After all, you hear about it every day. Friends adding their profile nonchalantly to a dating site, only to be married or pregnant (or both!) within a calendar year. It’s the 21st century craze, the way to meet people. We professionals haven’t got time or energy to meet partners in the traditional way. Everyone’s doing it, so why not me? (Apart from the fact that I very rarely do what everyone else is doing).

After ten minutes of thinking about it (my mind is so used to thinking and analysing, that it really doesn’t take it very long to compute, analyse and mentally print out), the list under the ‘Why Not’ category is growing. It’s multiplying like bacteria.
1. When I mention it to my mum, she immediately starts to plan (out loud) how she’s going to deal with me being kidnapped by a bogey man
2. In general conversations about internet dating, when I ‘casually’ bring up the subject, friends say ‘But it’s just so desperate, isn’t it? I’m so glad I met my darling such-and-such thingingmebob the normal way’
3. I keep reading articles about women who have been drawn into scams, asked for money or had dodgy photographs sent to them
4. One friend tells me that her married next-door neighbour messaged her on a dating site! Yuk!
5. People say things like ‘Yes, but all the nice men have already been taken, haven’t they? I mean, by the time you get to your age.......’ Grrrrrrrrr!!!!
6. What if it doesn’t work?
7. What if I end up feeling worse than I do now, about being single?
8. What if I spend all my precious free time meeting up with weirdos who just talk about either their X-boxes or their ex?

But then my most recent acquisition, a saner, more positive outlook (which, admittedly, is still in its preliminary testing, ‘pilot’ stage) kicks in, and these thoughts come into play. They carry me beyond the doubts and negativity and to another level.....
1. So my mum thinks it’s a bad idea. She also thinks that me being single/sole breadwinner/highly educated/childless/independent is a bad idea, so just one more to add to the list isn’t exactly a deal-breaker
2. Most of my friends don’t have a negative attitude towards it, and neither, I find, do I. Some people are just lucky enough to have already cracked it when it comes to relationships (just like I’ve already cracked house-buying, essay-writing, perfect wallpapering). I wouldn’t ever tell one of my friends that they shouldn’t shop around a bit for nice new wallpaper: ‘You’re just unlucky enough to be living in a house which happens to have gawdy orange woodchip everywhere, whereas I’ve been blessed with William Morris throughout....oh well, better luck next life.......’ A bit of hunting and being on the lookout for improvement is surely a good thing???
3. I trust myself enough that I will not be so stupid to get drawn into scams, especially when it comes to money. A joiner who came to fix my kitchen window tried scamming me, and I literally reduced him to tears.....
4. Married men are just of no interest to me whatsoever. If I go to a cake shop and find the one I want has sold out, I’m definitely going to look elsewhere to get my ultimate, available pud!
5. Why do people always say the good men have been taken, as though they are some sort of rare commodity that you dig up? I see myself as a good sort of fruit, and I’m not yet taken!!!
6. So what if it doesn’t work? I’ll just be in the same position I’m in now, but I might get some free food out of it, and some funny stories to tell you lot!
7. Being single is socially difficult, especially when every blasted thing I end up going to seems to be ‘Tom and Sue,’ ‘Bob and Pauline,’ ‘Mark and Lizzie’ and then........ oh, yes, poor me! There seems to be an unwritten but prevalent cultural bias against odd numbers....... It gets more difficult as time goes on. You’re in your mid-thirties and suddenly all the conversations are about things I don’t have any emotional investment in and literally have nothing to say about...... weddings, babies, family cars, the list goes on. At least people will have something to ask me about from now on. Instead of the usual awkward chestnut: ‘So, how’s your...... job, mum, bathroom.....?’ it might be ‘So what nutter did you have dinner with this week?’
8. X-box is definitely out, unless the comment goes something like this: ‘Yeah, my little brother has one of those X-box things. Can’t really see what the fuss is all about, personally......’
The dreaded ex conversations are the ones I’ve been reading about during my research into dating on the web (I’m one of those people who has to look at every pair of shoes in every shop before I buy, just in case I’ve missed one somewhere....).

My research has been partly to prepare myself for all possibilities and partly to talk myself out of embarking on a course that could lead to disaster. But I feel that my head is clear and it’s firmly on my shoulders (not in the clouds). Any talk of the ex, or money, or love at first sight, will hopefully set the alarm bells ringing and send me running out the door (even before pudding arrives...).

Next week..............

How do I write my profile so I don’t look:

1. Desperate
2. Like the plumb-lining, skirting-board-dusting, hob-cleaning control freak I am
3. Like I am in any way going to be interested in men who are already married or partnered-up
4. Like I’m even for one second going to be taken in by a scam



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