IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU
In another life, when I was sweet and innocent Nice Etoile (prior to metamorphosing into weary, disillusioned Not Nice Etoile), a bloke living in Monaco wrote to me on a dating site. His profile was short and pretty bald (like him, apparently), with the only question exciting enough for him to answer being: ‘What are you good at?’ His reply, to guarantee ensnaring a gorgeous woman?
Well, here I am again, some years later, still perusing the mugshots of the mugs who can’t seem to string one word together. Occasionally I meet with one of them for a drink; although last time, my date arrived twenty minutes late – not for any specific reason, he told me, but because he couldn’t get it together to leave on time to get his train (gee, flattering) – and then proceeded to take my having a glass of wine with him (which I bought myself, foolishly arriving at the appointed hour, tsk) as some kind of contract to spend the night with him. But fear not, dear reader (the Bronte Sisters had exactly the same problem), I managed to arrive home alone, AND with both hands intact, having extracted them – several times – from his paws throughout the evening. He wrote the following day to say how lovely it would have been to have spent the night with me. Not if he’d wanted to wake up alive in the morning, it wouldn’t.
Anyway, missive pops into my mailbox from someone new. It’s cogent, with punctuation (I’m in love!), quite jokey and jolly. I take a look at his profile.
No photo, but he describes himself as easy-going, sophisticated and fun. Says he’s a film-maker and Radio 4 presenter, who’s been around the world three times.
Well-mannered and respectful of others – especially women. Smells good and funny. (Never mind, I can always stand downwind of him).
I write back. I’ve done a lot of work for Radio 4, I say, perhaps we’ve passed in a corridor at Broadcasting House at some point.
Ah, he replies, I mostly record my stuff at BBC Birmingham.
He volunteers the fact he’s made heaps of award-winning documentaries for programmes such as the flagship BBC series Panorama, directed 30 TV commercials, been 2nd Unit Director on 20 feature films – mostly flying and action scenes – along with being shot at within an inch of my life from Northern Ireland to Bosnia, survived three helicopter crashes, two plane crashes [does he have a knack of upsetting pilots?] – now I’m sounding like Dan Dare! he writes.
Tells me he lives in Soho, but other than enquiring where I live, he asks nothing else about me.
I tell him I live in SW London on the river, third swan on the left.
He asks me out.
I say OK, but can I please see a pic beforehand? Nothing to do with aesthetics, I’d just like to have an idea of who I’m meeting. He replies that he has his reasons for not posting a photo – some 3 years ago, his picture was stolen for passport fraud; someone in Italy, where the Mafia lives! He has no scanner or copier – I binned them – but he’s never had any problem with his looks, as years back, on a film, I doubled for Steve McQueen, so that may give you some idea.
So I suggest he sends a photo from his computer to a private email address. Or tell me his last name, or the name of the Soho media production company he says he had for 20 years.
He disappears for a few hours, though in the meantime takes another gander at my profile. Eventually he sends a message:-
You have not told me a joke yet…or do I have to pay for them!
It may seem strange to you but I do not have a pix of me on my computer. Have some on my walls. Including one taken by David Hockney.
If you had my last name, and my company – you would be on a search engine in a flash. As mentioned, I am very wary of putting personal details on the web (not that I distrust you one bit!)..for others tap in. As I have experienced. To my cost.
Also, I am not a fan of pix. If you had not had one I would have still answered for, to me, the profile says a lot more. Pix are, of course, invariably flattering. A month ago I met a woman for drinks and her pix was obviously some ten years old. And she was a phoney to boot. There you go.
But what happened to mystery and intrigue? Did Adam send a pix to Eve, Anthony to Cleo, Romeo to Juliet..did our parents do it? I think not.
My profile is perfectly honest. My face and body are not bad either.
If you really want to know my last name is Tosser*, born in Norfolk of the Iceni Celt tribe…the last idiots to fight the Romans. I took my Company off the web some three years ago – when I stopped filming. there was no more need of it. The rest is on my profile, and as much as I could write on a postage stamp! Have good times. I’m off to Quaglinos for dinner with two friends…
PS. that answers the ‘what do you do on a Friday night question’…
* Not his real name
And so I reply:-
The problem is, ‘Dickhead’*, in an age where so much personal information is freely available, when someone chooses NOT to divulge who they really are – despite requests for them to reveal themselves in a choice of ways – it immediately sets alarm bells ringing.
