- Richard Haywood
I went on a date! (with a person not a spider)
In a caffeine fuelled half hour of absurdity, I had a brainwave of an idea. It was the best idea ever. It was better than the idea I had about a dog sensory garden (I built a dog sensory garden). I decided, at that moment, that I should sign up to a dating site. Yeah. I did that. I did it in the way I do everything. By uber-focussing and drinking more coffee. Yeah! Sign me up. Best. Idea. Ever. Fact.
I’ve been single for like ages. Ages n ages n ages. I quite like being single. I can always find something to do and there’s no sense of needing to be with someone else, but then life is better with two. You can share things, do stuff, go places – that kind of thing. I’d veered away from relationships because I had so much on and it wouldn’t have been fair to expect someone else to tolerate my workload over the last few years. I had dated a couple of times but my heart wasn’t in it. Now though, now I’m not working so much and the summer is here and that sense of change was sending signals to my brain that it was time to try and meet someone. My friend had recently signed up to a dating site and said she really liked it. I was going a little stir-crazy from being inside writing and editing for so long and needed the contact with humanity.
So I logged in and completed the registration process. I wrote a profile thingy which was sort of “oh my fucking god what am I doing?” and then went right through to the end of the process at which point I was asked politely to upload my photo. Ah fuck bum shit wank and arse. I don’t put my picture online. Does this count? Does online dating break my rule about online pictures? It’s online dating. So yes it does. Bugger. Another brainwave! (bearing in mind i’d drank lots of coffee) I uploaded a picture I drew of a spider that I was going to use for a previous blog.
I didn’t know that wasn’t allowed to have a spider pic (the site removed it within a few hours) but I went live and was within the world of online dating. I’ve never done it before. It’s nuts. Have you ever done it? It’s so weird. It’s like shopping but for people instead of groceries. It’s a snapshot of a person’s life accompanied by a few photos. It was absorbing, fascinating and ever so slightly sad all at the same time. I looked through, had a caffeine crash and figured (very quickly) this wasn’t for me. There was nothing specific that I could point at and say that is making me uncomfortable but even so, it left a feeling of discomfort. I think deep about things and could see how something like a dating site could fuck with someone’s self-esteem. I mean, let’s say you sign up, take the bestest pics you can and write a well-thought out profile but then no-one ever responds or clicks or does what online dating people do. That would suck. It would be bordering on psychological self-harm for some types of people. I’m a thick-skinned idiot who has spent 16 years being called all manner of horrible names but some people ain’t like that. What if someone is divorced or widowed? What if they are desperately lonely and want only to meet someone? What if they go on there and no-one ever contacts them? Rejection is horrible and that is inviting mass rejection based on a photo and a few words that gives a window to someone’s soul and dreams and fears of life and loneliness. Argh no no no, it was too sad, too harsh, too…just too sterile and cold and I was out of it.
Then I read a profile for someone that made me spray coffee for the way it was written. It was bloody funny. Really brutally funny. It was on an Undead wavelength of humour. I sent a message. She replied. I replied. It was really bizarre. She lived fairly close (pure fluke). The next day we agreed to meet for a coffee. I had a date. An actual date. With another human being too. Not a spider. Or a dog. I live on an Island so I jumped on a ferry and went to the big wide world of the mainland. It was on the ferry that I realised I had put the jeans on with the hole in the crutch (is it crutch or crotch?) anywho, I had a big hole in my jeans.
She picked me up and we went for coffee. It was so bloody nice too. Not the coffee I mean, um well the coffee was okay I guess – but being in the company of someone. She’d been a journalist, a magazine editor, a chef, now a business owner. The conversation was rich and funny. I told her I had a big hole in my jeans. She had humour, charisma, grace and all with a brutal way of speaking the thing in her head which for slightly socially autistic twats like me is perfect. No pretence or layers of things said that mean other things. Say what you mean. Spit it out but be polite and have manners about it. Like that. That’s cool. Anyone can communicate on that level. She was engaging too and showed mutual interest as the conversation flowed. She was beautiful from a mixed ethnicity background that contrasted with a strong geordie accent that all hid an incredible intellect. It was only a few hours and I came home feeling that warm buzz you get when you have a decent conversation with someone interesting. If we stay in contact then great, if not then fair one. I have no expectations of anything nor any sense entitlement towards anything in life, not through cynicism or any shred of bitterness but simply because life is what it is. Just meeting up for a coffee was bloody lovely. Just talking to someone decent is enough in itself. You can never have a limit on meeting unique people. (I never told her my writing name either so there is zero chance of reading this blog. Is that bad? Should someone be told if they are being blogged about? Even if they are unnamed and not identified? Ooh, whole new thing to think about there.)
I have now deleted my profile and left my one-day foray into my online dating experience. It isn’t for me. If you do that then good luck and I hope it brings you all you ever wish but it’s not for me.