Colleen Figg

You've been poked...

2008-04-25 08:43

Colleen Figg

This business of online dating has been at the forefront of many discussions I've been involved in recently.

Seems when one passes the dreaded four-oh the idea of cocking a saucy eyebrow at an admirer and having him fawning over one an instant later becomes the stuff of distant daydreams. The heady days of sexy teen appeal and not being overly concerned with who you swap spit with are exchanged for scanning online dating sites with grim determination and a lengthy list of must-haves.

Newly divorced moms need to worry whether the would-be partner will be good with their children, whether he is honest; whether, in short, he is not a second Bundy who'll be posting her back in pieces to her aged parents, at the end of the day.

Blokes have to stress about whether she's after his money or will suck him into some weird bunny boiling scenario which we witnessed in Fatal Attraction. Even the stunning sex prior to her going insane can never make up for the ultimate horror of a blade crazed lunatic screeching bizarre things down the phone at a person.

Exactly what we need

And the trouble is, every profile one reads makes the person sound like exactly what we need: 'Sensitive, likeable, financially stable, educated gent with a sense of humour is looking to spoil the lady of his dreams'. Height: 6'1". Weight: 75kg. Eyes: Blue. Hair: Dark, well cut. If he were allowed to mention his family jewels no doubt 'well hung' would feature in there somewhere, written in a much more subtle manner of course.

I've got a friend who got in touch with some chap on one of these dating sites. They got to chatting via e-mail and because she is recently divorced and very sensitive to hurt at the moment, he made it abundantly clear in a very sensitive way that they would inch along at the pace that most suited her.

He seemed clever, funny and well educated; chatting about this and that in an easy manner in these back and forth mails they exchanged. Nothing was too much trouble; he enquired in depth after her children and seemed to completely understand what kind of space she was in right then and what she needed from him.

The mails led to a phone call which lasted three hours and enchanted the socks off the good lady in question; and the buzz continued into the new day's mails, which started off with bright cheery good mornings and asked after her children, pets, and of course her own state of mind.

Meet the man

All of this billing and cooing ultimately led to a meeting because it was very clear to my friend and her new interest that they simply had too much in common to pass up the next step.

She took her children with and they met at a restaurant nearby. To say the scales fell from her eyes is an understatement. The man was rude to the waiters, he ignored the children he had expressed such an interest in; he was short and physically unappealing with an aggressive unpleasant way of handling himself and others.

Obviously she did not see him again but this story leads us to wonder whether everyone lies on these profiles and whether they (no matter what the sex) just say what they think the other person needs to hear until they've got their foot in the door and then revert to their rather unappealing real selves.

Also we wonder whether we should wonder why these people are alone in the first place. But of course, they may wonder if they should wonder the same about us.

It's all a bit of a minefield, really.

Send your comments to Colleen.

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