“Alex from London” popped up on the right-hand side of my screen when I signed in to Facebook a few months ago. He was incongruously sandwiched between an advert for weight-loss solutions and another for a magic potion promising to banish my wrinkles forever. The fickle and unreliable adverts for miracle remedies changed daily, but Alex has flashed that shy grin at me every day since. I systematically ignore his ad, and as I sign out, I imagine him dripping tears of solitude into his glass of Chianti as he realises that he has been given the virtual brush-off once again.
According to the dating agency description adorning his photo ad, Alex is a “sophisticated single with higher expectations” (whatever they may be -more about that anon). His photo positively oozes suave masculinity and physical perfection – to such an extent that you are almost tempted to meet him, just to turn him upside down and check if he has “Made in Taiwan” stamped on his rear end. He has sparkling blue eyes, a square jaw, carefully tamed morning shadow, and an affable smile. The open top buttons of his impeccably ironed shirt reveal a perfect torso, possibly sculpted by a healthy combination of a fat-free diet, weight-lifting and Tai Chi. But for my suspicious mind, it was primarily a sign that Alex is either an unhealthily meticulous and narcissistic bachelor, or that he still lives with his Mum. My fertile imagination galloped on to the conclusion that he has had a strict English upbringing and a good Oxbridge education, enjoys All-bran and a cup of fair-trade coffee for breakfast, and scrupulously irons his own underpants.
Although Alex is not my cup of tea (I prefer to meet a man before his hair migrates from his head to his chest), he is no doubt the scoop of the century for many women. This metrosexual Prince Charming could sweep practically any woman off her feet if she has had enough of spending her evenings with womankind’s two favourite men, Ben and Jerry.
So why on earth is Alex still single after three months of in-your-face advertising? If his huge salary, lean muscles, impressive qualifications and designer flat in Kensington do not attract even the least demanding female, something decidedly fishy is going on. Let’s face it: a single Alex is about as plausible as auctioning an evening with George Clooney and only getting a 50p bid from the toothless granny in the back row.
Or maybe there’s another explanation for his lack of success. After all, surely men like him are too busy carving up notches on the bedpost or getting modelling contracts – or both – to bother getting their Y-fronts in a twist over settling down? Here are my suggestions:
1. It’s a conspiracy. Facebook invented him to see if I really do love P.F. as much as I say, and is monitoring my every move with the firm intention of calling him in his office to rat on me the minute I click on that picture to find out if Alex still lives with his mum.
2. Alex suffers from self-imposed speed-dating due to halitosis so potent that it could stop a rampaging elephant in its tracks, meaning that every date does a runner as soon as he holds her face in his manly mitts and starts whispering sweet nothings. Or maybe those good looks hide the fact that he has the vocabulary and conversational skills of the average brick.
3. Alex is an imposter who has “borrowed” a photo of someone else, and is in fact a socially inept couch potato with a nasal whine who spends his evenings muttering incantations and eating entire packets of chocolate Hobnobs as he seeks his ideal spouse on the net. In this case, Alex, your secret is safe with me: like all the other women who have seen your photo, I am a tall, beautiful and slender nineteen-year-old Russian redhead named Natasha. I have three PhDs in rocket science, a generous banker of a father, breasts like twin watermelons and no intention to mess up my life (or my pelvic floor) by starting a family.
4. The prospect of Alex’s “higher expectations” may be a little off-putting for many women, and explain the lack of willing candidates. What exactly are we talking about here? Not all of us are into swinging from the lampshade with a copy of the Kama Sutra clenched between our teeth.
So Alex, I’m off to click on the button that tells FB that I don’t want to see your mug shot anymore. You should contact “dubious date dot-com,” and ask for your money back. Then go over to your local superstore and hang around the section that interests the ideal girl for you: Beauty products for a girl who is pretty and dainty, DIY for a down-to-earth lass, the book section for an intellectual or philosopher, and the organic vegetable shelf for a girl with henna tattoos and dreadlocks who goes with the flow and swims to Nicaragua to do volunteer work every summer. I sincerely hope that you find love and happiness. Good luck, kiddo.