Wednesday, 3 November 2010


There being a complete dearth of gorgeous, hunky, eligible, single men around (COME DOWN FROM MARS, ALREADY!) it behooves a gorgeous, petite, eligible, single woman to take matters into her own, feminine hands.  (It's not easy meeting men when you look like a fairy).  Put into plain English, dear Reader, I have frequented the odd online dating site. Or tried to, as you will see.

There have been periods in my life in which men have been sadly lacking. Or just lacking.  Or, frankly, sad.  But enough of them...what I'm trying to say is that we must embrace modern ways in modern times (in the absence of anything else to embrace), and if online dating services are there, like the proverbial mountain, we have no choice other than to, erm, climb up them.  [Anyone know of a good editor???]

I'm quite au fait with these sorts of sites, having been introduced to them years ago by a friend on the demise of my 2nd marriage to the then husband.  (You remember him - he's the one between the then then husband and the future then husb...oh, never mind. Let's just get on with it, shall we?)  Actually, this friend (let's call her Cheeky Bastard Woman) wanted me to investigate the world of cyber dating so she could write about it. I was adamant I didn't want a relationship with anyone - least of all a man! - but I made the crucial mistake one day of visiting my own bathroom whilst entertaining CBW, emerging to discover she'd logged me onto a site where such social transactions take place.  Having been shoved half-way up the mountain, then, I reckoned I might as well see what the view was like from the top.

Women are (justifiably) prized in the world of virtual flirting, with occasional offers of free or vastly-reduced subscriptions to lure them to the sites. And very few of the men know how to sell themselves. Most of them put things like 'I'm not used to talking about myself...' (yeah, right); 'I'm just an ordinary guy...' (Zzzzzzz); or even 'my friend suggested I do this because she wants to write about it...' (Tsk).

And so it was that I used to open my Inbox to discover 157 messages from men seeking to introduce themselves to me.

I didn't meet them all, of course, but a selection.  You soon get to develop an instinct about what someone's like from their style of writing.  And I didn't have a single bad experience, either.  (Unless you count the marriage that subsequently ensued from one of these encounters.  Hmm).

Anyway, earlier this year, when it became apparent that men were getting married purely so they could come on to me, I decided once again to try out the sites.  Two of them welcomed me immediately, but another - a large, very well-known American-based site similar to, say,, if I were to just pluck a name out of the air - took 72 hours not to publish my details.  So I wrote to them to find out what the problem was.

They sent back an aggressive email telling me they could delete any profile for whatever reason, any time they wanted.  Well, that's nice to know, but my profile hadn't yet made the leted stage, so how they could delete something that was never there in the first place is beyond me.  (This the world of the virtual, I suppose).  Anyway, I wrote back asking what exactly the problem was.  They answered:-

Je vous informe que votre profil "NiceEtoile" a été désactivé par notre
police du site car notre équipe de surveillance a remarqué qu'il était
non conforme à nos conditions générales d'utilisation.

Notre équipe a donc été amenée à fermer votre compte sans préavis.

And so I wrote once more, asking exactly what they had taken exception to?  Was it the bit which said I was looking for an intelligent man??? (Something against oxymorons all of a sudden?) A sense of humour? Did they have something against little Jewish comedians? (As you well know, this little Jewish comedian hasn't had anything against her for quite some time).  

They replied in the way that only pompous people who write pompous letters can reply: that they didn't have to explain anything.

So I told them they could tell me; whatever had offended them in my profile was about me and thus I would already know about it, especially since I had the misfortune to be living 24/7 with this terrible affliction of such total undesirability.  Besides, I work in the media and have often written about politics, nothing much shocks me any more, and if they told me to sit down before reading this horrible thing about myself that they were keeping from me, sit down I would.  

No more answers were forthcoming.  Data protection at it's most efficient, I think, when they protect you from knowing data about yourself that you already know, and in fact told them about in the first place.  

My son, Sam, laughed at my anger.  'It's just an algorithm, mum!'  In the tone of 'It's the algorithm, stupid!'

Well, up yours,  Or whichever large American-based dating organization exactly like it was.

I haven't been on any online sites for a while, but the other day, despairing yet once more of finding a Real Man to have something against, decided to have another go at posting my profile on a very well-known UK site. You will have read that I don't have a bank account at the moment, and so I can't actually subscribe and reply to any men should they write to me, or indeed initiate contact with other members, but I was bored and thought I'd put myself out there to see who swam into the net. [Honestly, someone must know a SWEARWORD editor!]

The site invited me to post a picture.  So I uploaded a favourite recent pic of mine, very arty, only you can't see all my fairy lights.  This photograph was deemed 'acceptable, but not suitable for use as a primary picture'.  So I then uploaded the photograph I had used when I last subscribed to the site, a full head and shoulders shot, which apparently is the requirement for your main image. However, I was startled to find that this, too, was subsequently judged to be 'acceptable, but not suitable for use as a primary picture'.  What the...?

The reply by Lisa to my quizzical email stated that it had been refused 'probably because it was a bit grainy', but that she was happy to override this ruling, and she wished me a lot of fun on the site.

I wrote back asking what kind of algorithm it was that accepted people's profiles with no picture of them whatsoever, but that didn't allow a photo of a member 'probably because it was a bit grainy'.  Am still awaiting a response.

However, three male subscribers to the site have already marked me as a 'favourite', including a 73 year-old from Poitou-Charentes ('I can be useful around the house...' just don't send him on a long walk down the garden, for God's sake), and a 27 year-old from north London, who is looking for 'an angel-headed hipster'.  Well, angel-headed is a start...

Oh my. Whatever happened to the days when men emerged from lakes wearing clinging wet white cotton frilly shirts over their hairy chests? What would it have been like to have had the internet then? Would the men have written 'I'm just an ordinary Mr Darcy, wet cotton shirt, hairy chest...not used to talking about myself...'  While the women looked at each other, raising their eyebrows in sync and sighing 'whatever', before clicking over to the next page featuring Brian:  

'I have a large collection of moustache wax, vintage Brylcreme tubs and gaudy cravats'.  


I SWEARWORD give up.


P.S.  There will, I'm sure, be some of you who are wondering how the book is coming on.  Well piss off with you.  Can't you think of something more constructive to do with your time?


  1. How's the book coming along?


  2. I think I remember saying somewhere not to be funnier than me...


Please be nice, but not funnier than me. Thanks.