For someone whose dating highlight so far has been smacking a guy in the face with a Peach Lipton’s bottle (empty, I’m not a maniac), I am not particularly well placed to give out romantic advice. But let’s be devils shall we, as sordid dating anecdotes are far more interesting on a library blog than my planned piece on our summer stocktake project…

Over the past few months my personal and professional lives have come into conflict through online dating. Being too unhinged and muttering to find a man/woman/Romulan the old fashioned way*, I turned to the standard dating apps – but the free ones obviously because I’m not quite ready to fork over my pie money in exchange for dates.

As you may have heard or been unlucky enough to experience for yourself, the world of online dating is usually reminiscent of those sordid films they used to show on channel 5; fetid and suggestive but far removed from any actual pleasure. Here every greasy, bloated lizard man with internet access** can send you messages which for me, seem to focus primarily on my job and its relation to certain sexual fantasies these forever alone types have concocted.

For alongside secretary and nurse (so I am told), librarian seems to have become a sexy fantasy figure. From the poorly worded questions, suggestions and offers that clog up my inbox, the Sexy Librarian is both naughty (possibly by waiving fines..?) and a strict follower of the rules (shushing).

As well as the more explicit messages, some are interested in what has always seemed a quite tame uniform of cardigan, dresses and glasses, whilst others seem to take pleasure in berating me for either suggesting you need to be qualified to be a librarian or for going into a career that will surely be obsolete in a few years. I can only imagine that they think I will be so grateful for their mansplaining that my knickers will spontaneously explode. ***

One poor chap misguidedly asked for career advice and when I enthusiastically responded with websites, information and local opportunities, he told me that he hadn’t meant it and was shocked by my ‘brutal’ response to his romantic (?) message.

I have since learnt my lesson. Much like with shouty bus stop OAPs and charity hustlers in the high street, there is only one course of action you can take – DO NOT ENGAGE. Before I decided to delete my apps, I swiped far more to block than to the right.

Yes these messages were generally amusing and have provided me with some quality pub chat; favourites include being congratulated on my recent qualification and then invited to be the sexual companion to an older, more experienced gent (to put it far milder than he did), and the man who told me that he had had a hard life and it would make a great book – presumably I was meant to offer to write it, publish it and then stock it in the library? His naked profile picture certainly implied a hard life anyway…

I do not find anything particularly depraved in fetishizing a particular job and I’m sure between two consenting adults that it could be fun; it is the leering and obscene comments from strangers and the strange pleasure they must derive from insulting women on the internet and getting away with it, far too cowardly to do anything of the sort behind their anonymous profiles.

Perhaps I should just be grateful that none of my colleagues have seen me on these dating websites or had the common decency to pretend otherwise. I think for now I will stick with my love of swimming and pies 🙂

P.S For library geeks, I classified this as 306.734 (which is sexual relations> dating behaviour> courtship) but I am interested to know if anyone would go for something different, possibly 306.77[?]. Yes, I am cataloguing a lot of books this week and DDC is becoming an obsession.

*Your mam down the church of a Sunday asking about available sons with medical degrees and brylcreamed cowlicks

** Apart from a few not-so-greasy and attractive lizards, internet access optional

*** Little do they know that the only extreme bodily reaction one might get in a library is a particularly violent sneeze