CHAPTER 6: Rolling the Dice: First Dates

Dear Universe,

After chatting with some of the men online, it seems the time has come to meet face to face.  This is how I went about meeting them. I feel you can never be too safe when meeting total strangers from the world of online dating!  I have included some meeting tips in between each date/meeting description.

Date #1 – Was easy to plan/set up.  We met at a restaurant and had lunch. I The conversation was easy and we communicated well.  We both had an interest in health and being active.  We also both shared an interest in writing and communication, respect for others and being considerate of others.  Lunch did run more than an hour we did have a time limitation as he needed to get back to work.  We said we would meet up again and see how things went.

 Update:  We have continued to communicate about how things are going with our work, writing and online dating experience.  We continue to be great friends and he has met someone he really clicked with.  Good for him!

  • Meeting Tip #1: I would always suggest lunch over dinner for a first meeting and/or coffee.  It is good to keep things light and keep expectations low.
  • Meeting Tip #2:  You should feel totally comfortable about meeting and should have not experienced any pressure about meeting.  If you feel you are getting pressured into meeting, it might be time to back off the chat.  Finding the right person should NEVER be a rush, you should never feel uncomfortable and you want to get it right not fast!

Date #2- Was also easy to set up/plan.  We met at a food court at a local mall and had lunch.  I met him a little out of my normal area to help accommodate him as he was coming into a new area and I wanted to explore that area more.  Conversation was easy and fun.  He had a varied background of interests,  work experience and had a good sense of humor.  He has been a musician and lead singer in bands all his life and just  formed a new band. We kept our time limitations and said we would like to see each other again.  Another positive experience!  He kept my text function very busy after we met!

Update:  We have continued to communicate but no second date has been set up due to his busy work and rehearsal schedule.  He seems to wanting mainly a virtual/text relationship, NEXT!

  • Meeting Tip #3:  It is important for the woman to feel totally comfortable and to select the meeting place.  It should be a very public familiar place. A real gentleman will accept and understand this without question.  If he pushes you to meet somewhere on his “turf” look out, something’s not right.  His motives could be questionable.
  • Meeting Tip #4: If you feel shaky about meeting, I would suggest finding a “wing” friend who could be fairly close by incase you run into trouble.  A friend could be in the same place or a text away.  You can always call off the meeting if there is something that keeps bothering you.  Listen to your instincts.  But if you are just normally nervous, go with the “wing” friend 🙂

Date #3:  This date took a little more planning to set up but we met at a coffee shop and had a cup of tea.  We both knew the time limitations and stuck to them. He and I had chatted a lot before meeting and shared some common interest to the point that I had a little more hope for this date being the beginning of a great friendship and maybe more.  He sat and did not really seem to look me in the eye much and seemed distracted.  I found out the next day he did not feel well but did not want to reschedule yet.   Our first outing I felt should be cancelled as there were some health issues that had arisen in the middle of the night with his mother.  I felt it was more important that he was accessible to his mother than evening than he and I meeting on that particular day.

Update:  Two weeks later this man contacted me and we chatted about the first meeting and neither one of us were happy with how the conversation went in the meeting.  We both agreed too much time was spent talking about past relationships.  We have decided to meet again in the future and see how it goes.  We have not met again, que sera sera.

  • Meeting Tip #5: Share the details of who you are meeting and where you are going with a friend or relative.  This is important for many reasons.  In today’s world things unfortunately happen that are not good you have to make sure you cover your bases and stay safe at all costs.  There have been several people who ended up with some very bad experiences and were not missed as no one knew what they were doing for a while.  Be smart, let a close friend or relative who lives close by know where you are going and who you are meeting yes share emails, telephone numbers and pictures.  It could save your life or help authorities catch someone who has been up to no good.
  • Meeting Tip #6: Make the first meeting simple, uncomplicated and inexpensive.  I have found meeting for a coffee, tea or soda is a simple way to get to talk and get to know each other.  While everyone “dreams” of a fabulous first date of dinner, movies and dancing.  You need to be able to focus on what the person is telling you in word and actions and not having to strain to hear them speak.   Meeting in loud surroundings does not allow you to see and hear what you need to about the person.

Date #4:   I was setting this one up as this guy had been very consistent in his chatting with me and seemed like a nice honest hard-working guy.  We met at a coffee shop and talked for an hour.  I could tell his interests were far different from mine as I had expected.  We had an interesting conversation but he and I were not a match.  He ever made an offer to buy a cup of coffee/tea, nothing.  Again my “gut” told me we were not really a match and I was right; I have not heard a word from him since.

