Plentyoffish Hall of Shame: The Neanderthal

16 Sep

As you are probably aware by now, I am an internet dater. I go through cycles of disillusion with this strange and often murky world, but I can’t resist having an account open nonetheless. I still enjoy reading all the messages I’m probably never going to reply to, despite most of my mail being a mere penning of ‘nice tits’. It’s still good to know. However, a gentleman messaged me recently who I couldn’t just ignore. I wasn’t able to close his message and tut. I had to bite back.

The man in question looks like many others. From his pictures, he struck me as one of your generic, nondescript guys that will put on a Burton shirt, jeans and loafers on the weekend to sink a few pints with ‘the lads’. As our conversation developed, I came to realise that this guy didn’t think much of women with a brain- so for the purposes of these screen shots, I have gifted him undeserved anonymity by replacing his picture with one of celebrity sexist, Richard Keys. Just to clarify, I was not conversing with the ex-Sky Sports pundit with a penchant for smashing things.

'Youre a very attractive girl, why spoil that with all those tats? I dont get it. what happens in 20 yrs when you start to sag??'

'Youre a very attractive girl, why spoil that with all those tats? I dont get it. what happens in 20 yrs when you start to sag??'

Now, I appreciate that tattoos aren’t for everyone. However, this was a particularly tactless message by anyone’s standards. I wasn’t sure about some of his language choices and I wasn’t too keen on the thought of him considering the buoyancy of my breasts. As I was quite taken aback, I looked through his profile. It contained the following sentence under a list of ‘dislikes’:

women who need to dye their hair red and have a million tattoos just to enjoy rock music.

Interesting. I decided to approach this in a diplomatic and eloquent manner.

I thought this was pretty fair. I wanted to put forward the idea of subjective beauty and differences of opinion. I didn’t want to sound quite as condemning as his message, but I couldn’t help bringing up the ludicrous statement in his profile either. I thought this might be the end of our exchange.

Oh no, silly me. Instead of him perhaps getting to hear just how stupid he sounded, he decided to make matters worse. So, just so we’re all clear, according to this guy- women don’t like rock music. Also, the only reason I dye my hair and get tattoos is to fit in with this music I don’t like. We only like Pussycat Dolls and JLS and don’t you dare think of leafing through Kerrang.

As someone who has gone to gigs for over a decade as well as working at a music venue, writing about alternative music and generally rocking wherever I roam, I couldn’t let that one go.

Aw shucks, I can do better than that.

Okay, so maybe I lost my rag a little bit. At least it was subtle? I don’t know why I couldn’t let it drop, perhaps just because I couldn’t get my head round his bizarre way of thinking. Oh well, at least he couldn’t wind me up any more, right?

Uh-oh. The ‘I’m untouchable because I’m a serviceman card’ has been pulled. Let’s just remember that Hitler was also involved with the military, and I hear that he wasn’t exactly the most excellent of chaps to date. He’s right, it is just his opinion that women don’t like rock music. It’s just a shame that it’s such a retarded one. So just to refresh, not only do no women like rock music, but if you watch rugby then you only do so for the fit men. Glad we’ve cleared that one up- I’d better send this transcript to the organisers of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

At least he thinks I sound like I can write for the Guardian. Maybe I started to feel a bit bad for calling him names…

I thought that would be a good place to end this frustrating conversation. Ooh… maybe not…

Oh yes, he’s right. It’s TOTALLY different. And I do feel so stupid to not see his first message as sweet and sentimental as a kitten presenting me with a bunch of roses.

At this point it was with a sigh of exasperation I thought that this matter could draw to a close. The chap clearly wasn’t understanding how much of a backwards twit he was sounding. Silly me…

Oh wow. Sorry, I was too busy drooling over my ‘butch men’ scrapbook to have really taken on board what he was trying to say. Then I was going to put on some metal to listen to but I didn’t have my uniform ironed. But I’m not the right girl for HIM? Well, he’s right… I have a brain and I set my bolt cutters on the chain that attached me to the sink.

