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Flattery, desperation and administration

I haven't written a blog for ages. Sorry, I know you've missed me. The prompt to do so is a new booklet that's started plopping through the letter box, recently, The Crouch End Connection. If you've not been lucky enough to get one and feel deprived you can see it online here (Crouch End Connection).

In itself this seems a harmless enough thing - it's essentially a huge advertisement. Estate Agents seem to believe in it, and there are lots of ads for things/places that can make you fitter, or take care of you if you are past it. Decorating and leaflets seem big too. 

And there's a modicum of editorial to whet your appetite and break up the ads a bit. One of these items is written by some one I think I know. She's now operating under the name Eve Parker, and recounting the story of her, as yet, unsuccessful, venture into internet dating (maybe if this doesn't pan out she could look at the item on how to make your own crumpet!) Now, as it happens, I had a bit of a dabble along these lines not so long ago, and I too came up unrequited, but not for the same reasons to Eve. Indeed my whole experience of it was really quite different to hers.

In this month's episode she writes 'internet dating is just a combination of desperation and admin'. I entirely agree with her about the admin. It starts with the description of yourself - a chore. And then there are pages of questions to answer about subjects I never think about, with multiple-choice answers none of which bear any relation to the way I think. But the astonishing thing is many people go through this whole process and fill out even the pages that are not mandatory. Reading this paragraph back I can see some clues building up here - I don't think like the question setters, I find it a chore, I worry what type of person can answer the questions and can do the chore. Maybe I should have spotted the clues and backed off then, but two things spurred me on.

One, the website published the few words I had written about myself and I was online - I'd been overtaken by events - there were no further validation steps, no collection of money, no credit card details to be given up. These dating entrepreneurs wanted me on their site, and I was committed almost without noticing it.

Two, the few beautifully understated words I had written about myself, and the not too badly out of date photo I had published attracted interest. I was flattered. I was 'favourited' by quite a few of the women on the site. I remained flattered. I entered into electronic 'conversations' with some of these women. I was so flattered that I upgraded my free membership of the site to a paid membership so that I could exchange email addresses and make slightly more personal electronic contact. The dating entrepreneurs had certainly had a success. 

I quite enjoyed some of these conversations - with the Brazilian lady posted by her job to Edinburgh, with the Polish lady living in Zurich who sometimes comes to London, with the English lady living in rural France wondering whether she should move back to London. Mostly these ladies were very matter of fact about their lives and what they expected, but there were one or two where I worried about just how earnest they were being, especially given my slapdash approach to the whole business.

I arranged some meetings - at the station bar in King's Cross (really, a carefully negotiated decision on both sides and a good decision), at a pub in Pimlico and in the cafe at Kenwood. The meetings went really well. Obviously we have to deal with why we are both single, but that's OK - look for some common ground - generally not too difficult - and by this time the date is just about over, and the decision has to be made about arranging to meet again. Again easy to deal with, we can make any arrangements by email in a few days.

But then the realisation struck me.

There is nothing in any of this for me to be flattered about, again for two reasons.

1) One of my dates actually said "It's a numbers game" - she was just working her way through a lot of dates with unsuitable men until she found one (or more, perhaps) who was less unsuitable than the others, maybe even given luck, not unsuitable at all. And then, given luck, he might think she is not unsuitable, too. I think Nat King Cole recorded a song along those lines 

"Not unsuitable, that's what you are
Not unsuitable though near or far"

how romantic!

2) Desperation - back to Eve's quote - there are a lot of lonely women of about my age (more than men, I think) who desperately want to find a partner. And even I would do.

I am in the fortunate position of not being desperate, so I can't be bothered getting over the admin hurdle. I've given up internet dating. But if ever I try it again I have a rough idea of how I'll start my profile

"I really don't like dogs (or opera). I can take or leave walks in the country. Obviously I go out to dinner sometimes, but its not a fetish, and occasionally I go on holiday. I'm really quite interested in a lot of things, but not passionate about any of them. I laugh at things , so I must have a sense of humour, but I can't gauge its quality. When I had a job I wore a grey suit and sat in a office from 9 till 5"

That should sort out any delusions of flattery.

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