From famine – to feast.
I’ve joined a dating website and things are finally hotting up. Well, I’m talking to three people. Maybe things are warming up. Taking the chill off? I’m wearing a light cardigan in the Arctic. Either way, this is good. It’s been 4 months since I last shared a bed with someone – time to get some flesh on these pallid bones.
My favourite (favourite – what luxury!) is obviously a woman who lives in Manchester. Why date someone from your home town when you can date someone 3 hours away? I wonder how far my search for ‘the One’ should go. Coffee in Edinburgh? Dinner in Paris? A quickie in the Gambia? Maybe this is what love looks like post-globalisation. I get my T-shirts from Taiwan and my orgasms from Timbuktu.
She’s older, 41, and somehow I can tell. Her messages are slow and steady and thoughtful. It’s nice to talk, and not just a bit of preamble so we can sort out a date. Actual getting-to-know-you stuff. Messages that take half an hour to write and 30 seconds to excitedly gobble down. Messages that stick in your head like honey.
She tells me she likes festivals and whiskey and good coffee. She doesn’t like her Director or chart music or the thought of my Tassimo machine. She lives alone but often has friends to stay. She works but has two projects on the side, just for pleasure, just for her. She’s from Hong Kong but grew up in Cornwall. The sea is her happy place.
She’s nice and funny and clever. I start to feel a bit nervous messaging her. I check my messages for typos; tart them up a bit. I try to channel all my wit into words, to seduce her with humour until she’s puddling in my arms. I wish I could dress my brain up in lace and Manolos and do a little twirl.
And I realise – this is it.
This is what dating should feel like. Excitement and tingles and making an effort. Not just wanting a match or a message but wanting a message from her. With apps, dates are so cheap you don’t even try. The sheer mass of people – the grinning, pouting, shouting, preening hoards – makes everyone mediocre by association. It’s like an ant farm with millions upon millions of solider ants all sheltering the queen. Enough of this bollocks, can I just have a quiet word with the queen please?
Dating websites should be sedate. They should be intimate and kind and a place for soft souls and lost souls. I love that usually just one new woman joins each week, and to great fanfare: “New joiner!” the email says and all 6 of us cheer. There’s no fear that someone will ghost you or ignore you or talk to you for a bit and go away. There’s respect and manners and a mutual understanding that this is a place for women who want to love.
I get another message from the Older Woman: “Put these digits in your phone for future reference,” she says, listing her phone number. “And when are you coming for a visit?”
Soon I think and get tingly again.