THE online dating experience tends to involve browsing endless pictures of strangers before plumping for someone based on a mutual interest in alcohol. This is not always a successful recipe. <br /><br />I’ve had one date spill an entire pint of beer over me, while another informed me very loudly that she’d slept with her previous date (no pressure!), and a third ended the evening by getting into a slanging match with a homeless man.<br /><br />My experiencing with Courting.com was an altogether different affair. I met with one of the team in a plush private members’ club, where she reeled off a list of questions about the kind of women I like, where my ideal date would take place and even the intrusive (but I suppose necessary): “So why did your last relationship end?”.<br /><br />After a good half hour of gentle probing, they had me categorised and filed away, ready for touting around the ladyfolk of London.<br /><br />Within days, I had a wine-tasting date set up at Vinopolis in Borough with Jessie, a 25-year-old Tasmanian. The date idea was a hit. The evening kicked off with a short lesson in wine-tasting, followed by a few hours drinking good quality plonk from around the globe.<br /><br />Booze being the lubricant on which relationships are founded, we were soon chatting away happily enough. With surprising restraint, I even managed to refrain from saying “Full body, lovely nose… and the wine’s not too bad either”.<br /><br />Whether Jessie and I were a great match was a different matter. We had fun, but it was clear by the end of the evening that we weren’t going to be the 21st century’s Romeo and Juliet. Or even Jordan and Peter, for that matter.<br /><br />But the bespoke service at Just Courting did have something different to offer. I have met one or two charming and fun-loving women through dating via the internet, but for every good date you find that way, there seem to be a dozen stinkers. <br /><br />The agency experience offers a better chance of finding someone suitable, if only because their team of personality pontiffs can assess the likelihood of a match from the outside.<br /><br />I’d consider using Just Courting again, if only for the ego-stroking fuss they make over you. Until then, the hunt goes on.