luckiest ‘lady’ on the planet and Prince Charming plops into your inbox as soon as you’ve pressed send you do have to give it a bit more welly!

    How about adding a rider to indicate that anyone using the offending noun will be binned… only a bit more gently? I agree that the men on Guardian Soulmates are probably a bit more clued up about these things than some of those on other sites and you can peruse the goods before you have to sign up or give them your life story.

    I hated internet dating with a passion (and before the brickbats start flying I can’t help the way I FEEL) but did give it a good go – boy, how I went – before I jacked it in, or threw myself off a tall building. I do so want to meet someone though and as I can’t see any way of achieving this other than to do what the world and his wife are doing it looks like I’m going to have to gird my loins and just wade back in. To which end I had a quick look on GS last night but all those plaintive little faces peering out at me just made me go limp. A bottle (at least) of Cava is needed to numb the pain if I’m to try again.

    BUT, P, there is still the one that got away and if it hadn’t been for me being such a bunny boiler on our first (and only) date who knows what I’d be doing now. Hopefully not sitting here writing this… although I mean that in the nicest possible way.

    Don’t give up the ghost yet!

  • Jo says:

    Well P. Now you can say you’ve ‘tried it’ and put that one to rest. Can’t you?
    I have said many a time and oft here, that when you go online there’s a great deal of crappage, fuckwits, ghastliness, ghastly people, idiotic stuff written, supremely off-putting profiles/pictures/ etc etc etc etc etc etc. Not unlike Life really…
    There are times I have spent idly looking about me on the tube or bus, or out in the great Metropolis (not looking for a man.Simply people watching. Which I love to do.) and thought how interesting that I couldn’t seem to spot even one attractive man. (To me, anyway). But of course that didn’t mean that that was the whole picture of all the men available everywhere… It only takes one…
    I’m not going to say much more. Some of the other comments have already said what I might have done…
    What I will say is this. I think your ONE LOOK at the internet, simply confirmed all that you felt before. In fact, I think it is a relief to you to have that ‘confirmation’. To be able to say ‘See. I’ve done it. It’s history’. A relief. Because now you can say you’ve answered those who were suggesting you at least try it – for a while. And you can go back to hoping that you will meet someone who knows the same friends as you. Lives not too far away. Perhaps LS… etc etc.
    I’m sorry if this sounds harsh P. But you’d already made up your mind about the internet. And THANK GOD you’ve been able to provide the evidence. After one day…..
    Btw. You say ‘I didn’t post a photograph because I haven’t got one and wouldn’t know how to..’ Then later you write ‘half the men’s profiles didn’t have pictures. Which made me suspicious…’ (!)
    And the vehement objection to the word ‘lady’?! Oh come on P. Yeah, it’s not a great word but ‘a severe and possibly fatal stumbling block’?And a reason ‘why no man on these sites will be even half-way remotely interested in me’? This is grasping at bloody straws.
    Phew. That’s that over with then. (For the time being you say?). At least you can say you ‘gave it a go’. Hey.

    • The Plankton says:

      All a fair point, Jo, and especially as it was your comment yesterday which made me take the plunge. You are right: I was prejudiced and had those prejudice resoundingly confirmed. Maybe I’ll try the Guardian Soulmates next. Even tomorrow! Px Ps. I dare say, if I do ever find someone online, I’ll have to take all you encouragers out for a drink! But don’t don your coats and scarves just yet…

      • Jo says:

        I’ll put my coat and scarf back on the peg. For now…. Best of luck P. x

      • The Plankton says:

        Thanks, Jo. I’ve been getting a few responses from “matches”. None suitable as yet, though one in his forties (without photograph) whom I may research a bit further. Hey, see, I am almost but not a completely lost cause! x

  • rosie says:

    Just had another look and there’s someone called Longshot. He’s not in London though so obviously not the same one!

  • Mrs Trefusis says:

    I met Mr Trefusis via internet dating and also made some good friends – but the secret to internet dating is to lower your criteria for what makes an acceptable date and to have a fifteen minute coffee with as many men as you can. It’s all about throughput. At one point I was doing three coffees a day, but I was working in Central London so I could just pop out of the office.

    I met lots and lots of men. 90% were an instant ‘no’, but only 1 was a genuine lunatic. Everyone was nice in their own way but it’s all about that X-factor. I wasn’t looking for a husband, but Mr Trefusis came along and although we had, on paper, absolutely nothing in common, the chemistry was absolutely bang on. I hadn’t expected that to happen.

    Anyway, if he’s vaguely human looking and can spell and punctuate properly, meet him for an espresso. If he’s promising, make it a venti latte. But anything more than a coffee date is way too much commitment. And don’t develop a long winded email relationship – what you don’t want to do is to have any kind of emotional investment in anyone until after you’ve met them.

    Yes, there are a lot of utter creeps online, but there are also some amazing chaps too who, like you, just don’t get to meet many potential datees. I met lots of men who were in IT and in the law – the kind of careers where you tend to work long hours and don’t get out much.

    However, the worst that can happen really is that you get some very funny stories for this blog. I look forward to reading them.

    PS: Liberty London Girl wrote a very good post about internet dating last week, I think. It’s worth a look

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear Mrs Trefusis, Thank you for this kind advice (which I am taking on board) and, while we’re at it, thank you, too, for writing such kind things on your blog about my blog. Much appreciated. All best wishes, Plankton

  • rosie says:

    Throughput (what an excellent word!) seconded here. I made the mistake of setting aside whole evenings, which is excruciating if you know as soon as you clap eyes on them that it’s a non starter and are too polite to say so. If there is a next time it will be a quick coffee or a drink ‘before meeting up with friends’.

