Friday, November 10, 2006

More creeped up. Shocker, I know.

I used to be so good about writing down ideas that came to me so that i didn't forget. Why can't I be that way again. Oh, I know, because i was never good about it. Only in my own fantasy land.

Thankfully, I have more than one friend doing the online dating things so I hear from them often. Misery loves company in the online dating world. I can't blame them and sadly enough I enjoy it. Ask Stew, when I know my friend is going on a date, I skip around the house giddy with excitement until I hear from her and then Stew and I rate the date. Stew lends his hand in decoding anything vague the guy may have said and I plan her next step. Some of my friends email me the girls they winked at or emailed to get my opinion on them. I know I am a quick judge but let it be known I am just as quick to judge the ladies as I am the guys. I don't play favorites in the online world.

Anyway, in some of my recent rants with a friends, a few more things came to mind.

I'd like to say something with regard to pictures
Some people have taken good pictures during their life and some have taken bad ones. All of your online pictures should be current. Think of it like food. You wouldn't buy milk that was a few days past the expiration date, would you? I say maybe a 2 year limit. You had a great full head of hair in high school but you don't anymore. A few years ago, you weren't in your 30s showing signs of a slowing metabolism. You can pretty much tell the old pics from the new in profiles because there might be more hair, less chins, more grey, a different hairstyle or color, a goatee or not. We'd like to know which person to keep an eye out for in the coffee shop. Should we be looking for a brunette or a blond? Clean shaven or chin spinach? The most common complaint I have heard from anyone who has met someone online was "They must have put up an old picture because I didn't recognize him/her."

The body type debate
Everyone sees themselves differently but a full length picture will help your potential dates judge if you put yourself in the wrong category. Some cultures find a larger person "average' and some guys I know, find an "about average" girl too plump for their liking eventho' my arm probably weighs more than she does. Some girls who think they have 10 lbs to lose will say they are curvy and some guys with beer guts will call their builds "athletic" as if they took home the gold in the Beer Olympics. Besides, what is the cut off between "about average", "few extra pounds" and "large"? Some sites ask you for your weight directly. Hah! Good luck with that. We lie on our licenses, do you actually think we'll tell the truth and put it on the Internet?

Jealousy and The House of 1,000 Corpses
Let me explain something about online dating people seem to forget. You're picking from a pool (albeit a small dirty one) of people. You also paid so you want to get your money's worth. Chances are, you are talking to more than one person at a time and so is the person you are talking to. I'm soooo not the serial dater type. Talking to one person sometimes is too much for me. I'm so bad at it that when I was attempting to serial date, I confused people's names, repeated stories, asked questions they already told me the answers to and even called some when I meant to call the other.

I dated 13 guys in a year. Stew being the 13th. That is slightly more than guy a month and yes, that means a few overlapped. Kill me. Early on when I was getting to know Stew, I was also getting to know other people. Poor Stew didn't have the time to do this with his work/K-Fed party style schedule, but I did. I learned early on to never put all my eggs in one basket. Anyway, one night we were driving back from dinner and the topic of movies came up. I started talking about "the House of 1,000 Corpses" and how he owned it. Stew said he didn't own it. Stupid Lisa, couldn't leave the mistake alone and asked, "are you sure? I swear you told me that." No dummy, that was someone else. Come on, you date 13 people in a year and keep them straight. I dare you. And to make matters worse, a few had the same name or similar names.

If you only want to talk to one person at a time, that is your choice but you're wasting time and money because they're not doing the same thing and NO, it is NEVER ok for you to ask how many people they are talking to at once. If you want to be upfront about it and say something first that is cool but it's not mandatory. However, if you are talking to quite a few, it's common courtesy to hide your profile for a while so you don't attract even more bees with all that honey.

There is a fine line between tricking the answer out of someone and appearing to be jealous. I have no clue what that line is because I barely believe in boundaries but Stew tells me it's there so I guess I have to listen to someone who believes in them.

