‘He wasn’t the man in the photo and I should have known it all along’ – Sydney Morning Herald
Early on in my lockdown-induced online dating life, I was approached by a man 13 years older than me. Leo was 75, but his photo featured a virile man in late middle age, wearing a black t-shirt. He assured me the photo had been taken two months earlier and modestly attributed his looks to good genes and a vegetarian diet.
I allowed myself to go along with it, shoving any doubts I may have had into the back of a sock drawer. It was a few weeks into what was going to be a protracted period of lockdown in Melbourne and I was starved of intelligent male conversation with any semblance of a frisson.
Leo was a writer too, and an insightful observer of human nature. Over the following days and weeks, we each offered up our words and – by doing so – a glimpse into the other’s soul. Our correspondence was far-ranging and fascinating, and very little was off limits. The rules of engagement are different under lockdown. With no prospect of meeting in the real world, the accomplished writer can create a narrative with well-chosen words and the imaginative reader can spin those words into a happy ending. I let my imagination run away with me.
After a while,