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I hate online dating. I’m currently boycotting it for the 89th time because it’s quite simply soul destroying. I started my treacherous journey into the world of online dating on Plenty of Fish (POF). Plenty of Fish is full of freaks and criminals. I’ve often wondered if they’re using it as part of some prison rehabilitation programme, helping inmates to create profiles so that they can find a nice woman to keep them on the straight and narrow once they are released. POF allows anyone to message you, unlike Tinder where you can only receive messages from people who you have matched with by both swiping right to say you like each other. This means that you have to really sort the wheat from the chaff (or more aptly, chav) on POF in order to find someone decent because you get bombarded with messages from unwanted creatures at an alarming rate. Sometimes I contemplated hiring a PA to manage my POF messages and to help search for decent looking profiles, and then I remembered that I’m broke and it’s not that deep. I’ve been jumping on and off of online dating apps for the past 4 years but I haven’t been back on POF for 2. It’s like the fuckboy headquarters on there and I have a knack for being attracted to their chief executive board members.

One of my very first POF errors was matching with a 31 year ‘business owner’ called Nathan. Nathan was OK looking, 6ft, tattoos, great body, but his eyes were a bit small and his eyebrows were a bit too close together, he reminded me of Count Von Count the vampire from Sesame Street. We had reasonable banter on POF and then eventually on wats app. He could spell, he was relatively funny, he lived close by, and we had stuff in common so when he invited me out for dinner I thought it was worth giving him a chance. After all, it’s not all about looks, and sometimes there ends up being chemistry in real life even if the text banter is not lighting you on fire.

Nathan told me that he was going to pick me up in a cab, I gave him a postcode down the road (of course, I’m not looking to get murdered out here) and he arrived on time in a black taxi wearing a black fitted suit with a grey shirt, he looked slick, well turned out, clean cut, not massively hot but attractive enough. I was pleased that I had made the decision to give him a chance. I was brand new to the modern dating scene and this was one of my first dates so I was in full on flirt mode. I needed to practice and it was easier to practice on someone who didn’t turn me into a quivering mess.

Nathan took me to an up market Thai restaurant in Mayfair. We talked, mainly him, there were no awkward silences. I found him a bit flashy, he told me that he owned two independent betting shops and three properties. He ordered champagne and jugs of cocktails and he knocked them back like an alcoholic at the gates of rehab. I’m a lightweight when it comes to booze but he was ordering those kind of cocktails that fool you into thinking you’re drinking juice so I was slamming them back like there was no tomorrow. I didn’t realise how drunk I was until we stood up to leave the restaurant and I toppled over and knocked a drink off of the table next to us with my fat arse. Nathan gave the couple £20 and apologised on my behalf. Nathan and I got on OK. We weren’t soul mates I knew that much, but he was entertaining enough and I had been single for a really long time so I was pleased to be out having a good time with him so I agreed when Nathan suggested going on to a bar.

We found a quiet place a few streets away. The bar was playing great music and Nathan continued to order huge jugs of cocktails that tasted like Ribena and so I ended up being absolutely steaming. I really do not handle alcohol well so I don’t drink often. It turns me into a bit of an ‘I am woman hear me roar’ type of drunk. I started dancing while Nathan sat on the sofa in front of me, I was acting like I was Leroy from Fame. Leroy was literally my dance move inspiration for the evening. I’m not sure if it was because of my over enthusiastic choreography or whether he was just showing off but Nathan decided to pay (god knows how much) for the bar to be cleared so we could have it to ourselves. There were only about 3 people in there and one of them was asleep so the management obliged and told the other patrons that they were closing up. If I’m being totally honest I was pretty impressed with this. I couldn’t wait to announce the news in the group chat.