  • Meeting Tip #7: Have a plan in mind about how long you are willing to spend.  Realistically about an hour is a good frame for a first meeting. Set up a phone call after an hour from a friend or relative so they know you are ok and give you an exit at an appropriate time if you feel you cannot stay within your time limits.  Make sure your date knows you are free for the hour.
  • Meeting Tip #8: Plan out in advance questions/topics that you want to ask him about.  Find out what this person is really like, what their interests are, their hopes, their dreams and their faults (we all have them!)  Find out about the issues/values or thoughts about relationships which are most important to you.   Yes it is an interview of sorts, after all, isn’t finding the best life partner the most important position in your life? How do they speak about their mother/father?  Remember ladies, how a man speaks about and treats his mother is a window into how he will treat and speak about you.   Talking about their work gives you a lot of insight about their personality too.

Date #5:  This one was a little more difficult to set up as both our schedules were vastly different.  We met at a public place and sat and talked for almost two hours without even noticing the time had passed.  The conversation varied and was lots of fun.  We texted for an hour after I had gotten home.  He wants to plan a second date sometime soon. I think this is a great sign!

Update:  We have continued to email/text and looking forward the next date being sometime soon.  But this never happened so back to the drawing board!

  • Meeting Tip #9: Recall and Reflect.  Spend time reflecting about the date and how you really feel about what was discussed.  Is there potential?  Are there issues? Be realistic.  Just because she/he was cute and charming, were there other things that sent up red flags?  Cut off your sentences?  Dismissed any suggestions you made?  Was tardy without reason?  Kept looking at their phone or others around you.  Was not attentive to you? Would not look you in the eye?  Avoided answering basic questions?
  • Meeting Tip #10:  Do not be afraid to provide feedback to the guy you met.  If you had a great time, let him know.  If you felt something was lacking, let him know.  Things do not always go perfectly, if ever.  Learning how to voice and share your feelings about the meeting can be a great experience.  Talking about what went right or wrong about the meeting can help you to communicate better and potentially create an opportunity for a “do over.”

Date #6: This was probably the easiest meeting to set up.  We met and talked for a little over an hour and covered a wide variety of subjects from the taboo subject of politics, to travel and relationship dynamics.  It was nice having my mental muscles taxed along with allowing my personality to flow.  He let me know that I wasn’t the one for him and I agreed he wasn’t the one for me either.

I can say all six men I met were all nice but some I had more in common with than others.  I am not looking for a carbon copy of myself but someone who is different and complementary at the same time.  I am trying to take time and give some time and distance from the time I have met them to my writing of this blog.  I think thoughtful reflection is far better than a quick assumption.

A Good First Meeting (for me) Should Include:

  • Fun, joking and filled with laughter.
  • On familiar territory (to the woman) to eliminate any unnecessary stress.
  • Doesn’t require a lot of work to set up.
  • Not filled with too much history.  Talking about past relationships tends to bring the mood of the meeting down from being lighthearted and fun to a bit of a dirge.
  • Great conversation about a wide variety of topics.
  • A timely ending/closing out the meeting.  If you have an hour limit, try to stick to it.
  • Parting at the end of the meeting can be done in a variety of ways.  Some meetings might end with a handshake, a hug or just a “nice to meet you.”  I am not clear if there is any special significance to any particular ending.  I will have to think about that more.

Conversation Starters
Not sure what to talk about at the first meeting?  Here are some questions I found online that are good conversation starters if you do not already have your own.

1. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
2. What kinds of things really make you laugh?
3. What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
4. Who is your best friend? What do you like about him/her?
5. Favorite movie of all time? Why so?
6. What’s your biggest goal in life right now?
7. What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
8. Do you have any pet peeves?
9. What was your family like growing up?
10. What were you like as a kid?
11. What should I know about you that I’d never think to ask about?
12. Did you—or do you—have a nickname? What’s the story behind it?
13. Who was your favorite school teacher or college professor? Why?
14. Have you figured out your calling in life? What is it?
15. What do you hate most about the dating process? (Tell me so I can avoid it!)

Roll the dice and have a wonderful and happy first meeting!

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CHAPTER 3: Who is really a click away?

Dear Universe,

I am still on my online journey in the dating world.  I want to share with you some people I have virtually “met”  but I will not use names to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Male #1 – Had a good picture and profile, appeared professional, intelligent and compatible.  We moved to emailing right away as he seemed to “fit” everything I was seeking in a man. I should have realized this was just too good to be true!  After beginning to email, in less than 48 hours, his “focus” had shifted from getting to know me and friendship to chatting about his sexual fantacies.  Boom.  NEXT!

