life

Monday Morning

It’s Monday morning I wake at 4.52am.  I make the cardinal error of checking my iPhone – a habit.  I check match.com then I check POF followed by Guardian Soulmates.  I put the phone down in the dark.  I get up to pee, go back to bed. I lie awake for a bit until something mildly stress inducing crosses my mind.  I hastily grab my phone and check Facebook.  The mildly stressful thought disappears.  I lie awake.

The alarm goes of at 6.42am, also on my iPhone.  I get out of bed, it’s fairly mild because the central heating has been on since 6.28am and the temperature outside is about 10 degrees C.  I pee, sitting down. I have a Prince Albert it saves making a mess on the floor. I grab my dressing gown out of my bedroom and wake up my son.  He stays in bed.  I go downstairs into the kitchen, put water into the kettle and switch it on.  I pour 2 glasses of orange juice and take my son’s into the lounge with a multi-vitamin pill and an Omega 3 enriched capsule.  I leave them on the coffee table.  The kettle has boiled, I pour boiling water onto my tea-bag inside my mug.  I drink my orange juice and make him a bowl of coco-pops.  They go into the lounge too and on my way back into the kitchen I give him a shout; he won’t get up yet.

BBC6 Music is on the radio and a DJ who’s name I can’t remember hands over at 7am to Sean Keaveney.  The Smiths are on.  I extract my tea-bag, throw it into the recycling bin outside, pour milk into the tea just in time for the toaster to pop.  I put the crumpets back in for an extra minute and grab some spread and marmite. Up pop the crumpets for a second time I spread spread and marmite on them, sit down at the breakfast bar and eat while simultaneously checking all the sites I checked overnight on my iPhone.

I put the dishes into the dishwasher and make my son’s lunch – a chicken sandwich, a small chocolate bar, an apple and a small carton of orange juice.  His lunch goes into his lunchbox the lunchbox goes into the fridge.  I drink my tea.  I make my lunch; humus sandwich with tomato and celery today.  It goes into the fridge also, I finish my cup of tea and put the empty mug in the dishwasher.  I go upstairs, turn my son’s light on and suggest he gets up.

I brush my teeth in my underpants and socks, remove them, turn on the shower and after the water has warmed, I shower myself, all over, after removing the socks and underpants first and place them in the dirty washing basket.  After drying myself I put on a fresh pair of socks and underpants and dry shave my face.  I tip the residue beard from the electric razor out of the window and disturb the starling nesting in my eaves.  I moisturise with Nivea cream.  My son is downstairs, I turn his bedroom light off and go into my bedroom. He comes upstairs and goes into the bathroom.  I dress. Trousers, shirt, tie. I decide to fasten my top button.  I don’t usually do that but it’s a new habit; it reminds me of Escape To Alcatraz.  Looks smarter with a tie.  I don’t wear a suit or jacket, just a navy blue pullover.  On go the shoes.

Put on my watch and ID badge, go downstairs.  Put my lunch into my bag and put the bag into the boot of my car.  Make sure the dishwasher is full and put it on, timed to start in 3 hours, for no particular reason.  My son needs £7.00 for a bus pass, I don’t have it, I’ll pay him back.  I check the back door is locked and I check upstairs the windows are closed and lights are off.  I put my iPad on charge, grab my wallet, put my coat on and put my phone in my pocket.  I find my keys.  I exchange banter with my son and fetch him the back door key.  We exit the house together. I unlock the car, he gets inside, I lock the front door and get in the car.  It’s windy.

I drop him off at the bus stop, we kiss.  A school girl arrives full of smiles in his direction.  I smile and drive to work.  I arrive at work at 7.55am.

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On-Line Dating Pt. 1

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Dates.  The only time I ever heard this word was either on American TV shows in my youth or something my mum used to serve me from a box with a two-pronged fork covered in sweet and sticky goo…which I liked to eat.  Then, when I met my first wife, she had two children from her previous marriage who although were still quite young when I met them, as they grew into their teenage years this American phenomena of ‘dating’ seemed to enter into their Lancastrian lives.  And now, instead of ‘going out’ with someone like we used to we ‘date’ them instead, although I have yet to notice the difference between the two.

