Sunday, December 04, 2011

Dating Direct

A long time ago I joined Dating Direct to see if there was anyone in the world who might just be a possible soulmate for me. I soon discovered there wasn't. But I wanted to use online dating in the Libby Sarjeant book I'm currently writing, Libby number ten, Murder by Magic.

So I rejoined, under a different onscreen name. Not that anyone would remember the original, it was too long ago! A friend, Danuta Kean talked me through my personal ad and suggested that I'd joined the wrong website, but I couldn't afford to pay for another subscription, so I left a free ad on the slightly more upmarket site - which has produced nothing - and carried on waiting for someone to turn up on Dating Direct. I was as honest about me as could be, as I didn't want to be using the site under false pretences, but I've decided that the men who appear on the site in my preferred age range (OK - elderly!) are completely deluded.

Now, would a young (!) woman of 50 really want to start a relationship with a wrinkled, balding man of 65? If Sean Connery was on the market it would be a different matter, but he isn't. But that's what most of these men want. And there are men who are recently separated, divorced or widowed. No - way too soon! "I lost my wife last year after thirtyfive years and think it's time to start meeting other women." In order to get the shirts washed and the dinners cooked, perhaps?

I have to be honest, the fact that I haven't found anyone I would even share a drink with is matched by the lack of interest in my own profile. Oh, yes, a lot of people view it, but no-one has yet got in touch. (No, I'm still pedant enough not to use "contact" as a verb.) But - this is not for real. And thank goodness. Because do I actually want someone else in my life? To moan about my cavalier attitude to housework, meals and television? Let's face it - no. But I really would like to know what prompts some men to be so unrealistic in their search for that elusive soulmate. Any ideas? I'd really like to know.

15 comments:

Jenny Haddon said...

I bow to your experience (just the thought of it makes me want to close the curtains and huddle over the fire with a good book FOR EVER) and salute your courage.

I do know chaps who've gone the lonely hearts columns/on-line dating route who've had positive experiences. But I think men are better than women are at cutting their losses early, and I'm not so sure about the ladies they dated... At least one is positively heart-warming success, though.

As for the ads -- I don't know about the habitual advertisers, but I suspect the man fresh on the market after umpty-um years advertises for what he wanted when he was last fancy-free. I don't think it's vanity, so much as just not bothering to keep up with changes over the years. Men, after all, don't have that clock striking every month to remind them.

Barbara said...

I've always shuddered at the thought of blind dating. As a travel courier (many moons ago) I met a lot of these lonely men and found they were pathetic. Of course they were in Spain hoping to pick up a young Spanish woman. In the 70s Mallorca they were still chaperoned!

Couriers were the next best thing for these pathetic creatures and I couldn't believe some of the chat up lines! One reckoned he owned a supermarket and would pay me more to work on one of the tills! Gimme a break!

I have to confess to feeling concern for people using dating agencies - what guarantee is there that you won't be meeting a pervert (of either sex)!

Lesley Cookman said...

Thank you both. Barbara, we got them when I was flying, too! (By the way, loved Cleo!)

Cathy said...

I'm just cynical enough not to trust anyone's ad about himself on any dating site. That being said, I'm about to celebrate my tenth anniversary with my husband-- a man whom I discovered online. We were both frequent posters on a Usenet news group, and I got to know him over many months' time, reading his posts and seeing how he interacted with everyone.

However, if I'd decided to try to meet someone through a dating agency, I'd probably still be waiting for the first nibble lo these twelve years later!

The Pocketeers said...

Hi Lesley, you ask what makes men so unrealistic in their search. I think it is that they are still bound by traditional ideas that younger women are looking for a somewhat older man, to support them. They just haven't twigged to the fact that most women nowadays are perfectly capable of earning a good wage and running a home on their own and what's more that they can CHOOSE. We have so many choices now and most of the women I know, of any age are very choosy - they're having a good time on their own! Any man who wants to win them has to try pretty hard and make compromises and many men aren't too keen on that, especially as they get on in years!

Sarah Callejo said...

Maybe I'm not realistic either, but if I was 65, I would be looking for a handsome 30 year old! Sadly, the only way I'd get one would be by becoming a multimillionaire and having plastic surgery on every inch of my body. We live in hope.

Susan Bergen said...

Perhaps being a novelist ruins one for 'real' men? Creating romantic heroes sets the bar extremely high - although I'm sure there are one or two flesh-and-blood good-'uns really out there. Perhaps it's better to meet someone on an activity holiday - such as a painting or cookery course. Or let your female friends know you are interested (they might know someone similarly searching for love). At least one could start with the common interests aspect, on which to build.
Perhaps it's a good idea to seek male friends for outings, dinners etc.. rather than partners. Then who know what might happen?

Lesley Cookman said...

Susan, I think you've missed the point! It's not me - it's my character. And at my HUGE age, having been married twice I don't actually want anyone. I shall probably be sending my character through the gamut of dating opportunities, having known friends who've done them all at one time or another. Meanwhile, I've known all my friends for so long I think I've met everyone else they know - and would you really go and ASK them? As for being spoiled for real men - I don't write romantic fiction and I have two very large grown up sons. They would soon knock any idealised notions on the head!

cushy said...

I have tried internet dating.......... They are either widowers who want to replace their wife, old men who want a woman who has more income than them,young men who can't get on to the property ladder or they are a lovely chap who happens to have an alcohol problem. sound cynical. Yes I am now

Lesley Cookman said...

I don't know if any one of my commenters (right word?) will read this, but interestingly, I have received two comments from men indignantly protesting at this piece and being rather nasty about us! I haven't published either of them, but it does go to prove that we are all RIGHT. I shall re-post this and tell the lot of them!

Jim Miller said...

I liken online dating to a minefield but with care minefields can be navigated safely. I've come across many very good women. Sure, there was the Rottweiler, the 'four-letter' woman and the widow who helped me to understand how Diana felt in her marriage of 3but I soon put them out to pasture and moved on.

Janey said...

Hello-as a woman of 52 who has seriously been trying online dating for 6 or 7 months, can I suggest that as long as your character approaches online dating sensibly and has a decent photo and profile she will probably meet a good few 'eligible' men, with whom she will spend a couple of weeks or so chatting online, moving through typical stages of chatting first on the site, then by private email, and finally by texting and/or voice call as the 'date' is arranged. This is the time to weed out the nutters and those whose stories don't ring true. The problem is that most of these relationships end, not with a bang (!) but with a whimper. In other words, in my case. the guys, just disappeared from contact before meeting. Or after a good date or even two, just didn't want to go out again, and sent a 'Dear John' email.
Assuming there's nothing really awful about me, my tentative explanation for this is that although perfect equality rules on the Dating site, and women are very welcome to contact men, omce we meet in real life, the old rules immediately re-apply, and women have to resume the passive role, waiting to be asked out. Sad, but I think it's true. Maybe Jim from the last post here should say what he thinks and what happened to the 'many very good women'?

Lesley Cookman said...

I'm very amused that this post is still attracting comments more than 6 months on - it's the title, obviously! The book, including the character doing the online dating, is now published, so no more suggestions, please!

Janey said...

Oh well, I'll just have to buy the book to find out if she gets a guy!!

thewitch said...

oh i can relate.. its a mine field and guys are deluded no matter what age x