I started walking seriously just over a year ago, nine or 10 miles four times a week. It helped me drop the excess weight I was carrying – about a stone and a half – and it was a good excuse to socialise with a close friend.
Our walks always follow the same format. We meet up, I dash behind a bush for a pee as soon as we set off. And then it starts – the dissection of the male species, via exchanges we’ve had on dating websites….”Oh, you know what, Carol, he’s so full of crap…..” is usually the opener.
We’ve both experienced some pretty crass behaviour during lockdown and I’d go so far as to say I’ve never, in my on-off dating life, seen anything quite like it. Obviously, there’s been a lot of chatting and not much else, but I’ve found that the more some men chat, the more they drop themselves in it.
And it’s not just us, friends have encountered men who purport to want a relationship but can’t even manage a FaceTime, some who go AWOL for no apparent reason, others who arrange a date and don’t turn up, sex pests, age deniers, annoying toy boys, fakes, lovebombers, gaslighters, narcissists, blah blah blah…
One man was stalking me on a fake Instagram account as he’d been blocked on all channels, including LINKEDIN!!!! In his case, it would appear that men really do prefer bitches because I got so irate I verbally castrated him. But something tells me he’ll be back.
‘I wade in there like Atila the Hun of the dating world demanding to know why their last relationship ended’
I have to say this poor behaviour is not exclusive to men. Several I spoke to have been asked for money by women. One guy had been set up twice by married ones. He was actually kicked out of bed one morning by one who said her husband would be home in an hour. He didn’t have a clue. Another woman wanted him to make love to her while her husband watched.
During lockdown I’ve had dozens of men. When I say ‘had’ I’m referring to those who have shown interest, chatted and fallen by the wayside exhausted by my forensic cross-examining. Anyone who doesn’t give me credible answers is investigated on social media. I swear I could get a job with MI5 now.
My sister says I should cut them some slack and take potential suitors at face value. But I can’t, I wade in there like Atila the Hun of the dating world demanding to know why their last relationship ended, or why they’re adding glamorous women on their Facebook profiles whilst promising me the earth, and so on it goes and that’s before we even get to the dating stage.
My excuses are that a) I’m a journalist and faced with suspected liars and cheats, I like to get to the facts and b) It’s better to find out the truth at the beginning to save heartache later.
Many of these unsuspecting chaps are initially flattered by my enthusiastic questioning, thinking I’m intrigued by every facet of their lives, when really I’m trying to assess if they’re likely to shaft me later on. If given the choice between chatting with me or being waterboarded, I feel, in retrospect, they’d opt for the latter.
Anyone who makes it to the dating stage without being emotionally scarred is a superhero in my book. If they make it to date two, we’re talking life-long commitment….or, at the very least, the Victoria Cross.
Maybe I should just do the right thing for mankind and stay single.
Main pic: @mehdizadeh