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Month: April 2012

A defection from Labour…to the Liberal Democrats!

After the drama (well when I say drama I mean a few people on twitter thinking that a defection from the Tories to UKIP is the beginning of the end of the Conservative Party as we know it – and then there was a question whether the defector was even a member of the Conservative Party anyway) there was more drama this morning when Tristan Pithers defected from Labour to the Lib Dems – cue much rejoicing on my timeline (probably – he defected a good couple of hours before I woke up) but at least he has written why he defected and it is a good read.

You can read the full piece entitled ‘And it was all yellow’ – Why I’m considering defection to the Liberal Democrats. behind that hyperlink.

A couple of things really stood out to me. The first being this:

My problems with the Labour Party as an organisation have always been present. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the word ‘Comrade’ being used to greet me on entering a constituency office or reading a local party email.

Do they really do that? I had no idea. That enough would be enough to make me want to leave. Dear Comrade… really? I mean really? I know it only means friend, colleague or ally but I prefer the old fashioned why of greeting by using someone’s name. To me that is a lot more acceptable and palatable.

He goes on to say:

The Labour Party and its membership, bar a few increasingly out-of-place New Labour Blairites, are about more spending, more handouts, more debt, more tax as punishment for prosperity and less individual responsibility.

This is something that rings home to me. I think front line services are vital and people do rely on them and I have always been and high tax but amazing public services guy however I don’t like the more handouts culture. Provide the best public facilities in the world. I love Children’s Centres for example. I think they are one of Labour’s best moves of the Blair years. These provide not only a great place for children to interact but also a place for young parents to get together. I imagine being a young parent is often a lonely and difficult existence and knowing people in like-minded positions can only help. The more handout culture though irks me. Sometimes we all need help but I’d prefer prefer a helping hand to get myself on my own two feet than help to just keep me ticking over.

Tax should not be punishment for the rich. Yes it is only right and fair that they help shoulder the loud but not to extreme lengths. I have banged on for eons about how Labour just want to bash the bankers. The bankers did help fuel this financial crisis but they are also the ones that can help us get out of it. Just castigating the whole industry over and over again won’t do any good but yet because public sentiment is against the bankers then Labour will exploit this for every political need they desire instead of being grown-up about this.

Lastly for me to pick at:

I still believe that there is a place for idealism in politics, that there are arguments that can be won, that a vote does not simply have to be red or blue.

Yes. Yes. 100x Yes. I am still an idealist. I know it will be nearly impossible to reach the goals tat I think we can reach but I still want to fight for them. I don’t just want to think ‘well the future is either one of two parties as that is the way it has always been’ because things change. If enough people believed in change and not the status quo then change can really be reached.

So I welcome this young man to the Lib Dems. Is it a big deal like twitter has made it out to be? Probably not but it is always nice to here a fair and reasoned article about why someone does the things they do.

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Roy Hodgson set for England Manager Job

This evening the FA released a statement informing the world that they have approached West Bromwich Albion for permission to speak with manager Roy Hogdson regarding the job of England Football Manager. The way they wrote and released the statement has made it relatively clear that they do not expect to be speaking to anyone else.

David Bernstein of the FA said, “Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set-out soon after Fabio Capello’s departure.

“Further conversations will now take place with Roy and my Club England colleagues before any further announcements can be made.”

By saying this and not make it clear that they could still speak to other candidates it seems pretty clear that they do not expect to speak to Harry Redknapp. You have to wonder whether the way Spurs have collapsed this season has played into the thinking of the FA Board or whether they just didn’t believe that Harry was tactically astute enough to manage at the international level.

I know I’m a Pompey fan so I have mixed feelings on Redknapp but there are two big negatives that I am sure I can say without any bias coming into my thought process. Firstly he isn’t great tactically. I have seen him make questionable tactical decisions left, right and centre. Secondly when his mind isn’t on the job his teams just fall off the cliff. It happened at Pompey and at Scum and at Spurs. The night Pompey played in Portugal two days before Redknapp left for Spurs is a case in point.

Also are the FA willing to take on the baggage that Harry Redknapp comes with? I don’t need to write about it as you all know what I mean.

As for Roy I think he’d be a decent appointment. Pearce would I suspect be his number two and they could be a good pairing. I thought it was Harry’s job all the way but if the FA want to go in another direction then I’d down with that. It would be a surprise appointment but also a considered one.

