Tuesday, 11 January 2011


"I'm thinking of internet dating" announced The Teen this morning.
I'm still asleep but suddenly I'm wide awake.
"NO" I yell. "You are only 16!  Why don't you go out and meet someone?"
"I don't want to meet someone who goes out.  I want to meet someone like me, who doesn't concern themselves solely with drinking and laughing. I want someone who stays in and reads books and watches TV."

I recall all the dodgy internet dates that I've had. I really don't want her to be in that position. Not a 16 year old.

"Don't you have 'dances' anymore?" I splutter, knowing as it comes out of my mouth I sound archaic.
Cue derisive, loud laughter.
"Yes, we used to have school dances at your age"
"We are not living in the Victorian age" she says.

Actually the school dances weren't exactly a picnic either. Lots of arrogant lads from University College School. I was 14 when  my mum took me out shopping for my first school dance between my school, South Hampstead and UCS. My mum convinced me that I looked good in a lime green nylon shirt from Marks and Spencer's.  In this shirt and my mum's borrowed velvet jacket, which didn't quite fit, I spent the evening shifting nervously in the dark, seemingly attached to the wall. To escape the ongoing humiliation of never being asked to dance, I escaped outside.
Some of the boys were standing there, smoking a cigarette. Trying to sound cool while talking to them, I swore. One of the boys haughtily spat he couldn't stand girls that swear and they left, leaving me alone and crushed outside.
The teen blithely continues: "I've seen this guy online. He's 38. Fit."
"What about boys of your own age?"
"No thanks. They are all clean shaven and boring."
"Watch out for stubble" I warn, "I remember having terrible red rashes from the tip of my nose to my chin from snogging unshaven men."
"Anyway I've met someone" she says "He hands out The Evening Standard outside the tube station"
"A high flyer then?" I say, unfairly.

"Look" I say "You will meet someone, I guarantee it. But no internet dating. Christ, all those perverts will be round you like white sharks drawn to raw bait."


  1. This made me laugh out loud - especially the "high flyer" line. Brilliant stuff.

  2. oh my ! I swear milk came out my nose on this on, snort!
    how wonderful! how amazing!
    good times... good times.
    love is a magnificent flower that smells bad !


  3. Back in the early 70's, my friend and I had given up all hope of ever finding any decent lads in our City. When one Saturday night,as we danced around our handbags!! two lads suddenly said to us,"Can we dance with you". Of course we said yes. It turned out the previous girls they were dancing with had walked off mid music and they didn't want to look stupid so carried on dancing with us. However, I've now been married to my dance partner from that evening for nearly 34 years.

  4. Lordy, I love your writing - I'd capitalise the love bit only it would look pretentious, which was just what I was at 14; the biggest problem for all teens is the minefield of trying to learn a new language. The language of love (or lust). I still remember with a red face - having given up doing French at my backward SecMod at 13 years old being invited back to a girl's house for a tete a tete; after some circling around the table (me advancing, her retreating), I realised that it might have another meaning than my literal interpretation.

    By the by, my experiences with internet dating have also been horrible; including meeting someone who lied about just about everything. She decided to come clean and admitted she was on day release from a mental hospital and that she could only drink soft drinks as she was on 600 milligrammes of Largactil. Now I knew from my reading that that was something like 3 times the amount used for violent prisoners at that time, so for someone about 5' tall and thin as a rake it struck me as an extraordinary dose.

    But the dance with the local girl's school (I went to an all-boys' school) was unbelievable, held in the school gym with a battered old record player and everyone in school uniform, with the two teachers looking out for any fondling, kissing or other exploratory activity.

    And you are right about the internet dating scene; much to my surprise (strangely perhaps) there were quite a few people looking for a 'bit on the side' at best and some very much darker things at worst.

    Thank you for another excellent and fascinating piece of writing.

  5. Bakelady: awwwww.
    Chumbles: that lady sounds like a right laugh! Bloody hell!

  6. Actually, she completely terrified me - I was 12" taller and at least 7 stone heavier and wanted to run and hide! I felt sorry for her, but not sorry enough to repeat the meeting!

  7. Enjoyed this post! I like the conversation you have with your daughter - it is funny!

    I have to say though that despite the rash there is something sexy about stubble...xxx

  8. I'm amused at how honest you and your daughter are with each other. It's good that she opens up to you on what activities she's been doing and what she would want to do. Not all teens are that open to their parents and definitely not that "honest" about things, too. You're one lucky parent, so take that as an opportunity to guide your teen to become a more responsible adult in the future. Great post!


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