I’ve been doing the online dating thing for a little while now, and I’m discovering some disturbing trends. I started out like Bambi, in the wild on my own for the first time, all “Oh, that nice man with the gun won’t hurt me. I should go and say hello!” Then I learned about the word ‘venison’. Okay, it’s not quite that bad – I have been lucky enough to avoid the genuinely creepy and frightening men. But there are some things which are now immediate put offs in a profile. Namely:

1. SMS speak: I can tolerate the odd ‘lol’ in an online conversation, but if you’re writing a profile to attract someone I think saving yourself ONE KEYSTROKE by typing ‘2’ instead of ‘to’ is poor form, and indicative that if I were to ask you about your taste in literature it would probably lead to a conversation about the pros and cons of book fuelled bonfires. Oh, wait. “book firez r gd” isn’t a conversation.

2. “Fun loving”. Sorry dude. I only date people who hate fun.

3. “Looking for my princess” and/or “waiting to spoil you”. I’m always tempted to contact one of these guys just to ask if he’s read ‘A Room of One’s Own’, ‘The Female Eunuch’ or ‘The Beauty Myth’. After all, the castle where I’m being held captive has one hell of a library.

I actually feel kind of sad for those guys. The content of their profiles is usually centred around how well they’ll treat a woman, not who they are. To me that means they either don’t have a clue how this process works, or they don’t think they’re very interesting.

4. “I’ve never been married before and don’t want to date someone who has been.” Huh. I wasn’t aware that I was wearing a sign saying ‘SPOILED GOODS’. Nor was I aware that life experience actually counted as a strike against someone. If you think that marrying someone who hasn’t been there is going to make your chances of staying married better, you’re probably too immature to handle being married.

5. “Looking for discreet (often spelt ‘discrete’ with no apparent irony) relationship”. I guess at least it’s good that these guys are upfront about what they want rather than stringing more than one woman along (…we hope), but definitely not my cup of tea.

6. “Genuine guy”. I’ll be needing to see a recent medical certificate to back up that claim. Seriously, though. Do they really think the non-genuine guys are going around saying they’re lying bastards? And if they’re non-genuine themselves, do they really think women will just take them at their word?

7. Shift-key Phobia: People who write in all upper or lower case piss me off just as much as the SMS speak baboons. These are the same men who think that punctuation marks of any kind are obviously not manly enough. I want a guy who knows that colons and semi-colons aren’t just for enemas. I’m fussy like that.


I’m not having much luck with this whole thing. I’m beginning to think I should just give up on it for a while. I’m tired of explaining myself over and over. I’m tired of obsessing over my flaws and shortcomings. I’m tired of slowly coming to really like someone only to have it not work out because I’ve managed to fall for Toad of Toad Hall we’re incompatible.

But it’s not just because of the bad luck, it’s also because I’m going through a lot of change right now and it seems unfair to ask someone to tag along for the ride when I don’t even know how to tick certain boxes like ‘religion’ on a profile. Diet and hobbies are also kind of in flux.

Also: I have this funny sense that when I finish the job I’ve just taken up I’ll be going down one of two paths full-tilt: career or parenting. I know I can’t do both properly at once, I simply don’t have the energy. I’m not quite sure why or how I know that the next step several years down the track will be the defining one, I just do. I also get the sense that there’s only so far I can push that decision. Some of it will have to happen naturally. Maybe I should just let it do that for a while.

(Noting, of course, that 'a while' is a variable length of time ranging from 'a week' to 'until the twelve cats I will mysteriously acquire are written into my will'.)


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