Well, Wolf Whistle, what I do is, I click on this button that says “bar user” and wait for Late38 and Hung Man to tell me how much they like me. Is this tailored matchmaking the reason why internet dating has become so popular?
I begin, detached and full of contempt at the sleazy banality, but every so often I get a message – a grammatically accurate, urbane one-liner – that makes me smile, coquettish as a schoolgirl, at the screen.
These men have never met me, yet are asking me out for a romantic dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant. I’m almost tempted to rush downstairs and tell my husband what a hottie I am.
In a single mouse-click, years of feminism are reversed.
The pleasure centre in my pre-frontal cortex is flashing like Blackpool illuminations.
It’s atavistic, weirdly fascinating – and utterly terrifying.
Most haven’t even read my profile and I haven’t posted a photograph, but I have two X chromosomes and I’m online – and it seems to make me irresistible.It would be funny if it weren’t for the fact each unseen man is someone’s husband – not mine, I hasten to add, although I can’t help thinking of The Pina Colada Song, Rupert Holmes’s 1979 anthem to extra-marital affairs and wondering if Hippogriffin or Big Gym is actually my own spouse, querulously complaining that: “I love my wife dearly but the spark has died.” I have logged on in the cause of journalistic research (which, I will concede, can be used to legitimise virtually every activity, bar phone hacking). A surge in female users aged between 35 and 50 has led to a boom in online dating for so-called “marrieds” in this country.Last year, out of curiosity, I even went so far as to meet a would-be internet “amour” face to face (more of which later) and, yes, I did tell my long-suffering husband. More than a million Britons subscribe to these sites; uk has 600,000 members, with women logging on three times more than men.Given that internet dating has evolved from the Last Chance Saloon for the asocial to a Happy Valley of cash-rich, time-poor professional singletons, perhaps it’s inevitable that even cheating has gone digital.The bottom line seems to be that whatever your morality or religion, profession or hobby, there is a dating website out there for you.But while the social stigma of online dating has long vanished, shadowy dangers do remain.