There's nothing like revisiting a deactivated internet dating profile to make you question your very existence. Or is that just me? "Don't think about it too much", was one friend's advice. "Have fun with it and be yourself!" Yeah, but it's not fun is it? And I have so many selves.
You'd think the fact that I'm a writer would help. You know, skilled at being able to actually string a sentence together. But it makes me feel the pressure even more. I can't stop the internal angst and the nagging questions in my head. There's an opening line for a profile if ever I heard one.
I start typing and then the voice pipes up: No, you can't write that, you sound ridiculous! Who cares whether you like 'having a lost weekend at Glastonbury'? Or Ottolenghi's recipe books? That's way too shallow! I'm impotent before I've even pressed save, let alone started messaging someone (that's next-level angst).
It is perhaps apt at this point to say that in said deactivated profile I wrote about the fact that a close friend of mine had bought me a notebook with the inscription 'Existential crisis', for my birthday. Now I think that's funny – it was a little in-joke to make me smirk – but punch those words into Google and straight off the blocks on Wikipedia you get: "An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life". Not exactly a lighthearted icebreaker is it? But at least it's not: "I'm just as happy having quiet nights in as I am going out for a few beers." Standard dull-dating-profile fodder.
I sent a revised version of my profile to a couple of friends for their feedback (you know, as if my own scathing opinion wasn't bad enough). "You sound too masculine". "You mention your parents too much" (fair point, I can see that might come across as weird and serial killer-y rather than sweet). And, a popular critique: "Don't joke all the time!" I know I do that… I mean, I do that in this column, too. You see, I'm 'existentialling out' now, as we speak.
The best bit of 'advice', though, if you can call it that, came from my friend Myles, who took the trouble to pick up the phone to give me this gem:
"Just say three words, Al: 'Google me, bitches'."
You know what? I'm tempted.