I was enjoying what had become a typical Saturday evening at home - watching Buffy DVDs, wishing I could relive my twenties sober and self medicating with Tim Tams - when I felt 'The Tug.' There are countless euphamisms for it, but basically The Tug is that realisation most single women get somewhere between thirty-five and forty that, although they don't nessecarily need a man to live their best life, there is only so much satisfaction to be gained from being the master of one's own domain, and there is a limit to the euphoric powers of chocolate. Up until this point, I had steadfastly avoided internet dating sites, but as my finances precluded any sort of night out beyond trolling the local bus stops for passables (the definition of which will be explained in my next blog - The dating glossary), my self esteem conceded defeat and I whipped up a profile.
Two weeks later I was scrolling through the profiles of men the site matched me with, harbouring the sneaking suspicion that the only criteria used to calculate their compatablility with me was the fact that they were as desperate as I was at the time, when I struck hormonal gold. I can say without the slightest hint of exaggeration that 'Patrick' was just about the most beautiful creature I ever saw. How Beautiful? Well, if someone found proof that the greek gods actually existed, went back in time, took a sample of Eros' dna (he was the greek god of love and beauty-look it up, people), went back to the future and cloned him, the product would be Patrick. Reading through his profile, I discovered that Patrick was witty, intelligent, articulate and adored his kids. In short, he was perfect...which is why I exited his profile post haste and resumed the mental drudgery of perusing the list of suitors hack science chose for me. Come on, I thought to myself, the only way you're in with a chance there is if he has kidney disease and you happen to be a donor match.
Now imagine my reaction when, while struggling to read the profile of a guy who I'm certain only got out of sixth grade because he couldn't fit in the chairs anymore, a message appeared in the top right corner of the screen. Patrick wanted to chat! We exchanged phone numbers after ten minutes messaging, there's only so much one can express with emotocons, and he promised to call me sometime. Yeah, I thought, Sometime next century. I was certain I'd insulted his mother, called him a nutbar in gaelic or made some other gaff that would be unimaginable for anyone whose mouth wasn't running sixty seconds faster than her brain. Then the phone rang. Fully expecting it to be my mother calling for approximately the eighty-fifth time that day, my greeting was less than enthusiastic. Lucky for me, Patrick was well aquainted with the concept of yo-yo parenting, and laughed it off. We arranged to meet at my place the following week, not something I would normally do - see above, re: hormones.
I spent the better part of the next seven days cleaning my house, an upshot of which was hitting upon roughly the mixture and concentration of chemicals I'll need should I ever decide to kill myself. By the time Saturday came, I had become anticipation's bitch, obsessing over everything from my make up to getting the peak of my eyebrows centimetre perfect (oh, how I wish I were kidding). Patrick arrived bang on time, pot plant in hand (remembering that I prefer potted plants to bouquets because they last longer), looking like the spokesperson from an aftershave add. We sat down on the couch to talk, and that was when my inner critic decided I deserved a kick in the cocxix. It would have been a stimulating conversation, had I contributed anything to it beyond 'Yeah,' 'I know,' and 'Exactly.' Here was a guy clearly interested in me, and all I could do was tell myself that he deserved better! He soldiered on, going through my movie and music collections and joking about how different our tastes were, and I laughed. An appropriate response, one would think. Not when you spit accross the room. Hey, it's hard to control what comes out of your mouth when you're busy thinking of ways to put someone off so that they may be spared the humiliation of being seen in public with a woman whose greatest achievement to date is winning a New kids on the block album in a radio contest in 1990.
The date ended, he gave me a kiss on the cheek and I waited until he was out of sight before headbutting the front door and running into the kitchen to gorge myself on consolation chocolate, which pacified the shrill, nasty little voice in my head that put the kibosh on what I was sure would one day have turned into a sexual experience bordering on Nirvana. Despite the confidence and strength we like to project, and we have every right to, our number one enemy when it comes to getting what we want is still us. So the next time you're getting ready for a date, and your inner critic starts flipping through the catalogue of screw ups that is your life, do me a favour: flip it the bird for me!