So I've never signed up on a dating site, and I don't think I ever will. But I've done the long-distance, online, cross-continental dating thing. I'm a Facebook girl. Okay, not a Facebook girl: to be technically correct I was an Evony girl.
To be fair I wasn't looking for love or connection - in fact, going through a trial separation with my now ex-husband, love and connection was exactly the opposite of what I was looking for when a beautiful blonde with beautiful boobs in a beautiful medieval dress popped up on my screen and lured me into a whole new world.
As a student of human nature the people I played with were far more fascinating to me than the endless tasks of building stuff and farming stuff and fighting stuff and farming more stuff, particularly because most of them were from places that I had last heard of in my Geography lessons at Primary School.
I learned fairly quickly that men in their 40's who are "happily married" are inclined to ask far faster whether you have a webcam than single guys in their 20's, that people from Denmark and Sweden and the Netherlands are on the whole interesting and educated and unexpectedly (to ignorant little me) excellent in English, that Texans use y'all like most people use periods, and that real girls are pretty scarce in the gaming world and can pretty much get whatever they want with a little flirting and eye-lash fluttering.
But one day, after a protracted time away from my computer, I returned to my precious little kingdom to find the walls battered and broken, my troops decimated, and my peasants ... well, revolting.
Enter Prince Charming. With wit and charm and resources and protection. With sage advice and quotes from Camelot. With a background in English literature and Psychology. With intelligent and intelligible arguments about just about any subject under the sun. With a sensitive soul tempered by a sarcastic streak that brought tears to my eyes and a stitch to my side.
You get the point I'm sure.
Three months later we were averaging six hours of sleep a night between us and a minimum of twelve hours of conversation a day in order to compensate for the time zone differences. We'd maxed out sick days and leave days and my grandmother had died at least twice. It was intimate and intense and far more attention than any man had paid to me before, or ever since. The "I love you's" just seemed to bubble up so naturally, the "will you marry me's?" answered with a breathless "yes" ... and I know at this point most of you are thinking "WTF is wrong with you??? Are you completely and utterly insane?" Ash will affirm that the answer to that is probably "YES!"
But two years down the line Prince Charming and I are just friends. The distance proved too great, the wait too long - because realistically even a perfect girl cannot compete with a physically present one and in the real world there are dishes to do after lovingly preparing the perfect meal together, and traffic to sit in after selflessly offering to take the littlies to school so that honey can sleep in for a while, and lives to be packed up and transplanted if one person is to move to another side of the world.
The hardest part is hearing, after the romance and the wonder of the fairytale has faded and some modicum of honesty and integrity have entered in, that ... well, it was just a dream and there may have, for a moment, been unicorns, but they're best pickled and eaten out of the can.