In my mind I was flouncing out of this arena of conflict, swinging my hips from side to side and giving him a satisfied smile with my ‘femme-fatale red’ lipsticked lips. There was an empowering theme tune playing- probably something like ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’ by Shania Twain. I was just reaching the door…

It was a feeble, yet angry cry coming from somewhere far behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks then spun around on my killer heels. I gave him a cold look right in his eyes as I opened my mouth to speak.


The single act of correcting the spelling of someone so clearly frustrated and angry was the equivalent of a middle finger and a Street Fighter ‘KO!’ all at once.

Of course, I promptly blocked this cretin.

‘Richard Keys’ may have lost this battle, but I fear there may be plenty more monsters that need to be defeated in this noble quest through the volatile landscape of internet dating.


Red Hot: A Heatwave Through The Eyes of a Ginger

1 Aug

I wouldn't dare show that much shoulder.

‘Ooh that’s better, summer’s finally here. That’s glorious,’ is uttered from sweating faces with relaxed mouths and closed eyes.

‘Oh yes. ‘Int it lovely?’ will say another from the comfort of a sun-faded garden chair, hands clasped and ruddy elbows rested on its searing hot plastic arms.

For our weather-obsessed nation, the proclamation of a good run of weather is akin to Moses’ appearance at the brow of Mount Sinai waving a couple of slabs of stone around. It’ll hit the front pages of every tabloid, usually with some buxom, bikini-clad young fillies ‘making a splash’ or ‘making summer get a bit hotter’ on a beach somewhere.

Your peripheral vision will be invaded by hairy knees and crusty, beflip-flopped feet and my intolerance for sunglasses etiquette abuse soars off the scale. (Unless you are blind or committing the fancy dress cop-out of ‘being a Blues Brother’ then shades should not be worn indoors.) Generally, spirits are high and moods are fantastic.       That is… for most people. But there are other people. Forgotten people. The misunderstood and downtrodden, the ostracised and wretched.

The gingers.


For gingerkind, the utterance of ‘heatwave’ inspires fear as well as igniting a panic buying mission to Boots for soothing gels and sunscreen. ‘Have you not got anything higher than 90?’ is spat out at mousy shop assistants with a sense of urgency seen in disaster films. If you’re not one of this freckled and pasty people then you just won’t understand.

I’ve been living as a ginger for nearly 25 years now, and it never gets any easier. I’m currently in hiding, my true identity concealed beneath a shocking pink mop of hair that actually makes me feel more accepted by society than my natural form. As a kid, I actually hit the jackpot in terms of aesthetic setbacks for the reputation by being a ginger with glasses, braces and really good academic success. Had I had acne I would have been the poster girl for society’s notion of ‘Geek’ across the land. It caused me to be shy and almost painfully quiet, a kid that would have been adored in the speak-when-spoken-to Victorian parental era.

Summer holidays often meant a trip away with my family somewhere sunny, which only complicated my relationship with my gingerness. While all the other kids could run around in the sunshine in a fashion replicated by adverts for Soltan and Haven Holidays, kicking up sand and glowing with heat and happiness- there I was having to shelter from the vicious rays. I distinctly remember trying in vain to tan over the years, to the point where my skin would go so pink that my freckles looked a bit green. Have you ever seen such a sorrowful creature beyond the boundaries of a monster-filled fairytale? No. Before my teens caused me to squirm away from my mother’s sunblock-wielding grasp, every step beyond the safety of shade would see me grabbed and endure a facial slathering of weakly coconut scented grease to protect me from that great burning foe in the sky. 90% of early holiday snaps feature my brother and parents golden and smiling next to what looks like a sulking ghost.

The worst part of a ginger’s summer can actually come at the end, just as you return to normality after your glorious holiday feeling relaxed and refreshed. You can almost lay money on the following kind of conversation occurring:

Acquaintance: ‘Not seen you around for a couple of weeks, are you alright? Where have you been?’

Ginger: ‘Oh, I just got away to Lanzarote for a couple of weeks.’

Acquaintance, confused: ‘What- really?’ Surveys Ginger’s post-holiday glow. ‘Was the weather no good?’

