Until this summer, I hadn't been on a date for almost 16 years.
Sounds like a confession at an AA meeting doesn't it? “Hi everyone. My name is Barbara (it's not) and I'm frigid.”
In fact, I'm not sure that I'd actually ever been on a 'proper' date – you know the 'turning up to meet a virtual stranger at a pub bricking yourself type'.
I'm 33 now and I met my ex when I was 15. Together for 13 years and married for five of those – let's just say, when I emerged back into the world uncoupled, it was utterly terrifying.
So terrifying in fact that it took me three whole years to decide that I might actually want to 'date'.
It's not like I'd been a nun for those three years; there were a string of utterly inappropriate liaisons, mostly with 'lads' at least a decade younger than me or people I had no business liaising with (Facebook status: in a relationship).
Maybe it was necessary 'therapy' after a mighty shit few years (more of that later), maybe not, but eventually, you're going to get tired of being a bit of a tart.
And so, sick of fumbles in the dark with boys who can't handle their drink dribbling down their muscle tops, I decided (against my better judgement) to wade into the world of online dating.
Profile and photo uploaded, it still took me weeks to actually subscribe. Call me weird but the fear made me sick to my stomach. I mean, this meant I'd actually have to interact with men while sober – it didn't bear thinking about!
If you've never tried internet dating, do it, even if you're not single (I'm sure half the blokes on there aren't anyway). It is beyond hilarious.
Some blokes winked so many times, I was worried they would stay like that if the wind changed, others got unbelievably ratty when you didn't reply to e-mails, some even wrote poems and then there's the other extreme – the ones who can't even be arsed to exchange an e-mail with you and just give you their mobile number to call. Do you really think I am that desperate for a shag?!
Which reminds me of the time a 22-year-old conquest of mine asked me if I was going out that night. I was but in a town eight miles away and he said, deadpan serious: “Oh, that's okay, you can always pay for me to get a taxi to yours when I've finished with my mates.” The audacity of it! Boys weren't like that when I was growing up, were they?!
Anyway, back to the online sweet shop. Some blokes look half-decent and and then you look where they live. I mean I've always fancied visiting the Congo, but it might make going on a date to the cinema a bit tricky.
Oh and never ever trust the photos. I actually went on a date with one guy and let's just say, he'd obviously posted a picture from before he'd swallowed a couple of Ford Cortinas.
But I'll finish with my all-time favourite. The 49-year-old guy from London who messaged me this: “I love your profile. Please don't be put off by the fact I haven't posted a photo. My agent told me not to. I'm a famous Australian film director, so for my own safety, I need to get to know someone before I can reveal my identity.”
Bloody genius. Nothing to do with the fact you look like the back end of a bus then?
Of course, reflecting on it now, it could have been Mel Gibson. Shit, shit, shit! What's my match password again?!