Edinburgh 2013: Confessions of a serial internet dater
Ten years ago, my mother became seriously ill and her dying wish was for me to find my soul mate. That’s probably the most un-funny opening line I’ve ever written for anything, but it happened, so let’s just move on eh? I was never very good at chatting to lady creatures. I’d go up to a girl in a bar and say things like ‘Nice dress! My nan used to have one just like that.’ And I’d think that was acceptable. It wasn’t. So what did I do? Well I did what any other self-respecting love hunter would do and took this situation online.
I joined my first Internet dating site about 10 years ago and after a few weeks of bumbling around like a daddy long legs trapped in a sash window, I managed to land my first date. It was with a girl called Denise. She was everything I dreamed of. She wore a polka dot dress, an Alice band and had a gorgeous West Country accent. These were all things that I loved. She was like a cross between Minnie Mouse and the Cadbury’s Caramel bunny – two of my favourite female animated characters as a child.
We had lots in common. I worked in the City at the time for a banking firm and she worked in a sexual health clinic, so we both had to deal with horrible pricks on a daily basis. At the end of the date, I asked her out again, but she pretty much laughed in my face, took my hand and said ‘No. I’ve just got a three-month membership and quite frankly, I want to get my money’s worth.’
So it seemed I learned the ways of the Serial Internet Dater on date one and embarked on a journey of 10 years of misery, trudging through pretty much every dating site profile on the Internet. Obviously I became completely obsessed with Internet dating and by the time my mum passed away, I was utterly lost. I couldn’t find anyone I liked, but I was dating hundreds of women, so at least I was good at getting people to go out with me. No one can accuse me of not putting in the hours.
Then last year, I decided to turn that frown upside down and write a ‘guide to Internet dating’ show for the Edinburgh festival. Harmless and fun, you might think. Wrong. Part of the PR for my show involved me telling the public how many dates I’d been on and before you could say ‘add to favourites’, I was all over Glamour magazine. So that was it – there was no hiding it.
From then on, every girl that I met on an Internet dating site decided to ‘Google’ me to check out my comedy, but of course the first things to come up were:
Mark has been on 1500 dates.
Mark is a Serial Internet Dater.
Mark is completely addicted to Internet Dating.
It could scarcely be worse. I now felt how Ali G must have when people stopped wanting to be interviewed by him. I had become more undateable than those ‘Undateables’ from the Channel 4 documentary. After a couple of months of constant rejection because of my hideous track record, I decided to give up the wholesome dating sites.
Then I moved to the dark side – The adult dating sites. I turned from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader in a matter of weeks. These were sort of sites where nobody cares how many people you’ve been out with. In fact, the more people you’ve been out with, the better.
I then had a year’s worth of mind-boggling experiences, which of course have become the fodder for my new Edinburgh show ‘The Diary of a Serial Internet Dater.’
I went out with all sorts of people: A dominatrix who liked to play a ‘Russian roulette’ style game every morning with five vitamin pills and a Viagra. Of course I took the Viagra and ended up having to walk around with a full erection ALL day. Luckily, nobody seemed to notice though.
Or how about the woman who wanted to turn up at my house and sleep with me without ever meeting me? She wanted me to be waiting in my bedroom blindfolded, whilst she let herself in with the keys I’d left out for her. However, the event was rudely interrupted by an estate agent and his client turning up for a viewing. My landlord had failed to inform me that they were due round at the same time I was about to have an illicit liaison.
That’s just the tip of the Iceberg. My exploits have got me into much more trouble than I could have possibly ever imagined, but you’ll just have to come and see my show to find out what.
Mark Restuccia – ‘The Diary of a Serial Internet Dater’ is on at Just the Tonic at Bristo Square on Aug 1-25 (not 13th) at 5:30pm
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