The Alan Fallon Chronicles

       David Travelyan
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The Alan Fallon Chronicles
 The Alan Fallon Chronicles
(A glimpse into the life of an ordinary man)
by
David Travelyan

The Dating Website Phase

Toby was late. Toby was always late! He would claim that the traffic was a nightmare, and, if Alan suggested that he leave home earlier, Toby would merely reply that by the time he left home it was too late to leave any earlier. And this was, clearly, true. But unhelpful! Alan wondered why he had let himself in for this project. He was alone in the world, certainly, but was a dating website the answer? And was Toby, three years on a dating website without sustained ‘success’, the right person to assist and advise? The doorbell rang.
“The traffic was a ‘mare!” Toby marched in and walked straight into the kitchen. He emerged moments later with two cans of beer.
“Shouldn’t we keep a clear head whilst doing this?” Alan knew this was a redundant question, but worth asking.
“We are dealing with women, made of blood, skin, bones and, above all, oestrogen. Therefore, we need alcohol. And anyway, this is an afternoon for the football, after we have set up an irresistible profile for yourself. Which website have you chosen?”
All these things were true, and there was barely more than an hour to kick-off. Alan was glad that Toby was there. For the moment. “PrimePartners.com” He knew Toby would approve, as this was the site he himself had inhabited, unsuccessfully, for as long as they both could remember.
“Good choice. Success is guaranteed! What will you have as a username?”
“I thought ‘BlueMoon’ would be romantic without giving away too much.”
“Correct. What about a tag-line? The first thing to catch their eye?
“I thought.

‘Ordinary Guy seeks Extraordinary Lady’

Self-deprecating without being humble.”
Toby grimaced. “A bit ordinary. You have to say you are ordinary, because you are, but try to give the impression that you are more than that. Hidden depths, that sort of stuff. Or, something funny.”
Alan had dreamed up a number of options in order to deal with exactly this response from Toby.
“Regular guy with lots of clothes seeks special lady with small hands and large chest.”

Toby’s eyes narrowed. Certainly, this was unusual and mildly amusing. “A bit emphasising the sexual side of things, don’t you think? First contact is a bit too early for innuendo, however subtle!”
“How about something extraordinarily unusual? Maybe a bit quirky, and obviously a joke?”

“Po-faced, pot-bellied bed-wetter seeks similar for miserable existence.”

“Anything else?” This was Toby at his most dismissive; superior, untroubled by the efforts of lesser mortals. “Perhaps a bit less eye catching. Maybe something to mislead all these gentle ladies into believing that you are not some weirdo from weirdsville?”
Alan comforted himself with the knowledge that this was the kind of response he would expect from Toby in circumstances where he wishes he’d thought of it first. “So, no good then? Why?”
“Ladies tend suspect that there is an element of truth in humorous remarks. You are not ‘pot-bellied’. You are tending to the po-faced, but not so much as would be noticeable. Are you a bed-wetter? That’s probably the worst and they will assume that is the case in the absence of the other two ‘qualities’ that you list. Any other gems?”

“Not James Bond seeks not Pussy Galore”

“Moving swiftly on, if you please.”

“Man with own teeth seeks woman with something to bite”
“If you can accept a man’s success with serenity and his failures with grace you will find true love.”
“Let us show them…..”
“Time is shorter than you think.”

“So, we have the blatantly sexual, the pathetically needy, the synthetically philosophical, the confusingly obscure, and the implicit threat of being left alone and lonely in some geriatric hell. It’s a good job you asked me to help!”
“On a small point of order, I did not ask you to help, you offered your ‘invaluable and crucial experience’ which, apparently was the ‘magic ingredient’ to make my endeavours successful.”
“I could not have put it better myself…”
“True, as that is exactly the way you put it.” Alan knew this banter would cease soon and proper business would then be the order of the day.
“Ordinary Guy seeks Extraordinary Lady. That is the least damaging. Let’s go with that”
“Toby, you know those times when you go shopping with one of the fair sex, perhaps for clothing for her? You find, as you have previously testified, that she will go first to the shop which she thinks is most likely to have the item/s she wants, select said item/s, but then go shopping for something better/cheaper/more fashionable/etc. in another place. And then, after a two-hour search, she will return to the first shop and purchase the first item/s she first looked at. That is precisely what you have just done.”
“It would be foolish in the extreme to just accept the first item without considering other options. That way lies madness! Much better to test the water, see what is out there, be a bit patient, not rush into things. That my dear, naïve friend is a piece of advice essential for you to digest as you embark on the course of action you now contemplate. Let us get on with the tortuous, tedious, nearly impossible task of constructing a profile of you which will attract a discerning lady of quality, class, and style and even, possibly elegance!”
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“Let us deal with the ‘drop-down-menu stuff first. I will be a mere onlooker, charged with avoiding the numerous errors you are destined to make.” This, Alan thought, was most unlikely. The idea that Toby could sit by for more than a few moments without giving of his invaluable advice and opinion was an idea stillborn in the early months of their schoolboy relationship, now more than twenty years old.
“OK. I will read out the question and give my best, truest answer. This is the section entitled ‘ME’. The subject matter would seem uncontroversial.”
Gender………………………………………………Male
Age…………………………………………………..47
Star sign………………………………………………Aries
Location………………………………………………Midlands
Height………………………………………………...6 foot
Body type…………………………………………….Average
Looks………………………………………………Below average
Hair colour…………………………………………Balding
Eye colour………………………………………….Blue
Recent login activity……………………………….None
Has photo…………………………………………..Yes
Marital status……………………………………….Not married
Children…………………………………………….None
Diet…………………………………………………Eat most things
Drinking……………………………………………Occasionally
Smoking……………………………………………Never
Education…………………………………………..University
Occupation…………………………………………IT
Income……………………………………………..Solvent
Country of origin…………………………………..UK
Home language…………………………………….English
Other languages……………………………………None
Ethnicity……………………………………………White/Caucasian
“This completes the ‘ME’ section. All true. All OK.”
“When you said ‘ordinary guy’ you weren’t kidding, were you?” True to his word Toby had kept silent during this most tedious, but crucial, part of the profile. Now he unleashed his full venom.
“I doubt any chick would have reached the final ‘ethnicity’ section. They would either be sleeping or would have lost the will to live. You will not attract a single response with such a boring profile.”
“It is the simple truth, on which any long-term relationship must be based. And we agreed not to call them chicks.” This was Alan’s firm belief, the one on which he would stand firm, whatever jibes and sarcasm were thrown at him. And, of course, he was right.”
“And, of course, you are right! But online dating is like online shopping. Women don’t want a functional item that is available anywhere. They want something exciting, adventurous, out-of-the-ordinary. Not a ten-a-penny IT technician. Here’s a story; a woman went shopping for underwear for her husband. Note, her husband! She said to the, male, assistant ‘I want something young and exciting in men’s underwear’. Now, the fact that the assistant replied ‘Don’t we all, dearie’
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