#nofilter

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CC Image courtesy of oddsock on FlickrI discovered the filter function on OkCupid the other day.

I was having brunch with Tristan, Tristan’s girlfriend (don’t ask), Ryan and a couple of others, who were incidentally also a couple. Conversation turned to dating.

‘How did you two meet?’ Tristan says to The Couple.

They laugh. ‘OkCupid,’ they say, at the exact same time.

‘Yeah, when I applied the filters that really mattered to me,’ the girl says, looking fondly at the residue, ‘you were the only one left!’

The residue smiles. I frown. Filters? That’s only available on the paid option, no?

No, so the following evening, remembering this conversation, I start filtering like a SWIMMING POOL, trying not to think about how much time I’ve wasted scrolling through unsuitable profiles.

Single, straight, at least 5’10” (my height), university-educated non-smokers – that’s all I’m asking for. Oh and in the interests box I put the name of my favourite band, believing – perhaps mistakenly – that there’s a much greater chance I’ll hit it off with a fellow fan. I start scrolling through the results. One guy catches my eye.

There should be a name for it, when you’ve seen someone on every online dating platform going, you’ve consistently ‘liked’ them because, y’know, they’ve got great bone structure, are funny and like all the same music and books as you. And they’ve been consistently unresponsive. This time I copy and paste his interests section for when I feel like browsing Spotify for new music, before returning to the search results.

I continue scrolling down, only to be met with the words that there are no more results and that I might want to consider revising my criteria. The band gets the axe and, what the hell, alcoholism and smoking – they have a certain charm, right?

A short while later I find myself back on a familiar profile: a chain-smoking heteroflexible* divorced father of two who lives on the wrong side of the Channel. And who I’m pretty sure I’ve already spoken to.

CC Image courtesy of [Rossco]:[www.rgstrachan.com] on Flickr

*Defined on Urban Dictionary as ‘I’m straight but shit happens’.

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Renaissance Man

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CC Image courtesy of ♥braker on Flickr

Perky looks thoughtful. ‘Remind me again what your type is?’

I glance over in the direction of her best friend’s boyfriend.

 

Two hours earlier…

I enter the room and immediately fall into conversation with a charming Frenchman. Ten minutes later, a girl I recognise appears at his elbow. We exchange festive greetings then, gesturing towards Charming Frenchman, I say:

‘Have you met?’

She smiles, not unkindly. ‘Yes, we’re together.’

I resist the urge to grab the nearest bag of Kettle Chips and walk away.

 

Three glasses of mulled wine later, I’m standing opposite Perky asking if there’s anyone – anyone – she could set me up with.

‘Remind me again what your type is?’ she says.

‘Umm… the thing is, if I describe my type, I’ll just be describing the last guy I dated.’

But one.

‘That’s fine. Obviously that’s your type.’

Yes, but as my beloved mother has pointed out on numerous occasions, it’s probably not very realistic.

‘Hmm OK,’ I say, ‘well, the most important thing is that they’re very clever. And funny – we need to have the same sense of humour.’

‘OK, what about height?’

‘Not that bothered.’

‘But you wouldn’t want someone shorter than you?’

‘I don’t really mind. The last few guys I’ve dated have been the same height as me and that’s been fine.’

‘OK but you’re quite tall.’

‘Yeah I guess.’ I think for a moment. ‘Also… I’ve got a weakness for scientists who are also interested in the arts. So, a polymath. Basically,’ I laugh, ‘I want Leonardo Da Vinci, but alive.’

And straight. And fractionally taller.

CC Image courtesy of Jeffrey Beall on Flickr

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Model Behaviour

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CC Image courtesy of rayand on Flickr

At uni I launched a poster campaign. I was looking for a man. The precise wording:

Would you like to learn to dance? I’m looking for a 6ft+ male…

‘Really you’re just looking for a boyfriend,’ Tom said.

‘Actually I’m not. I do genuinely want to find someone to dance with!’

 

One morning, as I was coming out of a lecture, my eye was caught by a pair of cheekbones and a tall, slender frame. He was beautiful, the kind of man I’d normally be scared to talk to. But – and this must stand to show just how desperate I was – I asked him straight out, was he interested in learning to dance?

He was nice, pleasant, chatty… not interested in learning to dance. But I went back to college riding a little high, the kind you get after being in the presence of – and acknowledged by – the very beautiful.