    • Elle says:

      Throughput. A male friend did what I call auditions from a dating site last year. He would meet about 4 or 5 women a day. One for coffee at lunchtime and 3 or 4 for coffee or drinks later. I remember one stood him up and he texted me to see if I would meet him for coffee! I didn’t, but wondered if he stood up and shouted “NEXT!” after each meeting like an obnoxious casting director.

      I don’t consider a first meeting from the internet to be a date. It’s an audition. So you can be on a dating site for ages, meet lots of people only ones and never get to date. It makes me sad really.

  • Joe says:

    I met my current girlfriend on OK Cupid and highly recommend it. (I’d recommend her too, but, as far as I know, she is monogamous)

  • Margaux says:

    Great post & excellent advice from Mrs Trefusis -( thank you from me too Mrs T!) she bears out what I’ve been told by various over the years. ie quick emails/short dates ..and if one comes along with the X factor …even better…
    *Thinks* hmm…c’mon M ( and P!) lets dip a toe in…

  • rosie says:

    There’s also mysinglefriend.com, which at least shows (or does it?) that they do at least have one friend. Sarah Beeney gets on my wick though.

  • ToneDeafSinger says:

    Plankton, This is what I think. Yes there are lots of questions to answer but you only have to do that once. On the websites I have tried it is possible to complete your profile a bit at the time over a few days ditto for posting photos. It is possible to filter so you only get to see profiles with photos or profiles within your criteria e.g. age group, likewise you can put a block in place so only men who meet your criteria can contact you. I don’t do that because at my age I get barely any contacts at all, but I would imagine some men get a lot of e-mails. I would be careful with the ones who do not post photos though – it may be for professional reasons or it may be that they are married so a word of warning there. Most people find it difficult to fit in a box neatly – that was the case for me, too, but you can write something about this in your text profile, or mention it later in correspondence. You get the chancers who e-mail and ask you to call a mobile number, in that case do not reply, blacklist them and report them as “suspicious profile”. I have been on dating websites on and off for four years (much more off than on), I have only ever once met someone for a coffee, it was instant dislike. However I signed up to Parship having read about it here on this blog and now I am e-mailing someone. We are due to meet for a coffee on 2nd February. I would have waited longer but I am away 12th-18th February so I decided to get it over and done with. From his photo he is not attractive but I go for personality not looks, on the plus side someone who is not good looking may have a slighly longer “window of opportunity”. Based on the Parship personality test we are a very good match and I have to say that so much of what he writes sounds just like me. I think, Plankton, that to an extent you feel that going through a dating website is an admission of defeat – I felt a bit that way, but I had to swallow my pride as I don’t meet anyone other than my friends’ husbands in my everyday life.

  • Do they list Pastafarianism as one of their options in the religion section of the questionnaire? I like to meet women who worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster….

  • Josephine says:

    I posted here before Christmas, about my friend was online for a month to this guy she was into, he disappeared, she was in bits, he showed uain, they had two dates lasting all day both times, with coffees, lunch & walks, between that time they were texting & phoning each other,said he wanted to get to know her better, then nothing thats been 2 weeks ago, she is in bits again, she knows my experience of the internet, I have even shown her this blog, I figure you are either into online dating or you are not, & I think its not for you Plankton, I would go with my gut feeling, I have already got lamblasted on this blog before for stating & it was only my experience of what a nightmare it actually is, I would consider myself an normal human being, solvent, own home, attractive slim well travelled, I got plenty of replies, men wanting walks by the sea or in the woods, hey its London, all active, so active I really cant see where they would have time for a relationship, not to mention the ones that were emotionally unavailabe, apart from the time it took up to actually reply or check oot profiles, but good luck to those that have taken the plunge

  • Glib says:

    Plankton, imagine if you were shopping for a necklace/painting/house on ebay/etsy/gumtree. Imagine if the owner of said item posted a wonderfully descriptive paragraph about what the item looked like but failed to attach a photo (or several; generally if you’re shopping online you’d want to know what the item looked like from several different angles, yes?). Would you then write to the owner and request a photo or, given your lack of time/patience and the several hundred other necklaces/paintings/houses with photos already attached, skip over the sans-photo one? I rest my case. You are on an Internet dating site, after all. (Even had you written absolutely nothing about yourself but posted several recent/flattering photos of yourself, all the better…)

  • I laughed- I remember seeing something on television last year, there actually are people who crawl naked over piles of broken glass as part of some sort of religious ceremony, I don’t remember where they do this or why…

    • MissM says:

      You mean they do that without there being any chance of getting a partner at the end? Yep, that is absolutely bonkers. If they offered me my perfect match for doing it, I definitely would crawl naked over piles of broken glass though, it’s easier than internet dating.

  • june says:

    Well plankton youve had a go at internet dating, you ve tested the waters so to speak. You are not impressed i can tell, do you think you will go any further, the profile is a but of a pain isnt it, how the hell do you describe yourself.

    I dont deny it might work for some, but for me, no, and i would imagine for most women of 55 plus. I did a search on match. com last night, as this is one where men tend to state what age they want, your saying that men of 50s 60ish wanted women of your age so true, hardly any, even ones of my own age, wanted women over 55, and over 60 not at all, Some of these men looked considerably older than me, even some younger ones, but no they still consider women in their 40s will want them. What do they imagine happens to women on their 60th birthday, the picture of DorIan Grey suddenly appears, and they gain 4 stone and start wearing frumpy clothes and become old overnight. Or is it that most men think a women over 60 becomes a sexless being. Perhaps some of our male bloggers could enlighten me, as i have many younger female friends whom have no problem socializing with me and whom i feel no older than, and who treat me like one of them, why are men different.