So as you can see, summertime might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

At this gorgeous time of year, please spare a thought for us ginger people. When you complain about the longevity of tan, please just remember that we have a choice of red, pink or white. Such a limited palette can get awful depressing. When a ginger friend returns from holiday, remark on how well they look. Try and see beyond their peeling shoulders and angry looking complexion. What we all secretly hope for is that one day the Elizabethan trend for cadaverously pale skin will knock the day-glo look well and truly off its perch and when that day  happens, you may very well want a ginger friend by your side.

Gingers have feelings too.

F*cked Up Fairytales

27 Jul

What a difference a letter can make. I was up late last night watching Disney on Anytime. When my friend on Facebook chat asked me what I was up to, I told him that I was watching ‘The Princess and the Fog’. With a small mishap on my tip-tapping on the keyboard I transformed the amphibian-friendly traditionalist fairytale into a rather dull adventure of one monarch’s experience with precipitation.

What might happen in this escapade? There will be some kind of hijinks where our heroine will arrive on the scene to save a downtrodden people from the evil clutches of a vicious brute with a textbook evil laugh. He’s heavily engrossed in kicking the crap out of something super cute and fluffy when our Princess turns up to save them. Surely she wouldn’t come to such a dangerous place alone…? Why, of course not. With a fanfare and exultant cheer a silent cloud of fog floats to hover by her side. Princess turns to her trusty sidekick. ‘Let’s teach these jokers a lesson they’ll never fog-et!’ she cries. Without a sound, Fog glides over to the bad guys and makes them feel a little damp and like they need to go grab a jumper.

It was at that point I decided to see what other crap stories I could come up with through a simple titular tweak.

The Pie-Eyed Piper of Hamelin

Once upon a time there was a very troubled town called Hamelin that lay in great valley far, far away. The local cheese plant had recently exploded causing thousands of rats to descend upon the area, which was quite frankly a right hassle. One day a mysterious stranger arrived. The Mayor had found him in the gutter, drinking mead from a battered old shoe. As the paralytic stranger rose to his feet, the Mayor gasped in shock to see an enormous protrusion visible in the front of his britches. ‘Oh, *hic* that’s where I put it.’ slurred the man, who thrust his hand in his pants to then pull out a sizeable pipe.

He then went on to burden the Mayor with his sorrowful life story as drunk people are so inclined to do. The Mayor went on to tell him about the problem the town had been experiencing with the rats. ‘Oh I can deal with that for you.’ said the stranger, confidently. ‘Yeah, I sort out infestations all the time. I’ll use my pipe to lure them out then I’ll kill them all out beyond the valley.’ Delighted, the Mayor implored him to do it as soon as he could with the promise of a handsome reward.

That evening, the piper instructed all of the townsmen to get inside their homes and go to sleep while he set to his task. The next morning, the Mayor came out to the town square and was horrified to find the whole area was teeming with more rats than ever before. He found the piper stood in the middle of them all, wearing an intoxicated grin. ‘What have you done? I thought you had killed all of the rats!’ the Mayor boomed, furiously. The piper’s grin dropped instantly. ‘S**t.’ He whispered. ‘I could have sworn you said ‘children’.’

The Princess and the Pee

There was once an incontinent but very handsome prince who was desperate to marry. He searched high, low and across the land for a bride who would not be offended by his weak bladder, but all in vain. One day, a beautiful Princess called Lady Tena sought shelter from a thundering storm, claiming the constant rain was causing her great discomfort as the sound of running water had an overwhelming effect on her. The Prince’s eyes lit up, ‘could this be her? Is this the pulchritudinous urinating goddess from my wildest dreams?’ He had to be sure.

That night, he offered Lady Tena a room with a bed bearing no less than twenty mattresses. She found it really rather peculiar but was completely shattered after a day wandering around hither and yon. She thanked the Prince with a smile and retired for the evening. The Prince said goodnight and literally wet himself with excitement. He barely slept- the night was spent tossing and turning as he couldn’t stop thinking about the fair Lady’s bladder.

The next day, he awoke to find all of his dreams had come true. He was overcome with joy when, come sunrise, the fair Lady had managed to wet every single mattress in her sleep. They married on the morrow and neither one of them ever felt embarrassed again.

