Dating apps & swiping left

via Daily Prompt: Conversant


I’m not sure if I’m a qualified conversant in ‘Tinder’ but I can most certainly impart with the left swiping. It’s a weird and warped world, the Tinder app. I’m sure there are tales of joy for some, but it’s the photographs that intrigue me the most. Let me begin with the ‘carp man’.  This is the masculine embodiment of Neptune: a godly show of large pike and scaly mammals held in pride and glory.


Next, meet the family as in the ex other half. Now this is a strange specimen as it allows you to partake in their … wedding album? Perhaps it’s some kind of modern day doomsday book – a former story of death and destruction that allows you imagine yourself as Miss Havisham in great expectation and anticipation.


Perhaps I’m just being a terribly sport or failing to understand how a photo in a toilet cubicle might hit the spot, or the blurred photo in the distant coupled with the photo … of a photo taken in the 80s with a faded crumpled edge will be a true depiction of the face. Who are they really? As they stand squatting with a barbell, or worst still pouting purposefully between the sheets – and the caps, hats, sky-diving, beards and tattoos. Let’s not forget the sullen sedated tigers that sit majestically in their arms, as they stare seductively at your finger tips, waiting for you to take another swipe …

Tinder. A strange reflection  “and is, to hold as twere the mirror up to nature” Hamlet.





When we first met



Today I sat watching a Netflix movie called When we first met – all about a young man who falls in love with a woman, only to be time and time again  relegated to the friend status. He spends the remainder of the movie time travelling back and forth through a photo booth, (which magically transports him between time zones) in his bid to change any tiny foibles that might make her fall in love with him. His first encounter with whom he thinks is the love of his life happens at a Halloween party and very soon they end up in a photo booth posing animated shots together.  This ephemeral moment, becomes the catalyst to the series of events that impact each and every moment in time.

Watching this scene instantaneously transported me to another time in my life when I was also sat posing in a photo booth. As I watched this central scene in the movie where everything rested in capturing the moment, I remembered that very feeling in the photo booth.  Over 20 years ago I huddled my ex husband into a photo booth minutes before our taxi was due to arrive for the summer ball at my University.  Photo booths: they freeze time and you remain in the chrysalis forever. Me pulling faces and urging him to do the same – the pair of us ignorant of what time would have in store for us 20 something years later – that we would end up trail blazing the rest of our days in battles that would scar us for life. Photo booths. The time freezers. The funny strips that capture our former selves forever…

By the end of the movie, ‘Noah’ the protagonist, realises that no matter how many times he re entered the photo booth to undo or change the course of events, it ended badly, until he realises that he shouldn’t tamper with fate any longer. The series of events needed to run their course naturally. This silly romantic comedy reminded me that actually, no matter what you think you are doing to alter or change outcomes, you can’t. Determining destiny is a no goer.  It occurred to me that I should stop trying so hard to pave out an outcome that ultimately I know nothing about. I need to let things grow their own way. Things do have a knack of solving themselves, I just don’t always want to allow them. Descartes said I think, therefore I am. I think I just think too much, there will be an answer, let it be –  The Beatles.

Remember me …

Puddle heartvia Daily Prompt: Mnemonic

Mnemonic: ways of remembering. Some kind of organisation of the memory so that you don’t forget – like everyone knows the Valentine’s rhyme roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you. I’ve decided to tie today’s prompt with the timely Valentines day that celebrates love in all sorts of plushy heart shaped pillows and Thornton’s ways. Here’s Valentine’s Day, in a mnemonic way:

V = Validating the years you’ve have endured (or put up).

A = Another moment of promises you should keep.

L = Love. An expression of truth and honesty.

E = Every breathe and every harmonising chord you share.

N = Notes and letters that are cherished by lovers.

T = Timeless. There is no measure.

I = Interchangeable. The journey can change at any time.

N = No-one should tell you that it’s only on Valentine’s day.

