Internet Dating v2.1- My Last Duchess.

by Lori Dwyer on May 11, 2012 · 15 comments

Romance is a glorious thing.

As we’ve discussed and dissected before, I am a hopeless romantic. I love flowers. I love massages and surprises and nights out. I love romantic crap that makes me go “Awwwww!”

Tony, bless him, wasn’t good at the romance. He tried, sometimes, but he just didn’t seem to be able to pull it off without looking– and feeling– like a great big boofhead.

Since he died, the romance in my life has been sadly lacking. I vaguely remember the last time a guy took me out for dinner– it was my best mate Bunny, about six weeks after Tony passed away.

I occasionally buy myself flowers for the kitchen table, especially this time of year when there is nothing blooming in my garden; and it makes me sad, buying them for myself. But that’s offset by the simple happiness that comes from seeing fresh living color in my peripheral vision every time I open my front door.

There was some vague hope of some kind of excitement recently, as reported on Twitter, when I met a guy– online, of course– who seemed close to perfect. Great job in the vicinity of Paradise, gorgeous, intelligent, and– wait for it– spoke fluent French and owned an apartment in Paris.

All together now– *sigh*.

Complete the picture with a first date that included a perfect, warm autumn day and a picnic by a lake; and how does some kind of romantic interlude following that not seem possible?

Being stood up once, complete with dog–eating–homework excuse, should have been enough to kick that thought right out of my cerebellum. It wasn’t. It took him standing me up twice, as well as a rather fierce phone call from Woogs telling me to grow a spine; to make me see the light (douche).

In the meantime, we did have a few rather lovely dates, and a couple of long, giggling phone conversations. It was during one of those that I happened to mention Tony.

It makes me feel self–conscious, speaking of a man I once loved very much in front of one who I’ve just kissed; I can hear the plain fondness for my husband echo through my voice and I apologise to this perfect man, ask him not to mind, please, if I say Tony’s name or speak of things he did once… I can’t help it. He was my whole life for such a long time.

“It’s fine”, Mr Perfect says, “that’s OK. In fact, it reminds me of this poem..

Browning’s ‘Last Duchess’

There’s a wealthy man, years back, who is describing to a painter his last wife, his last duchess; all her details and strengths and weaknesses– “she was this, she was that…” It’s only toward the end of the poem you realize that the painter is not a painter, that he is there to find the man a new duchess; and he’s listening patiently to all her faults and charms so he may replicate those charms and find someone without those flaws.”

Again, all together… *sigh*. How freaking romantic is that? Be still my beating, swooning, eager–to–get–laid heart.

Or, as the educated amongst you may have already picked… not so much.

A little time with the Google God tells me that Robert Browning’s poem ‘My Last Duchess‘ is the story of a man recounting a murder. He killed his last wife, buried her, and, if I have the jist of things right, is now intimidating a possible future father-in-law with the details.

Holy what the f…. run away. Now.

I’m actually fairly sure this guy is not an axe murderer (or if he is, I’m slightly offended that I evidently wasn’t to his taste). It was just a matter of smart–arsery gone wrong.

I’m not sure I can say the same about the other guy who I happened to be chatting to… who revealed he was heavily into bondage. That’s all fine with me, but, you know, I have this thing with rope.

Then he tells me that, actually, he’d love to find a woman to play out a hostage fantasy with him.

And if that’s not terrifying enough, he works at an abattoir.

Cue– block, change profile name and picture. Fumble for that optimism you dropped, possibly in someone’s basement (“It rubs the lotion on its skin!”); smile and try again.

Because romance isn’t dead, surely. It’s just… terrified. Or at the very least, lost somewhere in translation.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

megs – mumontherun May 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm

My goodness you ARE funny!!

If it gives you any hope, there are decent men out there on the internet. I married one of them ;)



Donna May May 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

After my husband left me for his girlfriend, it took me 3 years before I could even accept a date. Lucky for me I did, and over 5 years later, we are still together… don't despair, you will find that romance you are looking for… just don't give up! But do be careful!!


Cassondra May 12, 2012 at 2:44 am

You know, I think I would just tell the guy I'm not into bondage, you know, at all. And that I have trauma related to rope and constraint, and just leave it at that. No need to change your profile, unless he actually IS a stalker, but he's probably not. Stalkers aren't really all that common.


Spagsy May 12, 2012 at 2:29 am

..just a couple of Frogs on the way to the Prince… I liked the post, and am sorry it's not fiction.

Xx rah rah in melbs


Canadian in Glasgow May 11, 2012 at 9:40 pm

The dating pool appears quite shallow.
Like…horribly scary shallow.


jojowilks May 11, 2012 at 8:47 pm

oh…just gotta love online dating- or any dating for that matter…
I think he kinda knew the basic high school interpretation of the poem….his actions mirror it.
and standing you up is unacceptable- end of story – for anyone you would consider sharing yourself with. Unacceptable.
Lori- everyone is deserving of basic respect….
you can,and will, do so much better than fake, charming, cashing in on being french, guy.
much love , Jane


Melissa May 11, 2012 at 8:44 pm

dangit! hate typos.


Melissa May 11, 2012 at 8:43 pm

HOLY COW! You have met some crazy weirdos, sister! At least it makes for excellent blog fodder. Keep looking though, Lori – I know Mr. Romantic, Understand, and Handsome is out there. I just know it.


exumbrerum May 11, 2012 at 8:34 pm

If it wasn't too creepy to ask for your address, I'd send you flowers. :) Hope you're holding up ok.


Rachel May 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm

This made me laugh but seriously babe, no one should get the opportunity to stand you up twice. And remember the only way to survive in the world of Internet dating is to have an absolute zero tolerance policy for fuckwits, assholes, liars and losers.
Love ya babe, your optimism is shining through <3
xoxoxo Pix


Suzi May 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

Oh dear… I'm sure there will be a nice normal man ready to come and sweep you off your feet when the time is right – Hey my brother has only just met someone at age 42 and she is so lovely I breifly wondered if he had paid her to say she was his date ;)
Axe murder guy wasn't called Trevor by any chance?


Miss Pink May 11, 2012 at 11:06 am

Holy shit! Well….if anything Lori you are going to have some very interesting and funny stories to share when you do find this guy you're looking for. And you will. I know you will.
Agreeing with Woogs, it's a one strike and you're out policy. They won't strike out if they're worth your time. They won't let you apologise for speaking of Tony. You will be perfectly imperfect as you are. x


Wanderlust May 11, 2012 at 10:18 am

I'm guessing internet guy just didn't understand the poem (in which case, he should be kicked out of Paris tout suite). But standing you up twice…unacceptable. I gave up on internet dating. Too many freaks.


Vicky May 11, 2012 at 9:58 am

while it may not feel like it, the best part about all of this, is that you are exploring YOU, and making discoveries about yourself that you didn't realise needed to be discovered.

If you haven't already, look up a book called Fearless Loving: Eight Simple Truths That Will Change the Way You Date, Mate, and Relate Rhonda Britten. You may think its naff. but it helped me figure out a whole lot of stuff about ME.



Mrs Woog May 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Are there any normal men left?

You bet! You just have to spend the time weeding them out xxx


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