I hope this isn’t jumping the gun, but I think I may have found ‘the one’. Through a website. Yes, seriously. The best thing was that it wasn’t even me that did the running – I got an email out of the blue based on the information I’d given in my profile and – well – it just seemed perfect right away.
It’s at this point that I should confess I’m talking about a flat, not a man. The similarities between the hunt for the two are striking, though. Over the years, usually at times of black desperation when I shouldn’t even consider starting a new relationship without first taking part in some serious therapy sessions, I’ve dipped my toe into the online dating pool far too many times. It always starts out with idle curiosity and before I know it I’m filling out all my details, shelling out a load of cash and sitting back to cross my fingers for a good result while pretending to myself that I really couldn’t care less whether anyone contacts me.
Do I sound jaded? Maybe I am. I have no objection to the concept of internet dating. In some ways it’s a far better way to get to know someone than the English tradition of fancying someone in a pub, getting pissed with them and having a drunken fumble that may or may not turn into a relationship. On the other hand, internet dating is a cynical business that profits from people’s unhappiness. I get it – the key word here is business. They’re trying to make money, the same as all of us. But there’s something about shelling out money upfront, rather than if or when you get results, that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Punters are reeled in with free viewings and promises of guaranteed* love (*terms and conditions apply) which may or may not ever come to fruition.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about the tease; something that the Italians excel at. And the Brits? – well, not so much. I recently had a conversation with a couple of Italians about one-night-stands and how they find the concept absolutely appalling. In many ways I agree. However, they then revealed that in Messina and Catania, rather than going through with oral sex in the early stages of a relationship, they merely – er – sniff the area*. I think I was more shocked by that than they were by one-night-stands.
Cultural differences exist in the hunt for flats just as much as the search for love. I spent ages combing ads looking for a double room and wondering why they were all so cheap. Then I realised that what the Italians call a double room is what we would call a twin, and each *bed* can be rented. I changed my search parameters quick-smart.
And so back to my flat. Much the same as with any new relationship, I don’t want to say too much about it at this point in time, for fear of jinxing things. We’ve agreed to give it a go for the next year, but I haven’t even moved in yet, much less got to the stage of introducing my friends and family. However let’s just say that early signs are good, and I’m hoping for something long-lasting.
I’ll keep you posted.
*correction: After speaking to a friend of mine who’s married to an Italian it seems I was translating too literally from the original conversation, and it’s more along the lines of ‘look, don’t touch’, or ‘touch, but nothing more’. So it’s still all about the tease, but just not as twisted as I’d thought.
I feel like a public information service.
Image: Brandon Christopher Warren (Creative Commons)