Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Carolyn Cooper | Finding romance online in 2018

Published:Sunday | January 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM

On the very first day of the new year, I signed up for membership on the Singles Club 876 website. I'd read about Everton Tate's clever idea in last Sunday's Gleaner. Mr Tate's smiling baby-face promised honesty, if not expertise. Looks can be very deceiving on the world-wide Anansi web.

I've taken a very old-fashioned approach to this business of romance: waiting for Mr Right Now to just show up. But I have concerned friends who've decided that I must help him to find me.

A year ago, one of them gave me a crisp US$20 bill to register on Match.com.

I know you usually get what you pay for. And I really didn't think I needed a man I could get at that cut-rate price. An executive search was more my style. I thanked my friend for her gift but told her I wasn't going to use it as intended.




Another friend decided to take matters into her own hand. She got in touch with a man she thought would be ideal for me and asked if he would consider inviting me on a date. She was so distressed when he told her he couldn't "manage dem powerful woman." And he's a magistrate!

To be fair to him, I don't think he meant 'manage' in the literal sense of the word, as in this dictionary definition: "be in charge of, run, be head of, head, direct, control, preside over, lead, govern, rule, command, superintend, supervise, oversee, administer, organise, conduct, handle, take forward, guide, be at the helm of".

I suspect that the magistrate meant something more complex. It wasn't so much that he felt inadequate at management. It was more a self-protective suspicion that he, himself, might be subjected to management. Forced to negotiate the terms of the relationship! So-called powerful women have a mind of our own. And we expect to be able to use it even in romance.

What I think the magistrate meant by 'manage' is 'cope with'. Having to take into account the needs and desires of a powerful woman! This is, in fact, the very opposite of being in charge of. Of course, 'managing' a certain kind of woman can be both quite challenging and rewarding. But some men will never find out.




Without the help of my concerned friends, I began 'talking' to a seemingly self-confident Jamaican man who is a professor at a brand-name US university. The conversation didn't last very long. He soon told me, in all seriousness, that he was shocked to discover that a relative of his, who lives in rural Jamaica, knew about me. And he didn't want to be with a woman in the public eye.

The professor could have come up with a better excuse. In the age of the Internet and cell phone, connectivity across all media is the norm. And there are no communication barriers between town and country. In 1993, Desmond Allen, founding editor of The Observer, asked me to write a weekly column. He promised to make me a household name. It was actually a threat. Look how him mash up mi love life!

Seriously though, far less accomplished men than the magistrate and the professor have no reservations at all about managing powerful women. What I admire about the typical Jamaican man is his absolute confidence in his masculinity. From yu name man, yu can get any woman! They really believe it.

There's a nice young man at Hellshire Beach who always greets me affectionately. I make a point of calling him 'Son'. You think that would deter him? Not at all! He recently told me, "Miss Cooper, no bodder wid di 'Son' business. We a go get married next year." Another young man told me with great self-assurance that I wouldn't have to worry about going out with him to social events. As he put it, "Me know when fi keep my mouth shut".




According to the Gleaner report, the registration fee for the Singles Club 876 is US$25-35. That's not much more than for Match.com. But I've now conceded that cost and value are not always identical. When I went to register, I was a little concerned about a couple of punctuation errors: "The Singles Club 876's sophisticated,

we pride ourselves in providing the most exclusive singles-orientated Dating services for establishing long-term, committed relationships".

I reminded myself to stay focused and not get distracted by minor details of style: a bright apostrophe mark pretending to be half of a verb and an out-of-order comma taking the place of a full stop. In matters of the heart, it's character that counts; not punctuation skills.

I signed up and immediately got an email with this subject heading: "We have received your response for Club Membership Registration Form". I considered offering to help Mr Tate with copyediting. But mi catch up miself. No corrections; just romance! I'm waiting for the vetting process to be completed. I hope to be matched with a sensible man. No fool-fool magistrates or professors!

- Carolyn Cooper is a consultant on culture and development. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and karokupa@gmail.com.