  • rich2305 says:

    my divorce should be through soon. Let’s get married x

  • EmGee says:

    My Dearest Plankton, you did not disappoint (Re Comments Section: January Slump)

    Granted, I too am leery of the idea of internet dating sites, and I am also leery of any man appealing to the ‘Ladies’. Use of the term ‘Females’ is another red alert. I don’t mind mind the words women, girls or even ‘gals’. In fact ‘broads’ is so arcane these days, the fella who uses the term might just be quirky and fun.

    Photos are another matter entirely. My ex bf is hopelessly photogenic. In real life, on a bad day, he looks like Gandalf (and he’s only 57). But take a picture of him and the result is jaw droppingly handsome.

    Me? Ugh, even my friends admit that my beauty must emanate from inside, because pictures ‘just don’t do me justice’. So what I am saying is some of those guys who look marginal in a photo, just may not be good at posing for pictures. But at least you can determine if they have facial hair.

    At least you can say you have looked into the online thing, although (without having read any comments yet) I am sure some of the readers will urge you not to give up so easly.

    Hang in there! 🙂

  • Dawn says:

    Based on my internet dating experiences and the patently unsuitable men who have contacted me, men do not read the profiles anyway. They just look at the picture, think, “I would,” or “Wouldn’t,” and act accordingly.

    And 50-year men here think motorcycles are sexy. Meh.

    • Jo says:

      Yes Dawn. But that’s YOUR internet dating experiences..
      ‘Patently unsuitable men who contacted me’ etc..
      By that you deduce that ‘men do not read the profiles anyway. They just look at the picture, think, “I would, or wouldn’t” and act accordingly’.
      That’s every single man on there is it? No. That was your experience.
      This sort of blanket generalisation, based on one’s own personal experience is ridiculous. I’ve said it before and I say it again. Because it seems to be increasingly prevalent.

      • joules says:

        Jo – Calm down – I seem to be doing some kind of internet dating myself due to friends of mine putting me online – I still haven’t emailed anyone – work is an absolute bitch right now – but I think it is better to look at it realistically than being such a cheerleader for it.

        Frankly I have always looked on it suspiciously and think that is the healthiest way to approach it. Otherwise the tendancy is to put on rose-coloured glasses and you end up being hurt.

        P is giving it a shot, I think that takes some courage and frankly as busy as she is I think she will have a hard time trying to get any of the “throughput” it seems to take to get a result. That seems to be the case with me. Also I would rather look for a piece of furniture on ebay to replace the things the ex took than look for a new significant other.

        Back to work.

  • geoffrey says:

    I have started internet dating and it has been a wholly positive experience. P – much as I love your blog, this post made me want to give you a shake! Get off your high horse quick.

    I joined a niche high quality site, found myself chatting to someone I had not seen for over 30 years and we are having dinner this weekend. I cannot wait. Without the internet we would have never reconnected in a million years. Anything more would be a bonus.

    Trust your own judgement and you will sort the wheat from the chaff way before you have to waste time on a coffee. Good luck.

    • The Plankton says:

      Fair point, and thanks. Px

    • Jo says:

      Thanks geoffrey. Quite right.

      • Elle says:

        I’m pleased for Geoffrey and wish him well but internet dating is infinitely easier for middle-aged men than for women of that age.

      • Lydia says:

        It is not easier for middle aged men than women. There are loads of men on internet dating sites. Lots of nice ones and plenty who love to read what you write (if you write a reasonably interesting profile as I think mine are rather than I like to stay in and eat out, watch DVD, go for walks and enjoy a night in on the sofa with a bottle of wine).

        Keep at it. It works.

    • Patsy says:

      Geoffrey how can i find this niche site? There are hundreds when i search!

      • Geoffrey says:

        It is Blues Match. OK – you are supposed to be an Oxbridge graduate but I doubt anyone checks! I have had great results so far. Agreed it is easier when you are a man, but the women (I didn’t advertise for a lady!) I am meeting had the willpower to keep trying and so should you.

  • RS says:

    It IS pretty dreadful, the references to “ladies” and the vast majority of men over 45 describing themselves as “tactile” (makes them all sound like gropers) as well as the photos of every conceivable outdoor sporting activity, or photos of them shirtless. And how so many claim to be nice, gentlemanly, loyal, etc., leading me to believe they all feel wronged by previous relationships. Worse are the profiles that offer no information at all, just a line like “just ask whatever you want” and often in some abomination of text speak (shockingly it is possible even to misspell in text speak).

    BUT there are some gems. I’ve come across them – an actor in the West End who I count as a dear friend even though he’s in another relationship now, two very sexy and lovely guys about a decade younger who also are still dear friends and occasional dinner companions, a couple who are younger still and are great fun and a huge ego boost, if entirely unsuitable for the longer term. And one absolute treasure who broke my heart, but the less said there the better.

    I’m still looking for my ideal. And yes, most days I despair at the emails I get. But I tell myself that when I am out and about in my daily life, I rarely see a man I find attractive. So why would an internet dating site be overrun with them? All it takes is the one.

    • The Plankton says:

      Dear RS, This is a fair point. As I walked around the city between meetings yesterday, I was watching people endlessly, and had a similar thought. Px

    • Jo says:

      My point exactly RS. Yes.

    • Lydia says:

      I am interested in this. I was in a bar (on a first date) and I found every other man in the bar attractive. Of course it’s not normally 100% but often 30% if it’s the right kind of place. However here is someone who rarely sees men she finds attractive. Keep trying.

      I have also made a lot of good friends that way (and won work although I don’t use it for that purpose), My last 4 or 5 boyfriends were from on line dating sites. It’s a really good way to meet people.

