I let that friend talk me into browsing some pictures on one of the more popular dating sites. I had to say, there were some pretty decent looking men on there. Their profiles made them sound like fairly mentally stable human beings. I had to admit that the single thing was getting really tedious. I had done the bar scene (as we all have), had friends try to 'hook me up' with some other dateless, picky single person (though, why some of them figured they had the right to be picky, I have no idea), with no success.
Online dating, here I come. I figured "What do I have to lose?" At the absolute worst, I'd meet more of the same losers that I'd been meeting. At best, I'd meet someone that I was actually compatible with who could also relate to me.
I had another dilemma with regard to the dating thing. I had been divorced for about a year at the time, and I have 2 children. Now, I know that you ladies (and gentlemen) who are divorced with kids can completely relate to what I'm saying here. Finding a decent man is difficult enough, add to that the fact that I'm looking for a decent man whom I can trust to be around my children. Finding a man anywhere on this planet, that I wouldn't mind having my son emulate, is like trying to find a pair of Manolos on sale at Sears.
Anyway, I signed up with my friend on one of the 'bigger' dating sites. I met one dude, who said in his profile that he was 5'10", with an athletic build. He had an attractive face, he was divorced, and he had 3 children who were presently in his custody. He sent me an email. We corresponded via email for about 2 weeks, after which time, we decided to meet for lunch at a local restaurant.
He arrived at the restaurant earlier than I did. Early enough to have been already seated when I got there. He barely stood up to shake my hand upon saying 'hello', which I thought was a little weird, but whatever. We talked from lunch time until the hour turned into dinner time. The conversation was going so great, that we decided to stay for dinner, after which time, we decided to take in a movie. When the waitress brought the bill, he paid it and as we stood up to leave, I saw why he was already seated at the restaurant when I got there, and why he didn't fully stand up to greet me. This dude was about 5'7" tall! Now, I'm 5'4", and in the boots that I was wearing, I was nearly taller than he was! I was so cheezed that I immediately lost my taste for the movie, made up some excuse about not feeling well all of a sudden (it must have been the fish), and boogied on atta' there.
On my way home, I thought, "Is this what this ist? Dating loser after liar, never finding that 'one'?" I'm not saying that this dude was a loser because he was short. The entire problem for me, exists in the fact that he LIED. I can't stand liars. If he lied about something as obvious as his height, what else would he lie about?
I learned very quickly that when it comes to online dating, one has to be extremely specific about what one wants, and one has to stick to her guns. Not that some of those who read those specifications give a hoot anyway. I put in my profile that I wasn't interested in dating anyone over 45, and I got mail from men well past that age on a regular basis.
I learned that I had to be assertive almost to the point of being aggressive when it came to dating online. I had to say what I meant, and mean what I said. As a result, I'm dating someone (8 months now) who meets every piece of the criteria that I set out to find in a man. He's physically attractive (Yes, it DOES MATTER), and Lord help me, he's as smart as a computer (brains makes me weak). He's also an amazing person inside, and he gets along well with my children. We live at completely opposite ends of the city, and if it weren't for bumping into each other online, I'm sure we would never have met.
Who likes to be approached by the lame dude with the 'flavor of the moment' pickup line? Not me. So think about online dating as follows; when you're in a bar, and some loser tries out his lame pickup line on you, you have to respond to him in some manner, right? When you're dating online, you don't have to respond at all! There are more men to choose from than those in your immediate circle of friends and associates, and you're able to choose from as far away, or as close as you want to. And those are just a couple of the perks that you get with online dating.
If you're thinking about doing the dating thing online, go for it! It's fun, and if you're smart, you have nothing to lose, and absolutely everything to gain.
Nicolette Arden was a regular online dater for four years, and writes regularly about the joys and perils of online dating. She will soon be a regular contributor with her own column at http://www.warnerdigitalmedia.com