I don’t know what came over me, but last week I decided to join Plenty Of Fish (POF) (the picture above was one I received a few years ago – I have not been on there since August, don’t worry). I didn’t join on a serious man-hunting level, more just for shits and giggles. Although I must say there have been plenty of shits and very few giggles. I thought maybe I would find some good blog material and I was curious to see whether POF was the same as it had been when I had last been on a few years ago. I guess I was also sort of thinking that winter is coming and I would not be averse to jumping on the ‘cuffing season’ bandwagon. I hate online dating though, and I think POF is the absolute pits of online dating. I have tried Tinder, Bumble, and Happn in the past. I also joined Zoosk once for about 3 minutes but I deleted it immediately after realising that every single man on there looked like a raging serial killer. I genuinely came away from Zoosk feeling frightened for my life and I didn’t even talk to anyone. The men all looked they were auditioning to be actors at The London Dungeon, it was a genuinely terrifying experience. I was using online dating sites on and off for about 3 years but about 18 months ago I got completely sick of the dead banter, the catfishes, the fizzled out conversations, the premature sex talk, and the abundance of men who only want hook ups and so I deleted the apps and vowed never to use them again, no matter how bored or single I got.
I don’t have a personal Facebook account, I deleted that a while ago too because it was making me depressed. All my friends and family are so political that Facebook was beginning to make me feel like the world was ending (it pretty much is), constant shared posts about Trump, Brexit, Police brutality and corruption, and the way that the Tory scum are fucking up the UK, its reality, but it’s a reality that was bringing me down. So without Facebook I couldn’t join Tinder or Bumble which for me are the best free dating apps. Although when I say best I mean ‘best of a bad bunch’, and out of that bad bunch POF would be my last choice. Tinder and Bumble work in much the same way as each other, you can’t message anyone until you have matched with them, but on Bumble the woman has to message first. I liked that concept, it was good for making sure that I wasn’t bombarded with unwanted messages, but the problem with having to send the first message was that I never ended up talking to anyone. I would match with them and think ‘Hmmmmm, maybe he’s not as decent looking or as funny sounding as I thought he was’ and so Bumble never resulted in any number swapping.
Most of my online dates came from Tinder. Tinder is hard work because apparently there is a huge male misconception that Tinder is a sex site, so you have constantly got to explain that you are looking to date not casually fuck. Ask any of my male friends and they will tell you that Tinder is a place to go to meet women for sex. It’s a hook up site according to most men. But none of the women that I know who have used Tinder, including myself, have used it for that. We have all innocently downloaded Tinder under the impression that we will find potential life partners on there, and I know people who have successfully done just that, so I was more than happy to give Tinder a go despite my male friends begging me not to. I actually never met anyone on there that got any further than a few dates. All the people that have become ‘something’ in the 6 years since my last long term relationship have either come from Facebook, Instagram, or real life. Except for Mark/Martin, he came from POF and he turned out to have a long term girlfriend/baby Mother, which is an extremely frequent occurrence on POF.
Tinder is better because of the fact that it is connected to Facebook and so you seem to get less catfishes (people who use fake profile pictures) but you can only specify the age and distance of the people who you want to search for, so if like me you have a stupidly specific type, it can mean hours of swiping before you come across someone you find attractive, which can be problematic because you get into this habitual robotic mode of constantly swiping left and then all of a sudden you’ll realise that you’ve accidentally rejected the first appealing man that has crossed your screen in 3 hours. I did meet that incredibly sexy premier league footballer on Tinder though, the one whose cat I had beef with with, sadly he was too dull to make it work and his cat would have killed me if I had stayed around much longer, but there are a few hidden gems on there if you search hard enough. But yeah, Tinder is boring. Too much swiping, not enough decent matches, and even less decent conversation with the ones that you do match with.
