21-Nov-2015 05:35

World of online dating

It's not our fault we're a little naive about love.

Many of us work in virtually single-sex environments. In many ways, I can track my love life through the developments in dating technology.The word 'tactile' worries me (visions of Benny Hill). In this new, modern world, it's painfully easy to get it wrong.Will I have to teeter around in heels to be feminine enough? There are hundreds of online dating sites from which to choose (if you're bookish, political, religious, a divorced parent . There was much mirth when it emerged that Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, 56, 'accidentally' dated a dominatrix.And while I applaud a youthful spirit, why doesn't 'Midlife Man' mention his age (like the rest of us on the site)? He says that when he courted her on Match.com, he did not know of her job in a fully equipped dungeon.'Well, at 50 they may be going through a bit of a sea-change,' I tried to explain.By 50-plus you'll be a grown-up with a loyal circle of friends and family, fulfilling work/life projects and a sense of who you really are in the world. 'They may have left a marriage, been made redundant, had a mid-life crisis and decided to travel. Not to mention all the whizzy new dating apps, such as Tinder and Happn (where you swipe through a sea of faces on your smartphone).

That's when they have more time on their hands to address being single.'She's right.

If you want to meet someone genuine - and genuinely compatible - you need to learn to decode the clues on dating profiles, which can tell you an awful lot about lifestyle, dependants, work, sex, love. Once I had a date with a 'classical musician' who turned out to be a busker.

He arrived with a violin case of coins, which he counted out methodically to buy (himself) a beer, then proceeded to talk about being sectioned and arrested in the past.

'In a 25-year office career, I've sat next to only two men,' a friend observes feelingly. In my early 30s, working in an all-female office, I tried what was coyly called the Lonely Hearts pages - where you paid for an advert with a PO Box.

I remember waiting weeks for the postman to deliver replies (the sack could be disappointingly small! As I discovered, it's hard to judge personality from a hand-written page of A4 and a tiny passport photo.

Remember, this was in the days before mobile phones.

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