Male #2-Had a goofy picture but a very well written profile.  In fact, his writing was very good and almost poetic.  The downside right off, he was very far away from where I live.  I do not mean 10 miles more like 3000 miles!  From this experience, I learned to set “filters” that allow only men from 50 miles or less from me to contact me. Male #2 and I emailed for a while and things then started to shift in his emails from getting to know me to wanting to know my every move.  He would constantly send me questions such as, “Where are you? What are you doing?  Who are you with?  Boom.  NEXT!

Male #3 – Was in my “filtered” list but I could not understand why as his profile said he lived about 35 miles from me.  His picture wasn’t anything special.  Why why do so many men on this website have ONE picture of themselves in sunglasses!  We want to see your eyes gentlemen!  Anyway, his message was asking me if I ever went to such and such a county.  I replied with a no, why do you ask.  His reply was because he wanted to meet me.   I replied with humor indicating there were roads in existence between his location and mine and I do not believe the police were blocking the roads.  Again, maintaining a sense of humor is paramount!  What would make a man think a woman who HE had contacted would come to him!?  I let my imagination lose on this one and thought perhaps an ankle monitoring bracelet was involved.  Another friend suggested perhaps the man did not own a vehicle!  I am not a taxi service! FLAG! In fact TWO flags on this play! Boom! NEXT!

Male #4- Had a great profile and picture.  Was age appropriate (More on this later)  and he was intelligent and could type and communicate very well.  He said he worked in the medical field, was understanding and seemed to be very easy-going.  He actually understood why women are not apt to give out too much personal information online to a total stranger.  YAY! We had great chats online and determined we had many things in common.  Someone I wanted to meet!

Male #5-Picture straight out of GQ Magazine! Movie star handsome but can we say FAKE? Not only was the photo fake he was a total fake.  He claimed to be a psychologist and lives about 300 miles from me and this was before I put on my mileage filter.  I thought that I would respond but I knew what I was going to encounter so I was ready for what I thought would follow as I knew this man was not “real” so this would be for giggles.  This mas demanded I give him my phone number in his first message to me. FLAG!  When I respectfully told him no and explained why, he came back with a retort trying to bully me into giving him my phone number.  FLAG!  This was my proof he indeed was not a psychologist and if he was really one he was a very bad one!  Boom! NEXT!

These first five males I feel reflect the types of men  you are apt to encounter on  dating website.  Statistics say one in six could be someone that is sincere and looking for something but I think it is more like one in five from my experiences.  I would summarize the males above as follows.

  • Male #1 – The man looking for sex is the most common type of man you will encounter online.
  • Male #2 – The man who is a dreamer and needs to face reality.  Not necessarily Peter Pan but wants to think beyond reality.
  • Male #3 – The man who seems clueless about women and dating and does not seem to know he is clueless.
  • Male #4 – The man who is a really what he appears, nice a good guy truly looking for something real.  This is a needle in a haystack but worth the hunt!
  • Male #5 – The man who is selfish, manipulative, controlling, bullies to get his way. All of this points to me that he truly despises women and is up to no good.

Only one of these five there was only one I wanted to meet, male #4.

Men have told me women message them and chat and ask them to send them money.  I have not encountered that with the males yet but I did have someone not age appropriate messages me and ask me if I was his mommy! Shaking my head on that one!  No, I did not bother to reply he was in my filtered list where he belonged as he was not what I felt was age appropriate for me!  The nice side of your filtered list is that you can read what messages sent to you even though they do not meet your age or distance specifications.  I have found a large number of people who message me in the filtered list suddenly do not have an active profile any longer either.  I wonder if they are married and about to get “caught” by their wife or maybe have met someone already or are one of those “fake” men trying to get someone who will allow them to act badly.

Stay tuned!

Below is a graphic I found online with some stats about online dating and tips for improving your profile picture.  Notice the “stretching” or “shrinking” of some of the facts!

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Chapter 2: Online Dating: Perspective Ten Years Later

Dear Universe,

Yes, I am carefully negotiating the precarious virtual world of online dating.  Of course I am speaking from the female perspective but I know the same or similar experiences happen on the male side as well.  People are people and often possess the same types of flaws.  Nothing is exclusively male or female traits in online dating.

