Two of my friends now have significant others thanks to internet dating.
One texted me the other day to announce her engagement, the other emailed with the news she and her new man were moving in together. Both, at various times told me I should sign up to the website they'd met their matches on.
I'd snorted with derision of course. Internet dating was for losers, right? For those who couldn't meet people in real life because they were too socially inept or shy or lived at home with their mother and empty milk cartons and 10 years' worth of old newspapers.
But neither of my friends fitted that bill; both were successful and pretty and funny and nice and not short of male attention on nights out. They said they used web dating because it saved time; it enabled you to wheedle out the deadwood early on. Romantic, huh?
For many reasons - some of which I wrote about here - I had no intention of signing up - but I was curious to see what (or who) was 'out there', so I had a browse on the site my pals recommended.
First, I had to select the age range of my potential suitors: erm... I selected any, after all, I wasn't really looking-looking, just browsing, remember? I did enter some keywords though, just to refine the search a bit - words that reflected my interests, work, political beliefs. I also knew I would not entertain any ads that used text speak, slang, or silly attempts at humour, or listing without pictures. So with the parameters firmly set, the results page appeared. And it was actually quite interesting: they did not all appear to be live-at-home-with mum freaks, or geeky, backpack wearing IT wonks. some of them actually looked quite nice.
So I clicked on a few of the profiles and thought maybe my friends were right after all. Perhaps this is the way people form relationships in 2011.
But then I began to notice a patten in all the adverts (adverts? is that the right word for a lonely hearts listing?): they all wanted women under 35. Even the blokes pushing 60. I will never see 36 again, let alone 35. And, I realised, my two girlfriends who had found their happy ever after via this site were both in their early thirties.
In a weird conversation with my ex by text later on that day, I told him I was in a bad mood because I was too old for internet dating.
LOL came his reply.
There wasn't a polite, text-speak acronym for mine.
Have you tried internet dating in your late 30s?
Is it harder post-35?