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Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places: Episode 2

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Placing a personals ad on Craigslist was always going to be a crapshoot. I knew that. I’d done it before, albeit in my forties, and it had led to some interesting as well as deeply unsatisfying experiences . It had turned up a few guys, for instance, who wanted to take part in a gang-bang in a swanky hotel room. I think they had not expected it to actually happen and I remember one guy, a notch above 30, who got carried away, saying “Suck that, bitch” as if he was the lead in a porn film. I had to tell him, in my very best Mary Poppin’s voice, to “be very quiet.” There was another man who took me to a lovely dinner at the Soho House Hotel and turned out to have a wandering eye, literally. He had one eye that just kept zooming off, in all directions. It was very disconcerting.

The first few emails I received in response to my latest ad were not terribly encouraging. There were two or three from men who had obviously not read my ad asking for someone my own age and were chancing it. One, a mere 27, sent me a picture of his lean, headless torso, just stopping at his unbranded underwear.

Craigslist Boy

There was another who spelled out something completely unintelligible using text message speak, always a worrying sign:

hi i saw ur ad on cl,,,i live in kilburn station jubile line,,183cm tall slim,43 years old. xxxxxxxx u can cal or find me on whatsapp

There was the man who was intrigued by my beauty, having not yet seen my picture and was a strong believer in quantum physics. Quite a few lived very far outside London, even though I had made it clear I was not a woman who wanted to travel far.

Frank (not his real name) was perplexed as to what I meant by ‘having tried swiping right and left.’ When I wrote back and said it referred to Tinder, he replied saying, “… it does frighten me a bit when I hear that a woman has been trawling places like Tinder.…I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I was sleeping with someone who was having multiple sex partners.” This being craigslist, a place frequented by men seeking sex for hire, I think the irony must have been lost on him. I, on the other hand, had not been laid in six months.

And then there was an older man, a philanthropist and former CEO, who invited me to his private member’s club for dinner, only to tell me 30 emails later, that he was married. Why he couldn’t have made that clear to me 29 emails earlier, is anyone’s guess. I had just about forgotten how many time wasters there are in online dating land when he dropped into my life to remind me.

Amongst the debris, however, a few possible gold nuggets have stood out. The banker, for example. At 42 still a bit too young, but within walking distance, handsome and someone with whom I might unwind over a drink nearby. He has potential.

A designer with his own small agency who likes jazz and lives in North London, on a tube line just on the edge of Zones 2/3 , seems interesting too.

A couple of dates have been put in the diary and I’m open to the possibilities. Watch this space.

About Suzanne Portnoy

Suzanne Portnoy is the author of the best-selling explicit memoir The Butcher, The Baker, the Candlestick Maker: An Erotic Memoir (Random House, 2006), The Not-So-Invisible Woman (Random House, 2008) and the play Looser Women, which was performed in 2011 at the Edinburgh Festival.

The book charts her journey through a sexually liberated youth, largely sexless marriage then divorce and pursuit of a lifestyle of multiple partners, group sex, loss of someone close and being mother to two children. Parallels can perhaps be drawn with The Sexual Life of Catherine M., at least in terms of its honest approach and graphic detail.

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