It was a little ironic that, on April’s Fool Day, 2010, I found myself single and alone again in a cottage in the Bluff, Durban. I am rough, I am tough, and I come from the Bluff – that was the favoured motto for those that lived in the Bluff.
To be honest, though, I was neither of those. But I had a job in the area, so myself and my two small puppies started life in that insecure world of finding a partner in life. Being a vintage 1957 model, you can do the maths.
I was adamant that I would enjoy my cottage and spend quality time with Gina and Chloe. No rush to find a partner, I told myself.
Two weeks of watching DSTV, playing on-line poker and sharing my three quarter size bed with my two puppies, I had had enough and decided to enter the world of on-line dating. I made two rules :
Make this an adventure and meet as many ladies as I could
The moment I see something in a lady that I do not like, I am moving on.
So I went through the million questions about myself and the perfect partner that I wanted, and registered and paid for three months. The worst part was that little paragraph that says – tell us a little about yourself. It sits below your profile picture and does you no justice at all. How a lifetime has moulded you must be put into a paragraph and needs to attract someone?
I asked a work colleague to take a photo of me, not telling him why, because of the ridiculous stigma attached to on-line dating. The photo was uploaded and approved and I was all set to go.
It was fun scrolling thru all the photos and deciding which ladies would be the target of my messages. It was exciting coming home from work and checking to see if I had received any replies. But the whole process was tedious and it took so long to persuade someone to meet for a cup of coffee, a drink or even dinner.
Then there are the hidden costs, which is part of the fun, but also do hurt the pocket. In the three months that I was a member, I managed to meet 15 ladies, which I still believe was quite impressive.
Lady Number One : We met for dinner in Pietermaritzburg, which I paid for. We met again a month later in Pietermaritzburg, and never took it any further after that. Distance travelled 340 km
Lady Number Two : I took her to watch a rugby match at King’s Park, and then met her a second time at her apartment in Glenwood. I did not feel comfortable there so left and we did not see each other again. Distance travelled 50 km
Lady Number Three: We met for dinner twice in Westville, both of which I paid for. On the third date I tried holding her hand. I was told that I was being too forward, so we never met up again. Distance travelled 120 km
Lady Number Four : We met for coffee in Westville. Although there was no physical attraction, she was a good bridge player and I also knew how to play bridge. So we played bridge together at the local country club for about a year.
Lady Number Five : We arranged to meet at the Harlequins Rugby Club in the Bluff and spent the afternoon watching club rugby. We never met up again.
Lady Number Six : I went to Greytown twice to see her. This is an amazing story, worth telling at the functions. Distance travelled 600 km
Lady Number Seven : I happened to be in Johannesburg, and met her for dinner on the East Rand. We agreed before meeting to go dutch on the meal. She was very pleasant and we agreed on a second date later in the week. Then her ex-husband had a motor cycle accident so she cancelled the date and there was no time to see her again. We never did meet up for that second date.
Lady Number Eight : We met for coffee at the Mugg & Bean in Hillcrest. As she walked thru the door I could tell that she was a lot older than her profile picture showed her to be. It was a long half hour listening to her before it was polite to ask for the bill and leave. She tried to phone me twice but I declined to answer her calls. Distance travelled 80 km
Lady Number Nine : We met for a drink in Amanzimtoti. She said that she was very health conscious. A week later she invited me to a braai in Scottburgh where she sat and smoked. This paradox confused me. We met up again twice in Scottburgh where we played Backgammon with her very complex but challenging rules. She showed me where she lived in Scottburgh with about half a dozen dogs. After that I tried to call her a few times but it seemed as if the phone number was no longer being used. So I never managed to see her again unfortunately. Distance travelled 350 km
Lady Number Ten : We met at the pub on top of the Pavillion Shopping Centre for a drink. She lived in Richmond but when she told me that the house was split in two and that her ex-husband lived next door, I decided not to pursue the matter. Distance travelled 30 km
Lady Number Eleven : I met her at the Prawn Festival in Ballito where she was showing off her artwork. After a brief chat I went to visit some other stalls and quietly headed off home. Distance travelled 140 km
Lady Number Twelve : I went to fetch her in Umkomaas and took her to watch a World Cup Soccer match at the fan park on the Durban Beach Front. She invited me back to Umkomaas once more to meet her children but she was too young for me and we agreed to leave it there. Distance travelled 270 km
Lady Number Thirteen : We met for drinks and had dinner at a restaurant in the Windermere Centre. She turned out to be a smoker, which was not acceptable to me. She was very pleasant but we did not meet again. Distance travelled 50 km
Lady Number Fourteen : We met at the pub on top of the Pavillion Shopping Centre for a drink. She took one look at me and made her decision. She was looking for a fit & lean cyclist and I did not meet those criteria. So the drink went down quickly and I was sent on my way. Distance travelled 30 km
Lady Number Fifteen : We met at the fan park at the Sun Coast Casino to watch a soccer match and went for dinner at the Mugg & Bean afterwards. Nine years later we are still together.
So on-line dating does work, but it can be costly and very time consuming. The approximate distance I travelled to meet these ladies totalled over 3 000 km. There are also the costs of coffee, drinks and dinner. At the end of it, it was definitely worth it because I did meet someone special.