This post appears a little early. The next one will be Saturday 14th January
ONLINE DATING LAID BARE
FREE SPIRIT [a pen name, as she is seemingly not a Seminole nor a Cree squaw, but hails instead from picturesque Stow on the Wold]
-I am 62, exceptionally young-looking for my age, and am seeking a man aged 55 to 70
-I am very attractive
-I am full-bodied
-I am an average mingler
No, you’re right, that couldn’t possibly describe me too, your modest Kythnos blogger. But for the record I am considered by my 3 discerning admirers (only one a cat) to be all of the above, apart from the disclosures found on lines 1 and 3. As for candid confessions, I too would like in meditative moments to be thought full-bodied, and even voluptuous in a masculine way, but you can’t have everything in this begrudging world, can you…?
I am into all of the usual stuff (Hatha Yoga, Pilates, Radio 4, BBC4, BBC2, Ian McEwan) and enjoy a good natter, and am happy to share my life with others who have extended their genetic endowment. Like a Smartie, I am bright and shiny on the outside, but yummy and soft on the inside, and I will bring into your life all the lovingness you’ve been looking for. There will be some challenges no doubt, as you will no doubt challenge me too, and thus the two of us will continue to grow together.
I know you will bear the scars of your own battles. I know you will have an old soul, and your wisdom will be hard-earned. You will be proud of who you are in this world.
End of foregoing extract, from a genuine dating website, one based in the UK and aimed supposedly at the educated and professional market. ‘Market’ being a telling noun, as there is obviously very big money in running a national nay international dating website, even though remarkably there are still quite a lot of sites, in the UK at least, that are free. Moreover, just in case you think I have embroidered the above for a cheap and heartlessly vicarious laugh, I need to stress that it is an echt and authentic extract, and I have not invented nor doctored anything.
Meanwhile the source for the surprising fact that there are still free dating websites, is my old mate Willy Prickett from Cockermouth, Cumbria (resonant name and address, eh, gals, and I didn’t make that up either) who has been through half a dozen of them (free sites I mean). Willy, an artist who retrained in his sixties as a joiner, believes in frugality, partly because he only charges £6 an hour to beat the wily and very skilled immigrant Cumbrian Poles who charge £7 for their skills, and, as a consequence Willy is always skint. A year ago over the phone this impoverished joiner helpfully sketched for me his ingenious and economical dating strategy, within a radius of 50 miles of Lake District-fringe Cockermouth. He would typically meet Mystery Woman for a preliminary coffee only, no more, on Date 1. Then possibly 3 more cautiously investigative coffees for Dates 2,3,4, and thus calculate the lie of the land apropos her money, moodiness, carnality and the ability to make him laugh and vice versa. Oh, and looks, fuck yes, looks, nearly forgot that bugger, man, a can of worms if ever there was. They can lie with their photos you know, they can doctor them with photobloodyshop. Well, to be honest, I tried it myself, but fuck it, I only looked worse, absolutely atrocious, I frightened myself, never mind her. Then dates 5 and 6, customarily a couple of romantic walks on the Cumbrian or South Scots hills, which obviously cost nowt apart from the picnics, which she, local lass April or Hazel, or Morag from Dumfries is bound to volunteer, cos one look at me and you can see what kind of shitty sandwiches I would try to knock up, oops not very kind phrasing. Plus, should it be fine weather, test out the bare arse carnality quotient, in some remote dell, nook, col or cosy climber’s shack, without the embroilment of being entangled by seeing the inside of her house, nor her of mine. I would need to clean and hoover my house for at least a week, all the shite on my overalls and feet from work, and I can’t be arsed if she looks in the flesh like a horse’s backside, can I?
Willy Prickett is evidently at the opposite existential and ideological pole to Free Spirit. With his can of worms, he is surely representative of the apposite worm’s eye view, meaning he is no idealist, the latter being if you think about it, a type of bird’s eye point of view. Free Spirit is all too clearly a blatant idealist, whereas Willy is a fearless pragmatist, divorced and in his view betrayed by the treacherous, adulterous love of his life, Janice, who was also his childhood sweetheart. As for me, the only comment I’d like to make re F S from Stow on the Wold is that she is seemingly an unusual mix of the exalted and high-flown (Challenge, Old Soul, Wisdom, Endowment, Growth) and the homely, and some might argue, a little on the regressive childlike side (Good Natter, Smarties, Yummy, Soft-Centred).
