ROSIE GREEN: You’ll never guess how I met my new man…
Cardigan, Ba&Sh. Bikini top, Asceno. Shorts, White Company
So I’ve met someone in real life.
As in, not on a dating app. I know – what are the chances?
Nowadays meeting IRL (as the kids say) must be rarer than a TV personality with a forehead that moves.
So how did this miraculous event happen? A friend introduced us. He’s her boyfriend’s friend (are you still with me?) and she orchestrated the whole thing with the kind of deft manoeuvrings that would rival the social skills of even the most accomplished diplomat.
Seeding my name into conversations. Showing a carefully selected edit of photos. Sprinkling my accomplishments around like fairy dust. I think I owe her a Bellini or five.
And then, just as we were emerging from lockdown, we went on a double date. You remember alfresco April, that period when we couldn’t eat indoors but the temperatures were still in single figures? Conditions were less than favourable (think howling wind and sideways rain) but we still had fun.
Which is a good sign. On our second date (we were unchaperoned for this one) I was actually wearing ski thermals and was accessorised by a bright red nose. I know – sexy, right?
But again it was a great evening.
However, if my friend’s matchmaking was a success, I have known some disasters since I re-entered the dating scene.
Firstly, I’d like to say that real-life setups of this sort have been very few and far between. Either because friends don’t trust me with their friends (‘Please don’t do the balancing the salt cellar on your nose party trick, Green’), or, as is the case with my best male friend, he thinks none of his friends are good enough – which is equal parts sweet and frustrating.
Of the ones that have happened they’ve been at best entertaining and at worst insulting.
I mean, when your friend says I have the perfect person for you and they turn out to be a Meat Loaf lookalike with halitosis and stacked heels, how can you take that anything but personally? My friend Camilla got fixed up with someone by her best mate and he turned up wearing a waistcoat (!) and had sunk five pints before she even got there.
That’ll be a hard no from me.
Of course, the dating game has changed since I met my ex-husband back in the 1990s and apps have replaced the good old ‘chatting someone up in the pub’.
And that’s been quite the learning curve for me, but at least online there are lots of options. You get to pick someone who looks presentable, with seemingly good values, all their own teeth and who can formulate a sentence.
I’ve had some great dates courtesy of Hinge, aka the man shop.
Plus, you do give your married friends lots of vicarious pleasure by letting them do your swiping for you.
But there are downsides to meeting someone on an app too. Like a) finding that a significant proportion of the guys are not as advertised (shorter, fatter) and b) having zero background information on them except what they choose to tell you.
Plus, you have to wade through inordinate amounts of pictures of men holding fish, men topless with fish, men skiing, men in their cars, men in the gym. Men getting into a helicopter (NB chaps, this only works if said helicopter is yours).
Anyway, I digress. I have met someone in real life.
Would we have swiped on the apps? I’d like to think so. I mean, I hope he doesn’t just like me for my personality.
But who knows if we’d have matched? Because what makes someone stand out to me on the apps – flirty chat, a soupçon of cockiness, a flattering photo – might not be the best thing for a relationship. Might not be – actually, probably isn’t – what I want in a man.
My mate Tara nearly deleted her future husband because one of his profile photos was of him with a traffic cone on his head.
So I think sometimes it’s good to go in with only little knowledge.*
Thus far this IRL meet has yielded very positive results for me. And no waistcoats or traffic cone headwear have surfaced.
Plus, now things are hotting up I’ve ditched the thermal underwear. I’ll keep you updated.
*Only a light Google stalking – like, seven pages in