Good pictures and bad pictures


It was the evening before my date with Little Pig Number Three ? the lawyer. I have previously written about my bad dates with the flower seller and the philosopher (The flower seller and I  and The lady is a vamp) and I was hopeful this would be the little pig with the house made of bricks.

As I was wondering why the lawyer hadn’t contacted me yet to confirm our date, someone called Francois messaged me on the dating website. He didn’t have a profile picture so I responded immediately, short and to the point: “Send a photo to my e-mail address!”

Large e-mail photographs, of course, have the irritating habit of opening bit by bit – and it’s always when you can’t wait to see a particular picture. Usually it starts revealing the picture from the bottom first working slowly to the top. It has caused many heart-stopping moments, this business of strange things unfolding from the bottom on my computer screen – because sometimes men send the most awful photographs.

Like the one who sent me a photo of him with his pets. First to appear on my screen were these big brown pillars with the strangest little paws resting on them. When the rest of the photo opened I was amazed to see tiny dachshunds trying to keep their balance and pose on pillars! What’s worse is that I still don’t know if they were stuffed animals or real dogs. And if you don’t believe me, see the picture below and you tell me!

Of course, it’s not only pictures of pets that guys send. O no, their favourite serpent-like appendage often gets snapped and e-mailed – and here I’m talking about family jewels, sisters. I don’t know what’s worse – the fact that I haven’t requested this kind of photo, or that sometimes the family jewels are no more than the size a pinkie ring – if you know what I mean!

Therefore it’s with trepidation that I wait for Francois’ photo to come through. First I see only glass. What the . . .? Glass becomes a bottle, bottle gets a label and cork, becomes a wine bottle and then a shirt starts appearing. I keep an eye on the shirt, it becomes bigger and then I note that the body in the shirt isn’t bad at all. It’s a white shirt and a tanned body. My pulse starts racing. Then suddenly his face appears on my screen.



I take a deep breath and write back. “Few combinations beat a handsome man and a good bottle of wine.”

Within seconds I get a message back.

“I don’t agree with you . . .” he writes.

My heart stops. Then the next message arrives.

“The best combination is a handsome man, a beautiful woman and a good bottle of wine.”

Hmm . . . Mister flirts back. And Mister also thinks he’s good looking! Okay that’s a bit arrogant . . . but he’s flirting back. And goodness, this guy is a hunk. Within seconds we’re talking, within minutes we’re chatting on the cellphone message service Whatsapp and then comes the jackpot question.

“So were you married?” I ask.

There’s a delay before he responds.

“Sort of,” he says.

What kind of answer is “sort of”? How are you sort of divorced. Or is it a matter of his wife thinking she’s married, but he doesn’t?

“I think you have to explain,” I write.

“We’re going to get divorced. It’s complicated. Can’t we meet rather and I can tell you everything?”

I’m hesitant. Married is married. But he convinces me. They haven’t been happy for years. The writing is on the wall. The marriage doesn’t work. The counsellors have been fired and the divorce lawyers appointed. We arrange to meet Friday at a coffee shop.

Then we carry on chatting. About love. About soulmates. About marriage.

“There wasn’t any romance in my marriage,” I confess.

“Really? What do you find romantic?” he asks.

“The usual. Flowers. Not only one bunch, lots. Love letters. Being at the beach and drinking champagne at sunset.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve never done that.”

I think back. There were flowers. There were walks along the beach. There was even a perfume-soaked little love letter when I was in Standard 7, but . . . none of it was like it was in my head. Not the way I dreamt it would be . . .

“I always asked my ex to write me a love letter,” I reply.

“And . . .?”

“In the seven years we were together, he never did it. But he can definitely write good divorce letters . . .”

We laugh. Wryly. Later we sign off. It’s time to go to bed.

When I wake up the next morning, there are butterflies in my tummy, I remember that today is the day I have a date with the Third Little Pig – Mr Lawyer! I’m still thinking about what to do, when I get a message on my phone.

It’s from Francois.

“If I love you, I’ll write you a love letter every day. Even if it’s only one line. I’m looking forward to meeting you today.”

I cancel my appointment with the lawyer.

Erla-Mari Diedericks is the author of the book Sin, Sushi & Survival and her latest novel, Still Standing, is now available in shops countrywide as well as at

Read Erla’s previous blogs:

Finding love online

Ready to date a younger man

Party all night long

Dealing with divorce tales

The lady is a vamp

To try online dating yourself, go to YOU’s online dating site, Looking4You.

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