I’d welcome Roy to the top job and if they couldn’t get Jose and couldn’t get Martin O’Neill then Roy isn’t a bad appointment in my view. Not by a long shot.

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A 20-year old university student defects from the Tories to UKIP. Cue twitter meltdown!

Twitter is a strange beast. Many of us who use twitter often believe that the twitterverse is all important. However the twitterverse and reality and two very different beasts.

This evening it emerged that someone on twitter has defected from the Tories to UKIP. However it wasn’t an MP or an MEP or a councillor. It was an activist. Always interesting and personally I hope she has found her rightful home and enjoys life as a member of UKIP. I have no opinion on people moving from one party to another but is it really that big of a deal?

That is what I am sitting here shaking my head at. A few weeks ago there were a whole raft of Lib Dem activists who left the party over the NHS Bill. A lot of these people haven’t moved to another party but one or two have joined the Greens. I know that a fair few Lib Dems have now gone to Labour. These things though are debated mercilessly and I just wonder why.

Is a Tory activist defecting to UKIP really big news in the grand scheme of things? People quit political parties every day. People move from one political party to another every day. It isn’t big news and it isn’t that important. It won’t change the day to day lives of anyone and it won’t cause even a ripple with the electorate but on twitter it is news. It is real news. It is something that needs to be discussed and now.

I first saw tweets about a defection to UKIP so I went on to Google News and saw nothing. I did a twitter search and nothing came up straight away and then after a bit of scrolling I saw what it was all about. In the half an hour or so since there have been 100s of tweets with the term ‘UKIP’ in them and mostly about this.

I sometimes ask myself how many people on twitter really live in the real world. I have always tried to use twitter from a distance. I don’t think I have met anyone via twitter and very rarely get involved in a discussion about politics on there because people are too dug into their own positions and you can’t have a real conversation about politics in a series of tweets of 140 characters.

Yet others feel differently. They think that a big deal on twitter is actually a big deal. This I think is extremely wide of the mark.

As I said. I don’t care if this person has defected to UKIP or not. I just don’t understand why it is a big deal and yet look – I’ve written over 400 words on it on a Sunday evening. Oh boy…

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This is (apparently) what all girls want on their 1st date…

Following on from my piece on online dating today I saw a profile with a list of all the things girls want on their first date. Seems a bit extensive and over the top to me but maybe that is why I’m single.

So ladies…care to comment?

1. Ask her to dance.

2. On windy days, brush wayward strands of hair from her eyes and mouth.

3. When she’s coming down the street, across the room, or up the stairs to meet you, walk towards her as soon as you see her.

4. Kiss her between her shoulder blades when she turns her back to you to go to sleep.

5. Put your arm around her when you introduce her to your friends and family.

6. Grasp her hand when a scantily dressed, beautiful woman walks by.

7. Call her when you’re feeling sad.

8. Kiss her eyelids.

9. Ask to see a picture of her when she was a child.

10. Wash her from head to toe in the shower.

11. If she’s crying on the phone, go over to her place. Immediately.

12. Stand her naked on a sturdy chair and lick between her legs.

13. Occasionally call her by her first and middle names.

14. Buy her your favourite rock album of all time on vinyl.

15. Order coffee for her, remembering exactly how she likes it.

16. Undress her and put her to bed when she falls asleep in the car.

17. Mention your upcoming anniversary before she does.

18. Send her something in the mail. Anything.

19. When she’s feeling insecure, stare into her eyes and tell her there is no-one in the world who could be as right for you as she is.

