Stickman Readers' Submissions July 26th, 2016

Why I Gave up Internet Dating – Part 4

Preparation Of The Winning Profile:

It will be recalled that in previous submission of my foray into the world of internet dating (ID), that after some initial disappointing failures, I had retreated and regrouped. In Part 2, having decided that the route to go was thorough research in my search for dream woman. The first step being into what my Sad Old Tosser (SOT) competitors were offering and then in Part 3 what dream woman was like – what she was seeking … what she was all about.

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So this was the final stage of the project – the crafting of my alluring, witty and fail-safe profile, which would surely win me the grandest prize of all – 'My Dream/Ideal Woman'. I was determined not to be too generic, thus avoiding the same stupid and boring traps of my SOT competitors and therefore resolved to devote extra care, preparation, taking time and effort.

So now fully in possession of all this valuable and detailed research, it was time for me to compile my very own perfect winning profile before casting myself back into the stormy seas of internet dating. The reading of which by the many eager women, who would soon be throwing themselves at my feet – I was surely but a few brief steps away from at least five dates a week … what could possibly go wrong?

I realised that dream woman would require to see a glimpse of the true me in the blind world of ID. After seeing some of the photos and profiles of the competition I was forewarned to avoid any overly sexual connotations to my alluring profile. Not having a recent ex, I would not fall into the trap of speaking of past conquests … or in my case, past failures. I would not lie too grossly about my age, deducting a mere 10 years from the reality … after all, didn't all women lie about their age? Other personal attributes I would also 'be only economical with the truth', excusing such minor infractions as literary licence.

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I therefore resolved to be authentically clear about who I was. I would be quirky, bright and maybe just a little bit alpha. I would attempt to be practical and detached from the process, but with dignity. Whilst I admit to sometimes being a tad verbose, my profile would be condensed and to the point, rather than chatty or garrulous – in essence I would be charismatic myself!

My photos would be recent, real, reflecting the real me – none of this photo shopped titivation for me – this I believed showed respect for dream woman's intelligence, surely she could see past such obvious ruses? My dress would be modern, casual yet conservative, I decided that my Singha beer singlet was probably best left unworn in the cupboard – save that for the next LOS trip!

I was also reminded from other associates that I should avoid the obvious errors of revealing too much, or too little, nor should I plead. After all, this was meant to be fun – I was not a mere commodity, I was the customer here and therefore the judgment of others was essentially irrelevant.

After my previous unfortunately less-than-positive experiences on internet dating I also decided that I would not over-invest in communications with those women that did not immediately throw themselves at my feet. Should they not respond to my first couple of humorous and inviting mails, then I would assume that behind the facade of the dating site, they were in fact already wearing a, "I don't want you" T-shirt. As previously mentioned, having already been assured by the many beautiful, charming and obviously astutely observant women of Thailand, that I was indeed a "hansum man", it would after all, be their loss. These alluring Asian creatures had after all, assured me of my many charms, including my manhood when their arms were wrapped tightly around me. Well at least one arm, the other I suspect being in my wallet. I was therefore in no doubts as to my incredible attraction the female species.

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Also having concerns that the women that I my amazing profile might attract, I decided that I would not accept communications from any women younger than 30. I would also not overly respond to lots of teenage-girl type kisses and hugs, or what I believe are referred to as emoticons – these I passed off as demonstrating a lack of maturity … The real reason being however, that I have no idea as to what any of these strange faces signify! Nor would I respond to any mails that showed signs of past heartbreak or exes.

Having now been through two financially ruinous divorces, I was firmly decided that I would not fall into the obvious trap of merely replacing either of the last two exe's with a younger version of the same. I was seeking a cultured, intelligent woman, educated preferably to at least Masters level, had a good well paid job, would be able to fit well into my social circle, holding erudite, witty conversations on a broad spectrum of subjects across the diverse and cultured circle in which I typically move. This was particularly important to me as her delightful and advanced social skills would reflect well on me – making me the envy of my friends and associates. She was hopefully also a multi millionairess, thus keeping me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed. Of course it goes without saying that she should also be stunningly beautiful, petit and shapely. After all wasn't it the responsibility, nay duty, of every women who intended to live beyond 50 to keep young and beautiful? Also I was keen that she would provide me with sufficient sexual activity in the bedroom to maintain my interest. An occasional BJ would be nice too, but having been warned by my children, I concluded that I should perhaps leave that for the first date and not mention this particular requirement in my profile.

My generation, who grew up in a culture of free love, flower power, the Rolling Stones and ‘letting it all hang out’ are now reaching what has been referred to as the 'twilight of their years'. But being the realist that I hopefully am, I was not to fall for that aged claptrap and although I didn't perhaps need to swing from the chandeliers every night (every other night would be fine) sex was still an important part of any lasting and meaningful relationship. Mind you, as was recently reported in a national newspaper one celebrity did report that his wife's idea of foreplay was to put her teeth in, so the bar was perhaps set fairly low.

