Stickman Readers' Submissions June 22nd, 2016

Why I Gave up Internet Dating – Part 3

A quick summary to remind our readers to where we had gotten to in the search for Dream Woman in Parts I and II.

It will be remembered that in Part 1 of our tale our two protagonists were introduced, along with the backgrounds of their unfortunately similarly marital woes. They had collectively decided to embark on Internet Dating, thus hopefully avoiding becoming a life-long members of the Sad Old Tossers (SOT) Club. Sadly this initial rush into this brave new world of the 21st century internet dating phenomena did not go quite as planned, having disappointingly zero to poor results in the first few weeks.

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In Part II, we retreated, regrouped, reviewed and strategized that we needed a working plan and to approach this endeavour like any other work project. As in any business undertaking, and certainly those requiring a massive financial and emotional investment such as the acquiring of a suitable partner. Let's face it, in transactions such as these, the financial implications are in the main similar to the purchasing and maintaining a small country.

It will also be recalled that for the sake of literary ease, I had reverted to telling this sad and cautionary tale in the first person, rather than the third person of our two SOT's. Once again, dear reader I apologise for my inherent laziness.

This stage of my research required great attention, with detailed focus. In this undertaking that I was embarking on it was of such paramount importance that the due diligence be thorough and in-depth, as this was not an adventure to be embarked on lightly. The first step of the project required a series of research stages.

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It will be recalled that in Part 2 of said research we examined what the potential competition looked like from other Sad Old Tossers in the race to securing the dream woman. This provided an excellent insight into to what the competition looked like and thus providing an understanding as to what the undoubted and many pitfalls that others had made. Thus equipped with this valuable information, my avoidance of the minefields was assured. As Bill Gates once famously said, "Even from failure can we learn" … as we all know, the leader of such an auspicious organisation, as well as being one of the world's richest men could not possibly get it wrong!

It will be remembered also that having completed this section, I was extremely confident of my ability to beat other SOT's to the winning line, as most of the profiles undoubtedly did in fact already belong to fully paid up members of the SOT Club.

Reviewing my project plan where I had identified several distinct, but separate research phases, this part of our tale covers the next stages of my research. Having looked at the male side of the coin, it was time to flip it over and examine the female side. What were the women that inhabited the world of Internet Dating sites really like – what were they seeking? Ever mindful of the fact that women are indeed complicated and not always rationale creatures, albeit that they lovely in their own ways. This therefore was a phase of the research that would require in-depth study and insight, with no cutting of corners.

Following the same format as previously, I enthusiastically hurled myself into establishing what the woman of my dreams was really like. In the hope that it may assist other SOT's and allow them to short circuit this lengthy and sometimes frighteningly frustrating process, I list for my reader's edification some of the characteristics of 'Dream Woman', in both what they really like and what it is that they are seeking. So what were these intriguing creatures really like, how did they go about 'selling themselves' as the perfect catch?

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The first surprise came when I started looking for a suitable dream woman, by initially merely perusing their profile photos. Why did so many post photo's of dogs, cats and other animals, flowers, artwork, buildings or landscapes? I could go to the local art gallery to see these things, nor was I seeking a pet, a bunch of flowers, nor artistic or architectural inspiration. I was clearly under the misapprehension that an internet dating site should contain pictures of the goods on offer, rather than what her Chihuahua, her taste in art, or her garden looked like. Not being into bestiality, or overly interested in gardening, I quickly past over these offerings. Another couple of irritating common denominators were the posting of large groups of people, forcing one into the playing of that most frustrating of games, 'Guess the woman of my dreams from a crowd'. It was a bit like that recent internet phenomena, of finding the Panda hidden amongst a screen of dogs or clowns. Some others were a mere spec in the distance, thus requiring one to have a handy magnifying glass to depict that there was in fact an actual human being hiding on that distant mountain top, or peering out from behind a bush. Equally irritating was those that actually did show a face, many had disguised their features behind huge face-enveloping sunglasses. I admit to often not passing Go, collecting £200 and frequently ending up in jail in these frustrating photographic games, I obviously needed to read the words in their inspiring profiles.

