The night I was rejected by a sixty year old transvestite with a walking stick was the turning point for me. I was at a charity function and my act of charity was asking Erica, as he liked to be known, to dance.
“No thanks,” he said, with a swish of his skirt and a toss of his wig. You could have knocked me down with a feather boa. Had I, in the six months of self-imposed exile since my relationship ended, become so undesirable?
The next day I decided to take the plunge and immerse myself in the uncharted waters of internet dating. Not from desperation, of course, purely out of curiosity.
I logged into one of the dating sites and browsed the profiles of all the men in my age group who lived in my city and looked reasonably presentable (i.e., no scruffy beards, ponytails or multiple chins). I was amazed at the number of romantic men who enjoyed moonlight walks along the beach. I’d made many a moonlit pilgrimage on the beach looking for one, but all I encountered was frisky waves and a stiff wind.
And when they weren’t on the beach these same men were snuggled up on a bearskin rug in front of a crackling fire, sipping on a pinot noir while listening to Diana Krall. Who are you kidding, guys? We know you’re really slouching around in your boxer shorts on a threadbare carpet in front of a bar heater, guzzling beer and watching The Family Guy.
What do these men want out of a relationship? “Uncomplicated friendship” (sex as often as he wants as long as you don’t interfere with his other “friendships”), “Discretion can be assured” (would prefer if you were already in a relationship as he is too) “open mind”, (bring a friend, video camera, toys, or all three), “A little love and passion” (forget the love), “Let’s meet for coffee and see where it takes us” (hopefully straight into your bedroom).
With trepidation I posted my profile on the site, opting not to include a photo. I wanted to meet a man who was prepared to go beyond the superficial and meet me without knowing what I looked like. I sat back and waited for the deluge of replies.
And waited. After two weeks, there was not one response. I decided to start the ball rolling myself. I sent virtual kisses to any man I liked the sound of whose spelling and grammar met my standards. (We writers are unapologetic snobs when it comes to literacy). I did so much virtual kissing that my virtual lips were becoming somewhat chafed, but still no response. I was getting anxious – maybe Erica could give me some tips on where I’d gone wrong.
I checked my profile again and discovered that in the hair type category I’d accidentally ticked “bald” instead of “black.” I was relieved and at the same time annoyed. How dare all those potential suitors be so shallow as to reject me because of a simple lack of hair? A woman’s hair may be her crowning glory, but for some, their assets lie elsewhere.
In the end it all comes down to appearance. Except if you’re a bald woman, then no-one wants to know you.
This story has a happy ending. After a miraculous hair transplant I dated several men I met on the dating site. And then met the man of my dreams, though not on the internet, and we’re living happily ever after. But I’m sure (well, fairly sure) if I was bald it wouldn’t have made any difference to him.
My newly published novel, romantic comedy Perfect Sex, is about internet dating. It’s fiction, but influenced, of course, by my own experiences. You can buy it as an e-book on Amazon for $3.99. Print version coming soon.
Have you had any experiences of online dating (good or bad) you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.
Robin Storey is an Australian author from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. She is a certified book nerd and has no weird hobbies or unusual pets.