Only the lonely – end of an era, and a thank you. #CS

CS – a website connecting singles to other singles – is close to unique in having a lively blogging and forums facility.  At the time I joined, around five years ago, it was international, multi-cultural and interdenominational, and the majority of the members were fairly careful not to step too heavily on the toes of others of different cultures and beliefs in the lively interaction.

conversing

At its best the CS blogs were a kind of Cheers, where everyone knew your name, long term members knew  which blogs would be fun to banter on and which should be avoided (a few nutters grumbled about cliques) and people occasionally met up – I met around a dozen different members, over the five years, and enjoyed online friendships with people I would never meet, would never have met in any other way.

Joining CS changed my life. I said in a lifestyle interview that I got belatedly brave. When I joined I had become a recluse living behind my computer in Scotland, writing books and hoping if I left the real world alone it would return the favour. I only joined to ask single people questions because I needed answers for my books:  the thought of going out and asking real people was unthinkable.

Now I live in Spain, still writing books in between teaching English as a second language and opening my very quirky old house up to paying guests, interacting with others every day, and all of that can be directly traced back to joining the website five years ago.

So CS was pretty special to me, and it was fun. Most of the bloggers were comfortable being single, sometimes drifting in and out of relationships while they waited without anxiety for The One, or sitting shiva for the One who had been lost, or enjoying the banter because for whatever reason real life couldn’t offer the same kind of sociability. There weren’t that many of us, a few hundred at most, some popping by regularly, some intermittently, and blog subjects ranged between being single, topical events, being single, old jokes shaken out for new readers, being single, the occasional attempt to save souls by offering various religions, being single, and every now and then some politics to spice things up.  The being single thing, some blogs were happy about it, some furious and hurting, some philosophical, some raunchy, some advising. It was relevant to the site, after all. One other thing that made it unique – it was like a petrie dish of life itself,  a tiny cross-section of international viewpoints from all ages on all subjects, often fascinatingly alien.

love

A couple of years ago disaster struck. Another blogging website for singles finally closed when it had become so toxic that it had only a handful of members left. The best of them had already come across and fitted right in but unfortunately when it closed its zombies  lurched across and joined CS – for the most part the kind of Christians who would tar and feather Christ for not being American, or at least wearing a MAGA cap.  They blogged relentlessly on their convictions, never joining any of the existing chats, ignoring what CS was as they determinedly changed it to what they had known (and destroyed), lost in their own obsession and speaking only to each other.

roll eyes 

It was like exploding a hate bomb in Cheers. Politics and singles don’t mix.  People obsessed with bigotry certainly don’t mix. Existing members tried to jolly them into chilling, or tried ignoring them, or disinterred unsuspected hates and prejudices to leap into the fray, exploding cyber friendships in the process.  Many withdrew altogether, bored or disgusted or chased on their way by hostility and anger. So much anger, and so much of it illiterate into the bargain.

scold

It reached a point where the minutiae of American politics accounted for the majority of the blogs – an occasional offering from a Normal always attracted comments and chat but Normals were becoming thin on the ground.  (Okay, “Normals” is a loose term, we long-term singles aren’t, but some are more normal than others.)

laugh

Bigmouth launched a protest and a blog asking that politics be confined to a sub-section of the website and although many of the original members joined the protest saying yes yes YES my profile was promptly deleted by the site moderators.

doh 

End of an era. But when I say that one of the no no NO comments was “Bullshite Elegsabutt! (sic) You have a stick so far stuck up your arse you would always find something and someone to complain about,” you can see how far the change has gone. It is definitely time to go.

Please charge your glasses and join me in a toast to a singles website which changed the lives of many besides me. Thank you. No regrets – I knew when I lit the match that I was probably going to be burning my boats, but they were no longer seaworthy as they were. How nice it would have been if instead it had worked and the hate had burned instead. Que sera, sera.

wine

And to the zombies – a pox on your houses.

tongue

The relevance to you, dear Reader, for patiently getting this far? Don’t let politics destroy your friendships and relationships. People can hold different views, despite professional and social media’s frantic attempts to set us all at each other’s throats. If you find yourself hating, it is time to re-examine your position – it may be time to walk away. When the self-obsessed media storm is over, we will still be left with each other – don’t have destroyed that.

 

Past it?     YOU?     Not now.    Maybe not ever.  Sometimes, though, it is up to you. (Steam up your specs, go on)

I’m taking a few books off the Select  program on Amazon – they’ll still be selling there, but I want to sell them elsewhere as well. And because this is my last chance to promote them for free, I am.  About half the series will be on promotion over the next weeks.

It just happens the two liveliest books I’ve written fell due at the same time so steam up your specs and warm up your weekend with these two. Just click on the covers below, or in the margin, and help yourself. Enjoy!  By the way – if you’re a Lawns fan, be warned, Rainbow is not a Lawns book. It’s even released under a different pen-name to avoid misunderstanding.  Nine Ten is not the usual sort of Lawns book, but Rainbow is really across the rainbow and into a whole new world of mature singles. Just saying. Brace yourself.

 


nine ten kindle

 

A second rainbow (4)

 

A comment about the heading of this blog, and a bit of back-story on these two books …

I was soooo past it when I started writing a whodunit about predators stalking the mature singles websites. Date? Me? I’m in my fifties, you’re having a laugh – but I did join a mature singles website to do some of the research. I even went on dates, clumping along in low-heeled shoes (because men always lie about their height and I’m quite tall), was a jolly good sort, had a few laughs, heard some very good stories, and turned down second dates because what was the point? I was well past it.

Then a whole bunch of coincidences changed all that:  a buddy ‘met’ through the site found his perfect match. Both in their late sixties, there they were gadding off on weekends and holidays together, and having a wonderful time. Hey, you’re both ten years older than me! WHAT?  (They still are, by the way. One of the success stories.)  Another factor, my daughter was getting married, and I had to lose a bit of weight and generally brush up a bit. Yet another factor, Five Six, the book about the website murderer, turned out to be my most popular so far, maybe I should look at another . . .  well, long story short, I joined another website around the time I was writing Nine Ten, and this time I was asking the sort of questions you just can’t ask a social acquaintance, not without getting some extremely odd reactions. It is, in its way, quite a raunchy book, the sort of book that makes you (well, me) think maybe I should go out and find a man. So I did.  That was a couple of years ago and, um, there’s been more than one. Huge fun.

Past it? Hell no!

Nine Ten is no more autobiographical than any of the books but it is decidedly livelier than the books previously.

As for Rainbow – when I started writing Fifteen Sixteen it kept trying to veer off towards the shenanigans of mature singles, which was infuriating. Finally I put it to one side and wrote a novella based on a singles website, and a woman’s complete metamorphosis after her husband of many years puts her back on the shelf and walks away. Again, not autobiographical, I’m no more Dorothy than I am Edge or any other of my characters, but it isn’t wishful thinking, either.

The pair of them scupper my whodunit series a bit, because they zoom off in a decidedly more raucous direction, but putting them out at the same time, although it just happened that way,  should work out either very well or very badly indeed. Guess I’ll know soon enough . . .