Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Could this be him?

Yesterday I had my rather spontaneous date with Pip.  He had travelled from the West Country for a conference in my home town and after apologising if it seemed forward, suggested a meeting and gave me his mobile number

I promised to phone him that evening, and was able to, as this gentleman hadn't hit the Block this Member button after sending me his number.  I rang from my landline, after withholding my number which he didn't seem to notice as during our conversation he said he would text me if he was running late.

He had told me where he was staying which was a well known hotel, but being in something-of-a-lady-mode that day, I didn't offer to meet him there.  Instead I told him that I'd noticed from his profile that his suggestions for an ideal first date would be a quiet country house or even a garden centre, so suggested the latter, which I knew would be on his route home.  He seemed to genuinely appreciate the thoughtfulness of the suggestion and I think it may have earned me a Brownie point

I was running a few minutes late for the date and didn't have the time to spend on my make-up or hair and it was a filthy, foggy, drizzling day too which didn't help.  As I made the 20 minute drive to the garden centre (his hotel would have been nearer) I realised that I'd forgotten to paint my nails, and that I hadn't said where to meet at the large Garden Centre so wasn't sure if I should wait by the door or in the cafeteria area.

I needn't have worried because after driving very conspicuously into the large car park through the Exit (yes, the Exit!) looking for a space, I spotted him waiting outside by the door, watching me as I made a hash of my parking and finding that I had to push my way through the bushes, having not given myself enough room to open my driver's door as I parked tidily, but tightly in the end space,  arriving to greet him with a wet bottom, jacket and scarf.

He was easily identifiable from his profile photo and was shorter and rounder than my usual tall, dark, handsome preference but he was still dark haired which is something of a rarity.  As is any hair at all if my past dates are anything to go by

He wasn't particularly smartly dressed, and as I apologised for being rather wet front and back from pushing my way through the bushes, he apologised for being in casual clothes.  I said I thought we were both very appropriately dressed for a cup of tea at a garden centre

He was easy to talk to, just as I'd expected of someone who works in adult education.  He was also very interesting to listen to.  He's travelled extensively, spent his childhood in Nigeria and visited many of the same places around the globe that I have.  Well, we had Australia and Scotland in common anyway.

He seemed to enjoy being complimented. When he picked up the tea pot and offered to pour my tea, I thanked him, telling him that I hadn't had that done for me for a very long time.  He blushed, and said no-one had even noticed, let alone commented on it before .  He stuck me as being modest and bashful, well travelled and interesting and a truly devoted father to 4 daughters, all with beautiful names, indicating that he had both class and style when naming them 30+ years ago.   Our offspring are all the same age so he, like me, is free of the usual parenting and financial burdens associated with younger children or those still in education or further education.

He proudly showed me a 12 week scan photo on his phone of his first grandchild-to-be and I proudly showed him photos of my granddaughter.  We talked about our homes and the holidays we'd had, and the ones we were planning, discovering that our lives were virtually parallel. And when he offered to show me photo on his phone of his motorbike, I offered to buy us a second pot of tea...

I found him engaging, unpretentious, very natural and comfortable, with no sign of nerves.  He's had a better experience on the sites than most blokes I've spoken to, and when I asked him his secret, he says its being discerning.  Eeek!

They say you should look at a date and imagine yourself in a errrm, certain situation and ask yourself if you could.  So I did.  And I would!

Be happy to invite him to be my + 1, I mean :)

Pip is kind, generous (he didn't allow me to split the bill for the pot of tea for 2 like the limping German coffee lover did) and he's compassionate.  His conversation was fair and balanced, showing interest in me and asking appropriate questions, with each of us opening up to the other, and finding common ground in most things, including both of us working from our own homes.  He is with far more disciplined than me and we both laughed when I said I was too easily persuaded to drop my work to have an impromptu lunch or coffee with a girlfriend, to which he added "or cup of tea at very short notice with a strange man from a dating site!"

I could message him and thank him for meeting me and indicate that I'd like to see him again, but I'm going to play it cool and see if I hear back from him.  Neither of us gave any indication when we left of the next step, perhaps because he headed in the direction of the Gents as I made my way through the bushes and back to my car

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Nobody puts baby in the corner

I planned to phone the tallboy today just to be bloody minded.  No one gives me their mobile number and then blocks me, without me trying to find out why, or at least putting on my bestest telephone voice, and attempting to make them realise what they're missing.  By blocking me, all his emails to me had disappeared from my inbox, but last night I saw that there was still a thread of my sent messages in my Sent folder on the site and one had his phone number.

Today I sat down with my phone in hand and logged on to the site to get the number, only to find my Sent messages had also disappeared, taking his number with them.  Ugh!

So now I've had a taste of my own medicine since the tallboy hit the Block This Member button and perhaps I won't be so flippant about doing it myself in future.  The difference being of course that both the tallboy and Nige contacted me first and I responded.  Those folk I block are the ones who contact me, and who I am not interested in.  I've yet to see the logic in contacting a female, asking if they think a town 35 miles away is too far, and when I reply saying it isn't a problem, stop communicating, or more recently with the tallboy this week, initiating contact and sending me his phone number, and blocking me later the same day before I had a chance to call him.  Pillock!

I find it most bizarre behaviour but if anyone can explain it to me, please put your answers on a postcard, or in the comments box at the foot of this page!

