Online dating scammers

I’m currently casually chatting with a man who identifies himself as a 40-something US military soldier posted in Libya.

What strikes me first is his language use.

You see I have marked many many student essays and am very familiar with international students writing style. I can pick a student who doesn’t have English as a first or primary language. Interestingly this skill has come in handy for online dating and avoiding scammers.

Of course I am immediately suspicious – which I am anyway because afterall how many soldiers from the US can possibly contact me in a lifetime …I am in Aus by the way. So what alerts me is this: “I see your online, was hoping I get talking to you, hoping we be friends and see how it goes from there..my eyes would be glued to the computer waiting for your reply”.

There are more things wrong with this than just poor literacy or grammar.

My experience communicating with men across the world tells me that it is men from middle eastern or African countries that hope to be friends straight away.

When I ask questions about what he is looking for he delivers lines such as “love…a long lasting relationship” and in a woman he wants “a beautiful heart”. When there are multiple compliments in unnecessary places in the conversation that isn’t really happening I am also dubious. When I am the only one asking questions to seek some sort of an idea of who the person is that is wanting to be my friend and hopefully more I am dubious. And these points don’t just apply to those I know are scammers … This is part of my criteria for anyone I talk to – be interested as well as interesting, show me you are genuinely interested by asking questions or clarifying details. This also tells me you can think and hopefully communicate.

I always give them a chance…just incase I am wrong. I ask a few questions, and may even re-ask in slightly different ways because maybe they misunderstood. Nope, my intuition is usually right. In this case I thought I would be clever in my answer to his only question of “what time is it there”, to which I replied “just past 1900”. Nothing, he doesn’t even notice. In my experience of communicating with real army/military personnel they are usually impressed with my use of the 24 hour system.

So this is a warning…learn by reading what isn’t being said rather than having to experience the tragedy that might unfold without you even realising it.

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Dual dating in friends with benefits

My most recent dilemma has come in the form of my date dating another. While normally I have no issue with this, in this circumstance I am quite confused. I just found this article Uncommitted guy dating different women: Is it wrong? (yes it is from a Christian perspective but has the necessary points that apply to this discussion broadly).

This circumstance started with him telling me he had a date. There are two things that concerned me most about this:

1) I had believed he was after a relationship with me (a number of interactions and discussions lead me to this)

AND

2) We had sex.

As well as telling me about the date and wanting to be honest with me out of respect for me he also told me he didn’t want a relationship [with anyone] but hoped what we had would be more like a friends with benefits situation. This is because he has a very busy work life and is likely to be moving back overseas within the year but still wants the companionship. This is fine by me [I would have appreciated knowing earlier] as I too appreciate the friendship and intimacy. BUT if this is the case and we have the friends with benefits situation he is after then why is he still seeking dates? Why, when he said he has no intention of sleeping with her, has no intention of forming a relationship with her, does he continue with the date?

Obviously I have stopped communicating with him as this isn’t ok with me. I have had a friends with benefits situation where we had an agreement that as I was seeking a more serious relationship that still seeking such dates was ok and that when I did date that we would stop the ‘benefits’. Simple. But this man I was dating isn’t seeking a relationship.

Is it ok to have multiple friends with benefits?

Is it ok to go on dates even if you have no intention of forming a relationship?

Is it ok to not tell people up front about your intentions of dating?

Fishing for men … kinda

oh, and by this I mean when any man will do…

So I have been doing the online dating thing on and off for over five years. I am very experienced and skilled at interpreting online speak as well as creating profiles.

A few years ago I was with a friend who just didn’t know how to go about creating an online profile. My first question to her was what was her purpose of going online? There are so many reasons to try online dating and it is an important first step to truly determine what it is you are wanting to achieve by creating an online dating profile. This gives you an idea of what detail you will actually include to attract the right attention – a bit like a Bowerbird.

To demonstrate this to my friend I created a fake profile that had the purpose of meeting as many men as possible. Now I didn’t promise quality but I did promise quantity. I based this profile on the key characteristics of many typical mens profiles – surface level information (eg. personal stats, music/sport/TV/activity interests, physical attributes), no indication of job/family/living situation, some sexual innuendo (either in username and/or physical description), short incomplete sentences, little to no punctuation, and no more than four or five lines in the description.

Within minutes we had messages from five men, then within an hour we had messages from up to  fifteen men. These weren’t just men ‘stopping by’ to look but they were men who invested time to write a personal message in response to the profile. What was even more interesting is that this type of profile didn’t just attract one type of men but it attracted all sorts of men with all sorts of backgrounds and all sorts of intentions. Of course there were a great number of them who were wanting the quick and dirty online encounter, but remember I only promised numbers not the quality of them.

If you want quality then don’t create that sort of profile if it doesn’t represent who you are. Know what you want and who you are, and accurately be who you are and not someone you are not. This way you will avoid many creepy encounters and may eventually come across someone who you will at least become friends with. If your profile truly depicts who you are then you wont get a lot of contacts. This is GOOD. This means that the ones that do make contact may actually be worthwhile…just keep your creep-radar tuned in.

**Please note that I can only speak for the experience of single hetero women in Australia, and recognise that any comments I make do not necessarily apply to everyone and all circumstances.

Anomie

by Richard Cronborg

State of the Soul by Richard Cronborg

Anomie is a term from French Sociologist Emile Durkheim to describe the loss of personal meaning and values that arise with deep tears in the social fabric that binds people together. Today this has resonated with me and has perhaps given me a context from which to think about my experience of grappling with my own personal meaning and values.

For as long as I remember my need has been to be a mother. I say need rather than goal as this is a feeling that is deep within me rather than external to me. This need has not happened for me and with each bad date or loss of relationship I am again reminded that my ability to realise this part of my life is slipping further away – hence the title of wrong side of 30.

How does this relate to the tears in the social fabric? I am sure many of you know this and if not you have enough knowledge to work it out.

I am what can be referred to as socially infertile – unable to conceive (at least via penis/vagina contact) as a result of a modern epidemic of complex social structures that mitigate against forming relationships.

It seems that as women have gained greater social and financial independence, directly related to employment success, there is less pressure to partner. Likewise, there is less pressure for men to partner due to the sexual freedom we now experience.  For many women it appears to be more difficult to find ‘the one’ thus the father of any future children. Some say that this is also about women not wanting children until later in life which is true for some but not for me.

I have experienced a lot of grief in relation to what feels like a loss. I AM experiencing grief of what I will not have… a sustained and constant partnership from which children evolve.

This grief surfaces each time I read the online dating profile of a man who contacts me and likes to drink with his mates, watch football, and travel (this concept I will leave for another post). The grief surfaces when I have a date that stares at my chest and is unable to hold a conversation on anything else but themselves. The grief consumes me when someone I am dating and have invested myself in … well, you get the point… My time is precious and is wasted.

So here I am. I am a very well educated and successful 30-something woman who meets the surface requirements of the ideal of a partner for many men – I can fill both the Mary and Whore components of social womanhood – yet am unable to find an equal with whom to move through life.

Has the social fabric torn so much that without technology intelligent, independent, strong women will not breed?

Constant sequel

A sequel continues elements of the original story, often with the same characters and settings. A sequel can lead to a series, in which key elements appear in a number of stories.

…Yes that is me, forever stuck in a sequel. Same elements of the storyline with much the same characters and settings. I, obviously, am the central character. After-all if I wasn’t I wouldn’t have a reason to write a blog.

What will follow is a series of entries outlining the mystical world that is dating from the perspective of a 30-something year old woman. In dating I am not just defined by my age but also by my career success, ability to live independently, and to have not magically ‘fallen pregnant’. All of which seem to surprise men I have dated, all of which seem to become an issue in some way.