He's Winked At You!

By Jo Howell

I looked at the screen and let out a long, slow, desperate, sigh.

I took in his face; his features, his hair and scowled. He looked older than his years; grey stubble peppering his chin, his eyebrows, his nose hair. His pointed, ferret like face, peered back at me with a very suspicious look about it. Dark eyes, narrowed and flat, stared at the camera. He wasn’t smiling and his mouth was set in a defined, angry line. He had funny cheeks, like he’d got two gobstoppers stuck in them and they protruded out of his skin, looking garish and ugly. Gosh, he was a sight for sore eyes. Oh and he was 71 years old. And he’d winked at me. 

I flopped back in my chair and continued to stare at the monitor, scrutinizing the grainy image in front of me. John McEnroe’s voice popped into my head, ‘You CANNOT be serious’. I mean, really?! How can this man, this totally unsuitable, way too old, completely mismatched man think for one moment we could be anywhere near right for each other?   

I know I sound shallow, I really do . And in this instance I am very, very shallow. But please believe me when I say its not without good reason. For obvious reasons, I can’t show you his actual face and profile but the few friends I have shared it with have all, bar none, recoiled in horror. Some swore, some laughed and they all asked the same question: ‘Is that a joke?’. Each time I’ve shook my head somewhat sadly and said no. No, it’s not a joke. No, I’m not winding you up. No, I’m not going to bloody wink back at him! 

I realize I’m still staring at the screen, lost in my thoughts and my own little pity party.  As I lean forward and reach for the mouse, I accidentally press ‘View My Profile’ and before I know it, Ugly Old Guy’s profile was as large as life in front of me. Nooooooo! The rest happened in slow motion as I desperately clicked and clicked to go back, refresh, delete - anything! But it was too late. UOG was online and the envelope icon flashed across the centre of the screen. You have mail, it declared proudly. Oh my goodness, he only wants to chat. Live. Now. 

Maybe he’s a nice guy, my kind, non-shallow inner voice says. HE’S SEVENTY FRICKIN ONE, screams my other somewhat peed off voice. Well, just be polite and say thanks but no thanks, kind voice pipes up. HE’S UGLY OLD GUY, both voices yell simultaneously. 

I move the mouse over to the mailbox and hover cautiously. There’s 6 new emails waiting for me- surely one of them has to be worth reading? Surely one of them will from someone close to my desired age range? Surely they won’t all look like Ugly Old Guy? I click the envelope and hold my breath.

From: DreamLoverGuy

Message: How are you and what perfume do you wear?

(I was tempted to reply with ‘I don’t wear perfume, only aftershave’ but thought that may be asking for trouble so I delete it instead)


From: Rowan

Message: Would you date a guy my age?

(He’s 25. I have underwear older than him. So, no. Delete)


From: WardJ

Message: HIYAAAA! We’re Virtually neighbors. 

(I’m not sure if he’s making a statement or wants a medal. And as he hasn’t out where he lives, I delete him. France and Spain are neighbors but you can hardly pop round for a cuppa can you?!)


From: OthelloUK

Message: Hello cheeky, you are certainly bowchikawowow. LOL.

Bowchikawowow?! BOWCHIKAWOWOW?! Has a 44 year old man actually just wrote that in an email?! I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, be complimented or horrified. Out of some weird curiosity , I click on his profile. Oh my. 

He’s wearing more eyeliner than Ru Paul, claims to be 5ft 5 (3 inches shorter than me), has long black hair (albeit his profile picture shows it short at the sides, so obviously a mullet), describes himself as average appearance (not the best selling point, although very honest) and weighs 126 lbs. No man in their right mind should weigh 126 lbs. Ever. Apart from the fact I haven’t seen 126 lbs. for a very long time – in fact I’m not sure I’ve even been 126 lbs – there is no way on this earth I could go out with a guy that I’m at least a good 15 lbs. heavier than (I’m being very generous – more like a good 20+ lbs. heavier) and I’m 3 inches taller than him. Seriously? What the hell would we look like together? He resembles an oompa lumpa and I look like the Honey Monster. 

Somewhat dejectedly, I switch off the site and go back to browsing Facebook. Looking at other people lives, moans, worries, birthdays, new babies and what they’ve had for supper is suddenly a lot more interesting than my non existent love life!