Online Dating – How to find Mr or Ms Right

Online Dating – How to find Mr. Right.

Last night was my occasional attempt at a trivia night with work colleagues and friends. We all admit we only go to trivia to catch up with each other and have lots of laughs – for a bunch of academics we are terrible at trivia. Without fail our conversation ends up on the topic of sex, online dating and a bit of vulgar banter. Often this conversation focuses on me and a male colleague as we are having such difficulty finding someone. Our gender makes our experiences quite different to the other, and we know that if he was gay he would have much better luck. Anyone who has been dating online for a while knows this but for him it is new territory. He seems so nervous and doesn’t know what to say to a girl online…because of course there must be some magical thing to say that ‘works’. He is also so lovely and I am amazed he has any difficulty. His biggest issue is which site to go on. Having used most of them I have an idea of the general type of person or purpose for each site and now adjust accordingly. So it was good to come across this article today ‘How to find Mr Right’. The post gives such easy pointers about where to start with online dating. Although it refers to “Mr” I feel the ideas apply to anyone so will pass it along to him.

My break-down of sites often used in Australia:

RSVP – good general site for anyone, there are enough questions that have to be answered to at least do some of the weeding out of the really gross people for you. The small fee for tokens to be able to email someone can also act to indicate genuineness and interest. There does seem to be a bit of debate about who actually does the token buying – mostly men are expected to do this it seems.

Blendr – can be confusing as many believe the site/app is about hooking up (aka the gay equivalent of Grindr), so be up front and get to the point about what you want. Attracts ANYONE. Beware of scammers.

POF (Plenty of Fish) – it’s free, it has an option to say upfront what you are looking for although it isn’t necessarily clear enough sometimes…as people have a variety of wants and needs. If someone has actually completed their profile it gives a reasonably good indication of who they are.

Oasis – completely about hooking up, one night stands, a bit of home video action, and exchanging dirty talk.

Craigslist – if you have a specific request (ie. for the weird, dirty, fetish, kink etc), or even just to advertise yourself and what you want, and want to remain totally anonymous until a point where you are comfortable this is the one for you. This site is used very differently in Aus than it is often is in the US etc. Beware the scammers and trols.

OkCupid – not bad, but I didn’t find there were enough people on this to provide ongoing use…especially outside of metropolitan areas (eg. Melbourne,Sydney).

eHarmony – I think this is the best with regards to the quality of people, although it is expensive. Once you are signed up though it is all included – no buying tokens. There are A LOT of sign-up questions but they are worth answering. The process is also good as you don’t have to communicate directly with the person first, instead requesting to see some of their core values etc.

 

 

Advertisements

The Paper Bag Princess or time waster?

Today I found myself finally getting back to a man I have had some casual online chat with. Over the last two or three weeks other aspects of my life have required my energy, indeed I have preferred to give my energy to those areas rather than the online game of dating. I could see this man – let’s call him S – had been attempting to contact me and so responded politely with an apology for my online absence.

At this point I need to say that S really had not done much in the way of attempting to get to know me through asking questions and engaging in an ongoing online dialogue. In doing so I had wondered if he would be like that in person but applied benefit of the doubt and continued to occasionally chat with a view to one day meeting and finding out. Maybe S was shy? Maybe he didn’t like typing? Maybe… who knows!

It wasn’t long before S replied to me today. He suggested we meet up tonight. I couldn’t meet up and let him know just as you would with anyone. His reply back to me was “You don’t seem too keen…to change your life”.

There it was. There was that mystical concept that people in the dating world talk about, hope for, believe in. I like to refer to this as the cinderella or prince charming effect, whereby meeting ‘the one’ will in some way rescue you from what must be a terrible life. This was also my ‘aha’ moment of this person definitely isn’t for me. Nevertheless, I was curious to know how S thought he would change my life.

S didn’t like me asking. His intolerance for the question suggested I was supposed to want my life changed, and that I wanted for him to be the one to change it.

Image

Obviously I pointed out that I quite liked my life and wasn’t looking for someone to change it, rather I am looking for someone to add to my life. I also added that I wasn’t looking for whatever it is right now, that I wasn’t needing today to be the day as I was/am extremely tired. Clearly my sense of non-urgency was not good enough as S proceeded to call me a ‘time waster’.

Being a ‘time waster’ is an odd thing. I don’t define myself as a time waster, especially as I don’t intend to do that and am quite upfront about my intentions and feelings in any moment. Being a time waster and having your time wasted are two different things which require different responses. Being a time waster suggests intent on wasting someone else’s time, intentionally misleading them. Having your time wasted is part of both or either being mislead and/or making decisions for yourself contrary to what you want.

I don’t intend to waste people’s time, I don’t mislead people using false and alluding statements or comments. I am laid back –for non-Australian’s this refers to having a relaxed nature, or going with the flow– and I am open and honest.

