Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Beware the acne'd Northerner

Apropos nothing Rouchswalwe disapproves of computer dating. And I have a little story.

My adolescence was a mess and I howled at the moon a lot. My worried mother – off her own bat – enrolled me in an international male/female pen-pals scheme, a written precursor to RW’s antipathy. Surely, my mother thought, there was one young woman in the world who could convince me that being male was bearable.

It sort of worked. A trainee teacher from Essex sent a photo with a gentle note (“I should add I normally wear glasses.”), we corresponded and I met her on a couple of visits to London. The second time I was so horribly rude I cringe at the memory. If in the afterlife forgiveness is possible, she will be my first supplicatee. I devoutly hope she married a millionaire and now owns Madagascar.

Typical male crassness, but Jahway was lurking. I tried another pen-pal and received a photo of a handsomely brutal woman in Johannesburg. I sent off a photo, discreetly chosen to hide my acne, and she immediately broke off the correspondence.

Johannesburg was merely a deep wound. Essex was different. I wasn’t then ashamed of my behaviour - that feeling grew with time. Rather I regarded myself a poltroon trawling such a system. I became adult (I hope) by moving from Bradford to London and quickly meeting Miss T who became Mrs BB.

What is inexplicable is that while still yearning, futilely, for a woman’s company I was able to act so badly when temporarily granted this blessing. Does this deserve discussion?

CHEERIER NOTE I’m told I won an unofficial award for responding to others’ blogs. Does anyone know from whom? Or is Jahway at work again?

4 comments:

Rouchswalwe said...

BB, your last post about love affairs and how they start got me thinking about all this, I suppose. There are people for whom computer dating works (must be, for how else could these services remain in business?), but I bristle in my particular case. It simply doesn't feel relaxed enough for me to pay a fee to a company in order to search through loads of profiles in hopes that I will be able to locate a guy or two I might "fall" in love with ... it's information overload for me. Plus, I tend to be attracted to a man's voice, the topics he converses on, and that is not the first thing one comes in touch with on these computer dating services. It's all too visual and too physical for me. I feel like I'm shopping for a vehicle. Friends tell me it's more efficient. Less chance of missing the right one for me. I wonder?! What if I skip over a profile just because he lists "drinking lite beer" as one of his hobbies? Maybe it was simply the default hobby and he forgot to unclick it? No, no ... too much pressure for little ol' me. More power to those who have the stamina needed for computer dating. I'll pass.

There's an interesting perspective I gained on all this from a Japanese friend. She told me that her family pressured her to such an extent (even utilizing pen pal dating) that for her, computer dating was actually a freeing activity. She liked "shopping" for a man without her parents knowing about it.

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): I doubt I'd have had the bottle to use computer dating back in the fifties had it existed. In any case my needs were far more basic: I needed confirmation that there was a woman anywhere in the world who was willing to communicate with me by letter. At that stage I was pretty sure I'd never reach the point where I actually got to speak to anyone of the opposite sex and in a sense that turned out to be true. When it did happen (as related) I became a mini-ogre.

Now in a world too wide for my shrunk shank (actually, it's rather unshrunk) I read these lonelyhearts columns with a sense of detachment. One thing that strikes me immediately is that by handing over one's CV to an agency one is reduced to a set of acronyms (GSOH, WLTM, etc) from which Peter Ustinov and/or George Clooney would find it difficult to stand out. Of course it's probably fair to say that the majority lack literacy and would not show up well if left to their own devices. But then even those who do claim the gift of self-expression often sell themselves very poorly in the rarer sort of lonelyhearts column where self-crucifixion is allowed.

There is a further techno-development whereby one sends a video. But again this needs acting and we do not act ourselves as we pass through life. I think if I were reduced to this form of solicitation I would copy out one of the lesser-know WS sonnets and hope for the best.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah yes, the acronyms! Ugh.

earlybird said...

Lucky you to find stuffed cabbage on a restaurant menu in France. Oh that they served such good, simple food down here. Worth the exorbitant tip!