  • rosie says:

    Jo, how are people supposed to judge things other than on personal experience? You seem to think internet dating should work for everyone when it obviously doesn’t. Has it worked for you?

    • Jo says:

      Rosie. That’s not what I said at all. I talked about making a sweeping and general statement on what the whole of internet dating sites are like, based only on one’s own personal experience. You can judge your own experience(s). Of course. But don’t damn the whole thing because of it. As people are sometimes wont to do. That’s very different to what you attribute to me.
      I have also said loudly, clearly, extensively and absolutely, that it does not of course, work for everyone. That indeed it does not more often that it does. That there are all manner of unappealing people on there. Lots of them. (As in Life. Another thing I’ve said). I have ALWAYS said that. My point has always been that, even if you don’t continue – after a while – still give it a go. You never know.. It can – sometimes (and I’ve always stressed that too) – work. I have known plankton,over time, for whom it has. Again I have also made plain that this is less common than the contrary, but that sometimes it can work. That’s it. That’s all.
      I’ve been very plain about the reality of success versus non success. Very very clear. Only that it can work sometimes..
      How you’ve got from all of those words that I ‘seem to think internet dating should work for everyone’, I don’t know.

  • Jo says:

    Has it worked for me Rosie? I am rushing out of the door,so won’t post a comment in haste. I’ll come back to it this evening.

  • Jo says:

    Joules. I am not a cheerleader for it. At all. Not at all.
    And please. I am calm. So I don’t need to calm down thank you.
    Seem to be being misread here.

  • Jo says:

    Still haven’t got out of the door yet.
    Ah dear P. Even if you give up later, that’s great.

  • rosie says:

    Every time someone dares to admit they might have had a less than positive experience of internet dating you accuse them of generalising, ‘loudly, clearly, extensively and absolutely’. Even if they only met swivel-eyed axe murderers with a heroin habit and a combover, surely they’re allowed to say that? Like you said, that’s THEIR experience. How is it ‘damning the whole thing’ or are they only allowed an opinion if they say it’s the best thing since sliced bread?

    • Steve H says:

      And the number of contributors to this blog who have said that online dating “is the best thing since sliced bread” ?

      0. Nil. Nada. Zilch.

      People like Jo are trying to say that it shouldn’t be damned out of hand.

      I’ve met two lawyers that I don’t like. Does that mean all lawyers are hateful?

  • rosie says:

    Yes, she is, repeatedly, but she seems to equate damning it out of hand with people recounting their own personal experiences, cf Margaux, Elle and Dawn, and that’s just in this post. We get the message already.

  • Jo says:

    Thank you so much Steve H. I was thinking about whether I could be bothered to explain – yet again – what i have ACTUALLY said in the past. Then, bless you, you said it for me.
    I was beginning to think that I was going stark raving mad. Or speaking Chinese…
    Thank you.

  • rosie says:

    We get you Jo, honest!

  • Jo says:

    Phew crikey Rosie.
    I haven’t just done that. Neither with Margaux, Elle or Dawn.
    But d’you know what? Sod it. Can’t summon the will to explain once more. Obviously falling on deaf ears for some reason.
    But hey. Go right ahead.
    I know what I wrote. You interpret those clear words in whatever way you please.
    I’m going off for a cuppa. And a lie down.

  • Jo says:

    Rosie. Just waiting for the kettle to boil.
    Had another look at your – rather baffling – comment.
    You quote my ‘loudly, clearly, extensively and absolutely’ phrase.
    If you look at what I wrote closely, you will see that it was referring to my saying that ‘the internet does not work for everyone’. I followed this with the words ‘that indeed, it does not, more often that it does’…..
    Seems quite hard to misread to me.
    The kettle’s boiling. Thank goodness…

  • Jo says:

    Rosie. Your last comment came up after I had posted all mine. May seem strange otherwise.

  • Jo says:

