Heart Searching: Hole in his sock was the last straw: Readers recount their experiences and prove the age of romance is not dead - well, not quite. More letters will appear at a later date

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The Independent Online
These meetings always involve a touch of apprehension. Tonight was no different. Enter the hotel foyer. Cast my eyes round quickly. There are no men sitting singly. Select a suitable vantage point. Settle down to wait. I always bring something to read. This time, it's the Independent. A good opportunity to catch up with the news. Projects just the right image. Best of all, it's the right size to hide behind.

Tonight, I am meeting a 'business consultant', selected for me by a well- known computer dating company. He is described as tall, good-looking, average build, intelligent, non-smoker, own business, cultured. Perfect, in fact.

The door opens. I look up. I perceive a man, scanning the room, looking for someone. This can't be him. I would not describe him as 'good-looking' nor 'average build'. He is wearing a tasteless combination of green and purple. Synthetics. He catches sight of me, raises a questioning eyebrow, gives a half-smile of recognition, and comes over. My 'date' for the evening.

I suppose, had my reactions been quicker, I could have denied being 'me', but this didn't seem to be playing the game. I wondered how long I could decently stay before making my excuses and leaving. My companion ordered us both a drink. I was relieved no one I knew was there to see.

The evening seemed to last an eternity. I was treated to a litany of this man's virtues . . . he was an absolute catch, he was telling me. The ultimate attraction - he had no tattoos] He leaned forward. 'You know,' he said, 'I'm really enjoying myself tonight. I feel as if I've known you forever]' (How, I wondered: I had hardly managed to get a word in.) I looked away, and my eyes took in the hole in one of his socks. The last straw.

Now the hard part - parting. He badly wanted to see me again. How could he have failed to see we had nothing in common? Needless to say, we didn't meet again. With relief, I went home. This man represented the nadir of my experiences of dating agencies. I have met some interesting people this way. Some of my experiences have provided me with entertaining stories (and I expect the reverse is the case as well). That elusive quality? I'm still waiting.

Sue, Cheshire