We no longer check to see whether Telegraph. Co. Uk displays properly in Internet Explorer version 6 or earlier. This is the question posed by the man opposite me, the man with whom I am on a date. A first date, I might add. In a trendy, Soho cafe, surrounded by people. Lots of people. With ears.
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Pray? Here? Really? I look around nervously. Before I've had a chance to utter the words:
Don't, please, just don't, he has already placed a firm hand on my arm, bowed his head and proceeded to launch into saying grace, audibly enough that several other tables in the joint have turned to stare in bemusement. I want to die. I want the ground to swallow me up. It is as cringeworthy to me as an episode of Fawlty Towers, with Basil running around beating Manuel senseless with a frying pan. I suppose I brought this on myself after all, I met the Public Praying Man (as he shall henceforth be known) on a Christian dating site.
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I succumbed for several reasons. Firstly, because my Christian faith is important to me, and I would ideally like to share that with the guy I end up with. Secondly, where else do you meet Christians these days? What with, the odds are already stacked against women and sometimes you have no choice but to look outside your immediate pool. And thirdly, because I'd become really tired of trying to explain my faith to the atheists I was dating, who at best looked on it as a quaint eccentricity, and at worst just thought I was an idiot.
Unfortunately, as hit and miss as internet dating can be on mainstream, generic sites, it gets even worse on the niche ones, contrary to what you'd expect at least in my experience and several other women I've shared tales of woe with. Scrolling through Christian Connection, the most popular UK Christian dating site, profile after profile said almost nothing about the men in question. Instead said blokes had chosen to write strings of generic proclamations about how much they loved the Lord. Come on. I was getting that vibe already guys, considering you've chosen to join a religious dating site.
Way to state the obvious and waste your digital calling card. There was also a serious sense of humour failure, as if the men on there were worried that being a bit funny is the work of Satan and no self-respecting Christian would dare make a joke. It was all so banal, so pleasant, so utterly devoid of irony or character or anything interesting. But these aren't my sort of people! I thought desperately.
This won't do at all! The best was from a man on a boat.