E = Eradicate the cliches. Write a poem.

S = Star crossed lovers.


Insane in the membrane

Cypress Hill

I look at my son as he is living his life at the grand age of 13 and I tell him that although he doesn’t realise it, he is in fact having the time of his life. He is in that wonderful place called hindsight, where there are no suspicious girlfriends or mortgages to contemplate: home works and alarm clocks. That’s all. And I told him last night, ‘what I would do to go back to getting the bus home after school and throwing by school bag on the floor together with all the cares of the world.’ How did life just catch up with me? How is it that I am the knackered single parent of 40 something, hell bent to keeping my shit together and saturating life’s disappointments with Gin.

I was sat watching an episode of ‘Derry Girls’, an hilarious take on a clan of Irish school kids getting themselves into strife with the backdrop of Northern Ireland bombs, when the sound track from Cypress Hill kicked in, ‘Insane in the membrane’. There I was transported as the naive teenager expecting my life to work out just dandy with the distant beats dropping to the hip hop of the 80s.  Big medallions and tracky bottoms: it was a great time to be alive. What on earth happened? It’s like I’ve woken up from an 80s body swapping film – but stuck in the ageing body, never to return.

All morning I have sat cooped under my duvet like a surly teenager; avoiding my responsibilities to feed the children who have been up at the crack of dawn because it’s Saturday and that’s what they do. Instead, I stumbled on a video about ‘strategic intervention’ – life coaching to make you less of a bitter arse hole and more of a positive guru – embracing your calling and sorting your shit. Well, it made me believe him for the whole of 5 minutes that I needed to embrace the better, more positive, energetic me – (of course this came with the catch of subscribing to his discounted ninety bucks). But I am still sat in my dressing gown on a Saturday afternoon hoping that writing this is making me a better 40 something drained mother.  How did I get my qualification in dealing with the emotional carnage of a terrible divorce with a man who can’t be bothered to see his children? I also realised that my Tinder profile was now a lie. I am NOT spontaneous. I am NOT adventurous (unless you count finding a cheaper hair dye that will cover more of my ever sprouting greys. They are not even greys. They are wirey whites.).  As I simultaneously (and selflessly) take care of the physical and mental well being of two rambunctious boys (who spend most of the time punching each other and calling each other twats).

So here I am, on a dull rainy Saturday, resolute that there’s got to be a light at the end of not ever committing to dry January and surviving on Babybel cheese: a weird lie of a dairy product. Cypress Hill now look like a group of old dads at a stag do. “Insane in the membrane… got no teeth … going insane”. Perhaps there is hope through the white sky. You won’t see me dead in those Adidas tracky bottoms though.


Zip up the Guard …

via Daily Prompt: Zip




I’m still at wars with the struggles of online dating … ‘zip’ just made me think of how close knit the zip threads are in that once they zip they are closed tight: they can however, seamlessly open. Having said that, they can also cross thread and get mangled up, no longer aligning smoothly.  The zip. A metaphorical zip of the human guard.  The one we are very cautious in unzipping to others, fear that that are insecurities have scope to escape.

Being a veteran. Single mum. Battling the daily hap hazards that life can sling at me, I thought the best Shakespearean Tinder girl to use (who most accurately reflected the modern day metaphorical closed zip), is Beatrice from the play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.  She is a mature woman who has seen so much heart ache that she is closed firmly like a zip, the only way she shows her affection is through spouting spiteful words at the man who broke her heart – sounds familiar? Beatrice is the 21st century independent, witty, intelligent woman, zipped up behind a hard exterior, waiting for the right moment to open up her true feelings:


“Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.”
William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing


“They flash upon the inwards eye”

Everywhere I go, I can’t but notice row on row of dancing daffodils, bobbing their golden bonnets nonchalantly in the breeze.  They are, after all the same old daffodils that the big Romantic Wordsworth had written a rather flowery poem about whilst feeling lonely? Happy? High on laudanum? And as I journey to what sometimes feels like nothingness (in an awful self pitying Larkin way) I wonder what on earth went through Wordsworth’s mind as he ‘wandered lonely as a cloud’ … was he feeling heart broken when he talks about being pensive … sitting around idly amongst a load of sprouting daffodils? He clearly knew how to let life pass him by without a care in the world.  How do you do that?

