Mrs P has been struggling with poor health recently so some of the girls came round the other night to cheer her up.

Ordinarily this would mean a green light for me to go out for a curry or head to the pub with the boys but ageing muscles being what they are after a day in the garden I figured the couch in the other room, in front of the telly, would do me just fine.

And it was. For a while.

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Naturally as the catch up 10 yards away progressed, the volume got louder and in the end I decided their discussion was of more interest than the television and I soon found myself ambling to the fridge for a can and then joining in the chat.

Now our two visitors both happened to be divorced women who have been through the emotional ringer and have lately expressed an interest in moving on with their lives and meeting someone.

Naturally Mrs P has assigned the task of finding a suitable partner for the ladies in question to my good self. And obviously I've been through my contacts for mates in similar need of some companionship.

Unfortunately my middle-aged beer loving golf buddies are all spoken for – as you would expect of such fine physical specimens (ahem) - so the girls have switched tack and joined an online dating chat thing instead.

And the other night, amid fits of schoolgirl giggles, they were filling Mrs P in on the way things worked.

I'm not quite sure how I got involved to the extent I did but I know it started with a comment from me about them taking it more seriously.

It might be an occasional giggle for the girls, I said, but a lot of blokes were stepping right outside their comfort zone and should be treated with respect and understanding.

The girls, fortified by a drinking process involving red and white liquids, insisted they deserved the same.


Besides, this was a new field for everyone of our vintage whose first experience of dating was probably a pash behind the bike sheds back in the day, they said. And while they may not have seemed serious, they were just struggling with how to write messages to chosen blokes who popped up online.

Perhaps I knew of someone who could assist, they hinted. "Could you help," they cooed. 'You write so posh."

Before I knew what had happened I had puffed out my chest and plonked myself in front of the computer with a confidence that said "Stand back. I'm going in", as the girls logged on to their dating site.

Sure enough. Up came a bloke Sue (not her real name) quite liked the look of.

Some small talk occurred. Then Sue got stuck.

"Well why don't you say this," I suggested, tapping out a pilot paragraph of open ended questions and comments without trying to sound too pushy or needy and hoping like hell anything I was writing would not sound like an invitation for a roll in the hay.

The girls tell me it happens. Quite directly in fact. Possibly something to do with the fact there are more single women out there than men, they reckon. The blokes have got a better chance percentage wise so they don't mess round with the niceties.


Sue was happy with my input and for the next 10 minutes she, er we, happily chatted with the bloke down the line.

When it came time for Jane - also not her real name but hopefully Sue and Jane work for this story and don't make them sound like boozed up cougars hunting any male - to have a go I reinforced the need for the comments to be hers rather than mine. Sure I could help with the spelling and structure of their chat but the material needed to come from her.

Jane, er, and me, chatted with a guy for about half an hour (as my wife and her other girlfriend looked on, which was kind of weird) and ended with an agreement to talk again soon.

It turned out to be a fun night. I've even been thinking if the editor decides to put me out to pasture some time I could start up a little niche business helping women communicate online with blokes. Just a thought.

Sadly Sue and Jane have had no further contact with their chat buddies the next day so it's back to the drawing board for them.

Somewhat embarrassingly though I think I've got a coffee date with Graham from the South Island next time I'm down there.

■ Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to .