I read her CV over the phone to Willy, to see what he thought, and after a puzzlingly long pause, he muttered:
“I’ve known three manky women who wanted me to extend something, but it wasn’t my genes. How do you make it bigger?”
“Easy. With a kind of fancy suction pump…”
“Eh?Nah, man. Your genetic ‘endowment’, endowment as in insurance policy. How can you make it bigger?”
I had to rack my brains to translate such semantic obscurity, for myself as much as for Willy.
“I think in Free Spirit’s terms, that to realise your potential as a human being, you need to stand underneath the fertilising metaphorical rain of your Environment, Willy. Meaning throughout life’s journey, you make the most of the best available environments, in the sense of the best of life’s possibilities, the best and most fecund and enveloping ambiences, wherever you find them. So, Willy, in your case you need to attune yourself as best you can to the power of Healing Nature, to Education, to Spiritual Things…all of which should be your favoured environments.”
“But wait. Didn’t this lasso-o say she was spiritual but not religious?”
I snorted. “That’s the cut and paste formula they all use on dating sites. What she probably means is she’s dreamy and mystical in private, and often has nice warm, ethereal feelings in her lower stomach and possibly her bowels. But she obviously doesn’t like attending churches or Quaker meeting halls or anything organised. She’s a Lone Spirit as well as a Free Spirit, you see.”
“Fuck,” animadverted Willy. “Old Soul? Old Soul? Or Old Arsehole?
But that wasn’t all the Stow on the Wold woman had to say, and to recommend.
Creativity is a biggie for me…
And a good Rioja makes me happy
To elaborate. I don’t yet know my True Name. And I wonder what Name are you known by, on this beautiful planet of ours?
Where will we meet?
And in the whirl of the Dance known as Life, will the music fade, the earth become distant, and will Time itself stand still?
Willy Prickett sighed. “I think I’m right with her rattling on about ‘biggies’. So what do you think this Free Spirit’s True Name is? She doesn’t even know what the bugger is, so she says.”
I threw back at him faster than the speed of light. “Prudence.”
Profound incomprehension and it was rain-soaked Cockermouth incomprehension at that.
“How do you know?”
“The word endowment is the give-away, Willy. She wants a good old-fashioned insurance policy. Underneath the restless questing free spirit, she’s a quaint little old gal who likes a good old natter and kiddiwink Smarties, and the adult version known as a good Rioja. She is full-bodied just like a Rioja, you see, and she teasingly, seductively lets the men know as much. It’s all of a piece, son.”
The joiner whistled. “Fuck me stiff. And fancy that! Hm. So what do you think my True Name is, man?”
I bounced back cheerfully. “Chastity. Though of course that’s usually a woman’s name…”
“You mongrel Cumbrian Greek bastard! It’s not for want of trying I’m chaste. And I’ve never drunk so much fucking cappucino in my life. D’you know,after a few months, you get a kind of permanent milky scale on the roof of your mouth with it?”
I grunted. “You should buy them a slap-up meal. On Date 1, that is, and hang the expense. I’ve read the academic research on dating, and women say they really hate stingy men, they think it’s such a turn off and so unsexy. You’re a classic See You Next Tuesday of a Cumbrian Curmudgeon, Willy.”
I could hear him thinking up taunting counter-obscenities. “Listen, I’ll tell you a wiser formula for pleasing women than that. Most women say they don’t expect a guy who is a miracle, but just one who is Sane and Solvent and Isn’t Really Bad Looking, i.e. not an oil painting, but neither are they plug ugly.” He drew breath, impressed by his own unusual eloquence. “And two little probing questions for you, old smartarse. How did you know about the suction pumps for extending Arthur…and while we’re at it, what is your True Name, Mr Cumbrian in Exile?”
Again, inspiration was instantaneous. “Felix.”
The phone vibrated in my hands at his passion. “Felix? Ballocks to fucking Felix! Just cos they call you Cat Man out there on Kythnos. Felix the bloody Cat.”
I answered smoothly. “Nothing to do with cats. If I didn’t have any cats, my true name would still be Felix. It means happy, Willy. It’s Latin for happy, and what better True Name than that?”
“Pah. And how did you happen to know about the cock extender being a suction pump?”
I sighed and also smirked.“General knowledge Willy. Everyone apart from you knows that…”