I love a love story.
My parents have a great story. Don’t even try to compete. The story of how they came to be is, frankly, ridiculous.
The place was Bahrain and the year was 1969. My father saw my mother and he turned to his pilot friend and said “Who is that?”. “Don’t even try” said the friend, who now has no name because I can’t remember it, “You’ll never get anywhere with her”. My father would not be deterred. After a lot of pestering from nameless friend my mother eventually agreed to a blind date. What followed includes hot pursuit (of my mother), a jilted fiancée, humid far flung locations, love letters, a war zone, two weddings, red alerts… I told you it was ridiculous. In comparison I don’t remember meeting my husband. At all. It was a group thing and I met lots of people that day. He remembers me. Which just makes me feel worse.
We became friends (I don’t remember how) and then one day I just became aware of him in an entirely different way. And then I liked him. And then I really liked him. He grew on me, “Like fungi” he jokes.
Nowadays people meet via the internet. It’s been estimated that in 20 years time more than half of new couples will have met online. Currently about a third of people meet their partners through dating sites/apps and social media. Problem is saying “We met on Tinder” doesn’t sound romantic. But then I guess “We met at work” isn’t that sexy either.
When my friend Hayley was on the online dating scene (she isn’t anymore so you missed out) we spent an entire afternoon on the dating app Tinder. Tinder matches you with people in your area. Then you swipe; left for no, right for yes. It’s brutal.
I took control of the phone, so H couldn’t see the man and make a rash judgement and I read out the suitors’ profiles. We cried with laughter for hours. Men have a lot to learn about dating profiles. And photos. One man’s profile pic was of his old Vauxhall Astra, another was a bike. Plenty of men post photos of themselves naked or shirtless. I find it incredible that this works.
50 Shades of Grey has a lot to answer for. I lost count of the number of men describing themselves as “The Real Mr Grey”. Who knew there were so many kinky drop-dead-gorgeous billionaires around?
My absolute favourite was Gimp Mask Man whose profile pic was, yes you guessed it, a headshot of him wearing a black PVC gimp mask. All you could see were his nostrils. His hobbies included mummification.
People put the most personal, private things about themselves out there for all to see. Sometimes it defies belief. But then I guess it works because it’s hugely popular.
What I think these people are missing is the human connection. What if their profile doesn’t truly reflect what a great person they are? Some people are terrible at selling themselves, I know I am, I can never write my own CV. What if the person you left-swiped is warmer/funnier/better looking in the flesh? You’ll never know.
My husband and I once discussed what we’d put on our online dating profiles (without photos) and it became immediately apparent that we wouldn’t have chosen one another which made us laugh a lot. My parents certainly wouldn’t have chosen one another. They are opposites to the core. But opposites who have built a life together. Married for over forty years with three daughters and six grandchildren. And not a gimp mask in sight.