The Confessions of a Justified Online Lover
That’s what your friends and family will tell you. And who am I to disagree? We’re all here today because men and women have been pairing off for sex, love and the whole nine yards quite a while before Blind Date hit our screens 25 years ago.
I’m sitting in my Friend’s house overlooking the river and we’re drinking large glasses of Merlot. Light fading, there’s a lapping tranquillity beyond the picture window as trunk-thighed rowers carry long boats on their heads. Friend pushes the olive bowl towards me and touches my arm.
“If I was in your position, I’d make a list of what I’m looking for in a man, and find him through online dating.”
Fair point. But she’s not in my position, is she. An armoire next to the sofa buckles beneath the weight of years in family photo frames.
“Easier to list what I don’t want, probably.”
Good, good – Friend nods ripping a page from son’s Biology workbook and pouring two more glasses.
“I don’t want shorter than 5’8”.”
“Well, yeah. I don’t want to be too prescriptive.”
Friend is taking my plight seriously and the way she flops back on the sofa and rolls her eyes says: stop pissing around.
“Look, I know you, but they don’t. At least, not yet.”
Naturally, she thinks she knows me because she’s a very good friend. We’re open and easy together: life, love and…vibe stories (I love them, but she can’t bring herself to press ‘Add to Cart’). But she knows nothing of my sexual modus operandi or the trajectory I’m after.
“It’s not rocket science,” she says checking her watch and telepathically upping the oven to 180 degrees, just as key hits front door, announcing Partner’s return from work. I like him… but I know I worry him.
I worry him because I’ve made a few choices and my lights are on. I’m still wearing heels, and that means I put out: I think he misses the past, if only slightly.
He’s already had a few beers on the way home and is delighted to offer some creative input.
He writes his version:
“Smart, sexy, funny woman looking for same in a man.”
He drops the pen in triumph. Ten words. Annoyingly, he’s nailed it, in essence.
When he removes his jacket, I can see nascent sweat patches beneath his arms. I know Friend doesn’t like that about him, but I do. Then it occurs to me: I don’t just want a man. For fuck’s sake, I need one.
And yes, I do want more than I jokingly suggested. Of course I do. Smile me into bed with a new language, left of field – no clichés. Don’t wait for me. Take me. Step up with sweat and need. Want more than you imagine I can give – I’ll give it doubly if I recognise your smell.
Friend pulls up an online dating site and changes Spotify to Kate Bush: Cloudbusting.
Bush tells us that she knows something good will happen and despite the uncertainty of the timing, even voicing this optimism could cause it to be. Yup, I think she’s got something there.
“Come on, sit next to me. Let’s write it now.”
Clicking could make it happen? Clicking better than swiping, Friend looks across sofa to Partner who, smiling, tilts his head to one side and says:
“Tinder can wait, I reckon.”
Do I like being the local love project? You bet I do.
So, we crack on with the easy stuff. Ideally he should be: at least: 5’ 8”, slim enough, probably attractive, Aquarius, big on books, film, booze and sex. Small on travel, fitness, insurance: non skier.
“Look, you’re just out of a six year relationship. What’s the most important thing you learned from your time with him?”
“Keep a spare bottle of Listermint in the kitchen so you don’t have to go back upstairs when you’re rushing out.”
Friend looks at me in mild despair. But right now I’m experiencing quite the opposite emotion: best of all to travel hopefully and arrive.
And so, with the olives and rowers long gone, it’s time to head home.
Profile penned – we have lift-off. And it’s a huge universe out there.