20. Call her just before you get on the plane.

21. Pick her clothes up off the floor.

22. Try desperately to make her laugh when she’s feeling down.

23. Take her to see your favourite sport live. Pay more attention to her than to the game.

24. Touch her arm when you leave the table to go to the bathroom. Touch her again when you come back.

25. Shave just before you see her. She’ll notice.

26. Hug her when she gets jealous. Hug her hard.

27. Worship her breasts.

28. Give her jewellery.

29. Hand her two towels when she gets out of the shower. (The second one is for her hair.)

30. Ask her specific questions about her work.

31. Keep her favourite cereal on hand.

32. In the middle of a conversation, tell her you love her.

33. Send her very expensive flowers when you screw up.

34. Take her to a cabin with a fireplace. Build her a fire.

35. Moan her name when she goes down on you.

36. Read her a story when it’s her turn to drive during a long road trip.

37. Offer to fix something at her place that you realise is broken.

38. Notice when she’s wearing something new.

39. Make love to her standing up, against a wall.

40. Kiss her hand in front of your most die-hard bachelor buddies.

41. If she’s too stressed to want sex…
a. Run a bath for her.
b. Give her a full-body massage.
c. Ask if she wants to w

(at that point it ended. I suspect she ran out of characters…

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Is this Nottingham Labour leaflet racist?

This lunchtime I saw a bit of a kerfuffle on twitter over a leaflet produced by the Labour Party in Nottingham and that leaflet being potentially racist. I thought I’d have a look and here is the leaflet itself:

Nottingham Labour Leaflet Front
Nottingham Labour Leaflet Back

There is also a good piece about it on LabourList entitled “This is not what I expect from the Labour Party I joined”.

I am not sure it is racist per se but it is certainly absolutely awful and shows the depths some people will go to in election literature. It is possibly the worst piece of literature that I have seen in this election campaign. Why do people (and this includes all political parties) talk about other people instead of talking about themselves? This leaflet basically says that ‘if the BNP and EDL want it then it must be bad’ instead of saying ‘elected mayors is bad because…’

According to Stace over on her blog in a piece entitled Nottingham Labour have some explaining to do says it also breaks guidelines from the NEC:

“No Labour Party resources – either in cash or in kind, and including the national membership system and the national electoral database – may be used to campaign in any of these referendums.”

So only only it is gutter leafleting at its very worst it is also going against guidelines.

It is no wonder people are getting annoyed with politics when people will break guidelines and plunge to new depths in an attempt to get what they want. Whipping up racial tension along the way. It just sickens me.

I’m just proud my election literature focuses solely on what I believe I can do, what the party as a whole in Southend would like to do and what the Lib Dem Councillor in my ward has already been doing in the ward.

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Doing something is better than doing nothing – A good philosophy for life as well as being a Lib Dem

Yesterday I wrote for a new political blog over at This website launched this week and has already seen an article from an MP and I know of some very exciting op-ed pieces coming next week. My debut piece was entitled Why the Lib Dems are still a force for good which I think is a good place to start.

I shall still be primarily blogging here but some pieces will appear over there. Obviously all my non-political pieces will still be homed here but some of the politics – certainly the national Lib Dem stuff may go over there depending on how I feel.

A few words about this piece. I really do think many activists get too wound up about what is happening in Westminster and forget about what is going on in town halls and council chambers up and down the country. We worry about the big issues and forget about the small ones. So many people have left the party because of national issues because things are not going as they hoped and they feel helpless to stop it.

In doing this they are walking away from the good stuff that they can be part of locally. No Lib Dem Council has closed any SureStart Children Centre and no Lib Dem Council has closed any libraries. That sounds good to me.

Would I like the Lib Dems in Westminster to listen and act upon everything I say or think? Yes of course I would. However life doesn’t work that way. Would I like to influence more Lib Dem goals at local level? Yes of course I would. However sometimes you do as much as you can and doing something is far better than doing nothing. Fighting hours on end to save a Children’s Centre or a Library or whatever and succeeding actually has a real impact on lives. Giving in and doing nothing doesn’t.

This is why I am a Lib Dem. I’m not enamoured with a lot of what the national party is doing but I can’t influence that. At a local level I can still fight and do something and in all honesty I truly believe that doing something is far better than giving in and doing nothing.

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Vince Cable was right – how many times can we say it today? Is 3,941,939 enough?

Need I really say more?

I suppose I must.

