... Except, I'm yet to go on a date. One week in and I'm trapped in a sort of virtual mating scrutiny, an anthropological state of observation. I'm paralysed by the fascinating nuances of the medium because it's a funny one, finding a fella online.
It took me months to finally sign up. And then my first official "find your soul mate" search led me to hide back in my Bridget Jones video collection, scared of the big bad romance wolf and swearing off attempts all together. Mainly it was because of one particular guy who popped up on my feed as a top match, as suggested by the omnipresent algorithm that I've allowed to decide my sexual future. His byline read, You're probably not his type.
Ha! I thought, at first. That's funny! That's obviously an ironic reference to the fact that many a man buys into the idea of "negging", as per The Game! I chuckled. My friend once shagged him - The Game, I mean - so I admit I read his book as dating research. (Fine. I read the book because the first step to thwarting thy enemy is knowing thy enemy. WHAT?)
"Negging" is the art of pursuing a woman by being mean to her. Making a flippant detrimental remark about a woman, says the manual, has her seeking your approval desperately. Before you know BAM. A man can bed any woman he wants.
Guys, the chap the Internet wanted to pair me up with? He wasn't being ironic.
The opening of his profile said:
What not to write >> "Hiya!! erm dunno know what to say about myself really... ha ha... I'm easy going, fun lovin', bubbly and love a good giggle!! I've lived in London for three years now and like going to the cinema or out to the bars with the girlie's [sic] ...."
REALLY, MAN ON THE DATING WEBSITE? You're gonna lead with this rude, mean, negative bile to INTRODUCE YOURSELF with?
I read on, willing it to get better.
Should your profile read something like this, I've died of boredom already. Your grammar is appalling and such overzealous use of exclamation marks makes me feel nauseous. It doesn't matter if you are stunningly attractive, I'm just not interested in vacuous types like you, sorry.
1. I've taken out the grammatical error- he actually wrote: "Should your profile reads" which... HA! THE REST OF US WIN NOW, MATEY! Poetic justice is my favourite.
2. On what planet does this man think belittling others is an attractive or desirable trait? Because let me assure you: it's not.
Two days of respite later and the fact that I'd paid £35 for my month's subscription was bothering me. I took to the site again.
There's an option to see who has viewed your profile. Which is lovely. Mmmmm, I marvelled as I saw the tasty specimens with seemingly high IQs and smiles that would make mother buy a new hat. Except. Hold on. Those guys who had viewed my profile hadn't then contacted me. They'd checked me out, and obviously decided that actually no. No, they weren't interested.
I WROTE THAT I CAN RAP THE WHOLE OF GANGSTER'S PARADISE AND USED MY PRETTIEST PICTURE. That's honestly my best game. It's all I've got, boys. I'm all in.
Some did get in touch, and we've chatted. But picture this: you make eyes with someone over a crowded room. He's looking at you, you're being all Lady Di coquettish back, and before you know it he's come over to tell you he thinks he recognises you from somewhere, except he doesn't, and really he just wanted to hit on you.
So far, so good. Continue to imagine, then, that he seems funny and kind, and really responds to the clever one-liners and quasi-intelligent observations you make. You're laughing. You're about to exchange numbers... except wait. Where's he gone? He was here a minute ago.
DEAR MEN OF THE INTERNET: THAT IS REALLY SUCKY BEHAVIOUR. Also? Your loss. I'm awesome.
And then there are those who don't disappear at all. The ones who continue to email all witty and pretty and bright and then boring, because dude: there are only so many ways you can ask me how my Bank Holiday weekend was before I need you to tell me where and what time to meet you so that we can skip formalities and actually figure out if we've got chemistry and you really are as tall as you say you are. I mean, come on, the clue is in the title - dating.
And yet this still hasn't happened. Some 97 men viewed, 15 contacted, seven corresponded with... and no actual date.
Repeat after me: I will not give up hope. I will not give up hope...