The term ‘time waster’ seems to get used a lot in online dating. I’m not overly sure what this looks like from the mens perspective but I have some understanding based on my own experience. I had my time wasted for seven years by someone that I was deeply in love with. We both kept ourselves available for the other in various ways across that time so I take ownership over my part. However, I particularly was dragged through emotional torment by this person being unable to be honest with themselves and thus continually pushing and pulling me while I was broken and tearing to pieces, of which he spoke of knowingly doing this. My time was wasted as my best reproduction years have past, the opening for meeting someone else has become smaller, my trust in other men/lovers/partners has been eroded, and my enthusiasm to give effort to others has drained. That’s time wasting, that’s having my time wasted. So how can so much anger be thrown around online for what are mostly strangers in wasting others’ time?

A few brief online chats, superficial at best, surely doesn’t take up so much of your mind and body that your time is wasted? Did S really invest himself in me so much that he believed I would change his life after just a few online chats and potentially one date over a coffee?

This got me thinking, “have we been conditioned by fairy tales that until we find ‘the one’ we are all helpless and hopeless?”

These thoughts have been evolving in my mind for a week since a fairy tale experience. My gorgeous niece loves books. She toddled off and got some books and returned to sit in my lap and handed me Cinderella. Being the realist that I am I didn’t actually read the words from the page, opting instead to tell her about how she doesn’t need a man to be complete and that prince charming is not the perfect picture made out in the story. It was this moment that I realised why so many men (sorry I can only speak of men as I am a hetero woman) feel that they will change my life. They too have been lead to believe they should, will, must save a woman who will then forever gaze at his brilliance and offer her thanks by being his princess who smiles and laughs while twirling her hair. I didn’t do the best job of telling a better story but have since found a book that might.

Instead of reading your children stories like Cinderella and setting them up for dating failure, consider alternatives such as ‘The Paper Bag Princess‘. Maybe I’ll send this to S.

More profiles people should be ashamed of

So… I got on here to write another type of entry but thought I would first share this one. I am so amazed at what people consider effort/care/openness,… oh sorry, he said long winded….oh then that must be what it is. If the fella in Stupid Cupid’s post thought her simple, elegant and open profile was long winded then I wonder what his little mind would make of mine???

After a few years of on again/off again online dating and continually attracting idiots I decided to write a profile that was REALLY me but also had the added benefit of doing the ‘sorting’ for me. I just got sick of having to read either stupid or boring attempts at conversation online with men that I just would NEVER be interested in. So what I wrote is below. By the time you finish reading this you can imagine that I have significantly cut down the stream of contacts who waste my time.

“”So I am just going to put this out there! Most people on dating sites are looking for something that is missing, whether that be a companion or a potential partner for having a family. I propose that in a western system we have it backwards and instead should be adopting some sensible and practical strategies from other nations. I am suggesting something far from traditional dating but more like an arrangement, a coming together of two people to discuss and plan and consider all the difficult and tough issues that so often are not discussed during the mating game. This then provides a basis by which to truly form a bond based on shared and agreed values. Of course for this to work I understand that we would still need to be able to even get to a point of robust discussion, so for those who are still reading what follows is a glimpse into who I am.

The good, the bad and the absolute ugly…

The Good:
Looking much younger than I am has lots of advantages
I am crafty and can create many things for myself and others
I am confident with reasonably good self-esteem
I have a close yet small family
Soon I will be a full-time PhD student – so I am intelligent, analytical, & inquiring
I adore affection – giving and receiving it
I love animals
I have a great smile
I can park a car better than most
Laughter is the key to fun no matter what the situation is (but clearly I can be serious too)
Work is secure and mostly rewarding
Staying active is important to me, as is spending time being still
I can dance and keep a beat well
Spelling is VERY important, but I can forgive errors in exchange for other qualities 🙂
I don’t believe in seeing other people while ‘seeing’ someone else
I am very open and honest

The Bad (well this depends who you are):
I am passionate so have an opinion
Being introverted means work or excessive demands leaves me quite tired
Sometimes it takes me time to think about my feelings and make decisions
You may catch me staring at people…I love people-watching
I like watching gross infection/wound/cyst videos
Being an air-head is not my style
I have small hands
I am sensitive and would be less hurt by the truth than a lie…so if you lie you are intentionally hurting me which would make you not a nice guy (people lie to protect themselves not the other person)

The Ugly:
I have carry-on baggage…it’s not so heavy that it needs to be stowed, but enough which has given me some real life changing experiences.
I have cried at work – the ugly cry where you can’t even talk through the sobs
Don’t give me coffee – I become hyperactive and my heart tries to jump through my chest
Work takes up a lot of my time and energy, but this is soon to change
Unfortunately I am addicted to sugar…but trying hard to kick the habit.
I get a lot of headaches… I have finally given in to the value of pain meds for being able to keep going sometimes.

You are:
Confident
Happy with you
Independent
Romantic
Employed & not intimidated by my job
Open & deeply honest
Willing to explore …things “”

Stupid Cupid

It’s been too long since I shared…

20130716-002647.jpg
Gee thanks! I love that you think my… Let’s be liberal and say 200 word description of myself was long winded. I can see you are really interested in me.

20130716-003143.jpg

I don’t think our grammar skills are of the same level. It just seems like he could have tried a bit harder. I’m just saying…

View original post

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.

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.