My fiancé and I met online. On RSVP. It’s not something that bothers me to admit to now, but it used to be. I’m still aware that some people find it odd, or quaint. It always elicits a reaction of some sort anyway, a slightly raised eyebrow, a passing note of judgement or surprise across a face.
For me, it was a difficult decision initially, to go online to look for a partner. But I had started to realise around that time that I was not going to find the right partner for me at bars (not that I went out much) or amongst men my own age, who were never going to understand my world, my needs, my priorities as a working Mum. I knew what I needed – that was the first step – but I just didn’t know where to find him. I wanted a kind man. A generous man. A loving man. A man who would find room for me and my daughter in his heart and not see her as baggage, but rather as a bonus. I knew he existed. I would sneak looks at nice looking men walking dogs around my neighbourhood, calm-looking men in their mid-thirties browsing the aisles at Coles. I just didn’t know how to connect with them without seeming desperate. Or stalker-ish.
It was my aunty who got me over the line. I told her my dilemma – knowing what I wanted but not knowing how to get it – and she snorted at me to get over myself and get online. She normalised it for me, and in her eyes I saw that it didn’t mean I was a failure, or a loser. All it meant was that I was prepared to take a risk and open up my options.
After about two weeks of giving it a go, I decided online dating was not for me. I had enjoyed some attention and I had seen its potential, but I’d had enough and thought perhaps I would revisit it in the future. But there was one guy who never really left my periphery, Jackiechan2000. Jackiechan2000 didn’t come across as desperate or sleazy. He wasn’t full of words or full of himself. And it was just… his eyes. His blue eyes in one of his photos, staring at me through what looked like an ice cave. I kept going back to that photo to look some more, and before long I had wound down all the other connections and suddenly I realised he was the only one I wanted to pursue offline.