In the latest of her dispatches from the frontline of chitchat, Lou Conran ponders the filth-spattered minefield that is online dating.
I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions because I have no willpower and inevitably end up falling at the first hurdle, but this year I have made it my mission to actually go on a date. With a real man. A real “normal” man. (Please don’t tell Jeff*).
Just before Christmas, my mate introduced me to the mobile dating app OkCupid, “The best free dating site on Earth”. Several hours later I had more than 200 messages, four pictures of cocks, one video of a man wanking and several requests for me to get my fanny out. Yup, truly out of this world.
Now, very little offends me (apart from rhubarb and Nicholas Parsons) and being a standup I often get various “requests” hurled my way, but there are usually a few other people in the room to hear them and besides, it’s (mainly) just down to bravado.
But when it’s online, it’s different. Sort of more freeing, I guess, for the people doing the asking. You can create a pseudonym; you can be whoever you want to be. You can be brave and you can say and do whatever the hell you like. This has ensured that I’ve received the following questions:
“Will you sit on my face you Milf?’” (MILF!)
“You look naughty, want some fun?” (NOT WITH YOU).
“Show me a picture of your tits?” (I CAN BUT I’D HAVE TO SEND IT IN TWO HALVES, TOP THEN BOTTOM).
“Do you do anal?” (NO).
I got chatting to one chap who seemed normal. Hoorah. He was telling me about how he’d been travelling and how he’d recently come back from Brazil and Machu Picchu, places I’ve always wanted to go.
He offered to send me some photos of his trip. And photos he sent: him in the jungle, a monkey, his chums on the trek, his penis, a river cruise, his penis but closer up, just in case I’d mistaken the first one for Sugarloaf Mountain. Marvellous.
He then proceeded to tell me everything he was going to do to me. All while I was watching Downtown Abbey. I mean for God’s sake, Anna was getting arrested and all he could bang on about was pulling my hair and whacking me up the fanny with a wooden paddle.
Men, know this: women do not want to be whacked up the fanny with a wooden paddle. We do not want to be violently deep throated. We do not want to give you our “ass”.
Of course, I’m only speaking for myself and, ladies, if that is your thing then so be it. But what’s wrong with a bit of wooing, or even just a conversation? Yes, I’d probably love to see your sausage, but I’d like it to be my choice when I do, and I’d at least like to know your full name before you wang it out. (Being optimistic here with the word wang.)
I suppose you open yourself up to it by joining these online free sites, and for a bit of titillation it is quite exciting, for a bit. But after a while you realise that this is normal behaviour for most blokes on those sites; their expectations porno high.
And what’s particularly interesting is that the really naughty requests are usually from blokes barely old enough to not ejaculate at mention of the word nipple: 18-year-olds desperately trying to lose their virginity “to a more experienced woman” who won’t tell their mum.
Over Christmas, after a few sherries, I played my favourite game of “You’ve been filthy, so let’s see how many stupid things I can say and see if you notice”. One man asked me what my favourite thing in the bedroom was. “Pickled onions”, I replied. “I’ve just eaten a whole jar”. He ignored this and asked me out on a date. “I can only go on a date between a Tuesday and Thursday,” I wrote, “and only on the 32nd of the month”. To which he responded, “Brilliant, just let me know when!”
What is a shame is that there probably are a few nice gentlemen on that site. But because of the barrage of filth you can’t help but think that, if you were on a date with one of them, he’d pour you a glass of wine, smile sweetly and whisper delicately across the table, “’Ere you are love, get your gums round this while I shove me digit up your trumpet”.
The only the way I can look at OKCupid now is for laughs. I’m hoping that there are some men looking at it in the same way. But I fear there are people in the world who are naive enough to think that this relentless torrent of disgustingness is the norm. But then, it probably is. And that is a devastating shame.
*My imaginary husband. Bless him.
Lou is a comedian, writer, actor, lover of curry and cheese, and is also a giant simple child.