By now, all my female friends were married and starting to have children.Things had moved on from when I was in my 20s, when all you had to do was go to a bar or club, have a few drinks, snog a random guy and hope that your booze goggles hadn’t steered you too far off course.So here I was, newly single and contemplating the only solution I could think of: getting to grips with the technological world of online dating.
The string of breakups I endured demonstrated that, for me at least, this strategy wasn't working.
My frequent experiences with the Wrong Man also taught me what I wanted this time around.
I'd learned that letting myself kiss the wrong guy set in motion a sort of unwitting hormonal bonding stronger than rational thinking.
If I was going to meet the right man, I decided, I needed to remain chemical-free, to think clearly, to get to know him first. Back then, I'd followed the Hollywood movie model wherein men and women tend to tumble into bed, then into love, and finally into marriage.
One of my earliest electronic dates taught me about honesty. A handsome telecommunications executive I met over a drink at a restaurant one evening looked and sounded far less alluring to me a few days later in the sober light of day.
"It was really nice to meet you," the tall, good-looking athlete wrote me in an e-mail after Date Number Two, "but I didn't feel that indescribable something that would tell me we're a match." I sat there looking at my computer screen. In a subsequent telephone conversation, my whole body tensed while I told him that I didn't get the sense he was the right one and that I didn't want either of us to waste precious time.
And if I don’t meet someone or have a relationship by the end of that 12-month period, he’ll reimburse my £150 subscription fee. Little did I know how hard it would be to have 3.6 dates a week, every week for a whole year.
I set about building my profile with a ‘less is more’ rule and a male friend’s advice on what appeals to the masculine psyche as potential girlfriend material.
Last year, in under six months, I dated more than 100 men.
I dated on beaches, on hiking trails, on the back of a Harley-Davidson.
I dated aerospace engineers, entrepreneurs, doctors, an oceanographer, film animators, a romantic man who lived impecuniously on a boat, and a self-proclaimed gazillionaire who resided atop a mountain."Are you insane? The thing I liked best about my whole dating project was that it validated that nagging sense I'd had for years: Every Saturday night I'd spent alone or with girlfriends, I'd believed there had to be several thousand potential dates out there for me, somewhere. To date so many men, I needed to be honest in a new way. The initial frenzy mellowed to a couple of dates a month, and one sunny Sunday afternoon in late summer, I met Johanne.