"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it." Greg Anderson
Easy for him to say! All he ever has to do is wash and shave. That's because he's a man.

My journey starts with the FIRST BLOG; you'll need coffee/tea and probably some chocolate digestives, or maybe some Cadbury's Fruit and Nut, or Green and Black's Organic if you've got more money than sense.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

God's Little Way of Giving You a KUTA

Or even - a Kick Up The Arse. In the last blog, you may recall, The Guy Up Top bestowed the fleeting gift of self-confidence and love for all humankind upon me; birds sang, butterflies hovered above flowers, the sun shone, and I had no need of Spanx. In fact, nearly all was Disney. Two days later what I'm about to report happened. 

Some of you who manage to get through these blogs without falling asleep greedily devour these blogs are also internet daters, and I’d like your opinion because I'm truly baffled and feeling out of sync with the rest of the planet.

Let’s call him Andy.

Setting: The Website Inbox
We've exchanged a couple of messages each; they were business-like-ish, but friendly with a bit of mild banter. Very mild.  He seems like a reasonable person. I venture this: 

Me: Hi Andy, I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to be really honest here. I try to keep the messages on the website to about four each way, otherwise it can become very time-consuming and intrusive, and can lead to all kinds of disappointments. And there's no better way to get to know someone than to actually make a date and meet. I hope that's OK with you? 

Him: Why the aggressive tone? This isn’t like your first message at all. Why do you feel the need to do that? Isn’t it better that we get to know each other on here first? Don’t you think that’s rather quick? You appear very angry. I’m a bit of an internet virgin, so I maybe I’ve got a lot to learn.

Me: Hi Andy, I don’t mean to be aggressive – I’m very sorry if it seems that way. My approach is based on experience. I’ve been on here for about five months in total. I've met some very nice people, made some marvelous friends, but also come across some jerks. I've chosen to take you at face value – you seem like a genuine and decent person. I don’t know what it’s like on the male side of the website, but for a woman it can sometimes get a little bit unpleasant, so my preference is to just nip in and out. It’s partly a question of staying safe, partly a question of staying sane. I don't plan to come on the website for a while, but if you want to contact me at my hotmail address, here it is.

MY dear FFFs - friends, followers and family - how lovely of me was that? Wasn’t it lovely? I mean really, really lovely, given my usual level of misanthropy caution. So far, only eight people have managed to squeeze into that little window of opportunity; three of them are still there being good mates. You mightn't have heard of them: not everybody is blog fair game. But I meander - let's get back to it: 

Him: I don't understand you at all. What do you want from me? You send me your email address, but if I contact you then you'll obviously know mine. Why would I want that? And you’ve just mentioned staying safe. I don’t know the first thing about you either. You could be anyone. Why should I tell you anything? 

So now I’m getting somewhat pissed off and regretting having given him the bloody email address. But hey! Person-centred counselling hat back on! I wouldn’t want to be a male on the receiving end of a female stalker. In the meantime, four more unsolicited messages in the inbox. It’s worse than writing bloody Christmas cards… (Oh yeah, FFFs, sorry if you didn’t get one last year. Or the year before. I’m getting round to it. ;) Honest!)  

Me: Andy, Quite right! You don’t need to give me your usual address. I wouldn’t dream of handing mine out to all and sundry. But there is nothing easier than setting up an anonymous hotmail account if you want to. It would just give us the opportunity to exchange a few messages without the hassle associated with the site. Anyway, I’m sorry but I really must go now. I’ll leave it up to you - if you want to contact me, super. If not, then not. All the best to you whatever you decide, CB x

I thought that was fair enough. Or maybe it wasn’t? That little x nonsense on the end is supposed to signify some level of warmth, isn’t it? Sufficient encouragement? No hard feelings? Apparently not! 

Him: You are a very strange and unpleasant woman. I have no idea why you are even on this website if you don’t want to talk to people. Isn’t that the whole point of it? Your tone is really aggressive and you sound very bitter and twisted. Is there anything about your profile that's true? You say you have friends but I can’t imagine you having any friends at all if this is the way you deal with people. Perhaps you need to sort that out before starting dating. You are not somebody I would want to get to know at all. Most unpleasant. Hard and vile. Thanks very much but I think I’ll pass. 

Whoaaah! Eh? Yer wa? (And for the non-English, non-northern readers – roughly translated ‘yer wa?’ is 'I respectfully beg your pardon?') 

