Just When I Thought I Had Figured Dating Out
I was sitting at my favorite watering hole waiting for Barbara Ann, my Match.com date for the evening – and I couldn't have been more excited. Her pictures looked great; she had an engaging profile and heck, she had even initiated the contact with me.
So why was she so angry when she walked into the bar?
“You better be something special” she said looking me square in the eyes. “I had to leave the Olympic Curling finals on TV to make it here on time.” Olympic Curling finals? “Seriously?” I asked.
“You're darn right I'm serious. This is the Olympics and it's Curling's chance to shine.” Curling's chance to shine? I mean, come on. This is a sport that involves throwing a oval stone made of granite down a lane of ice with the intention of getting it to stop in a circle similar to a target. This intense excitement is enhanced by the presence of two sweepers with brooms who accompany the stone, while sweeping the ice frantically in attempt to get it to stop in the target. Think of a sports sleeping pill.
Barbara Ann was quick to inform me that winning a letter while on her high school curling team was her proudest accomplishment in life. I just assumed she meant other than her two children and graduating from college.
The date with Barbara Ann ended with her giving me two books on curling. She informed me that when I had finished them, we could go to a match between the Dallas and Fort Worth curling teams.
I waited until she left before I made a gift of the books to the bartender. He looked at the titles and said, “You know this doesn't count as a tip?”
For the record Barbara Ann was not particularly strange when it comes to some of the women I have met on internet dating sites.
The new wave of dating
When I was much younger, the breakup of a marriage or a simple romance was followed by evenings being spent at local bars and clubs that attracted the singles scene – that and the continual pestering of friends to see if they knew anyone “available”. However, the world of internet dating changed the dating landscape.
As someone who has physically met over 30 women through on-line dating, I like to believe that I am uniquely qualified to give you the real picture.
Something for everyone
In today's world of the lonely hearts, more often than not, the first stop in internet dating begins at sights such as Match.com and eHarmony.com, two of the most popular and oldest dating sites. But over the last several years, the options now include: Our Time (Over 60's). Christian Mingle, JDate (Jewish date site), Plenty of Fish and the one that makes me grin when I see it advertised, Just Farmers. Their tag line is “City Folks Just Don't Get It”.
Actually, the ladies on Just Farmers are just like the ones on other sites, they're just wearing cowboy hats, boots and standing next to a horse.
It should come as no surprise that internet dating is a billion dollar industry and growing as fast as they can sign up the lonely hearts. Anyway you look at it, these numbers are impressive.
According to research by the highly credible Pew Research Center, one in ten Americans have used an online dating site; 66% of these online daters have actually gone on a date with someone they met on a site; and 23% have met a spouse or long term partner through these sites.
While it should be noted that while 21% of those surveyed thought that people who use these dating sites “are desperate”; that number is down from 29% just two years.
Desperate is clearly on the decline.
What it's really like out there
The dating sites paint an almost idyllic picture of love being found on their site. While it is indeed a legitimate way to meet people, it is not a stroll down a rose covered path. If the truth be known, it is a chore that must be approached with the same ardor as a serious job search.
Before you say anything, yes, this is from a male's perspective. I thought about interviewing a number of women to try and get the female viewpoint, but I finally decided that there was probably a talented lady writer out there who could handle it better than me. Not to mention, the handful of ladies I did talk to, tell me the peculiarities of internet dating are remarkably similar to both genders.
What you see, isn't always what you get
In theory, internet dating is a great idea. Where else can you get access to this many women or men from one source. Not to mention, you get to see pictures of them (more on that later); get a description of their body type; find out their interests; learn about their political persuasions and arrange a casual meeting with just one email.
Dating sites like to tell you that what makes them unique is the total information package you can derive from a ladies profile. While maybe true in some cases, the fact is that deception, sometimes a little, often a lot, runs rampant. And nowhere is it more prevalent than the pictures that are posted.
ÃƒÂ¯ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½Ã‚Â¢ While in theory, it is good to post multiple pictures, where it gets confusing is when each picture looks different. It makes you wonder”
While the sites encourage people to use current pictures, it is not uncommon to see pictures that are five years old or even longer. I have seen pictures from high school and college yearbooks. Seriously.
The one that especially drives me crazy is that of the person standing in front of a landmark (Pyramids, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, etc.). In an attempt to get a good picture of the landmark, the individual is so small as not to be recognizable. Note to these ladies: I know what the Eiffel Tower and Pyramids look like; you're the mystery at this point.
And of course, there are the pictures that make you scratch your head. These are the ones of their garden, knitting, jewelry craft and my personal favorite: a picture of a place setting for a dinner party my date had given. That picture should work if they ever have a site called LonelyCaterers.com.
And for the record, women tell me it is no better on the male side. Along with pictures of their motorcycle and boat are, for some inexplicable reason, pictures of them without shirts. Go figure.
Advice to ladies: no selfies; no pictures of you in a Halloween costume; no pictures in strange hats; and no pictures of you riding a motorcycle. Two exceptions that are allowed are your grandchildren and your dog; preferably the dog.
The man of my dreams
If I had $10 for every woman on a dating site who wants a man to walk barefooted in the sand with and curl up before a fireplace, I would have a down payment on that Corvette I have been looking at.
The following is from the “About Me” section of a profile I read last week: I am a successful lady. I am attractive, intelligent, sexy, desirable, accomplished, fun, exciting and available! I love all music, especially live productions. I speak French and Spanish. I like the arts and have travelled extensively and experienced many historical and delicious relics and cultures. I relish conversation about local and international events of the day.
As impressive as this description is, in the course of describing herself, she has more than likely scared off any prospects. I mean, how many guys are looking for a woman who has experienced many historical and delicious relics and cultures?
The following is from the About You section where a woman tells the guys what she is looking for: Charismatic, down to earth, keenly intelligent and forward thinking. Healthy, fit, vibrant, attractive, silly, trustworthy, generous, spontaneous, confident and manly. Deeply self-aware, articulate, affectionate and emotionally presence.
If, and I emphasize the word if, this man actually exists, he wouldn't be spending his time on an internet dating site – he would be dating Scarlett Johansson. Seriously, it is thinking like this that almost always guarantees frustration for the lady. This guy doesn't exist.
And besides, there is no man alive who knows what it is to have emotional presence.
Pearls of Wisdoms for Internet Daters
1. Forget the “dream guys”; know what really matters to you. Things like integrity, honesty, courteous, vibrant, etc will all surface soon enough. Besides, most guys think they already have these traits.
2. Try to identify your traits that matter to guys. This would include an interest in sports; working out (another way of saying “my bod is just fine”); cooking on the grill; no kids at home (Doesn't apply to the younger crowd); and of course, loving dogs. Having a dog is a huge plus – unless you have it dressed up in a costume.
3. For the record: Even if the woman says she is financially secure and not looking to be supported, bucks still matter.
4. Probably 80% of all women on these sites list traveling as a priority. The secret is to find out how passionate they are about it; and if you are on the same page.
5. Ladies, it is okay to take the lead. Guys have numerically more choices than you; don't wait on them. Men being men, they pay special attention to women who take the initiative.
You will notice that there is no advice on what to do or how to act when you physically meet. If you can't figure that out, the rest of this doesn't matter.