Having been in the online dating scene ten years ago, I wondered how much different the experience would be now vs ten years ago.  At first glance, I did not feel anything had changed but after stepping back and talking with a few friends, I did realize that while the experience has not changed fundamentally, I had changed dramatically.  I no longer accepted bad behavior as I had previously.  What had changed?  I finally realized and accepted my self-worth and understood what I to bring to the table (relationship).  In the past being overweight, I did not feel I had much to offer and therefore, I did not attract those who had much to offer either.

Now, I am noticing that there is a different general type of man who contacts me or I choose to contact myself.  THAT is so different, I take the initiative to send messages to those I feel we might have enough things in common to build a good friendship.

I have found that self-perception varies widely among males on a dating site.  There are the very typical “Fibs” about age, it seems common for males to subtract ten years from their age, embellish their body type choosing “fit” when it appears the only thing they have tried to “fit” into was a Lazyboy.

It seems more common in today’s dating world that men expect women to share their phone number after only having said “hello.”  CRAZINESS! I do not understand why men expect self-respecting, intelligent, internet savvy women to hand over their phone number so easily?  I hear “you can block your number”  “what’s the big deal?” a lot.  Why should I have to feel obligated to give a stranger my phone number?  In the modern online world, once someone has your cell number they can easily and inexpensively acquire your name, address and other personal information.  Talk about a stalkers paradise!  scary stuff ladies do NOT feel obligated to talk on the phone or text with anyone!

Online dating appears to have evolved into behaviors that used to only be observed in “meat market” bars and clubs.  If men cannot respect your boundaries, space and be considerate all I have to say is NEXT!   One of my favorites so far was a man (not from my area) who had a profile picture that was straight out of GQ Magazine and claimed to be a Psychologist.   He insisted that I give him my phone number up front.  I replied nicely that being a psychologist he should understand boundaries and that I was not comfortable providing such information so early in a contact.   He then proceeded to say that I had made a Freudian slip and that I really wanted to give him my phone number.  I shook my head and typed that he needed to check this slip as it was slipping!  He replied that I was “scared” and kept repeating this.  I replied to him that is passive aggressive tactics would get no where with me.  He persisted.  I had to block him.  Obviously a “fake” who if in reality he was a psychologist he was a very poor one!  I guess he thought his GQ fake photo was supposed to ‘excuse’ his bullying and poor behavior and lack of respect for others.  Sad, really sad.  But NEXT!

Then there was a man who messaged me and asked me if I got to such and such county which happened to be out of my area.  I responded with a “no, why?”  He said “I would like to meet you.”  I chose to deal with this response with a little humor,  “I do believe the roads between here and there run both ways and last I had heard, they removed the police barricades.”  No response back.  I am gathering there might have been an ankle monitor that prevented him from leaving his county.  NEXT!

I have managed to have some very good message exchanges with some men who seem to be very nice, honest and truly seeking something beyond a “booty call.”

Lesson #1:  Have a great sense of humor.

Lesson #2:  Do not accept bad behavior because you “like” the picture.

Lesson #3:  Do not allow anyone make you feel uncomfortable by their questions.  If they are too personal, say so and ask them to refrain from those kinds of questions.

Lesson #4:  Never give out all of your personal information too soon.  Protect yourself from stalkers and those who are just looking to get something for nothing.

Lesson #5:   Never assume the profile information/picture is accurate or the information is a real reflection of what the person is seeking online.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE ONLINE!   Stay tuned for the continuing saga!

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Chapter 1: Joining an Online Dating Site

I took it on myself to join an online dating site this past week and the first  few hours I received an overwhelming number of messages.  At first flattering, then it became flat out overwhelming.

In the past way past, when I attempted this previously, I found online dating overall to be a cesspool of people looking for one night stands.  There was an endless chain of seedy men wanting to “date” you (that is what they called it) and I called it something else entirely.

The online dating sites have not changed much in ten years.  Most are there for something really “fast” and not real.  There are gems to be had, but you have to dig for them and sift through many “noisy” messages.  I try to be polite and respond to all messages but the first 24 hours was plain exhausting.  But three men stood out and impressed me and I felt I needed to take time to know more about them.

The first messaged me and when I read his profile he was intelligent, professional and appeared to want some of the same things I did.   I was impressed.  Another man though not professional seemed real and genuine so yeah another man I felt I needed to communicate with.  And there was a third that I took it on myself to contact him.  He seems nice and worth knowing.

The first man who had messaged me very interesting and he seemed very grounded and really looking for a real relationship.  In corresponding with him I found out he knows how to talk the talk but not walk the walk in a little over 24 hours.  STRIKE ONE. Next!