Leither in London – Issue 76

Posted by in May's Magazine

It may be time to enter the world of internet dating – eurch, I don’t even like writing the words. But no matter how much I try to resist, it is becoming patently clear that it’s time to meet someone new. And that does not appear to be happening in the real world.

The lack of new blood means I’m stuck in the middle of a strange circle, made up of all the men in my life – past, present, and potential. Despite the fact that some are just friends, some are old news, and some are very bad news, I keep picturing them and wondering ‘what if?’ What if he’s the one and I let him slip through my fingers? What if there could be a spark there and I just need to take a step to find out? What if I play the game for a while and see if they’ll change?



In clear, sober moments, I’m well aware that none of these men are the right ones but that doesn’t seem to stop, me flirting outrageously, sending misguided texts, and wasting hours reminiscing. It’s a sad state of affairs and it has to stop but what’s the alternative? Clearly the chaste life is not for me. For better or worse, everyone needs a little romance in life and I’m finding that random bars and pubs are not the places to find it. Could match.com/ mysinglefriend/Guardian soulmates come up with the goods?

My friend Sue certainly seems to think so. Rewind a year and she wasn’t quite so optimistic – having discovered her long- term boyfriend was cheating on her, she returned from life in L.A. cursing all men and swearing she’d never risk her heart again. But now, she’s doing just that and willingly so.

She was tentative about the online dating thing at first but dipping a toe in, she found that all the winks and nudges she received from these unknown men – on the basis
of only her picture and a few witty words – did wonders for restoring her bruised confidence. Before long, she found herself having a drink with one of them and the next thing she knew he was up a ladder replacing all her dud light bulbs – and DIY really means something, don’t you know?

Well, as it turns out, it doesn’t mean a damn thing, he did the classic freak-out that it was all getting too serious approx 36 hours later. And that was that for candidate number one. Afterwards, I’d worried that Sue would pack away her saddle for good but instead, she brushed herself off and got straight back on the horse – heading out on a date with a handsome younger man (and she’d SWORN not to go below 31). It was just the tonic – he’s now besotted and while she’s not really feeling it, she’s happy to go along for the ride (so to speak).

So when I told her I was thinking of joining her online, she was 100% behind the idea – “You don’t even have to do anything, Carrie. Just sign up and wait for them to come to you!” It certainly sounded like an easier way to meet people than braving a conversation with a stranger in a bar…so I logged on for a little window-shop.

My criteria: male (obvs), 29-33, within a 5-mile radius…. I held my breath, waiting for all the handsome eligible men to pop up on screen. But that’s not exactly what I got. At first glance, yes, there were certainly plenty of men on there. But handsome? Not so much. Mainly there were beardies, baldies, and beer bellies. Scolding myself for being so superficial, I took another look, flicking though the pictures of those whose profile shot didn’t look like it belonged on a wanted poster. There was the odd one who looked okay, I guess…

I was quite taken with Steve’s rugged good looks until I came to a shot of him standing alongside other normal-sized men (5ft 11, Steve? Really?). Then there was Jim – a solid 6ft 3, with lovely brown eyes and a wicked smile though he did seem to be abnormally attached to his jaunty flat cap. “BALD!” Helen interjected, leaning over my shoulder. Ah.

What about Tom then? He looked nice enough, and who doesn’t love long walks in the park and cuddling up on the sofa with a glass of wine. Er yeah, okay, not exactly original.

Ah wait, here we go…Max, 32, 6ft 1, dark curly hair, lives in Islington. Likes: dancing to old 45s in the kitchen on a random Tuesday night, spending all weekend playing scrabble in bed, doing things I’ve never done before. Dislikes: bad grammar, bad Chinese food, inappropriate public displays of affection. This could be it…

Seeking: intelligent, fun-loving, creative woman aged between 20 and 27. Eh, hang on. 27? Oh screw you, Max! You’re 32! THIRTY.TWO. Grow up and date a woman your own age.

Thus ended my foray into online dating.

Illustration: Bernie Reid

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