Jack and the Beans Talk

Many years ago in a land far away, a very poor farmer called Jack lived in a knackered little cottage. There were holes in the roof, the wind blew through the windows and the whole building smelt like a farm. To be fair, this might have been because Jack allowed his favourite cow to come inside and stay in his living room. It got his neighbours talking about his relationship with his heifer, but he knew that everything that he and Daisy did was completely consensual.

Jack’s cupboards were full of cobwebs and were tragically sparse. One day, he opened them to try and find something special to make for he and Daisy’s dinner that evening- it was their anniversary. He peered deep inside but there was nothing there. But- wait! There, lying at the back, was a solitary can- barely visible in the darkness. Jack reached inside through the dust and gloom to pull out the tin, and found them to be Baked Beans. ‘Well this is depressing,’ he grumbled aloud. ‘I’ll say.’ exclaimed a voice that was not his own. Jack gasped and looked around. He couldn’t see anybody, and why would he? He hadn’t had a visitor in six years. ‘Down here.’ said the voice again, ‘It’s me, the Beans.’ Jack looked to his hand and realised the tin had revealed a small mouth, which was dribbling bean juice everywhere.

‘Sorry about the mess’ apologised the spitting Beans. ‘It’s okay,’ smiled Jack, who was just grateful to have someone to talk to. ‘Look,’ said the Beans, ‘I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve been experiencing some money problems while I was sat in the cupboard. I’d like to help. I actually assisted Martin Lewis to set up Money Saving Expert, but sadly he was too ashamed to credit a simple tin of beans for the success of his business. Hey, if I help you out with your debts, do you fancy repaying me by bumping off that p***k?’ Jack looked a little puzzled. ‘A bit like in Strangers On A Train?’ he asked. ‘Sure,’ chirped Beans.

Five months later, Jack found himself debt-free and imprisoned for the calculated murder of the Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis. He never saw Beans again, but every night he wished to. He wanted to thank him, because despite his predicament, for the first time in what felt like a lifetime he was surrounded by people who wanted to talk to him… and touch him inappropriately. He served life happily ever after.


Sleeping With The Fishes: The Horrors and Highlights of Internet Dating Pt3

25 Jul

Despite everything I’ve said for the last couple of days, I have actually been on a fair few internet dates. Some were good, some were bad, some were a bit terrifying, some a little hilarious. As a ‘people person’ (eww) I do love Plentyoffish for meeting new folk… and there is something to be said for the sense of receiving fan mail from potential admirers. If I had my way, I’d much prefer to receive mine in physical post format which could get dragged out to me like the postal sacks full of competition entries on Live & Kicking. ‘Dig deep for a winner!’ They always took one off the top.

When I used to live in Manchester I remember it got to a point where I’d be meeting new fish and be going to the same bar every time. It might have been my imagination, but I’m sure I got the odd raised eyebrow from the bar staff. They held back from slipping me a note with the bill that said ‘how much do you charge?’ although it did probably look mightily suspicious. So here I will share some of my most memorable internet dating experiences. I have chosen to be kind and keep anonymity for the gentlemen in question, and the letters of choice have no bearing on their identity. Cross my heart. Well, maybe not for the complete swines.

Mr P

Mr P was funny. I knew we’d get on really well when I found a video of him disco dancing on his Facebook and I found myself laughing and turned on at exactly the same time. Us girls like men who can dance. We had a time of sending essay length messages to each other which were really rather cute. The first date was brilliant and we got on fantastically well. However, it was as I was thinking just that when Mr P decided to tell me he was moving to Mexico. I assure you this has actually happened and it wasn’t an obscure brush-off… Unless he’s really gone to town with finding various Mexican backdrops to take photos next to on Facebook.

It was the second date where things went a little awry. I visited him in Blackpool and went to his house. He lived with his parents so he took me to his room. Here, he whipped out his laptop.  ‘Hello…’ I thought, ‘is he gonna get saucy?’ No. In a completely matter-of-fact and serious manner, Mr P proceeded to show me a selection of YouTube videos putting forward the argument that Disney had been infiltrated by the illuminati. He tried his best to convert me into accepting this conspiracy theory, but got in a strop when I laughed dismissively while he grumbled ‘I thought you were more open minded.’ Hot. Needless to say, the remainder of the day was a little strained.