Vince Cable has long been one of the most liked Lib Dems around. One thing everyone knew about Vince was that he wasn’t a huge fan of the Murdoch empire. None of the Lib Dems were. They never tried to curry favour with the empire unlike the other two main parties. Some argue that the only reason they didn’t was because the Murdoch’s saw the Lib Dems as insignificant but that is pure conjecture. These are the facts:

*The Lib Dems never liked the Murdoch’s.
*The Tories did like the Murdoch’s.
*Labour liked the Murdoch’s.
*Labour only stopped liking the Murdoch’s when the Milly Dowler phone-hacking case came to light and the national bandwagon of hate was rolling.
*Had the Telegraph not done that sting on Vince Cable then the Murdoch’s wouldn’t have the power they have today.
*Jeremy Hunt – who took over that role of deciding the Murdoch’s fate loved the Murdoch’s.
*Ed Miliband would have sacked Vince Cable for talking to people he believed where constituents regarding the nuclear option over the Murdoch’s.

Had David Cameron, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Jeremy Hunt, Ed Miliband or any of the top tier MPs from either the Labour Party or the Conservative Party worked out that the Murdoch media empire wasn’t exactly all sweetness and light and tried to regulate them then we wouldn’t have got to the state we are in today. The media are not trusted in large part due to the Murdoch’s and lack of regulation.

The banking crisis was due to a lack of regulation as well. That one lies at the foot of Labour who had their eyes off the ball thinking that the good times would never leave.

What we have learned is that regulation is an extremely important part of our world. Without good practice bad things will happen. Even if my day job industry of Search Marketing there are Black Hat and White Hat ways of working. Black Hat will be great short term but if Google catches up with you then bad times are ahead.

Vince – in retrospect – was foolish to talk freely knowing that journalists are everywhere but one thing he wasn’t was wrong. Vince Cable was right to be ready to block the Murdoch’s bid for Sky News. He was right to look at the empire with cynical eyes. James Murdoch is currently on my TV proving one thing and one thing only – he isn’t his father – and that isn’t a good thing. Rupert knew how to talk his way out of trouble. James can’t talk his way out of a paper bag and nor can he stop digging a hole for himself and his company and those who backed them.

The Lib Dems were on in bed with the Murdoch’s. The other two parties were constantly squabbling over who would get to sleep with them.

Whatever you think of the Lib Dems one thing is for sure. The Liberal Democrats always want a free press and believe in a free press. The other two parties are willing to deal with a non-free press as long as the slant is towards them…

Note: Murdoch’s, Murdochs or Murdochs’? That is the question.

BBC are happily going with Murdoch’s so I have decided to go with them. If they are wrong then so am I.

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Lissie – Go Your Own Way – It just blows my mind

I don’t write a lot about music on here. Most people say my music taste sucks. In the interest of fairness it should be noted that such amazing songs as the two Yeo Valley raps on my iPod, Hanson has three songs I think and I have both Savage Garden albums on there. Most recently though I have gravitated to more clubbing music but there are other people I like and one of them has just blown my mind.

I loved the debut single from American folk singer Lizzie. The song When I’m alone (embedded below) was nice and catchy with a flowing melody and a pretty good voice.

However I had forgotten about her. Last week one of the nurses at the hospital told me that I should listen to her album. I forgot to do anything but I heard a version of Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way on a Twinning’s Tea advert. I punched it into YouTube and it turned out to be by Lizzie.

Go Your Own Way is one of my very favourite songs. So to hear a version of it that is completely different to the original is always going to be tough but this just blew my mind. My favourite song of 2012 and it isn’t even close.

This is the type of thing that the judges on the X Factor and The Voice want their acts to do. Take a song and make it distinct. It is extremely hard to do certainly in a few days when you don’t really know what you are doing. If they need any inspiration though they need to listen to both versions of this song and then they might start to understand.

Fleetwood Mac’s version…

Lissie’s cover version…

I just think it is just *that good…

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The Westborough Hustings Report

Last Friday the Westborough Ward Hustings were held at the Royal British Legion in Northview Drive in the ward and myself along with four of the other candidates were questioned on a variety of subjects from our thoughts on reducing the number of councillors in the ward to what our biggest priorities are should we be elected to represent the ward on May 3.

Sadly one of the candidates didn’t show up. David John Glover one of the two independents didn’t make an appearance and no apologies were given but the incumbent independent was there as well as the Labour candidate who had been on the council before in another ward. The other three (Labour, Green and myself) would all be first timers.

I have to say I thought it was run pretty darn well. I didn’t like the £2 entry fee and I have said as much before but the actual questions were all pretty distinct and did have a lot of variety involving things that affect the people of the ward. I won’t comment on how I thought everyone did as that wouldn’t be right but I will say the Green’s line about the Tories having been in control in Southend for longer than the Communists had been in charge of Russia was a great line. His opinion that Southend-on-Sea Borough Council could dissolve and once again join Essex County Council didn’t go down as well.

