With the rise of Internet dating, come the stories of success, failure and strange experiences in the cyber-world. At the heart of it all is the mantra ‘be yourself’ which is bandied about as a lesson to us all, and most of us take heed. After all, what is the point of being someone else? They are not real and the truth inevitably rears its ugly head in the end. There are, however, some online daters who prefer to tread the fictional side of life, believing that you have to really stand out from the crowd to be noticed, so what harm can come from stretching the truth?
Being your ‘Best Self’
It is difficult to project the best image of yourself in the hope of getting attention online. According to News.com.au, men can be the worst offenders of inappropriate chat up lines and dodgy techniques to win themselves a date. A bad experience of being yourself can lead to a good experience of being someone else, so it’s easy to understand the temptation.
Men are guilty of posting peculiar photos of themselves online, with topless shots being a common choice. Another offender is the photo taken many moons ago, the one that doesn’t even look like you. Women can also offend with dishonest photos. A guy once told me that he had arranged to meet a woman on a dating site who had sent him a photo of herself. When he turned up she called his name but he could not recognise her at all. The photo was a good 15 years out of date. When I asked him if he bought her a drink anyway, or at least had a chat with her, he shook his head and said he drove off, leaving her standing there, which didn’t give me the impression that he was being his ‘best self’. There should be a certain etiquette to online dating, after all, where a man remains a gentleman, shouldn’t there?
Who’s Real and Who Isn’t
It difficult to tell truth from fiction with online dating because you are basing your opinion on someone’s photo and profile. Photos can bewitch us and we sometimes just skim read the words beside them. Men and women base their views on each other’s ‘attractiveness’, and this is a subjective, personal thing that changes with every person, but what use is attractiveness if the person online prefers tall women and you are 5’2, or you have strong anti smoking views and they are a 40 a day kind of guy?
Regardless of taste and idiosyncrasies, you will not know how ‘real’ they are until you meet them. This should take place somewhere very public, where there are a lot of people around you, not because he or she may be a psychopath but because they might not be who you thought they were. Height cannot be disguised in reality, nor can age or weight. If you are the guilty culprit and have indulged in a little harmless fiction online, your date will not thank you for this.
If you are on the receiving end of a date’s ‘unreality’, you might want to run for the toilets and hope the window is large enough for a quick exit. If you don’t think you can survive the next five minutes, perhaps leaving is the only course of action you can take. However, it might be useful to sit down with the person and ask why they felt the need to reinvent themselves for you; just how insecure are they? You never know, you could end the date on a high note, if only because you both have a chuckle about it.
Sometimes people disguise the truth because they genuinely have something they feel they must hide, and a first date is not the right time for such reveals. These might be issues such as hair loss from anxiety or illness, or a recovering alcoholic who has sought help from a treatment centre and wishes to conceal this from their date. These are very different issues to the ones that tend to make or break a first date, and are concerned more with the obstacles life might throw at us and the guilt that ensues rather than deceit to get a date. No one wants to unburden themselves to someone they have just met as this would result in an uncomfortable situation. A first date is about making the right impression; it’s about finding out as much as you can, but it is not an interrogation and, above all, it should remain light and fun.
Many people get hooked on online dating when they are not really ready to date. This is part of the charm of cyber dating; it does not seem quite real. At the other end of the spectrum there are those who check their emails every few minutes and spend hours glued to their computer screens, according to Womans Day. Then there are those who have one bad experience and disappear from the site, missing the chance to meet their perfect partner, which is a real shame.
With truth separated from fiction, online dating can and should be a wholly positive experience. Keep it real, persevere and, above all, enjoy yourself.
Online dating is taking the world by storm. In this digital, virtual society we live in, meeting someone is proving harder to do, and we often don’t have time or don’t make the effort to date. At the touch of a button all that has changed: joining a dating site is easy, all it takes is a little perseverance and attention to detail and you are ready to launch your profile into the cyber world of 21st Century dating. Easy, right?
