Love’s Labour’s Lost

Posted by in March's Magazine

Penny Jackson’s search for romance on the web proves to be funny, often misleading, and not without its intrigues

OK, I know what you’re thinking, yet more tales of infinite joy found through that magical medium of the internet. Well, you’d be wrong. This is a true story but the names are changed to protect the innocent and the oppressed.


When a while ago now I first ventured into that ethereal world (that one with the nautical theme) I very soon found love, real love, and I suppose, truth be told, I am still in love the only problem is my lovely internet date no longer loves me. Which sees me return, after a lot of soul-searching, to that very same site again.

In a previous life when I was dating you just went to a nightclub with friends or took a stroll down to the seafront with a cropped top and tight jeans and hey presto, new boyfriend – almost immediate result every time. 

However all the couples I now know have met on internet dating sites of one kind or another. So I am writing this profile while trying to avoid simply saying ‘I’m still a dress size 12 and have a decent pair of legs’ – which is probably more important to the man reading it than the fact I like writing poetry and listening to classical music on Radio 3 in the car. 

So how do I compose a profile that says I am interesting and will make you very happy if ‘You Take a Chance on Me’ to quote a well-known song? Get a friend to write the best bits was my first thought, so my very dear friend described my sociable, friendly, open personality whilst I stuck to the bit that says I enjoy all the usual things, books, music – oh and if you like holidaying under canvas, climbing mountains or running marathons, you need not apply!

Not a good start.

I decided to return to one of the places I used to visit often with my Ex, a good place to relax and check my App over a latte by the river. Let’s lay some ghosts I thought, and write this article about how successful or not my foray into the world of Internet Dating has been recently. Of course, it was to that popular and free fishy type of site that I returned and abracadabra—first day on, up he pops, handsome ex-boyfriend  – in all his glory, a photo, a very alluring profile and a recommendation from very astute fishes that he would be a Top Prospect!  No thanks, he is lovely, but someone else can have the pleasure…

Several weeks into this adventure and I am thinking, ‘is it just me? Am I the only woman who doesn’t get excited over men with white hair grinning over beer glasses and so many more having just that little bit of weight around the middle’. One man even remarked that his potbelly cost him a lot of money. May I suggest without any hint of discrimination he really didn’t get a bargain!

Every time I text one of their ‘Compatible Matches’ they disappear from the site very, very quickly and I receive an email saying ‘this is for my protection’

As another swan leaps into the river I enjoy the sunshine and again check the latest dating website – I pay good money for this one – which is why there seem to be no eligible gentlemen who live within three hundred miles of me. Add to that the fact I have no possible reason to recommend the paid site other than every time I have any sort of text communication with one of their “Compatible Matches” they disappear from the site very, very quickly and I receive an email telling me ‘this is for my protection’ which I suppose is very reassuring if somewhat disappointing. But hey, at least the fishy one is free, and it certainly attracts the numbers – yielding so many ardent suitors and so many messages into my inbox that I had to leave the site for a rest! 

On returning, suddenly, this handsome man appeared. I positively swooned, he dressed well, he liked some of the cultural things I go for, castles, literature, music; he was attentive, writing for hours at night on a site called Hang Outs. The only problem was he started calling me “Babe” and “my woman.” Not, I thought, the language of a sophisticated man. 

When we spoke on the phone later, he sounded more like a rapper from the East End of London than the ex-pat Scottish businessman he purported to be. Alas, this was not the man of my dreams or, more realistically, fantasies.

One thing I have learned though is that when I see those photographs of well dressed, slender, fit men, there is a more than 50/50 chance they come from a clothing catalogue. 

I have to go now, my single, but very busy, life awaits. Anyone reading this article however who wants to be loved ‘by a slightly younger looking than her years’ writer, who likes to dance, why just contact The Leither.

I am not currently on the internet!

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