Online Dating: an Experiment

I'd always been a little dubious of online dating. Considering I'm a young man, in the prime of his life, there shouldn't be a need for me to seek romance with strangers on the internet.

I'd always been a little dubious of online dating. Considering I'm a young man, in the prime of his life, there shouldn't be a need for me to seek romance with strangers on the internet. However, the concept also intrigued me, so when it was suggested that I review the experience for The Tooth I took the opportunity to experiment.

After tracking down the one decent photo I have of myself, and putting together a profile that made me appear deceptively appealing, I got to work. The process of finding potential soulmates was instantly addictive. Searching for woman my age in London, I was trigger-happily 'liking' and sending messages to every vaguely attractive lady in my area.

Eventually, after some back and forth messaging, I had found a date. Good looking, seemingly intelligent and a rough overlap in interests, I felt positive about the oncoming experience. Until the day of the date.

As I walked to work in the morning, it struck me: 'What if she is a psychotic murderer? Or worse, what if she is the front for a drugs cartel who will meet me, take me to an alley, steal my money, harvest my limbs, and then stab me in the face?' I shook myself out of it. The chances of this happening were highly unlikely, but I should definitely keep my wits about me.

We met at a bar - a good option for a first date as you're not committing to a lengthy evening. She was already there and as pretty as her picture suggested. I got in the first drink but the barman was being slow and I managed to use up all chat about how our days had been before I'd even sipped my beer.

The two of us step outside on this beautiful warm evening. We chat about work, friends, housemates, interests and going out in London, until she stops me. "Can we stop chatting about this stuff?" she asks, "I don't really like talking about my job or housemates."

Brilliant. I'm in a conversation wilderness where all forms of small talk have been outlawed, but the sheriff has decreed that there shall be no silence. I think to myself: 'Come on man, what are your strong points? Current affairs, you're good at that, hit her with some current affairs."

This was a few months ago, so I went in with "So... did you hear about the Stockwell shooting?" She looks at me, as if to wonder where this is going, and tells me she has.

"They were shot in the face and the chest," I note, completely unaware of where I am taking the conversation, "pretty bad places to get shot. Where in the body would you most like to get shot?"

She looks at me, stunned, not saying anything. The cruel-hearted woman is going to let me continue with this. I ramble on: "The balls would be pretty bad, wouldn't they? But I guess you wouldn't know. What do you reckon it's like getting shot in the vagina?" Again, she stares at me, silently. We've only just met but already we don't need to verbally communicate for me to understand her. Is this what love feels like?

I try to combine horror with culture and veer off on a tangent about the scene in City of God in which a small child is made to choose between shooting an even younger child in the hand or the foot. As I go into graphic detail about the scene, she stops me again.

"I really don't like this conversation,' she informs me, "please can we talk about anything else? Do you want another drink?"

Yes. Yes, I do. Maybe she is the one.

Unfortunately during the next hour of conversation we both realise this is not the case. She disagrees with my opinion that all non-fiction books are pointless; I find out she has a weird hearing problem that means she can't distinguish between background noises and voices. She looks disapprovingly at me as it becomes apparent I drink too much; I discover she has an abnormally low body temperature that means she has to wear four layers at all times, even in hot sweaty bars - and even then she still has cold hands (I felt them).

A third drink did not happen. We both made excuses and walked to the underground, enjoying a mutual sigh of relief when it was made clear we wouldn't be going home via the same line. We parted company with an awkward kiss on the cheek, but I couldn't resist one more piece of unnecessary verbal diorrahoea. "Great date!" I smiled, and flipped up a thumb.

I turned to leave her. I don't think I have ever rushed down an escalator as fast as that evening.

I have since closed my online dating account.


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