Single parent dating – I need your help!

I think it was Hamlet who wisely said “To date, or not to date, that is the question.” It was something along those lines I’m sure, and he was right, it is definitely my question today.

I’ve been single now for over two years. There have been a few brief flings in this time, but nothing I’d consider a ‘relationship’ in the sense that you call someone your boyfriend and feel happy about asking them to take the rubbish out or farting in bed.

During this time I have been through periods of proactive dating, where finding a partner has become my most pressing yet seemingly impossible goal. I’ve also had moments where the thought of having to go through the whole ‘getting to know someone’ process has just seemed too hideous to contemplate.

In the last few months though I feel like I’ve reached a healthy plateau. I don’t feel the sense of mild desperation I felt in 2008, when I was still new to singledom, I’m generally pretty happy most of the time, yet I still have the feeling that something is missing. I don’t need a partner, but that doesn’t stop me wanting one. (And it’s not just the implant removal talking).

The fact is that being a parent is hard work, being single can be a bit dull, and when you put the two together you can end up feeling a tad isolated. It’s compounded by the fact that I work at home on my own most of the time. I get up, do parenty things, take the kids to school, work on my own, the kids come home again – it’s not terrible by any stretch of the imagination – Bee and Belle are both lovely girls and great company – it would just be nice to have some regular adult company and perhaps someone a little more intimate than The Internet to share my hopes and dreams with.

So, finding myself as I do in this literal no-man land, I’ve decided to have another go at online dating. Something tasteful mind you, I’m not thinking There is part of me that finds the whole thing a little bit sleazy, but there must be plenty of normal, well-adjusted people online, surely? You’re all lovely people right?

I’ve actually done it before, without a great deal of success, but the whole working/parenting/living in Somerset set up does rather restrict the amount of time I can spend loitering around funky independent bookshops and sipping cocktails provocatively in trendy city bars. So I’m going to do what I do best – get online.

And this is where I need your help. Despite being a writer by trade, I find it almost impossible to write an interesting dating profile, even worse to try and describe the man I am looking for. Just how do you stand out from every other person who likes ‘evenings in with a film and a nice glass of red wine’ without coming across as either arrogant (‘what’s with all these dullards who like red wine then?) or a complete nutter (I live by the power of the moon, making all my decisions based on the roll of a dice*)?

So this is my idea for a profile – everyone reading this post has to come up with two lines, one which describes me and one which describes what I’m looking for in a partner. Then I put them all together and say ‘this is what a random collection of friends and semi-strangers has to say’. What do you think? Too weird? If nothing else it will make me stand out…

You don’t have to be kind, just be honest. It’s so hard to describe yourself to other people, much more interesting to have other people describe you back to yourself, to see exactly what impression you give.

And of course I promise to keep you up to date with my progress and share any particularly amusing propositions I get. And if I find a man who doesn’t mind me writing about everything he says on my blog, then I’ll know I’ve got a keeper…

*I did actually live by the dice for a while about ten years ago after reading Dice Man, but I think I should probably keep that to myself initially.



  1. 23 June, 2010 / 7:34 pm

    Jo is: a loyal reader of my blog who makes me laugh every time she comments. She’s smart, but not a smart arse and funny without being crude or sarcastic

    Looking for: a man with an inquisitive intelligence, leather skinned sense of humour and a glint of adventure in all that he does.

    Good luck with the internet dating. You are brave.

    • 23 June, 2010 / 8:51 pm

      Ooooh! I like it – that sounds perfect, although it’s very generous of you to say I’m not sarcastic. I love the ‘leather skinned sense of humour’ though, that’s a must!

  2. 23 June, 2010 / 8:13 pm

    I am sooooo with you on this one, your post is like reading about me with the same time scale etc! I have just started (well about 3 weeks now) chatting to and texting a guy I met online, we get on really well and hope to meet up soon but I am finding the whole thing quite nerve wracking. I’ve not blogged on this as my family read my posts but I look forward to following your story!!!

