Dear Google…

Single Parenting, Online Dating and Pink Air Max Trainers

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This week I searched Google for the answers to the following questions;

‘Is vitamin D the new Vitamin C’?

‘When is the next full moon’?

‘How to manifest on a full moon’

‘How to write a dating profile’

‘When is the testorone surge in Boys’?

‘Am I too old to wear Nike Air max’?

Scarily, I fear these searches are a rather-too-honest reflection as to my current state of mental health in that they reveal all and indicate to me that I’m feeling both off colour and off balance, which is pretty standard when you are run ragged by a 3 year old. I started with a desperate search concerning testostorone, because I’m convinced his full on behaviour must be some kind of hormonal surge. Surely, his 3 year old, endless level of energy can’t be natural?

I’m a single parent with a beautiful, boisterous, 3 year old son and whilst having a boozy Sunday lunch with a couple of friends recently, who are also single, we made a pact to sign up to online dating. We are all in our 40’s and realise that collectively, we have absolutely no idea how, in 2017, you meet people any more? It sure isn’t going to happen whilst on the nursery drop off, in the playground or working on my own on my landing at home. My dream of randomly meeting someone and falling in love and, well,  ‘yada yada yada’ feels like plain fantasy.  I’m an old romantic, but for romance to have a chance, I feel I need a strategy.  Online dating, my friends and I conclude, is the way forward – but we are all equally daunted and terrified by the thought of it. To know we’re in this together though, well that makes it seem less of a trauma.

So far I’ve paid for my online dating profile subscription, and spent a good while starting at a column of empty white squares to fill up with information about myself for potential suitors. What do you say? How do you sum it all up? Wouldn’t you know, it seems that according to Google – to be successful at Internet dating, you require profile photographs that demonstrate you casually playing your guitar or effortlessly downhill skiing. What the hell?! I’m left wading through endless snaps of either my son or selfies – because, being single, I don’t actually have anyone around to capture photographs of me.  The cursor is still flashing and the boxes are still empty, I give myself a deadline of a week to write something and find some images.

I would say, depending on your style, and that you are over 35, it looks as if you are trying too hard. Crusty middle-aged people trying to pull off the ‘you look’ is tragic. Very reminiscent of Janet Street Porter in her middle years. It ain’t fooling anyone.

The irony of all of this, aside from the fact I am a professional photographer, is that, the moment I pause to gather my thoughts, I discover all the photos. Photos of my past life – us as a family, all the good bits (don’t we only ever document the good bits?). Images are coming at me like a tsunami.  I have no will left in me to stop the tidal wave of visuals filling my head and reminding me of what once was. I get transfixed and a full hour later,  I return to the keyboard with the same sentence echoing around my head – how the hell did I get here!?

I feel there and then that I need to start working on creating a ‘better version’ of my life, because it would seem, by all evidence, that it ‘ain’t happening naturally. After my go-to-Google, I decide to turn to the moon for support and a spot of ‘full moon manifesting’. In so doing, I discover I’d missed the latest full moon by a day. Not the best start, I thought, followed swiftly by a sense of ‘fuck it’ – and I proceed anyway. A late ritual is better than no ritual at all.

Google says I have to write down what I want to manifest, then burn it whilst saying it out loud beneath the light of the moon. The reality of this is me finding myself stood in my dank yard under no moonlight at all, as it pours down with rain and soaks through to my skin. I simultaneously attempt to light sodden bits of paper and whisper my dreams (I don’t want my neighbours to hear what I am saying so daren’t say them out loud!). I mean there is hope in this, right?! I remind myself that if it doesn’t work this month – that there will be another full moon the next month and the one after that and so forth.

Finally, I start thinking about my style and decide to ask the mighty Google if I’m too old to wear Air Max Trainers. I remember saving up for my first pair back in ’92 – I was working every Saturday at ‘Rising Dough’, a bakery in my local town, saving every penny towards a new, cool, pink pair of kicks. And when I could finally afford them, I felt like the mutts nutts strutting round town in them (and my NafNaf jumper and wide legged cropped Benetton trousers).  Fast-forward 25 years and I’m asking myself, am I just an older, more crinkly version of my former, younger me?

My current day-to-day uniform is wide cropped vintage jeans, pink air max trainers and a polo neck jumper with large hoop earrings, I can’t tell whether this is a good look, or if I look like I’m having a mid life style crisis. Is this what I’m meant to be wearing at my age?


Google points me to an article on, and I find this, posted by ‘Deeznutz’; “I would say, depending on your style, and that you are over 35, it looks as if you are trying too hard. I personally think early thirties is really the limit and then (it starts looking like) you are pushing it. I’m not a fan of the trainers/skate shoes look though. They are signposts for being a past it fashion victim.  Crusty middle-aged people trying to pull off the ‘you look’ is tragic. Very reminiscent of Janet Street Porter in her middle years. It ain’t fooling anyone.”

And I thought about that for a moment and then concluded this: Cheers Deeznutz you’ve just confirmed right there, that if you are a strong woman who has views, opinions, and a ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude, then you should wear damn well wear them! Done! No more doubting my current style. It is 100% authentically me, and I’m all good with that.

In all seriousness these questions that I find myself asking the Internet (and the moon!) gauge my current state of mental health to actually be healthy and good. After all, it has been a year since I first found myself typing ‘am I having a breakdown?’ into my favourite search engine. It is 15 months on since I moved back to Brighton as a single parent feeling broken and lost and not knowing what my future would be. Right now, I’m beginning to feel like I’m coming up for air. And that feels good.

I have just ordered a boatload of vitamins (the whole alphabet of course –  because Google says I should) to give my tired body a boost.

It is time to start living this life fully. The fog is officially over. I have found my feet again and damn, they’re looking pretty fly in those air max trainers.

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  • Love this!!! It made me chuckle!! I felt like I was reading my own article!! I was a single mum/ professional photographer for years… then finally had the courage to sign up to a dating website but had to persuade a friend to write my profile for me and choose my photos because I didn’t know how to present the most authentic ME online!! But she did good, and I met someone 3 years ago and now we are happily married.
    Good luck with your search (keep us updated with the online dating progress, I met some very ‘interesting’ people)! and enjoy being you and wear your Nikes with pride!! My friend always tells me “be yourself, everyone else is taken” and this is now my life moto…. currently trying to teach it to my 9 year old daughter…. x

  • Lovely Joanna Brown you make me smile and your style is so on point! With your flaming red hair, green glasses and pink Nike Air trainers. You are happier stronger and beautiful. A fantastic mum and a very dear friend!

  • Totally love this article, it brings back so many memories and feelings that most of the time I dont even want to think about. 8 years ago I was in the same boat; speed dating, online dating, working with people who were 20 years younger than me! You are stronger, braver and so much more beautiful than you realise. You will meet someone I have no doubt and then, worlds will collide…! xxx

  • Great start to reading this blog; I love how authentic Jo is – on here and her instagram. I love her style (I’m 29 and nowhere as cool!).

  • what a great read! Having been working in the wedding industry for 9 years, I’ve noticed that each year more and more brides tell me that they’ve met their husbands on-line. Go for it & enjoy the process of looking for your true love. The more people you meet, the more chances you have to find the one x

  • I loved the article! I was so into it I didn’t hear my husband offer me tea – 3 times! We met on line … I was very hesitant about the whole thing before I started but the internet is full of wonderful people. Be your wonderful self and you will find your wonderful person too :o) xxxx

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