Tag Archives: men

Plentyoffish Hall of Shame: The Experiment

27 Dec

It is safe to say that my single life has been constantly punctuated by instances of frustration and confusion. Like many girls I know gathering dust on the shelf, I’m quite inclined to think that I’m actually quite a catch. None of this ‘why, God, WHY??’ thanks very much. I know so many intelligent, ambitious, confident females that seem to struggle finding themselves a man. What’s going on?

Things sort of come to a head when you realise that you even struggle when signed up to an internet dating site like Plentyoffish. Sometimes I wonder how a girl like me is perceived on there. I know I’m not like a lot of other girls. My blindingly garish hair, tattoos, piercings and eccentric approach to life may be too much for some. When my list of interests includes amongst others, ‘leaves bigger than my own face’, ‘pickled onion Monster Munch’ and ‘moderate moshing’… I know I’m certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t even like tea.

There have been those moments when I wonder what’s going on that I turn to male friends and see if I can get that different point of view through testosterone-tinted glasses. One word that seems to crop up quite a lot is ‘intimidating’. It was a strange revelation for someone who spends much of her life imitating cats, marvelling at shiny things and crying at Disney films. But the more I thought about it, maybe that’s true for a lot of us confident girls. I may be soft as a play doh kitten, but perhaps my strength of character splattered across my dating profile can be off putting to the male species.

I decided to conduct an experiment.

I’m remembering what I learnt in Mr Unsworth’s science class to detail what this experiment entailed. Coincidentally, I actually quite fancied him.

AIM:

I wish to put to the test the notion that opinionated girls with strong personalities ‘intimidate’ the male population. Furthermore, I want to see if ‘alternative’ looks and interests are less favoured than the ‘normal’. Basically, do I scare men off?

HYPOTHESIS:

I think that by making an internet dating profile that makes me sound like a more ‘normal’ character with generic interests, thoughts and feelings, I will be more favoured amongst the male populace. I think that by sounding like less strong a character, more men will try and talk to me. I will try my best to not cry as I implement abbreviations and use the word ‘lol’.

METHOD:

  1. Create new profile. To make it a fair experiment, I have used pictures of myself, the test subject. I just happen to be a couple of years younger, a more natural hair colour and have had my tattoos edited out.

    Fake Me

    I never said I was any good at Photoshop. My poor bare boobies.

  2. I exaggerated the colour of my eyes and did some light editing as so many females feel inclined to do in profile pictures.

    Wholesome

    I got a lot of 'are your eyes really that blue???' messages. I started to wish they were. I've fallen into the Photoshop trap. Wholesome though, right?

  3. I chose a suitably ‘dating profile’ standard user name and headline. I became ‘Sxigrrl’ who wanted to tell the world that ‘GiRlS jUsT wAnNa HaVe FuN!!!’
  4. In the main body of my profile, I told only the truth… but chose to project myself in a different way. I also threw in a selection of text-speak abbreviations and dating profile clichés for good measure:

‘I really don’t know what to put here but here goes…!!!!!!!!

I’m a bubbly, fun lovin girl… love life, love having a laugh with the girlies!
Erm… what else? I’m a propa girly girl realli, pink is my fave colour and I’m always out shoppin! My mates all say I’m a bit crazy and random but hey! I love nights out but also love nights in cuddled up on the sofa with that special sumone.

At the minute I’m a barmaid, it’s a right laugh. I’m not sure what I’m planning on doing in the future. What makes me unique…ermm….my DNA?? LOL I dunno!!

I like films, all sorts of music, TV and SHOES LOL

Anyways, I think that’s enough for now, wanna know anything else just ask 😉 ‘

RESULTS:

The results were pretty incredible. In the first hour of it’s creation, ‘Sxigrrl’ got thirty-seven messages to my real profile’s two. This could be a trend that would continue throughout the experiment, with at least forty-plus messages with each log-in to Sxigrrl. Over Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Sxigrrl got one hundred and thirty-nine messages to real profile’s thirty-five.

In the two weeks of this experiment, my real profile got one hundred and seventy eight messages. I’m afraid I can’t tell you how many Sxigrrl got because they start to automatically delete messages when you’ve reached four hundred.

CONCLUSIONS:

Sweet and simple is more appealing to mankind. It would seem that it is a sad truth that girls that have a lot to say for themselves can be a bit off putting. Why, though? Maybe men think they’re too much like hard work. Perhaps they think that here’s a girl who will talk the hind legs off a donkey. Of course, my profile may make me look mentally unhinged.

But there were other interesting things to be learnt. Sxigrrl, despite her name, got less crude messages than real me. Do tattooed, ‘alt’ girls get judged in a different light? Are we automatically a ‘bad girl’? Thanks a lot Bowling For Soup.

Despite this, I also learnt something which I took great pride in. Despite having a measly amount of messages than my uncomplicated alter-ego, the ones I did receive were infinitely more interesting. Sxigrrl’s neverending inbox may have had a queue of suitors waiting to grab her attention, but if she’d managed to gain much from the generic compliments and ‘Hi, how’s u’ messages I would be most surprised.

So, what I conclude is this. Be yourself. So what if the road is long and your options are scarce. What we can put faith in is that when we do find that person we click with, they’re going to like you for you. Well, that’s the theory anyway.

So long, Sxigrrl. Okay, I might still be you for a bit longer… I grew to like the fan mail. There’s still 107 unread messages to get through.