    I must start here by offering apologies to P and all you fellow planktonites. This is a tvmunson length comment of epic proportions.
    So. Rosie. Earlier you asked me ‘has it worked for you’?
    Well here goes…
    First. About me. I have been a plankton for ages and ages. About 10 years in fact. Divorced. One child. The wrong side of 50.
    For a time, I wasn’t interested in a relationship. Too scarred I guess. Maybe too scared? Also found that I rather enjoyed the life I had established for myself and my child – hard work though it was to do so. Yes I was lonely at times, but not so much that it really bothered me. I discovered, much to my surprise, that there were some joys to be had by not sharing my cosy space with someone else. The single life and its unexpected benefits was not so bad. In fact, many things about it were good and I felt as free as a bird. Indeed, I often joked to my friends that – should I ever have a relationship again – ideally we would have two adjoining properties, with an interconnecting door in-between (if we had enough money!). Failing that, then perhaps one house divided into two flats whereby he would live upstairs and I down and we would meet a lot and spend time together whenever we felt like it and equally could enjoy our own space. Perfect. I was joking..I think.
    Anyway. I began to think that it would be nice to have someone in my life and I felt I was ready for it. Perhaps. So I did all the things that have been spoken about here. Asked friends. Went to events. Joined clubs. Went to parties. Galleries. OMG. Any number of things. I could give you chapter and verse, but we’d be here until the end of time.
    What I did not do was go anywhere near the internet.
    I knew people who had done so of course. Mostly, on the Guardian Soulmates site. I heard any number of ghastly stories about others’ experiences thereto and felt it was absolutely not for me. Absolutely not. For all the reasons I have heard here. I didn’t dismiss it out of hand, but felt that there were surely other options. There were not..Boy did I try them.
    Years passed and even when a close friend met someone lovely for her on there – now married – I still felt reticent about it. Masses of stories where nothing at all happened to people of course but then, again, a friend of a friend who clicked with someone right for her. (Still happily coupled). She was 64.The first friend was 49.
    So I pondered.. and fruitlessly attempted to think of other things to try. Friends yielded zilch and I felt it was hopeless. Really. Little hope of meeting anybody. At this point I began to feel increasingly low at the prospect of life long planktonhood. But still. No internet. Friends banged on at me to try it. But I remained massively sceptical and extremely cautious and left it at that. I felt I would try it sometime. When? I didn’t know. But I too had my prejudices about it. And felt rather ashamed and kind of a ‘failure’ to think of doing it.
    And so it went on. Even after 3 more (aquaintances) had a positive outcome. I should say here, that this was over some years. These were not all in a clump. And of course they were far outweighed by the stories where nothing at all came of it. But still. It could – not likely but could – happen to people after all. I wanted to make up my own mind and was not put off unduly by the adverse stories. Nor did I put rose tinted specs on and think ‘wahey. It clearly works’! by those who hit good fortune. No. The successes were too few to put the flags up. I wasn’t totally converted by those stories. But they did make me think. I did think I’d better just give it a go before concluding that it was one big bloody hellish waste of time.
    So I did. I went on (well peered in) for 3 days! Got a bit of a shock. Found it dispiriting, wearying and depressing just like everybody else and scuttled off faster than Usain Bolt can hit that 100 metres winning line. Bloody hell.
    But I decided to give it another go. I did so. Off. On. Off. On. Off. On.
    Then subscribed for three months. But no picture. A few replies. Any amount of crap. But one or two interesting ones, which didn’t come to anything. (Correspondence only). But decided to give myself a year at most. Put up a picture and a straightforward honest account of myself and my real age and not too many ‘conditions’ about the guy. Very important things yes. But not reams of stuff that could be found out in other ways.
    During that year replies ebbed and flowed. Well not flowed exactly, but dripped fitfully in and out. Yep. Some oddballs, idiots and spacewasters.But sometimes some really rather nice, not unattractive ones. Bit of correspondence but for one reason or another not leading to wanting to meet them. Just not right for me. I must stress. This was not saturation by any means! Frequently felt I’d like to throw in the towel. Did go on (several) dates with one man who had seemed a real possibility after email correspondence and lengthy phone calls. Started well but (kids older than mine), he became frustrated at how much time my child carved out of my life (!) and didn’t like it one bit. Plus, realised he was rather immature and childish. So it was not to be. Bit of a setback that. Felt that maybe this was going to be it for my GS experience? No other chances? Dunno. But had money left still on my subscription. So, hung in. Again. One or two really sweet people. A deal of ughness. Time drawing to a close.. Feeling. Well. Feeling what? At least I gave it a real go. At least I know there are some decent people on there amongst the dross. Just not right for me. But definitely decent and intelligent people. They do exist. Outnumbered perhaps, but out there. I was pleased I had at least given it some welly. If somewhat deflated. Heard nothing for ages. The months ticked away. Made my peace with what might be.
    And then….
    And then. A message. Late one evening on the site’s protected messaging box.
    Simple. Straightforward. Witty. Saying that mine was one of the most simple and straightforward profiles he had seen on there and that he had liked it very much. Gave me details of his.
    Viewed it. No picture. Hmm. Why not? Interesting profile though.
    Asked about picture. It was because of work. Sent me two straightaway. Oh. Things about him I may have dismissed had he been described. But in the photograph? Hmmm. Again. Interesting.
    Corresponded for a while on the site messaging system. He’s an artist. Not much older than me. Looking for someone about the same age or older. An artist. A definite rapport developing. Onto personal emails. After a bit. The phone. Feeling cautious but hopeful… Definitely in tune. Finally arranged a date. Had got on so well by now. Chemistry? Who knows. But a nice story to warm my old age if not. Ha ha. Yeh right.
    But readers. Hey. Things went well. Still are. Some months on now and can’t quite believe it. Would NEVER have met him without the net.
    Some things to negotiate of course. But not insurmountable. But more importantly, happy as the proverbial Larry.
    I thought someone might ask me Rosie’s question. I’ve said nothing before now because..Well because it’s still developing and I didn’t want to jinx it. I dreaded being asked that question because I didn’t feel ready enough to answer it. But when you asked me today, Rosie I thought ‘yes. I think I feel solid enough to answer it’. Not time to get out any hats yet girls. But it’s going very well. Fingers crossed.
    Important to say that I understand all too well the doubts, the fears about the internet. The scepticism, the bullshit. I understand massively the not wanting to even attempt it. I was that soldier. May be again.Who knows. I DO NOT hold this up as some sort of happy ending. Really I don’t. That’s fairyland and total bollocks Or confirmation that it means..anything at all. At this point I can’t predict anything. Even for myself. We shall see. Just wish me luck.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Jo, very much, and I now get it. I wish you the very, very best of luck. Please keep us posted! Thanks again. Very best wishes, Px

    • fi says:

      What a heartwarming story and I wish you all the best too. I’m going to go back on and set a time limit and make that effort

    • MissM says:

      That is a wonderful story Jo. I have to admit that I was in agreement with the cheerleading/shareholder idea for a while. You were a tad evangelical on the subject and did pounce mercilessly on any person who dared mention their bad internet dating experience. But now I see you were trying to compensate what you see as overly negative takes on the topic. You were just too positive to be believable, but this post is full of thoughtfulness, balance and consideration. I can understand your reticence to discuss your very personal story, but thank you for doing so.

      I wish you loads and loads of the most excellent luck.

      • Jo says:

        MissM. My earlier reply to you was in response to your earlier comments. My reply to that was posted before your last comment!
        Thank you for this. I appreciate it very much indeed.

