Otwo Attempts: Online Dating

As lonely dark winter nights loom menacingly ahead, Anna Burzlaff tests out the waters of online dating

It can be tough finding love in a big city. Lonely nights, dinners in front of the TV, the slow descent into insanity as you begin talking to your cat; these, among many others, are reasons why someone may join an online dating site. While my relationship with my cat is safely within the confines of psychological norms, my curiosity around the phenomenon was enough to compel me to see what the whole thing was about.
I opted, under a friend’s guidance, for the site OkCupid, where my first task was to think of a screen name. “AnnaB” was sadly already taken, but thankfully OkCupid was on hand to provide me with a list of alternatives, the first of which was “Anna_cat”. This was brilliant. I could already tell that this was my kind of site. My screen name would set the whole tone of the profile.
For all you budding online daters, it’s essential that you realise the importance of your profile picture as it’s going to be the big selling point of your page. I knew to make the most of my site I’d need something good. While a photo showing a lot of skin, accompanied by an exaggerated pout seemed the most desirable choice, epiphany suddenly stuck me as I remembered the hideously drunken photo taken of me, while I crawled along Lesson Street in the middle of the night.
At this stage I could really feel my profile taking shape: first “Anna_cat” as my screen name and now the drunken photo. Within minutes of posting the picture I received messages from the most charming and literate OkCupid had to offer. “Lol interesting pic” and “My kinda woman” were among the swooning words of flirtation which greeted me. I was left in no doubt that things were getting off to a good start.
My next step was to fill out the “About” section. While I was doubtful as to the extent to which people actually read this, I thought it best to be thorough and display all I had to offer. My goals were to make as many explicit sexual references as possible, appear thoroughly idiotic through countless syntax errors, and just come across as an all-round awful person. Also there had to be some sort of reference to cats.
My profile, in the end, looked like this:

My self-summary
Hey chaps!!!! I’m Anna. I love to have a good time and partying down with the lads, could it be you ;) Let’s get to know each other…sexually.

What I’m doing with my life
I’m studying for my doctorate in the field of…lol…joke, just having a good time. In all seriousness though, just bants with the lads on Friday nights, ya know.

The six things I could never do without
My cat’s fluffy and flim flam, and the ashes of my last cat flooper who has a nice place on my mantelpiece ;) lol, bants 2012
Nights out with the girlz obvs!!!! (I always bring the nose powder ;)
Definitely not chocolate…ewwww (I actually love chocolate)
And the collected works of Joyce Joyce (lol no books are for ugly people

The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I just got out of prison cause they put me there cause I partied too hard, lol!! No but genuinely my court date is in November and alls looking good.

I doubted whether people would take me in any way seriously after what I’d posted. I was quickly proved wrong, however, as I found my number of notifications rocketing. Awfullypale sent me a message saying:
Hey there!
Whats happening? :)
Great profile and one hot lady ;)
Best of luck in court :D
Perhaps it was his deficiency of melanin that made him willing to enter into a conversation with someone who referred to James Joyce as “Joyce Joyce”, who knows. It was clear by his use of smiley faces and lack of basic grammar knowledge that I had met my match. My reply would have to be equally well thought out. After what seemed like endless deliberation I decided upon: “Heyyyyyy, thanks bbz!! ;) lol.”

Awfullypale and I then embarked on a conversation filled with a series of sexual innuendoes, a shocking abuse of exclamation marks, and a variety of emoticons.

Yet, after a few days, the winky faces began to take their toll. I felt my inner degradation growing. It was all getting too much, and the idea of actually meeting Awfullypale was sending a shiver down my spine.

It was at this point that I realised online dating wasn’t for me. Even the kind words of Cute Guy 210 (“haha you’re so funny, quite rare :) i bet your cats taught you that!”) couldn’t quiet my sense of unease. Perhaps my approach had been all wrong, I should have attempted this with a little more subtlety to combat the growing number of perverts scouring my profile. When I received a notification from the site telling me that 56% of users have conversations with their pets, it all got too weird and I knew it was time to go.

My stint as an online dater started gloriously. The name “Anna_cat” and my profile picture had brought me a showering of attention, however, the enjoyment soon faded and all I was left with was an overwhelming feeling of dirtiness. I hoped Awfullypale and his winky faced innuendoes would soon become a distant memory. If offered the choice between talking to my cat and talking to him, my decision lay clearly with the former.