Having already lived through at least one excruciatingly crazy and frighteningly menopausal female transformation, I was understandably not keen to embark on another such expedition of hot flushed, psychotic adventure. I therefore pondered for many hours over whether I should actually state that dream woman should be pre-menopausal. Alternatively if she had already gone through what is amusingly referred to as, "the change of life", she be at ease, comfortable and sane enough to maintain her regular does of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medication. Should the latter be the case, then should I request the production of a medical certificate to support this. One has to pose the question, "what makes a previously beautiful and sane women, turn into an irrational raging psychotic, who is only comfortable when the air conditioner is set to minus 5c?" To ensure that I avoided such pitfalls, there clearly would need to be a fairly stringent set of interview questions.

Limiting my search in this manner, some might say was a potentially foolhardy and limiting approach, even going so far as to liken it to the dog that chases the car, but not knowing what to do with it if he ever catches it. I knew exactly what I would do with it when I caught it – like any dog worth his salt, I would bite its tires, or in the case of dream women and given my lack of teeth, her nipples, and other equally exciting and soft-to-the touch appendages.

Having set these ground rules for the compilation of my profile and in an approach that I romantically thought of as adopting a Scheherazade strategy, one involving telling alluring email stories, followed by Skype and phone-based bewitchment. I was going to be clear about who I was and what I was seeking. I was determined not to accept a second-best substitute for dream woman.

I was reminded of the old customer service adage of the under promise and over deliver syndrome – this was clearly the key to this internet dating world. Although perhaps stating the blindingly obvious, it's a truly dumb, and completely unnecessary, way to strain my resources while potentially alienating dream woman by not sparking her interest by making impossible promises or claims about myself. Nor would I fall into the trap of including my views on politics, sex or religion – this would be a sure-fire way to alienate dream woman.

Nor would I embark on a an extended email/Skype/WhatsApp relationships from which I may have to extricate myself from if dream woman failed to pass my set of minimal qualifications. This I had been assured was the door to the dreaded 'friend zone', from which there is rarely any escape. After breaking the ice, I would make an arrangement to meet and nor would I be pressured into sex on that first date – not unless of course she was indeed the true and original goddess of womanhood, in which case I might give it some consideration.

After all that, I decided that that I would talk myself and dream woman into a loving, loyal and passionate relationship. Clearly after having gotten over reading my remarkable and charismatic profile, which would be incredibly fascinating, interesting, funny, mysterious (although I would take care not to present myself as a James Bond type character as had others of the SOT Club) dream woman would immediately respond with great alacrity. I would talk her into being interested in me, so much so that she would be wetting herself in anticipation and desire to meet with me.

This then was undoubtedly the way to successful internet dating – the research had proven that. Also it was clearly in a middle-aged woman’s favour and thus eliminating any potential physical shock on casting her adoring eyes on my 'hansum' countenance.

I took several days to compile my perfect profile, with many re-writes and edits, before I was 100% happy with the end result. So once again, in the words of The Bard it was "into the breach dear friends…" as with hope in my heart, confidence in my brain (the larger one) and a tingling anticipation in my loins, I once again pressed the 'Submit' button. Imagine my dismay and disappointment to be immediately arranged by the character number police once again, when I was informed that I had 'exceeded my character allowance' . Whilst I admit that my erudite and charming profile was not perhaps as poetic as The Bard himself … it was perhaps more Hemmingway, rather than Salmon Rushdie. Wasn't my submission several pages shorter than the combined works of Tolstoy? How could I now shorten/abbreviate it down to the ridiculously small number of characters demanded by the character police? This now presented another and difficult challenge. I did after all, need dream woman to have a true insight into my charming and alluring personality.

However believing that setbacks such as these are simply challenges in disguise and being the dedicated and focused fellow that I am, I set about once again reworking my perfect profile. It took a mere few weeks before I once again ventured to press the 'Submit' button – this time with some trepidation. The revised and abbreviated perfect profile was finally accepted – my elation was complete! All I now had to do was to sit back and await the large number of women that had unknowingly been awaiting this perfect specimen of manhood to complete their up-still-now dull, boring and sexually starved lives.

I resisted the urge to check my mail every hour or so … I might be cheap, but am not easy and did not wish to appear to be over eager. I would after all need to sort the large number of responses that I was convinced I would receive, deciding to whom I should reply.

I was somewhat surprised that in the first few weeks of 'going live on-line' I only received two responses. Convinced that there was something obviously very wrong with the website, I wrote a scalding letter of complaint to the site administrator, demanding to know why I was not receiving the huge number of responses that I knew were my due. Rude people that they are, I never even received a reply from them. Undaunted, I immediately cast that particular website into the eternal flames of ID hell and signed up for another. I was once again perplexed at the what appeared to be another limited number of responses. I did admittedly receive three responses this time round, one from a Hippo look-alike, which I declined to consider in any serious light. Another was from one of the same women from site #1, who somewhat rudely I thought, accused me of being a serial internet dater (… and she wasn't?) as well as being a sad old tosser. She also suggested that I, "get a life". Considering the low number of responses that my perfect profile had elicited, I was firmly of the opinion that my internet based email site was at fault so also wrote to them complaining that I was not receiving my mail. Their response being that all was in fact fine from their side and perhaps it was just that I didn't get much incoming mail. The thought that there was an insinuation of being a SOT in that, I magnanimously decided to ignore.

