Super Sonic + the terrifying world of internet dating

Internet Dating v2.1- My Last Duchess

Romance is a glorious thing.

As we've discussed and dissected before, I am a hopeless romantic. I love flowers. I love massages and surprises and nights out. I love romantic crap that makes me go “Awwwww!”

Tony, bless him, wasn't good at the romance. He tried, sometimes, but he just didn't seem to be able to pull it off without looking– and feeling– like a great big boofhead.

Since he died, the romance in my life has been sadly lacking. I vaguely remember the last time a guy took me out for dinner– it was my best mate Bunny, about six weeks after Tony passed away.

I occasionally buy myself flowers for the kitchen table, especially this time of year when there is nothing blooming in my garden; and it makes me sad, buying them for myself. But that's offset by the simple happiness that comes from seeing fresh living color in my peripheral vision every time I open my front door.

There was some vague hope of some kind of excitement recently, as reported on Twitter, when I met a guy– online, of course– who seemed close to perfect. Great job in the vicinity of Paradise, gorgeous, intelligent, and– wait for it– spoke fluent French and owned an apartment in Paris.

All together now– *sigh*.

Complete the picture with a first date that included a perfect, warm autumn day and a picnic by a lake; and how does some kind of romantic interlude following that not seem possible?

Being stood up once, complete with dog–eating–homework excuse, should have been enough to kick that thought right out of my cerebellum. It wasn't. It took him standing me up twice, as well as a rather fierce phone call from Woogs telling me to grow a spine; to make me see the light (douche).

In the meantime, we did have a few rather lovely dates, and a couple of long, giggling phone conversations. It was during one of those that I happened to mention Tony.

It makes me feel self–conscious, speaking of a man I once loved very much in front of one who I've just kissed; I can hear the plain fondness for my husband echo through my voice and I apologise to this perfect man, ask him not to mind, please, if I say Tony's name or speak of things he did once... I can't help it. He was my whole life for such a long time.

"It's fine", Mr Perfect says, "that's OK. In fact, it reminds me of this poem..

Browning's 'Last Duchess'
There's a wealthy man, years back, who is describing to a painter his last wife, his last duchess; all her details and strengths and weaknesses– "she was this, she was that..." It's only toward the end of the poem you realize that the painter is not a painter, that he is there to find the man a new duchess; and he's listening patiently to all her faults and charms so he may replicate those charms and find someone without those flaws."

Again, all together... *sigh*. How freaking romantic is that? Be still my beating, swooning, eager–to–get–laid heart.

Or, as the educated amongst you may have already picked... not so much.

A little time with the Google God tells me that Robert Browning’s poem 'My Last Duchess' is the story of a man recounting a murder. He killed his last wife, buried her, and, if I have the jist of things right, is now intimidating a possible future father-in-law with the details.

Holy what the f.... run away. Now.

I'm actually fairly sure this guy is not an axe murderer (or if he is, I'm slightly offended that I evidently wasn't to his taste). It was just a matter of smart–arsery gone wrong.

I'm not sure I can say the same about the other guy who I happened to be chatting to... who revealed he was heavily into bondage. That's all fine with me, but, you know, I have this thing with rope.

Then he tells me that, actually, he’d love to find a woman to play out a hostage fantasy with him.

And if that's not terrifying enough, he works at an abattoir.

Cue– block, change profile name and picture. Fumble for that optimism you dropped, possibly in someone's basement ("It rubs the lotion on its skin!”); smile and try again.

Because romance isn't dead, surely. It's just... terrified. Or at the very least, lost somewhere in translation.

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Internet Dating v2.1- My Last Duchess + the terrifying world of internet dating