Also, for some strange reason, although all liked to laugh, few were actually smiling in their profile photo's. In fact many looked as if they had either a very bad smell under their nose, or maybe they just had indigestion. Some were clearly taken directly from wanted posters at the local police station. One woman with a particularly fierce scowl, had what I felt was great temerity by demanding that her new dream man, "wake up with a smile". Maybe she thought that his humour would be magically transferred to her by osmosis during the night?

'Little Princess' photo had me reaching for the vomit bag, she was one the few who were actually smiling , but sadly revealing a set of ivories that looked like jaws on steroids. She would have been far better advised to stick with the scowl, pursed lips, bad smell under her nose look and, kept her mouth shut!

It will come as no surprise that like their male counterparts, they all enjoyed walking, most had dogs and/or horses, some even looking like their favourite Trigger. One, clearly not happy with a mere dog or horse was shown with an entire menagerie. I could not but help feel that the RSPCA would perhaps have been a better starting point in her search for a suitable new companion. Although I did feel a great urge to introduce her to the fellow (from Part I of this tale) who was shown in a compromising position with his sheep – a perfect match I thought.

Without exception their traits were, "loving, kind, intelligent, romantic, warm, honest, sociable, reliable and feminine" – I suppose those that looked like blokes in drag had just been photographed on a bad hair day. Their enjoyed activities were also remarkably similar, e.g. "gardening, cycling (the recent proliferation of TV gardening programmes and Mary Poppins have a lot to answer for) going to gym, cooking, eating out and drinking good Reds". The latter were of course part of the obligatory, "log fires, cuddling on sofa's, and watching DVD's" sect, whilst consuming said 'Good Red' – Shiraz was remarkably popular! And of course they were all looking for their Prince Charming or Knight on a white charger to 'save' them. Save them from what I wondered … although in some cases that was a rhetorical question, they clearly needed to be saved from themselves. Camelot was a myth and besides, remember what happened to King Arthur when he lost Guinevere to Sir Lancelot, the latter being drummed out of the Kingdom, the Brownies and lost his deposit to boot!

A quick scan through the profiles of available women, revealed a uniformity that I had not previously noticed. A couple of common denominators being, that irrespective of their own height, they almost unanimously required a man of 6' or more. Even given that in some cases they were of Japanese midget stature, they all wanted, a man to tower over them. A remarkable amount of kinky women out there! Also again irrespective of their age, they were all seeking a man at least 10 years younger than themselves. Although I fortuitously met the first requirement of height – I do indeed stand proudly tall at 6' on the nail, but failed on the latter, unless I was prepared to accept 70 or 80 year olds as dream woman. Regretfully this was not what I had signed up for. As mentioned previously, it seemed that all, or at least most, liked to 'laugh and smile', begging the question, well why aren't you smiling in your profile photos?

However my thoughts of finding 'Wonder Woman' within my preferred age range of 40 – 50, were it seemed, becoming ever more remote. It would appear that if the 'requirements' of women are to be believed, such creatures in what I will politely refer to as middle age, are simply not open to approaches from one such as I. This led me to mentally debate with myself the fact that most of said women are indeed extremely shallow. Intellectual conversation was clearly not an imperative, with them obviously preferring to evaluate the physical attractiveness of men exclusively. Men would never be so shallow!

This realisation, was indeed of great value as obviously I have previously been fishing in the wrong age pool. I resolved there and then to amend my preferred age range from the aforesaid 40 – 50, to 43 – 52 … undoubtedly this would vastly broaden my search into larger waters.

A couple of headlines that really caught my eye and are worthy of note:

"Disco dancer who has just danced across The Ocean". I was pleased to learn that Saturday Night Fever and John Travolta was still alive and well. She was obviously a prime catch and could indeed be just the ideal woman that I was looking for. Sadly my elation was short lived when I remembered that I had recently completed the ritual burning of my John Revolting shiny white suit and had given the other Saturday Night accoutrements to the gardener and rubbish man respectively. I was thus clearly unqualified for this Dancing Queen. I did however sing, albeit under my breath, the words to the Abba number of the same name for a full day afterwards … so it's true – music does lighten the soul.