It’s not as bad as POF though, nothing is as bad as POF, but I just had this urge to check it out so I bit the bullet and joined up. I didn’t write much on my profile, I couldn’t be bothered. I also put a fake name and I said that I was a nurse, I didn’t want to give too much away because I had no intention of talking to anyone and also because I just felt strangely paranoid about putting my real details online. But then I remembered that on POF you can specify exactly what you are looking for from race, to height, to weight, to smoking and drinking status. You can very specifically search for exactly the kind of guy you usually go for. Being able to search for 32 – 43 year old 6ft 3, left wing, men who live within 10 miles of me and enjoy festivals is always going to lead me into temptation, and so of course, I couldn’t help myself. I set up my search criteria and off I went tentatively into the online equivalent of a speed dating event being held at a community centre for prisoners on day release. I wasn’t at all surprised to see that at least 50% of the men on there were exactly the same ones that had been on there 3 years ago, they hadn’t even updated their pictures.
I didn’t upload any pictures initially because I didn’t want to be seen on that God forsaken site, although you’re only ever going to be seen by other people who are also on there, but still. I just really didn’t want to, but then I scrolled through my highly refined search and stumbled across a man who absolutely filled every criteria that I could ever wish to be filled in terms of his looks. He looked like he was carved out of gold and sculpted into the most perfect man that ever lived. Curly hair, 6ft 4, the body of a boxer, the lips of a Greek God, cheekbones that looked like he had done a master class in contouring. Just so beautiful. His profile didn’t give much away but he was so good looking that I thought I would put all my I HATE POF feelings to one side and message him. I was saddened to find that he only accepted messages from people with pictures and so I thought fuck it, I’m actually going to fling one up. The fact that I did this should convey to you just how very spectacular this buff ting was. I wouldn’t do that for just anyone.
So I put up a close up selfie and a full length picture. Good pictures obviously. The two pictures that generate the most ‘Hey stranger’ messages when I parade them on my WhatsApp display picture. In the 3 hours that I had my pictures up I received 568 messages. I couldn’t work out how to stop getting message notifications so I had to keep my phone on silent. It was overwhelming and disturbing, I literally felt like I had penises being thrown at me left, right, and centre. I think these guys have been sitting on POF for so long that as soon as a new woman joins they are like sharks, they have messaged all of the existing members already, so they are just there circling waiting to spot a new piece of meat as soon as she jumps in the polluted sea that is POF. These men were hungry. I felt very uncomfortable with all of these random people being able to see my photos, I felt a bit violated and slightly scared, like I didn’t want to go outside in case they were all waiting outside my house.
I had several people asking if they could be my oral sex slave, or if they could meet me just to go down on me. I didn’t reply. I cannot imagine engaging in that kind of scenario, although if the gold plated curly haired man put that on offer I dunno…., I kid. I would never, I wouldn’t judge a woman for doing it but for me it would not feel safe. Can you imagine how many random vulvas these filthy nutcases have in their mouth’s each week? I feel like I’m developing herpes at the very thought of it. The ones who weren’t offering community cunnilingus were telling me they’d like to ‘get my panties creamy’, or that I had ‘tits I’d love to stick my face into’, or that I ‘look like an undercover naughty one’. And when they weren’t feeling like it was perfectly reasonable to message explicit sexual requests and comments to women they’ve never spoken to before, they were either just saying ‘Hi’ or ‘Hey’ or they were copying and pasting paragraphs that they had clearly sent to 100 women already, like:
‘Hey there! Now I must say, I think I would have to be an amazing fisherman to be able to catch such a lovely fish as you! You have very beautiful eyes. So would this lovely fish care to come out for a drink with this hopeful fisherman? Xxx’
It’s polite and everything, but seriously Gary, are you really asking me for a drink before you ask me for my name? No I do not want to go out for a drink with an absolute complete stranger who recycles the most cheesy piece of shite chat up lines in the desperate hope that someone will keep him company in a bar. Just no. I began to feel quite angry at one point too because I kept getting messages from really fucked up looking men and I just felt like they were taking the piss out of my life. I know everyone is beautiful inside if they have a lovely personality, and it’s not about what’s on the outside, but honestly these were like 60 year old Scottish men with plasters holding their NHS glasses together, pictured on their mobility scooter on a recent day trip to Southend, or 5ft 2 Indian men with cornrows. It was hurting my ego that these men were looking me and thinking that we would make a good match.