 

We became library buddies: he’d drop me a line when he needed a particular book. Then he’d appear at the porter’s lodge, an exotic presence, looking every inch the catwalk model (which he was).

‘Why are you putting on make-up?’ Tom said, leaning against the doorframe of my room.

‘No reason.’

And, my twenty-year-old self knew, very little point.

CC Image courtesy of Dia™ on Flickr

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Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

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CC Image courtesy of Darice on FlickrI make a carrot cake for my colleague’s leaving party. At the end, there’s a quarter remaining. Take it home, someone says to me, give it to your flatmate.

‘No,’ I say, ‘we errr we don’t have that kind of relationship.’

Oh! is the reaction, more bemused than judgmental. I feel mean but can’t offer much by way of explanation.

Flatmate would say it’s because he’s very critical.  He might then describe how, in the early days of our tenancy, he pronounced the chocolate sauce on my profiteroles to be too bitter – which it was, but I’m never going to admit it to his face – and with those words forfeited all future offers of my cooking.
But his critical streak has its uses. The other day we’re talking men, or lack thereof. I’m arguing that a man who adds me on Facebook must have some kind of romantic interest in me: indeed I have empirical evidence that this is the case.

Flatmate looks amused. ‘Are you telling me you fancy all the guys you’ve added on Facebook?’

‘Yeah, pretty much.’

I’m exaggerating slightly, but only slightly.

He frowns. ‘I don’t understand why you never get any of them!’

I shrug. ‘Maybe they’re out of my league?’

I think of Nick, who incidentally isn’t on Facebook.

He shakes his head. ‘That’s not possible – statistically I mean. There are just too many of them!’

I laugh. ‘Sometimes it’s the same ones, recurring!’

Nice Guy, Nick…

He sighs. ‘So you don’t learn your lesson the first time round.’

‘No, it’s not that…’

He thinks a moment. ‘I can only think that you’re always going for the same type, and for whatever reason it’s not working. Does everyone you fancy have a posh accent?’

‘No.’

Yes, well, almost.  But I can’t help the fact that I find it sexy as hell, can I? Whilst I found Joe‘s pony club chat to be very annoying – but everything else about him was sexy as hell.

‘I don’t understand it.  You’re a nice girl….’

I make a mental note to start sharing carrot cake.

‘… you’re intelligent, funny, you’re good-looking…’

‘Aww you’re sweet.  Keep talking.’

‘… the only thing I can see which might be limiting you is that you’re quite tall, so you’d be too tall for some guys, but that doesn’t explain it.’

‘Perhaps I’ve just been unlucky,’ I say, with a shrug.

‘Perhaps.’

CC Image courtesy of cbgrfx123 on Flickr

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Never Say Never

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CC Image courtesy of Let Ideas Compete on Flickr

‘I do worry that someone might act in a certain way just to get onto the blog, for an ego boost or something…’

My friend shakes her head.  ‘I don’t think that’s likely.’

‘No, you’re right, no one would bother doing that.  It’s too much effort!’

 

The next day, I get a message from an acquaintance with – how to put it? – a reputation.

‘How are you? I decided i need to provide you with material for your blog’

Now ordinarily I’d take this to be a drunken rambling.  But it was sent at lunchtime, and the guy is, insofar as I’m aware, gainfully employed.  Still, I ignore it.  As I’ve said before, I don’t want trouble.

So when Trouble, who has never shown any interest in reeling, comes through the doors of the Scottish dancing venue, it’s all I can do not to let my jaw drop.  Instead I walk into a doorframe.

 

It’s the end of the night; I’m washing up.  Trouble, all 6ft7 of him, sidles over.

‘I’d never noticed your height before,’ he says.  ‘I think I’m going to have to marry you.’ 

‘Because it will make you feel shorter?’

‘Yes.’

Then he says the magic words.

‘I read your blog yesterday.’

‘Oh!  What did you think?’

‘I think… I need to give you some material.’

I laugh.  ‘It does concern me that someone might behave in a certain way just to influence their blog profile!’

‘Blog profile?!’ he says, laughing.

‘Yes, like this young man.’  I ruffle Freddie’s hair in passing.

Trouble’s friends call him over.

‘We should go on a date,’ he says.

‘Yes,’ I say, with mock seriousness.

‘You and me!’

I roll my eyes.  ‘Forever!’

Whatever.

 

The next day, I get another message, asking what sort of places I like and when I’m free.

Anywhere without doorframes, and, like, never?

CC Image courtesy of Kate Monkey on Flickr