    Jo is a great woman with a fantastic ability to use words, she makes me laugh out loud when I read what she writes. She’s looking for a man who can make her feel special, but can also put the world to rights with over a nice bottle of red!

    • 23 June, 2010 / 9:00 pm

      Oooh that sounds exciting! First dates are really scary, but just remember he will be far too busy worrying about himself to probably even notice anything else! I always get petrified just before I meet someone for the first time and want to run away.

      Lovely profile lines too, thank you! I’m beginning to wonder if I didn’t just write this post as a way to hear people saying nice things about me :-)

  3. 24 June, 2010 / 3:47 am

    I’m not so good at helping with the writing side of things, but can recommend a dating site I like and have made many long term friends on:

    Good luck!

    • 24 June, 2010 / 8:13 pm

      Wow, I just had a look and it says it’s ‘the best dating site on Earth’ – that’s quite a claim! Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Nicky Richards
    24 June, 2010 / 9:22 am

    Jo is a very strong and intelligent woman.
    She is kind and funny.
    She needs a man who can let her be herself and who can love her as she is. He must allow her to grow and grow with her. He must be interesting, funny, also intelligent and spontaneous. Not too much to ask i’m sure!!

    • 24 June, 2010 / 8:13 pm

      No, I think that’s all quite reasonable :-)

  5. 24 June, 2010 / 2:01 pm

    Gooo for it. I worked in sales and never met anyone and the bottom line was noone was coming to knock on my door. I did dating direct for a while. When I say did …… I didnt put a piccy on and I blocked my profile from the first night (15 weirdos in the morning after I posted!) I hunted a handful down and sent them a message saying I have paid to come on line for 3 days (back then you could just dip in) and liked the sound of your profile, please email me on …. if you want to chat further. One send me a resume of compatibility q’s before we were to meet – I cancelled the meet, my hubby now replied as he liked the sound of my very basic profile (I could spell though which was a start) :-) We chatted online and I sent a piccy after a week. We met and the rest is history. I didnt broadcast how we met but my hubby hates this as he thinks we have all we have now because of meeting so now .. I tell anyone who will listen ;-) x

    • 24 June, 2010 / 8:15 pm

      Gosh, that’s sounds amazing! You didn’t even have to kiss dozens of frogs before you found your prince… I must admit to being so shallow that I don’t even look at the profiles without pictures – that’s awful isn’t it? Especially as more often than not the men I’ve been attracted to in the past have been the ones I thought were pretty hideous when I first met them…

    • Alsometonline
      12 July, 2010 / 10:21 am

      You and I are twins Louise – I also met my hubby on DD 6 years ago.. I also didn’t put up a picture of myself, I only signed up for 2 weeks, had 4 dates (2 a bit dodge, 1 nice enough, and then my lovely soulmate)… when we met he wasn’t the same as the any other man I had previously had a relationship with and I was nervous he wasn’t “my type”, but 6 years and 3 babies later life is so very good! I also don’t broadcast how we met (not sure why) but if someone asks I tell them. Don’t be scared Jo it’s not that scary I promise! Good luck x

      • 12 July, 2010 / 1:32 pm

        Cool! How long was it after you met that you felt that connection? I think I’m too impatient – I expect there to be something there straightaway!

      • Alsometonline
        13 July, 2010 / 12:55 pm

        No I didn’t think it was “the one” straight away because normally I would go out with complete B*****ds and he was really really nice! So obviously I was suspicious and thought it was just an act but it must be a good one because he’s still the same now six years later. Honestly just go for it even if you do meet a few dodgy ones they make great blogging material!

  6. 24 June, 2010 / 2:08 pm

    These personals from the London Review of Books are flat out hilarious and blatantly honest. Try going for that rather than ‘I like walks on the beach and cocktails.’

    you might try a variation on this one as we all know you wear many hats:

    I vacillate wildly between a number of archetypes including, but not limited to, Muriel Spark witticism-trading doyenne, Mariella Frostrup charismatic socialite, brooding, intense Marianne Faithful visionary, and kleptomaniac Germaine Greer amateur upholsterer and ladies’ league darts champion. Woman, 43. Everything I just said was a lie. Apart from the bit about darts. And kleptomania. Great tits though. Box no. 2236.