He talks of this moment of solitude.  I wonder if it’s the same solitude I feel when I match with a dozen mute matches on Tinder who look mindless in anticipation, holding a giant carp.  I really want to tap in to Wordsworth’s world of finding utter joy in these unassuming daffodils.  Is it, that we have become ‘the all singing, all dancing crap of the world’ which Tyler Durden preaches to his army of anarchists in ‘Fight Club’.

I’ve decided I need to pay more attention to these ordinary signs of Spring that shoot up out of nowhere. They must have had some mellow healing qualities that blocked out the noise of stress and heartache. The simple daffodil. Here is my ode to you:

A pound for a bunch of daffodils.

That’s all you really cost.

You’re here, there, and


But in my journey, I am lost.

For words like yours dear Wordsworth.

I want to feel the pang

Of sheer delight and over joy

that you alone had sang.

I too wander as a lonely cloud.

These daffodils they stay.

In cold wet stormy weathers,

they just continue to sway.

William_Wordsworth_-_I_wandered_lonely_as_a_cloud (1)

Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”…

Of course, as a veteran of online dating I have become ruthless: minimising conversation to avoid any over investment.  Dates, after all are ephemeral and I had learnt the rules of economising on everything, right down to the letter in a text. However, I should have read the tell-tale signs. Despite the man in question wanting to meet, there was no urgency to confirm anything, and certainly no conversation in the run up, which was perfectly fine; I was however feeling slightly concerned that I hadn’t hear from him on the morning of the meet.  I sent a quick message almost hoping that he didn’t reply as it would have saved me a journey in to town, but equally one has to balance out the equilibrium and live in hope that this could be the most important journey of my life.

A short ‘yes’ followed by my equally short ‘cool’ exchange was all that was shared before I ventured to what felt like the most ‘blind’ date I had ever been on.  We hadn’t exchanged any words and all I had to go on was a face (I was well aware that his face might have more resemblance to photo number three, the one that they hope you don’t look at in too much detail).

I arrived on time.  But he was there before me.  A scrawny looking man crumpled in the corner, his greying hair and grey trousers morphed him into the shadow of the man he might once have been. I went over, explained I was going to get myself a tea as he failed to even rise from his seat.  I knew this would be hard work.  And it was.  No sooner had we began to attempt a conversation, I quickly found myself painfully stopping myself from supercilious slaughter. Dishevelled and unshaven, he was in no fit state, but I of course was the lucky first date he had gone on.

What precipitated next, was like a counselling session, as if he was lying on a padded couch contemplating his predicament and I was the voice of reason. Where do I even begin? His opening line “I was going to leave actually” or “I’ve been hugging trees”.  That’s right, you heard correctly reader, trees, in fact at one point he might have even referred to them as “fucking trees”.  The moment I sat down on the edge of my chair, the man held nothing but a nervous disposition.  He apologised for getting me to meet him.  He wished he had a violin to sound out the utter manic depressive that he painted himself as. I wish I had one to hit him over the head with. He was lonely.  He had no family.  And as an ‘MD’ of his company he couldn’t befriend any of his work colleagues when I suggested good friends to rely on. The man expounded that his ‘estranged wife and child’ had left him’ three weeks ago, and that he just wasn’t ready for dating and wasn’t even in the right place at the moment.  In fact he wasn’t after a relationship, he was looking for friends because he was lonely. So lonely that he’d been hugging trees.  My favourite part of the tree hugging story was, that he said he had revealed this to a woman online, who had immediately removed him (I wanted to have a drink with this woman).

