Friday, November 5, 2010
Online Dating: Can’t Buy Me Love…
Well, maybe I can at least find out if there are likely men in the area. That’s my first thought as yet another commercial comes on featuring a smiling couple who met online. Let’s face it. It’s Friday night and I am alone at home watching the Seinfeld marathon. Besides, they are having a free trial period; surely if I’m quick I can snag a man without even joining. That’s my plan…along with a several thousand plus other people.
Currently there are more adult single people in the United Stated than people who classify themselves as married or co-inhabiting according to the US Census. With those type of numbers, why be alone on Friday night? I do wonder if they counted the men in prison, mental institutions, and on life support. If so, that really decreases the numbers, but still I grab the laptop. I know the drill. I’m no online dating novice. Those photos when you initially open the site of people in your city do not live in your city. First of all, I haven’t seen them anywhere. The smooth face males with soulful eyes, garbed in tailored clothing would stand out among the grizzled, tired men in NASCAR jackets in my town. I did see them on the promos for various other dating sites. That’s because the smaller sites are interconnected.
You might sign up with Hottiesbeus.com and suddenly you are receiving mail and offers from maturehotties.com and singlehotties.com. (I made up the names, but with my luck they will be a real sites.)The joining fee is only about $30, so you might join the initial group, but not really get many appropriate matches. There is the thought of joining another add-on group to increase your odds. Resist. You basically are paying for the same pool of men. Only people who joined one of the interlocking groups get email offers. The ones who can afford the commercials offer you more people to choose from.
Knowing what I know, I signed up with the granddaddy of dating sites for my free trial. I have ten days—that sounds like a lot, but it isn’t. There is the initial processing—who knows what goes on there—before you are sent matches. Then, of course, you pick through your matches which arrive without photos to decide if any suit. Everyone knows men tend to be attracted to a woman’s outward appearance. As a woman, I like to think I’m not that shallow, but I would like a photo. That gives me a hint. A man who can’t even manage a smile for a dating website is not someone I’m interested in. Better yet, is the man holding aloft an oversized margarita in a bar. I would definitely pass on the man posing with the Hooter girls. Photos tell us so much, especially the photos a man picks to interest a potential date. Unfortunately, I have no photos.
All I have to go on is a few words on a profile. Words he may not have written. Daughters, sisters, even mothers have written profiles for the men in their lives. I even offered to write a profile for an ex-boyfriend I felt especially guilty breaking up with. I do find some profiles that interest me and send a wink or a comment. Be cautious ladies. Some of the low-end sites allow you to IM the person immediately. Often IMing is used by men in relationships for a thrill, to check the waters, or even as a bit of a game when a bunch of guys are together. You may not be IMing the man you saw on the profile because you’ll never actually meet him. Know who you are talking to—this becomes a bit tricky.
I’ve overheard my high school students talking about creating profiles online. Of course, they tried to create a profile that met their teenage fantasies. It must have met a great deal of older male fantasies because they got a great deal of hits. They used a photo from the Swedish Bikini Ski Team. It was a great game for these guys to respond to letters from lovelorn men. I mention this because online daters need to be careful.
Use a nickname instead of your real name; be vague about where you live, mention a nearby town, but not yours. Watch who is in your photos. As a newbie, I used my name, the exact small suburb of a larger city where I lived, and I had a picture of my large monstrosity of dog and me. The end result was a match I rejected started following me around town yelling my name. I joked I moved to get away from my stalker, but I did move. Watch what you reveal and how soon you reveal it. It’s better not to reveal anything messy online.
Please be careful of the too good to be true men. They write beautifully and if you actually paid for a membership you’ll see their extreme hotness factor. Shock of all shock, they’re interested in you. Your wonderful online friend thinks you might be soul mates…it is almost like a romantic novel. Don’t spend too much time on this one because he’s not real and will be asking you for money soon. Been there, did that, didn’t send money, but sent the picture around to all my friends to identify. He was identified as a quarterback for an NFL team. Back to the actual men or what I think are the actual men.
Okay, I sent off a few nods and winks to guys I might be interested in. I also got a few back. Now is the time to exchange the stilted questions. I make in fun of these, but in truth what do you really say when talking to someone you don’t know? If I was good at this, I wouldn’t be online! Some reply, some don’t. One or two that reply might say something totally weird. The pool of matches just got significant smaller. This isn’t going as well or as quick as I expected. It seems like we all have work and life to clog up our free time when we could be online. Time is running out as the company is so quick to remind me. It takes almost six months they cheerfully point out to find the right one. Each time I login they flash their join-up now price, which is too high.
On the last day of the trial, they drop their prices about 75%. I join because they dropped their prices and there were a few guys I just wanted to know what they looked like and continue to get to know them.
Join me for part two: which includes more truth and awkward first dates. Share your online experiences.