  • Jo says:

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to put he’s an artist twice!
    No significance in it. Typing error.

    • Joules says:

      Now get it and very happy that things are going well for you. Still not sure for me. But I will go along with what my friends have done and give it a go for a few months then. Suppose I should actually read some of their profiles.

  • Jo says:

    Well you know Joules? Why the heck not?
    Keep that realistic head on. The best of luck. x

  • june says:

    Well good on you Jo , hope it works for you, nice to know it does for some, ive heard of it happening for people but personally have only known one person it actually happened to,and she was prepared to meet people from further away than me.

    But i honestly still think especially after my study of match,com the other day that for any women over 60 it is a total waste of time, as men just dont want to meet us, even ones of our own age, but for younger women if they prepared to keep at it and not give up easily it may be possible. For us “old dears” cause im convinced thats what all men think we turn into on our 60 birthday, they can see the Dorian Grey pic mouldering in the attic, i think its cocoa and a good book and not much else. I and my fellow plankton over 60 friend have both come to this conclusion.

  • James says:

    Well, if you always give up at the first hurdle, you will remain single!

    I know the site you mean, and I found the questionnaires tedious and pointless. Many of the questions seem designed to work out whether you are a Republican or Democrat. “How important is this question to you?” What can you say when the question is about killing? There is no box to tick for “you are asking the wrong question”.

    The whole process of creating a profile is gut-wrenchingly awful. The only sane advice I have heard is to let a close friend write your profile for you, because, as you yourself mentioned on another page, we Brits are modest to a fault and we wouldn’t write about our merits if our lives depended on it.

    There are all sorts of reasons why men don’t post a picture. Possibly the same reason that you didn’t post one. Perhaps they are married. Most likely, they don’t want to be identified by their friends and work colleagues – not necessarily because they are hiding something, but because the whole thing is cringe-makingly embarrassing.

    You want to see their pictures; they want to see yours. If you don’t want to post one, you should say in your profile that you will email one on request. But you will get more attention from the age-bracket that interests you if you do post a picture. Write a fair profile and they will come. Write a poor profile, and all you will get is much older men who are trying their luck.

    I suspect that men exaggerate their sports participation. The women on dating sites seem a lot more sporty than the female population at large, and I suspect that they are exaggerating too.

    As for the word “lady”, well that is the word that people of our age bracket were told was polite. Many of us have been re-educated to use the word “woman”, but others haven’t. It should not be a deal-breaker (you can always re-educate him later, ha ha). I must admit that I dislike the word “gent” because it reminds me of “gents’ toilet”, but why be offended by it, especially if it is intended as a compliment?

    Come on, Plankton. Don’t wimp out yet.

  • Jo says:

    Btw James. P has already said that she’ll give it another shot.
    Even if she only does it for a while and then stops. She’s at least going to give it more of a go. Can’t say fairer than that. Let’s give the girl a break now.

  • Jo says:

    P. In view of my (ongoing) story and its news. Am I still allowed to comment here?!

  • Patricia says:

    Don’t you DARE disappear Jo! How I’ve been enjoying all these recent posts-I can relate to so much that’s being said. I’ll be 60 this year, been a Plankton for 10 & those first few years were a lonely wasteland. After 4 years of ‘dare I/daren’t I peep online’ – I took the plunge. It takes courage I know, but it’s been a really good experience for me. I’ve met some lovely people, had 2 relationships that each lasted a year and we remain friends – and I’m not fickle, although I fear that could become a problem for me if I don’t manage to find the ONE (loneliness has led me down a few stupid paths…). I dip in and I dip out, I get despondent, I get excited, at the moment I’m taking a sabbatical from it, but I often take a little look. I know it can work – over the last 8 years, FOUR of my friends (all professional women between 50 and 66…) have met & married thanks to the internet. So – good luck Jo and all of us, whether we go online or not…

  • Patricia says:

    Just found this link…..in a similar vein, interesting story re internet dating…….www.ffifty.com

  • rosie says:

    Jo, you shoulda said! Hope it continues to go well. I’m still feeling limp the last few times I’ve looked at Guardian Soulmates but never say never – or never again.

  • Margaux says:

    Jo …love, love, loved your story!!

    Now I understand your frustration with us all… but you too get the reticence some of us have voiced.So please don’t judge us too harshly. 😉
    I’ve been dipping in and out of the sites thinking “shall I, shan’t l ?” I for a while now…. I’ve kind of told myself I will do it in the Spring when I am feeling less winter pasty, wrapped in chunky layers and post Xmas bloated …so I am thinking of the next 2 months as ‘getting into training’ !

    In the meantime I am sending you all the love and luck in the world it’s possible to send with your new amour …and many thanks for the inspiration 🙂 M

  • Margaux says:

    I had a bit of a google and found this list of niche dating sites – admittedly it’s a couple of years old but it’s still interesting :


    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Margaux. Helpful, but all a tad TOO niche, I fear, for me! xx

    • Patricia says:

      That’s hilarious Margaux! How niche can you GET?! Just goes to show, there are all sorts out there, & however much of an ‘outsider’ I may feel in my Planktonhood, well……everyone is an ‘outsider’, peering in ….at the ‘Insiders’.

  • asinusspinasmasticans says:

    My brother met his (third) wife on the Internet. They are very well matched and he is very happy. The first two wives were hot messes but they were the best he could do with the limited options open to him pre-Internet.

    At first, he had his geographical setting set to a 25 mile radius, and he wasn’t pulling anyone worth his time, so he said, hell with it, I drive 25 miles one way to work. So he increased it to 50 miles, and BAM, the first profile he came across was Future Number Three.

