It's true! I’ve become a babe magnet

By Paul Lester, September 9, 2009

Most men, I find, tend to exaggerate, especially when it comes to the fairer sex, and mostly they do so by accentuating the positive — boasting, I believe they call it. I exaggerate, too, only in the negative. It’s kind of a hobby. When my wife left me two years ago, I had a field day — literally, I invited friends and family (and some random passers-by) to a large expanse of grass near my house, sat them down on blankets with tea and bagels, and spent 12 hours moaning about how useless I was with women.

Now I’m in danger of becoming a bragger. Because since I joined JDate last month, I’ve been meeting up with lots of young ladies. And I mean lots. I’ve been on what could reasonably be described as a dating spree with — hold on, what’s the collective noun for a group of single Jewish women? A chutzpah of girls? That’ll do.

Anyway, I’ve turned into a veritable dating machine, programmed to chat about the vagaries of life in a variety of north London locations at the drop of a kippur. And the dates have been going rather well. Well, I say rather well. These things are relative, of course. And this is where you are going to have to suspend disbelief and accept that everything you read from here onwards actually did happen. I am not making any of it up and I am not exaggerating. Because in the past four weeks I have dated… a management consultant with a loathing of the sound of extraneous noise so intense that she told me she has banned apple-eating in her office; a grammar fascist who got angry when an apostrophe in one of my emails to her floated mysteriously into the wrong place; a rather nervy and needy individual who smacked me really hard on the hand — the very hand, readers, with which I turn the pages of the Siddur in shul — because I dared to check my iPhone for work messages in the wine bar five minutes into our date.

I took one woman to a gig in east London and before we’d even stepped inside the venue she was criticising my appearance and encouraging me to get a proper job. My ex, God bless her, at least had the decency to wait till we were engaged to do that.

The strangest experiences of them all, though, came over one weekend. They say you can wait ages for a weird JDate and then two come along at once, but this was ridiculous. Because over two consecutive days I dated an Islamic convertee and an Orthodox Jew.

It’s true! On the Friday (which already set alarm bells ringing), a thirtysomething Croatian schlepped all the way from Reading to Watford for a date in Pizza Hut during which she revealed that she had converted from Judaism while in her late teens. She even offered to get changed into the burka that she kept in the boot of her car. Mind you, even though it was Ramadan, she still managed to demolish the deep-pan Quattro Stagione and garlic bread, her rationale being that it was counter to the rules of the Koran to leave any food on your plate. She was quite a Muslim.

The frummer was something else. I noticed when she walked towards me that she was wearing a tichel, which I found oddly alluring, and the date was fun, especially the heated debate we had about which was the best book of the Bible — she was fervently pro-Genesis whereas I’m a diehard Leviticus man.

Quite a few of the girls were anxious about my being a columnist who charts his progress as a divorced dad in the pages of the JC. One, a lawyer, was so uneasy about the prospect of appearing in the latest edition of Suddenly Single that she threatened to “take it further” if I so much as mentioned her without her “explicit consent”. Oops.

The women who I haven’t met were just as, um, characterful. There was the one who turned down the offer of a tryst on the grounds that I was too old, despite describing herself as “desperate and middle-aged” — yeah, cheers for that — and the one who declined because I was too young, which, for some reason, I was happier about.

A photographer from Brighton rejected my invitation to meet halfway along the A23 because I wasn’t her type and she didn’t like my “set-up”. Come on — I’m bald, I’m neurotic, I have three children, I’ve got no money and no car, and I will more than likely reveal most of the details of our dates in a national publication. What’s not to like?

Last updated: 5:23pm, September 3 2010