I pop over to another of the sites, having just renewed my membership after noticing that they were offering  a discounted rate for January only.  While updating my profile and adding the new photo, I receive a notification that William likes me.  So I check out William's profile:

Under the "dislikes"  section, he lists pretension (sic)

I am a private landlord and writer with an elderly parent to see out decently and dormant desires to move to France.
I specialise in writing about the French during WW2 at the moment. My first book came out late 2011 and my second in late 2015 - both are sold all over the World. This all means a lot to me. I am very well read and also read a lot in French. Hence I am better suited to the high intellect-high morals sort of girl.
My background is old upper middle class on my mother's side - I find the under-used word 'mercantile' more descriptive than 'middle' or 'upper' - and more ordinary on my father's. If I don't know what's what I usually know where to find out.
I am looking for a tallish, intellectual sort of girl, aged late thirties to early forties who has not had children yet but would like them, who has been to university and who is possibly a teeny bit 'county' as well, so I thought I would give this site a whirl.
Ideally I'm looking for someone who:-
1. Believes in God, not necessarily in a 'dear old man with a flowing white beard' sort of way, but I am a Catholic and would have difficulty living with an atheist.
2. Is reasonably well-read. Hence probably (but not necessarily) a graduate.
3. Takes morals and values seriously (no more than ten previous sexual partners please - sorry to spell it out but it saves problems later) and has a strong sense of family.
4. Enjoys rolling their sleeves up to do projects like redecorating flats and renovating houses.
5. Enjoys varied cuisine, can follow a recipe with a reasonable chance of getting it right and who would know what to do if handed a brace of unplucked, ungutted dead birds or a feshly caught fish. (Veggies? Hmmmmm. - You would have to be very very beautiful and a PhD for me to forgive that.)
6. Can speak French. - I would like to move to France at some stage or, at the very least, spend more time there.
7. Likes dogs. We used to have golden retrievers. I like most gundogs but don't like breeds that are obviously going to have health problems or guarding/fighting types or toy dogs. I like large friendly dogs and large friendly women.
Why would such a wonder-woman want me? Ahem. Ummm. Well, because I'm a jolly nice chap......

That is enough for me, and I log off the site.

Fortunately for me there is a new book called The History of Dating from Jane Austen to Tinder and I'm thinking of buying it after reading the review in the weekend paper. I think William would greatly improve his chances if he also bought a copy.   It apparently covers everything from 17th Century Lonely Hearts columns to Cilla Black's Blind Date TV programme, to Tinder.

Apparently, historically the dating process was never easy (ain't that the truth!) In Jane Austen's day, touching a few gloved fingers while greeting each other could provoke a scandal and women had to conceal their intelligence as it was disadvantageous to be labelled a bluestocking. Flashing ones teeth was heavily frowned upon, hence the demure simpering.  (so that's where I'm going wrong)!

The entire business of seeking a mate was regimented and commonly held presumptions were comical, which included the popularity of large feet. Check!

The liberation of women came during the Victorian era thanks to the introduction of the bicycle (no sniggering girlfriends please) due to bloomers replacing the knickerbockers, crinolines and hooped petticoats for ease of getting our legs over a saddle.

In the early 1900's engagements would last up to 5 years but WW1 sped things up a bit and by WW11 couples were meeting and marrying within a weekend.

Today computer dating is so ingenious (it is??) that real flesh and blood people no longer even need to meet and dating has once again become as detached as the characters in Jane Austen anonymously exchanging calling cards.

Back to earth in 2017, and as if by magic, I have received a new message on the ingenious site from Pip.  I liked the sound of Pip so I messaged him first, and he's replied.  He's creative, and very active, and has a motorbike.  I'm going to overlook the motorbike on this occasion as he isn't displaying it in any of his photos, which suggests he's not obsessed with it and there wouldn't be three of us in the relationship.

Pip tells me we seem to have similar personalities and interests and whats more he is going to be in my town on Monday on business....

I have replied with interest, asking which part of my home town he will be visiting. 3 days later he has replied, without answering my question but asking if we could meet, with an apology if it sounds rather forward but that it seems too good an opportunity to miss.

I have thrown caution to the wind and agreed to meet him. In his profile he suggests a visit to a quiet country house or even a garden centre for a first date, and I think I know just the place.  Just his idea of a first date is a refreshing change from all the other profiles which suggest meeting in a pub or for coffee

Nobody puts baby in the corner and I have a date!

I shall need a crash course in demure simpering and if that fails, there is always Tinder..

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

It was another quiet weekend on the sites.  I logged on once and that was only because I wanted to upload a new profile photo.

Weddings are very much to the fore at the moment.  My goddaughter sent some photos of her wedding last August, and, amongst them was one which, with a spot of cropping, I thought might be suitable to add to my profile photos, since there had been a positive response to the photo on social media,   I hoped it might work some magic for me on the dating sites too

Whilst online I saw that the island dweller and Nige were sitting in pole position as usual but there was no contact from either.  I am mischievously hoping they are both vying for the attentions of the same lady/ladies! There was no sign of The Author but he will perhaps be back from Cardiff soon and want to converse some more.  I now suspect that from his comment in his initial reply to mine when he said he "might live a little further away than is ideal, but is happy to continue the conversation" that conversation is enough for him.   So pen pals then?  Nevermind.  He replies.  He writes, his messages are well constructed, and pleasing to read, and he is also offering a few suggestions too, such as that I take a creative writing course......:)

He could be a useful contact.  Our daughter's wedding is going to be interesting as we all still remember the cringe factor at her 18th birthday party when we recall what an awkward public speaker her father was and still is.  He made such a hash of the speech that when our son's 21st birthday party came round, I gave the speech this time, explaining it would give the proceedings some balance.  My fait accompli went  unchallenged.

When discussing her wedding plans recently with the bride to be, I mentioned how unusual but nice it was at a wedding I was at last year, where, like us,  the bride's parents were divorced, and the father gave her away, but the mother gave the speech at the reception.  I hoped this might sow a little seed of interest with my daughter, but alas she has asked her father not only to give her away, but also to give the speech, her only stipulation to him is that he keeps it brief....presumably to minimise the cringes and prevent me from jumping up, slapping him about a bit, grabbing his notes, I said notes, and taking over.

Her father and I do speak, quite amicably sometimes, so perhaps I can glean some tips from my new penfriend The Author, and improve the ex husband's chances of entertaining the wedding guests. Briefly.

My quick nip onto the site obviously aroused some interest as I immediately received a new message.  Someone call tallboy.  At first glance I thought I was still logged into my eBay account, but on reading his message it seems he is 6ft 5" and lives a 30 min drive away.  According to the site he's a "Top Prospect", which I suspect probably just means he's paid a premium for his membership to get some additional promotion. Since I say in my profile that I'm looking for someone I can look up to, I replied.

He queried something I'd said in my profile, and I replied that I would keep this back for a conversation in person, yet another pearl of wisdom gleaned from some silly dating tips I'd read about not revealing too much in messages, but to keep something back until the meeting.  So he sent me his mobile number.  When I went on to the site to arrange a time to phone him the next day, I found I couldn't message him because he'd blocked me.  What is that all about?!

Nobody puts baby in the corner.........

Saturday, 21 January 2017

No surprise

Well, it was no surprise to find this morning when I logged on to the site, that although the island dweller is online, and presumably has read my email asking for his number so that I can call him, he hasn't replied.

Apparently, according to dating protocol, the man should give the lady his number, so that for safety reasons, she can call him, withholding her number if she wishes.  This is my wish.  So we've reached a stalemate.

Nige is also online again, and I feel I'm getting the measure of these particular fellas....

The Author had already forewarned me he would be away for a few days and therefore not on the site, and I have a lot of respect for his openness.

So I pop over to the paid site to see if there is any movement there since my last log-in many weeks ago.  I have a notification that two, yes 2, profiles have been updated.  One has added the following essential information " I have an obsession about toast".  According to the site, he is a someone who is compatible with me.  WTF?!  I am so pleased I had a discount voucher for this site.  Note to self - beware sites which rely on Groupon vouchers to boost membership.

According to my stats on the Groupon financed site,  despite having a profile which is 100% complete with 6 photos, I have had no viewings since my last log-in in December.  How rude! This is not good for a girl's morale and I am running out of ideas as to which mode of dating to try next, as well as running out of time to find a +1 for 1st July

I've taken another look at my profile wording, wondering if I can tweak it to make it and me sound any more attractive but I give up, as I really feel it reflects me and what I'm searching for.  It's honest, not too wordy, but, hopefully a little different to the others, and with a hint of self-awareness.

So I wash my hair, and in full make-up, long boots and smart jacket, plus other essential items of clothing, I head to Waitrose to see if I can identify the single guys from the items they have in their baskets.  I have a theory that single guys don't use trolleys unless they are nursing a hangover and need support.  No, trolleys are for women, and blokes with large families to feed who have been sent out to shop by 'er indoors.

I am definitely getting better at idle conversation in the check out queues by making comments on different items passing along the conveyor belt.  In fact I think I would make quite a good check out assistant, based on my small talk with other customers and years of watching the Generation Game as a child.   Or perhaps not, if my conversation with a little girl who I thought was about 8 years old when I saw her reaching on tip toes to drop things into her trolley is anything to go by.  Drawn to her trendy clothes and shiny new shoes, I was just about to say "aren't you a good girl to help mummy with her shopping" when she turned and looked me straight in the naval and I realised she was reading her shopping list from the iPhone in her hand and was actually a height challenged foreign lady, no more than 3ft tall. How she hadn't fallen head first into her trolley when trying to place objects in it, I'll never know. She somehow defied the law of gravity

Today's shopping trip was no less embarrassing.  Having clocked a few lone males amongst the yummy mummies with screaming children dressed in an assortment of hacking jackets and jodphurs, tutus and football kits (the children, not the mummies) I spotted three potentials.  The first I ruled out when I saw he was pushing his elderly mother in a wheelchair and seemed to know more about what they had in their fridge at home than she did.

There were 2 thirty-something males - one pushing a toddler in a pushchair - quite a rare sight in our particular Waitrose, and another actually pushing a trolley with masculine looking groceries, including a pack of 4 shiny new pint glasses, but was speaking in a very loud, effeminate voice to someone on handsfree as he minced around the supermarket so I eliminated him too

Just as I had completed putting my purchases through the checkout, I noticed the next person in the queue behind me was a rather eligible tall, handsome, well dressed male of a similar age to me, with a basket not a trolley.  Slightly distracted from packing my bag for a moment by this good omen, when the young spotty faced Saturday boy cashier asked me to pay, I rummaged through my shopping bag and coat pockets only to discover I had left my purse at home in my other handbag.  Red faced and gibbering like an idiot, I had to ask in a whispered voice if there was somewhere they could keep my groceries safe for 10 minutes while I ran home to pick up my purse.  If this wasn't a perfect opportunity for the tall, eligible, well dressed male behind me to offer to come to the distress of this very genuinely troubled female, I don't know what was, but he didn't.  I missed an opportunity of thanking him profusely, saying something funny and asking for his phone number so that I could arrange to repay him.  What a missed opportunity for a perfect chat up.  Damn!  Instead, I trotted home and returned not 10 minutes later, but 30 minutes later, realising I can no longer trot as fast as I used to.

I shall have to try again another Saturday morning, as there is definitely a better representation of males at the weekend than during the week. 

Since I am not actually lonely, but do occasionally need a companion for social or practical reasons, instead of relapsing into a dating lady I have even considered simply becoming a cat lady, or a dog lady or a horse lady.  These creatures have all featured in my life at some time or another as part of my rite of passage either before adulthood or during it.  I'm thinking perhaps a horse would be good company, and would be a great look in the wedding photos as the Mother of the Bride's +1

Friday, 20 January 2017

Weekend Sabbatical

Weekend Sabbatical

I was able to stay off the sites all last weekend.  Admittedly I'd been busy with other things, and it helped that there weren't any new messages to reply to, but I've not been interested in doing any searches online or checking up on The Author, which I consider is a very good sign.

