“Ok we’ve done Tinder,” said Suzanne crisply. She was in a typically brisk mood.
“Well I told you to so, technically, it includes me. Anyway I was thinking you should try Guardian Soulmates. You know I have friends who’ve met people on there.”
“What happened after they met?”
“Immaterial. My point is this could be fun.”
My friend’s idea of fun was taking on a totally different hue in middle age. I liked her better five years ago.
Guardian Soulmates. Yoga. Vegans. Men without carbon footprints. Yes, really. Men of a certain age who wore combat trousers. Men who called pubs ‘boozers’ thinking it was faintly ironic. Men who had just discovered balsamic vinegar reduction and put it on everything. Male fucking feminists. Oh yes, this would be so much fun. I should kill myself now.
I agreed to do it for a month. “At least I won’t have to have a Brazilian,” I said. “No chance of me wanting sex with any of those people.” When I looked at them I didn’t think I’d even want conversation. Now it’s true there are occasions when I have had storming sex without conversation but we’re talking about the Guardian Soulmates, not Claridges.
If you fancy rounding up all the left-leaning, kind, compassionate, creative, non-smoking, teetotaling, vegan, non-judgemental men who go to comedy clubs seemingly every night of the week, then they’re here. They are a very non-judgemental lot (because they’ve stated it) but could not possibly entertain anyone who smokes, believes you can smack children, doesn’t believe climate change is the problem of our age, has a car, is outside their height and weight range, doesn’t agree Jonathan Franzen is so profound or thinks Breaking Bad was better than the Wire, refuses to embrace the ‘arts’, change and all the love in the world.
As well as being non-judgemental, they are also doing their best to create a kind of Modest With A Shrug vibe which of course comes across as odious. My favourite is the guy who has done everything he thinks we wish we could have done. Apparently he was on the Berlin Wall the night it fell, helping people over. Wow. What a guy. And he saw the Sex Pistols first ever concert. He says they were rubbish. So you don’t need to worry: he’s done it for you. You can hear the brains turning over beneath the early male pattern baldness, visualise them deciding whether to pick Shostakovich or Mahler or both. And throw in a bit of hip hop because, yo, they are down with the kids.
The real life equivalent of Guardian Soulmates is hard to imagine, except perhaps for an airport security check. Because that is what it feels like: heavy, serious, exhausting, where someone is just waiting to tell you off for a bottle of water.