Have a look for yourself.

Mr S and Mr F

These were two that I really liked. It wasn’t on the same date mind…

When I first met Mr S I didn’t actually think that much of him, but he cruelly tricked me into getting really into him. A few weeks into seeing each other, I happened to notice he had deleted his Plentyoffish account. This may fool you into thinking maybe he liked me, right? Wrong. A week or so later, a new profile popped up saying he would ‘really like to meet a girl I could look after, make cups of tea and buy little presents for.’ Ouch. I know I don’t like tea, but still. As my true soul mate Alan Partridge might say, there was no need for that.

Mr F was a twit. We got on outrageously well on the first night we met. We decided to meet again the following week, when on the day we were to meet he just disappeared off the face of the earth. A few months later he decided to get back in touch and being the future Saint that I am I agreed to attempt meeting up again. We bonded through our scarily similar sense of humour. We saw each other for a while and I found myself really liking him when he decided to tell me that he wasn’t looking for anything with me. I’m not really sure why he was a little surprised and resentful at his stringing me along. Men can be utterly stupid at times.

Mr B

Mr B was a nightmare. He was a Scouser and before we met we bonded over watching football videos on YouTube at ridiculous hours. He looked quite delectable  in his pictures, a bit of an emo-indie thing going on and he was very sweet. When we met up he looked drastically different from his photographs. He had put on a fair bit of weight but I still thought he was pretty cute. I loved his accent and he hada cheeky sense of humour. However, at the end of about 80% of his sentences would come the phrase that the Dating Etiquette Handbook has condemned to the sin bin. ‘That reminds me of my ex’. We still got on pretty well but that was until we went to the bus stop and he decided to tell me that he loved me. I’m sure nearby strangers were able to hear my internal alarm bells going off at this point.

Since then, Mr B deleted and re-added me on Facebook no less than three times while accusing me of all kinds of wrongdoing before turning thoroughly nasty and sending vile emails. Mr B is an example of a toxic fish. Maybe like that one that Homer eats in The Simpsons… that really puffy one. That’s about right.

Puffer Fish

The absolute spit of him the deadly little bastard.

Mr D

I was delighted when I turned up to this date. I walked into the bar and saw him from behind. He turned round and I definitely danced an internal jig while shouting ‘back of the net’ in my mind, but I made sure it didn’t show in my face though. At 34 years old, Mr D was more mature than a lot of people I had gone a date with before and I was quite relishing what those extra years might bring to the conversation. Turns out those extra years brought the mention of his thirteen year old son into our little rendezvous. I promptly aborted this fledgling romance.

Mr C

This was a bizarrely platonic set up where for the first time I felt like I was being someone’s ‘companion’. You usually only hear old people use that word. Mr C was a Canadian who treated me to lunches and sparkling conversation. We met a few times and every single time made me realise I was talking to possibly the most intelligent person I had ever encountered who wasn’t on the telly. He was a professor at a university teaching Christian archaeology. He had lived in Israel and served in their army and could speak ancient Hebrew. We had several discussions that made me feel like a proper person who might go on Question Time and put forward a comment that made the rest of the audience clap and cheer. Sadly, I have lost this snazzy man. He went away to Canada for the summer before moving to Edinburgh in which time I lost my phone and his number. How sad.

It really is something of an exhausting experience. As our society’s need for speed and convenience increases I really do think this system of love-matching will become more normal than ever before. Please don’t let this handful of experiences put you off… I have met some nice ones too. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll get to see a gushy happy ending as the end of this long and arduous journey. Until then, I shall continue to run myself through the relationship mill for your entertainment. You are truly spoilt.

Sleeping With The Fishes: The Horrors and Highlights of Internet Dating Pt2

24 Jul

In my time on Plentyoffish I have come to the devastating realisation that there’s a hell of a lot of incredibly boring people in this world.

