So I walk into the local florist to buy an orchid to take to my friend’s brunch (I am not sure of the ‘ladies only’ home based brunch protocols, it’s my first). I turn round to hold the door and there is a delivery guy trying to get in.
Dozens of red roses being delivered.
“For me!”, I say, this is just out of habit when faced with a man carrying flowers. Then I realize that it’s that time of year again.
It’s ‘Valentine’s Day’ season. I remember the days of my hopeful teens when I used to spend hours and hours in Hallmark, Scribbler, WH Smiths choosing cards (yes cards, plural. I used to hedge my bets on the perfect card.
Valentine’s day is no friend of the romantic single girl. I remember the thrill and the speculation of the genuinely mysterious card. Hours wasted wondering if mum had given Rod Stewart my address.
So to my point. As a part of ‘the next phase of my life’ project I have admitted to myself that I do want a partner, boyfriend, whatever the right term is at my age. When I was in Melbourne in October I was bemoaning my single status to a friend who it turns out has a portfolio of three men for different social occasions (Three!!!!).
“What are you doing about it” she asked me and I realize the truth was nothing at all.
Even worse the real truth is that I am still a teeny bit hooked into my long-running ‘unrequited’ story. Also I am extremely nervous of dating and all that I imagine it involves (this may motivate me to go to the gym if nothing else comes of it). So I promised I would sign up to ‘RSVP’ (an Australian dating site) when I headed back to Australia in February ‘next year’ (which is now).
So this is the Perth plan. I am there for a month; it will be fun to meet some nice guys and ‘date’ I tell myself.
If I sign up before I get there I can set up a date before I get there.
How difficult can that be?
You have no idea.
I clicked on the RSVP site and filled out my details. Hard to do this well without sounding really boring, “fun person wants to meet a fun person” or really ‘up for it’; “adventurous, fun loving blonde looking for playmate”. I know it is important to be compelling and clear but it’s still an excruciating and revealing process.
First draft done, I want to browse beyond the first layer and see the profiles but I have to send off my details and take a trial membership. I ‘drag and drop’ the ‘best photo ever taken of me’ (see below – thanks Val Smith) and I am done.
I wait for some kind of notification that I am up and running. Preferably something like this: George Clooney contacts me to say “I made a mistake with Amal, the mists have finally cleared, I’ve just seen ‘the best photo ever taken of you’ and we must meet. Preferably in Perth. Ideally in February.”
Day later, still nothing.
Day after that day, nothing.
Seems I have been locked out.
I check my junk file; email from the administrator. My ip address and my stated address don’t match up. I explain “I am only going to be in Perth for a month” (that sounds terrible, what kind of woman dates for a month). “You’ll have to send a passport ID with a photo that has your date of birth so we can verify your identity”
Oops. A truly mortifying moment when I realize I shaved a few years off, “my DOB may not totally match my passport details” I say. “I was told everyone does that”. Mortified again. “It’s partly vanity (the main driver) and I am concerned about identity theft (true)” I say.
She didn’t comment on my lying, just let me know the next day that I was uploaded and my age was now “in line with our policy guidelines”. So I am 56 again.
More problems. Turns out ‘the best photo ever taken of me’ cannot be used, Disaster. I wondered if it’s because I look too young, but I think its because of a lack of pixels.
I try the next best photo. I have my sunglasses on, not allowed, “please refer to our photo guidelines”.
Down to the one where I look a bit outdoorsy, have no make up on but it’s a good smile. It’ll have to do for now. So I am now ready and ‘cleared through RSVP passport control’. The world of the RSVP male is mine.
I finally take a look around. 20 minutes pass quite quickly……
No one told me that the ‘checked out’ RSVP man gets a notification when I click on him. Internal sinking heart and hot cheeks again. (I only realize this because I get a notification of a click on me)
There is one guy I like the look of (shorter than I have told RSVP is ‘perfect for me’), he is mad about sports (‘note to self’ edit that section immediately, I do like Roger Federer, that’s sport, right?).
I am only 5’ 4”, and so 5’ 9” is still taller than me. He is handsome. So I send a message (helpfully RSVP pre-write these. In line with their policy guidelines).
Where has it gone??? Nooooo I can’t start again!
The Site diverts me to the ‘pay up if you want to send a message’ section It would appear that ‘Trial members’ have to send a ‘kiss’ unless they cough up for at least a month. Credit card won’t work, but I can send a ‘kiss’. Can I bear it?
Well he is handsome, did I mention that? Well as they say, “in for a penny in for a pound”
The ‘Kiss sent’ message appears.
I have died just a little bit.
Laptop lid quickly closed. And so, as they say, the adventure begins.