Nobody ever tells you how difficult Internet dating is.
At first glance it seems almost too good to be true: you register on a site, write a few bits about yourself and upload a sexy photo. Or if you’re lucky, like I was, good friends will do it for you. My friends Matt & Erica wrote lovely things about what a fantastic person I am and how lucky the man who “gets” me is going to be. Then all I had to do was punch in a few superficial requirements (age, location, photos yes/no) and I got back a veritable buffet of eligible, single men.
When I say buffet, I don’t mean the meagre breakfast spread one gets at a stingy B&B. This is a full on buffet at a Gujju wedding, or at the Bombay Gym New Year’s Eve party. I had a choice of men from every age and stage. Directors and musicians, bankers and consultants, IT guys and property guys… the list is endless, and each one is “tall, handsome, and an absolute catch”. I would be lucky if even one of these would agree to a date.
Too many days of writing to random strangers later I have finally struck up an email conversation with not one but four different bachelors. And I was about to find out what happens in real life.
Date 1 is with the Property Guy (pointless trying to remember their names). If you squint (a lot) he could almost, almost be Mr. Darcy. See for yourself! According to his profile he is:
In all his emails he has been witty, interesting and thoughtful; then, for our date, he picked a French wine bar I had never been to. I was more than ready to give him many points for originality and initiative. I asked my gay friend what to wear, my married friend what to talk about, and my anti-men friend how to get out in a hurry if I needed to. I was all set, and then the day began:
- I had to rush to the dentist and have painful cavities drilled and filled
- Just before the date, I washed my face only to realise that I had left my concealer at home
- It started raining while I was waiting for him – outside the bar
- He turned up late and looked like Mr. Darcy’s distant cousin, twice removed
I fought my impulse to run. Most women say “looks don’t matter” (bullshit), so here I was, trying desperately to not let looks matter. He was also nowhere close to 6’2” tall and I began to wonder what else he was not. Turns out he has father issues, brother issues, sister-in-law issues, confidence issues, looks issues, and we spent more time talking about why I wasn’t constantly out on dates than about anything else.
But every cloud has a silver lining and my silver lining this evening was Le Beaujolais, a tiny, cosy wine bar that is run by two Frogs with Brit accents. And I had a more enjoyable time discussing the wine list with them than my dating opportunities with the Property Guy. Le Beaujolais is also the friendliest bar I have ever been to; everyone spoke to everyone, especially if they were strangers. This made our disaster date a lot easier to tolerate.
The interiors are a mishmash of furniture from the 70s, wine bottles from French wineries and football scarves from… uh, I don’t really care about football. For a wine bar they don’t have a tremendous list of wines by the glass but the owners speak about each one with such fervour that you don’t quite notice that the menu is so limited. I ordered a cheese plate that they didn’t charge me for so I had zero complaints about the service. I only wished that I had zero complaints about the date.
Ok, fine I went in with high expectations… obviously nobody other than Colin Firth will ever be the perfect Mr. Darcy. But that aside, if I had to be honest with myself and with you, I really wasn’t asking for much. I would have liked him to have not lied about his height, and to have remembered conversations from our emails. I would have preferred it if he had not told me, at least five times, how he finds it “difficult to show my feelings and emotions”. And I would have really, really been impressed if he had asked me a single question about me.
I was sparkly, smiley and dressed sexy (ish) – all it seemed to have done was intimidate him and he went running. But I have to believe that men with balls exist, that I won’t have to subdue my spirit to attract a spirited man, that my gay friends were wrong and a straight man may actually fall in love with me some day! And to help me along, I have the IT guy, the PR guy and the Finance guy to look forward to…