This little tale concerns a man,
Who in an English village ran
A thriving little corner shop,
Supplying shakes and soda pop.
This fellow did his best to try,
His customers to satisfy,
As in his shop, they waited while,
He took their money with a smile.
One day while he was taking tea,
He thought, “This shop’s too big for me.”
And so resigned himself to fate,
He’d have to find himself a mate.
He saw her on the Internet,
A lovely smile he’d not forget.
This busty lass with golden hair,
Was forty-five and going spare.

The lady’s name was Avalon,
She hadn’t lived in town for long.
This stranger from a foreign clime,
Was looking for a concubine.
He thought, “This must be destiny
That she could be the one for me.”
He liked the sound of Avalon,
So turned his email switch to “on.”
And then he thought, “Just for a laugh,
I’ll send this girl a photograph,”
He chose a good one that he knew,
Was taken back in ’82.
When spectacles he didn’t wear,
And way up top, he had more hair.
His teeth were sparkling pearly-white,
The muscles in his arms were tight.

His fair complexion free of warts:
“It’s near enough” crossed through his thoughts.
He entered “send” and it was gone,
Across the web to Avalon.
“I think I’ve scored” you’d hear him say,
He checked his email everyday
Until he fixed his eyes upon
The one that came from Avalon.
“The picture that you sent to me,
I’m surely liking what I see.
So let this be our special date,
I’ll see you in the bar at eight.”
And so, to meet this lady fair,
He gently trimmed his nostril hair.
As splashing on a dash of Brut,
He dusted down his favourite suit.

But unbeknowing to the man,
This female had a cunning plan,
Her image, that he chanced to see,
It dated back to ‘83.
When in those days, she was so thin,
But now possessed a double chin.
She cried, ”The photo he did see,
It doesn’t look a bit like me.”
And so, she washed and dyed her hair,
Then fixed her make-up with a stare.
She squeezed the blackheads on her nose,
Then gently ironed her wrinkled hose.
Her corset cords, she pulled up tight
To hide excessive cellulite.
Then checking that her teeth were straight,
She headed out to meet her date.

The Town Hall bell was chiming eight,
As in the bar, the man did wait.
Anticipating, so it seems
To meet the partner of his dreams.
And then the door did open wide
As Avalon, she stepped inside,
A little plump and going grey,
He had a mind to run away.
“It must be you,” she then did laugh,
Whilst pointing at his photograph.
“We’ve both been fooled, or so I think,
I guess that we can use a drink.”
And then she thought, “Oh, what the heck,
It’s like Fiona meeting Shrek.”
They ended up the best of friends,
And promised they would meet again.

The message for us all is so:
In matters of the heart, be slow
And careful of the deal you get,
When dating on the Internet.
For images you’re bound to see
Can clash with crude reality;
But like the couple in this tale,
The course of love will oft’ prevail.



Jeff Eardley lives in the heart of England near to the Peak District National Park and is a local musician playing guitar, mandolin and piano steeped in the music of America, including the likes of Ry Cooder, Paul Simon, and particularly Hank Williams.

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26 Responses

  1. Jeremiah Johnson

    Jeff, you cracked me up with the line about the corset cords and the “excessive cellulite.” I feel like you could have added something to the moral in the final stanza – something along the lines of realizing that nobody’s perfect and we should be good-humored about each others flaws – especially the outward ones! C.S. Lewis remarked once about how we take our bodies too seriously, especially where sexual activity is concerned. Not that we should be licentious, but that we should be less demanding of our own appearances and others’.

    Finally, I couldn’t help thinking of this classic:




    • Jeff Eardley

      Jeremiah, thank you so much for your comment and for pointing me to sonnet 138. Shakespeare was never my thing at school but I had to read this a couple of times before it sank in and I love it. I know a few friends who have fallen foul of online dating, the most recent who was dumped, by text message, before he had even left the car park of the bar where their one and only liaison took place.

  2. Norma Pain

    This is such a fun story that bounces along with lots of truth and wit. Thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you Jeff.

    • Jeff Eardley

      Coming from you Norma, any comment is to be treasured. Thank you so much.

  3. Morrison Handley-Schachler

    Jeff, this was a really fun read and made me smile, although posting a slightly old photo is not the greatest deceit happening on dating sites, so perhaps they were both fortunate.

    • Jeff Eardley

      Thank you Morrison. It’s actually a true story of one of my best friends. The match, however didn’t last as long as it took me to write this. Best wishes to you.

  4. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Jeff, this was a perfect description of meeting online from what I have heard. So well phrased and rhymed. I read the whole thing with a smile on my face somewhat anticipating the outcome and being rewarded. This made a wonderful story to read, especially with the English flavor! I do not remember any bars when I was in London. Places to drink were pubs, but that was some time ago.

  5. Jeff Eardley

    Thank you Roy for your kind remarks and glad that you remember the pubs of old London. The Inns and Taverns of Ye Olde Merrie England up here in the sticks are doing well. Buy you a pint next time you are over. Cheers

  6. Margaret Coats

    Charming story, Jeff, with you to orchestrate it. And you must be publishing in the right place. I am surprised at how very often the top advertisement here at SCP is for dating sites, frequently ones that appeal pointedly to mature men. I do have one very heartening story of younger customers (or what should we call them?). Both individuals had serious drawbacks in the area of physical allure, and thus they were looking only for similar faith and outlook on life. Having found one another, they were engaged within a few months and are now married with two children. “The course of love will oft prevail,” but perhaps your friend and Avalon should have been more careful, as you advise.

