Rough Guide to Internet Dating Part 3 – it’s date time!

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Dating Acronyms – GSOH – good sense of humour, MWC – married with children, N/S – Non Smoking, LTR – long term relationship, NSA – no strings attached, SGL – Single

Right! My profile is out there, I’ve sussed out how this internet dating lark works, I’ve discarded the Swedish stalkers, odd bods, married, divorced, desperate, short, tall, thin, fat and I haven’t quite found the pilot of my dreams. I am however, hoping that Neil from Enfield who I have been talking to for 3 weeks and who I have plucked up the courage to meet, is only masquerading as a PE teacher and that when he turns up for our date he will be full of exciting stories set in exotic locations following turbulent landings, rather than dull yarns involving plimsolls and cricket boxes.

Now… even though I already know his age, the names of his children (not living at home of course), where he pretends he works, what he does in his spare time, the name of his ex wife who ran off (and he’s not bitter or anything but all women are the spawn of the devil and you can’t ever trust anyone… even your best friend) AND I had called him on his home number so I was convinced he was Kosher yet I still had several dilemmas that needed to be resolved.

  • Where would we go?
  • What should I wear?
  • Should I take someone with me?
  • If I don’t -should I tell everyone I know where I am going?
  • Where would we meet?

In the end, I decided to take a risk, meet in a pub, have a couple of friends in there on standby, get everyone I know to text me on the hour – every hour (and who were instructed to call 999 instantly if I didn’t reply within 5 minutes), wore sensible clothes which included a polo neck, another polo neck, thick woolly trousers and tights, dark glasses and a wig – oh and a chastity belt with 25 locks.

I also decided to make it very clear that dinner would be a 50/50 affair – just in case payment in kind may be on his menu and I therefore set off on my first date in what seemed like and actually was… about 8 years!

Arriving fashionably late (had to drive round the block 10 times to ensure I was), I looked round for the rather attractive man in the photo with the cheeky smile and laughing eyes that I had so been looking forward to meeting. What I actually clocked was a man whose photo had clearly been taken on his best side in a good light with a box brownie some years earlier. Oh dear – the “laughing eyes” were more droopy the dog than Hugh Grant and a smile revealed a very odd looking tooth that stuck out at an angle (and which incidentally gave him a lisp) it also made me instantly think “village idiot”. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I clocked a shirt that screamed “Alfie Moon” at the top of its voice. I didn’t know whether to run, join my buddies at the bar or do the decent thing and develop amnesia.

No – I had to go through with it. “Neil desperandum” I decided (ha ha, I’m so funny!) – Best foot forward and all that, after all he was nice enough on the phone. How bad could a date be anyway?

Following a couple of drinks and a bit of small talk (if only he didn’t call me Trayth), he suggested we go to a local Tapas restaurant for dinner (actually he said Tapath – but you’re probably getting bored with that joke now) and as I had realised by then that there wasn’t an axe tucked away anywhere, my drinking buddies were signalled that I was safe and a message was sent to the entire contents of my sim card requesting that texts be extended to 10 minute intervals and off we went.

I struck a deal – I would pay for the wine, he would pay for the meal. I ordered a decent Rioja and a bunch of dishes with garlic just to be on the safe side, he ordered the cheapest things on the menu including a tortilla… ok so far. I don’t want to pick out curtains with this bloke but it’s not that bad.

The conversation wasn’t leaning towards how long it takes to get a 747 airborne but then again there weren’t any cricket box stories. He did ask how often I made it to the gym and I replied “not as often as I would like” – he questioned how often that would be and I replied “err – never”. I laughed – he looked disapprovingly down his £2.99 Romford market reading specs.

Actually the evening wasn’t that bad – except that I couldn’t take my eyes off “that tooth”. Now call me shallow (actually you could wade in me) but I would have had that puppy dealt with a long time ago – apparently it was the result of a bike accident. Yeah, and…?

“La Quinta” arrived so I dutifully coughed the cost of the wine and he whipped out… a handful of loot? Nope – a loyalty card and a voucher he had downloaded. He then added to the humiliation by asking whether the waiter would wrap the tortilla so he could have it for his breakfast “por favour”. Exit Trayth – stage left.

Next on the list was John the tube driver (I heard they get a free Oyster). He at least looked like his photo, smart and funny but unfortunately dyslexic (something I have with numbers incidentally) I said I bet he was glad he didn’t work on the DRL – he just looked at me with “Oh yeah never heard that one before” written all over his face. He did last a couple of months but I was a tad concerned about his obsession with his “best friend” who happened to be female and who there seemed to be a constant text conversation going on with. Call me old fashioned but if I am having a romantic meal, I don’t want to hear “bing bong” every 5 minutes as another message wings its way into the inbox. Exit Trayth – stage right.

