I bit the proverbial dating bullet this week and joined Guardian Soulmates. At a cost of thirty bloody two quid. I clearly mean business. I’m so tired of the hassle and nonsense I have to put up with on free dating sites so I thought there had to be a better way. Surely, if you’re parting with hard-earned cash, you must be serious about meeting someone. Hmm … the jury is still out, but here’s how my first 24 hours on Guardian Soulmates went.
- The first person to view me was anonymous and aged 99. I could have cried. OK, so I suspect he wasn’t actually 99, although you never know, but this wasn’t a good start. Took Sugar Daddy to a whole new meaning.
- Earnest profiles. I’d been warned that the profiles may be a little ‘Guardian reader.’ Lots of vegetarian, yoga-loving, botanists on there, and they were right. I’d say 9/10 profiles I’ve read I’m convinced have been written by professional writers. I then wondered whether that was a legitimate service I could offer, bearing in mind I could tell a man exactly what not to write in a profile, but most profiles are so well written. Interesting, funny, smart … just my type of men. However, some are perhaps a little too intellectual for me and half of what they’ve said goes over my head. Now I’m not stupid, I’ve got 7 o-levels I’ll have you know, but I’ve clearly been on Tinder too long because I think I’ve just gotten used to stupid profiles. Anything will impress me now to be honest.
- Age limits. This is the one thing that really worried me, the age issue rearing its ugly head again. I’ve never lied about my age (well, give or take a year or so), but it’s really disheartening to see men my age putting in their profile that they’re looking for women ten years younger than them. And I get it. I’ve always dated men slightly younger than myself, but I’ve always been open to at least talking to men my age and a little older (perhaps not aged 99 though.) I’ve not seen one profile of a man my age say he’s looking for someone of a similar age, and not only are they missing out on brilliant (ahem) women like myself, it’s a real pain in the arse that I seem to fall into this weird age thing where I’m happy to date men my age, but they don’t want to date a woman my age. So I’m left with 25 year-old guys who, and I quote, think I’m a “Gorgeous MILF”, or 99 year-old men that don’t even leave a message.
- Let’s just say I haven’t exactly been inundated with messages. In fact, I’ve had four. Three from guys who I didn’t find attractive and were a lot older than me, and one from a guy who really isn’t my type looks-wise, but he’s funny, interesting and charming and I’m willing (how gracious of me) to at least have a phone call with him. I’ve been brave and messaged about a dozen men I like the look and sound of, and not one of them has replied. That may be because they aren’t paid members and can’t reply, which begs the question, WHAT’S THE BLOODY POINT OF YOU BEING ON THE SITE IF YOU CAN’T TALK TO PEOPLE, or they just don’t find me attractive. Both options are shit, and quite frankly, if it continues like this, there’s no point in me paying for another month.
- Intellectual conversation. Granted, I don’t have much to go on, bearing in mind only one person has deigned to start a conversation with me, but instead of going straight in for the trifecta of standard dating questions – “have you been on here long, what was your last date like and what are you looking for?” – I’ve found myself having to up my pun game, or as he called it, “A playful use of half-rhyme,” talk about myself more, rather than talk about them, and above all, have a respectful first conversation instead of someone just shouting, “Nice tits” at me.
- It’s such a relief not to have to wade through hundreds of topless photos, of men wrestling tigers, or holding a massive fish. Instead, your profile photo has to be a clear headshot of you, and the additional photos are normal. Men in suits, at parties, on holiday, skiing (lots of skiing photos), and not a ‘just got out of the shower’ photo in sight.
I don’t really have much else to add at this stage as I am clearly not proving very popular at all. It’s early days but again, I’m left wondering … what is it about me that men clearly don’t like? Too old? Too fat? Too ginger? Too awesome? Yeah, has to be the latter one right? But seriously, I know I’m probably an acquired taste, but I had hoped that a different type of man might appreciate the fact that I’m not your typical Barbie doll type of woman with boobs hanging out and lips inflated. (And ladies, if that’s your jam, you go for it!)
Of course, people have shared with me their stories about how a workmate found love on Guardian Soulmates, and they’ve now been married for ten years with half a dozen kids in tow, but it’s not helpful. As lovely as it is. Because I’ve heard stories like that about every other dating site. And it just reinforces the fact that it’s not me that someone wants.
So there we have it, my first 24 hours on Guardian Soulmates. The man I’ve been speaking to has actually arranged an appointment with me to talk to me on the phone. Which I obviously found hilarious. Too polite to just call me, he’s asked if he may speak with me at 8pm on Monday night. I can’t decide if it’s too (for want of a better word) anal (fnar) … or just quite sweet. But talking to him has made me realise one thing. That there are normal, intelligent men out there that perhaps would appreciate a woman like me, and even if he’s not my type, and I don’t renew my membership, it was worth spending £32 just for that.