    There’s a lot to be said for casting a wider net. PS – She’s a great sister-in-law.

    • june says:

      Interesting that about your brother casting his net wider did she move to be with him.

      I have a problem with casting my net wider, apart from being on my own, i like where i live, i worked here for years,circumstances prevented me from moving sooner, i am very happy living in this city and i have no desire at all to leave my friends, and somewhere i enjoy living. I never really liked my small town at all,but here i have put down roots and feel like i have never lived anywhere else. I know of someone who met man who lives 50 miles away and she spents most weekends at his, shes hardly any contact with her friends and none of us have met the man, she seems to have replaced her friends with his. I guess its a question of how much you want not to be alone, but i for one am not prepared to make my life somewhere away from a place i love,and live somewhere i dont know anyone in, just for a relationship, so maybe i dont want it enough.

  • june says:

    Well P there seem to be lots of people here with encouraging stories for you, even i am amazed to say women of my age group, which i have to say due to my friends and my experiences does surprise me. I can only conclude in our case it must be part of the UK we live in as we both get very few contacts, recently both of us have had none, she has had a few more than i, but shes been on the sites for about 7 years, but none have progressed, and i for over 2, and ive just had the odd date and though no doubt i am leaving myself open to someone telling me im far too choosey and i should have continued to meet at least one of the few, im too concerned with how people look etc and i shouldnt care if they are overweight, live in the sticks when i like the city etc, i rest my case, if you dont fancy them and you are not compatible, its a total waste of time, its not fair on them or you.

    • MissM says:

      I am certain that where a person lives has a lot to do with the type of online dating experience any person has. I live where there are just not many people to begin with. People talk about sorting through hundreds of profiles, but where I am there wouldn’t even be one hundred profiles in general to start with. The only person I know who had any luck had to import her partner from another state, and they are now apart again when he had to go back for work reasons (reasons being the lack of work here) and her family commitments don’t allow her to move to be with him.

      I plan on moving when I am able to, but by then I may well be entirely too old, become used to being alone (if only I could learn to do that), or gone completely and utterly nucking futs. Not sure where I should move to, since all I see everywhere are women with the same problem as me. Apparently there are whole towns that are largely comprised of ‘single women of a certain age’ which would have to be nirvana for any man there, so I wonder where the corresponding towns of single men of a certain age are. From what I’ve read on here I can conclude Ireland is definitely off the list.

      • Joules says:

        I have heard that Alaska has a good ratio of men to women but they do say the odds are good but the goods are odd.

    • Jo says:

      You’re right June. Of course you should care how people look etc. You shouldn’t meet anyone you don’t want to either. The same with caring if they are overweight etc etc. Of course you should care June. I don’t think anyone feels you shouldn’t. As far as you not fancying them or being incompatible being a total waste of time? Absolutely. No-one wants that. No- one. It’s a pre-requisite. Grim otherwise and pointless.
      How awful that would be. Ugh.

  • Josephine says:

    Loved your story Jo, thank you for sharing it with us, I hope it really works out for you, you deserve it, I am sorry for been so negative about online dating, but my own experience wasnt good, it could have been my own fault, as I am quiet busy, & wasnt really prepared to put the work in, also I wasnt really interested in becoming friends, as I have lots of friends, to do stuff with that I enjoy, also my friend that I posted here about, that the guy just disappeared into thin air after a few dated, she is still in bits, is just driving me crazy,I feel it can give people false hope, please keep us posted

    • Jo says:

      Dear Josephine. Thank you. A lot – indeed more often than not – online dating experiences are not good. I have always been at pains to stress that. I’ve said that often. I just wanted to say that sometimes it can work. Occasionally. I said those things from the first. Many moons ago,even BEFORE my situation (which is not about just being a friend, I can assure you. I’m with you there!). Based on the women I had known for whom it had. But always always reiterating that these were less common than those for whom it had not. My message was only that. Maybe give it a go. Even if you later give up.
      Btw. I think it was Steve H (?) who said about your friend, that the guy was a twit and she could have met him anywhere.

  • Jo says:

    Dear MissM.
    I have not ‘jumped on anyone because their experience didn’t fit mine’ That is not what I have said at all. Nor have I invalidated anyone because ‘their experience didn’t happen to me’. Sorry. That’s nonsense.

  • Jo says:

    MissM. I posted the earlier reply in response to your earlier comments. It went out before I had seen your last comments to me. So it won’t seem to make any sense. Thank you for what you said later. It’s very very much appreciated. Thank you. x

    • MissM says:

      It’s all cool Jo, I fully accept there are limitations when posting on the internet. So I like to give others the benefit of the doubt it I can, and at the same time am happy to accept it when I have got the wrong end of the stick myself, so to speak, as it is so easily done.

      Getting the right tone in a short comment is quite a feat. I doubt anyone can ever be entirely certain that what they mean is coming across in a comment the way they intend it to, given the limitations of short pieces of text. I have had people interpret things I write in a way I had not intended, so I find it a personal challenge to get my meaning as clear as possible. I doubt I succeed as much as I would like, but it is all good practice and hope to get better at it with time.

      While I can easily relate to the online dating horror stories I still do really enjoy hearing a success story, which are all too rare in my life. I very much enjoyed reading your personal tale, and it gave me a little more hope than I had before. I appreciate you sharing it with us. I really do wish you all the best luck, as I do for everyone. I see no reason why there should not be happiness for all.

      • Jo says:

        Thanks MissM. I completely agree with you about the tone that is meant, coming across as such and being interpreted in a way that was not intended. Thank you too for your sweet words. Brought a tear to my eye.

