Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life

Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life

Article excerpt

I keep reading these heart-warming pieces in the quality press about sad and lonely people's lives being utterly transformed by internet dating websites. This person says her sex life has gone from zero to something resembling the stampede at a Harrods sale. That person says he thought his life was effectively over and has now found the person of his dreams, and their union is shortly to be blessed with issue. Anecdotal evidence, too, suggests that internet-dating sites have something for everyone. One of the chaps I go to football with, Pie and Mash Pete, is always talking about this friend of his with whom he goes fishing. Roger is nearly 60, says Pete incredulously, and not the greatest-looking guy, but since he's joined a dating site, he's 'managing to get his hands on some game old sort nearly every week'.

But for me internet dating has been a dismal failure. Twice I've paid for subscriptions and gone through all the rigmarole and I've not landed a single date. The first website was affiliated to a right-wing newspaper. Nothing.

Not even a nibble. No one contacted me and those I contacted didn't bother to reply. With the Tommy Sheridan trial then being reported, I thought perhaps people with socialist tendencies might be more free and easy when it came to that sort of thing, so I next signed up to a website affiliated to a left-wing paper.

Same story. Not a blinking sausage.

I tell a lie. For a week or so I was corresponding feverishly with what turned out to be a cynical and unscrupulous man sitting in a room in a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria. He was pretending to be this staggeringly gorgeous woman, whose hobbies were needlework and sex and who definitely preferred older men, and who needed £1,000 as soon as possible in order to set her life in order.

She didn't know what she'd done to deserve it, but her luck had changed for the worse recently. Her mother had been killed in a car accident and her father had succumbed to a deadly disease in the same week. She'd had to leave her flat in Kensington and fly back to Lagos to arrange the funerals and set the family affairs in order. Owing to an injustice, however, her bank was refusing to allow funds to be transferred from London to Nigeria and she was stuck there unless some kind, understanding and handsome man could help her out of her present difficulties. …

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