I bumped into a friend-of-a-friend the other day and she was telling me that over a decade after her husband died (he had leukemia, they were together 32 years), she’d tried online dating. Elaine Kingett is an award-winning journalist and ex-features writer for Woman & Home magazine. I thought you’d be interested to hear about her experience and why she’s decided internet dating is HELL:
Oh, the terror of the all-important profile pic. Instant rejection or the chance of a second glance. The possibility of a new relationship based solely on your physical attributes and your ability to ‘take a nice photo’ as my late mother would say. Sod how warm, intelligent and sexy you may be in reality, if your face don’t fit, you’re not even getting a wink, let alone 10 minutes in the local Costa. Youngsters bloom in any lighting; full sun or strip neon. Their skin has no valleys to catch the shade, no wrinkles to trace the contours. So we fake it and try not to simper, leer or dribble. A photo taken 38-years ago, Fig C. Photo Photoshopped and taken four years ago, Fig B. Photo taken three months ago, not Photoshopped, Fig A. But NEVER pulling a weird face in a selfie, Fig D. I can’t be the only woman who looks at a bloke’s profile pic and thinks, ‘Would I like that bearing down on me?’
Men are fond of the Action Man pose, ‘Here’s me up a mountain, I’m well fit,’ with a very large fish or bizarrely, with a small child or a young girl, which we hope is their daughter but experience yells at me, ‘Beware the spawn of my ex-wife.’
It is a ridiculous state of affairs. Photos do lie. This whole business is based on the hope that a passport photo and 30 quid a month will bring love or at least a nice dinner and some sweaty sex. But when you’re older, what else can you do? Down the pub? I do that with my daughter or couples that I know but I can hardly roam around the saloon bar with my knuckles on the floor, sniffing out the singles. Go dancing? Where? I’ve started 5 Rhythms, don’t laugh. I feel safe going on my own and Jess plays good music but it’s hardly a contact sport. Take the dog out? Thrilling and I look just fabulous in waterproof clothing. Don’t go there.
Guardian Soulmates have emailed – they’ve got a sale on. BOGOF?!
Elaine has now been been experimenting with free dating apps such as the dreaded Tinder – which she is assured is not just for sex. Honest. Happn ‘for when your paths cross’ (#stalker) and Tastebuds which promises to match your tastes – and seems to be matching hers to 25-year-olds in Wembley.
Elaine runs creative writing holidays in Spain and France, for more information check out Write It Down.