Needle in a haystack

Needle in a haystack Do you ever wish that when it came to dating, you could skip over the dodgy people and move straight to the great ones?

Well, you aren’t alone. I find that meeting people in ‘the real world’ is harder than some already married people think, especially if you’re over 30.

Does anyone really strike up a conversation with someone they see across the avocados in Coles?

I was hopeful that my latest spin with eHarmony would be different; that the site’s compatibility matching would enable me to bypass the usual mixed bag to go straight to the good ones—like getting a packet of Clinkers which only had the pink and green ones (Does anyone really like the yellow ones?)

Although I had been briefed by friends who had tracked the well-beaten path to love before me that online dating is a numbers game, I remained unusually optimistic.

I quickly discovered that along with sending you ‘matches’, eHarmony makes things interesting by showing you up to a dozen ‘What if?’ matches a day.

In clothing terms, they’re like the dress you see that you like the look of but even though you know that cut won’t suit you, you try it on anyway.

And every once in a while, you strike gold finding something that just happens to work well despite the odds, but the rest of the time … it’s total shit so you throw that thing back on the rack and go back to your favourite shop.

After two weeks of research, I can honestly say, the majority of my ‘What If?’ matches have been total doozies.

Cheese and crackers made the perfect snack while checking responses during my weekend in Noosa.
Cheese and crackers made the perfect snack while checking responses during my weekend in Noosa.

I’ve had a part-time dishwasher who was wearing tracksuit pants in his profile photo, a guy wearing a wedding ring, someone who listed the guy who played the Green Power Ranger as the most influential person in his life and another who recommended I “let cannabis into your life”.

One had daughters who seemed closer to my age than he did and a few guys claimed they were 37 … and I’m sure they were. About 15 years ago.

And while I thoroughly dislike doing the dishes, it’s probably not enough to make me agree to a date with Tracksuit Tom.

I’m also pretty sure, I listed drugs as one of my deal breakers, so Cannabis Charles also got the chop.

Like shooting fish in a barrel, I suspect some of these guys (and from what I’ve heard some women are just as bad) are clicking on everyone who appears on their screen in the hope that eventually someone will say yes.

Sorry fellas, it’s not going to be me.

“I’ve been dating since I was 15. I’m exhausted. Where is he?”
—Charlotte York, Sex and the City—

Just as it’s a numbers game for them, it’s the same for me and for every 10, okay 20, that I delete, I usually let one through to the next stage.

And there are some good ones. Yes, it takes time to find them and in the age of instant gratification, it’s a bit of a slow-burn but just like playing with matches, sometimes you have to flick a few before you get the a spark.

Last week I went on my first eHarmony date with someone I’m going to call Lionel (yes, after Lionel Richie).

Although we were a ‘What if’ match, Lionel and I hit it off like the proverbial house on fire; we came from similar career backgrounds, we both sent ridiculously long and rambling emails and he got my sense of humour (which doesn’t happen too often over email).

After emailing back and forth throughout my long weekend at Noosa, we progressed onto the phone and after almost 10 hours of talking in three days, we made a date and I agreed that Lionel could pick me up for dinner.

He arrived with a stunning bunch of flowers (impressive!) and we headed to Pearl at Woolloongabba.

As far as compatibility went, we were kicking goals.

The ease we’d had on email and the phone translated into real life; we held hands, made jokes and talked about everyone else in the restaurant … including the fact that no one at the 10 tables on either side of us was wearing a wedding ring which made us decide they were all on dates.

Some seemed to be going well while others, like the table next to us, seemed to be doing it a bit tougher. He looked uncomfortable and she looked bored.

Drunk on excitement, I broke my own cardinal rule and let Lionel into my apartment after dinner. I introduced him to my fish Alan, we ate ice-cream and watched Grand Designs.

Two days later, I realised that despite the compatibility, we were at pretty different places when it came to what we were looking for; I wanted to flee the country to somewhere without mobile phone reception so no one could ask me out and he was looking for someone who he could eventually settle down with—the thought of which gives me a near panic attack.

Not surprisingly, our second date turned into an awkward conversation in which I tried (very badly I believe) to articulate that despite the similarities, I wasn’t right for him. That while I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t want and unfortunately, it was him.

Basically, I cut and ran with a speed that would make Usain Bolt jealous.

It’s now time to start the numbers game all over again.

Congratulations to Morgan (Cork & Chroma) and Lucy (Ben & Jerry’s Open Air Cinema) who won prizes in last week’s dating ideas competition. If both winners could email me at, I’ll let you know how to claim your prizes!

This post was brought to your by eHarmony Australia. Please support the brands that support this blog.


  1. Paul

    Always enjoy your reports, Brooke – as a father of two daughters circling within your time zone. I’ve (quietly, until now) followed your Blog since Day One and watched as you developed your frank and pleasantly optimistic style. It should be compulsory reading for young ladies growing up in Brisbane (and beyond).
    But your throw-away line: “….a few guys claimed they were 37 … and I’m sure they were. About 15 years ago….” had me chuckling out loud and dangerously close to spilling beer on my keyboard.
    PS: I would support your e-harmony sponsors, but wife Cordie might not appreciate it.


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