I'm really trying to keep a sense of humor about this stuff, but as with all mountaineering feats, you have to keep going at a steady pace, you need enough oxygen in your lungs, and sometimes, you need crampons.
I'm referring, of course, to online dating.
This weeks the highlights have been the horse whisperer (I haven't met him yet, but he is cozy and bearded and has a dreamy voice which I'm sure all the fillies fall for), the Frenchman who thought I was une française when I answered him, rather cleverly I thought, using my best A level French on text, and rather lost interest when he discovered I wasn't, the stepfather of an old friend of my daughter's who seems to think he has a way with the ladies and won't leave me alone (I'm too polite) and a sweet former studio executive who approves of my list of favorite films (Magnolia, Brief Encounter, The Great Beauty). And those are just the ones I haven't met.
Today's high point was being persuaded by a friend to join a very exclusive dating site/app which has the same name as a Russian beauty spa in West Hollywood, that apparently "only people in the Industry are members of" and "you have to be approved for membership." The approval process, weirdly, has something to do with your Instagram feed, and I was put on the waiting list. The whole thing was remarkably elitist. You submit your information, including access to your IG feed, and their team of trained monkeys decides whether or not you're, essentially, famous enough. I wasn't. I know I should be Groucho Marx about it (any club that would have me as a member) but it sucks to be rejected by a site while you're in the midst of putting yourself out their like a prize heifer. "Way to make a girl feel special" I whined to my friend. "Oh they put me on the waiting list too" he confided. The worst part is the way it happens... the app send you a perky message in funky new age colors, and it announces, Find Out Now whether you've Made the Grade! And then you click on the link, all girly and excited, and it says "sorry, our team has decided that you do not meet our criteria."
One's life is truly not in balance when you find yourself close to tears in a kitchen, mug of tea in hand over a dating app.
Instead, I showed my nice friend Dan around my very sad garden, and asked him for his expert advice on drought-tolerant plants. All my friends are so kind. "How's the dating going?" he asked, in a sympathetic voice, his head cocked to one side, as if he were talking to a small child "is it all right?" My friends know that I will give them a funny story. They chomp at the bit and laugh in all the right places. We wander around the yard and I have one eye on my mobile, because today has been a flurry of busy emails since one client's big announcement yesterday. "I've seen worse" says Dan, kindly. I realize as we walk that I'm seeing my parched hillsides in a different way, the way in which you hear The Stranglers at age 15 when your father is in the room. Subjectivity is washed away and all I see are dead things, dry soil, and old tree stumps. "We're going to make it beautiful" says Dan, and I'm so grateful for him and his optimism. I was rejected by an app I think.
Then there's the mountain climber. He was tall and handsome and sexy and divorced and hadn't gotten over his wife. I saw it almost immediately. It wasn't the need for Balvenie single malts that brought it out, more a need for a confessional. Yes, he was raised Catholic, and goddammit, I was going to hear all about this woman who had ruined his life. But God Loves a Trier. And try I did. It was the passing out in a wifebeater after drinking a bottle of Tequila that really was The Sign that this might not be a "good romantic fit." I found myself pacing on a Sunday morning, in my own house, with a man I knew very little passed out on a sofa, snoring and all I wanted to do was to roll him out the door and tell him never to come back again. I put Bowie on loudly. And sang as I washed up. "When You Rock 'n Roll with me" is my go-to for washing up. It reminds me of my childhood friend Vivien, and walking around London, and it's optimistic. Suddenly we were walking through Kew Gardens.
Thank you, Caitlin Moran. Listen to Bowie. It just makes everything better.
The other one, of course, is Chaka Khan & Rufus. For example, Stay.