Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

I've had headaches longer than my foray into online dating. Despite the bizarre encounters I had, I'm thankful I took the plunge.

My life is relatively quiet. I work full-time, go for beach walks, hike, dine with friends, watch Netflix and do yoga. After becoming a single woman in middle age I found sex was surprisingly easy to come by, but I wanted more. I longed for steady male companionship.

I had returned from six months of mostly solo travel in Southeast Asia and was ready to give online dating a try. A tipsy night with single friends had us collectively writing and posting online dating profiles.

Story continues below advertisement

Day one. I began trolling photos of men, and found too many standing proudly beside monstrous fish and bleeding mammals; or driving a 4x4 encrusted with mud, looking pleased that they'd just trampled the pristine forest. I quickly clicked past a nice-looking economics professor with his five daughters – all under the age of 12. And men playing the: "Look how desirable I am" card, posting photos of themselves standing with one or even two buxom women. Sometimes faces were smudged out, but never the exposed cleavages that could consume small children.

Day two. My stomach flip-flopped as I looked around Starbucks. The man didn't include a photo in his profile, but he described himself as handsome. A paunchy, pock-faced fellow waved me over to his table. For 17 minutes, 23 seconds, he droned on about life as a horse-show commentator. (The last line in his profile had hooked the romantic Prairie girl in me: "Let's ride off in the sunset together.") I excused myself and skedaddled out of the café while he galloped behind me, begging for my phone number.

I was discouraged. And then it got worse.

Day three. I had a lengthy online chat with an environmental engineer who was well-travelled. After telling me about his latest trip to Spain, I asked him where he would next like to explore. His answer: "Your body."

Another man tried to reel me in by boasting that he had piercings "north and south of the border."

Day four. I was 51 at the time, so I was surprised to find a message from a 36-year-old electrical technologist. He was romp-around-naked-on-a-beach gorgeous. Dark chocolate-coloured hair in big, bouncy curls and glacier-blue eyes. I'm an attractive woman who has tried my damnedest to tame the middle-age curves – but I couldn't help wonder what this much younger man was looking for. I soon found out.

We chatted online about his work, my work, his vacation in Tofino, my travels and his desire to learn ballroom dancing.

Story continues below advertisement

And then it came out like this:

He: I'm very attracted to you.

Me: Have you had many relationships with older women?

He: None, actually. Can I tell you something?

Me: Shoot.

He: There's something I really like to do … in bed.

Story continues below advertisement

Me: Oh yeah?

He: I like to be spanked.

Me: Look, I never even spanked my kids, and I don't plan on starting now.

What message was I putting out there? I had a male friend scrutinize my profile. My head-and-shoulders photo was by no means provocative, and I was seated looking up to the camera. My buddy said that men get turned on by women in the submissive position. He also flagged my use of the word "intimacy" in my write-up. To me, it means emotional closeness, shared interests, great conversation, and yes, maybe even sex if the stars align. My buddy suggested that for some guys, intimacy means "this woman really wants to get laid."

Day five. There were flat conversations with other men that went nowhere. And as a writer-editor, the lack of attention to grammar and spelling was a serious turn-off.

And then a man in a polyamorous relationship wrote me to extol the virtues of a lifestyle where love has no boundaries. He assured me that sex wasn't the main focus, but rather deep relationships. His wife was on-board, and he kindly gave me her name and phone number.

Story continues below advertisement


Day six. A message from a guy who photoshopped a picture of himself with a flying saucer hovering above his head.

He: Wanna get jiggy?

Me: What happened to the requisite first coffee date?

He: Not into coffee. I'm a restless monkey … What do you say?

Me: I say… no thanks.

Story continues below advertisement

I was creeped out by his comments, but I've had enough life experience not to give up on the male gender. However, I was losing faith in leaving my love life in the hands of some algorithm.

Day seven. I was just about to delete my profile. And then appeared an engaging voice in the sea of banality and debauchery. He even wrote in complete sentences. Like Indiana Jones diving under the descending wall seconds before it's too late, he asked me for a coffee.

We shared similar interests, but there was little chemistry between us initially. On our fourth date, over a plate of sushi, I watched him self-consciously try to pat down a few strands of windswept hair. At that moment, I fell in love. Three years later, he still writes in complete sentences, although I've learned that he does use spell-check.

Leanne Baugh lives in Victoria.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies