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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Finding love in your bunny slippers (aka the secrets to internet dating)

Nowadays it seems just about everyone and their brothers are on-line dating. Looking for love from the safety of your own living room certainly requires less energy. Does it get any easier than reading people's stats and even beginning your flirtation all without ever taking off your favorite bunny slippers? That said, the internet dating world has its own particular challenges and is like everything in love, complicated. So below are a few observations and tips I've gleaned from my own internet dating experiments...


  1. At least 9 out of 10 internet dates lead nowhere, so be prepared to invest quite a bit of time if you're serious about it. If you wanted, internet dating could provide you with dates every night of the week (and I've had friends who could cram more than one into a weekend day!), but just don't expect most of those to be very good. If you set your expectations too high, you will invariably be disappointed.
  2. Because most dates are utterly useless, be careful about where you go on the first date. Coffee or drinks is best because you can quickly extricate yourself if he turns out to be 100 pounds heavier than his photo or have halitosis that could kill a small animal. I once left a coffee date after a mere 15 minutes when he revealed the "job" he'd bragged about on email was actually just a part time gig helping out his uncle while he looked for real work and that his house in the valley was also inhabited and owned by his parents. Ugh! Save dinner for second dates when you already know if they're worth investing 2 hours with.
  3. No matter how attractive the photos you see, you can never know if you are going to actually find the person physically appealing until you see them. The pics could be old or the person could just be amazingly photographic. Heading into my first internet date ever, I was so excited because he seemed so interesting and handsome, but 30 seconds into the date I already knew I wasn't attracted to him. Somehow the picture just did him too much justice! An important note: I am dubious of any professionally taken photo that is simply too perfect. I mean how many doctors and accountants really have six packs and a set of headshots?
  4. Remember that many dating sites are fairly transparent. That means that everyone can see what you're up to on there - like when you last logged in, if you've clicked on someone's profile, etc. That said, if you are dating someone, don't forget that they can see that you are still trolling around for dates. I have a friend who was driven crazy by the fact that the guy she was dating was still logging on 5 times a day. Obviously not a good sign!
  5. Pick the right site. There are all kinds of sites these days, so make sure you pick one that is well tailored to you. Some sites like eharmony do elaborate personality testing to match you with the right person, but then don't let you narrow the geographic search very much. So if you're someone like me who thinks the Inland Empire and Long Beach might as well be foreign countries, avoid sites like these. Other sites like say nerve and craigslist have a more sexual bent, while at a jdate you have a fairly homogeneous pool. Pick wisely and you are far more likely to find people to your liking. Browse the site a bit before buying in...I've checked out several sites only to see that there was nary an attractive man in site.
  6. Don't forget that people you know will see you on there. People seem to forget that their friends, neighbors and coworkers are all online dating, too, which means that they can see your carefully crafted profile just like everyone else can. So don't lie, and don't say anything embarrassing, and certainly don't think you can get away with cheating on your significant other on a site. My friend was dating a guy from one site. When we ran into him one night, it turned out I actually knew him through friends. I also happened to know he had a girlfriend. How that guy thought he could keep anyone who knew him from seeing him on a major dating site, I'm not sure! My aunt is on another site. She received a letter from a man and thought he looked familiar. A little research reminded her why...he was her friend's husband (present tense!) and was in fact a decade older than he claimed to be! Not only is it just cruel to cheat like this, but it's just plain stupid.

So happy internet surfing, readers! For all of the challenges of online dating, it is an effective way to meet people who have something in common with you, which is more than I can say for every cocktail infused evening out on the town.

Love,

Biatch

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