I decided that I probably wasn’t going to bag Biggles or Mr Perfect any time soon so my next cunning plan was to date “useful” men.

First there was policeman Jim (you never know when you might need directions) and that was going all rather swimmingly until I made the fatal error of beating him at Scrabble.

Mick the plumber from Sheffield (my boiler was playing up), drove all the way down to “that there London”, gallantly booked into a hotel then spent the evening telling me how depressed he was. I spent all evening wondering how come anyone could have hair that bad. Having said that, he was a very genuine person. His story was that he had fallen hopelessly in love with someone 3 years previously and told his wife who apparently he didn’t love. It obviously destroyed the marriage but his only daughter disowned him and then the woman he’d fallen in love with dumped him. So – after all that he drives 300 miles for a date and I turn up – no wonder the poor bloke was depressed.

I saw him a couple more times after that but unfortunately he wasn’t salvageable. We are still friends and I get the odd “how are you” text. I hope he is happy – he deserves to be.

Had a couple of dates with Vince the “sparks” (you never know when you might need a fuse changed) who was really only looking for a housekeeper/dog walker. Then there was almost Dave from Somerset who was a company director and I can’t for the life of me remember what he directed but I’m sure whatever it was, you never know when you might need it. He seemed to think being at the other end of the country wasn’t a problem but 2 days before the date – he confessed that he was going back to “Maureen”“Maureen who?” was my thought. Oh well… c’est la vie.

Andy from South London beckoned. We chatted on line for a week or so, he gave me his email address – I sent a couple of jokes he decided I was a stalker. I wasn’t too concerned as I had a lucky near miss from my perspective and I hope I never have need of his services, he was radiologist.

Brian from Cambridge (worked at a pharmaceutical company – you never know when you might need senility drugs) said he lived in a caravan in the middle of a field with hot and cold running sheep– I thought he was joking, he wasn’t. I did go out with him but was concerned I would come home and find the lead on the roof missing and the drive tarmac’d.!

Mark from Leigh on Sea – did something with Wills and Probate (well you never know when… oh no… too morbid!) and drove me nuts bugging me to arrange a date but he had children and I wasn’t interested. Eventually I was worn down by his quick wit and obvious intelligence and agreed that he could come to dinner provided that my friend (who lives in the flat downstairs) would be joining us. I cooked Thai green curry, he made fish cakes and the three of us had a cracking time. We had a few dates but it wasn’t meant to be. He very gently called it a day and has now met a lovely lady who he is completely happy with. I am pleased for him, he is, and will always be a very special friend.

Although I’d had some good and bad dates I wondered whether it was all worth it. Maybe I was expecting too much, maybe I was too set in my ways or maybe I was just too choosy, so decided to give dating a rest for a bit.

Whilst on my final nostalgic wander through the “who’s on line” section I noticed a profile for “Nadal_or_federer” whose opening profile line read “Blimey I didn’t answer this many questions for my O’Levels”. I didn’t have a clue what Nedal or Federer meant but assumed he couldn’t decide what his nomme de plume was (honest!) but I did take a second look.

I read the remainder of his profile and was still laughing 10 minutes later at the final line of “if you can you fit a kitchen you’re the woman for me”. And as I am a dab hand at fitting kitchens and just for the hell of it I sent an mail which read “Your profile made me laugh, shame you live a zillion miles away – good luck anyway” He replied almost immediately “Thanks but you are only down the A12 – it’s not that far”. It was that smooth opening gambit that did the biz for me. (I’m easily pleased so the dialogue commenced).

His name was Peter (I had googled both nadal and Federer, to discover that they are involved in some kind of boring sport involving bats and balls), and was an Environmental Health Officer. Now I know I was about to give up on internet dating but you never know when you might need to get the neighbours stereo confiscated or have your fridge inspected.

He was funny and he did look quite presentable so there was my dilemma should I stay resolute and cancel my membership or meet the cockroach inspector?


Tracy is our Rough Guides Dating Blogger. Check out her hilarious journey through the world of online dating.

Tracy spent many years working in the City for UBS, MLIM & Blackrock (with our founder) and Barclays GRCB running helpdesks, IT Security and Customer Service before throwing in the corporate towel for a life in the country with the cockroach inspector. She now heads up the Customer Service team for Software solutions provider Access UK Ltd and is very happy thank you!

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