The above meme is not of me. Just to be clear, it isn’t.
Online dating wisdom: Always be suspicious of someone who a) only has pictures of themselves in wide shots and b) never smiles with their teeth.
I happened to learn these wisdoms for online dating the hard way. His name was Dean, 30, and indeed most of his pictures were wide shots of him up an assortment of mountains, so I thought well, it’s probably pretty hard or pretty pointless taking a shot of yourself in close up when you’re up a mountain. Yes this was my logic, hence why I accepted three low angle wide shots of Dean’s (fully clothed) arse and one picture of him leaning against a tree smiling mouth closed with sunglasses on. My reasoning was that if he had any banter then maybe I won’t care that he potentially wears vampire shaped dentures or has a lazy eye. Dean and I get messaging after a few days and things are going well. This is going to sound snobby but he texts like English isn’t his first language, and I know that it is his first language because I asked him. However, what Dean lacks in the written word he makes up for in keenness. Within twenty four hours of chat we’ve moved from Tinder to Whatsapp and he’s invited me to one of the rock climbing walls for our first date. I didn’t even have to send him a naked picture of myself or anything! Kidding. I don’t do that because I’m terrified of opening a gate that involves the recipient sending me dick pics. I don’t want to see a picture of your penis. It doesn’t turn me on, I don’t have a cache of dicks I get out when I fancy a wank, it just isn’t a visa versa situation guys! I’m sure I could tell you there’s no need to send me one but even if you get over the fact that it’s not just pictures of your knob I find inherently funny but ALL knobs where are we left? We’re left with a one sided situation involving me sending you pictures that you’ll potentially have forever stored on your phone, that’s where. It’s enough of a power struggle as it is without that! Total mine field.
Back to the date, to begin with I’m pretty excited about this, I’ve never been climbing before and all I can think of is Tom Cruise scaling that mountain in Mission Impossible I or II or possibly III. Whichever it is he really loves that mountain.
Unfortunately the day of the climb arrives as does my period and frankly it’s biblical down there. Every time I go to change my tampon (which is every five minutes) I can’t help but say “A plague a both your houses!” For no other reason than it has the word plague in it although I’m thinking of mixing it up a bit with ‘The Red Death is upon me!!!” So you get the idea. I’m moaning to Trish about this as she feeds me Ibuprofen like grapes while we wait for all of the non-customers to come in the BPA studio.
Trish: Don’t go rock climbing.
Me: I have to go.
Trish: You really don’t. You know Scarlett, there has to come a time when you don’t actually self-sabotage.
Me: I don’t cut myself! To be honest, sharp things make me feel a bit queasy, the thought of actually putting a knife to skin-
Trish: Self-sabotage not self-harm you pillock. Just think about it. Let’s say you go there all pumped up with painkillers. You still have to wear some spanks and leggings-
Me: Why can’t I just wear joggers?!
Trish: Because you’re on a date, not pretending to ‘work out’ at the gym. He’s going to be under you, you’ve got to give him something worth staring at right? Not an arse that bears a closer resemblance to a baggy sack filled with half set jelly.
Me: Why is he going to be below me??
Trish: Because he’s the experienced one. So like, he has to be the catcher.
Trish: Yeah like if you drop your beeline or whatever.
Me: I don’t know if that’s how it works.
Trish: Of course it is, why do you think he asked you to go with him. He’s a sly one I’ll give him that.
Me: He can’t be below me. He really can’t.
Trish: Of course not. You look like you’re four months pregnant, and as a result you’re now in the high risk zone of actually farting in his face half way up a fake mountain. He could fall. He could actually fall and break something based on your inability to control wind. You’re not Storm from X-Men.
This is absolutely true. I am not Storm from X-Men, which is an internal sadness I have to endure everyday. On top of that, around the first day of my period I do indeed adopt the four month pregnant look, which may not appear to be too big a) to those who have actually been pregnant or b) to those who have just Googled ‘four months pregnant’ to see how big that is but trust me, for all of you who get periods or IBS, you guys know what I’m talking about. It ain’t pretty. It’s a matter of pic1 or pic2 and I think we all know where I’m at right now. More Mrs Brown than Lara Croft.
Me: I can’t go.
So I text Dean and tell him I’m not feeling well but that I’d very much like to reschedule to next week. A few minutes later he replies and for the first time, I notice that I can see Dean’s surname – Mason and the message is nice, in essence anyway.