The people who enjoy online dating understand why they do it and what the benefits are, unlike the people who tend to wear disapproving expressions and mutter about serial killers preying on online singletons. Everyone has advice to give, which is fine. Perhaps they just care about you. Online dating matches individuals and offers up potential dates depending on what you’ve put in your profile. The ease of all this makes some skeptics critical of the process. You could be meeting anyone; you know nothing about them, so how do you know you’re doing the right thing?
By following a few sensible tips you can enjoy online dating confidently and successfully.
Be Persistant, be Picky
A friend of mine told me he’d never tried online dating and when he did, he enjoyed how selective he could be. He liked the idea of getting to know a person from their profile and being picky about his potential dates. He wasn’t the type of guy to rush into things, he simply wanted to take his time and make sure he met the right sort of women for him. He did, and they’re still dating nine months later.
Your profile is your chance to shine; it’s kind of like a job interview but more fun. The important thing to remember is to keep it real. Lying about your age and other factors is only going to let you down in the end. Be honest about who you are and also about who you are looking for. You don’t need to reinvent yourself; remember that the other people who click on your profile probably feel exactly the same as you. Everyone’s a little unsure about online dating when they first start, but agree that it’s fun.
Persistence is the key to successful dating. If at first you don’t succeed… you know how it goes. The best course of action is to chat first, before you meet. For some people, it only needs to be a few emails back and forth, for others it might take a month before they feel comfortable enough to meet in person. You need to be sure that you want to take things further and going on a first date is nerve wracking enough. Take your time and enjoy the experience.
Up Close and Personal
When you meet for a date, make sure it is somewhere public and visible. This is just common sense and most people follow this advice and date successfully and confidently. You can never quite get a feel for someone until you’ve met them and then you know whether you are going to hit it off or not.
Keep control of the date. Make sure you are comfortable and that you keep things casual but pleasant. A first date is when you find out as much as possible about the person you are with, but don’t interrogate them or reel out your entire life story just because they’ve asked you to tell them a bit about yourself. Enjoy the date, that’s the most important thing. Live in the moment. If it goes really well, there will be another one to look forward to. If it doesn’t work out, don’t stress out. The right partner is waiting in the wings; they just might take longer to find.
Online dating is easy, with the right attitude and attention to your profile and pics. The issue of intimacy is less so. When is the right time to step it up with your new partner? Do you count the dates and stick to an unspoken rule? Everyone is different. Dating is an emotional activity; having fun is simple, but falling for someone and wanting a level of intimacy with them introduces other factors. Intimacy should come when you both feel the time is right. If you take the leap too soon, issues of tension and perhaps an inability to achieve sexual pleasure may ruin the moment for you both. There are no rules to intimacy, just the all encompassing one that relates to everything about dating. Make decisions based on instinct, but try to keep a level head too. Only you will know when the time is right to step up your relationship and if you wait until this moment, rather than feeling pressured into it, it will be a much more fulfilling experience for you and your partner.
Guest post by freelance writer Julie Salway
I got a massage yesterday from my regular masseuse (first world problems for sure) and asked her how she was doing. She was elated because she had gone on a date with her husband the weekend before. When I asked her how long it had been since they had gone out together, she said, ‘Oh, maybe seven years.” Half way through my deep tissue, I wasn’t sure if she was exaggerating or not, but the pep in her step and excitement in her voice told she probably wasn’t.
My initial shock got me thinking though, how many date nights do you go on? My number wasn’t as high as I had envisioned it to be. Is yours? When I really thought about it, the amount of true dates I go on each year with my partner stumbles somewhere around 10-12. We go out all the time to grab food, run errands and visit people, but those aren’t “date nights.” Date nights are the nights you put a little more effort into, you plan it out and it’s understood that it’s just going to be the two of you. Surprised by my paltry number (we don’t even have kids!), I thought it’s time to pick up this dating game and make things exciting again. Plus there’s even science to back that date night is imperative to maintaining a happy and satisfying marriage (or relationship), so why not?
