I mentioned last year that I’ve been writing a book about dating in your 40s and beyond. Someone asked how it was going, and I launched into a massive tirade (not just a rant) about the state of dating right now and explained that the book has stalled. You see it’s hard to write about something that makes you so angry. Well, it’s not hard, but I doubt I’d sell many books if it was just me moaning in every chapter. So in order to catharticise (that’s definitely a word) the whole issue – aka get shit off my chest, I thought I’d explain to you the abuse I’ve received online this week, on one dating site, in just one week, just so you can see where I’m coming from.

 

For the record, none of my profile photos are suggestive, remotely … saucy or, I would argue, particularly sexy. I mean, I’m in my gym kit in one photo, jeans in another, there’s one of my face, and one of me in a red dress. No boobs, no pouting, no layers and layers of make-up, just me. To add to that, my profile states that I’m not going to talk to anyone that doesn’t have a photo, and I suggest that men don’t call me babe or hun if they want an answer.

 

The first message that stands out is one from a man who lives in London, who says he’s 42 (but I think he’s younger – a lot of man say they’re older so they can talk to older women), and, from the photo, he looks mixed race. I mention that for a reason. His first message said, and I doubt he’s going to win any Pulitzer prize soon, “Sexy.”

 

OK. Thanks?

 

I never know what to say when guys just give you their opinion of you. I mean at least it’s positive and not “Too fat”, which I’ve had before, but still, what on earth are you meant to say to that? So I said nothing.

 

Three days later, he messaged me again … something slightly more direct. “Wanna black man in you?” And they say romance is dead. And also, I sincerely hope my Dad isn’t reading this.

 

I replied, somewhat restrained, “No, I’m good thanks,” and hoped that would be the end of it.

 

He replied:

 

 

So that’s nice. Now firstly, bearing in mind my own child is mixed race, I’d say that I’m probably not the first person that could ever be considered a racist, but because I’d deigned to say no to him, race was brought into it. And secondly, I’m a ‘slappa’ because I said no? I think the poor bloke is a little confused.

 

I won’t lie, even though this person means nothing to me, and he was easily blocked, it’s hard being called names, even by strangers on the internet. I’ve now been called ‘too fat’, a ‘white slappa’ and the next person I’m going to introduce you to went on to suggest something entirely different.

 

He had no profile photo so when he messaged me, “Hello Kate,” I didn’t bother replying. Just like I said in my profile. He left it a while and tried again. Actually, I tell you what, why don’t I just show you what he said. In all fairness, I shouldn’t have replied in the first place, and then autocorrect changed the word ‘you’ to ‘yourself’, which is what he’s wanging on about, but here it is, in all its glory – (be warned, use of graphic language):

 

 

I shouldn’t have replied in the first place, but I’m so tired of the bullshit on dating sites. And the fact is, I don’t deserve to be spoken to like that, I really don’t, especially from a 54 year old bloke that really should know better. I’m tired of it. But then I’ve been saying, “I’m tired of it” for years haven’t it?

 

It’s difficult, nigh on impossible, to even have an adult conversation on dating sites without it resorting to insults because some men can’t get what they want. It’s juvenile, disgusting, and yet they continue to do it because it’s anonymous.

 

I still don’t know what the answer is. Do you?

 

kate sutton

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