As if to endorse the ‘date’ and give it credence in our post English 21st century lives, instead of single men and women scouring the local evening gazette’s lonely hearts column we now visit the dating websites of national newspapers and independent, stand-alone dating websites.  Or rather, we carry them around in our pockets as instantly accessible apps where we can scroll through reams of computer generated ‘matches’ or have them completely delivered in photographic form into our email in-boxes conveniently timed to coincide with a chap’s morning wood should he wake before the scheduled minute when another app will sound an alarm on his phone.

Of course the whole on-line dating phenomenon removes that terribly old fashioned practise of going down the pub on a Saturday night followed by venturing off clubbing to the local Astoria, Ritz, Madisons or Cinderella Rockerfellas depending on what your ludicrously named night club of choice was in your 1980s neck of the woods.  But whereas 30 odd years ago you might venture into a bar or nightclub discerningly chosen to enhance your chances of ‘copping-off’ for the night, nowadays you can afford to be a little more choosey with so many dating websites competing for your hard earned lolly, each of them with hundreds and thousands of equally single (or not so single) people doing pretty much the same as you are.  Log on to the match.com app at around 7 o’clock of an evening and a slightly irritating pop-up erm…pops up telling you that there are currently 47,964 users on-line!  How can you go wrong?  Well you can

There is an aptly name dating app called Plenty O’ Fish (POF) because the process of attracting a date is not dissimilar to going down to the canal by the local gasworks and doing you best to catch a gudgeon or two out of the murkyFirst of all, you have to create a profile.  A lot of the hard work for this is taken out of this because you just have to answer questions.  You can fib a bit about your physique (if you want), perhaps you are slim going on athletic (athletic it is then) or you are possibly heavy set but still in decent enough shape (that’ll be athletic then).  Most people over a certain age tend to put down the hair colour of their youth even though it might have a) turned mostly grey (or choose ‘salt and pepper’) or b) fallen out (shaved).  Then it’s interests and there’s usually a list to pick from.  Well, we all like pubs, don’t we?  Dining out, of course and it’s surprising to see how many people just love to hike.  Perhaps it’s just a common thing amongst singles that they all love to hike or perhaps all hikers are just shit at pulling the birds (or blokes) and end up being single.  Who knows?  And I’ve yet to see anyone describe themselves as a glass half empty kind of person or admit to doing drugs as POF happens to ask.

OK, so you’ve done your profile, you need to add a few photos.  Now, most of us go out at least occasionally and with the ubiquity of camera phones these days, someone must have downloaded a picture of you on Facebook somewhere.  If that’s all you’ve got, you might as well use it.  Or, there’s the ‘selfie through the looking glass’ – just be careful what’s behind you reflected in the mirror though, bathroom furniture is rarely a turn-on.  So, you’re good to go (another Americanism), almost.  You’ve downloaded your photos, ticked all the interest and description boxes but now comes the hard part, the bit where you have to describe yourself…your sales pitch.  A lot of people start off by modestly announcing that they hate describing themselves (dull) or describe how their friends would describe them (if they had any).  These are usually people with a row of photos which are all selfies and mostly taken in public WCs.  But you have to sell yourself, even though many think no-one reads the profiles (I do…OOPS, what a giveaway!).

Yes, I admit, since my wife left me in April 2014 I’ve been on Zoosk, POF, match.com, Guardian Soulmates, Telegraph personals, something called Love Match (I think) all of which (bar the free POF) I’ve paid good money to display my profile on. And, I’ve been on a few dates.  I’ve also messaged a lot of people and received a few too.  But more of that later.  I’m 52, a single dad, sometimes lonely, sometimes quite pissed off about things, but God Bless America for giving us dating and more to the point, on-line dating.