At age 44, I’ve dated. As mentioned before, I had a period where I was viciously dating. I really like the phrase viciously dating as I find it fairly represents how I approached the whole thing. I threw myself into it whole-heartedly, fiercely, with passion and energy.
My online profile was very honest. I mentioned my kids, showed full length photos, some photos without make-up and was very clear about what I was and was not looking for. No pint getting connected with someone who wanted more children. I had two and was satisfied with that.
I’m short and what is politely termed curvaceous. If someone was looking for tall, thin and blond then they should keep on looking. I was always upfront about my physicality for as much as it’s okay to say that we don’t judge a book by its cover, the last thing I wanted to see was a man’s face drop when my eyes met his. We are not all attracted to every body type. Harsh but true.
Yes, I tried speed dating, blind dates and the more organic ’fancy some random guy on the street’ type of dating. My preferred form was the online dating website – very easy to do whilst sitting in bed in my jammies with a bottle of Sav Blanc and a laptop. I liked the ones where it was more than a swipe left or right on your phone. I’m old school, I know. I wanted to read what they had to write. Good spelling and vocabulary were being judged, trust me. Later on I actually met a gentleman who had a side business helping men write their dating website profiles. It’s something I’ve often thought about myself. Keep that one up my sleeve for later.
Working full time an hour from the city and with two teenage daughters at home meant grabbing a drink after work in the CBD wasn’t a possibility. I was never one to hang out in clubs or go to a live gig so that wasn’t another closed avenue. Turns out the village match-maker doesn’t exist anymore so it looked like online dating was for me.
That said, it was fantastic for making connections and list comparisons but there was no addressing the issue of chemistry. Yes, it exists and yes it matters. Sometimes as I sat down at a table with a date, you could feel a little exciting frisson. Other times, it was more of a fizzle. I was always polite but I hated wasting their and more importantly, my time. Dates were always located halfway between theirs and mine. I didn’t want anyone hanging out in my hood if it didn’t work out. Coffee was the preferable first date that way it could short and sweet. This assumes they passed the flirty email, text banter and intelligent phone conversation stages.
I’m protective of my space. When chatting I’d nominate the suburb over as where I lived. My work was geographically remote so I was safe out there. Once I allow my privacy wall to be successfully traversed, that’s fine but I don’t let people in easily. The trials of the kind you read about it in fairytales weren’t that far-fetched, as far as I was concerned.
My best friend and I had a system. You have to have a system. She always knew where I was and with whom. I’d email her every single detail I knew about the guy, including his online profile. She would know where and when we were meeting. She would text me 30 minutes into the date and I would have to respond. This arrangement gave me a great opportunity to discuss our safety system with date. One occasion, my date and I were getting along so well I hadn’t noticed my phone receive multiple texts and calls. True to her word, she called the restaurant and demand to speak with me. I was in a lot of trouble for that one.
Usually they were impressed I had thought about it enough to have a system. I’d then ask them if anyone knew their whereabouts, just in case I was the axe-wielding homicidal maniac – not them. Damn! They hadn’t thought of that. The keystone of the system was me calling her on my way home to let her know how it all went. This served two purposes. She vicariously lived through my dates and it meant I didn’t sleep with anyone on the first date cause I’m a good girl (whatever that means..)
I met some fabulous people and some not so fabulous people just like in real life. I believe it’s really important to have a safety plan. Someone in the world should know where in the world you are although you may not want it to be your mum. I’ve been multiple people’s safety person and part of me likes the excitement of being in the know. So I do recommend online dating. It was lots of fun. You need plenty of energy and a good spreadsheet to keep track of everyone.