I could pay for an extra feature to my membership which would enable me to see when particular people were last online, and also to see when any messages I have sent have been read, but this seems too much like stalking to me, so I've not subscribed to it.  It has made me aware, though, that some male members might have the feature and therefore know more about my movements than I do theirs.  Ce la vie.   I am what I am and I won't pretend to be someone I'm not.  My attitude to dating this time round is relaxed, slightly hopeful and even more irreverent than before

For the first time in 3 days I went on to the site.  Nige was online again but we didn't make contact.  Presumably my positive reply to his question about the 35 mile distance and my willingness to overlook his decorative forearms and copper bracelet weren't sufficient. I did however have a message from TarzanTed so naturally I was curious, and then immediately disappointed to find he is, unsurprisingly, nothing like his username would imply.

While there I went to the Who Viewed Me feature and spied someone who had checked me out but not messaged, who looked interesting, and lives on a small island which I know rather well, which gave me a good ice-breaker for making contact.  He replied immediately, returning my compliments.  He told me he has only been on the site since Friday, says its early days, but could be his last, as he finds it all a bit odd.

I have no plans to be a rescuer and am not offering my contact number, but I shall keep him talking in the hope that he stays a few days more, since I do love a challenge....and I also like his username which is classy and is either taken from a rather smart sports car or a football team, which isn't so smart.  Nor classy.

And this evening, I finally heard back from The Author.  A whole chapter of his life in fact - written in two parts, in two separate long emails.  It seems he's been away, house hunting for something less rural and isolated.  I was right!  He does live in a stone cottage.  He says it is set deep in a 'V'-shaped valley and overrun with forests. There's just one road, an abandoned railway line that is now a cycle track and a river.  It sounds idyllic, but he says the locals are very strange.  
But now he has gone again - away for a few days more and so I am continuing to message the man on an island not too far away.  Short, snappy one-liners from him - each one saying the same "I'm going to be here this evening if you want to chat".  As the chat feature is currently being redeveloped on the site and therefore not in use and neither of us have suggested exchanging personal contact details, I'm not sure how this is going to happen unless I take out a rowing boat and perhaps meet him halfway.

This evening when he made the same suggestion, I asked how we might communicate and he simply said "phone?" so I've asked for his number and have offered to call him tomorrow.

Messaging only two people at the same time reminds me that I have lost my touch.  Only a few years ago, I recall having 7 simultaneous chats going on the same website, and lined up 5 dates with 5 different blokes over one weekend.  I really don't know how I found the energy or the interest!  

Since I love a challenge and am curious if I could still date with the same enthusiasm and in the same numbers as just a few short years ago, this evening I clicked on the "Wants to Meet You" feature.   Currently the number count has recorded that  99+ men want to meet me since I joined the site. 

I'm as curious about this mysterious feature as I am am about my ability to replicate my past endeavours. Many of the profiles on the site say "I don't have the meet me feature so send me a message instead", which has further aroused my curiosity as it seems I do have this feature, so I should check it out.

Since 99+ blokes want to meet me, it seems my feature must be working, so I tentatively take a peek.  First up is Malcolmbe who says he is a prince looking for a princess.  He also says he's putting serious effort into finding someone, yet his profile photo shows a glum, portly looking chappy slumped with hunched shoulders on a sea wall somewhere.  Humpty Dumpty comes to mind and I have the choice to hit one of four buttons.  Yes, Superyes, Maybe, No.  I hit the latter which takes me to the next profile photo which is upside down.  It is too late at night for me to be performing headstands on my bed, so I pass on Trevor and move on in this game of dating monopoly to JohntheBodge who from his enormous manboobs , shoulder length hair and baggy pink T shirt, looks female .  To satisfy my suspicions, I look at his other photos and see a motorbike. Shudder!   He describes himself as a bit of a scruffy bugger who doesn't like TV but does like birds with long hair.   I have lost the will to live so I give up for the day, making sure I am safely logged off and can sleep easy tonight

Friday, 13 January 2017

I haven't heard from The Author today and it hasn't really bothered me too much. Perhaps he's busy with family, or has his children/grandchildren to stay.  Perhaps he's deeply engrossed with a final chapter of his book or writing beautiful romantic poems in time for Valentine's Day.  Perhaps he's snowed in at the isolated stone cottage I imagine him to live in and his power lines are down.  Whatever the reason,  it has meant I didn't have to log on to the ghastly site all day as there weren't any messages to reply to.  Until this evening.

CaptCrumble has messaged.  Oh dear, I already know by his username that I'm not going to like him and I'm right.  He lives in the next town to me and his profile description is "Techie".   On reading his profile the only thing that really stands out to me is that he says he has a good toolkit.....

In his private message to me he says he can cook and do a good Basil Fawlty impression.  And your point is....??

I go back to reread his profile which he has updated to say: " Update, I enjoy eating meat and fish but happy with Cheese and salad and egg dishes, I make a mean Indian Curry takeaway style , scones, sponge , Nan bread, and stir frys.   I can fix most electrical home devices and plumbing problems. I have a good toolkit! I shall bear that in mind in about 10 years time when I expect to start having plumbing problems.

For now I would expect someone with a name like CaptCrumble to be wearing a hat in one of his photos. Either a sea captain's hat, a chef's hat or Bob the Builder hat, but this Capt isn't wearing a hat.  He is tall and gangly and in one of his three photos he bears an alarming resemblance to the Barry Humphries drunk character, Sir Les Patterson.  Eeeew!

While on the site I reread a new message that came in last night.  From Dave.  Dave is 65 and retired and has a pre-war MG and Riley.  He is wearing a hat - a beret in fact - while at the rudder of a narrowboat.  As you do.  Dave's interests include chess, DIY and the pub and he says he wants to travel. He looks a happy chappy and says he thinks he could well be up to my expectations.   Much as I'd love to have a travel companion and explore more of the world, apart from us travelling to places in his pre-war MG,  each of us wearing hats, and singing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I don't share Dave's sentiments and I deliberate whether to hit the Block this Member button or let him down gently with a brief reply.

