Sunday, February 22, 2009

Online Dating From a Girl’s Perspective…

When someone talks about “online dating”, they are likely to get a variety of responses from others. It could be, “Oh, I had a horrible experience online! I just don’t do that anymore.” Or, it could be “Hmmm I tried it once.” If the person is older, they may think that only losers try dating online. The truth is that many people will not admit to loading a profile online, but it is becoming the most popular way of meeting someone special.

I think most people would prefer to meet someone in person, but since that does not always happen on our schedule, putting some eggs in the online dating basket isn’t a bad idea. Heck, I met my husband online…and it was not the only socializing I did. I just got tired of meeting the same people at local social events. I had combed my cosmopolitan city for years and just did not click with anyone.

“Online dating is the wave of the future,” one man I dated said. He added, “People get home from work and they are tired. Online dating enables them to do a more thorough search than any other way of dating. It saves time.” While you may go out to a Theology on Tap and naturally stick by your friends, online dating forces you to chat with guys who are available and looking. So in that sense, it’s really productive.

There is a certain practicality to online dating. For instance, I used to reside next door to the Capitol in Washington DC. We all know that there are plenty of young staffers there. How was I supposed to meet any of them if I did not work in the same buildings myself? I tended to meet these people randomly in restaurants around the Hill, but honestly would have preferred a quick email introduction first!

That’s because the Hill guys were rather bold. Some walked up to me as I was eating at a restaurant or picking up lunch. Sometimes, they would seat themselves next to me. One asked, “When guys do this, do you tolerate it?” I did, when I was looking, but it could be rather startling. In this day and age, people are not as accustomed to that kind of a thing.

Another time, a Republican staffer flagged me down as I was ordering lunch and had the nerve to invite me on a pricey vacation with him. I said, “no, thank you,” but as payback for refusing, he left the conversation on a rude and insulting note. This was in a public place!

So, online dating offers you some protections against the wiliness of bold men. There are pitfalls to online dating too though. People often misrepresent themselves slightly without trying. When typing their profile, they strive to put their best foot forward, which is well and good, but in the process, they describe the person they want to be rather than the person they truly are. They think, “This is the best version of myself.” That is great, but if they are not the best version of themselves more than 75% of the time, people are going to get an unexpected surprise. This best foot forward gone awry scenario happens to the best of us, so it’s really something to be wary of in your own profile as well as others.

For a woman, the trap is simply trying to be that ideal woman that every man wants. Well, the real deal is that there is no ideal woman that every man wants. I do think that many men would prefer to marry a woman who knows how to cook and is neat and tidy. For example, I knew a guy who broke up with a woman because he could not stand her messy apartment, and my husband says he wanted a wife who could cook. But, don’t say you are a fabulous cook and a neat freak on your profile if you are not. Sure, you may want to learn to cook, but if you have not yet, be sure not to mix up present and future.

From my experience, if profiles are inaccurate, it’s because people accidentally misrepresented themselves. There was no true malice. But yes, there are bad people out there who do it on purpose. The only thing I have to say on this is to make sure you use your “street skills” online and don’t trust too quickly. No amount of security from an online dating company will completely protect you from people who do not have your best interests at heart.

Here are three quick archetypes for women to avoid. They are valid on both Catholic and non-Catholic dating sites.

The Anti-Social Socialite: I remember a type of man I met a few times online who was really into writing long letters to lady friends but who never displayed an interest in anything more. If you become friends with a man who writes you for more than 2-3 months max without mentioning a phone call or in person visit, ditch him! They are wasting your time and as a Catholic, I just can’t believe in the validity of online marriages. This relationship will not lead anywhere and the constant writing without real contact creates a false sense of intimacy.

The Real Socialite: Some guys are really just out there to play the field and don’t care how the ladies feel about that. If they tell you this up-front, be sure to communicate your expectations to this guy. Otherwise, he could end up dating and kissing a ton of girls at one time. So, if you hit a point when you think the relationship should be exclusive, tell him that. If he won’t agree, you have to decide to either set him loose, or remain one of many love interests and keep it low key and casual.

The Sugar Daddy: This is a classic type and yes, he exists! The guy who showers you with expensive gifts and trips almost immediately expects “something” in return. Even if he is Catholic and says he is into chastity, watch out.