- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.
Sunday, 29 April 2012
In (Cyber)space No One can You Scream By Holly Searle
I love the character of Ellen Ripley that Sigourney Weaver plays in the first and subsequent Alien films. It's so gratifying the way she deals with that slime dripping jaw crunching predator from another world, whilst singing You Are My Lucky Star to calm her nerves, before blasting it into outer space with one press of a button.
Fortunately (or unfortunately if you happen to be that alien), this was a scene from one of my top ten favourite films, rather than an actual real life occurrence.
I often think about Ripley's whole alien experience, and her eventual reaction to it, in relation to all the years I spent in cyberspace internet dating.
What do you do in this day and age, I furrowed my brow and pondered quite innocently one day to myself after becoming single again, to find a suitable mate?
That, was a very good question. Especially if the accessibility within your once vast social circle has decreased in the intervening years: and the possibility of meeting a new mate via a casual introduction through friends has all but diminished.
The stark truth was, nearly all of those avenues that I had once relied upon to meet people, were no longer as viable as they had once been.
I scratched my head and gave it some thought.
And as I am a pragmatist, I thought about all of the most practical options that were open to me.
The most realistic solution that suited me, and one that was accessible, was to try my hand at Internet dating.
Internet dating appeared to be the as good an option as any. It solved all the issues I had with being a singleton: no hanging about in bars or clubs, and I could literally do it, without leaving the comfort of my own home.
It ticked all the right boxes. Excellent I thought. What could there possibly be to worry about in the murky depths of cyberspace.
Without referring to too many well-known film character metaphors, but with the exception of one more. I can tell you this for certain: prior to embarking on my online journey, I was like Chief Martin Brody from Jaws.
I was scared witless (and rightly so) of this vast ocean and the unknown inhabitants that may lurk in its dark waters.
By the end of my journey, as the credits rolled and I pressed the button to deleted my profile: I had morphed into the jaded seafaring old sea dog Quint, drunk with exasperation, singing Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies. For by then, I knew all too well what lived in the ocean.
And yes, I know, that you know, that I know, that even armed with all of his experience and knowledge, it is Quint who is eaten by the shark on the deck of the Orca as it sinks into the sea.
Sad times, as he is by far the best character in that movie.
But, unlike Quint, I Gloria Gaynor’d it, and survived: but not before I had had, some pretty close encounters of many many kinds.
So there I was all hopeful and eager, swimming alone, being quite brave, thinking that this was the way forward and with every good intentioned stoke I was taking, I was certain I'd meet a nice man.
And l'll just interject here, and say that I know of several friends who have met suitable partners via this method, and whom have found it to be an immensely positive experience.
However, be warned, there are many men (and women), who swim in this ocean who sadly have hidden agendas, issues, and unfortunately no boundaries when it comes to the lengths, or types of deceptions they are willing to carry out at your detriment.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get a whiff of one or more of these before you meet them, or during the course of the first date or during the post initial date date. Or if you’re really unlucky, if you happen to establish a relationship with them.
For those of you unfamiliar with the online dating process, I feel it is only fair to offer you a brief explanation of how it all works.
First and foremost, you select a site that you feel will best represent you.
Lefty, Pretty Serious, Easy, or Up for Absolutely Anything.
Then you write a short profile about yourself. And then one about the sort of person that you’re looking for.
Tallish and Normal. That'll cover it.
You then identify some of your likes and dislikes by ticking an array of boxes: Jewish, likes Thrash Metal, works in Arts and Heritage, Eats everything (quite possibly Robert Shaw), has children, etc, etc.
Then finally you upload some recent photographic evidence of yourself.
Then Bob's your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt, you are all done and dusted. Finally, once you have subscribed by paying a fee, you are free to search for a perspective partner.
I was exhausted already.
But once I had paid and set my profile live, I was off swimming with the best of them
I swam and swam and swam, and pretty soon, I started to attract some attention, as well as finding others I quite liked the look of along the way.
The one thing that I can tell you about internet dating is to try and be open-minded, as you'll encountered all forms of life, even pond life: so be prepared.
That, my friends, is the best advice I can offer you.
Now, I cannot say if I was lucky or unlucky to have met all the of men that I did.
I shall opt for lucky, inasmuch as I soon worked out in a positive way, that you will just have to wise-up like Chief Brody did, and develop an instinct in order to survive some of the ordeals that you may encounter, to sustain a strong will and healthy view of yourself.
And, there is a protocol for the initial stages for finding someone suitable to go on a date with: and that appears to go like this.
You let them know that you like them, by adding them to a favourites list, or as I found on one site, by sending them a Wink.