Finger twitching to hit the button, I block CaptCrumble instead.   Oh crumbs!

Dave will receive a really nice thanks, but no thanks, and I wish you well in your search, reply. But not today. ; While messaging, I see that Nige is once again online.... 

Its a shame I can't upload profile photos to this blog, and that would probably get me into a lot of trouble, but I'd like to share some of the images I face each time I log on.  Some are very depressing. Others are downright scary.  And occasionally some are just too good to be true.   One this evening is of a man (wearing a hat - a straw hat)  and wellingtons and a long scruffy jacket to match his long scruffy hair and long scruffy beard.  Despite his hair being scrunched back in a ponytail, it, and his long scruffy beard a blowing over his shoulder in the breeze.  This is "manickly" who is a vegetarian and is looking for a hand to hold.....  He says he doesn't do meet me which I can only think must a reference to tantric sex or a vegetarian typo. Others are wearing their hi viz work jackets in their profile photos.  Well, they'd want to look their best and show they'd made an effort, wouldn't they?!  Jeez, but I suppose its a step up from bare chests and grubby white singlets.

I don't stay on the site long.  The longer I'm there, the more notifications I receive that I've been "viewed" and I'm not looking my best tonight in my Pj's and no make-up.

And I need to work out what is going on with Nige and why he contacted me in the first place.  I don't think that'll take much working out.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

You need a man!

For the past 2 days I have been struggling with something at home which I just couldn't budge so when my cleaner came yesterday I asked her to help me.  As we chatted inbetween cussing and swearing at the ruddy thing,  we reminisced about all the things we used to be able to do.  My claim was that I had been known to single-handedly move our upright piano from one room to another during a particularly energetic change round of rooms when spring cleaning, totally confusing the family when they came home from school and work.  None of our reminisces helped with this present task which also defeated my cleaner, who happens to be 10 years younger than me and an ex-fitness instructor but I was left feeling a little more confident about my own capabilities.   Or loss of them

Determined not to be beaten, in the evening I asked my youngest daughter if she could have a try and a minute later she nonchalantly came into the room having achieved the task, and asked the question "Have you thought of dating again recently?"  Thinking I'd been rumbled, I asked why she was asking and she replied "You need a man to do these things, not me!"

So I began to think of all the things I need a man for, and got stuck after #2.  I manage pretty well considering, although this year the stacking of the winter logs would have been quicker and more fun with some masculine help after 15 years of doing it solo.

Having someone fill the car with petrol would be a treat so that I don't keep ruining my expensive leather gloves with diesel and turning up at beautiful houses with an imaginary flammable blue haze around me and stinking like a docker.  Perhaps having a man around would have spared me the ordeal last month when driving home from a family funeral in Essex, of running out of fuel on the motorway on the first long journey in my shiny new car, because I presumed I could eek as much out of this new fuel tank as I could in my old one, then getting a dressing down from the miserable roadside assistance guy who, as he was recalibrating the electrics accusingly asked "you weren't trying to see how far you could get on your reserve tank where you"?  Rumbled again!

No, I can manage situations like that by smiling sweetly and innocently while under my breath I am calling him every expletive I have in my vocabulary and wishing I'd been allocated a different roadside mechanic who didn't have such an obvious dislike of female drivers.   Normally I'd tell myself that everything was fine.  Nobody died.  But my aunt had and so I drew on my reserve of teary eyes which I keep for situations like this, and explained I was on my way home after driving 200 miles to a family funeral, having left home at 7am and it was now 5pm to which he replied that if I'd broken down in the roadworks on the motorway that I'd just sailed through a mile or so back, mine might have been the next funeral.  Sensitive guys these breakdown blokes. Oh, and did I know it was against the law to drive with insufficient fuel in my tank for my journey?   Mission accomplished, the teariness worked enough for him to send me on my way before I could reply,  telling me to take care and that I was just having a bad day, that's all.  Too bloody right, I was!   But I'd survived.

So, yes, someone to fill up my fuel tank for me occasionally, or at least remind me to fill it, would be nice and if the roadside mechanic is to be beleived - it could save my life!

Perhaps I am too self-sufficient to need a man?  Do men want helpless females so that they themselves feel needed or do they take comfort from knowing they could have a fun, easy life with someone who is capable of sharing day to day tasks with them?  I think sharing tasks is fun.  Washing and wiping up together while chatting, stacking logs together, walking the dog together, but not living in each others shadow.  Good relationships in my opinion, should give each other space too.  Spaces in their togetherness.

Perhaps it might be a question to pose to Nige and The Author.  Both have replied.  Nige sent a much longer second reply, telling me he is selling his boat and his house this year and although he has nothing to keep him in his seaside town 35 miles away from me, he is looking to stay in the same area.  He asks me a few questions which I answer in my friendly reply, and I sign off, saying, "Until next time".  20 minutes later I have a notification that he has replied and when I read it, it simply says "...till next time".  Is that it, Nige?!

So, I leave Nige and hope that The Author's reply will be a little more intellectually stimulating.  He did afterall say he would like to continue our conversation.

I have quite a while to wait.... and wait.  I imagine The Author living in a remove stone cottage in the Welsh countryside with no broadband or telephone to distract him from his writing.  He perhaps logs on to the ghastly website only when he ventures into town which could be today as he has just sent another newsy and very open reply.  I do like openness.

Without any prompting, instead of Dianne he addresses me as Diana this time, and he tells me my message made him laugh.  Top marks for both of us, then!

