Would you ever think of popping into the secure unit of a class A mental hospital for a blind date? No I thought not! Well I recently popped onto the Classic FM Romance internet dating site but unfortunately it appears to be almost the same thing.
I did blind dates years ago - when the only place you could find possible companions was in the classified adverts of quality newspapers like The Times or the satirical magazine Private Eye.
I was very young and slim and I was warned about my personal safety by friends who thought anyone doing that sort of thing, especially men were at the very best weird and the worst social misfits.
I discovered then that many were just that - plain misfits and others were sexual preditators with predilections they could not satisfy within normal relationships. The majority also had personality bypasses and plain bad manners.
A few years later I wrote about it for an international newspaper. A colleague did it in Rome, one in Madrid, another in Paris and of course I did it more than all of them put together in London - joining upmarket agencies and dinner dates. I recall one date where a man turned up in El Vinos wine bar not far from my office wearing a crumpled shirt with curled up frayed shirt collars and a dirty carrier bag which he spent most of the time rustling around in. At the dinner dates likewise I attracted the creeps which was most of the men who turned up. The women on the other hand were mostly pretty or attractive, witty and intelligent.
So I now I try and give fate a nudge again in 2012 with friends telling me that it has all changed and that it's a numbers game now and eventually I will meet someone decent.
But I am still not convinced. Talk about kissing frogs - more like toads. I see very good looking men in their 40s, divorced in good jobs in the City and we have a good two way dialogue unti I ask one why he needs to go online, and why I assume in particular if he is articulate? And surely if its just for easy encounters, one night stands and sex why don't they just go to a bar or one of those other sites. I get no answer from this particular man so I assume the worst and he couldn't truthfully answer me.
So by the time you have ruled out players and married men (after sex), sex addicts (more serious), commitment-phobes, men who live with their mothers in their 30s, 40s, and 50s until they die, desperados, mental illness sufferers, general weirdos, boring people, men over 50 who seem to have lost all attention to their personal care, and the hideously ugly toads - there is not a lot left..honestly trust me.
And its not just about looks is it? So you read profiles where the writing is almost illiterate or someone pours out all their dirty washing about divorce and marital disharmony, death and widow-dom...and men looking for Mother Teresa (don't they realise that she is dead?) ughhhh.
So I will be sharing my experiences here. By the way I put up a photo - that is not photo-shopped - am honest about my weight - but like most woman not about my age - on the grounds that if you met someone in 'normal' circumstances they wouldn't know your age either. Although at one point I did say I was 99 because I couldn't be older as Classic FM Romance doesn't seem to allow 100 year-olds - which I pointed out must be age discrimination.
Some of my encounters have been highly amusing. And I have hard funny stories from men too - especially about really big ladies or ladies that have really fibbed about their age with no realistic prospect of being believed! And the Cornish fisherman who got spammed with Viagra ads after he told women he couldn't see them currently because he was still sharing his home with his ex-wife because he couldn't sell it.
But I do wonder what happens to the majority of people once they have come out of the womb, and who make it to adulthood but have become totally emotionally dysfunctional on the way?
First of all I chose ClassicFM because I thought (mistakenly) it would attract like-minded people interested in - hmm - yes classical music and opera. But no it's actually what I would describe as a kind of aggregator for all the sites that appear to be on media outlets - so you actually get people from Saga, Kindred Spirits (Daily Telegraph) et al. Luckily we are spared illicit whats-it-called and fbuddies at least in name but not in spirit?
I've always thought that any man with an ounce of character would be able to strike up a conversation with a woman he thought might be interesting and not be online - and I haven't changed my view on that. It's a waste of time and I would end up in Broadmoor if I took this seriously wouldn't I? But if you have some stories to share let me know...