At this point, I know I and I’m sure, you, have suffered from date idea boredom, so in efforts to help you out I came up with 6 date ideas that are a little different and a whole lot of sexy.
Picnic it up–
Date nights don’t always mean you have to go out. Throw a picnic on the floor of your living room on a cold or rainy night. Get some wine, finger foods and a fire going. Throw down a blanket, turn down the lights and put on something sexy. You just have to fight the urge to turn on the TV when the conversation starts to lull.
Kick it old school–
Back in the good ole days (not that any of us were alive then), men used to actually court women, take them out for fancy drinks and go dancing. They’d put on a suit, the women would put on their best dress and it would be absolutely lovely. This may have been decades ago, but no reason you can’t do it now. Pull out your favorite dress and have him put on his nicest suit. Go out for Manhattans or French martinis at a jazz bar or anywhere there is live music, really. And then get to dancing. It’s cliche, but incredibly romantic.
Does your sex life need a pick me up? Are you or were you a little adventurous in bed? If so, consider hitting up a swingers party for the night. You’ll have to do a little digging online, but you should be able to find a swingers community in your hometown. Go with an open mind and have a few drinks. First timers don’t have to dive in, in fact, you can just watch or hook up with your partner!
Need a little pick me up, but not as extreme as the one above? Totally understandable. Instead, you can make a night of toy shopping together. Go to your local adult novelty store like Adam and Eve and see what turns both of you on. This is a great idea because it will get both of you talking about what you like, what you don’t like and what you want to try. Promise each other that you’ll get at least 2 toys, one you want and one your partner wants to try. Then go home and try them out!
Get your blood flowing–
Have a weird schedule or merely time during the day to go out? Pick an exciting activity that both of you have never done before like white water rafting, repelling, horseback riding, etc. Exciting activities will get your adrenaline pumping. Sparks will fly when you pair a new activity, adrenaline and a partner together. It creates an automatic bond that will make you feel closer and immediately turned on.
Finally, you can throw it back and pretend like it’s back when you first met. Both of you should get dressed and go out alone. Meet at the same bar but sit at different tables or stools. Have a drink or two and then seduce each other. Ask each other all the first date kind of stuff, play hard to get at first, or be overly flirty. Leave together in the end. It seems a little silly, but it can actually be a total turn on.
Both men and woman are guilty of a barren profile and these are the people who bitch most often that they can’t get a date or that the website is somehow sucky and responsible for their being alone on a Saturday night. Humbug. Dating is the same as any other thing you want in life. With a bit of effort, everything is easy.
I don’t think these folks go to work and just sit there because they would fail and get booted back home. Finding a date takes a little bit of effort too, but it is not difficult.
We get mail from a guys who have no ad, no photo, no blog, never sent a comment to a profile, blog or photo, never posted in the forum and don’t send emails. One had been a VIP member for 3 1/2 weeks and demanded that we give him his money back because nobody was real because they wouldn’t respond to him other than to say no thanks. He just wouldn’t accept that women want to see more than nothing to reply to an email that says, “want to meet?” The answer is always going to be no. I find emails like this really frustrating because I’m sure the guy believes it’s all our fault.
If YOU want to get lucky more often, put a little effort into it.
- Make sure you have an ad or profile filled out. Don’t know how? See what other people do.
- No photo? In today’s dating world you need a photo. Not having a photo reduces your chances by up to 70%.
- Write a blog
- Write comments to profiles, photos and blogs
- Post in forums and message boards
- Join a chatroom or videochat
- Play online games
- Get involved in social media
These are all great ways to get noticed. The more you’re noticed, the more profile views you’ll have and that results in contacts. Think of dating in the same way an advertising agent looks at promoting a new product. It’s all about getting the most pairs of eyes on the subject. You.