Even if I hadn’t wanted to kiss Nathan I would have probably felt like I had to after such a grand gesture. It’s quite a fuckboy tactic really. He made me feel like I owed him something now. It was OK though because I did want to kiss him. I felt sexy. He made it clear that he wanted me, we danced together and kissed, we sat on the sofas holding hands and kissing; he pushed me against the wall and kissed me. We kissed all over the place, both excited by the novelty of having the bar to ourselves. He turned me on, I liked it. So when he suggested going back to his for a coffee I was like ‘hell yeah!’ I told him that I did not want to sleep with him and that if he was going to get angry about that then he should not bring me back to his house. Isn’t it fucked up that we live in a world where a woman has to give that kind of disclaimer!

The cab journey back to his was fun, we kissed more, and I was looking forward to taking my shoes off somewhere comfortable. I imagined that his house would be pretty nice. As the cab pulled up at his place I was a bit confused, we were on a council estate in a rough part of South London, I followed him anyway without asking any questions. As we got to the front door he told me we had to be quiet until we got into his room. My brain wasn’t computing this information, why did we have to be quiet? He opened the door and two large Staffordshire bull terriers jumped up at me laddering my tights. The house smelt strongly of the dogs and they had made their mark on the wall paper and the floors too, big scratches and damaged carpet throughout. I did not have a clue where he had brought me but I was not fucking happy about it. We entered his bedroom which was clean and not as Battersea Dog’s Home-esque as the rest of the house.

There were baseball caps lined up on the wall in a proud display and he had an Arsenal poster above his bed, it was like a teenage boy’s room. It suddenly dawned on me that we had to be quiet because this was his mum’s house. The blood drained from my body as I drunkenly came to the conclusion that Nathan must be 17. Was I going to get arrested for child sex offences? Was his Mum about to come in and kill me? Nathan indicated that we were safe to talk now and I asked him what was going on, I was freaking a bit but he reassured me that he was 31 and showed me his driving licence. He told me we had to be quiet because his Mum was staying over, but that was clearly a lie. I was quite clearly in his Mum’s gaff. I decided not to explore the great mystery of why an (alleged) successful business and property owner lives in his Mum’s (not very nice) place, because I didn’t reckon I was going to get the truth anyway.

The shock of thinking that I had been snogging a teenager in public all night had sobered me up and his house didn’t make me feel very horny and so I decided to call a cab. While I waited for the cab to come we ended up having another little kiss, it was better than having to talk to him, we were laying on his bed and I was zoned out. I  could feel him moving quite energetically beside me but I didn’t take much notice, I thought he was just a bit excited, until he said ‘I’m cumming, I’m cumming’. HUH? Cumming what, where? I looked down at exactly the wrong moment and I was shot in my left eye by a blob of flying spunk. I was fucking livid. He had been having a little wank next to me, I did not notice this, nor did I consent to it, and I certainly did not consent to being shot in the eye with his unborn children. FUCK YOU NATHAN.

My eye went bright red and it was immediately sore. I looked like I had developed a serious case of conjunctivitis, cumjunctivitis in this case. Nathan was apologising profusely while I was hurriedly googling EYEBALL STIs and CAN YOU GET PREGNANT THROUGH YOUR EYEBALL? The cab finally came and I ran out of Nathan’s house as fast as my laddered tighted, drunken legs would take me, fucking dogs. The next morning I saw my Mum and she asked me what was wrong with my eye ‘Ah, some guy had a wank next to me and unintentionally shot his load into my fucking eye socket, lol’ is what I did not say. Instead I came up with some story about accidentally spilling Rum and Coke over my face. My Mum must think I have major issues because she didn’t question that at all and clearly thought yeah, sounds like Layla. I never saw Nathan again, in fact I never saw anyone out of my left eye again thanks to him.

I’m kidding, my eye returned to normal a couple of days later and I returned to online dating where I started talking to a guy called Luke. Luke was LOVELY. He was gorgeous, chiselled jaw, beautiful face, curly lashes, but he was not my usual type. He was quite slight and shy, he dressed in an Indie style and he was only 5ft 9, but none of that bothered me because we got on famously. Back and forth messages that made me laugh, think, and feel. He was academic and political and I loved his brain. We flirted outrageously and I saw really big potential in him. We went on three dates, the first two we didn’t kiss but I was desperate to and so on the third, before we parted, I went in for the kill. It was a lovely kiss, I felt sparks fly. I really liked this guy.

