I bit the bullet. I’m blaming my male cousins and brothers. “Sure, you are still lovely Lucy. Fellas would fancy you, especially now that you have learned how to plough a field.”
They give me tips for internet dating. I’m horrified. I know that they have been talking about me. “STILL lovely”, aged 42½. They mean well, but I feel like an ageing horse, getting my teeth checked, to see if there is any life left in the old nag. So before I declare myself fit for pasture, I did it. I signed up for internet dating, on a whim, early one Sunday morning, after yet another weekend on my own with my mutt.
But what to share? Oh gawd, the template online is looking for a photograph. Of me. Maybe I should upload a pic of my dog? He’s much better looking than me and it would show what an animal lover I am. It’s times like this that a burka seems like an attractive form of dress in middle Ireland. I opt for a discreet photo, after I Instagram it to death.
Then there is the small matter of my name. With a name like Lucina, there isn’t much hiding. Adding a simple ‘d’ could give me a disguise. I opt for honesty and remind myself, several times that there is nothing wrong with online dating.
Then the much dreaded questionnaire. My likes, dislikes, inspirations, the ‘tell us about you’ and ‘what you are looking for’. Thing is, I don’t know what I am looking for. My brothers have already said, half joking, but deadly serious, that, given my success rate, that they will screen any future suitors. I feel like giving up there and then and resigning myself to old age, with just me and my handsome mutt.
But the allure of a meal in a restaurant, with a man who isn’t related to me, is calling me. A few credit card details later and I get a congratulations email telling me that I am ‘live’. Within minutes, I swear, minutes, guys send messages saying that they want to meet me. All before 8.30am on a Sunday. I marvel at the wonder of technology. I have almost planned my outfits and picked my diary dates.
The novelty doesn’t last long. Desperate in Delvin*, 62 sends me a virtual wink and then, another. And a few days later, another.
Kinky in Kinnegad, 72, sends me a message saying that he thinks I’m sexy. I’d like to send him a virtual slap of a hand bag, but there isn’t such an icon.
I get regular notifications through my email account telling me that someone has added me as ‘his favourite’. But being someone’s ‘favourite’ doesn’t necessarily translate into being asked out on a date, or even a message saying hello. This online dating starts to feel like the nightclub I used to go to where drunken guys would do the rounds, staggering past every girl at closing time looking for someone, anyone for a goodnight kiss.
Gorgeous in Galway, 31, is actually drop-dead gorgeous and I wonder why the hell he is internet dating and more to the point, why he is looking at my profile? I find it hard to believe that his intentions are honourable. I blush just thinking about it.
There’s lots of faceless men out there, like Unhappily Married in Urlingford, 38, who don’t upload photos and is pushy about chatting to me, as if this opportunity is what I’ve waited all of my life for.
The Teacher in Thurles, 37, (also faceless), writes ‘your lovely’. I reply, stating ‘for a teacher, your spelling isn’t the best’. He doesn’t know what I’m on about. ‘You’re’, I prompt. He still doesn’t get it. We mutually agree to ‘leave it’.
Ego in Ennis, 51, (and another of the faceless crew), insists that he has provided plenty of information about himself on his profile and that if I had read it properly, I would ‘clearly see’ that he would provide photos by email. Out of curiosity, I ask for pics, which he emails. He has Donald Trump hair to match the inflated sense of himself presented in his profile.
Dapper in Dublin, 39, looks promising, but then says that we live too far away from each other for a date. I try not to sound desperate and resist asking him to check the route on AA Routeplanner, like I already have. Seventy-eight kilometres. Only up the road!
Other fellas probably really should have taken a bit of advice on how to take selfies for the purposes of actually getting a date. Many photographs make the potential suitors look like they came straight from Crimeline’s ‘Most Wanted’, a result of poor quality snaps taken directly from their PC, or phone, the ideal environment for showing off double/treble chins to their finest. And do they not realise that I can see their socks and jocks on the radiator behind them? Or how lonely that lampshade-less light bulb in their single bedroom looks? I half expect to see a Superman duvet on the bed.
The questionnaires that the guys have completed start to bore me to death. Who actually gives a monkey’s what their favourite meal is ? (FYI, though, a large proportion of men seem to prefer their mothers cooking, which is all well and good, but this isn’t a site for a replacement Irish Mammy).
Amazingly, it seems that all of the smokers on the website smoke very ‘moderately’ and the drinkers only ‘occasionally’. But if truth were told, Paleface in Portumna looks like he needs an oxygen mask and Rotund in Rialto, like a man who has a tipple most evenings.
Then there’s the guys who use way too many exclamation marks throughout their introduction to show what fun guys they are !!!! So, flipping !!!!!! hilarious !!!! Ha ! Ha ! Ha!
And don’t get me started on the guys WHO USE UNNECESSARY BLOCK CAPITALS. It’s as humorous as the exclamation marks and SOUNDS LIKE THEY ARE SHOUTING AT ME.
Did I mention the ones that use text speak? No, I don’t want 2 talk 2 U LOL ‘K? If you want a date with this gal, you better learn how to write a full sentence, IYKWIM?
And then there’s the plethora of LOL’s and ‘LMAO’, especially when describing their most embarrassing moment doesn’t sound that mortifying, funny, or interesting.
Thankfully, there are lots of lovely, genuine guys out there in Cyber Love Land. Some have taken the time to actually read the profile I sweated over writing and send lovely, considered messages. Mostly I reply with a nice note, wishing them well, but saying gently that I’m not interested. Some respond saying that they appreciate the reply and one man telling me that my response was the nicest rejection he had ever received. He didn’t know that I have had years of experience turning down people, as gently as I can, for grant applications.
I won’t be renewing my membership when it expires this week. I’ll dust myself off and regroup.
But in the meantime, Maybe in Meath, 45, isn’t looking half bad.