When you first sign up to an account, you are presented with a number of boxes to fill on your profile. First, there are the basic details. Your location, ethnicity, hair colour… and of course the wonderfully ambiguous ‘height’ and ‘body type’.  There’s always the ole’ two inch-buffer zone to consider when it comes to gentlemen’s height. And probably other areas for that matter. They always like to make themselves sound bigger than they actually are. At least the guy I met in Liverpool a couple of years ago was honest when he told me he was 5ft 4, albeit too late to cancel our meeting and having to suffer the subsequent awkwardness. With ‘body type’ I’m not really sure what Plentyoffish were thinking. I’m sure even the morbidly obese wouldn’t choose to be anything but ‘average’ in the drop down menu.

Tall woman, short man.

The height thing can obviously also work the other way round. And there was Tom Cruise thinking he had it bad all that time.

However, it’s when you take a look at the ‘Interests’ and ‘About Me’ sections that you can really start to despair. If I had a quid for every time I read ‘Ooh, this is hard. I don’t really know what to put here, but here goes’ I daresay I could have raised enough cash to have bought my own harem of underdressed males to feed me parma ham and draw me kittens all day. There is nothing more discouraging than ‘meeting’ someone who can’t even tell me why they’re interesting enough to join them on a date. I have also seen enough cliches and beige interests to put together an idea of a brand new drinking game. I call it ‘Plentyofboringbastards Bingo’ and I envisage a gamecard where you need to tick off and drink shots for a number of dull interests, personality traits and examples of poor language as you click on profiles at random. There can be quick fire rounds too where the following rules can apply:

  • For every ‘lol’, down a shot.
  • ‘I’m laid back and easy going’, prove it by lying down and having tequila poured into your mouth.
  • ‘I’m a bubbly person’, well we can soon rectify that. Down some gin.
  • ‘I like going out, but also staying in’, sit in the naughty corner as punishment for their stating the effing obvious.
  • For any of the following interests, pour vodka directly into your eyes like Eyeball Paul in ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’… ‘films’, ‘footie’, ‘having a laugh wiv me mates’, ‘women’, ‘socialising’, ‘music’.

I guarantee you will be wretching and hurling through alcohol in no time, hopefully easing the pain of your sad and lonesome quest to find ‘The One’ in this dearth of humanity. Obviously I’m not saying that things like ‘music’ and ‘films’ aren’t valid interests, of course I have similar. The problem is when there is nothing else to add to that. I’m pretty sure my old Tamagotchi had a more healthy range of pastimes and he died about fifty times. It does get a little demoralising when you’re engaged in a search for love and happiness and all you seem to find are living, breathing cardboard cut-outs of human beings. To be fair, my interests section may have gone to the other extreme. They read as follows:

Live music Chelsea FC Charity Shops
daydreaming kittens Jameson Irish Whiskey
British Comedy finding adventures in everything leaves bigger than my own face
trinkets haberdasheries pressing the button on fast food drink lids
stamping on mushrooms Parma ham tattoos
blogging spamming my friends news feeds on Facebook sandwiches
memories onesies bargains
squashing pie tins flat naps affection
the smell of bonfire night rescuing snails from pavement death writing lists
new stationary cartoon octopi things with cute faces
inventing Pokemon pickled onion Monster Munch puns
cake Fantasy Football  

I thought it might be a good way of weeding out a chap that might suit me quite well. Don’t you think?

I do realise that I have made myself sound like I would never meet anyone off this strange and ethereal site. Well you would be entirely wrong to think that, but I am saving that for another time…

Sleeping With The Fishes: The Horrors and Highlights of Internet Dating Pt1

23 Jul

I, Miss Lucy Anne Sanderson, am a serial internet dater. I’m really hoping that the reaction to that statement would be more of a ‘what, really? Why?!’ rather than a ‘Yeah, thought you’d probably have to.’ Contrary to popular narrow-minded belief, it is actually more socially acceptable to partake in this activity than ever before. The once ostracised figure in the pastime playground has finally been allowed in to play ball with the inner sanctum of normality, leaving poor old trainspotting and stamp collecting to get their heads flushed down the toilets at lunchtime. The other day my friend told me that she actually saw that happen in her old school. I always thought it only happened in the films but thinking about it happening to someone in real life is horrible- have you not seen what lives in there?

