The Seven Stages of Preconceiving

Although I have only been whoring my wares, rotisserie WAG on Brownlow Medal turnstile style for a month now (if you’re from the UK, look up our football awards ceremony called the Brownlows where the girlfriends of the players stood on a rotating podium to be judged- classy), I’ve really had my ups and down. I’ve had lots of feelings, you guyz!! Online Mating websites are like having a real relationship with heaps of people, simultaneously but without any of the benefits. So, like being in a long distance relationship then. One polyamorous, sexually unsatifying long-distance relationship. I think in my most honest moments I’d assumed it would go something like this:

  1. Put up profile photo
  2. Whilst filling in profile page details, my inbox would be inundated with offers of marriage and consensual on the car boot sex.
  3. I’d shake my head with demure humility, and continue to fill out this application form of love; all the delicate nuances that makes me me. *spews into someone else’s handbag*
  4. 17 days later, when I’d sifted through the final quill written love letter (an hilarious fireman with a penchant for the Pixies and boardgames, I recall) I’d make my decision as to whom I’d write back to.
  5. After all of them immediately reply, I’d go on a series of amazing dates of all shapes and sizes (Flashmobbing in Trafalgar Square, to a quiet night on a boat restaurant in Embankment…of which I’d inevitably have to get off as I spend the night trying to not bring up my slowly undulating meal…he totally understands though. What a(n imaginary) gentleman!
  6. I’d have some casual flings with some, and then a month or two later, realise that the guy I’d been friends with and super attracted to felt the same way, and we hire a Goodies type tandem bike, ride into the sunset and make jokes about how we’ll have to find one of our single friends to come with us next time. *clinks glasses of apple cider, high fives, and makes out*

That’s what I really thought it would be like. It’s not. It’s more like a funeral, or rather the seven stages of grieving in reverse. So I’ve made my own list:

1. Excitement – this is by far the best part of the online mating process. This is the stage filled with hope and possibility; filled with meticulous word choice, so you sound buoyant but “chilled.” Like you might use the phrase “YOLO” in real life, but somehow coming out of your mouth it sounds inspiring. You wonder who will be interested in you and how they feel about a girl with IBS (that’s second date talk, though.)

2. Obsession – this is the part where you try not to act like a stalker. Except you are. All the time. That’s what this is designed for. To trawl the pages of endless strangers’ profiles. Telling your friends that you’re being really open minded about the process, but in reality judging everyone on there like you’re a pageant Mum from Toddlers and Tiaras. (See my first blog entry).  You can see who has visited your page, they can see when you have visited theirs, which makes it all the more painful when your messages have been opened but not replied to. Cue: Bridesmaids on DVD and a 3 Meat & Rice Curry Combo…in bed. The most humiliating part of course is the Rogan Josh stains on the pillow the next morning.

3. Confusion – this is the part where you slowly figure out the reality of what you’ve signed up for. Oh cool! The same old shit! Except it’s costs money! Yayser! That sounds like a sweeeeeet deal. Next month I’ve decided to get creative and instead of investing in a dating website I’m just going to start making accessories out of my cash. A broach made out of soldered £1 coins. A shawl weaved out of £20 notes and rejection. It’s the rejection that makes them stick good.

4. Depression – this is part where you invent time travel and revisit your piece of shit teenage self. It’s like an episode of “This is Your Life!” I walk in and see all my old friends:

“Oh my god! Anxiety? Sexual insecurity? Is that you? Wow, you haven’t changed a bit. And don’t tell me…is that? Yup, it’s the Importance of looking like others fairy, even though I’ve got a nose like a Commedia Dellarte mask (quote from an ex-boyfriend). You guys! I didn’t even know you were still around. Let’s have a reunion. I just wish my old friend alcoholism could be here as well.”

5. Anger – This is where you listen to a LOT of Destiny’s Child. You start swearing at your laptop screen and giving it a bit of “I don’t need you anyway.” Like you’ve been cheated on. By a photo. On a computer.

I’d look at profiles I’d *liked* and they hadn’t *liked* back. Or worse– I’d *liked*, they’d *liked* back, I’d sent a message, they never messaged back. OR WORSE mid conversation (like 4-17 messages back and forth) and then they stop. Inexplicably. Out of the blue. You scour your messages in case you’d written the words “fundamentalist doucher” or “massive Nickleback fan.” Or the absolute worst; the guys that are interested in you. Because they’re usually the ones who say the weirdest shit. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems that 98% of the dudes actually interested in me write things that makes me wonder if they have a child lock on their keyboard, whether they’re allowed to have furniture with sharp edges, or if they have ever worn an adult nappy just because “it seems logical.”

6. Stoical Perseverance – this is the part where you stop acting like you’re on Maury Povich and realise that there are no short answers. That the right person will come along, when they’re meant to, if they’re meant to at all. And then you have an Oprah moment, and you pretend you’re talking to Gayle. That you are an awesome person, with a reasonable body; you’re lots of fun, and just as stupid. And realistically, that you’re quite happy being single. So you just keep plodding on on the ole’ website and if something happens cool. If not…

7. Start a blog.






As a new person to online mating I have quickly learnt things. Nothing that I should have to take on board, of course…all the things that other people (ie some dudes) should maybe take note of. The thing is, writing a description of yourself, without sounding like a massive tool, is hard; like calculating gradients, or opening plastic packaging on scissors. But it’s worth it, right? That’s why we’re here – to try to show our best selves. We can learn about the endless, delightful neuroses when we meet for coffee! (NB: wash your hands thoroughly beforehand, and if you touch my right shoulder remember to touch my left one as well.) So here are some handy hints from the unsuccessful guide of Felicity –

1)   Try to avoid clichés. These include – a picture of you at a music festival, a picture of you acculturating in Thailand, a picture of you snow boarding on an Alp. All great things, but if you spend 5minutes (or 4 hours, depending how thoroughly you are scouring) you will see that every Tom, Prick and Don’tMarry has a picture that looks very the same as yours. Why not try the picture of you at Devonshire Tea, getting intrusive surgery, or that one of you suffering an emotional hangover having thrown your new Mac at the wall as you realise all the music you’ve ever bought is on “The Cloud” and you can’t remember your password.

