Chance is always powerful. Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish.Ovid
I love random encounters with people. I’ll often give more credence to an opinion expressed by a randomer I’ve just met than members of my own family.
So it was a few weeks ago when I was accosted by a chugger in Lidl trying to sign me up to a breast cancer charity. As I was signing on the dotted line, I know, I’m crap, I can never say no, the woman asked me about my extensive wristband collection. I explained about the recent flying solo adventures and she breathily told me she’d met the current love of her life on Plenty of Fish, and that I should try it. Her ex was controlling. Her new man brought her flowers.
Funnily how I so quickly fell into the old, well you’re single, so you must be on the look out narrative. Why do people never assume that if you’re single you’re happy to be so?
Cue me, once home, firing up the laptop, filling a glass with some voddie n Coke, and signing up. It seems so shallow to make snap decisions about people simply based on a mostly out-of-focus photo and some badly written personal information, but what the hell. I talked my work buddy into joining as well, so we could compare notes on the whole experience.
After two days I’d already decided that the whole thing wasn’t for me. And the only person I ended up chatting to was one who’d sent me a lovely and thoughtful message. Only to back it up with one that was just as equally rude. It must say something about my previous relationships and choice in my men, that because he’d been rude I opted to enter into conversation with this guy. He’d had a bad day, he said, he wasn’t normally offhand, but had just had a row with his boss. He was sorry for being unforgivably rude.
It says something about the brain, that despite this initial bad start, I’d extrapolated from his very poor profile photo an image in my head about what this person looked like in real life. He was entertaining and chatty in his messages, engaging with his questions and pretty attentive, so my brain invented a persona that I liked, despite the fact we’d never met. It’s rather a surreal experience, on one level to be so in tune with someone through typing, and on another level to know nothing about what they look like, smell like, dress like or how they take their tea. I suppose my brain had to fill in the blanks other wise it would have been blown by the whole experience.
He was quite clearly someone with some experience with dating, as, after I’d agreed to meet, he laid down three rules. One that I should arrive on the night armed with a joke. Two that he should pay for the entire evening and three that at the end of the night he wouldn’t put me on the spot and ask me what I thought.
I agreed to meet in my favourite local. I biked, again. I met him at the same pub I’d met my other date in. He was early. And shorter. And older than he looked in his picture. He was very polite, chatty and charming. But something in his demeanour seemed quite dominating. I felt uncomfortable about not being able to pay for anything. I always stand my rounds and this didn’t sit right. We went for a fabulous pizza and sat outside as it started to rain. It should have been romantic. I just wanted him to be the person he’d been in my head. Alarm bells were ringing. Here I was going for the same type again. Dark, dominating, opinionated. At least I’m learning now. My head is starting to take charge and knows that the last thing I need in my life right now is a repeat of my usual relationship patterning.
I returned home to a message that contained six kisses. You can learn something about someone’s ardour from the number of Xs that they put on the end of a message. He seemed keen. I’d got a couple of red flags waving about in front of my face, so I’d very politely explained that he was a lovely guy and great company, but that he ultimately wasn’t for me. I wished him luck. I took my profile down from the site and decided, that it too wasn’t for me. You see, I’m learning!