Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

I’m not saying I’m all that, but…

on March 1, 2014

My transformation into The Woman Who Dates is now complete: I have joined Plenty of Fish, an internet dating behemoth which I have until now scrupulously avoided.  Or, more honestly, been too scared to go on, after hearing horror stories about people being sent pictures of willies.  But finally, after a little encouragement, I joined last Saturday.

The first challenge is to come up with a user name which somehow says something about you without inadvertently sounding stupid, rude or racist.  My friend Simon helped me.

“What do you like? What about your favourite book?”

“I really like the Time Traveller’s Wife”

“What’s the main character called?”

“Clare Abshire.  But I can’t use that – people would think I was called Clare.  What about Niffenegger? It’s the author’s surname and it sounds quite cool.”

“No.  It just sounds a bit… No”

Eventually I settled on something Tolkienesque, which hinted at my geekiness but also suggested I wasn’t looking for a knight in shining armour.  Within about five minutes I’d had emails saying six different people wanted to meet me.  This was exciting!

So, it turns out there’s a function on the site called ‘Meet Me’.  It shows you pictures of various users and you say whether you would like to meet them or not.  Those six people had not sought me out and thought I was so great that they had to message me and tell me.  Just, when shown my picture, on the balance of probabilities they would rather meet me than not.  Still, I’ll take it.

Then I filled in some questions about what I’m like and who I wanted to meet.  And then I liked someone’s profile because, well, he looked ok.  We started chatting.  He lives about 60 miles away.  Oops.  Still…

It’s been an interesting week.  I’ve had quite a few messages from Tolkien fans which start with “Hail, shieldmaiden”.  I am confused by this.  I’m not sure how to respond. I can riff about killing orcs for a while, but how long do they expect me to pretend we’re all living in Middle Earth? I really have no idea.  And it’s difficult to transition from that into single-mum-of-two.  (A word of advice: when starting internet dating, do it on a weekend when you’re doing things which you can make sound interesting.  Not “I have tidied my attic room out and that took all weekend”).

I’ve had some interesting conversations.  I’m currently discussing building a lighthouse and have chatted about the state of my bathroom fan.  Also apparently women with horses are massively over-represented on the site.  I’ve discovered it’s completely socially acceptable to do the online equivalent of standing at the bar and completely ignoring people who say hi.

And I’ve been on a date.  Possibly the world’s shortest date – half an hour during his break from work.  We got chatting; he seemed nice; I suggested meeting up; we did, and had a nice time; we texted for a bit; for various reasons it’s not what I’m looking for at the moment; we’ve stopped texting.  In the space of a week.  I don’t hang around, apparently.

But here’s the thing: it’s been really good for my confidence.  Growing up in conservative evangelical churches, where there were ten girls to every boy, and nine of them were more attractive than me, it’s quite a revelation to find that on dating sites it’s generally women who are in demand.  And, being a geeky girl, there are quite a lot of men out there who seem delighted to find a woman who understands the rules to dungeons and dragons.  Some of them are even attractive.  I’m not saying I’m all that, and far more men have ignored me than have been interested, but for the first time in my life I feel properly eligible.

And I think, if now isn’t the right time because of my children, because my life is too busy, because, secretly, I still can’t believe there’s anyone who will suit me as well as Ex-Husband did, well, I think I’ll probably still be eligible in five years time.

It’s definitely progress.


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