Say, someone told you something already. It's possible they forgot they told you. It's also possible they thought they told someone else and not you. It's best not to call attention to it unless they ask, "did I already tell you that story?" The door of opportunity has been placed in front of you. You can either lie or say, "Yes." Or, you can gingerly throw the bait out there by saying, "Yup, you must be confusing me with all the other girls/guys beating down your door." If you said "All the other people/guys/girls you're talking to" you sound bitchy, catty an jealous. But making it slightly humorous, makes it sound a bit less serious and you may actually get an answer. "Well, isn't that what online dating is all about." Bingo.

First Impressions
In the online world, first impressions are more IMPORTANT than they are in the real world. After a while trading poorly written emails with someone or having a couple of bad phone conversations, I'd just go with my gut and cease talking to them altogether. I learned that if those two things were bad, the date was not worth the time it took to get ready (even if you knew it would be some great fodder for your chats with friends). But if they were lucky to make it past the email and phone interview round to an actual date, I gave them 3 meetings/dates to shine before I decided if they made it to round 2.

After being online, you'll eventually hone your skills and grow bitter enough to read between the lines of people's profiles. If you don't want to date someone who smokes, don't wink or email anyone who has "no answer" as an answer for if they smoke because they do. They might be a "bar smoker" but that means eventually they'll smoke around you.

Why 3? In some cases that is too generous. In retrospect, there were guys I should have cut off after the first date. I believe that the first meeting should not really counted as much more than a scrimmage before the big game. You are both nervous. You're trying to get a read on each other, you are thinking too much about what the other person is thinking that you can't let your guard down for a second and be comfortable. The second date, you are a bit more sure of yourself (they wanted to see you again, right?), more at ease. By the third date, you feel like you have an ok understanding of their personality and can decide if you'd like to continue dating them.

I pride myself in being able to read people. I'll be honest with you. I could not read Stew. During our first date he called me "quirky." I am, but you don't have to say it. At the end of the date I am used to hearing something like, "well, I had fun we should do this again" or "I'll call you." Stew talked about housing prices in town and then just said, "ok, well, bye." To which I thought, "What a jerk!" but I was so confused, I said, "Well, call me if you want, whatever." So, imagine my surprise when he did call. I found out why he did this later.

You can also skip the dating process altogether and administer tests along the way. I have an obscure sense of humor and it's rare to meet someone with the same. I tested early and often. I liked random references. Some people got them. Some didn't. I didn't rule out the ones that didn't but they fell a bit further down on the list. I also tested them with jokes. This would encourage them to tell me things they found funny. It was a lot like America's favorite Comic without the fanfare and phone numbers. Don't let these testing opportunities pass you by, they are the key to not wasting time.

The greatest fear of online dating is the first phone call. It transcends everything into "slightly more real and less anonymous."

The second greatest fear is shared by several of my girlfriends: "What if he sounds like Stephen Hawking"?

I was a "two for flinching" kind of girl. I'd swear or do something more me and less expected of a lady and see if they flinched. If they did, they weren't for me.

The space between us
This is not always the case but I've found it to be. The second someone expresses a negative thought towards the distance between you two, don't go any further because this person will later blame the distance for the demise of your union. Traveling gets taxing. I used to drive 2.5 hours every other weekend to Southern New Jersey and only when I didn't have to do it anymore did I realize how much it sucked. I should have listened to my gut when my gut said "You have to cross a bridge?!?!?!" It may be all fine and dandy at first, but eventually, one of you is not going to want to make the haul that weekend and in that one moment of laziness, it's over.

My friend lives in Branford and is talking to a guy in Meriden. I don't really know the proximity of CT towns but I told her it was about a 40 minute trip depending on the time of day (no time between 3 - 7 p.m. is good). She told him that Meriden seemed kinda far and he responded with, "well, if you want to back out, now is your chance." She was put off by this but Stew said it was perfectly normal that he said it. She listens to Stew a lot more than she listens to me. But then again, I used to do 2.5 hours, 40 minutes is like commuting to work.

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