The thing that I found the weirdest about POF is that 90% of the men on there look so old school. Their pictures don’t look like they are from Instagram, they look like they are screen-munched from MySpace. They lack quality and sophistication. Men on POF mainly display selfies, but terrible selfies, usually taken on a web cam in a dimly lit room with wall paper peeling off in the background, wearing an ill-fitting suit jacket and Adidas cap, holding up two fingers in a sort of attempted gun finger pose, and their bios are also often extremely poor. Here is a prime example of the type of POF bio I saw over and over again (his grammatical errors, not mine):
‘Wow to be honest if you want to know you will ask me but?????? I need a beautiful wife im honest so if your not beautiful please don’t message me…but most of the girls on this site don’t even know what they want i want a woman so you can see the problems im having???? If you like being lied to don’t message me i know you like being treated bad or why would you play with fire so much. I don’t cheat I rave like 5 times a year light drinker, play xbox football when i can yes I was really bored when i done this?????? anything else ask……’
Errr, na you’re alright mate, think you told me everything I need to know……But because so many of the decent looking men had bios like the example above, it felt really special when I occasionally found a good looking man with a decent profile, like he was a rare diamond stuck down a toilet. But before you get too excited messaging someone on POF you have always got to keep in the back of your mind that there is a 75% chance that you are not talking to the 6ft athletic man in the pictures, it’s more likely that you are talking to a spotty teenage boy man who gets his kicks out of pretending to be a big man online, or it could be the man in the picture’s horrifically ugly best friend. I was starkly reminded about the volume of catfishes on there because I kept seeing pictures of catalogue models, gorgeous looking men who were clearly in America being shot professionally. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is some young American model and not a 36 year old solicitor from North London. There are so many like that on there, and their jobs are always Investment Banker, Lawyer or Property Developer but yet their bios say ‘Don’t message me unless ur serius, I aint got time for no time wasters’ and you just think REALLY? Some of the catfishes are not so obvious though. I saw a number of profile pictures of men that I knew, Callum, my friends’ fiancée, a guy I follow on Insta. I knew that none of them were the real person because they all had mad bios like the one above, I just knew that none of them would write the sort of shit that was written on their profiles.
So anyway, once I had got past the abundance of ugly men, hot men with stupid bios, catfishes, perverts, men punching way above their weight, and men who looked like they still use MySpace, I was left with a few guys who seemed decent enough, including Dre, the one who looked like he was made from gold. My plan was to just quickly get one or two numbers and then delete POF as fast as I possibly could. Every moment that I was on there I felt a little bit more seedy, I felt depressed and concerned about the state of single men today and on several occasions the thought crossed my mind that I might have to start dating women, because on a daily basis I connect with amazing women on my Insta, women who just get me; smart, bright, funny, beautiful women who are just so easy to talk to. If only you lot had willies, it would all be so much easier because I just cannot seem to find men that I like even half as much as I like you guys.
In light of the vast amount of fake profiles on POF I wasn’t about to get into in depth conversations with anyone without doing a few background checks to verify who they were. I think it is sensible to exchange Instagram/Facebook details with a new man anyway, I have long been saying that it is a red flag if he says he doesn’t have social media. Mainly because 90% of people have it and those who tell you they don’t are often saying it because they have girlfriends, it’s also a good way of seeing what they are all about, and on a dating app it is essential in establishing whether they are real. Would you believe that 6 out of the 9 men I spoke to did not have Instagram? But strangely enough they all had Snapchat. If he has Snapchat and dating apps on his phone but not Instagram or Facebook then he 100% has an important woman in his life. They don’t mind sharing their Snapchat details with you because the messages disappear, and because they can block you from viewing their story if they ever decide to post a snap with their Mrs. So those six fell at the first hurdle. I did not want to speak to them without seeing their Insta. Although one of them kept arguing with me about it and I did sort of believe that he wasn’t lying about not having Instagram, but he was suggesting that we should Facetime and I was explaining that I didn’t want to give out my phone number until I knew more about him, and he kept saying that I would find out more about him once we spoke, and I kept trying to get him to understand that I didn’t want to speak unless I knew that we had some common ground, and he kept insisting that we would figure that out over the phone, and I was just exasperated that he could not see why I would not want to give out my personal phone number willy nilly to some stranger who I know nothing about. He just did not get it and so he got blocked too.
