Internet Dating by Maxine Danby

Internet Dating

  18+   It was a hot drink.

Hands flaying, trying to disengage from his depraved grip, fighting off his unwanted advances.

First and last date with this man.

So, this is internet dating? Disparaged and feeling sorry for myself, I drove off.

Nothing expected or implied. How simple? I was old enough to know the risks.

The sun’s persuasive warmth was pleasant against my back as we sat sipping our coffees at the alfresco café. We exchanged anecdotes, family, and life experiences. His welcoming manner was encouraging, and he was delightful. Bidding for my attention, telling me he was a part-time actor and regaling me with audition stories.

After finishing our java, he offered to walk me to my car. And I accepted his kind offer, although it was early afternoon and didn’t sense danger.

Not then.

His groping hands accosted me as we reached my car. He locked onto my body with a vice-like grip. Fingers everywhere as he fumbled to undo my top, he clawed at me, trying to force me to surrender to his unwanted demands.

“Take me home with you,” he said, between coarse breaths.

“No, no way,” I said.

While struggling to get free, I told him my daughter was at home waiting for me. Thinking this would put him off his game.

“She’s a big girl she can watch TV,” he said.

The scenario drew out. I became more agitated as the seconds sped by. And the forcefulness of his advances scared me so much I cried.

I screamed as I fought him off, “Get off me, you fucking creep, get away before I scream so loud the whole of Yarraville will hear me.”

Thankfully, this worked, and he skulked off. I jumped into my car, and I sped away from the cad. He was the biggest prick I'd ever had the misfortune to meet.

Relieved, I escaped and deleted him from my online dating site immediately upon returning home.

My daughter worked that day; I did not share this scene with her.

Surely, this is the only incident I encountered of this type of unwarranted advance? But no, there are more.

Using my rationale to envisage the future, I’d say that most men would have calmed their nefarious urges by their late fifties and sixties. Or do they assume coffee means yes to a sexual encounter or that agreeing to meet automatically deems you captive to their desires?

At the conclusion of another meetup, one guy had his tongue down my throat before I could blink. He went in for a peck and changed it to a full-on assault. And I gagged at the force of his tongue thrusting into the back of my throat.

Another huge fail.

Chatting online over several weeks with some males, most seemed innocuous. But after meeting up in person, I’d soon discover they’d prefer bonking anything that stood still long enough for them to mount. Sex is all they wanted. Sex, there and then.

To be honest, some men seemed rather pleasant, with handsome appearances. But not my type, nor I, their ideal partner. We’d enjoy a drink together and then go our separate ways.

Some wrote pages full of their life story, so long I became bored reading accounts of their self-absorbed deeds. Realisation dawned. These prolific writers never ventured out for a meetup. They were content to scribe through the dating site. I concluded writing was more of a passion to them.

A few had exaggerated their image by uploading false photos — showing pictures of themselves when much, much younger.

There is nothing more off-putting than the subterfuge of a person who has blatantly lied by using touched-up or old photographs.

I came across several men who used misleading photos.

One turned out to be the shortest rendezvous I’d agonised through.

We met at a pub. When he greeted me, I noticed half his top teeth were missing — none on the top left side of his face.

Arriving home less than forty-five minutes after leaving my daughter’s house, she commented, “Wow, you’re home early mum how was your date go?”

“Dreadful. He used someone else’s photo or an ancient one of himself. Most of his top front teeth, well, he had very few. He was a lot older than his picture; I’d swear he was closer to eighty,” I replied.

Twenty attempts at internet dating is a good number, time to give up. Being alone on a Sunday persuaded me to make a last go of looking for a partner.

A final browse. I had one more search on the dating site, a pleasant-faced man appeared. More of a grin than a smile. I felt drawn to continue.

No teeth showing. (Oh no, this could be another disaster!) But round chubby cheeks glowing with poise.

The way he articulated his words showed a refreshingly down-to-earth person, no self-absorption, simple and to the point. His words stated his facts. He worked in the construction industry, and he wasn’t looking to get remarried or live with anyone. He said that he loved his cars and gardening in that order.

Astonishingly, he had recorded his short stature. His profile stated his height to be five feet four inches tall. And this might have been a turn off to all the willowy women out there in the dating world. But it gave me an honest insight into his character.

I don’t reach the five-foot mark on the height scale, but I found it amusing that someone as short as he would advertise it openly online.

His refreshing candour and pleasing features drew me in. So I clicked on his profile to request a chat.

Things move fast after our first few chats.

We met up a week after starting our conversation. He invited me to a Thai restaurant for dinner. We met at the door of the restaurant, me madly trying to wipe the clay packed mud off my new shoes. In the dark, I had unknowingly parked on a wet and muddy piece of ground. And I didn’t have my thinking cap on, or I would have parked further down the road after the heavy rain.

Our dinner went splendidly. We chatted throughout our meal, finding we had many values in common. He invited me to his place for a cup of tea at the end of our evening together. It seemed a natural progression.

I still can’t believe I agreed and followed him home!

A few weeks on, we talked about our first encounter. Me voicing that we were senseless imbeciles. We should never have gone to his house that night. Reiterating how stupid we both were, I told him I could have been a harlot after his possessions. To me, he could have been a sex fiend or a serial killer.

He made the tea. I sat on the edge of the couch, ready to jump up and run. I needn’t have worried; he was a gentleman who kept his hands and tongue to himself.

Elation followed our third date; he rang me one night to ask me to be exclusive.

“What do you mean by exclusive,” I asked. No man had ever asked this question until now. Finding it fascinating, I listened intently.

He explained, “We would not go out with other people while we're seeing each other.”

I found his manner quaint and appealing and happily agreed to his charming request. My heart smiled for the first time in years that night.

Next May, we will have been going out for ten years and living together for six years.

There is no wedding photo on our mantle, but there are plenty of happy snaps. We will never marry. We have both been down that path; neither of us wishes to repeat the journey.

And to think our happiness started with internet dating!

© 2021 Maxine Danby

With thanks to amrothman from Pixabay for sharing the internet dating app image.

People ask why do I write? For pure enjoyment! I have always loved words. I collect dictionaries as one of my hobbies. After retiring, I needed to be creative and occupy my time. Crafting is fun, but I end up with a lot of decoupaged boxes. The last lot I gave to Vinnies.

I worked in construction and manufacturing as a document controller. It was very technical, nothing creative there, a lot of computer work and writing of manuals and downloading documents.

I wrote this piece as a class exercise with the University of the Third Age. I have a passion for short stories. And one day would like to publish a book of short stories.

Grammarly

Maxine Danby

I'm a fun-loving grandmother. Granny to the youngest, grandma to the older children. I love to spoil all of my grandchildren with sweet treats. I adore Christmas, especially now that the grandchildren are more aware of Santa.

I never imagined I would love to write as much as I do. It was never a dream. I was looking for something to keep myself occupied and looked at the University of the Third Age courses. On the site list, I came across a writing course.

Something swelled within, drawing me to undertake the course. I immediately signed up. I now love to write short stories and look forward to starting a book when my confidence grows.