Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where's the Love?

Valentine's day is approaching. I'll be spending it with my children and ex husband on one of our polite 'let's play happy families' episodes. Coincidentally, it will also be our wedding anniversary.  Luckily, one of the few things that still connect us is a morbid sense of humour...

Well despite all that... some love tips...

My latest article for Galway Now:


 
They say that the best place to meet your future partner is at college. Considering that not everybody goes to college, I’m not sure I can agree. Besides, when I think back to my own college days, I was way too romantic and idealistic to even remotely fall in love with anyone who might have had a scrap of sense with regard to the harsh ways of the real world for which we would both be heading. There was romance alright, mostly short lived. There was always someone on the scene. There were even times that I woke up beside my new love, even if I could have sworn I’d gone home from the party on my own.
So it’s true that you meet people at college, but what about ‘the one’, the person who you want to share your life with? It seems that these days the ballroom of romance is no more. Gone are the days of men and women lined up along different walls of the dance floor waiting for the slow set. Nowadays we source our partners the same way we do our shopping – online and with a checklist. There was a time that it was surrounded with all sorts of taboos. Meeting somebody online was compared to the personal ads, and lets face it, even if nobody said it out loud, we all believed that the personals were for people who just couldn’t find a partner no matter how many dances they went to.
But it’s not really like that, is it? It probably never was. From the start, I’ve always found online dating to be a bit similar to shopping online. Not that I planned to buy a catalogue husband or anything. I’d love to have done something like that but I just wouldn’t have had the money to get exactly what I was looking for. No, it was just the idea of more choice, and being able to plan and pick out exactly what I wanted, rather than being faced with a tiny selection from what was on offer locally. So I started doing online dating before it was even en Vogue.  I had recently split up from my first husband (well, ok, my only husband, but first husband sounds a bit sexier than ex-husband). So I wanted an adventure, something to distract me, and I wanted to feel young again. My advert read something like this:
Bitter and twisted, cantankerous, middle-aged obese woman seeks young well hung Adonis of about 20 with plenty of experience please. One night only.
I was, of course, not exactly honest. Although my description of myself was , indeed, fairly apt, what I really wanted was distraction rather than a one night stand. And distraction I got. Within half a day I had received over one hundred offers. By the end of the week my inbox was full. I did have the decency to read them all, but only replied to about three. A few weeks and a bit of banter later I found myself meeting a young fella in a black shirt, not bad looking and a Northern accent to die for. I decided that this was the business. Better to be old and ugly looking at young and sexy than vice versa, but it didn’t seem to bother the young fella so we ended up going for the one night only with breakfast thrown in.
Needless to say there were enough people to tell me how foolish all of this carry on had been and how even serial killers can wear black shirts and speak with Northern accents. I know they had my best intentions in mind, but then again, so did my one night stand and serial killers have been known to lurk around dance halls asking girls out for the slow set. My point, though, is that when you search for love online you are more likely to find a better match, because as I mentioned earlier, you can have a checklist and tick all the boxes in advance.
It’s also true that you can’t believe what you read. Even my own self description was a tad untrue. You see I may be twisted, but I’m not really bitter, and I’m not all that cantankerous either come to think of it.
A few years after my online adventure, my brother met a woman through an online dating agency. The world of online love had become a lot more fashionable and seemed to be the norm at this stage. My brother and I being polar opposites, I can only guess that his online profile went something like this:
Serious academic historian, lots of college degrees and stuff like that. Vegetarian. Into yoga, politics and classical music. Would like to meet an academic woman in sensible shoes. No make up please.
In fairness, she has some great shoes and they were married eleven months after their first date. And come to think of it, he was definitely never going to meet her tripping over her heels while throwing up outside the pub at two o’clock in the morning, nor was either of them ever going to be found on the dance floor. So I’m right: online is the way to go.
Or is it? A few years ago I met my current partner when we were both on a parent’s association committee together. All that fundraising and bag packing and minute taking was enough to awaken passion between two second- time-rounders. It proves my counter argument which is that you will only find love if you are not looking for it. But if it crashes into your life and you can fit it in to a schedule you thought was full it’s even better. There is really nothing sexier than grabbing time out between the school run and peeling the potatoes.
So if you are still wondering where the love of your life might be hanging out, my advice is this: join an online dating forum and write a profile of not who you are, but rather, who you would like to be (this is because if you keep telling yourself that you are who you want to be, you will turn into that person eventually). At the same time, tell yourself that you don’t really have the time or the inclination to be falling in love right now. Then join a committee. You’ll be liaised within weeks.  
The bottom line when it comes to love though is that it doesn’t really matter where or when or how you meet your beloved. It only matters that it works and that you pretend to everyone else that you met in some exotic romantic place where you were swept off your feet. You then go on to live happily ever after.
As my elderly mother, who tends to get her words confused these days, recently commented:
‘I really don’t think it’s a bad thing at all that my son met his wife on the microwave!’


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