(Published at Lovescene Magazine)

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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.

Heartbreak.

14 Jul

So, just over a month ago I embarked on a very intense and all consuming relationship. I fell totally in love. It was such a wonderful month. I couldn’t think of anything else. For the first two weeks I was at it three times a day. There was so much excitement, so much passion, there would be little surprises to keep me on my toes. There were only a handful of occasions that I missed out on the opportunity to spend time together and that’s because of work. I did consider pulling a sickie once or twice. I didn’t eat regularly, I neglected friends, some days I would do my make up in only ten minutes rather than the standard minimum of twenty five. I would leap out of bed early every day to make sure I didn’t miss a minute of being together. Those first two weeks this all-encompassing affair would prevent me from doing anything else freely. I planned my time around my beau.

But then things changed. The three times a day petered out to just two, then, to my horror I had to adjust to having entire days without. My infatuation and such heavy involvement in this heart-wrenching love affair made this too much to bear. He did come back. But I only got to see him once a day… and not for very long at all. All of my spare time was spent waiting, wanting to be reunited again. Then last weekend after the buildup of emotion and my free-fall to the realm of obsession, it was all over. He left me. World Cup 2010 is over.

I am heartbroken.

Part of me feels that the emotional impact of that song is somewhat undermined by the truly bemusing series of images they flash in front of your eyes… perhaps a tactic to baffle the heartbroken out of their misery.

I know I’m just in that break up stage where you can’t believe its happened. Its all a bit surreal and you feel a bit numb. You can’t really take it all in and you feel a little dazed like waking from some kind of hideous dream. I found myself buying two-for-one Ben & Jerry’s in Sainsburys this week. Obviously this is never a bad thing, but ’tis surely the sign of a broken heart. Or someone who just has a hankering for ‘Phish Food’.

My room is now in some kind of order at least. It took a while getting round to it. I’ve got clean underwear and I combed my hair. I just let these things slide I was so blinded by all the endless, endless football. I can’t even remember the last time I clipped my toenails. In fact I was playing with them yesterday and they are really rather claw like. I nearly tore through my leggings… yes, leggings, when i misjudged the location of the leg-hole.  Something about long fingernails on men make me feel physically sick. I was sat at the back of a Magic Bus the other evening watching a tall, slight man with a long pinched face and shoulder-length grey frizzy hair…hair that was so dry it could be used for kindling… thumb a cigarette he drew from his shirt pocket. He had such long fingernails that his hands naturally rested in feminine positions. I heaved a bit. Then when he began to claw through his awful scraggly hair with them and I think my facial expressions went on socially unacceptable auto-pilot. To cut a long story short, he was one of them that looked like the caricature of a sex pest.

I'm not talking as bad as this... I don't think he would be able to get his bus fare from his pockets. I don't understand this. Nothing can ever get done surely? If we were all like you, sir, the world would fall apart. He looks part man, part tree. Part pasta.

And I’m not talking like this either…

Bit less stabby.

I’m talking like this….

I don't know why but this goes right through me. Not in the literal sense like Freddy's would, but in the hideous cringe sense.

I was considering whether nor not I would share what just happened in the locating of this picture through the simple search of ‘man with long fingernails’. But what I discovered was just too weird not to share.

There is a site called ‘Long Unpolished Fingernails on Men: This is a positive website about (men with) long, unpolished fingernails, and people liking long, unpolished nails on men.’   http://nails.hyperphp.com/

There is an ‘images’ section, where gentlemen (like ‘Hans’ pictured above) upload photographs of their nails in various poses, holding oranges, stationery, in front of a boot, maybe in fetish wear; this is all detailed in the running ‘News’ feed on the main page. But even better there is a steamy ‘Stories’ section where you have the chance to read some of the following…

The System Administrator by Matthew
I’m at work as a computer expert and have to fix a software-problem during off-hours. It looks like it’s going to be a lonely, boring night, untill the local system administrator turns out to have longer nails.

The Fight by Matthew
Someone gets killed for being gay and I am the prime suspect. I meet the long-fingernailed friend of the deceased and he swears he wants to use his nails on the killers.

The Amsterdam Man by Matthew
I’m dressed in jeans wearing my own fake long fingernails and meet someone into leather and having long fingernails too.

Matthew sure has been a busy boy. I don’t know how he would manage so much typing with his long nails. He better actually have these long nails he keeps banging on about or I will feel thoroughly cheated by the fickle veil of fiction.

Just to add the the thoroughly odd corner of the internet I had found myself in, it was exacerbated tenfold by a pop-up I hadn’t realised had appeared which automatically played a video of a German chef detailing how to make Chocolate Mountains in his native tongue with a mildly creepy translator voice-over running over the top, talking about softened gelatine, bain marie’s, shaved almonds and whipped cream. I couldn’t work out where these voices were coming from on such a strange website. Deliciousness undermined by peculiarity.

This has been the ultimate digression.

To summarise, I am a bit football-less and sad. I was going to go onto the wider scope of my heartbreak and go into the fact that I have kicked the internet dating habit. I have some stories to tell. But they can wait til next time. It might end up becoming a bit Bradshaw but I’m sorry. I’ve gone awfully embittered over matters of the heart at late, not helped with each time I see someone from my year at school has got married or is having a kid or their fourth year anniversary or something. I will try and serve up what would essentially be a horribly whiny girly topic in the most rugged way possible. Like humus made from gravel.