I have no idea if anything any of us said would have changed any minds but I thought all the candidates were fair and there was nothing personal. Something that has in the main been the case across all of our literature. This is something I have been impressed with. I have seen leaflets from all over the country from all parties and some of them are horrible. In the main in Westborough all the leaflets talk about what the candidate does/believes they can do and that is nice to see. I’m very much pro positive politics.

The attendance was probably just shy of 50 and once you take out people who came in from outside who just like hustings there were probably 30-35 people who will vote on May 3. Hopefully they all got something out of Friday night. All I’ll say from my perspective is I hope people vote. I hope they take 30 minutes one day and read through all the literature and vote with who they think will represent them best, whether it is me or not.

Local elections do affect people and every vote really does matter. Westborough might be an extremely close ward come May 3. It could realistically go any of four ways. So just take time out and decide who would best represent you. That is all that I say.

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The (quite) interesting and bizarre world of online dating

Ok so I’m single. I’m 28. I work from home and don’t exactly hit the town hard at the weekends. I am prime what you’d call ‘online dating’ territory. I have flitted about on some of these over the years to a varying degree of success. Well when I say that what I basically mean is in general no success at all but it has led to the odd amusing moment.

Last week some American guy was in all the papers because he kept a spreadsheet of all the people had contacted via and a lot of people berated and belittled him for it. One of the girls though was contacted by the Daily Mail and she was far more annoyed at the person who exposed it. She deemed it as sensible. So what do I have to say about online dating?

Well firstly the world of online dating is a lot colder than the real world of dating. Online all people see is a photo. They don’t really see a personality as so few people actually read a profile. Also it is a lot easier to ignore someone online than it is in real life. If you walked up to someone in a club and started talking to them and you had no interest in them it is harder to getaway without hurting his feelings and you could spend the rest of the night seeing him look at you. Awkward. Online you can get an introductory message and you can ignore it and you’ll never have to see or hear from them again if you ignore it. Awesome.

I was laying in bed last night and was planning this blog in my head (yes that is the type of thing that I do in bed – possibly an indicator for why I’m single?) but anyway I was trying to work out how many dates I had been on via dating websites. I think I worked out it was eight. So lets have a look at how they all worked out and see how successful it has been:

Girl 1: Met via Faceparty (is Faceparty a dating website?) it kinda was back in the day but not strictly. I am however counting it for the sake of this. Met in Ryde in 2004. Didn’t go well. She didn’t speak to me again but a few days later was drunk and called up wanting a booty call. That was never going to happen.

Girl 2: Faceparty again. Met up on three occasions but I wouldn’t sleep with her on dates one and two. She decided I wasn’t for her. Between dates 2&3 she met someone else. She wouldn’t speak to me for four years until she split up with said guy and promptly started talking to me again.

Girl 3: Bit of a gap here. 2010 is where we are now. Met up in town and it was ok but I knew there was nothing there. We had a second date planned but she cancelled saying – and I quote she had ‘washing up to do’ yes folks – not even washing her hair – just plain washing up. Not sure I could ever in my life top that excuse.

Girl 4: Here we get to the first I really had some sort of connection with. We had communicated for months. Got on well but there was another guy in the picture and she led me on for a long time before she realised she actually wanted other guy. We are still friends.

Girl 5: Girl was really into me online. We met up for lunch. She never spoke to me again.

Girl 6: A bit like Girl 5 but this has a more hilarious finish. We met up for dinner my one and only ever dinner date – there will never ever be another – never) and by the time I had gotten home she had deleted me from Facebook. Guessing she didn’t exactly have a great time…?

Girl 7: Guessing she thought it was a booty call and not a date. When she found out it wasn’t she disappeared saying ‘I’ll call you’ and promptly never spoke to me again.

Girl 8: I actually dated someone for a few weeks. Then she realised that she wasn’t over her ex and didn’t want to lead me on thinking it was unfair on me. Fair enough really. We are still friends.

So overall not exactly a great success but then we get to the really fun stuff that I look back on and just laugh.

