Designed to stir

I don’t know if I’ve ever written of this – I must have – but, you know, I’ve been on internet dating sites for many years now. It’s interesting enough in its own way, and sometimes strange, and I don’t propose in this post to go into the anthropological aspects of the phenomena.

In recent years I’m pretty much a disinterested participant. I have a profile on one site only, and never contact anyone else. I sit there available for others to contact me, or not, depending on their whim. As my profile is well constructed, and a little different from the norm, I do get regular contacts. I’m not really in the market, and so while I may exchange a couple of messages I hardly ever meet anyone.

What I do get is a lot of compliments on how I write and what I say. I have no doubt that my profile is better written than most. I’m sure the content is generally different also. I avoid the clichés so rife in the online dating world, and express myself with a lyrical bluntness that serves as an expression of self at the same time as being a bit of a warning. I’m not aiming to be middle of the road. I’m not interested in those who are, and I trust that my forthright honesty might scare the more conservative types off. It doesn’t always work, and I’ve found that the attitude expressed in my profile often has the opposite effect. I believe that many women become attracted to, and even titillated by, such blithe disregard for the conventions of internet dating.

I’m writing about this today because I’ve just received a message from a woman who tells me that “I just constructed a minimal profile so I could message you.” In a way that’s flattering. I invite people in my profile to contact me if they feel a stirring – and it’s amazing how many respond claiming just that. She is another. She enjoyed reading my profile, she said – which is again quite a standard comment. Then she goes on to say that she appreciates my modesty. That made me pause.

I had not considered that my profile could be modest. Hell, I don’t particularly consider it one of my virtues. On reflection I understood though why she might think that. I think my profile is confident in tone, that of a man who knows himself and knows what he wants – once more something verified over and again by my correspondents. I go on to admit to what I’ve done, what I like, what I want and don’t want, all pretty colourfully. Reading my profile again I realise that amid the confident prose there is a down to earth admission of imperfection. I’ve put my frailties out there, admitted to the male tics that women are so often exasperated by – but which somehow become virtues when they are owned up to.

Maybe that’s the case. I wrote the profile wanting there to be no confusion. I didn’t want anybody to think I was anybody else but myself. I did not want to be idealised, as so often happens in situations like this when the romantic imagination runs away with itself (and realise it happens regardless of what I write). I didn’t want to have to act or live up to some persona. This is me, dirt and all, take it or leave it.

Having written at length about it I suppose it’s fair to post my profile here (though without any give aways). I may even reply to the woman – she has me intrigued.

Whatever I write here will be only part of the story. Like everyone, I have different faces, different facets, different ways of being. I’m telling you now as warning – I may not appear exactly as I write here when we first meet. It depends, I guess, on how the stars are aligned.

In any case, what do I tell you to pique your interest, trigger your fascination? I won’t even try. I’m too old now than to give you anything but the unvarnished truth – my version of it anyway. I’d rather you see the warts now and move right along than to trick you otherwise.

I’ve spent most of my adult life being aggressively competitive and ambitious. It was great fun. When I wasn’t doing that I would take off somewhere with a pack on my back. I’d grow a beard, sleep in strange beds, stare dazedly at people as they spoke in a lingo I couldn’t hope to understand, and otherwise dive in head first wherever I was.

Back at home I was social. I’d go to the footy, to the pub, to the bars I knew so well, to the restaurants I loved to eat at, to my friends. Occasionally I’d find myself in a relationship, sometimes serious, more often diversionary. In truth I was never ready – too many things to do, and besides, like any good bloke, I loved to keep my options open. Still and all I had a very fruitful relationship with the opposite sex, even if a tad buccaneering: I’d run up the jolly Roger and prepare to board.

The good news is that I’ve now arrived at a different place in my life. I still carouse occasionally, but like in a lot of things I’ve dialled things down from the occasional 11 to about 3 or 4. I still travel, and still love it, but tend to do it in much more style than I did before: my bones are getting older. I’m still competitive, I still like to race and feel the wind in my hair, but I’ve shifted my focus to other things. Hell, I’m now an entrepreneur.

Which brings me to relationships. The day I stop feeling roused is the day I doubt gravity, but truth of it is I want something way different to ever before. That’s what comes of living a life of freedom, independence and only marginal responsibility. One day you feel it in your heart, the yearning for the things you always put to one side.

I have a lot, inside and out, I want to share. I want to be humble. I want to build the things I’ve never bothered with. I believe in a lot, always have, and want to make it so, and with someone who moves me.

I’m not the perfect catch. I tall, but I’m not super tall – a smidge over 6 foot. I’m reasonably fit, but I’m not about to run a marathon. I look ok, but I’m not George Clooney. My claim to fame, if anything, is that I’m smart. And maybe that I’m sensitive. And I think I have some upside.

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