Tag Archives: plentyoffish.com

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)

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.

BOOM!

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.

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 Table..lol”

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.