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Social Networking is a Fiendish Thing

Guest blogger: Meet Elodin Pendragon. Life coach, writer and general all round rock star.

Social networking is a fiendish thing: Facebook allows me to hijack threads and sarcastically comment on inane statuses and self-indulgent photos, Twitter is amazingly nonsensical, and as a man I don’t even understand Pinterest. But my new dating profile was my drug of choice. A constant stream of notifications punctured my day whenever someone breathed over my profile. Yet the ego boosts these provided quickly subsided when I noticed a disappointing ratio of profile viewings to messages received.

Now, a contextual caveat: I was brought up in a working class family, which inevitably has shaped my worldview. A family day out involved a boot sale followed by a pie and pint at The Pigs In Blankets. The courtship theatre that played out could be summarised as lager fuelled, hairy-backed

Neanderthals staggering up to back-combed, mini-skirted cougars, and in between belches asking them if they wanted to go and watch greyhound racing. That’s the dogs, not the vehicles.

My point is this: I observed, in courting, that eloquence and men weren’t common bedfellows. Perhaps this is why I reacted and pursued the ability to read, and speak without swearing. Why am I telling you this? Because online dating shattered my cherished stereotype: women aren’t necessarily blessed with eloquence either.

I realise that this is about to make me sound like a spy but due to my professional skill-set, I am good at picking up subtexts. In the opening gambits of their introductory messages, certain sentences frequently came through which surprised me with their naivety. Ladies, allow me to translate into manspeak some phrases that will definitely be a case of ‘say one thing, hear another’. You may be surprised.

“I like your photo.”
Thank you, but kind of obvious as no one sends a message to someone they think looks like a creature from Lord of the Rings. Just how long have you spent looking, staring and dreaming of the future, practicing your new signature and designing your wedding dress, bunny boiler?

Don’t even dare putting both our pictures into one of those websites that shows what our children would look like.

“You look kind”
What, because I’m smiling in a photo? This tells me you are either naive, have low self-confidence, or you have post-relationship damage and are on the rebound. Little Miss Needy does not a wife make.

“Do you like children and/or animals?”
OK, Joey Jump The Gun, it’s good to communicate expectations early on, but not this early. I’m also concerned you are placing animals and children on the same level. Although to be fair, you haven’t met my nephew.

“Wow, you’re great. But too far away”

Then why bother messaging me? It must be great to have all your family, friends, job, and favourite places within a short radius. Do you live in a commune? Branch out a bit, or good luck in sacrificing your love life to potential inbreeding.

“I like sensitive but manly men”

OK, so how do we measure this impossible requirement? If I like puppies, is that sensitive? If I breed pit bull puppies, is that manly? If I carry them around in a satchel with their head poking out, is that sensitive? If I fight off a grumpy pit bull with nothing but an origami sword, is that manly enough? If crying shows you I’m sensitive, then watch me put on cologne after I’ve shaved: you’ll go weak at the knees.

Ladies, the lesson is this: you say one thing, we hear another. Often, that’s the cause of many problems. Then again, there are instances when actions speak louder than words. I’ll elaborate on those next time...