Yes, Willem Dafoe as a terrifying germ.

Anyway, I have been on and off the internet dating circuit for probably about two years now. I’ve dabbled with the classier brands like Match and eHarmony, but my most consistent place of choice is plentyoffish. It is free, but that comes at a potentially higher price of higher chaff:wheat ratio as well as having a large school of certain fish who are looking solely for ‘fun’ (I hope you appreciated my very subtle aquatic pun there.) Now, call me old fashioned, but I remember a time where ‘fun’ could refer to a game of Ker-Plunk or a boisterous round of Blind Man’s Bluff.  If you are considering internet dating for the first time, please do NOT under any circumstances be under the illusion that the pouting guy with his shirt off and iPhone held aloft in his picture is wanting to play tag when he asks if you’re up for some ‘fun lol’. He’s usually the guy with ‘I’m looking for a sexxi women’ as his headline. I’ve learnt that over-sexed men struggle with plurals on this site.

In fact, a high proportion of Plentyoffish is over-run with topless males. Sorry lads, I’m 90% sure that this trend doesn’t apply to the pictures of girls on there, but I’m fairly sure there’s a fair few who choose to wear very little on a daily basis. It does get to a point when you get a torso send you a message saying ‘great tits’, that you think to yourself  ‘should we just cut out the middle men and let our prospective chests get on with it?’

You may be quite surprised to learn that the above example of a boobs-related message is really quite tame in terms of lewd advances. Of course you get the overtly crude that make you gag. These surprises are like coming back from a fortnight’s holiday and discovering the freezer got switched off and it had chicken inside. Those messages aren’t befitting of repetition, just Google ‘bad porn scripts’ and you’ll get the gist. I have become quite fond of the hilariously awful ones.

Subject Line: “I’D LIKE TO…”

Message: “… kick your back doors in ;)”

Whether that was a suggestion of smut of a threat of burglary, I was really quite taken aback by that particular approach. Then of course there was:

Subject Line: “Hi”

Message: “You Remin me of a Toe.! Not because your Small & Cute.!
It’s because when Im Drunk I would bang you on the Coffee”

Yeah, there’s not much I can say about that one. Especially because I’m kind of ashamed by the fact the grammatical errors possibly offended me more. The king of salacious messages was definitely the guy that mentioned KFC and wanton sex acts in the same sentence but I’m not going to sully my blog with that particular sentiment. Now, if I’ve got you thoroughly put off by this peculiar world you may be entirely horrified to hear that the aforementioned species are not, in fact, the worst thing about Plentyoffish. No, there is something much worse…

… To Be Continued.

CV is not an STI.

14 Jul

I can’t believe I’m about to say. Television- it lies. I’ve seen ‘Benefit Busters’. I thought unemployment was meant to be a riot; people seem to go out of their way to not have to go to work.  I saw a fella pretend that he was so far from being able bodied that he didn’t even have the strength to lift a pan to cook for himself, let alone go to work. The poor love was signed off and given loads of lovely free money, then he was subsequently snapped slinging a hefty bag of golf clubs into the back of his car like Jean Claude Van Damme dressed in Argyle patterned  Ping. To be fair, he didn’t lie. He wasn’t caught lifting pans.

I am officially unemployed for the first time in about four years. I have to say, I’m not a fan.It’s not really seen as the coolest way to live your life. Even my trusty thesaurus wanted to bring me down when he offered me the following synonyms to my current position.


'Down', 'idle', 'loafing'. Thanks a bunch thesaurus. I think I might have to object to 'on the bench' mind you... there's plenty of gents who do that professionally and seem to pocket tens of thousands a week. Pretty sure that ain't JSA.

I’ve been engaged in slave labour for the last three months…sorry, that’s ‘interning’ to the lay man. I finished this free trip through my dream job last week and am now left feeling a little dishevelled and bemused. It sort of reminds me of ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ if you’ve ever managed to sit through that pile of misguidedly hyped tosh. I got shoved in though the front door, entered a world of wild fancy and excitement (didn’t get a smooch from Johnny Depp, mind) then tumbled out the other side with the light of coherence snuffed from my eyes. The light is replaced by the glare of my glowing computer screen in my foiled attempts to job seek.