The other was clearly a cunning linguist, as she announced that she would, "complete this later, when she was not too woo-woo". It was clearly her sister who completed the detailed section of her profile, by asking simply, if "have I completed my 20 word minimum yet"? I have to say that although I can get by with the real basics in several languages, some quite obscure, I was at a total loss with "woo-woo". Google was equally baffled as well. I admit to being a tad envious of her 20 word minimum sister. The reason for this? I had been rejected and castigated by the character number police of several sites for having exceeded my number of characters allocation. I do sometimes wish I could be a little less descriptive in my explanations, perhaps even penning such eloquent phrases as, "have I completed my 20 word minimum yet?"

"… comes with her own power tools". One can only hope that she was alluding to an electric drill or screwdriver and nothing that vibrated, ran on batteries, was bright purple in colour and whose normal habitat was the bedroom!

One had gotten "lost in translation, as she was looking for an expert in love". Maybe if unsuccessful in the internet dating scene then she too should try the power tool route.

Another was pulling no punches as her headline boldly announced that she wanted: "a man with a big tool". This was clearly a girl who knew what she wanted and was wasting no time in going out to get it. I did wonder if her sister was the one who came with her own power tools!

Some headlines were remarkably revealing:

"I want a Kindred Spirit – but no sex. She was obviously British and working on the old stiff upper lip philosophy of, No sex please, we're British!

Another's profile picture showed her as having just having given birth to a litter of puppies, which were nicely settled between her spread-eagled legs, all seeking a convenient teat to suckle on. Cleary unlike her sister above she was not adverse to sex!

One had a "great thatch with good kerbside appeal". She was either a frustrated estate agent, alternatively dyslexic and on the wrong type of website entirely. I am ashamed to admit I did ask myself the question, as to how I might secure a private viewing of this obviously wondrous property? Shame on you naughty boy!

A striking photo of one lady in a Chef's hat, proudly informed us that she was in fact a Cordon Bleu Chef, even including her Chefs certificate to prove it. Knowing that with PowerPoint and Photoshop one can today produce amazingly authentic looking, but fake certificates. I was therefore not at first inclined to take her claims at face value. However she had me there as she had included in her profile, a glittering and tasty array of recipes, together with their complementary wine accompaniments. The length of this profile which was close the unabridged version of Tolstoy's War & Peace must surely have exceeded her character allowance. I was therefore inclined to make contact with her if nothing more than to enquire as to how she had evaded the character allowance police, but was concerned that she may just respond with a recipe for a Crème Brulee. Her whole profile was indeed intriguing and had me wondering if Jamie Oliver knew that he has serious competition.

Still on the culinary stakes, a woman from the south announced to the world, that she was, "a very good cook and a brilliant driver". Whilst I am aware that most women are indeed experts in multi-tasking I did hope that she did not try performing both of these functions at the same time. I would have hated to see her fined or even incarcerated by falling foul of the local Constabulary. One wonders what the charge might be if one were seen driving a vehicle, chatting on ones mobile phone, whilst in charge of a boiling saucepan and whipping up a quick roast beef and Yorkshire Pud.

A highly educated and delightful looking creature informed us that "she used to research PhD Theoretical Astrophysics, but now just walks the dog". One can only assume that the dog also had a PhD, thus making for entertaining, educational and informative walks in the woods. One can imagine the fascinating discussions and theories on Theoretical Astrophysics being bandied back and forth. She was indeed a female Doctor Doolittle! As for the dog, well for too long Lassie has had the monopoly on the movies, but now clearly has a talented competitor!

The headline of "A Spirited and Wild, but Domesticated Pussycat", had me immediately reaching for my mouse to make contact. However after due reflection, I felt that if I was indeed looking for a housetrained cat, then perhaps the local stray cats home might be a better place to start. I reluctantly closed my PC at this juncture, with the resolution of exploring this latter interesting option the very next morning.

A couple had obviously been watching too many reruns of the BBC 1960's/70's, sitcom, 'The Good Life', as they evidently enjoyed the simple things in life. One was, "comfortable to stay home", whilst her sister in crime did admit to being, "… not ambitious or interesting and likes to stay home". Obviously in both cases there would be a serious amount of shelves to erect and large lawns to mow.

