He’s 45, his long-term girlfriend left him and he says that he finds online dating soul-destroying, but will he meet Stella?
Recently I got a taste of what it might be like to be a man engaged in online dating. To be one particular man, anyway. Joe is tall, a Russell Brand physical type, offbeat in his old band tour T-shirts and tight black jeans and mad coloured scarves. He has deep-set, soulful eyes. He lopes along, his satchel placed across his body on a long leather strap. It’s full of books, and notebooks. He’s trying to make it as a musician and he’s finding out how hard it is. He plays guitar in a band that’s let down by a bad lead singer who the rest of the group won’t get rid of because they’re all friends. He’s 45. He’s never been married. His long-term girlfriend left him for someone else.
I was the one who approached first. He lives across the other side of town, in an old dilapidated flat he says he’s gradually devaluing with botched DIY. It makes him feel good about himself to make cupboards, he wrote, even though they’re just slightly wrong and wonky. He’s discovering the joy of making things with his hands. He’s discovering too, since recovering from depression, that he has an enormous capacity for fun, if he approaches fun from oblique angles. I asked him if he fancied a beer. I could make the pilgrimage, I said. I was offering to.
Let’s email a bit first, he said. I have a stupidly busy week ahead, out every night with commitments – the band, helping friends with a house move, and mentoring that I do, and a charity thing. Chasing my tail. I’ll write from inside the spaces and I hope you’ll reply.