“Edgy,” said the Editors.
“Groundbreaking,” they all agreed. And then, having decided to commission a dating column by yet another divorced journalist who could not understand why a man would leave her, they went to the pub.
To make it all seem, zeitgeisty, they gave her a pseudonym. Stella Grey. Oh I see. like Christian Grey. Racy huh? Her female following eulogise her on a daily basis as a cheerleader for the cause, while male Guardianistas (the kind of men who really, really understand periods and stuff) men who have probably not seen their cock in years, declare themselves her servants and admirers. All good so far.
I didn’t go looking for Stella. She read my blog here and she came back to tell me to look her up again.
She has since denied knowing my blog exists so I sent her these screen shots yesterday. This was after she told me to shut up. Actually that’s unfair: she said “Oh do shut up.” All I did was say she was being little dramatic by saying she’d been ‘dumped’. In my view she’d gone on some dates, had some average sex and it had fizzled out. That’s all. I said it was no great drama. Her view to me seemed a particularly British one: the one where instant coupling results from minimal dates and everything gets too big before it actually is anything. A man gave her ‘shut up’ comment a big star. This is what passes for wit amongst Guardian readers these days. Meanwhile her army of female sympathisers (Stella has admitted she favourites sympathy tweets) whom I imagine clad in those awful jersey wrap dresses, with strategic slim-you-down-ruching (hence the collective noun, a ruche of women), were angry I was giving advice to the Grey Goddess. This was clearly a we situation for them. Furthermore, a tweet informed me, I was obviously a hater of women.
I pointed out it wasn’t advice per se, however I had a view and my view was different from hers. While it’s true I have always preferred my threesomes with two men, I suggested I was not so much a hater of women, as a woman with her own opinion. The ruche decided this was the same thing because there is no individual opinion, only the view of we, which in this instance was Stella’s narrative. She was suffering for all of us. One of her issues with me, was my apparent presumption that I knew enough about her to have an opinion. (Kind of what I do for a living). This in itself was very telling, indicating perhaps Stella is a process woman (You do the Myers-Briggs) and may not understand others’ intuition (though she reads lots of books and likes them to pack out the shelves in a man’s house.) Anyway the clear message was that any dissent was not on. This was how it was, ok?
I rang my travel agent to make sure I hadn’t gone to China, and was reading dating stories in middle-aged Mandarin. Commenting on those would land me in trouble for sure. But no, I was in the UK and was commenting on something in the public domain. Today I noticed that Stella had explained away the lack of comment provision on the articles themselves because they would make her less anonymous. Believe me, Stella, you are a pretty anonymous kind of woman. My own guess is that “Oh do shut up” would be exposed for the dull, charmless response it is.
Obviously being ‘dumped’ (her word remember) has left Stella’s nerves slightly raw, but there is definitely something else here. Self-entitlement, a certain uppityness and a belief that she is pretty much right: you get the sense she won’t make much room for the world, it’s the world that needs to understand her.
I’d previously formed a view that Stella’s writing indicates how inadequate and ill-prepared she feels for this dating caper. Again she took this as a nasty, calling it ‘pop psychology’ when I was saying online dating is going to expose you to a lot of judgement: is this what someone with your current mindset needs to do?. Having found online dating to be totally unnatural and quite cruel, I believe unless you play it for laughs and treat it like a fairground game, you are doomed to misery, frustration and a lot of time-wasting. This article was taken the wrong way, and I’ve since concluded that Stella is not so much a cheerleader for the middle-aged female online dater as a victim, a fully paid up representative of that ruche of women who refuse to think they should even try to understand men. Unfortunately they can’t be bothered understanding their own needs and who they really are, so the chances of tuning in to men are nil.
The other thing to remember about the statistical possibilities of online dating, is while there appear to be hundreds of men waiting to find you, very few are in your subset, or in Stella’s case, in your cosy lounge-room mindset. Of those, the chances of making a connection slim down even further. In all my experiences meeting men from a standing start in the real world, I have met less than ten who blew me away and I felt something could be there. Of those only two-thirds were really in the market. (Doesn’t include the trampy stuff but that doesn’t count). When you think about what you really want or need, there will only be a tiny pool of men to choose from. If, like Stella, you probably want someone who reads books and drinks Rioja from the non-touristy part of Spain but who can have ‘laughing, chatty sex’ AND likes ruched dresses (Ok I did make an assumption there but it’s fair, with a mid-heel, no?) the numbers diminish.
And so, as Stella retreats into the role of victim – and amnesiac too- I’m not surprised they didn’t put comments on her piece. I suspect she may be fibbing about the reasons for not doing so. On Twitter she says it would compromise her anonymity, however this is utter tosh as anonymous writers have had commenters plenty of times. The truth is that it would expose her even more and my pop psychology 101 (learned from a podcast while I was waiting for a bus) tells me that she’s not coping with that, even under cover.