I kissed a Hooker and I liked it.

For those not of a rugby frame of mind, I should clarify that the hooker in question hooks the ball backwards in the scrum.

I won’t go into the whole shebang about how/why I was kissing a hooker but the brief salient details were that I had been a single parent for quite some years and whenDaniel was about seven or eight when I went to an end of Season fundraising rugby dinner for the local mini-rugby parents.  The dinner was attended by a number of the professional players who played for the main team and unknown to me, one of them was sat next to me flirting mildly through dinner.  I did think he looked somewhat generously built (and young) compared to your average mini-rugby Dad but what did I know?  I’d barely lifted my eyes above “How much do I love you” and the Tweenies for 6 years – I was only just escaping the “falling asleep if you sit down to read a book or watch a film” phase.  And here I was, out after dark on my own like a proper grown up with a handsome (in a who needs a neck kinda way) man flirting mildly with me.  Go me!

To cut a long (and enlivened-many-a-coffee) story short, the kiss was exchanged towards the end of the evening and I muttered nervously about being old enough to be his mother, feeling sure that I wasn’t really.  Gamely he laughed and insisted I wasn’t and we swapped ages discovered to our mutual startlement that he was in fact 28 to my 47.  I did some rapid mental arithmetic converting my age to around 40 and 28 was pretty much 30 so there was only really a ten-year age gap.  Or as my friend Leah commented, if they’re closer to your age than your child’s then they’re fair game.  But the mood was broken and Cinderella left the ball in a black Vauxhall Meriva not a golden coach.

But the hooker did have an awakening effect on my previously slumbering libido.  Maybe I wasn’t past it after all?  I did subsequently wonder if my mother had paid him for the flirting but I never could find any proof.

So having not been on the dating scene for really quite some time – at least ten years, I consulted friends about the way a modern girl about town stepped out with a gentleman caller these days.

Online dating.  I was assured online dating was the way to go.

So gamely I did some research – needed good up to date photos of me smiling.  Ha!  Single parent to a seven year old and my only photos were of said very cute seven year old.  I hadn’t seen the other side of a camera for many a long year.  A quick phone call to my adult niece who is rather nifty with a camera rapidly followed… what did I want the photos for?

Ummmmm……

My new company website.

Now I am the proud possessor of the most corporate photos on Match.com and very good they are too.

I made a list of my requirements and tried to be realistic about who might find me appealing.  It wasn’t a long list:

1 – within 5 years of my age either side

2 – able to string a sentence together without using text speak

3 – able to read

4 – clean

5 – breathing

I wondered if being able to read was just being picky and crossed that out.

I didn’t lie about my age and posted my recent photos and put it live and crossed my fingers that my ego wouldn’t be too dented if no-one wanted me.  I didn’t exactly lead with “Fat, frumpy middle-aged women with very little time on her hands would like to meet nice clean man who doesn’t mind coming fourth after child, ailing mother and cats”, but it wasn’t far off.  Important to be honest, I thought.

Within two hours I was trawling through the barrage of “winks” and “favorites” that fresh meat attracts.

I rewrote my profile adding –

“Hello all you lovely men in New York, Germany and Tunisia.  I’m sure you’re a real catch but unless you have a private helicopter I’m not quite sure how I find the time to manage a child, house and new business and meet you.  If you do have a private helicopter, please email me urgently.”

Two days later I rewrote my profile again –

“So I see that mostly we’re lying about our age.  I’m not but if you are, please can you stick to within five years.  I know we all think we look ten years younger than our real age, but between you and me… we really don’t.”

A week later I expanded on the theme – I was quite getting into the swing of it now –

“I know you find this hard to believe but if you are under 35, I don’t read any further.  No age is not just a number it’s half a lifetime of experiences and if you don’t remember The Sweeny you are just too young for me.  And no. it doesn’t count if your mum told you all about it.”

Subsequent refinements included –

“No photo, no reply.  I will assume that you’re worried about your wife spotting it.  If on the other hand you are a spy and have convincing security reasons for not putting one up, then send me an email and I’ll consider how convincing your reason is.”

“No I’m not interested in cheeky fun over a nightcap.  Well OK I am actually but not tonight with a total stranger whose only criteria appears to be that I’m breathing.”

“If you describe yourself as a good christian God-fearing man then I suspect that a sarcastic devout atheist is not the ideal match for you.  But if you want to give it a try anyway I promise to try not to convert you.”

“YE GAD’s MAN!  Why when you say you are 57, and from your photo you are obviously closer to 67, are you suggesting that you would like to meet a women between the ages of 25 and 49.  WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON?!”

Ok I didn’t actually put that last one down though frankly I should have.  I was beginning to think I was being a little too prescriptive.  I was also beginning to think I could have a lucrative trade in charging men for advice on what not to put on their Match.com profile if they wanted to meet a real life breathing woman.

a – A profile photo that when you click on it, doesn’t prompt a scared intake of breath and a “Whoah!” as a very close up glowering stare fills your computer screen.  You’re meant to pick your BEST photo so something that wouldn’t be amiss in an episode of Crimestoppers does make we gals wonder what the hell the ones you discarded looked like.

b – Don’t lie about your age by more than five years (see earlier note).

c – Full stops and capital letters are under-rated.  Use them liberally if you want to look like an intellectual.

I wouldn’t want to sound too negative about all these no doubt lovely men because I have spoken to male friends who are coming at it from the other side of the fence, and have equally heart-rending tales of the paucity of honest women on online dating sites.  But one difference clearly stood out to me.  The confidence of the average male doing online dating as they tick their way through an unrealistic smorgasbord of choices versus the acceptance of the average woman that really any nice man who washes and is vaguely the right age who can speak would do.

We women have a lot to learn about the success that comes with certainty, even misplaced certainty.

So I left up my own ridiculously picky list of requirements and the running commentary.  Then discovered that it really makes no odds anyway as it seems few people actually read (whether just the profile or generally I haven’t yet worked out and am not rude enough to ask) and that the depth of the selection process once the pubs have closed on a Friday night consists of clicking through photos and thinking “Yup, she’ll do”  “Yup, she’ll do”, Yup she’ll do”, “Eww” etc perhaps in the hopes that it’s a numbers game like natural pearls, if you shuck enough oysters eventually you’ll find one.  And I can’t decide if that approach isn’t really the right way after all.

 

Or as I like to think of it…

You gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find YOUR frog.

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