Archive for the ‘Playing the online dating game’ category

Are you sending off “ready” vibes?

October 27, 2007

Talking to a single friend about her dating life, she said, “I’m really not ready, but I do have a profile posted.”

“Why do you have a profile posted if you’re not interested in actually dating right now?”

“It puts me in the mood of getting ready.”

“That’s wise. It opens you up to the possibility of dating, which carries over into real life. You send off more energy that you’re available for romance and men pick that up. I’ve noticed more men flirt with me since I’ve been dating. I think it’s my attitude.”

Have you been getting ready to get ready to date? If so, why not take the plunge and post your profile on a site or two. If you get any nibbles and aren’t quite ready, you can always politely decline. But it will also help you shift into ready mode more quickly. And who knows who’ll pick up on those vibes and ask you out.

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Scantily clothed pictures

October 19, 2007

A gal pal new to online dating asked me:

scantily clothed man“What does it mean when a man offers to send you scantily clad pictures, and you haven’t even talked to him on the phone yet, let alone met?”

“Sex.”

“Say more.”

“When people want to exchange nearly nude — or even nude — pictures, I’ve found it means they are looking for sex, not a relationship. It’s common among that crowd to exchange nude pictures — sometimes just shots of key parts! Since they are only looking for intimate encounters, it really doesn’t matter what the rest of you looks like. They just want to make sure the equipment is to their liking.”

“No!”

“Yep. One friend showed me a site where people post nude pics with their face cropped off.”

“Amazing.”

“Where did you meet this guy?”

“Yahoo Personals.”

“This is a bit unusual for a YP contact, but not unexpected. There are other sites that cater to sexual hookups.”

“This guy also asked if I had ‘additional pics’ to share, even though I have 8 posted on the site.”

“He was wanting nude shots, and wanted to see if you’d know what he was talking about.”

“So should I continue to communicate with this guy?”

“Only if you are looking for a sex-only encounter. By the way, I’ve also had men ask me my bra size in the second email, and one sent me a list of questions he wanted me to answer, including intimate details. So these guys let their intentions be known early on, even if they aren’t explicit in their profile saying they want a sex-only encounter.”

Have you experienced inquiries from men who got too intimate too soon? How did you deal with them?

BTW, that is a pic of Bernie Barker, who Guinness dubbed the oldest male stripper before he passed away last March at age 66.

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Dating for lazy people

October 9, 2007

“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Sunset Blvd.Norma Desmond’s line from “Sunset Boulevard” takes on new meaning now that we have online video speed dating thanks to SpeedDate.com. This is a way for lazy people to speed date. Since I cannot see myself getting all dated up to attend a speedating event live, if the concept weren’t so off putting I would be a potential customer.

But I can see the allure. As they say in their promo, how much time have you spent emailing and talking on the phone, pouring over someone’s profile and pictures, to then meet and have no spark — or worse, very little in common. Even with the most diligent of vetting techniques, there are more fizzles than sizzles.

So now you can have a two-way, real-time video conversation with prospective suitors. The demo on the SpeedDate.com home page is an insipid conversation between two twenty-somethings. Not a great sales tool — at least not for our generation. Yes, you can see the person speak and move, thereby exposing any strange nonverbal quirks.

When you sign up (for free) they also want to harvest your address book for other potential members. Skip this part. When I got to search, there were exactly zero men in my 48-62 age range living within 50 miles from my large metropolitan area. However, within 30 seconds a twenty-something looking man was saying “hello” as his image appeared on my screen. I’d purposefully turned off my web cam, and he had no information about me other than my age and city, but he was compelled to contact me? A bit creepy.

The site claims that it has reinvented online dating by:

  • No long profiles
  • No endless questionnaires
  • Just an easy & fun way to meet real people live

Let me get this straight — you know nothing about these people, no idea what they’re looking for or their education or relationship history, height, interests, etc. The only criteria for saying hello and spending 3 minutes with them is they are online? Isn’t that roughly what happens in a bar? But in a bar you at least see if you’re physically attracted to him/her before you say hello.

This is how it works:

  1. Go on lots of live 3-minute dates with webcam or text chat
  2. Vote for who you like
  3. Connect with your matches

I signed on again and was greeted by a 28-year-old who lives 3000 miles away. I ended the “date” immediately. Apparently you put in your age range and location requirements and it will serve you all the people who are online that meet that criteria. His criteria must have been 16 to 99-year-old women living anywhere on the planet.