    • Jeff Eardley

      Margaret, I have several bachelor friends in their 70’s who have had catastrophic experiences on dating sites. I guess that no lady is remotely interested in a guy that she one day may find herself caring for, unless of course he is Rupert Murdoch. The fellow in the poem is still looking, but at 75, he may have missed several boats. Thank you for your observations on this most topical subject.

  7. Brian A Yapko

    Jeff, this is an absolutely delightful story of love in modern times. The couplets with which you write it given the story a timeless, fairytale feel (which fits in nicely with your Fiona and Shrek reference.) There are other interesting things at work here, though. One is the ability the internet gives to bait, switch and twist reality to suit the one posting. This story is thus a commentary on our modern times when it is difficult to know what is real and what has been faked.

    But your poem also carries echoes of stories like “The Little Shop Around the Corner” a 1930s play in which two clerks correspond with love letters without knowing their hated co-worker is actually their love interest — remade into “You’ve Got Mail” and adapted into the musical “She Loves Me.” ) Then there is Frank Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella” in which an aging protagonist hero corresponds with a mail-order bride but sends her his handsome foreman’s photograph, leading to all kinds of trouble. And then, of course, this theme of lovers in disguise is a staple in Shakespeare and Cyrano de Bergerac. You’ve tapped into a long lineage of literary fun!

    • Jeff Eardley

      Thank you Brian for your most generous remarks on this subject. You make several references which will send me off to Wikipedia and YouTube once more and currently, I am mystified at the latest marriage of Rupert Murdoch to a lady 26 years younger. It surely can’t be for the money, as the press pictures I have seen show a fine figure of a man. Your reference to Cyrano de Bergerac reminds me of the great Jimmy Durante, a nose by any other name???

  8. C.B Anderson

    Tell me about it, Jeff. Disappointment comes in many guises, but bald truth comes sudden. What the hell were we doing out there, anyway?

    • Jeff Eardley

      CB, I have fortunately never been “out there” but if I tried, the “bald truth” for me would certainly be literal. We old guys must have a certain appeal with our bulging wallets, but the fellow in the poem is absolutely loaded and is forever disappointed. Thanks for the comment.

  9. Joshua C. Frank

    I love this! The humor, the iambic-tetrameter couplets, the topic… it’s all great!

    Would that the problem you mention were the only problem with online dating… have you ever seen the show Catfished?

  10. Jeff Eardley

    Joshua, I was reading the other day that the Loch Ness monster may be a giant Catfish. Perhaps he has been on social media, in search of a young, female plesiosaur that may be lurking down there. Thanks for your comment and I will be tuning in to the tv series with great interest.

  11. Cheryl Corey

    I really enjoyed this poem, Jeff. Your tale fortunately has a happy ending, but those who engage in online dating should beware of the latest trick, which involves the use of deceptive bots!

  12. Paul Freeman

    “Her corset cords, she pulled up tight
    To hide excessive cellulite.”

    Classic cautionary tale.

    Thanks for the larfs, Jeff.

    • Jeff Eardley

      Thanks Paul, a cautionary tale indeed for one of my friends who is the subject of this. He went on to have a few more horror stories before realising that being old, single and loaded is not a bad place to be.

  13. Jeff Eardley

    Cheryl, thank you so much for your comment. “Catfishing” is a new expression for me, but I will certainly look out for any “bots” landing in my inbox. Best wishes to you.

  14. Patricia Allred

    Good Evening Jeff! You showcased a modern problem in a delightful poem. Myself, I tried online dating at age forty, hardly rotund or falling to pieces. The men I dated? Well, meeting some, I will say they were less than honest in presentations. I prefer meeting people in reality. Online? Dubious. I do feel for the older generation. They still are people with souls and warmth… as if the capacity to love vanishes with age. I think not.
    This does not deny the grand humor in your most pleasing poem. Humans do need human contact, and to be valued as is! Where I live, the young are obese, the older, much thinner… go figure.
    ~ Patricia~

    • Jeff Eardley

      Patricia, your observations are so true. The level of obesity in our young, predominantly females, (can we say that word anymore???) are quite staggering over here in middle England. We oldies are still flying the flag though, with our daily walks, good diets, romance, and appreciation of the art and literature that moulded us, and yes, the music was better years ago.
      I despair for the modern Tik Tok/Instagram/Online porn/Nitrous Oxide snorting/vape generation. Thanks again for your kind words and sorry for the rant!!!

      • Patricia Allred

        Tim Tok sends the USA plain junk , in the case of children….ignorant videos…
        BUT…. for the children in China , they’d are for learning. Not watching inane cat videos,. Nothing against cats,,,I have one

        Our US system is in a state of collapse! But the Chinese? Building their future. My grandson is in a private school. My daughter knows the schools here are teaching DEI. Worse, no respect for the US. It’s heroes of history,.
        Good to know the UK is not as balmy, as here.
        Vaping? Heaven help us.
        Thank you for the reply.

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