Would like to meet ...

Wednesday 14 January

When it comes to unreasonable demands and harsh judgments, online dating brings out the worst in people—and, after spending silly amounts of time browsing profiles during the last two weeks, I've realised Christian dating websites are no exception.

HopefulGirl lives in a major UK city and works in the media. She has been a Christian for 27 years. After finding herself suddenly single at 35, she set about finding Mr Right. Her anonymous column in Woman Alive magazine, in which she shared the highs and lows of her adventures on the Christian singles scene, was an instant hit with readers.

The loud clicking of the biological clock and the lack of marriageable men in the church triggers alarm. What do to? Ah yes… time to call a hairdresser!… and so begins HopefulGirl's four-year mission to find 'The One'—with the help of Christian dating websites, church singles events and some well-meaning friends.

Her book, Would Like to Meet, goes behind the scenes to reveal the full story of her four-year journey from dejected dumpee to dating doyenne. She has a growing following on Twitter and Facebook: @HopefulGirlUK; www.facebook.com/HopefulGirlUK

Tuesday 22 June

DimpleMan has something in common with several men I've met on the Christian singles scene. Despite being nice-looking and pleasant, with good social skills, he hasn't had a girlfriend since he was 19. It's a mystery how any passable Christian man can go decades without a relationship!

Writing in a diary format, HopefulGirl records her encounters with TinyMan, PilotMan, BeardyMan, TechiMan, HaughtyMan, ShyMan, CountryMan and a host of other colourful characters. Fun, very amusing and, yes, it is a story that will appeal strongly to anyone who has used dating websites and single events, imagined what it may be like to use them or simply wants a good read about a search for love.

Friday 30 October

When TechiMan and I met for the fifth time (Italian, if you're wondering), he was in a subdued mood. He'd obviously been doing some thinking since our last rendezvous, and we had one of those conversations where we weren't discussing 'us', but really we were, and we both knew it.

But underlying the story is a more serious survival issue that the church faces and, through the humour of HopefulGirl's endeavours, laughter and tears, it leaks out into the storyline. Churches often focus their attention on families and couples and offer little in the way of a positive message to singles, except trying to force them into relationships. More critically, though, single Christian women greatly outnumber Christian single men in most church settings, creating a chase that is unequal. As HopefulGirl pleads in her list of suggestions to church leaders at the end of the book, 'Please, get more men into the church. We don't know how, but something needs to change. We're counting on you!'

Jackie Harris, Editor, Woman Alive says: "Readers of Woman Alive have been following HopefulGirl's journey for more than three years and it's become one of the most popular features in the magazine. Singles have identified with her story and married readers have taken up her cause, offered advice and shared their own stories of how they met their man. We've laughed, booed, cheered and winced over some of her encounters, and everyone is desperate for a happy ending for our heroine.

"But alongside all the fun, HopefulGirl has provided a real insight into the Christian dating scene and the challenges facing single Christian women searching for love. Amid a host of colourful characters including PilotMan, NastyMan and CrewCutMan, plus the ever helpful TopBro, she highlights the problems of an imbalance of the sexes in our churches, unrealistic expectations, and unhelpful comments and matchmaking from well-meaning friends and church members. This is a warm, witty and engaging story, which tackles a major issue for many women (and men) in our churches today."

Would like to Meet is published on 18 Jan 2013, priced £6.99, ISBN 978 0 85746 152 0, pb, 160 pages

Source: Bible Reading Fellowship