    • 24 June, 2010 / 8:20 pm

      hahahaha! I love all of those – I could never come up with something as clever. I particularly laughed for some reason at the man who ‘likes to be referred to as ‘Wing Commander’ in the bedroom.

      Maybe I will just copy the Muriel Spark one and hope no one notices. I love that Muriel Spark can’t remember how many different names she has had.

  7. Morag
    24 June, 2010 / 2:39 pm

    I met my now boyfriend through a very dodgy dating site ( is high class in comparison), and we originally got together for just sex. But the minute we met, we clicked and the relationship has changed and eolved greatly over the last two years. However, whilst I am open about where we met, he is not, because it does rather demonstrate the sleazy side of his character.

    The suggestions made so far are great. I can’t offer any, because this is the first time I’ve read your blog. I wish you luck.

    • 24 June, 2010 / 8:22 pm

      I love that you met your boyfriend through some sort of sleazy sex site and happily tell everyone, while he blushes furiously in the corner :-)

  8. 24 June, 2010 / 3:01 pm

    I would struggle enormously with this too, and really wouldn’t want to make a hash of it for you.


    • 24 June, 2010 / 8:22 pm

      No tips from a man’s point of view?? Would you date a woman who had a profile made up of random quotes from blog readers? No, I thought not…

      • 29 June, 2010 / 10:29 am

        Depends how big her tits are.

        (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

        • 29 June, 2010 / 2:18 pm

          True. I wouldn’t date a woman who had a more impressive cleavage than me though (potential jealousy). It’s on my list along with the spelling/grammar thing.

  9. nepe
    24 June, 2010 / 3:11 pm

    Oooh I’m reading for the first time and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve not been writing a blog in my sleep without realising it!!

    Now to dating… well I’ve returned to the dating arena after SIX AND HALF years! Yep I’d almost forgotten I was female…

    Interent is the way to go but I did it with a twist… my friend met him then introduced us, like Morag it was no-strings but now in a couple! It’s terrifying yet good and I highly recommend it… I feel like an adult again… you dont realise how much of you as an adult is missing when you are single!

    Good luck!!

    • 24 June, 2010 / 8:24 pm

      Wow! That IS a long time, I feel selfish now even thinking about getting myself a man! I like the idea of getting a friend to go and do the difficult first date bit though, genius! How did he feel about that?

      • nepe
        28 June, 2010 / 9:50 pm

        Bloody hell… lost the ability to spell above… INTERNET!! Especially in view of your recent blog!

        He was fine about it as long as we were and we had no issues with the way things had worked out. My friend is much more confident than her judge of character so it was very useful!

        Don’t feel selfish… just enjoy x

        • 29 June, 2010 / 2:25 pm

          That’s it!! Get off my blog!! Seriously though, I didn’t even notice, so clearly spelling isn’t THAT crucial :-)

  10. Lucy
    24 June, 2010 / 6:23 pm

    Jo: lights up any room she walks into. Think Anna Karenina without the train crash.

    Man: Left-of-centre feminist, happy to push woman manfully against kitchen wall when necessary. Will laugh in the right places. Does not claim to read Mail “for the sport”. No moobs.


    • 24 June, 2010 / 8:26 pm

      Perfect. You have summed up what I am looking for in a man in just a few simple lines. You know how much I like being pushed manfully against a wall.

  11. Sharon
    24 June, 2010 / 8:00 pm

    I wish I was as brave as you Jo and very much look forward to hearing how you get on. I have been single for 9 1/2 years now so can longer remember what being a couple is like lol.

    I think you are a fabulous woman – funny, intelligent and inspiring. Your blog always makes me laugh and if had a way with words like you do, it could be about me lol.

