This is a work of fiction. A short story of 1300 words.
Malcolm had finally decided on the main photo he would use. It was three years old, but so what? He looked quite good in a suit, and this photo taken at his cousin’s wedding was before he had put on a little weight too. For the extra two free profile shots, he had chosen one where he was sitting in a canoe, and another from a charity abseil. They would make him appear to be the outdoors and sporty type. Women seemed to like that.
He saved the online form, and went back over the details.
After a lot of thought, he had decided to use his real age. Thirty-three wasn’t old, after all. Choosing the age range of a potential partner was harder. He would like to have just typed in ‘twenty-four plus’, but that wasn’t an option. Instead, he chose the box marked ’25-39′. Perhaps an older woman might be a good idea in the long run, and that at least took in those his own age.
‘Hobbies and Interests’ gave him some concern. Playing video games long into the night was unlikely to appeal to a potential partner, so best avoided. No point putting down ‘Theatre’, as he had never been to one. ‘Reading’ was missed off too. He didn’t want to have to try and read all the latest books, just to have something to talk about. The other suggestions didn’t make life easier. ‘Travel’. Malcolm knew in his heart that visits to Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, and Blackpool Pleasure Beach would not count in that category. But he loved those thrill rides, and went as often as he could afford. As for foreign travel, he didn’t even have a passport. He chose not to click on ‘Travel’.
‘Films and Cinema’. That was an easy one. there wasn’t a horror film made that he hadn’t watched, and he had over one hundred DVD films in his collection. That was one he could click with some confidence. Given the photos he was using, he added ‘Canoeing’ in the ‘Sports’ sub-category, even though it had just been that once. Plus football of course, as he always watched the local team on TV.
‘Smoking’ was simple. He didn’t smoke, and didn’t want to meet anyone who did. As for ‘Alcohol’, he clicked on ‘Non-Drinker’, and added ‘soft drinks only’. His choice of favourite food was easy too. ‘Pizza’ was an option, so he just clicked that. Everyone loves pizza, Malcolm thought, so why bother with any more choices? Other categories had taken much longer. ‘Style’. What was his style? The suggestions listed things he had never heard of. He didn’t know what ‘Preppy’ was, so looked it up. No, definitely not him. ‘Well-groomed’? He guessed that meant clean and tidy, so was happy to click on that one. After much agonising, he settled for ‘Casual’ as his overall style. T-shirts and denims, that was his ‘Signature Look’.
Malcolm got his debit card from the bedside table, and typed all the details into the payment box. He chose his password, and decided that his actual name would do, as he couldn’t think of any username that didn’t relate to a first-person shooter video game. A box appeared on the laptop screen, suggesting he preview his profile before publishing, so he did. Happy with how it looked, he pressed ‘Enter Profile’, and was pleased to receive an immediate confirmation.
“Congratulations, Malcolm. Your profile is now live on ‘Perfect Match’! Stay logged in to receive your matches, likes, and messages. Good Luck from the team at ‘Perfect Match’.
Malcolm blew the air out of his cheeks, and went down to the kitchen to get a can of Coke. He might have time to get to the next level of the game too, level twenty-four, if he didn’t get killed first.
Kerry was going to turn thirty in September. She had never had a real boyfriend, and often felt lonely when her friends were off out on dates, and Mum and Dad were staring at the telly downstairs. She didn’t really understand why nobody ever asked her out. She looked pleasant enough, and although she was somewhat heavier than many women her age, she also knew that many men liked ‘curvy’ ladies. She had a good job, and drove her own car too. Her favourite television show was ‘Game of Thrones’, and she enjoyed all the latest films, especially the horror ones. Best of all, she liked to ride on the big scary rides, at places like Alton Towers, or Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Her bedroom wall was adorned with the photos they took of you as you screamed on the ride. Those, and a football scarf signed by her local team. She loved to watch football, and never missed a game if she could help it. Most of the time, she was on her own in the bedroom, playing video games on her PC. She liked the most popular games, and hours of practice had made her very good indeed. In fact, she was up to level twenty-four on the latest one.
Michelle was her best friend, and had been since primary school. But she had got pregnant at eighteen, and married soon after. That hadn’t worked out, and she drifted from man to man, acquiring two more children on the way. She had a habit of popping round, usually trying to borrow money, or asking Kerry for a lift in her car. Kerry didn’t mind too much. Michelle had a great sense of fun, and was good to be around. One night, she had even let her talk her into joining one of those dating sites online, called ‘Perfect Match’. “You never know, Kel, you might meet the man of your dreams. And everyone’s dating online nowadays.” When Michelle said it like that it made sense.
But she had not received any messages, got any likes, or been matched by the company. Maybe it was because she put down that she liked theme-park rides, football, and video games? That might have put people off. Michelle was certain of it, and had said she should change her profile, putting down that she liked going to clubs, drinking, travelling, and meeting new people. But Kerry had declined. “That’s not me though”, she told her friend.
That evening as she sat at the computer in her room, Kerry was surprised to find a message appear from ‘Perfect Match’. it was a suggested match, and she excitedly logged into her account. He seemed nice enough. Thirty-three, wearing a nice suit, and a bit sporty in the other photos. He didn’t smoke or drink, liked football, and described his style as ‘Casual’, with ‘T-shirts and denims’ as his ‘Signature Look’. His location was perfect too, only twelve miles away. The doorbell sounded as she read the profile again. Mum let Michelle in, and she ran up to Kerry’s room. She reeked of cheap perfume, and her skirt was so short, it looked ridiculous. “Any chance of a lift to Huckleberry’s, Kel? I’ve got a hot date, and Sandra next door is minding the kids. You could pick up a pizza on the way back. I know how much you love a pizza”
She glanced at the PC, as Kerry got her shoes on. “What’s this, a match? Told you it was worth trying”. Kerry walked over, smiling. “Just came in tonight. He seems nice, likes football, bit sporty, and around the right age. Doesn’t live far away either. I might send him a message later”. Michelle read down the screen, then scrolled back up to the top again. She turned to Kerry with a huge grin on her face. “Come on Kel, really? You absolutely positively are not going out with someone called Malcolm! What were you thinking of? Come on girl, delete that, and get your car keys. I’m already late”.