He tells me about a date just before Christmas that went a bit odd when the lady suddenly starting singing and dancing in a shop full of Christmas shoppers, telling everyone how young at heart she was, and wanting The Author to join in.

Why, oh why, do apparently intelligent men fall for fruit loops?  Are there no warning signs in the email exchanges and phonecalls beforehand?  I might pose that question to him at a later date too but not yet as I really don't want to jeopardise this....

Like me he agrees there are some strange people on the sites but he tries to stay positive.  Yet another thing we agree on!

He tells me he has been writing poetry (Oh, be still my beating heart!) since he was a student at university, and then went back to university more recently to study for a degree in Creative Writing which is where he learned to break the rules.  Ooooh, I do like a rebel and rule breaker!  I may have met my nemesis..

He finishes by asking me a few questions, saying its now my turn and he signs off.

I find this encouraging as it suggests the 50/50 rule I'm so passionate about.   I'm now more than happy to let Nige slip through the net, while I invest some time and emails in a blonde haired, green-eyed author who lists his interests as Arts & Science; Theatre; The Outdoors; Relaxed Company; Laughter; Reading; and Much More.....

A mystery writer perhaps?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Diana plus One

Yesterday the postman delivered an invitation to my daughter's wedding this summer and I am invited to bring a guest.  Dear daughter that she is, has presented me with a challenge, especially as the wedding is not local and will require any +1 to travel by plane or boat and stay a couple of nights, but I do love a challenge and this gives me renewed vigor to continue my search.

So in the evening I logged onto the dating site and became a teeny bit excited.

Not because I am to be a mother of the bride and can take a +1 but because a new member has joined the site who gives his occupation as Author.  An author!  At last - a man who can spell and write in sentences, using punctuation and everything...

He has a lovely gallery of 12 photos showing a man with HAIR!  He's pictured in one of the photos wearing a panama hat and not a sign of a dog, motorbike, tractor, steam engine or mobility scooter in any of them.  A man who can write and has hair!  Hurrah, there is a God!   I cannot contain my excitement, so, wondering how long he will stay on a site like this, I pounce, writing him a brief email saying its a shame we are so far away (he's in Wales) as we have so much in common, including writing!  He has grandchildren, likes country strolls and sea air.  He doesn't look like a poodle and he doesn't have a silly user name that suggests he lives in the freezer cabinet at Iceland.  He says he even knows how to iron a shirt!  He really is far too good for this place.

Feeling coy because I can see he has viewed me too, while I wait/hope for a reply, I keep busy by scouring the other members, just in case, like buses, interesting men come in threes.

No such luck!

So I take a peek at the "In my City" section and up pops Peter in Surrey.  Surrey??  But Peter is only 5'7 so I pass on Peter partly because of his height and partly because he has a photograph with a baby and a small child together on his lap and his mouth is wide open, gaping like a guppy.  I feel concerned for the children so move quickly on and find Jeremy who is a gardener and has a flat but has lost his dog.  Careless Jeremy.

After 10 minutes, I give up and decide to have an early night and catch some much needed beauty sleep.  My alarm is set early for the next morning as I have a work-related conference call booked for 7am.

After a rude awakening by my alarm the next morning I quickly check my phone for messages and there is one from the site timed at 2.29am, not from the Author alas, but from Nige.   Nige lives in a nearby seaside town and is wondering if I think it is too far away because he says he likes my photos and I've obviously put a lot of thought into my profile.  When he finishes by saying he may be in the wrong place, I realise we have a few things in common, so I draft a reply, holding it back until a more decent hour.  I am somehow a little suspicious of emails which arrive at 2am in the morning, but I have to remember that he could be in a different time zone on business or holiday overseas perhaps and not just suffering from an age-related weak bladder.

I keep my reply brief, expressing interest and reassuring him that a town 35 miles isn't too far away, without mentioning that a decade ago I was regularly making a 400 round trip most weekends to keep a long distance relationship going for 2+ years.

I like the sound of Nige, so much so that I can overlook his large, decorative forearms and the copper bracelet on one wrist  He ticks a lot of my boxes, is 61 years old and 6'1" tall.  He writes a good email, can spell and use punctuation and paragraphs and has an interesting, intelligent profile, and we have a mutual consensus of dating sites.  He has three good photos, no sign of a dog or motorbike in any of them, but they do show him in a business suit and Ray Bans beside a large airforce plane, seated for dinner in black tie, and on holiday in a crisp, clean short sleeved shirt.  No grubby white singlet or bare chest.  No selfies taken in a bathroom mirror.  As it is only just after 5am, I pinch myself to check I'm not still asleep!

Email pinged to Nige expressing interest and reassuring him that the distance is no problem, and perhaps we are both in the wrong place, but for the right reasons,  I get a wriggle on to prepare for my early meeting, without even glancing at the rest of the site.

At least until lunchtime.   By which time both have replied

Nige has replied and so has the Author and I cannot decided which to read first.  I go for the nearest, Nige.. :)

His is short and sweet and remarks that there is mutual attraction.  Obviously a man of few words, unlike my boring interlocutor on Saturday

The Author's reply is, as expected wordier, and really lovely to read.  Perhaps it would be enough to just be penfriends.....? No!

I will forgive him calling me Dianne, my pet hate.  I could reply back to him as Dear Kev in retaliation but I don't want to say or do anything to jeopardise this:

Hello Dianne,

thank you for getting in touch. It is a pleasant change to receive a message from someone that can write more than a short sentence and say something that I could engage with - and wanted to. 

You, too have an interestingly written profile - a lot of truth and intrigue within your words. It also put a smile or two on my face. 

Think I agree with your final sentiments in that it is quite difficult to find that someone that holds the promise of further contact - you seem to be one of the exceptions.

I might live a little further away than what is ideal but am quite happy to continue the conversation.

Hope you have had a good start to the new year and look forward to hearing from you if you feel you wish to.

