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Sunday, January 9, 2011

online dating

A friend of mine has recently asked me about online dating. She's never done it, she confessed, as she became a single mom only recently, and now she finds herself being pushed to try it by well-meaning friends. So I gave her some advice... Me, the online dating loser. I only hope I don’t make myself look totally pathetic, which is how I feel every time I succumb to the temptation of joining an online dating site. But I am jumping ahead of myself.

Here's a summary: Online dating sucks!!!
I once discovered a funny-sad blog written by a single father who answers to the name of David Mott. The man listed all kinds of online dating disasters he experienced. I read his stories with the notion of "know thy enemy," because this dad offered the male perspective. And let me tell you, it felt good to see that men, too, suffer when they venture into cyberspace to find true love.

Those who believe in online dating will tell you many success stories. I've heard some, too. I know people who met on these sites, got married, had children, and lived happily ever after to tell about it. But it's just like the lottery. There are so many more losers than winners.

So here I am, an online dating loser, telling an online dating virgin the do's and don'ts of this endeavor; something that most busy people don’t need to know, because why should anyone bother to learn that stuff. I'd rather learn to change the brake pedals on my car than how to upload a personal profile on a dating site or flirt online with total strangers.

My friend said she didn't want people to know that she was on a dating website. I told her that she didn't have to upload a photo, but then men would assume that she was ugly or married. She was horrified to find out that married women go online to look for adventure. She thought only men were capable of cheating. I was tempted to tell her that scientists using NASA equipment orbiting Mars found ice deposits on the red planet and it was time to wake up and smell the century she was living in.

After I gently brought her back to reality, I told her that most men first look at the photo and next, if you have enough boobs or legs or an enticing smile, they might check your height and weight, if the site asks for it. Of course, no one tells the truth about their weight. Some men write "athletic" if they weigh only 50 pounds above their recommended weight, otherwise they write "slender." Some will not upload their own photo if they have a slender nephew or cousin. Some uploaders will not even be men. Yet.
I was not sure what to say about age. My friend was convinced that all men were interested in twenty somethings. But that’s not true. Many men provide flexible age limits when it comes to women. Which is curious. They write that they will date women ages 18 to 59. And I'm like, "OK... humm... how do you do that? I'll date my daughter or my mother, doesn't matter. I can talk to both. Or maybe, I don't need to talk... I can make her happy... Because I'm so great."
Yup, that's what you're about to deal with, sweetie.
My friend was concerned about what to include in her profile. I suggested that she doesn't put too much information. It's not like you need to explain everything before you meet the guy. All you have to do is provide a blurb, a bait, just get noticed because without a picture it's a bit hard to get attention since men are visual animals, not too cerebral when it comes to women. But she doesn't want to mislead anyone, she said. Bless her heart. The innocence of online dating virgins is heartbreaking.
Here's something I tried once when the muse landed on me and I felt reckless and full of renewed hope. After explaining in three sentences the type of person I think I am, I added "looking for similar," to be completely clear. Underneath, I provided a couple of examples of what I considered similar. One of the examples was: "If you can talk in full sentences–that's similar."
I can't recall the number of "hi" responses I received. So I'm asking you, since when "hi" is a sentence? I thought sentences were supposed to have a verb in them.

After I gave my friend a few other tips, I told one of my more outrageous online dating escapades. Only to illustrate to her what a bad judge of character I am. Something an online dater should NEVER be under ANY circumstances.
You see, if a guy tells you that in his youth he lived under a bridge and spent time in prison for stealing cars to support his meth habit, you might want to consider not seeing him again. Even if he explains that he was self-medicating to manage his ADHD because his parents, the famous actors, barely noticed he existed. You should still not give him a pass just because he tells you about the rabbi who got him out of prison and into a halfway house where he could kick the habit, just to convince you that he is Jewish. Or after he shows you a copy of his latest blood test results to reassure you that he no longer has hepatitis B. You should just leave. But no, you think this is cool, because the guy has some fascinating stories to tell and he is not a bad writer and he becomes borderline funny after he smokes a few joints. And then you discover that he is into S&M when one day he asks you to take a photo of his back, and when he lifts his shirt you see blue bruises and bloody lines carved by whip lashes crisscrossing his tattooed back, and only then, finally, your brain kicks in, and you realize that if you don’t pretty much evaporate to a different dimension at this very moment, you will have to expect some serious intervention from those who care about you.

So if you give in to your pushy friends who think they are being helpful by telling you to go look for Prince Charming on the internet, make sure you know what’s you’re doing. Otherwise, do yourself a favor. Don’t upload a sexy photo of yourself, don’t share the story of your life and your real or imaginary body measurements with voyeurs, don’t respond to anonymous “hi’s” and don’t believe everything that people tell you .Use your computer and your brain for more productive undertakings. It will save you time and some embarrassment. Or, you might end up like me, with stories to tell and some thinking to do. But if you are not a writer, or me, you really don’t need this type of skeletons in your closet. 

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with your post. I have friends and family members who have tried it and all feel the same way. I had to laugh and agree with just about everything. The online dating success stories may be possible, but I have no idea how.