Putrid Modern Hell #27

by HST UK on March 4, 2012

Bring on the days of Wine and Roses

http://youtu.be/IArnaE750_M

Since moving to my bachelor pad in the hip part of town I’d been craving companionship. It dawned on me that the downside of being free and single was loneliness. Meeting women wasn’t the issue per se, there were lasses at work, females friends that I get along great with on a social level, but as Jurassic 5 once so eloquently put it you must always “respect a thin line”. This means don’t mix business with pleasure and don’t ruin good friendships by making a declaration of what is most likely one way infatuation.

Why is it that a woman never makes the first move? Perhaps it’s because they’re smart.

I was left with one option, to run through the complex minefield known as the ‘dating game’ where both parties are willing; this meant to boldly go where I had once been before, but this time around to actually put some time and effort into becoming a stud.

First things first – I had to apply an icepack on a deep tumour of self-loathing, to take the swelling down in one area, which might stimulate swelling in another when the right opportunity comes along. This meant learning to understand what my strengths were, to figure out how I could be seen as a catch?

I was at a loss initially. Physically speaking I have a strange face, which depending on overhead lighting can make me appear reasonably attractive on one side, but gargoyle ghastly when I turn my head. My body weight fluctuates, mostly through anxiety. When I’m stressed I drop down to a healthy weight, though I feel decidedly awful at the time. When I’m relaxed I get a little chunky, and feel bad about myself (currently I’m existing in a stressed state). If we are talking personality, then I’m extremely erratic, swinging on the borderline bi-polar vine, from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the cradle of sanity to the netherworld nuthouse. Materialistically, I own a dented car that’s seen better days, I rent a flat that requires a fair bit of maintenance and inside my wardrobe there is an eclectic collection of garments that were brought with little thought about how they’ll look together on my body as an ‘outfit’. Essentially I needed to hide the reality as much as possible, and create a condensed version of myself, highlighting only the positives.

It made sense for to join a few free dating sites, thinking along the curious logical path that since I’ll be spending a significant amount of money on the dates, and updating my wardrobe I can’t afford to be paying a monthly subscription fee, particularly as results vary. Unfortunately that meant that I couldn’t try to connect with the sophisticated liberal creative women (my ideal type) on the Guardian newspaper’s dating site ‘Soulmates’, or even to attempt to navigate through respected sites with proven track records like eHarmony or Match.com. I was left to survey okcupid.com and Plenty of Fish (PoF), though I did stop for a few moments and think about trying Adult Friend Finder.

The next step was to create profiles on okcupid and PoF. First I needed a picture. I logged on to Facebook to see if I could grab one from there, and sadly most pictures I have of myself on that social network are either not recent, or dreadfully shot snaps on decadent drunken nights out. I wanted to make a good impression, therefore I couldn’t appear as a binge drinking lunatic. This left me with a problem since no photo meant no chance. An idea popped into my head, I got out my camera phone, set it on a timer, positioned it on top of my heater and then sat down opposite on my sofa dressed in a raggedy white t-shirt and a pair of grey Adidas jogging bottoms. Snap Snap Snap. The first few photos came out wrong, but after adjusting the zoom by about the sixth attempt I was able to get a photo that made me appear vaguely tempting to desperate chicks.

To save time I used the same basic introductory blurb on both PoF and okcupid. Opening with a witty reference to the hit UK Saturday night dating show Take Me Out, the next challenge was to make myself appear normal, to reveal that despite my seething misanthropy I have some friends, and a loving family, so I wrote a bit about how I interact with the people in my life. Then I mentioned my interest’s touching upon art, music, cinema and sport. Finally I mentioned my fondness for pubs and cafes, possible date locations.

You don’t want to share too much about yourself, because you lose any sense of intrigue, and also too much self-disclosure allows light in through the cracks. I don’t want women to see the real me, at least not until the date. During the date I can then go about winning back the lost ground from their initial sense of disappointment.

After creating a profile, and completing a few of these ‘personality surveys’ in order to improve my compatibility ratings I browsed for potential dates. I decided to search within a fifteen year age range (20-35 year olds). I would message women who looked alright, and had shared interests, basically any lady who I perceived not to be out of my league. Any woman who messaged me, however unattractive would receive a polite reply, even if I didn’t think they were date worthy.

About eight messages were posted on each site to a variety of women – single mothers, career women, travelling types, hipsters, and girl next door types. Each message was unique, but followed a pattern – a greeting, then a brief comment on something they had written on their profile and finally an open ended question to get some dialogue going.

I logged on to both sites the next morning, and noticed a few replies. The Plenty of Fish chicks appeared harder to connect with; a few replied but they weren’t particularly interested in me. Surprisingly, I developed a good rapport with five women on okcupid and over the course of a few days things developed quickly. One lady (let’s call her Connie) almost from the get go was keen to initiate a date, another (let’s call her Rebecca) swapped mobile numbers after a couple of messages. Two dates were arranged.

Jesus, I thought to myself, it’s this easy?

Rebecca was my first date. We went out during the middle of my working week, so I was a little tired, but running on excitement. We had arranged to meet at a pub about two hundred yards from my flat. I wore a nice pair of trendy trousers, the ones with turned up legs, and a cashmere navy jumper. I combed my hair, sprayed some Brut on my chops and then arrived ten minutes earlier then the agreed meeting time. Rebecca was running a little late, which gave me a chance to get a Budweiser to calm the nerves and survey the pub.

What a delightful pub it is, one of those gastropubs, splendidly candlelit, a log fire in the corner, friendly, smartly dressed bar staff. In many ways the perfect location for a first date; Rebecca arrived, looking nothing like her picture. She knew who I was because I texted I was the guy sitting alone with a Budweiser. She looked a bit like Amy from The Big Bang Theory, thirty one years old, about five foot five, average build, dressed conservatively in a purple coloured casual dress with a black cardigan over top.

I considered my approach, and got up, introduced myself and got the first round in, for her a glass of the house red, for me another beer. I decided to play it conservative, to let her do most of the talking by asking questions and interjecting opinions as and when, and boy did she talk. The more she talked, the more I drank. She went from talking about her job and her flat, to talking fondly about her ex-boyfriend, her estranged Father and how she was recently strangled by her friend’s schizophrenic housemate. The amateur psychologist within me deduced that she was new to the dating game, was not fully over splitting up with her ex-boyfriend, and potentially had Daddy issues. But that was ok, we hugged said our goodbyes, and will never likely see each other again. Besides I had another date two days later.

Connie was keen. As I said before she was talking about meeting me after one message. 35 years old, short brown hair, five foot tall, average build. She was dressed in a polka dot top, with jeans. Now as soon as I walked in to the pub, a student place in the centre of town and met Connie, who had already had the decency to ring ahead and get me a JD and coke I knew almost instantly that Connie wasn’t my type. I felt nothing in my loins.

This my friends is when dating gets complicated, you know from the point of no attraction that this night is now pointless, but you chalk it up as experience, best case scenario you’ll earn a friend, worst case scenario you’ll get unrequited attention. The date went splendidly, however I was already craving the next woman.

I looked at my phone the next day. Two texts from Connie – “How r u? Enjoyed last night” and “Let’s do it again, what about lunch on Sunday???”.

…. to be continued

– RJW

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