Afghan hound - a truly stunning dog: Robin Bower

Sight unseen and the dating game of honesty

Picture this advertisement in the paper:

Easy-going and athletic
Professional male 41 seeks sensitive female. Looks not important, must be tall, slim and attractive.

Early online dating — it hasn’t changed, has it?

Dating blind is nothing new. In the 1700s matrimonial services existed to set up men with good wives. If you like show tunes you will be familiar with matchmakers making a match in Eastern Europe. Then newspapers started to allow personal ads to link up suitable partners. So it’s no surprise that the Internet is now doing the same thing.

The movie ‘You’ve got mail’ which was released in 1998, seems to have caused the proliferation of dating sites and brought the service into some respectability. Apparently you’re not a loser any more if you can’t get a date in the real world. Who knew? And where do we stand on honest?

I will be the first to admit that I did have a stint at online dating. Hey, I’ve been on so many blind dates I should get a free guide dog.

But before I go on I want to make the disclaimer that I’ve been happily married and/or with my husband for 12 years so we are delving into the distant past. And things can sometimes get blurry.

Back then I didn’t see myself as internet dating, more as dating the internet.

The main difference about dating online compared to real life dating is that it is so much easier to lie online — about everything.

The profile

Take the profile and what things really mean:

40-ish = 49
Average looking = has a face only a mother could love
Contagious smile = does a lot of pills
Emotionally secure = on medication
Fun = annoying
Outgoing = loud and embarrassing
Passionate = sloppy drunk
Needs a soul mate = stalker

Take my first contact with a potential date. Please — take him.

I was new to the online dating scene and thought that appearances didn’t matter, that what mattered was what you were like on the inside. I know, how naive! So I didn’t have a picture of myself — just a damn good profile. I received a message from, let’s call him, Roger. Roger said he liked my profile and could I send a photo because you just don’t know what ugly dogs there are out there. I found an image of a stunning Afghan Hound — you know the one with the gorgeous long blond hair and doey eyes. And sent it to him saying it was a picture of me. No response — just crickets. No sense of humour!

Strike 1.

Then there was the guy who on his profile claimed to be the richest man in the world, but his picture looked like some geek who worked for a software company?? Yeah right…

Strike 2.

How about the email conversation that was going to lead to the perfect man, Harry. GSOH, good speller, nice photo, educated, loved British sitcoms — what could go wrong? We met at a coffee shop where he wasted no time in telling me: ‘I will only mention this once, then I want to forget it. I found my girlfriend hanging dead from a rope one day and have never recovered.’ Poor Harry! Goodbye Harry.

Strike 3.

Once you’re on the date, you’d think things would go swimmingly. Not so fast. There can be indifference, too much enthusiasm, strange preferences that you don’t want to hear about on the first date, ex-wife stories, depression and general inertia. Hey and some of them just didn’t like me! Hard to believe, I know…

It’s hard to get to know someone in this situation — there’s so much pressure. I find a good way to get to know your date is to ask about their first pet, favourite movie and mother’s maiden name, then login and read all their emails. You can find out a lot about someone’s emails.

The upshot of the whole exercise is that you have to have thick skin, the thicker the better — just like a rhino. Which makes me wonder: If rhino horn is such a powerful aphrodisiac, why are rhinos an endangered species?

Anyway, three strikes and I’m out.

Nowadays there are so many choices of sites, of apps, everything’s so fast and furious. It’s a jungle out there. And it’s big business.

Most females are well aware that a good man is hard to find. I had to look in three pubs and a wine bar, and eventually found mine in his own living room.

But that’s a tale for another time.

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