A few years ago, I decided to try online dating. I was a little reluctant, but I rationalized that online dating was quickly becoming mainstream. Also, a good friend of mine had recently met her handsome, doctor-husband online. So that pretty much explains that.
Unfortunately, I was not met with the same level of success. I admit that it was largely my own fault. I found it difficult to interact like a real person with people I’d already researched through an online profile. Has anyone else found that challenging? It’s kind of like going to a high school reunion post-Facebook where you have to pretend that you haven’t seen these people in ten years when, in fact, you know what they are doing every moment of the day. Or at least kind of like that.
As far as dating profiles, they impede the natural flow of getting to know each other. For instance, one guy and I, prompted by our respective profiles, very carelessly started talking about politics early on our first date. The conversation inevitably deteriorated to the point where he said something about Native Americans being “war faring people,” which was just too much for me. I thanked him for the drink and told him that, unfortunately, I didn’t think this was going to work out. We never saw each other again.
Another time, my date and I met at a bar off the beaten path. We ordered drinks and started chatting. We waged, laboriously, through polite conversation. I was bored and judging by the rate at which he downed his drinks, so was my date. I had a glass of wine, and waited for him to cut himself off. I was a little surprised when he suggested that we go to dinner because I assumed that the mismatch was so obvious that one of us would balk on dinner. I was hoping it would be him.
“Oh, right.” I winced.
We left the bar and started walking towards the restaurant which, he assured me, was just around the corner. For several blocks, he focused intently on his phone. He had a map pulled up, but he certainly did not look confident in his direction. Suddenly, he stopped.
“We went the wrong way.” He turned around. After we had twisted, and turned, traced and retraced our steps for half an hour, he told me that we were going to go with his back-up plan. He led me into the first place we passed: a seedy Polish dive restaurant with one room for dining and another for playing pool. The volume on the TV over our table was at full blast even though music was playing throughout the bar. I picked at my food and my date ordered two shots for himself.
Mercifully, dinner finally came to an end. Sadly, we still had to walk back to the first bar to get our cars. Walking at a nice distance from each other, neither of us said a word. Until we came to Blockbuster.
“You wanna get a movie and go back to my place?” He asked. You have got to be joking.
“Not at all.” I said as I walked past him.
We returned to the bar and said our goodbyes. I didn’t think he should be driving, but I was too anxious to escape this date to do anything about that. Not very long ago, I ran into this guy again when I was with my fiancé. We pretended not to see each other. Sometimes the big city can feel very small.
There is a point to this story. Though too late for me, I recently learned a really brilliant online dating trick. A very intelligent friend of mind suggests perusing others’ profiles before creating your own. Once you have found a few people to whom you might be attracted, study their profiles. Use the words and phrases they use that appeal to you in your own profile. Even if you don’t dedicate a lot of time to studying profiles, resist the urge to throw something together quickly and haphazardly. It is especially important that you invest a little time in the process if you are looking for a relationship rather than an “encounter.”
If you’re going to dabble in online dating, why not do it well? Take heed from someone who did not. Though creating an awesome profile might feel a little cheesy at first, remember that your profile will ultimately be your first impression. As such, it will determine who you date. Make it count. And please, unless you are 12 or not fluent in the language of your dating pool, do not let your friends do it for you.