No compilation would be complete without the obligatory quotes from the obviously seriously deranged, who clearly had not been maintaining their daily medication. One calmly and proudly announced that, "she was adept at skinning animals". And I thought that only happened in the movies. Another told us that her friends and relatives "did not consider her normal". And to think these women are walking around free, without restraining strait jackets – maybe even shopping at the local supermarket as we speak. The world is indeed becoming a very dangerous place for Sad Old Tossers such as I … They walk amongst us!

Similar to our frustrated train driver fellow in Part 2, no summary would be complete without mentioning the non-drinking, church-going 'Attractive' and rather large Filipina lady. She did however inform us that she felt that her body type was 'Average'. Yes her body was indeed average for a fully grown Hippopotamus, but lacking the insight into what is considered attractive to a male Hippopotamus, I am perhaps not qualified to comment further on her attractiveness.

However I do feel that her profile was unique and thus warrants further comment. Although admitting to wearing glasses, this was not verified by her photos – I suspect that she was a fully-fledged member of the horn rimmed brigade. Her likes were, eating – as was evidenced by her photo. A nice home, although the background to her photos revealed what I felt was a tad untidy lounge area, more akin to the local rubbish tip.

In the section of what she seeking for her perfect man, I detail the following demands – all evidently non negotiable:

• Even though she was a mere 5'2", she demanded that he be at least 6'4" tall. I did ask myself the question – why? It all sounded a bit kinky to me.

• It was also evidently of paramount importance to her that, "he must work in The City, be a good time keeper and must live alone, near an underground station and/or a major bus route". Maybe she was planning to redraw the London tube and bus system maps. However I suspect the reality was that due to her large size she would be unable to walk any distance. I did not explore further the reason for his necessary involvement in The City.

• "Must be a non-smoker and non-drinker"

• "Must go to Church with her"

• "Must be able to talk knowledgably about everything". At this point I realised that she was obviously looking for Stephen Hawking. I almost felt compelled to let her know that Stephen was in fact already spoken for, and that he might have a small problem navigating the London Tube escalators with his wheelchair. Fortunately I resisted that urge, thinking that self-discovery on her part might be a better teacher than I.

• In summary, she required that potential suitors forward their CV first, after which she would select the fortunate shortlisted candidates to attend an interview. One suspects that she had received very few responses to her alluring and fascinating profile 'sell sheet', with her many "must haves" demands.

Disappointingly an inordinate amount of women on virtually all the sites that I visited were reluctant to jump out of an aircraft without a parachute. On re-reading some of the comments above, which I assure the reader are all genuine and actual comments lifted from internet dating sites I could not begin to imagine why. I admit that whilst the long fall from 12,000 ft might not be the best, or quickest way to commit suicide, the outcome is pretty much guaranteed. But then is there any really good enjoyable way to go, particularly you enjoy laughing, as so many on these sites do?

You couldn't make this stuff up could you?

The sad realisation was that few Mrs Hippo look-alikes admitted to being either 'Curvaceous' (a polite term for fat) or 'Full Figured' (a polite term for being grossly obese) Most delusionally referred to themselves as being 'Average' in body type, or in some cases, were pushing the bounds of reality by referring to themselves as 'Slim'.

Now knowing what my quarry looked like, it was time for the next stage of my research; 'What Women Want'.

I therefore started this phase at the DVD store, where I dutifully rented the movie of the same name. Whilst watching it, I did make copious notes but given the foregoing I suspect that the movie had not really taken into account women's true specifications and that Hollywood had perhaps stretched the realms of reality. Maybe it was just that the movie was a little out-of-date and was not considering the needs of modern women? So having been disappointed in this brief foray into cinematic research, it was back to the dating sites…

A huge number were seeking "A First Class Travel Companion". No economy class or 2 weeks in an all-inclusive Benidorm 2 or 3 star package tour hotel for this group, as they all wanted to stay on the Club Floor of 5 star hotels. They were obviously all fully aware of the fact that they were indeed 'Worth it". Thus it was no surprise to learn that their ideal man would be required to have the wealth of a Russian Oligarch. They were firmly of the opinion that nothing less than a multi billionaire would suffice, or indeed was worthy of lavishing their obvious and considerable charms on. Mrs Trump be aware and take care – you have serious competition in the hierarchy of wealth and beauty, which is being challenged by the numerous and obscure woman of suburbia. I suggest that you keep Donald away from internet dating sites before he is serenaded and lured away by these sirens!

