I would entertain, pay and generally be the archetypal gentleman, and I loved every minute of it. They also appear to have different ideas about what "dating" means.
Then, inexplicably, about two months in, she decided she wasn’t looking for a relationship. You see, I had been assuming, in my Western, driven, "I’m on a mission"-way, that we were going out.
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.
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.
Let me preface this with a few important considerations. Admittedly, I tend to look down at the ground when I smile and I look better in suits than shorts, but I don’t stop traffic.
Not unless I decide to cross without the guidance of the green man, a crime against humanity here in Singapore. My past is littered with examples of unrequited love, pointless pining and disastrous misjudgments.My success rate is slightly more impressive than Gordon Brown’s attempts at smiling, and just as pretty. Though finding a woman here has been far easier than in the UK, keeping or understanding them has been a whole new ball game.Under orders from a family that feared my disappearance into oblivion and with a driven sense of mission and newly discovered optimism, I signed up on a dating website on arrival here in 2008.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.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.