Five little words which excite the heart of the tragically hopeful online dater. And, sad to say, I once was one of them.
Perhaps I should have heeded the wise words of my fridge magnet - Men are like a box of chocolates. Wait too long and only the weird and nutty ones are left! (with apologies to Forest Gump) - before embarking on this pathetic venture. For that has precisely been my experience.
I know, I know. I can already hear the tsk, tsking, and see the shaking of a multitude of heads, at yet another sucker trying to find a suitable partner through an online dating agency. Courting disaster? (Excuse the pun.) Possibly. But the longing for a so-called soul-mate can often lead to desperation.
Everywhere you look, there are couples - picking through the greens at the market, taking turns carrying a sleeping baby, or just enjoying a coffee together at the local Gloria Jeans. You can't miss them. You want someone of your own.
I fill in my character profile with what I consider is a relatively accurate summation of my likes and dislikes, my ideal man (this is where fantasy really takes over) and my favourite type of coffee, so he'll know what to order when we finally get to meet. Lastly, I include the most flattering photo I can find, resisting the urge to airbrush away any perceived imperfections until not even my mother would recognise it's me, and paste it on there. Then, with fingers crossed, I wait for the responses to appear.
And they come.
Firstly, there's the guy who's fallen in love with your picture and wants your email straight away, so he can send you more intimate messages.
Yeah, right! Delete.
Thirdly, there's the guy who sends the flowery flattering messages. He seems okay, till he asks what type of sex you like! I'm no prude, but honestly, on the second email?!
Delete. Memo to self - change email address.
Lastly, there's the guy with the great smile, looks like fun; picture shows him holding two jugs of beer and a flower behind one ear. He sends the first greeting, you answer back. He writes funny emails; makes you laugh. You meet for coffee and that's when reality kicks in. He asks you back to his place - to see his etchings presumably? He leans forward and whispers, 'I like dominance in a relationship.' Now, being the innocent that I am, I thought he was referring to decision making. Uh huh! After further questioning, it seems this guy's so into DBSM that it leaves the twisted characters in '50 Shades of Grey' looking like kindergarten initiates!
Run, don't walk to the nearest exit.
I have since deactivated my profile and after promising myself no further ventures into the realm of online dating, I've decided to get myself a dog and perhaps a budgy.
The first will look at me adoringly without asking for something weird in return, and the second will tell the weirdos where to go when they come to the door - with a few choice, well-trained words from me.
Suddenly, I feel a sense of contentment as I slot in my favourite DVD, put on my daggy pyjamas and tuck into that bowl of popcorn I was saving for a special occasion.