      • Jo says:

        I meant the tone that is meant, not coming across as such. Typing too quickly – and unskillfully-. Darn.

  • Jo says:

    Thank you to all for the kind words and good wishes. I feel really touched by them. Very moved.
    You haven’t got rid of me though! Thanks everyone. xx

  • rosie says:

    MissM, I’m guessing you’re in the US…I read somewhere that there are more men than women in Austin.

    • MissM says:

      Actually I am in Australia, but Austin is being duly noted. I’ll be checking that out as a holiday destination one day perhaps.

  • june says:

    Thanks Miss M for agreeing with me where you live makes a difference. I live in a city, but its a city i think with few single men in it, well very few who want my age group, but i have heard its a problem for younger women too here.Its the only city in a largely rural and coastal area of the uk and as i explained on here recently i very much like city life and have no desire to return to living in the backwoods from wence i came.Like you the contacts i get on dating sites are very limited, hundreds of men! im lucky if i get 2 or 3. My friend who ls same age and lives in same city has the same problem. Shes been on them 7 years since her divorce and has just about given up hope.

    As many have mentioned Guardian Soulmates i had a look at that, thinking possibly might be more contacts, tried up to 20 mile radius, to be honest im not interested in going any further than that, Very few men appeared, those that did, even if my age all seem to want women in their 40s upwards, but certainly noone in 60s. Why do they imagine any women in 40s would want them, none of my friends would, i personally fancied very few of them,most looked considerably older than me.

    Yes i am sure i will get the usual stuff on here about looks dont count, well if you have to be in close proximity with someone it does , if you honestly find them repulsive that would be a waste of time, I found 2 i liked the look of both 50ish but hey ho what a surprise they wanted women no older than them.i cant imagine where any woman finds a “toy boy” ive never been given the opportunity, chance would indeed be a fine thing, i think cougars are unheard of in my neck of woods.

    So yet another saturday night goes by alone, is there any hope at all i wonder!

    • Jo says:

      June. No-one is suggesting to you that looks don’t count, nor that even if you find them repulsive, you must still go for them! Absolutely not.
      Whilst I understand not wanting to look many many miles away for someone who might be right for you, I also think that for most (all?) of us, the chances of meeting someone lovely for us, with all the things we find attractive etc is very greatly reduced by putting too great a limit on distance. It’s hard to meet the right person anyway. But the chances of this person being confined only in close proximity to us is a tad unrealistic. Again, no-one is suggesting you up sticks and move if anything happens. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Things can be worked out between the two of you, if anything happens. Don’t put too many obstacles and limitations on things before you start. 20 miles from you only is – in my view- a little unreasonable, a little too narrow.
      My own gorgeous man lives further away than I would have liked, but if I had ruled him out because of it I would never have met him and felt so blessed happy. I would have missed out completely! And it doesn’t bear thinking about..
      We have had to make a few adjustments, yes and it can be a bit frustrating at times, but we have worked it out.
      No. I am really not just measuring this against my own experience. I would have said the same before that. I just think we must be careful about what we can expect to happen – realistically – if we say we will ONLY consider things that we deem to be perfect, like distance. Without stretching that distance just a bit further. Not a hundred miles though!

      • june says:

        You are right Jo, its just that i do like living where i live now so much more than the small town i lived in all my life, that i really dont want to start travelling around for a partner, and i dont drive. I know someone who did meet someone on match.com, she travels to his every weekend, he lives 40 miles away, seems to have no time for her friends here now, everything she does seems involved with his world. I suppose if someone has their own life they are going to expect you to get involved with it and it seems so much easier if you live in same place, but a tad unrealistic i know. Also as the city i live in is the only city within at least 70 or 80 miles, all rest being rural and coastal, its a bit hard to meet the kind of man id like to meet. I dont think its just my age either, i do know younger women have a problem meeting men in this city .

        I have seen men i find attractive over 100 miles away, usually younger than me i have to say but as you say that is too far, my fellow plankton friend who has been at this online dating thing for much longer than me, says men dont seem to find it a problem, but she like me feels too far is too far. I had a contact today on POF, at least 90 miles away, and he is 2yrs younger but o dear can i say he was repulsive! and looked a good 10 yrs older. I cant believe anyone would travel 90 miles to meet him! . I am not Helen Mirren or Lulu, but for a women of my age im not bad looking, slim and people tell me i look 10 yrs younger than i am, so i think i can be just a slightly bit choosey, sadly men on the whole do not look after themselves as well as we do,

  • Jo says:

    Blessed happy? I meant blessed and happy.
    Please. I am not crowing.

  • Jo says:

    You’re right June. Lots of men don’t seem to look after themselves as well as we do. I too am always taken for someone more than 10 years younger than my age. Always. No-one ever believes that I’m the age I am. How lovely! (Though I am a bit naughty and drink far more wine than is good for me. Other than that it’s E45 cream from Boots and yoga. That’s it.).
    Your friend who is with someone who lives 40 miles away and does not see her friends anymore and is totally involved with his world etc etc? This is down to this woman and her personality and what she has chosen to do. That’s ALL. It has nothing to do with anything else. And is not a blueprint for a blanket view. In my opinion.
    As for someone having their own life and ‘expecting you to get involved in it’ (!) Yes it’s easier if they live in the same place, but as you recognise it can’t always be expected and shouldn’t preclude anything.
    I’m going to retract my 100 miles thing. Yes it’s a long way. But, if you meet the right man? Then it just has to be worked out. Not ideal. But put what really matters first I think.

  • Jo says:

    Btw June. Of course you can say the contact you had today was repulsive!! That’s a no-no. Even if he lived around the corner.

  • Margaux says:

    I liked blessed happy, Jo ! 🙂

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