My book Love & the Goddess deals with the search for love and the nature of love itself. My protagonist Kate who has an interest in Greek mythology, uses the names of three Goddesses from a Greek myth on different dating sites. To get an understanding of how the dating game works I did the research by first employing the username Persephone on plentyoffish.com, then Demeter on anotherfriend.com and finally Hekate on match.com
I have to admit I got quite wrapped up in it initially and was surprised at the amount and variety of men available. I learnt that the username you use definitely says a lot about you and therefore attracts certain types of people. It’s amazing how many women use variations of ‘Thumbelina’, the tiny fairy girl from the Christian Anderson story. For men, variations of James Bond or James 007 are probably among the most popular.
In my case I attracted macho domineering men while using the name Persephone, the maiden aspect of the triple goddess myth. Like the name Thumbelina, it was disempowering and added to my feelings of vulnerability, since I was going through a rough patch in my life. The pictures I used to accompany my profile showed me looking girly, despite my forty something years, so of course they were also a contributory factor in whom I attracted.
A few months later on anotherfriend.com I chose to affiliate myself with the goddess Demeter and since the name was already taken, I called myself Demetriana. This name created quite a stir as men seemed to find it exotic and many of them asked me was I Russian. The photos I posted on this occasion showed me looking more empowered; dressed casually and mostly outdoors in beautiful nature settings. Surprisingly I attracted a lot of attention from young men aged 21 to 32. I wondered were they subconsciously aware that Demeter is the mother Goddess and therefore attracted to me as a mother substitute? Some of the content in emails however would suggest they had something other than mothering in mind. Of the older men I attracted, I did my own little survey by asking questions about their relationship with their mothers and strangely most of them had mammy problems. When I said to one guy –
“Most of the men I meet seem to have mother problems”.
He answered glibly “I have no problem with my mother, I just hate her!”
Overall I met nicer men during my incarnation as Demeter though I never met anyone I really clicked with.
Finally on the week preceding Halloween, I put up a profile on match.com using the name Hekate. I certainly couldn’t have been prepared for the pandemonium this would cause. Some men were magnetically drawn to my profile, while scared senseless that I was some kind of wicked enchantress. How could I use the name of the witch Goddess? She whom Shakespeare cast as evil in Macbeth …Goddess of the dark side of the moon and patroness of witches! Mail came pouring in asking me why I would call myself this when I could call myself Aphrodite? The accompanying profile was kick ass – I said I found it hard to meet any man who would interest me. In reply I received mail from high achievers telling me they loved a challenge and begged me to consider them a contender. In fairness I also got the occasional one telling me I was extremely arrogant.
I spoke to some of them on the phone and met three during the Hekate stage, but this time around I was open about telling them I was doing research for my book. I was also getting a bit jaded by the amount of serial dating, where one man seemed to merge into the next in front of my weary eyes. One date (a clinical psychologist) tried to convince me that “If you are interested in personal development, surely the main objective is to heal yourself in order to enter a relationship?” He was so pushy I half expected him to produce a piece of paper to coerce me into signing up to a relationship with him there and then. What’s more he wasn’t the first who had been in a mad rush to get serious. I discovered a lot about the male psyche and one thing I can state emphatically is that men need women more urgently than we need them, finding it very difficult to be alone for any period of time.
Two years later I am still single and delighted to be so, despite the approach of Valentine’s Day. I have learnt to love and accept myself more than I ever did before in my life. I will pamper myself on February 14th by walking in nature, taking a long bath with scented oils and playing soft music. The poetry of Byron, Shelley, Neruda and Rumi are for the lover in all of us, whether we are alone or in a relationship. Love is beautiful but there are other types of love which are as joyful as romantic love, namely friendship and unconditional love for nature and the divinity in all. Sometimes one has to withdraw from the intensity of romantic love in order to truly learn what love is. That I believe has been my path and it is a wonderful learning curve.