Dean: Oh no sad for u!!! 😦 😦 😦 Feel better we do Wednesday nxt wk?! Cool? 🙂 🙂 🙂
It’s like talking to a Japanese infomercial but what the heck. Now of course, I also have his surname. This means I can do a little Google stalking or as I prefer to call it, ‘Scarlett Investigates’ (I have a theme tune natch) because who would rather be known as a stalker when they can live in denial as a private detective? Sadly the only picture of Dean is the one of him in his sunglasses but when I click to enlarge it I realise it’s his Facebook profile picture, hurrah! Oh don’t judge me, can you really say with absolute honesty you’ve never ‘investigated’ someone? Even a tiny bit? Okay Mum, the only reason you haven’t is because you don’t know what a search engine is and that isn’t the same! No it isn’t! No! It! Isn’t! She commandeered my Facebook once and stalked aunty Muriel and weird cousin Neil (who isn’t actually a cousin but some guy my Dad mentored way before I was even born) for an afternoon. Yes, I know, it is addictive. All those precious photos and status updates…
So Trish and I go on Dean’s Facebook page and this guy has nil privacy settings. None. So really readers, he kind of brought this on himself in a way? #itaintstalking? No? Whatever, we went through his photos and had a look on his feed and this is when I learned the lessons I mentioned at the top of this post. How can I put this nicely? Um, well, shall I say, all gums? Is all gums acceptable? I realise that I’m implying he doesn’t have teeth, which is wrong because he does have teeth, just about. Look I’m trying to paint a picture for you! Put it this way, I did have to look for them, like a magic eye, as in they weren’t exactly immediately visible? Oh fuck it, he had tiny little gappy milk teeth stuck on the end of enormous gums like a young child’s plasticine rendering of a hill person. I also learned another lesson c) If all of his pictures are selfies of him and his Mum accompanied with #bff now’s probably the time to call it quits. For the record Dean’s eyes were a very pretty light blue, but accompanied by the oral situation, he looked a bit mad, like someone who probably enjoys catching small animals and pinning them to a notice board above his bed, if that’s a thing? If it isn’t he probably just rock climbs and dreams about his death board but if it is real, he’s definitely the president of the we-like-murdering-voles-and-pinning-them-to-shit club.
Trish weakly suggests that I shouldn’t judge a person by his Facebook profile. I would like to point out that Facebook pages are there to advertise the best part of us. We don’t put images of ourselves looking cruddy or creepy unless they’re funny. We do however post the pictures of us with friends, laughing, pouting, sucking in our stomachs. Judging by my public Facebook persona I only eat delicious food in five star restaurants. Albeit not very often, namely on my birthday when somebody else is paying but while I post those pictures I don’t think to post pictures of me eating baked beans in my pants while I’m watching a Judge Judy marathon with a hashtag like livinthedream. (Although when I’m there in my pants I KNOW I’m living the dream.) Ergo, if this is the best side of Dean I am in trouble. I’m caught in a politeness trap. I’ve already cancelled on him once and rescheduled. Trish tells me to just block him outright. Oh what a brutal age we live in! Blocking is so cruel, so cowardly! I can’t do that, can I? I can’t tell him the truth that I don’t want to go out with the son of Leatherface, but I don’t want to behave like a arsehole either.
After a day’s worth of dillydallying, and one potential customer who turned out to be a lost tourist, I finally decide to message Dean with the following. I don’t feel good about this but before you think I’m jinxing anyone, she’s actually dead already so she’s safely beyond the power of the jinx:
Me: Hi Dean, I’m so sorry I’ve been called to go to Dublin because my grandma is gravely ill. She’s such a big part of my life, I need to be there you know? I don’t know how long I’ll be away but it could be a while. Sorry.
SEND. That didn’t feel great but at least I didn’t do The Block. And so I sit at my desk, swinging my legs absently off the side wishing I was a child again, blissfully ignorant to all this nonsense.
Dean: Oh noooo!!! So sorry for you Scarlett!! 😦 😦 😦
Sad emojis in the face of a dying grandparent, really???
Me: That’s okay. 😦
The emoji is obviously a language he appreciates. I’m going to hell.
Dean: My Nanna said once. It isnt weak to fand strengt in ppl around u.
Me: Wise words indeed.
I am actually satan.
Dean: v.wise. If u evr need some1 2talk2, I’m here. x
Christ. Is his grammar deteriorating?
Me: Thanks, I will.
DON’T SEND. CORRECT TO:
Me: Thanks. Bye. X
Me: Thanks. Bye.
Me to Trish: Fancy going rock climbing?
Dean: Bye? Why bye? Let me b ur strong person if u wanted.
Okay that’s not a sentence. That can’t be a sentence. He can’t think that makes sense! What does it say about me that I can make sense of it?
Me: I just need to be with my family really.
Dean: Sure okay!! I just try to b nice!
Me: Maybe we can catch up when I get back
You giant coward Scarlett!
Me: In eighteen months
I think that was overkill or maybe not? Maybe I should have just gone for gold and said years? Too late now. Wow no reply. Shit. Oh well he’s got the message, of course he has, phew! Off the hook! So in celebration of getting off the hook I text Trish…
Me: Fancy going rock climbing?
So I lock up the studio and go rock climbing on my own instead. Yes, unbelievable as it sounds I thought you know what? Fuck it, makes a change from doing the ‘should I shouldn’t I’ booze dance. You know the one, open the fridge, close the fridge, look at the wine, don’t look at the wine, consider a wank instead, then buy cake instead of that or devour a vat of pasta swimming in an entire jar of Dolmio sauce? Oh sweet sweet heart burn. Just me?? Really??? Don’t lie Mum.
