My main beef with online dating sites is not that they’re creepy or uncool or expensive. It’s not even that they’re rammed with fat weirdos and potential axe murderers. It’s more simple than that: it’s because I don’t believe the girl of my dreams is on there.
I met about seven girls the last time I did online dating. They were all nice enough, a couple of them I continued seeing for a few weeks, but there was always something about them I didn’t like. Either they were annoying, or clingy, or shapeless, or Tories. Whatever it was, they were imperfect – perhaps that’s why they were touting themselves online in the first place — and it meant the experience was ultimately futile.
As such, I had little expectation when I turned up to meet Kate — the first date I arranged on the latest singleton supermarket I’ve joined, ‘AfroDater.com’. This website, I was encouraged to read in its tagline, is ‘where busy african singles click’. I consider myself a busy professional, if you strip out the Yuppie overtones. And I suspect, despite the fact I’d like to go out with a pop star or a barmaid, that the girl I end up marrying might also be a busty, I mean busy, professional too.
Yet I felt jaded as I turned up — late — to meet Kate for lunch. Sure, she looked alright in her profile but I knew there would be something wrong. Maybe she’d have a grating laugh, or a racist streak, or three eyes. Although maybe it would be quite cool if she had three eyes, I was wondering to myself as I clocked a two-eyed brunette reading a book beside at our meeting spot.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that her real life self was quite close to the version I’d seen in her profile. Still, I was waiting for her to say or do something unappealing. But the more we chatted, the more pleasant surprises unfolded. One, she was clever — comfortably cleverer than me. Not that this is a noteworthy feat but it was a still a good start. She was also funny, for a girl, and generally nice and interesting. When she swore, it was somehow simultaneously earthy and elegant. As if expleted from the mouth of a streetwise gazelle.
Basically, she was ace. Oh, and fit. And then there was me.
I’ve mentioned I had no grand expectation for this date, and maybe that’s why the previous evening I had failed to prevent myself getting incredibly drunk on a night out in the club. I was hungover — majorly. I could cope with that, I’d initially thought. But in the face of this beautiful onslaught, I was bewildered.
Generally, I’m quite an affable chap. If you met me, you’d probably think I was alright – I could at least be relied upon to say something vaguely amusing. But there have been occasions — often, although not exclusively, when there’s an attractive girl involved – where this easy charm has completely eluded me and I have come across as a colourless squib. Unfortunately, this date was one of those times.
Kate would sparkle; tell an engaging tale about a holiday in Botswana, or an amusing school friend. I was rapt. Then when it was my turn to speak, I just sat there blankly. My best anecdote was about how I was so drunk the previous evening that I’d walked into a shop. As in, hit my head on it, rather than voluntarily gone inside to make a purchase. Not a good first impression: hi I’m Dan, and I’m a pisshead. And that was my best anecdote, remember. The rest of the time I just grunted in agreement and tried to force a cheeky smile. This was the best girl I’d ever met on an online date and I was on the worst form of my life. I’d found the needle in the hay, then carelessly dropped it down a manhole.
Kate politely refused my offer of a third drink. I was glad actually because I was beginning to feel physically sick, a combination of alcohol and dismay at my badly timed social ineptitude, but it didn’t bode well for my chances securing a second date.
Still, I’ll ask her out again — more in hope than expectation. But even if she doesn’t reply, she’s restored my faith that there are nice women on the internet. Shame about the men.
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