The New Dating Game

29 Apr

Single Woman Seeking Man No smokers Hopeless Romantic A few extra pounds

Single Woman Seeking Man
No smokers
Hopeless Romantic
A few extra pounds

The New Dating Game

Or,

How to tip-toe through the hopelessly romantic bevy of available women

and a few suggestions on what not to do and what to do on online match-maker sites

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

I’ll admit I’ve not been at this new dating game long. Just a few months. But long enough to figure out three important facts:

  1. It’s very difficult to tell what value online matchmaking provides.
  2. It’s very difficult to tell what value online matchmaking provides.
  3. It’s very difficult to tell what value online matchmaking provides.

 

I haven’t tried every dating format, but some of the companies that pat themselves on the back and tout themselves as industry leaders. Match.com, Zoosk, and Plenty of Fish are three. I haven’t tried the big Christian match-making company because they, like Ted Cruz, have diluted their purity by allowing anyone onboard.

Of course, it’s probably very difficult to verify whether or not a member is truly Christian, as the litmus tests are as biased and broad as the definition of Christian these days.

My experiences with the three above is that they are difficult to distinguish. The exception is POF provides a pretty in-depth questionnaire on its members’ needs and desires. One assumes this complicated algorithm somehow filters out a variety of mismatches, but it doesn’t seem to work its way out into reality, unfortunately.

For the un-indoctrinated, the process is to sign on for FREE membership. Of course, free means limited by what you get and for how long you get it. Systems are designed to tease the freeloader into either upgrading to some higher status, Golden, Platinum, or Stratosphere (whatever sounds best).

The price for a month or longer as an upgraded member can be steep. And, gosh, if you’re on more than one site (I’ll bet many are, thinking they will draw from a wider pool), then it’s a car payment!  But with a car payment at least you end up with a car.

So, I suppose it’s more like playing the lottery. Another tax on many who can ill-afford the money. Few ever strike pay-dirt.

Why do people do this?

Many are like me, older — and don’t want to go through the bar scene, or the Singles Ministry at their church, or whatever social stepping stone. We hope against hope that the one (and there are many euphemistic adjectives for this person) will magically find us among the tens of millions of members and be so captivated it will be a matter of texting “Hi there!” to start an avalanche to the altar.

I have met some very nice people, who have interesting pasts and stories to tell. I remind all I meet that everything they say may end up in one of my stories! They laugh, not suspecting how true that really is. Having just written this, and because I direct potential relationships to my online writing studio, I recognize this disclosure will probably have adverse effects on my finding THE one.

Below are my recommendations to those who seriously want to separate the chaff from the wheat in this process:

  1. Keep your expectations low. You see a profile photo of someone and you go, “Wow! She’s/he’s really attractive!” Then reality sets in when you meet for a cup of coffee. The photo is several years old.
  2. Read the profiles and pick up on nuances. Things like, “If you are a jerk I will find out and kill you!” Or, “I really like to travel abroad, like evening strolls down the Champs-Élysées, or fine 100-year-old champagne.” Prepare to spend.
  3. When you make text contact and begin communicating, don’t drink and text. Like the bar scene, everyone looks better after the second or third glass of wine.
  4. ASK your friends and family members what they think of someone you are intrigued with. One story I am aware of is of an attractive and sexy woman who did not heed the warnings of her friends. The guy took advantage of her sexually and left her in a shambles. That was within a three-week time period from “Hi” to “Bye.”
  5. Don’t give information out, like phone numbers, emails, Facebook sites or other contact information until you have established the person has earned that information. Trust is one thing. Foolishness, another.
  6. Represent yourself honestly. “A few pounds extra” is, in most cases, not representative of most members’ body types. I put a disclaimer at the beginning of my POF account, and response has dramatically decreased. The problem is, probably the women I’d like to meet click on by. But, hey! I’m not looking for a harem!
  7. Limit the number of people you are in contact with. I was overwhelmed at first, and took the time to concentrate on one person. In the long run it wasn’t a fit, but I felt I gave it an honest shot.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask any question and expect an answer. When the relationship warrants, do a background check. Expect and even encourage others to do the same, unless you are on the FBI Most Wanted list. Then you wouldn’t do this anyway.
  9. Consider the long-term versus the short-term. Take your time and be deliberate.
  10. Photos: don’t get me started! Your profile shot should be the best photo representation of what you look like today. If you want to show off how you looked when you were Homecoming Queen, or Captain of the football team, don’t use it as your main pic, and be sure you put a disclaimer. Update your profile photo often. Avoid the following in your profile picture: With other people. It’s difficult to tell which one you are. If you’re a woman, don’t have a man’s arm draped around you. I actually saw someone take a pic of a picture where someone had been cut out of the picture. Avoid selfies, or shots into the mirror. Don’t take a “come hither” shot — it cheapens you. No booby shots. No bikini shots where there is a suggestive pose. Your photos should give someone an idea of who you are and what your life is really like. NEVER take a picture of yourself from below looking up your nose!
  11. Remember that you are the person you are. Don’t try to be someone else. Bear in mind MANY on these sites are sharks. They want something. They sense vulnerability and go in for the kill. Don’t be a statistic in that regard.

Okay, eleven is an odd number to stop on. But I could go on.

I’ll continue to use these sites as a filter, and a way to meet people I wouldn’t have ordinarily. My goal is to remain transparent, and able to live with myself.

 

Here’s a quote I like from Brontë:

“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”

Perhaps you will like it, too.

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