I quickly discovered the most pleasing and liberating aspect of dating in this part of the world: you don’t have to prove you’re not an axe-murderer. I thought I’d hit the jackpot almost straight away as I started exchanging emails with a very nice, open and entertaining girl about my age (34) who liked my jokes. She seemed attractive enough, although her photo did suggest that she had a lampshade attached to her cheek.People are very trusting here and I was pleasantly surprised to get viewed and contacted by women who barely knew me, offering telephone numbers (HPs – I did think they were brandishing bottles of brown sauce until I realised that stood for ‘hand phones’, mobiles) email addresses and suggested meeting places. However, she looked human and smiled nicely, so my rigorous selection procedure ushered her through and we met up and had dinner. I was charming, even if I do say so myself and the setting was great – Rochester Park.
I was even more cheerful when I discovered that he was a 55-year-old German who bore a rather striking resemblance to me (with wrinkles). She hadn’t put a photo on her profile and it was obvious why.
That wouldn’t have been such a problem if her personality had compensated for it. I took her to a hotel restaurant – The Swissotel by Clarke Quay has a quaint poolside place that makes its own brand of crisps as well as rather nice food.
But I realised that things weren’t right and we had little in common, so that soon ended in tears.
Last year I spent Valentine’s night with a married woman, a fact I only discerned just before the event.
She stared at me in horror as the word "hotel" headed through her ears.
You see, people may be very trusting here but there is an underlying assumption held by some that most Westerners are just here for the sex.
It’s a collection of colonial buildings that have been refurbished as restaurants and dressed with palm trees and tropical plants. And so I came to realise a couple of things about people in Singapore.
They even have mosquito spray on hand to ensure that you are not eaten before you eat. A few nice meals, trips to the movies, some shopping and ice cream, we’ve all been there. They often stop dead right in the middle of something and change direction, rather inconvenient when you are behind or alongside them.
I’m not quite sure how to take that, but she is kind and good hearted and has remained one of the few people I trust in the dark world of dating. Dinners and relentless emails while I was in England at Christmas but on New Year’s Eve and the days that followed, it became clear that she was bored (an unfortunate, recurring theme in all the Singaporean women I have met) didn’t even want to be friends anymore – even after I took her to see Cinderella!