And so began a disappointing few months of limited responses from women that would perhaps be better suited to adorning the wall of the local horror house. The few that did meet my ever declining standards, I immediately responded to … in fact at one stage I do recall that I even started to reconsider the Mrs Hippo look alike from the initial responses.

I entered into a few interesting dialogues with some that held promise, but sadly few seemed capable of penning more than a few childlike lines, mostly speaking of the deceased husband, children (who they all informed me that they loved dearly – a heart-warming confirmation I thought) grandchildren or friends, but brightening the tone with cherry comments about their pets. Not being over enamoured with the thought of being charged with the daily task of having to clean up animal poo, I discarded these as well, onto what was becoming an increasingly larger pile of rejects.

Eventually, after this disappointingly slow start, I was emboldened by the slow, but steadily increasing number of responses, albeit that they were admittedly somewhat removed from what I had originally envisioned my dream women to be. After what I considered several evermore exciting emails and Skype calls had ensued, several dates were arranged and assignations set.

The romance of courting and wooing via the internet medium through emails and Skype calls became an all consuming daily passion and was I found, difficult to say "No" to. It’s especially difficult when you are fast becoming a candidate for a lifetime membership of the SOT Club. I was finding it increasingly easy to fall for the unseen women in the ethereal realms of the ether. Several (unsurprisingly) fell for my obvious charms and fell head over heels in love with me. I was however wary that this unsurprising and unrequited love could potentially have been difficult to follow through in real life. The closer the ether exchanges brought us, the more risk there was that an actual initial encounter would be a disappointment for me. Whilst several passed my pre-determined 'tick-box' and electronic tests, the sad reality is that real-world chemistry can very easily make it all irrelevant. Being over 60, I was aware that I needed to be tougher and careful of not being hurt. I was seeking that elusive 'spark', but was aware that an initial spark can be a mere flirty moment and could be temporary and just as easily spark-out as quickly as it started.

I was of course not concerned that she might think otherwise, not after having been exposed to my amazing and charismatic charms.

There were however several other unseen and unsuspecting surprises to come, as I was to learn. It seems that few on internet dating sites are that honourable in the presentation of the truth. Being the 'Honest Joe' that I am, I would of course never actually 'lie', but had merely bend the truth marginally. Had I had I not deducted a mere 10 years from my age, adding an inconsequential 6" to my height and describing myself as slim and wealthy, rather than the mildly overweight and of the 'Struggling' reality. My sense of humour – a quality demanded made by virtually all women was also perhaps more Benny Hill than Jerry Seinfeld, which I thought of as quirky and interesting. I must admit that I may perhaps have tested the realms of reality when I described myself as a skilled ballroom dancer, rather than the two left footed buffoon that I am. I had therefore assumed that all had similarly truthful intensions and integrity. I was also wooed by women who after an initial flurry of interest simply dropped me without further comment.

So it was with some trepidation that I set out for my first dates with the few that had passed my stringent 'tick-box, character-testing' tests. Being the cautious fellow that I am, these lucky ladies were initially to be awarded a mere couple of hours of my time and were therefore favoured with a meet for a drink or a coffee. However in one case, whom had not only passed the all consuming test and could I fanaticised, even could be 'The One' I arranged dinner.

Judging by her stunning Playboy type photos and erudite and educated writing, with only minor examples of dyslexia present and a small trace of a cockney accent as discerned in the ever-more interesting Skype conversations. I therefore decided that this one deserved special treatment, and planned to invest time, money and effort into the building of a lasting and loving relationship with this lucky woman. Being the generous fellow that I am I thought she warranted at least a dinner to set us both on the path to eternal happiness therefore, after great thought selected to take her to that well known and ever-popular Scottish international restaurant. You know the one, the one with that big 'M' in the form of an arch outside, together with the convenience of a drive-through section. I admit to being a tad nonplussed at her refusal to continue with the date, when clearly the venue was not to her liking … maybe it was the food, or that we had to wait in line to be served – it was after all a mere 20 minutes of standing in line, or the fact that we actually had to stand to eat our food as there were no tables available; the restaurant having inexcusably declined to accept a table booking.! Obviously a far too finicky soul for me and at the end of the day, her loss … so moving swiftly on, I re-embarked on my search for dream woman.

You will be pleased to learn however that after these initial minor setbacks I did in fact start enjoying some more successful contacts and even some dates with women. I will reveal all in the next instalment of "Why I gave up Internet Dating".

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