Was the whole thing a wind-up on his part from the very beginning? Just so he could get to the punch line? Did I really sound so aggressive? I thought I just sounded grown up and matter of fact. Ooer, I mean - how ‘fluffy’ do you have to be? 

Perhaps I shouldn’t be asking the girls. Are there any men reading this? What exactly did I do wrong? Tell me gently; I’m having a minor sort of crisis. Clearly, I'm not bothered about the Andy guy - meh! But just wondering whether the woman who was asked for a kiss from a (visually challenged) complete stranger is the same one as the bitter and twisted, hard and vile person described above and the same one that's writing this blog. 

And I do have friends... Erm, some... Well, at least one, perhaps? Don't I? Stellaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa - you aren't just a figment of my imagination, are you? 


Stella said...

Clearly he was just well how do I say this oh yes a knob. clearly he had some sort of axe to grind, and you have lots of lovely friends me being the best one xxxxx

D said...

Dear Bette... yes, you were above-board (as I would be, too) and this poor chap retreated to his mama's arms in panic thanks to your honesty and blubbered into her ample bosom. Mother Love's instinct kicked in and she took over his correspondence to you. That kind of response sounds more like a mother lioness protecting her young, than the "virginal" ramblings of a grown man succumbing to his mother's teat.
In other words, he needs therapy to get over his Oedipus complex and learn to deal with disappointment.
You, on the other hand, carry on regardless... but keep in mind the delete button.
Anouchka Grose
(ok, no it isn't, but I, too, am a loving friend... and mentor!)

Mustang Sally said...


Ken said...

Bette, I think your approach was pragmatic, succinct, and devoid of BS. I thought it was great! Maybe because I also agree that the meting part is really the only way to know if there will be any - shall we say - feelings towards another person.

This particular 'gentleman' seemed to me awfully quick to overreact.I understand why women need to take great care in these types of circumstances, because frankly having been a voting, card carrying member of this gender for a half century, I can attest to the fact that a large majority of 'us' are thinking with the wrong head a great deal of the time. Too often any sort of rules tend to evoke a similar reaction - and the general overusage of the word 'Bitch!'

I think that your approach was just fine, but I am not at all surprised by the reaction you got. I'd be surprised if it didn't happen with regularity - hopefully not too often though. Cus really not all of us are well - what Stella said! Carry on Bette!

Cousin Bette said...

Aw, Stella, Don't know where I'd be without you. Oh yeah, probably still happy playing with candles in the convent. Love ya, pal. xx

Cousin Bette said...

D - I did more than delete, I blocked. Just can't be bothered with that kind of nonsense - though strangely enough, it does somehow get to you. Note to self - must toughen up!

Cousin Bette said...

Ken - I know that not all men are such prats. There are very few men I know in real life, as opposed to cyber world, who are this irredeemably awful. Most are great fun and good mates to have - shame they are mainly married to my friends! Bummer!

D said...

Bette, my love... negative comments of any kind... whether from a potential suitor, a credit card company, the bank (errrr, can you tell I've had a few financial rejections in my life?), family, boss or friend... does knock you about, no matter how inconsequential.
Walk away... that's what I do. Protesting or defending yourself just confirms to them they struck a nerve. Walking away invites karma... and they will get their comeuppance.
Good on ya for blocking - and no, you don't need to toughen up... stay sweetly stoic!

Anonymous said...

OMG Bette! Give me his profile Info and let me at him!

You were perfectly fine! I do the same thing. Just today I sent an e-mail to some dumbass saying 'I apologize if this sounds too forward, but I think you can tell so much more during a conversation when it's held face to face. Would you like to meet for a quick drink some night this week?'

That is NO different from what you wrote.

This guy is just one of the trolls that you find online. They are either so totally socially retarded that they panic when push comes to shove or they are woman haters who thrive on spewing insulting and hurtful comments at random women.

Please do not give him a 2nd thought. You are very lucky to never have to meet him! Could you imagine how he is in real life if he's such a totally douchebag in an e-mail.

I'm so sorry that you had to experience this. It's happened to me as well and it's not fun. It makes you question yourself but please know that you did nothing wrong. What you wrote was very polite!!!


Cousin Bette said...

Ellen - I just had another one like this. What is the matter with these people? There was, in fact, a misunderstanding - his and mine. He threw his toys out of the pram and had a hissy. Meanwhile, I apologised politely, always politely - it costs nothing. In return I got a retarded stream of abuse. Please remind me... there are some good 'uns, aren't there?