Online dating affairs
There was only standing in draughty hallways with freezing fingers fumbling to get coins into payphone slots. I’ve crafted a profile that tries to make me sound warm yet in control; likeable yet direct; the kind of person who wouldn’t say “Sit down there while I make you a cup of tea” when she really means “Look at you sitting there Snapchatting all day and not a child in the house washed.” Then I enlisted the services of two of the wisest people I know to help me go through the applications.
The benefit of this was that lying to yourself was so much easier. “Not her,” said the nearly-10-year-old immediately, as I examined the photo of a friendly-looking Brazilian. “’I have just enough freckles and I’m never without red lipstick’,” he read aloud. “She doesn’t say anything about liking children.” Her?
A married man is usually very cagey and does not like to reveal too many details about himself online.
For example, he may refuse to divulge his last name and for many people this is often a dead giveaway that the guy is married.
Looking for your first au pair is like dating again for happily married women in their 40s. I met my husband when I was 20, before came to Ireland and introduced us to Cosmopolitans and this American phenomenon called “dating”.
Before that, “dating” meant a shift in a nightclub, pub, or taxi rank.
While it is normal for people to hold back initially, if the guy has something to hide, he will usually not reveal details about where he lives, what he does for a living, his family, his upbringing etc.
There was no swiping right, no Tinder, no messages mockingly left on “read”. If you wanted to be certain of ever actually seeing one another again, you had to move in together and then, after a whirlwind romance of, say, 10 to 15 years, you got married. So I missed out on online dating but I imagine this is what it’s like.
It is a mistake, I’ve learned too late, to make public declarations about things like giving up midweek wine drinking or not joining any more gyms during the month of January or never getting an au pair. After too many recent juggling-related mishaps, I have come to the realisation that the only thing for it – for this life of unpredictable work schedules and frequently travelling second parents and childminders spread into the far corners of the county and small people frequently stricken with winter viruses – is an au pair. Too inclined to say the opposite of what we mean, I declared in these very pages with the luxury of one whose childcare arrangements were, at the time, relatively straightforward.
I set up a profile on some au pair matching websites, with my own smug warning ringing in my ears. We are a people more comfortable in servitude than being served. Here I am, one year on, redecorating before the au pair arrives.
Then we put an X through everyone who wanted to be an au pair “because I’m not happy with my life”. We sent them an introductory message, and then we were into stage two – hope, disappointment, denial, rejection, hope again.
After a bit of messaging back and forth, two of them ghosted me.
If you start interacting with someone who doesn't have a photo online, request them to add a photo and let them know you prefer not to communicate with them unless they put up a photo.