Or you can simply send them an introductory message. Keep this short and concise.
If the feeling is mutual, they will write back. After establishing that, swap mobile numbers, and then arrange a time to call. Once you have spoken, and if you like the sound of them, you'll arrange an initial date.
It is all quite an investment of your time, so bare that in mind also.
My First ever date never arrived. I later discovered through what I shall call being a good detective, as opposed to stalking, that he did show up, but was in fact married and intent on securing some extra marital action.
Unfortunately, this type of modus operandi is quite rife.
Then I was contacted by a younger man who introduced the topic of the size of his manhood during the course of our initial phone call.
He talked endlessly about its unrealistic proportions so much, that after a while, it became as matter of fact as the man who used to send me chapter length messages about the colour scheme he was considering for his house.
He then back up his claims with a variety of photographic proof, which my mother insisted, after viewing them, could only have belonged to a horse rather than a human being.
She was so intrigued by his claims, that she insisted I should meet him in order to discover the truth. When I asked her how she expected me to do this, she had no answer. Safe to say, I never did.
Then I went on a date with a policeman whose job it was, to investigate other policemen.
We had a nice meal, and talked about a variety of subjects, so much so that the evening passed by quickly and I thought to myself Wow, I am really enjoying this date and his company.
However, after he drove me home and wanted to come in for coffee and after I politely declined: he released his seatbelt with the stealth like quality of a professional Casanova, and attempted to steal a kiss.
I had to insist that he stop as I struggled to get out of his car. Unfortunately, he then became rather over enthusiastic in attempting to claim said kiss, until I had to literally fight him off. I bid him goodnight and then received a rather curt text message from him, telling me that he didn't want to see me again.
The sex thing. A lot of people I met, just wanted to use it as a medium to find other people to have casual sex with. That is fine if that's what you're looking for, but I wasn't.
Then, there was a man who revealed during the course of our initial telephone conversation his liking for S&M. This he casually dropped into our initial conversation whilst telling me about his house renovation.
Sorry, I am all out of gimp masks I thought as I bid him goodbye.
There is also a high percentage of people who are still dealing with previous relationships, like the man who was drunk as a skunk on the phone to me, who described at great lengths his wife's infidelities: and how he had discovered her stash of Anne Summers naughty knickers and corsets in their bedroom that weren't intended for his titterlation.
And the cost of dating also comes into play as well. I spoke to a man who didn't want to travel as he had travelled before to meet another woman and it had cost him too much money with no return on his investment.
Or the men who just don't have a healthy appreciation for women, like the architect from North London,
And the soldier, who promised me so much, but who then broke my heart into tiny pieces in the process, because he lied.
His nose was bigger than Pinocchio's.
And be warned, as I met a man who was definitely had a serial killer vibe about him. That encounter was a big risk on my part and I scared myself in the process.
Never do anything that you would advise a friend against doing. Be safe and be secure.
Or the teacher who moon lighted as a cab driver who drank to excess and complained endlessly about having grout and the effect it was having on his life.
I excused myself from his company, and rather swiftly went home.
And then there was the man whom I met in Trafalgar Square one Sunday afternoon, who stated on his profile that he was well over six-foot tall, but in reality was five foot seven. He arrived looking as though he had just fallen out of bed wearing a dirty fleece and faux leather gloves, which he kept on throughout our twenty minute date.
I even had one man who contacted me as he enjoyed nothing more than meeting random women, so he could just perform cunnilingus.
Was I interested he asked?
I blushed as I typed him a message. Thank you for the offer, I wrote, but, I think I will pass.
And so it continued, until in the end I surmised that all life exists cyberspace. Maybe more so than on Civvy Street, as people use the mask of the internet to reveal their worst characteristics and perversions.
On the positive side, I also met and have maintained several friendship with many of the men that I did meet had I not embarked upon this journey.
I can honestly say it has been an education.
In cyberspace, anything is possible, and most things are probable. Keep your knickers and your self-respect up, and eventually, you'll meet someone worthy.
But for now, I have decided just like Ellen Ripley did in as she wedged herself into her space suit at the end of Alien that enough was enough: and that it was time for me to get the hell out of there and take control. So with one click of my mouse I ended my online dating endeavours and am now currently resting in hyper sleep.
I do not discount the possibility of meeting someone via this method who will be suitable for me. But for now, I think I shall take my chances in the real world and see what life delivers instead of spending any more time in cyberspace.
At the end of Jaws Brody and Hooper are shark free and swimming for the shore. When Brody says the Hooper I used to hate the water. Too which Hooper replies I can't imagine why.