I do love the term job seeking. ‘To seek’ is a verb generally banished to the realms of old-age storytelling and wizardry, so much so that one may imagine that a conversation with the job centre might come out in wizened and wise riddles like Yoda ‘welcome workless wanderer, job it is you seek?’ Or perhaps some kind of spurious mantra a la ‘Field of Dreams’ with Kevin Costner. He was still quite dishy in that one. In reality, my first interaction with the Job Centre made me realise that us jobless layabouts have a soundtrack to our sorrow and it sounds something like this:

Bloody ‘Spring’. I was held listening to this cheerful piece on a loop for around twenty minutes, occasionally punctuated by a recorded lady pretty much saying, ‘look, not being funny but are you sure you don’t just want to fill the form in online? It’s probably like loads easier and to be honest our phone operators don’t really want to talk to you anyway.’ No, recorded lady. Like the great Magnus Magnusson, I’ve started so I’ll finish thank you very much. I guess the song choice was supposed to be inspiring, but if I had been living under my duvet for three weeks in a pit of despair after a redundancy I’m sure each stroke of the strings would feel like a knife in the heart. It’d probably only inspire to go out and punch butterflies or daffodils and eat lamb kebabs in front of new mother ewes.

My relief upon reaching a human voice was shortly lived. I was told my phone call would probably take something in the region of half an hour, but once all the fun questions like ‘name?’, ‘date of birth?’ and ‘address?’ (the JSA’ a/s/l?’) were out of the way I realised that I would be spending the next twenty seven minutes saying ‘no’ in a journey through how pitiful and potless my existence really is.

I’m sure this is a bit of a trick, because after the seventeenth time of saying ‘no’ she whipped a curveball in there. ‘Do you still want to claim for Job Seeker’s Allowance?’ I was pretty zoned out at this stage. It  reminded me of the warm hungover mornings in my history lecture theatre where I let my eyes stay open, but only by some magical force like a doll that only ‘goes to sleep’ when you lie her flat. I wondered what might have happened had I not snapped myself out of this hypnotic recital of negatives. If I said ‘no’ to that one would it have been like the first round of ‘Take Your Pick’ with Des O’Connor;  a gong would be struck, everyone would laugh at me and I’d be kicked out with no cash?

I do try to remain chipper. I’ve been taking my job seeking on the road and asking in shops and bars as well as holding out hope for a dream writing job to materialise. A friend on Facebook chat got confused by my lack of capitalisation when I told him I was spending the day ‘handing out cvs.’ He wondered if it was easily treatable. You end up feeling like an apologetically desperate door-to-door salesman, scampering up and extending the futile question ‘Erm, don’t suppose you have any vacancies?’  I even went into Subway and asked. They gave an enthusiastic ‘yes, we are looking for staff as it happens!’ but I almost felt myself trying to grip onto my CV in a tug-o-war against signing up to misery as I handed it over the stinking counter.

I am now starting to consider that my joblessness may be down to something different. I met up with one of my dearest, bestest friends in all the world and talked to her about my job hunting. I read her my CV and she nearly wet herself laughing. I would like to close by publishing the ‘Hobbies and Interests’ section of my Curriculum Vitae. I’ve handed this out around thirty times with the belief it’d make me sound interesting and memorable. In hindsight, it might sound a bit ridiculous.

Hobbies & Interests

I love independent cinema and going to museums and places with plenty of history. I’m happiest rummaging through the rails in charity shops, kicking massive piles of dry leaves, baking cakes and applying for TV quiz shows. I won ‘The Weakest Link’.

I am a live music glutton and go to a lot of gigs and have a keen interest in emerging artists, but have also been known to do housework while singing along to Barry White.

I keenly follow the Premier League and am a life-long Chelsea supporter; so living in Manchester for six years was tricky at times. I’m a Fantasy Football obsessive and beat the whole Rock Sound office in their mini league last season.

Yeah… I may never get employed.

But at least I don’t ‘enjoy films, music and socialising with my friends.’ I don’t even like my friends.