I actually enjoyed rock climbing so much I thought maybe I could take up rock climbing as an actual hobby that an actual person has and meet other rock climbers that have a regular gum to teeth ratio and marry one of them. Mission Impossible Tom Cruise but not a hobbit or insane. We could go rock climbing together, me and sane tall Mr Cruise who’s a also veterinarian! My thoughts turn to Dean. I wonder what he does for a living, maybe he’s a vet? I mean that’s more likely than pinning rodents to a board isn’t it? Maybe I’ve too harsh on the guy? I mean yes son of Leatherface crossed with an East Asian music video doesn’t sound great but maybe he’s nice in person. He was very understanding of my cancelling twice and fictitious dying Gran, and he rock climbs, which means we now have something in common just about. Okay, hear me out guys, in the age of dating whereby you’re judged purely on your photos, aren’t we missing the slow build of chemistry as you get to know someone and that someone becomes sexy because of who they are? I fantasise about my alternative rock climbing future all the way home whilst uploading my new profile picture of me not looking too pregnant in a harness, having made it to the top of the wall and everything. I even name it, ‘Cliffhanger! #nobrokenbones #winning.’
During a break in my post climbing, Judge Judy and beans marathon, I decide to go back on to Dean’s profile page, because I think hey, maybe I really was being way too harsh. Is he really that bad? And do you know what, yes, yes he totally is that bad. There is no chance of this going anywhere except (deep) south and this is when I notice we share a mutual friend. We. Share. A. Mutual. Friend. On. Facebook. Does Dean know this? For the uninitiated this means that if I can see Dean’s profile page, he can see mine. There’s no way he’d stalk me right? I’d better change my profile picture pronto. Of course the mutual friend is weird cousin Neil. Damn you Neil! Can I delete Neil without him noticing? I’m contemplating this conundrum when my phone beeps. It’s a message from Dean. Bugger.
Dean: Wot u up2 2night?
Me: Just packing, flying tomorrow
Me: Erm yes?
Then Dean sends me my profile picture with a frowning emoji. Cocks.
Dean: U just changed it and I know it’s not old.
Me: How do you know? Have you been stalking me or something?
Dean: No I not a stalkr!
Yeah right. I know an investigator when I see one! Has he got an alarm set for every time I update a picture? Oh my God maybe he has got an alarm set for every time I change my profile picture! No come on that’s just stupid. For the record investigating is definitely way more creepy when you’re the investigatee.
Dean: Cant blieve u went rock climbin! Another hot date was it? 😦
Me: No! I went on my own!
That doesn’t sound great.
Dean: U’d rather b alone than go with rock climbin ace like me?
Rock climbing ace? This is a change in tack.
Dean: U shld no I’m ambitious, creative, interesting! All things!
EEEEEERRRRRRRRR. What? He’s trying to win me round??
Dean: My drawings fool ppl 4 photographs
I’ve never heard that one before, I wonder if they’re of dead things…
Dean: I’m an all round gd gu! And give a lot to charity! And help others les fortune than me Intimately!!!
Wowsers. This is better than Judge Judy. I wonder how long he can keep it going for.
Dean: 1 wld say u were doin well with me!
Dean: I cook food that will make ur vagina tingle!
I immediately go on to Facebook and delete weird cousin Neil. Sorry weird cousin Neil, I’m sure you won’t even notice, I’m sure I’m not even remotely on your radar even! To be fair I didn’t want to add you in the first place because let’s face it the clue is in the nickname!
Dean: U Del Neil? I tell Neil!
Please don’t tell Neil. Please don’t tell Neil. I don’t know Neil well enough to explain this madness.
Dean: I have gr8 ingredients for food let me cook 4 u. Pls?
What? Well at least he’s dropped the Neil threat. I stare at my phone, holding my breath, waiting for the next mad text but nothing happens. Maybe Dean’s run out of steam? Maybe even he’s realised the significance of deleting Neil? I finally put my phone down next to me and eat some more beans. Eventually (five or so minutes later, which is actually a long time when you’re alone and silent) I turn Judge Judy back on. Another ten minutes goes by and I finally relax, reasoning that Dean probably had a rethink and decided too that tingling genitalia is a bit desperate and he’s gone to stalk someone else. Hurrah!
And then comes the pièce de résistance. My phone beeps so loudly it pulls me out of my reverie in the small claims court and sends me into a bit of a spin. I catch my breath and look down. Dean has sent me an image. No, God no. Please! I look because I can’t not, why can’t I not look?! And there it is, a picture of his last ditch effort to get me to go out with him, all seven and a half inches of it. How do I know this, well because he’s holding a tape measure to it, obviously. And that is when I stopped resisting the voice of Trish and brutally blocked Dean. I did it! I blocked someone and it feels great! I’m flooded with relief, it’s over, it’s really over!
I’m just getting back into Judge Judy when another text comes through. This can’t be possible! I blocked him on my phone! How is he doing this? Oh no wait, oh shit it’s from weird cousin Neil and I can see it begins with an expletive.
Lesson learned? This is the last time I ever blindly Tinder anyone who has a mutual friend on Facebook. Fact.