That's what a quick answer over the end credits of a show will do to you when you're under pressure. Otherwise I don't think I would have accepted the challenge — go on three dates in one weekend and write about the experience. The closest I have previously gotten to online dating was a brief holiday romance with a guy who once starred in an e-Harmony ad. In fact, I felt online dating wasn't for me; something about the virtual world that I didn't trust.
Whereas, if you gave me a room full of real people, I'd comfortably chat away. So the idea of creating an online profile made me nervous. But I took this opportunity as a personal challenge and a gift for growth — that was the therapist in me, psyching myself up!
The first step was to find the right site. I had heard of Plenty of Fish and, as someone who has been single for over a year, this particular dating site had often been suggested to me.
Needless to say, those suggesting it were married friends, comfortable in the safety net of matrimony. Here I was — a lonely fish, entering what was, for me, uncharted waters!
First thing to note when searching for a dating website is the variation in the names of sites with fish in the title. There's the one I was searching for This site was a little too purple for me and the photo of the model suggestively holding a mobile like some dial-a-date advert put me off. I ended up texting a pal who had tried these dating sites.
Here I was on my laptop — how very old school of me. Dating from an App on your phone brings a whole new meaning to 'man on call'! There were various sentences I had to fill in as part of building my profile, with useful suggestions on how one should complete the question.
However, I was finding it hard to take it seriously and, under the statement "I am looking for Next, the physical description.
Ah, the classic 'Body type' question — 'Athletic' — In a man's world, doesn't that mean flat chested? I tick it anyway. At least they give some adjectives. I nearly went with athletic again, but settled on 'adventurer'.
Although 'Yogi' was tempting, for the craic. Apparently I am 'matched up' with 20 possible 'the ones'.
Seems like good odds and I'm no mathematician. First impression as I waited for various fishes to bite. What am I doing? Can they see me looking at them?
Who has viewed my page and not contacted me? Oh dear God, there's someone I knew when I was 15 on the site. Do I contact him?
Oh, now he knows I checked his page. Should I say 'Hi'? Inner monologue turns into frantic phone-call with pal. That's nearly worse than no views. Views means they don't like what they see. Oh it's a cruel, cruel world for a lonely old fish.
I take the plunge and start clicking the safe button 'show interest'. Maybe that will reel a few in? A day later, I realise I don't know how to use the site when my inbox reveals the many men who had previously contacted me while I was online and blind to their communication. Is my unconscious telling me Online dating site plenty of fish reels in its first deal That, or a date with the IT guy might not be such a bad idea. Apparently, after the initial 'hello' stage, the etiquette is to chat online for a while before anyone makes the move to the outside world.
I realised once I started chatting with people how important humour is to me. Although it's hard to 'read' the emotion behind the written text, and a smiley face can only say so much, I found it was crucial to say what I was thinking.
You also wonder about the etiquette of replying to everyone who contacts you. There were the obvious ones that you tend to ignore like 'SoldierGuy69' who mails saying, "Ur hot.
I'm not looking for poetry but come on Then I found out one guy was using a fake name with me when a friend saw his picture and said, 'Yeh, his name is Paul, not Patrick, I know his sister'. Anyway, I agreed to three dates. I won't go into much detail on the men, as they were all very nice and deserve discretion. Equally, I don't want to sound like I was using myself as bait to reel them in just for an article. That's not the case; I simply would not have had the courage to go online dating if it weren't for the Online dating site plenty of fish reels in its first deal. A really genuine meeting but there were more sparks flying between the barista and my cappuccino.
Then, the moment came to tell him I was writing an article. I eventually slip it into the conversation quite naturally while whittling on about my career and fondness for writing. Only problem was, I don't think he was really listening to me. Perhaps he was nervous, but I can't be blamed if he didn't pay attention. Date ended with very pleasant exchanges but no romance for me. I did hear from him later in the day, so it was nice to meet such a gent on my first virtual date in the real world.
This guy had made me laugh quite a bit online, but seemed completely different in person. Maybe it was like that movie Roxanne and he had a funny friend like Steve Martin writing his material for him. We didn't chat as much as I would have enjoyed, but he was delighted to hear about the article — wants to be famous. Did I mention he was 32?
I had the most in common with this really down-to-earth guy. We shared the same love of sports and travel, and enjoyed really great conversations. Ironically, I had felt most nervous about this meeting but, once we got those anxieties out of the way, we never stopped talking. being a journalist, he was amused by my online dating story.
As that last date goes to show, perhaps you can meet a good match online, but I still know I will be deleting my POF account.
After all, it seems I'm not ready for online dating. However, I think it takes guts to admit you're single and looking for love on the internet. You're showing your vulnerabilities. And, to me, that's showing your real self. Perhaps I've watched Serendipity too many times, but there's also something about leaving love to chance that I like.
There's an element of trying to control the situation in this that doesn't sit with me. The thing about life is, we can't control anything.
We'd like to think we can, but we can't. We can only do what we are doing in the moment. And joy comes from squeezing that moment for all it's worth. Of course, I admire people who are putting themselves out there online, meeting new potential mates and having a laugh.
But, for me, if the 'agenda' is to meet someone, the magic of chance goes out of it in some strange way. The notion we're all available and ready for the taking makes the whole process less mysterious for me. Others would disagree and I understand that. If I'm old and grey and still leaving my love life to chance, so be it. I believe in doing what you love, and somehow your love will find you. So, 'til then, I'll be on the tennis court. Leaving love to fate. Happy in the real world.
And Happy in myself. Here the Mediterranean lifestyle meets the jet One year ago, Denise Gough was another actress hoping for her big break. But now, hers is the name on everyone's Prince William and his wife Justin Bieber showed his serious side as he spoke to Blake Lively has revealed that she and husband Ryan Peter Capaldi has revealed he chose his new Doctor Who Kristen Stewart has revealed that she doesn't smile for Online dating site plenty of fish reels in its first deal.
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