He also said that he had met a ‘broken’ woman on the site called ‘Plenty of Fish’, but he didn’t want to pursue things with her because she also seemed like a tree hugging type.  ‘But you could hug trees together?’ I suggested, as I sank further into my chair, wishing a hole would open.

At this moment in his life he was getting used to the sound of silence, and appreciating silence but he missed skin contact, hence the trees .  His signature line was “okay”, if you can imagine that being spoken in a psychiatrist tone. He applauded that I had gone on solo holidays but that he “didn’t have the balls to do something like that”.  At this point I was painting him a set of balls in my head and staring into his white Michael Jackson-esq socks and thinking – what a knob.  He spoke of the endless visits to the solicitor, the court cases that would arise and how he needed to get his shit together before going to the ‘cop shop’ to give statements against his wife.  Who the fuck says cop shop? And apparently his estranged wife was responsible for his daughter’s mental health.  I nodded.  I listened like a Samaritan.  I even suggested he should join a group to heal his pain.

I think we managed half an hour before he said he couldn’t do ‘this’ whatever the fuck ‘this’ was I thought, and he pointed to the table and me on the other side.  But it’s ok, because he can do walks, and if I ever wanted to do a walk with him, I should give him a shout.  ‘I better let you go then’, I said (in the metaphorical sense as in don’t even think about contacting me – ever.) He stood to get up? That’s right, after I had dragged my sorry arse to meet him, he actually stood up and said, ‘I think I better go’. No remorse. No compensation for the ordeal, or my unfinished tea.

Do people really hug trees?

The man from Baghdad … Dubai …somewhere.

So, I’m back here trying to search for some holy grail through the world of online dating.  As a rule, I never respond to a profile that has no photo, I mean that is just ominous, they could be anyone.  This one however wrote to me reiterating of course that he wasn’t ‘a weirdo’ or ‘psycho’ and that he could speak a little Arabic and couldn’t have a photo because of the nature of his work.  He had my attention: not that I was looking for a man who could speak fluent Arabic. But I was curious.

We began to chat, and it was quick, fast and witty, the best sort.  I like a smart man, and though he was sitting around apparently as a research analyst, researching for possible threats in the middle east; he held my attention, and I was intrigued.  Caught up in a virtual world where anything is possible, who knows though? He said he worked six weeks on and six weeks off, this could be in Baghdad, or Dubai. Exciting I guess.  I decided to give him a persona shrouded in espionage, he was now James and he could call me Vesper – Vesper Lynd, the masculine dressed, curt woman who likes to have the upper hand in her conversations with Bond.

His profile said he was 44, which meant I could throw in as many 80s or even 90s references that a man of his age would understand: ‘wicked’.  It did however, begin to cross my mind that no matter how much I brought up the idea of meeting him … having a drink… or even when I bluntly asked him where he was, he was evasive, and the questions were difused like a bomb.  Disappearing for hours, then reappearing like a true spy, he was beginning to become an irritant. We were after all only chatting, but the little voice in my head reminded me that I’d done this before … and as much as it is enjoyable, it is ultimately futile – addictive, but futile … waiting for a message … reply … catching them online  on the site, but still waiting for a reply.

I’ve come to the conclusion that being smart, clever, witty or intelligent, just isn’t what men want. The more I scored in the verbal banter, the more scathing he became. It was time to go.

He became condescending, smarmy … as if his plight in the world was far more redeeming than mine.  I’ve become better equipped for this kind of shit now. I was going to throw him out from the moving carriage before he threw me. I did the traditional block, delete, vanish.  I mean Vesper would have done the same, she doesn’t have room for James’ ego, and I didn’t either. When will they learn? For Bond, women are always just desirable objects rather than meaningful pursuits. These days I cut to the chase, cut the chase in its midst. I just won’t let it take over. Let me ruminate a little longer as I press the eject button…