When I wasn’t ignored, it often felt as if I were on a production line.
One woman I met in a bar early on claimed haughtily that she’d been out with a man called Mike the day before and was meeting another called Steve the following day. One 45-year-old sent me a picture of herself six months ago posing stark naked in bed.
I slept with two women in those early months; both after our first dates. The sense of rejection following such physical intimacy was awful, prompting me to instigate a ‘no sex on the first date’ rule. Last year, I uploaded a better profile picture; women, I learned, like men to look moody. For the past two months, I’ve been seeing a writer four years my senior. I have also written a book, How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting, which is being published on Valentine’s Day.
Steve Gormill, 42, is a divorced health and safety adviser from Glasgow. His marriage of 13 years, to Nicole, 42, a teacher, broke down in 2009. After I’d put my son to bed, a stunning woman with dark hair caught my attention on the dating site.
He and his former wife, Hazel, 66, a shop assistant, divorced in 2000. Although an online affair led to the demise of Bill’s marriage, he remains a dedicated internet dater. When I admitted to one of my dates — a retired divorcee in her 60s — that I’d cheated on my wife, she glared at me and spent the rest of the evening ranting about her ex-husband. I sipped my drink in silence, wondering when I could leave. Hazel and I had been married for 26 years when, in 1999, I logged on to a dating chat room while at work.
Otherwise, they seem to be looking for a replica of their last relationship. I spend so much time listening to how wonderful their recently dead husbands are, I end up feeling inadequate.
Most women I want to meet — single mothers my age — have older children. I can get to know dates online before we go out for dinner.
I’m starting my career again and all my energy goes into work and my son. A seemingly sensible saleswoman I contacted last November sent me a picture of herself in a gold bikini.
Bill Addison, 67, is a retired aircraft engineer from Stockport, Cheshire.A forthright brunette demanded I wear Superman underwear on our date to give her ‘something to remember’.Still trying to find my feet, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of not being as ready to start dating as I had thought and barely said a word.He has been internet dating since he and his wife of seven years, Christabel, 49, a writer, separated in 2008. But in the flesh she was plain and dumpy, not sylph-like and pretty, and as soon as I spotted her waiting for me in a bar in Canterbury for our first date in January 2010, it was clear she had doctored her picture. It seemed more convenient than using the lonely hearts columns and I felt I was too old to chat up women in bars and clubs.Incensed, I walked up to her and roared ‘You’re not tall and thin! I stated clearly on my profile ‘my past is part of me’ because Christabel and I remain great friends. My longest relationship was with Alison, a 50-something financial broker I met online in July 2010.We’ve all heard about the bad behaviour of men who date online: the married ones just out for casual sex, the ‘successful businessmen’ who turn out to be minicab drivers and the ‘spontaneous risk takers’ who are, in truth, crashing bores.