Perhaps I am being a little unfair with this last statement as one delightful creature was looking, and I quote, "for a man that would be happy in a wooden shack". I lay awake for a good few nights puzzling over the decision as to whether I would choose a 5 star hotel or a wooden shack. Perhaps it was this dilemma that caused me to awake screaming one night as I tried unsuccessfully, to break out of a wooden shack perched on the roof of The Dorchester Hotel in London.

As to their requirements, again I provide the reader with some examples what could only be described as 'demands', as most read, "Must have/must be/I require … etc". Compromise was clearly not an option.

I will not bore the reader by reiterating the fact that they were all looking for the standard, "loving, kind, intelligent family man etc etc. In fact apparently a total mirror image of themselves. Although one did demand a "Good Driver" – perhaps she was a serial driving test failure, or had multiple hospital appointments to attend? And of course they had all bought 100% into the mantra of "because you're worth it"… L'Oreal strikes again!

"Must make me laugh". The reality of making a woman laugh is that she actually saying, "show me what you've got and if I like it, I might deign to speak to you". The other factor here is that one does run the risk of ending up looking like one of those bad stand-up comedians at a working man's club on a Friday night.

"I want a man who will enjoy my hobbies and share my interests". As she enjoyed gardening, obviously all she really wanted was somebody to weed the cabbage patch, mow the lawn and walk the dog. Clearly his hobbies and interests were of no importance or relevance to her.

"Must not be lazy". Obviously this one wanted the lawn mowed twice a week and probably had more than one dog. There were undoubtedly numerous shelves to put up as well.

"I am looking for somebody to help me look after my family". Clearly she was seeking both a carer to look after her dementia ridden, incontinence pants wearing Mother with a direct link into the National Reserve Bank. I am ashamed to admit that my community spirit deserted me as I hurriedly cast her profile aside.

A lady from the northern suburbs was, "looking for one who had bouts of dizziness". Frightened that she might have noticed me reading her profile, like the other woman above she too was hurriedly cast upon my ever growing pile of rejections.

One alarmingly honest woman was, "looking for somebody who is dedicated to overcoming insurmountable obstacles as I'm not perfect". Obviously she had only recently been released from the local mental institution and was no longer bothering with her medication. Thinking that this was obviously a serial killer in disguise that had been released from a strait jacket far too soon. I congratulating myself on a lucky escape as she too jointed the rejection pile.

Another was looking for somebody to, "spin and weave with me on my 200 year old loom". I had visions of her having woven me a different coloured Christmas sweater for every day of the year. That she would force me to wear daily, both in and out of the house, irrespective of the weather. Her fashion sense would undoubtedly include the latest in sackcloth, ashes and wooden clogs, with her face decorated with wode or similar.

One particularly forceful woman announced rather frighteningly, that she, "… I'm not into that, nor should you be either". And, "… you will be ….", listing at least a dozen qualities that her heart desired … no demanded. I did give the Nazi salute as I intoned, Ja vol, mein Ober Gruppen Fuhrer to the PC screen.

One promised to, "do no harm", which I thought was rather nice and gave me a warm feeling of security. I put her on the list to come back to in a hundred or so years.

An artistic and creative lady was, "looking for a colourful gentleman to help her combine shades and hues" as she wanted to introduce him to "painting in acrylic on canvas". Having not been particularly creative or good at art at school, (I can barely draw a stickman) I felt that out of fairness to her I should perhaps disqualify myself from her list of potential artistic suitors. As good a teacher as she undoubtedly was, in all fairness I was not looking to attend Art Class 101.

Some readers may recall the book of a few years back, Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars. After researching the description of women and what they are seeking, I am now firmly of the opinion that said book should be re-titled to something like, Woman are from Alpha Centauri and Men are from Birmingham.

Now fully in possession of all the foregoing valuable research, it was time to move on to the next stage of the project, which would be exciting, taxing and a real challenge, the crafting of my alluring, witty and fail-safe profile. With due application and attention to detail, this would surely win me the grandest prize of all – 'My Dream/Ideal Woman, or as I preferred to think of her as Wonder Woman. I therefore resolved to devote extra care, preparation and to take time, effort and due consideration of my detailed research in its compilation.

To be continued in Part 4 …

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