2)   Clichés, Part Deux: Try to keep “a passion for cinema and music and travel” as economically written as possible. I know it has to be written; I put it in too. I’ll assume you’re a sociopath if you don’t. But don’t bang on about it.

What else can you do that I don’t know about? Can you do the splits without crying? Can you dismantle a pram without aggressively shaking it at some point? If you’ve walked out on a family BBQ because backyard cricket “got too real” I want to know about it. God’s in the details.

3)   Don’t start with ‘well I guess this is the part where I write about myself eh?’ Or ‘My friends say that I can’t leave this part blank’ Or ‘Hmmm, what to say about me…’

You know what guys? Sort your shit out before you take to the keyboard. All that ‘hilarious’ thinking you’re doing on the page, which you want me to read as ‘quirky’ and ‘vulnerable’ and ‘self-reflective’ comes across as ‘no real sense of humour’, ‘disingenuous’ and ‘may not be able to lift me up while we have sex’. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but that’s what I’m taking away from the piece. I’m a little person, it shouldn’t be too much to ask.

4)   Don’t include pictures of you and hot bitches you once dated. It stinks of insecurity. Reverse psychology and playing hard to get have no place on a dating website. In fact, they’re designed so that single people (not always) can avoid that bullshit. Don’t worry; I’m sure you’ve dated in the past, and if you haven’t, I’m not going to hold that against you. But putting in pictures of you and two, drunk chicks fawning all over you don’t float my boat. If anything, they make me want to ignore the boat and see which other boats might be more seaworthy.

5)   Don’t include pictures of you and hot bitches. This is not a typo. I’ve just seen it so many times that I feel it needs reiterating.

6)   I get it; you’ve done a marathon. For every sensible picture of you plastered in a tuxedo at your mate’s wedding is a hero shot of you breaking the finishing line with your arms in the air. BTDubs: Sneaking in the charity’s name? Very clever. But bad news; I hate joggers, so you are just a jogger that likes it for heaps longer than usual. Buh bow.

7)   Pictures of your dilated pupils, wearing metallic face paint and a fluorescent headband gives me a pretty clear idea as to your recreational hobbies. Please keep these photos in; my ‘dickometer’ isn’t as sharp as it used to be.

8)   Put your real height. If I’m shallow enough that a minimum height is necessary, and you want to see if you can negotiate around that with personality, you don’t have a very high opinion of yourself (no pun intended). You should be with a woman who loves you for who you are; I am not that woman. I am a paradoxical feminist who has held onto an archaic, irrelevant, sexist dogma that the man should be taller than the woman. It’s the only weird tradition that I hold onto. No, I have no idea why. Possibly because all the men I have dated have been quite tall so I think kissing without painfully craning your neck to be weird and unnatural. If other women/men combos don’t adhere to this, I applaud you. You’re the normal ones. This really is not you, it’s me.

9)   In your “what you’re looking for” section don’t put the names of other women. It says, “what you’re looking for” not “looking at”. We all have a physical type we’re attracted to, and sometimes a celebrity will personify that type. Great. I’m glad you’ve learnt that about yourself – now stick it in your wank bank, where it will have a nurturing home and tell me what you want in my brain or personality. You’re going to know whether you like my face/body when you look at my photos, and if you’re not into it, then you won’t contact me – mission accomplished.

10) Avoid pictures of you wearing a hat at any cost, and DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT USE THAT FOR YOUR PROFILE PICTURE. Hats say three things: I bought this on holidays and am trying to work it uncomfortably into my everyday life, I participate in detective role-playing games at the weekends or I’m bald. I gots no problem with a bald dude, but I want to know what I’m walking into. And for our vacationing brothers – a fedora is a bold choice for anyone to be photographed in so I’m going to assume you’re either super confident or super deluded. Will I be curious enough to find out the answer? Prolly not.

11) Don’t mention your sister too much. I’ve seen a lot of sister chat. I really like that you’re close to your sister, that you get along with and respect women, but sometimes I get the feeling she’s gonna be on our first date. Strangely, the hovering judgement of a sibling is not a turn on, so try to keep it to a single mention.

12) Call me cray cray, but maybe don’t write that you kept the animals at the recent end of your long-term relationship. Not joking: I’ve seen photos of custody cats more than three times. Why is this helpful to anyone? This is the Good Ship Fresh Start! We all have baggage, but most of us are at least standing in front of the bulging cupboard doors we have crammed it into. Can’t you at least pretend that this is not a bandaid to get you to the next D & M about Connie’s favourite box set?

So these are just my guidelines, not hard and fast rules. In fact given that I’ve not been on a single date in the weeks that I’ve been online (I won’t call it online dating until I’ve been on one) maybe don’t listen to anything I’ve said at all.

It’s courageous stuff putting yourself out there in the first place, and I wish people more luck than I have had in giving it a red, hot go!


Sexy Goggle Face