You purport to be a man of the world (x 3), and yet you see nothing wrong in expecting a woman to meet up with you with not the slightest idea of what you look like, or your last name.
Yes, of course I would look you up on the net! What do you think?!
There would be no way you could remove every trace of your company from the net.
I am forced to conclude that your entire profile/persona is a sham.
Enjoy Quaglino’s. Or the single-sized pizza you’ve ordered from Pizza Hut, which is, I think, probably more the case. (Bet you’ve gone for the extra topping, just like on this dating site).
Bye Walter Mitty.
EXITS FANTASY CONVERSATION LEFT
* Not his real name
He replies in angry fashion…I’m not funny, apparently, just bitter and vindictive. Quaglino’s [one of London’s top restaurants] was “heaving. I had gravad lax, roast chicken and a wonderful raspberry and apple crumble (the menu is online). [Which is plainly where he selected his fantasy meal]. But a jazz band started up about 20 metres from our table and ruined all bright conversation.
Walked back through Piccadilly Circus to home and got chatted up by an American woman wanting to get to Chinatown. She probably did this because I am so ugly”.
Hmm. I respond:-
Bitter? Why on earth would I be bitter? And how is my extricating myself from your long list of excuses as to why it’s impossible to give any clues about your identity (other than what you’ve written on an anonymous dating site) ‘vindictive’?
For a man who describes himself as sophisticated, your complete lack of understanding about the etiquette of meeting a strange woman is astonishing.
I’ve already told you that my wish to see a photo wasn’t about how good-looking or otherwise you might be; if you really have worked in film, you shouldn’t need to be told how much information can be gleaned from *the way* someone looks. Can’t actually believe I’m having to write this.
Good luck in your search. If you fail to meet up with many more women on dating sites, at least now you know why.
He counter attacks:-
Diane*, this is no way to start a sunny Saturday morning.
Obviously, your ideas and mine do not mix. Hopeless lack of trust coming from you. Yet I am not miffed. Although you have my full name, company background, where I live (not just something by the river!) etc.
YOU are the one who has offered little regarding info and etiquette, not me.
Before I press the delete button on your diatribe, I would just like you to know that I receive approx 3 hits a day. I would be with a lovely woman I met some six months ago on this site – but her Mother is ill, and she had to leave London to look after her. We could not continue…
Do NOT preach to me about etiquette, or what to do on a site like this. I am my own man..and will remain so. Anyways, even got a date ce soir…Zedels, here we come. Lapin au Moutarde on the menu…yummy…
Good luck to you…but I do not envy the bloke!
* My real name
Do you think I bothered to reply??? You bet I did:-
Almost being killed a dozen times, a photo of you by Hockney, Quaglino’s (why not merely say you’re off for dinner?). Apart from the obvious ‘collective improbability’ thing, who are you trying to impress?
I note that after I repeated my request for a little more information about you, you disappeared for a few hours – though in the meantime you took another look at my profile, so you weren’t busy lunching at Claridges or standing in for George Clooney. Which can only mean you were trying to come up with yet more excuses about not giving me any information.
So I know more about where you live – “Soho” – than you do about where I live – “SW London, on the river”?! <RAISES EYES HEAVENWARDS>
Yes, every woman jolly well ought to have a lack of trust on internet dating sites, as you jolly well ought to appreciate.
Delighted you get approximately 3 hits a day. I get approximately 5 messages a day. (I win!)
Enjoy tonight’s date. (Is it with Wonder Woman?)
I’ve long pondered what Dr Legg told characters on Eastenders when they consulted him, and now I know:-
“I’m sorry, Pauline, but the test results are back…I’m afraid they confirm you’re fictitious”.
<RUN CLOSING CREDITS>
Strangely, I’m still awaiting a reply.
If anyone can supply me with an explanation as to how this kind of behaviour is respectful to women (as so proudly proclaimed in Mr Tosser’s profile), kindly let me know.
In the meantime, please advise on how I can apply to become a lesbian.