There is a tab called “My Profile” where I’m assuming you can enter information about yourself, but there was a technical glitch that kept giving me an error. If my theory is right, you could check out the person’s profile while you’re chatting.

I don’t know — maybe I’m old fashioned or just stuck in my ways, but I don’t see using this site. Would you? (Yes, Bookyone, we know you wouldn’t!)

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Social-circle accountability — a missing link in online dating

September 28, 2007

We’ve heard — and sometimes experienced — the horror stories of midlife dating. When we think that middle-aged men and women should behave like adults they flummox us with their adolescent behaviors.

Many of these bad boy/girl stories come from meeting folks through Internet dating sites. If you’ve been around for more than a day, you realize that not everyone listed on a site has stellar ethics and social skills. They do things that leave us incredulous — whether it’s happened directly to us or we hear about it from someone else.

It’s made me ponder the various reasons why people act the way they do when in dating mode. Is it lack of social skills education, not caring how they affect another, or general self-centeredness and obtuseness? I have a theory to add to these.

social circleLack of social-circle accountability.

When you meet someone through friends, some filtering happens beforehand. If you meet your date at a friend’s party, the friend has determined the person to be socially adept enough to be in their circle. Granted, someone else could have brought the guy along, but they would have assessed he’s not a total creep as they wouldn’t want him embarrassing them at the party.

Secondly, there is built in social accountability. If you or he is a jerk to the other, the friends will hear about it. “What’s with Fred? We set a lunch date then he never showed.” Or “Is there something going on with Alice? I asked if she’d like to go out and she said yes, but she has yet to return my calls.”

A pal shared that he asked out a woman he met at some mutual friends’ party. They had a wonderful dinner a week later, and a few days after that he invited her to his house for pizza and a DVD. She accepted and they set the time. She didn’t arrive. He called her cell 15 minutes after her due time. No answer. He called again at 30 minutes, then an hour after her expected arrival. He was concerned for her safety. He emailed her the next day to ask what happened. No response.

A week later, he asked some mutual friends if she was okay. They said she was and had no idea why she would stand him up. They checked with her, then got back to him. She said he was physically aggressive and she was concerned about going to his house. This is totally out of his character (I know this guy and he’s a good one). Why couldn’t she just decline his second invitation if that was how she felt? Instead, she started this rumor mill.

Their mutual friends had known him much longer than her, he’d dated other women in their extended social circle, and there had been no reports of his being inappropriate with anyone. (We know that some people can be entirely different in public settings than they are behind closed doors. We also know he could have been inappropriate with other women in the circle and they didn’t speak out.) However, other examples of this woman making stuff up was beginning to surface. She was caught lying about other things.

Social circle 2They were both accountable to their social circle. If there had been other evidence of my pal being inappropriate, he would have been ostracized by the group. I realize this doesn’t happen in all groups; some let egregious behavior (e.g., adultery, abuse) slide. But many groups will police their own and shun social misfits. And some will confront him/her directly.

In Internet dating, some people behave as they never would in person (if you’re communicating by IM, email or phone). And when they meet you, they do and say stuff they wouldn’t try if you met them through a friend.

What have you experienced in social circle accountability? Have you seen representatives from a group step in when there has been unacceptable behavior when two of its members are dating?

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Let the games begin

September 6, 2007

As I respond to an interesting potential suitor’s email today, I hear myself saying the command heard at the start of the Olympics. I’m don’t like to think of dating as a game — although there are gamelike parts. I work hard to not play games in dating, even though there are plenty of those who do.

Let the games beginWhat I mean by the line is that once you respond positively to someone’s initial inquiry (or he to yours), it sets off a series of emails, often fun and flirty. If you pass muster with each other, you progress to a phone call, then if that is acceptable, a meeting. In each interaction, you want to display your personality, while simultaneously working to be on your best behavior (if you’re at all conscious).

Responding positively sets the dating “game” in motion. I wish there were a better metaphor, as the word game used in reference to dating is so negative. But you know what I mean — a loosely prescribed set of actions.

But in this game, the rules are not agreed to by all the players. Which leads to assumptions, frustration and disappointments. Sometimes the players appear to be playing very different games, but they’re doing it on the same field. And one can’t understand why the other is doing X because it makes no sense in the rules they are playing by.

Since the rules are nebulous, it is unclear when one is winning. In dating, ideally you both win. But some have agendas like, “If I can get him to buy me a drink, I win,” “If I can get her number, I win, “If he takes me to a nice restaurant, I win,” “If I can get her to kiss me, I win,” “If he buys me jewelry, I win,” or “If I can get her in bed, I win.”