    I hope you find a man, who respects you for who you are and can give you a wonderful relationship with love, humour, friendship and a happy future :o)

    • 24 June, 2010 / 8:27 pm

      Nine and a half years! Sharon, let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll add a PS – ‘I also have a friend Sharon who’d like…’ You never know, maybe I’ll find us twins :-)

  12. 24 June, 2010 / 8:50 pm

    Josphine is a clever woman on the cusp of 32 years old, with the ability to take quill in hand and write a tale that warms the heart and tickles the funny bone.

    She would like to meet a gentleman who is comfortable in his own skin, which is tan, is tall, politically liberal, willing to take a chance and gamble on happiness, and should probably have some sort of super power.

    • 25 June, 2010 / 6:09 am

      I like the idea of a super power! Nothing too controlling though, I don’t want him to be able to read my thoughts or anything. Maybe super cleaning powers so he can do the bathroom for me?

  13. scribblingmum
    24 June, 2010 / 9:35 pm

    Here are the words that I think of about you… open, pineapples, natural, warm, centred, light hearted, real, crazy mama.

    Would like to meet…. tall, calm, affectionate, easy company, solid, likes open fires, walks and festivals, music, prone to understated extravagance, wearing open white shirts whilst a bit damp on an open heath. Oh hang on a minute that’s actually Colin Firth isn’t it.

    Sounds like an excellent plan. You’re a catch!

    • 25 June, 2010 / 6:10 am

      “You’re a catch!” – I’m definitely using that :-)

      Yep, you’re right, I would basically like to meet Coin Firth. I think that’s a reasonable ask.

  14. 25 June, 2010 / 9:05 pm

    I like Nicky Richards comment and that is pretty much what I would say. I have been single forever and think I’m likely to stay this way ‘cos Internet dating scares the hell out of me and I’m terrible at small talk with the opposite sex! Good Luck!

    • 26 June, 2010 / 7:48 pm

      Nicky has known me for nearly 20 years, so if anyone knows what’s best for me she does!!

  15. 3 August, 2010 / 11:31 pm

    Hello,My name is LynetteCollins.I live in Baton Rouge,Louisiana.I’m a single christen mother of three children.The father of my children died in a automobile accident 22 months ago.I’m going to school for business management so that I can open a restaurant in the next 2 years,unfortunately with an eviction notice,and pass due bills like rent,utilities,water and phone plus a car note.I will always be held back from my dreams as a single independent mother with goals.I can’t even afford school supplies,uniform or provide my children with any clothes other than torn hand me down.My bank account is over dawn.My bills are behind.I’m using my unemployment checks to catch up with the rest of the pass due balances of my bills.It’s extremely difficult for me to manage off of one income.My unemployment checks only allows me to be broke as soon as I get it.I’m at rick of getting but out of school and losing my car because of the notes being behind.My vehicle is broken.I can’t afford a new car or pay a mechanic to fix the one I have.I’m at rick of losing everything!I exhausted all of my resources through different churches and community.Theirs hardly any funds available due to the economy.It’s horrifiying trying to struggle and figure out how ends meat will be brought to the table each day as a single parent.Were living by the skins of our teeth.I’ve gotten so depressed from the reality of what’s going on and living in pain every single day all day has taken a major toll on me and my body.I’m down to the wire.I’ve worked for a restaurant business until I got laid off.I’ve been laid off 18 months ago.I get 88.00 dollars a week,from the unemployment office,which is 352.00 a month.I’ve been applying for jobs on the internet at my local library.But,haven’t had any luck,and the ones that did call me back,they wanted me to have transportation.I’m a adopted child that was never fortunate in life to anything.My adopted parents was always classified as a low income family.My adopted parents are dead,one from died from cancer and the other from a house fire 8 years ago.They were the only family I had and now its only me and my three children.One of my daughters is suffering and diagnosis with severe seizures issues and its delaying her learning ability.I’ve applied for social security and they dismissed her claim.It’s very hard to get anything or any kind of help due to the recession.I’m a very hard worker.I’ve help the community,different churches and organization.I devoted my life to Christ.So,can you please help me and my family,so that we can feel a little security and normalcy that we’ve never had.Thanks, and God bless you.
    Address:543 Carr Alley,Baton Rouge,La 70802.

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