Internet romance – would you date a polecat, a decadent Duke or a drug-raddled poet?

Thumbnail image for Avril  June 2012 small.jpgInternet dating functions, for those of you who have never done it, by each participant creating a name (nickname) for themselves, plus a strap line – which I assume is meant to embrace some positive and/or interesting component of their character and other stuff about themselves to attract prospective suiters. And also what they would like to see in a mate.  Really it’s a personal advert for yourself.

I would like to see a psychologist’s take (more drilled down analysis) on some of these names and profiles to see what they really reveal between-the-lines about personality and mental makeup! That perhaps is the secret to successful internet dating – to interpret what people are really saying about themselves and what they want in relationships?
For instance, a lot of men online seem to think its attractive to use the following strap line:  “Mad, bad and dangerous to know” which was used by Lady Caroline Lamb, the British aristocrat, in the 17th century to the poet, Lord Byron with whom she had an affair.
Well that relationship didn’t end well – since Lady Caroline was married and it was a public scandal at the time and secondly she got spurned by Lord Byron whom she went on to stalk – as much as you could by stage coach and snail mail in the 1700s..


She famously sent him a book with “Remember Me!” written on the cover fly and he responded:  “Remember thee! Remember thee! Till Dethe quench life’s burning stream; Remorse and shame shall cling to thee, And haunt thee like a feverish dream! Remember thee! Ay, doubt it not. Thy husband too shall think of thee! By neither shalt thou be forgot, Thou false to him, thou fiend to me!”
Now Byron who died aged 36 was ‘celebrated’ for his aristocratic excesses (presumably only by other men) which included huge debts, numerous love affairs, rumours of a scandalous incestuous liaison with his half-sister as well as drugs. Nice man, not.
Lady Caroline also came to a bad end. She separated from her husband and she ended up living…at Brocket Hall (you may recall the last Lord Brocket was jailed for insurance fraud after dumping his luxury cars in a nearby lake and his wife going bananas while she was married to him and that was in this century!) near Welwyn in Hertfordshire. 
She – Lady Caroline –  became increasingly mentally unstable, complicated by alcohol abuse and the use of the drug laudanum.  And eventually died aged only 42!
On Classic FM Romance there are several men with this strap line and even the name Byron – so what are they trying to say about themselves? By the way one of his most famous poems was Don Juan … 
So what are these men really thinking of?  I suspect what they are really saying is what they want is unadulterated and unfettered sex with whoever passes by on the internet! Ah so it is a numbers game but then but not the kind most women are suspecting.
Or could it be they are ignorant of what Byron did and symbolised? 
Well looking more closely at their profiles – one of them is a married man (identified by ‘ask me later’ on the question of relationship status) and the other just wants flings. So it can be all in a name, can’t it? It can’t be that they are hoping for a nice romantic outcome with any of the women they meet can it?
Internet dating also works by the individual trawling through the profiles and spotting others they are interested in and making them favourites – the favourite then receives an email to say someone has made them a fan.  Then you can return the compliment and make them a favourite and in theory if you are interested start an email dialogue with them.
But getting a fan is, more often than not,  a very big let down.  You come home from a fun evening with your girlfriends to look through your emails and see that someone called, of all things “Polecat” has made you a fan. So you think to yourself – or is it just me  “Polecat – what sort of name is that?  Is it some sort of stinky animal with bad habits?”  At least that ‘s my first reaction.
So what is a polecat and why should a woman go out with a male human polecat? Or someone whose imagination leads them to call themselves that? Added to which he did have a picture that looked – like a hairless ..hmm polecat! 
Well there was a naval frigate in the 17th century called HMS Polecat but it appears to have been scuppered off the coast of Virginia by the French in 1782.
A real polecat pictured above
The name also applies to several types of carnivorous little animals from the WEASEL family found in Europe and the southern US – Tennessee and South Carolina.  The word comes from pole (from the French word hen) and cat.  In essence this means in Europe, a fondness for poultry.  So then it’s an animal that likes breaking into hen houses and killing all the hens. In the US its the name for a skunk – that’s definitely smelly. There is also a 1980s rock band called the Polecats – they were probably very smelly too!
As a complete aside, I recall being a reporter on a local newspaper and being sent to a pub opposite Welwyn North station (not Welwyn Garden City) in Hertfordshire where there was a ‘ferret legging competition’ – this involved men putting as many live ferrets as possible down their trousers which were strapped at the bottom.  The winner was determined by who could keep the most down there for the longest.  Are ferrets part of the weasel family – most probably?  These days I would be able sue my newspaper for suffering some sort of trauma after watching such an event! There was also the lama…
I see another profile called Foscari – one of the most infamous Dodges (Dukes) of Venice during the 17th century when the Carnival was a six month sex orgy for the European aristocrats who flocked there! More about what is behind this profile in a later blog – but I can tell you what he said in an email shocked me!
But even the most seemingly courteous names can be totally discourteous.  Take another example Courtly Love – to a woman this might mean a romantic, chivalrous knight from the days of King Arthur fighting for the love and affection of a lady.  But no –  what that really means is that a the Knight can take what he pleases when he pleases, from as many as he pleases – read about it here
And someone who called themselves “All the Best Names are Gone” – the least said the better!
I called myself Donna Dolce – which in Italian means Sweet Woman – so even if you have onl
y read Italian menus you would know that Dolce meant sweet or at worst dessert. But most men would message me as the name ‘Donna’ – they thought that was my name and one I have never liked in its plain English translation.  So that one went over most of their heads!
Next time:  How to identify male singletons, aged 30+ who are ‘married’ to mummy and other commitment-phobes! And why you should run at full speed…in the opposite direction!