And any player can leave the game at any time, and they do, often without informing the other player. One declares, “Game over,” but only in his/her head.

So it is hard to allow the games to begin when you don’t want to play any manipulative mind games. The best you can do is try to adapt to the situation as you experience it with the other, so you are co-creating the rules of the game for the two of you.

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The dangers of IM flirting

September 4, 2007

I’m told some people found the love of their life through an online dating chat room. Others have shared they got to know they beloved long distance through IMs.

Instant messageWhile IMs can be a way to get to know each other quickly, it can also create a false intimacy. I rarely open my IM application because I’ve found it is easy for men (and I’m guessing women) to get into too personal matters too quickly.

For example, I was checking my matches on a new site that has an automatic IM capability as soon as you log on. Within 30 seconds, a guy said hi to me. I typically ignore these, but he had a nice opening salvo, so I quickly looked at his profile, saw he was out of the area and 20 years younger, so sent him my nice brush off message. He continued asking me about things in my profile. So I decided to be nice and chat with him for a few minutes.

By minute two he was asking me questions that were inappropriate. I told him so, and said if he met me at a party he would not be asking these questions. Then I logged off.

The anonymity of the Internet can encourage some people say things they wouldn’t say in person. Or maybe guys like this would! But I think most would have more of a filter for appropriateness. In email, you have some time to think about what you’re writing. But an IM is just that — instant — with very little filtering going on.

This IM assumed intimacy has been more the rule than the exception. If you want to continue to chat you have to tell them your boundaries. But I find if a guy goes there in an IM, he’s not really someone I want to know more.

And it’s not just sexual comments or questions that are a problem. It’s easy to share details and feelings with someone you’re not looking at face-to-face. “What’s wrong with that?” you ask. “Isn’t that a great way to get to really know someone?” Yes, it can be. It can also create an imagined attraction when you haven’t even met yet. Then when you do and there’s no spark, you realize you’ve fallen for the fantasy that you imagined, rather than the real person.

The good news is if you start IMing with someone who becomes inappropriate and you share your boundaries and he doesn’t stop, you can block him from contacting you. Best to nip it in the bud before he has your phone number or address.

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Guys: Need your help translating

August 30, 2007

Gentleman readers:

On behalf of my women readers, I want to offer my last date as a case study. I need your help translating this message. Yesterday’s posting talked about that date, which by my assessment went well. Not the best first date, but good. Here’s Mr. New Guy’s response to my thank-you email:

Last night was lots of fun and I’m really glad that I had the chance to meet you. You’re more gorgeous than I ever imagined.

One thing though. I’m quite sure that our personalities aren’t a match for a long term romantic relationship. While I found you to be physically attractive I didn’t feel a romantic spark.

It wasn’t a negative experience at all. It just felt like I was out with a very good friend.

Our conversation was so interesting and your background is just amazing. I was in awe of what you have accomplished.

Can we remain in contact and perhaps get together as friends at some time in the future? I’d really like to maintain our friendship..

All the best,

This is a bit of a new one for me. I’ve not had (at least that I knew) a man find me interesting and physically attractive and not have a spark. The way I interpret this is I did or said something that was a turn off. I know I wasn’t bitchy, overly aggressive, angry, bitter, didn’t talk too much or about my ex or past relationships, or didn’t interrogate him — all things other men have said were deal breakers in women.

Guys, help enlighten us women. We are told all the time that men are visual, and that if they find you attractive physically, unless you show some egregious behavior, he’ll want to spend more time with you. And is it only women who say they want to date someone who is a friend, too, who they can talk to easily? Isn’t that part of men’s criteria?

So I’m a bit flummoxed (something that happens with some regularity). Care to enlighten all of us women by sharing your take on this? Or is this just another case of not his cup of tea and move on to the next three guys in my pipeline?

I got a notice from eHarmony that they are having a special deal this weekend, in case you’ve been wanting to try their service. Over the entire Labor Day weekend, from midnight on Friday the 31st through midnight PST on Monday the 3rd, eHarmony is having a Free Communication Weekend where any registrant can communicate with their matches with no cost.

If you have never taken their assessment, plan on spending a half-hour or so doing so. But then you can see who matches with you and spend the weekend communicating with them to try it out. Click below to take you to the special sign in page.


Free Communication Weekend

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