A few years ago I was talking to a girl who seemingly liked me. She added me to Facebook and she saw my other photos. She remarked that I used to have a shaved head (which I did) and that she didn’t like shaved heads on guys. I said well I don’t any more but that wasn’t enough. I was promptly removed from Facebook and never spoken to again.

Not that long ago I spoke to someone and I realised I had messaged her maybe a year ago and she didn’t reply then. This time she did and said she’d add me to Facebook and we’d chat. She did but she never appeared on Facebook chat. I sent her a message a couple of days later to say I hadn’t seen her online and she ignored it and then deleted me from Facebook. So basically she had looked around my other photos and decided I was a bit too ugly for her and that she didn’t want to know me.

So I thought I’d just check again the type of guys she wants. Answering the question ‘You should message me if…’ (I wonder how many of you know what dating website that is from) she said thus:

You give good hugs and can make me laugh until I laugh so much I can’t breathe properly. Laughter is the best medicine 🙂

Now I’m not sure if you can tell who gives good hugs from an internet dating profile or from pictures. Also can you really work out if someone is hilariously funny just from one of two short introductory messages? I would contend that you can’t. What you can do though is looking at all their photos and decide ‘nah…’

These days I don’t think I’ll meet anyone online (or in real life – cue violins) but in a way I like to think of it as a game. I scan the profiles for girls who say that they either a) just like to talk and meeting new people no matter if its for dating or just to be friends or b) they just want a nice guy because they have been jerked around a lot and complain that there are no decent guys out there or finally c) those (and these are the best) who say they reply to everyone and/or have a codeword in their profile that if you use it’ll show you’ve read their profile and they guarantee to reply to you.

I do this as a personal test to see if they are just liars and what they really want is just someone drop dead gorgeous. So people who are happy to chat to anyone, those who just want a nice guy (which I contend I am) or those who promise to reply to all messages or have a codeword that ensures a reply. I have done this off and on for ages so I can’t give full numbers but I can do it for the past month. 28 people contacted that fulfil at least one of the above criteria. Amount of replies is zero. Yes zero.

Six of them are people who say they’ll reply to everyone – all of them have looked at my profile but decided their guarantee wasn’t valid for such an unattractive person. Five of them are people who just want to chat to anyone. Again all of them did check out my profile. Of the remaining 17 who just wanted a nice guy – 15 had at least looked at my profile.

So there we have it. A small experiment into the behaviour of people on dating websites. It must be pointed out that I am not Brad Pitt nor am I George Clooney. However I don’t think I’m exactly The Elephant Man either. I’m sure most people would ‘rate me’ at around four or five out of ten. Still a lot of people don’t say they are looking for the most handsome guy in the world. So maybe it is my personality where I fall short. Not sure you can really garner someone’s personality from a profile or one message unless they are being totally sleazy and I can assure you that is something that I am not.

If people said ‘look – I only want to talk to Greek Gods’ then you’d say fair enough but to say you’ll talk to anyone or just want a down to earth decent guy and then it turns out that you won’t or don’t then that is a bit off.

There was a profile I have seen before which had a hilarious blurb at the top of it but she must’ve deleted her profile as I can’t find it today. It basically said ‘look I know this is online dating but stop messaging me ugly guys. If I wouldn’t talk to guys as ugly as you in public then why would I online?’ and I would look at that profile all the time just to shake my head and laugh at her. She wasn’t unattractive but boy she wasn’t a young Audrey Hepburn. She just came across as ugly inside and she reeked of it.

To sum up. Online dating is an interesting beast. If you are sensitive then it probably isn’t the best place for you. It is easy to rack up rejection after rejection. If you aren’t then it can be a good laugh. If you are attractive then you’ll do a lot better online than in real life comparing it to less attractive people physically. In real life you see both looks and personality straight away. Online it is primarily looks and if you haven’t got them then prepare for a whole world of pain.

Update: I found that profile I was looking for earlier. She had changed her username. Cheeky so n so…

It amazes me where people get their confidence from on here… come on we all know roughly where we stand in life- just because you’re online it doesn’t really mean you can suddenly start messaging people out of you’re league. I don’t mean to sound harsh but the amount of people punching well above their weight seizes to amaze me. I sound like a complete ****… I’m really not just sick of time wasters 🙂

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