I got home and waited for him to message me, we had been talking for weeks and had been messaging constantly day and night, I was used to him being the last person I messaged before I went to bed at night, but I didn’t hear from him following our date. Or the next morning. Or the following night. FUCK. It must have been the kiss, I was too dominant, I must have come on too strong when he obviously wasn’t ready. I wondered, as I always do when people reject me, if it was because I’m just so incredibly amazing that they can’t believe I’m interested in them and so they go shy. This train of thought always convinces me to message them. So I came up with some lighthearted banterous message to show him that I was still interested and he replied ‘lol’.

LOL as a reply quite simply means ‘I do not wish to speak to you any further.’ Never, ever reply to a lone LOL. They do not want you to reply. They are not actually laughing out loud, they are straight faced saying ‘lol, come off my line’. I was gutted. But not as gutted as I was when I woke up 3 days later with a grotesquely inflamed, weeping, red left eye. It was bad. Real bad. So bad that I had to call in sick from work. My friend from work messaged me later in the day to ask why I was off so I took the ugliest picture that I could, which wasn’t difficult at that particular moment, to show her. I looked like Sloth from The Goonies. I then I accidentally sent the pic to Luke. Yes. My big out of control thumb had done precisely the worst thing that it could have done with that picture. My stomach dropped. He’s going to think I’m a complete lunatic randomly sending him pictures of myself looking deformed out of the blue. How does one fix something like this?! I turned off my phone. I couldn’t cope with his reaction. Plus I had to quickly get to Moorfield eye hospital for a check-up.

My sister drove me there as I couldn’t see enough to drive. The Doctor examined me and immediately said ‘This looks like chlamydia’. I burst into hysterical laughter, the Doctor looked at me like I was insane, I wasn’t actually finding anything funny but I went into a weird state of shock at the thought that I had that gross man-child’s semen swimming about in my eyeball, eating away at it. I felt disgusting. You probably wouldn’t think that this day could get any worse, but it did. The Doctor sent me for a swab to confirm his diagnosis and the person taking the swab was a girl from my year at school. A girl who I hated. The pleasure in her face when she confirmed that she was taking a chlamydia swab was nauseating. I’ll give you chlamydia in your fat mouth you smug cow, I thought but managed to refrain from saying (luckily). It took two days to get the results back and I am very pleased to inform you that I did not have chlamydia in my eye. No, it was conjunctivitis. After the events of that day I didn’t feel much like celebrating but it was a huge relief not to have an STI on my iris.

Luke contacted me after I sent the picture to ask why I had sent it. I phoned him a few days later to explain that it was not done on purpose. I told him that I had been disappointed that he hadn’t contacted me after our third date and I told him that I regretted the kiss but the picture of my infected eye was not my way of trying to lure him back. He laughed and we joked about it. We ended up speaking for about an hour and I felt excited that we were back on track so I asked him if he fancied meeting up in the week for a drink. And then Luke said ‘I really like hanging out with you but I can’t connect with you on an emotional level because I am autistic, I haven’t been diagnosed as autistic, but I’m pretty sure that I am and that that’s the reason why I just don’t connect with people properly’. And he wasn’t joking. Now he’s right, people with autism do find it difficult to develop social and emotional connections, but Luke was not fucking autistic. We connected well, we had great eye contact and physical interaction on all three dates. I could not believe that he was so turned off by me that he would pretend to have a lifelong developmental disability to get out of having to see me again. That just shows you how truly terrible that picture was. FML.

And so that was the final nail in the coffin for any hopes I had for Luke. Both of those experiences with both of those fuckboys were rubbish, but on the bright side I’m now extremely vigilant before sending pictures of anything risky to anyone, and I’m also really careful to ensure that my eyes are at least 5 feet away from any ejaculating man, so at least I’ve learnt some life lessons as a result. Every cloud has a silver lining…..