Ken x

So, not a bad response to last night's efforts.  Now to compose  two replies to two potential +1's.

What a dilemma!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Following on from the feedback from my last post after my long sabbatical from dating,  I have begun to wonder if my friends and followers are right when they say they don't believe I am looking in the right place for a relationship for life.

I am, I suppose, really only writing for their entertainment and amusement, and to help me verbalise to others this strange, foreign world of misplaced persons

I know internet dating works.  I have friends and clients who have successfully met their partners on a dating site so I'm not a complete sceptic.  I do believe that they work. I'm just not sure why they don't work for me, but undeterred I will stay on the sites a little longer (or at least until I have had my three months of free membership courtesy of Groupon) and will selflessly dedicate my findings to my loyal friends and followers in an effort to enlighten and entertain during these dark winter evenings.  You can all thank me later.

So last night I wrote a brief one liner to the limping lover of German coffee, thanking him for the date and saying that I didn't feel we had enough in common to warrant a second date.

He replied very quickly, saying he felt the same and wished me good luck.  I shan't ask why he suggested meeting again for dinner......and prefer just to block this man of contradictions.  There is something very satisfying about hitting the Block this Member button, without having to give any reason.  I do wish we could do it in real life.

So, onwards and upwards.  Today I went back on to the site and began actively searching, starting with the "New Users" tab.  This is the first profile I read:

About Johnny
Beware this may upset you if it does don't read the rest .I have been in the USA for the past 10 years last June I won a large share of the New York lottery so I have decided to come and live in England I brought a winniebago which is top of the Range it also has a smart car inside any way I digress I want to meet a lady who would like to have there bills paid for I want it to be I give you oral I pay your rent etc I will not pay you money because that is prostitution Idont ask you to do it in return I will explain as we chat IDONT BOTHER WHETHER YOU ARE FAT THIN ANY RACE your all ladies

Block this member?  Check!

The next has a profile image of a tall, skinny man with 2 poodles on his lap and is living proof that dogs really do look like their owners - or vice versa.  His personality description is "Intellectual"

and amongst his interests he lists "fresh air".

Further down in his lengthy profile he says what you see is what you get.  What I see are 3 poodles, one of them human who from his skinny frame must live on a diet of fresh air.  Despondent within the first few minutes of logging on, I leave the New Member section of the site and try the "Who Viewed Me" section.

The first member to show has a user name of "organicchicken"  WTF?!

Organicchicken's profile reads:

Happy chap,live and like the country more than town life.
my hobbies are countryside based. Don't have a TV.
musicaly very open taste as I work on Festivals.
About me, like the simple things in life,not materialistic. Like good food
which can be Fish & Chips to Posh Nosh.
Don't take life to sereious, don't do mind games.
Enjoy good company, good local pub and good fun at home.
I discovered Life is for Living, I don't know anyone who's returned yet.
Like to hold hands ect

And his first date?
Myself and my mad border terrier meet my date and go to a local hostillery for a drink and chat to see if theres a chemestry between us.

Block this member?  Check!

By now I realise I am perusing profiles purely for their amusement value which really is not the right attitude to dating but I do it all in the interest of entertaining my readers :)

Drawn back to the "Who Viewed Me" section I see Edward56 has viewed me.  Yet again.  Now, I met Edward56 about 4 years ago.  I remember when it was because I also remember what I was wearing.  It was leather again, this time a dress I had just bought  and I remember when I bought it.  Edward56 is not a day under 86.  He lives locally and is something of a lounge lizard at one of my favourite haunts. We met for a drink one evening and, lounge lizard that he is, he was already sitting at a table in the bar, drinking, when I arrived.  He was so wobbly on his legs that he couldn't get up to greet me, and he remained stuck in his chair for the evening, calling the waiter over at regular intervals to refill his glass preferring to make conversation with the waiters, while keeping a beady eye on the passing female traffic than speak with me.  I gave up and left early, probably blogging here about my disappointing date immediately afterwards.    4 years on, EDWARD56 has an updated profile saying he is separated and…….. "EDWARD56 isn't seeking a relationship or any kind of commitment."  Yup, that'd be right.  He's only seeking top-ups for his bottomless glass of Scotch and different eye candy for company every night

So now I'm feeling sad for the Edward56's of this world and the harsh reality of dating helps me to understand a little better why I may never find a partner here.  But you can bet I'll be l
ogging on again tomorrow for a titter and will report back

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A New Year, a new me?

Oh my word!

I haven't written for several years and a lot has happened in that time, most notably, I became a grandma, my son married and now my daughter is marrying in less than 6 months and my mind has been too preoccupied with big hats and babies bootees to peruse the endless profile photos of middle aged men sporting tattoos, bare chests, singlets, tinkering under the bonnets of tractors and steam engines, posing with large dogs on their laps or sitting astride motorbikes and mobility scooters.

In an attempt to behave like the grandmother, and mother-in-law I had become, I took a sabbatical from dating for over three years which have flown by.  I either didn't check the dating sites or I hid my profile and I can honestly say that I didn't miss it at all.  A year ago I did rekindle contact with someone I had met on a dating site a few years previously, but our conversations back in 2013 dwindled to a point of drying up, after I recall him saying he was very interested in me.  At my instigation, we met again last year several times, and I thoroughly enjoyed our meetings, stimulating conversations and his company, but again communications dried up for no apparent reason, except that perhaps while I showed polite interest and encouragement when he started sending links for properties for sale in France where he had mentioned he would like to retire to,  I was cautious and reserved when the links were to estate agents in France, giving all the marketing details and house prices and I sensed he wanted someone to buy in with him.   Soon after, my general, cheerful text messages, the last one wishing him a happy New Year, began to be ignored, leaving me wondering what on earth I can have done to someone who was happy making a 150 mile round trip to have supper with me last Christmas, preferring the 2 hour drive home, to accepting my invitation to stay overnight, and who used to phone me regularly on both my landline and mobile, exchanging family news, business chat and arranging half way meetings for cosy lunches.  This is something of an irony for someone big in the communications industry so I have concluded that he obviously doesn't bring his work home with him.  In future, my profile is going to stipulate that I am looking for a bloke with balls.  The balls, or good manners to explain that he has either lost interest, libido, or moved on.

