As her new book, A Passionate Love Affair With A Total Stranger, hits the bookstores, blogger, author, and internet dating guru, Lucy Robinson, talks about the trials, tribulations and common mistakes we make when it comes to internet dating!
What are you up to at the moment?
Hmmm, ‘what am I not up to at the moment’ might be a better question! I appear to have become a human whirlwind. I’m writing manically, trying to make my deadline for my third novel, I’m running around promoting my new book, I’m writing three short stories and judging a competition for new writers. Oh and I’m trying to move to New York. I think I might need a little lie down actually.
Your new book is about what to do and what not to do when it comes to internet dating, and you have your own experiences with that as well … what’s the biggest mistake you made online?
The biggest mistake I made online is set out quite plainly in the title of my book: A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger. Because that was me. Forever falling in love with total strangers and then being surprised when they turned out to be mad, bad or smelly.
What do you think is the most common mistake?
I’d imagine the most common mistake is getting drunk and throwing yourself at someone you’d never otherwise fancy, just on the grounds that you DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO GO ON ANY MORE INTERNET DATES. Sorry. Bit of pain coming out there. Closely followed by what I did, which was to confer God-like status on a man you’ve never met, only to be bitterly disappointed when you do.
Why do you think there is so much fascination with internet dating?
I think there is a kind of ghoulish pleasure in watching other people internet date. I guess because it’s such an unnatural thing to do; turn up in a bar or restaurant to spend a few hours assessing another human being as a potential partner. Anyone who’s done it, therefore, can’t help but want to know that everyone else is having the same struggles! Just last night I was in a restaurant and there was an internet date in progress at the table next to me. My partner got quite cross with me in the end because I couldn’t stop watching them. But it was mesmerising! All those awkward gestures and nervous, babbled conversations. Fascinating.
The protagonists also learn a bit about themselves online … did you find it was a journey of self discovery?
Over the last few years I realised a lot of things about myself – things that had somehow escaped my notice in my twenties. My main character, Charley, goes through a similar process in my novel although her self-discoveries are largely brought about by this strange man she’s emailing who has a remarkable ability to see things in Charley that she can’t see in herself. It’s a disturbing but ultimately thrilling experience for her to come to terms with her reality – all thanks to a handsome stranger she’s never met. If only my own journey was so straightforward !
Basically, they become their most attractive when they relax a bit … what do you do to chill out?
Chilling out was not something I thought applied to me until recently. Writing a book about a chronic workaholic made me realise quite how packed and exhausting my own life was and since then I’ve been trying to do a lot more relaxation. I’ve started meditating daily, I take walks during my writing days and I turn my computer off by 7.30pm latest. I’ve started investing in candles and massages too. Massage is amazing! How did I live without it for so long?
Do you ever get time for a spa break?
I would like to make time for a spa break. Maybe that’s my next goal. I cannot think of anything nicer and kinder than lying around looking after yourself and your body. We all expect way too much of our bodies and we yet so rarely give anything back.
Do you have a favourite spa treatment or one you would like to try?
Well it’s still early days for me where luxurious self-care is concerned … so for now it would have to be massage. By the end of a good massage I’m generally dribbling and blissful and can barely keep my eyes open. It’s very good for shutting up those voices that whisper ‘you will never make your deadline, Lucy Robinson …’
What makes you feel confident?
It does help to put on a nice outfit, blowdry my hair and put on some make-up. It’s tempting as a writer to spend my days bumbling around, unwashed, in my onesie, but actually that does nothing for my self-esteem. It probably doesn’t do my relationship any favours either. But today I’m wearing red high heels and lipstick, just cos. Highly recommended.
What do you think makes people most attractive?
Humour. We get so bogged down with externals but really, a good sense of humour to me is the most attractive thing in any human being. My partner and I spend 90% of our time laughing like goons. He is a bit of a hunk, actually, but it was his humour that made me fall in love with him.
What’s next in the life of Lucy Robinson?
Lucy Robinson would very much like a break, please. Come the end of March my third novel should be finished which means I’ll be going to bed for a month. Preferably somewhere hot. My partner and I are moving to New York at some point this year, hopefully for six months or longer, so that’s my next big move. But for now: writing. Plus a bit of writing, and then some more writing. But Spring is coming, A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger is already doing well and I’m quietly confident about my third novel. Things could be a lot worse!
A Passionate Love Affair With A Total Stranger is published by Michael Joseph, Penguin Paperbacks.
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