So I was left with two. Dre the God of lust and Stephen who was not quite a God of anything but he was sexy and I really liked his bio, it was funny and it showed intelligence. He pointed out how important it was to know the difference between your and you’re and he made reference to his love of Jeremy Corbyn. I exchanged Instagram details with both of them and this is how it went:
I was pleased to see from his Instagram that he was who he claimed to be and that there was no obvious presence of any significant women but I was absolutely devastated to see that his Insta was full of little pictures that he had designed himself, like sort of memes that he had made using his own face with the words ‘Athletic Caramel Sensation’ or ‘Caramelic delight’ or ‘Lightskinned luscious caramac’ written across the top with pictures of stars and swirls along the bottom. I don’t know what was going through Dre’s mind but clearly our brains were not functioning on the same wavelength. His Instagram pictures showed that he was an extremely good looking man, but that he had very weird ideas about self-promotion. It was just embarrasing, cheesy, cringey and disappointingly tacky.
I recently posted a picture on my personal Instagram with the caption ‘Why does my left hand look like that?’ because it looked like a little claw, the picture was hot though so I still posted it. Dre commented underneath that the picture was nice but that it was my right hand not my left. So I explained that I knew that it was my left hand because there is a tattoo on it, and also because I am wearing my watch and I always wear my watch on the left. He then left a comment saying ‘Wow, I don’t know what you are seeing but that is definitely your right hand’ so I had to inform him that pictures show a mirror image and he replied ‘Lol, OK I do not know what you are talking about, but you are confused’. And then I blocked him. Dre was dumber than the dumbest dumbo living in Dumbland. His insane handsomeness levels quickly plummeted and I reminded myself once again that substance wins over sexiness every time. So that one lasted around 38 minutes. But there was still hope, I still had Stephen….
I knew that Stephen was on my wavelength just from his bio, and because I hadn’t written much in mine I was keen to have a conversation with him so that he could see how much we had in common. We followed each other on Instagram and he only had two pictures of himself among several hundred pictures of arty shots of London and other places he had visited. His Instagram was classy but it didn’t give much away other than that he was a good photographer. He liked a few of my pictures and then he jumped in my DMs and said:
Him: Oooh you’re a proper raver aren’t you!
Me: Not so much anymore, I like a good festival but I rarely go to clubs. Do you like to rave?
Him: I love a festi
(Maybe this is irrational but festi sort of made me cringe a little. A bit like when people call Sainsburys ‘Sainos’. It’s just a bit irritating)
Me: Ah nice, which festivals do you go to?
Me: Eye rolling emoji
Him: Anyway – gotta be up at 6am so I’m heading to bed now. Speak soon
(This was at 8:45pm by the way, so quite clearly he was not going to bed, he just wanted to stop talking to me)
Me: I thought you were trying to be funny when you said dance, like you were stating the obvious, hence why I put the emoji. But yh, night x
And that was it. He never messaged me again after that. The man fucked me off because he didn’t understand my use of emojis. He didn’t even give me a chance. I have never been so quickly rejected over such a simple misunderstanding in my life. I really wanted to message back and say ‘I am a very bright and funny woman, I am not stupid or weird, you just need to give me a chance and not duck out at the first unclear use of emojis’ but I didn’t because I have dignity, and also because I felt like he must be a bit of an idiot, and also because he calls festivals festis, so after 24 hours I blocked him instead.
So there we go. I have now uninstalled POF, but they make it impossible to actually completely delete the app so I still have an active account, I can assure you though, that I am absolutely never ever going to venture onto there again. Nothing good can come of it. It is a bad place full of strange men who are either stuck in 2004 or who want to sexually harass you. Yes, there may be some very, very well buried treasures hidden deep under the POF sea bed, but you have to go through so much fishshit to find them that it just really is not worth it. I’d rather be single forever than ever have to go through that again. 3 days on POF nearly killed all my faith in men, I’m staying well away.