But now we have entered a new year,  and having grown a thicker skin, I suddenly find myself both curious and with a little more time on my hands so have climbed back into the saddle to give dating another go, spurred on by a voucher I received from Groupon for a 3 month subscription to a rather elite and expensive dating site.  What a cheap date I am!

I found this particular site very slow and was contacted by only one person, Clive.  I asked him how he found the site and his reply was "prescriptive".  Agreeing with him, I lost interest after that and have logged on only once since, and, two months later,  the same 12 faces are coming up in my matches.  Clive, is right.

So I revisited another one of the free sites I frequented in the early days.  In those days I was inundated with propositions of all kinds from the opportunists, predators, adulterers, chancers and commitmentphobes. This time my proud use in my profile of my newly acquired title of grandmother seems to be working as some form of pepper spray deterrent.

I did notice just before Christmas that someone in the same town as me had viewed my profile and he had a very genuine and refreshingly intelligent profile mentioning that he'd lived and worked overseas in Japan, Germany and SFX, so, so as not to be appear too forward,  I added him as a favourite.  The next morning, I had an email thanking me for making him a favourite but explaining that he was in a difficult position,  as he was currently emailing another lady who he hadn't yet met, but who he had exchanged 100's of emails with!!  He didn't want to "double date" so wished me well in my search. Humph!  Then, a few weeks later I received this, after he had made a 10 hour and 500 mile round trip to meet her for the first time:

Hi Diana, 

I trust that you had an excellent Christmas, something along the lines of myself; with family and everything. This proved an antidote inasmuch as I had a terrible first meeting (with that person who I had vast quantities of correspondence with). I never even got a peck on the cheek! It turned out that she suffered from panic attacks and some other psychological stuff. Anyway though at least six weeks of emails with her I can at least claim to be a patient man!

Assuming that you are more or less normal (& you seem to be), I would very much like to hear from you and perhaps meet up in the near future. Meanwhile I live in hope that you haven't been snapped up!

So, I replied very briefly, indicating as best I could, my seeming normality and saying that I really wasn't investing enough time (or emails!) on the site to get snapped up and therefore would be delighted to meet, expressing my condolences for his loss of a peck on the cheek and that the date didn't work out.  I went on to say that I  did feel some concerns for him when he mentioned the high volume of emails.  I then dug myself into a very large hole by saying that folk with anxiety problems will hide behind messages, rather than meet in person.  When I read it back, after sending it of course, I realised it sounded as if I was suggesting he was the messed up one, so sent a hasty apology back when he replied.  It was just as well that I did, as he had indeed presumed I was referring to him.   I need to amend my profile to say that I do diplomacy really, really badly!

And yesterday we had our first date.  At his suggestion, we met in the bar of a small, classy hotel locally, far closer to home than his last date.  I spotted him walking into the hotel as I parked my car.  He was walking with a pronounced limp and had what appeared to be a red carnation in his buttonhole.  I considered reversing back out of my parking space and burning some rubber to get out of the car park, but bit the bullet and walked in anyway, having dusted off my winter dating uniform of suede skirt, knee high leather boots and my expensive and favourite leather jacket, given to me by my ex some 10 years ago, and probably the only gift I didn't return to him when we split.  There is something rather cathartic about keeping it and wearing it only on first dates.   My limping, unlucky, date spotted me immediately, which is always a good sign as it suggests, that unlike many of the ladies in the horror stories I hear, there may actually be a sufficient resemblance between me and my profile photos, to be recognised.  He stood up as I walked towards him, collected his pecks on both cheeks (to make up for the one he didn't get from his previous fruit loop) and I was relieved to notice that the red carnation was actually a red patterned pocketchief, cascading from the breast pocket of his jacket.  His limp, though, was still a limp.

We ordered coffee, well he enquired about coffee, dithering between tea and coffee after asking the waiter how frequently they brewed their coffee.  On being told it was brewed several times a day and this current coffee was made only 2 hours ago, he threw his hands up in horror and said in a very loud voice, that it should be made fresh each time and nothing would compare to the German coffee he was used to after years of living in the country.  As I felt myself, aided my by suede skirt on a leather club chair, slipping further under the table, I smiled sweetly, and decisively ordered coffee, leading the way for him to follow suit, which he did.  Phew!

It doesn't make for a good start on a date to rant at a polite and innocent waiter, telling them how coffee is made in Germany, and unfortunately it lead into him boring me to tears with his life story of living and working in Germany which made we wonder why, if the country, the cars, the employment, the schooling for his children, the government, language, food and the coffee were so much better than in this country, what the heck was he was doing back here on my patch, complaining about our coffee!

After almost an hour, rather than ask me anything about myself, my work, my family, etc., my interlocutor preferred to discuss in some detail how testosterone levels fall in men after the age of 50 (not really something a happy, healthy fully functioning female wants to have confirmed on a first date!)  Glancing at my watch at regular intervals to disguise my yawns,  as soon as the hour was up, I made my excuses, one of them being that they do suggest on the dating sites that the first date is no longer than hour.....leave them wanting more, blah, blah.   I thanked him for my coffee, graciously left a £5 note on the table, saying I hoped that covered the cost of mine, which he accepted without any argument, and I quickly left, having disclosed nothing about myself, or exchanged personal contact details, confident that with his limp he couldn't run after me!

This morning I had an email via the site saying he'd enjoyed our first date and would like to see me again, next time for dinner.

I just wish I felt the same......