Unless you work in a totally male milieu – for instance, a urologists’s office, NASCAR race track, or beef ‘n’ ale house -- your quest to meet a man will take you to the Internet. The good news is that you’ll find thousands and thousands of guys online, all trolling for dates. On the other hand, be prepared to spend hours and hours learning how to sort the wheat from the chaff. Here’s our crash course on the DOs and DON’Ts of cyberdating.
DO post a recent photo, and write an honest description of yourself. One of our guy friends salivated over a picture of a pgorgeous, blonde, bikini-clad model. Expecting a Cameron Diaz look-alike, he was shocked to meet a morbidly obese woman in a moo-moo. He downed three shots of tequila and fled. On the other hand, we’ve dated men who were relieved and delighted that we simply looked like our pictures. (And believe us, we’re not Cameron.) They were grateful enough to stay through the crème brulée.
DON’T naively assume that his photo is as up-to-date and accurate as yours. We accepted a date with a guy whose head shot looked perfectly human, even normal. In the flesh he could have passed for Dracula, with a mouthful of rotted, brown, pointy fangs. Never underestimate the power of Photoshop.
DO learn the lingo of dating profiles. For instance:
- He describes himself as “cuddly.”
- He writes, “I’ve been told I’m very handsome.”
Translation: by his mother.
- He’s “Executive Vice-President of Strategic Planning for a Major Corporation.”
Translation: he’s self-employed in some cockamamie business, headquartered in his basement.
DON’T get taken in by corny, overused come-on lines like, “Looking to spoil the lady of my dreams with flowers and candlelit dinners.” And beware of perfect strangers who promise to “snuggle with you in front of the fireplace” and “enjoy sunset strolls on the beach.” These guys have one thing on their minds. That’s why they took a course on What Women Want to Hear 101.
DO brush up on your math if he sounds too good to be true:
- Subtract three inches from his height.
- Double his weight.
- Halve his income.
- Add a decade to his age.
DON’T choose your dates based on photos. It’s all too easy to scroll through Internet profiles, selecting the Brad Pitt look-alikes and bypassing the rest. Remember, real men lose their hair and grow love handles, yet if you met them in person, you just might find them charming. Besides, if you’re anything like us, you probably don’t look that much like Angelina.
DO move the conversation along from email to cell phone. Some people are great writers – or even have a friend ghost-writing for them. In a phone chat, you’ll get a better sense of whether your personalities click. Plus you’ll find out if he even has a personality. Note: it’s a bad sign if, during his monologue about his golf swing, you’re checking your watch and praying that you lose your cell-phone signal.
DON’T disclose where you live or for that matter, any personal information that could lead to your address, such as your home phone number, last name, or an email address that includes your last name. While most men on the Internet are just as normal as you are, you don’t want Hannibal Lecter ringing your doorbell, even if he’s carrying a box of Godiva chocolates. And even if they’re truffles.
DO take things slowly, though the chemistry may be magnetic. Arrange to meet him in a public place for the first couple of dates. When you know more about him, he can pick you up and drop you off at home, but don’t invite him in just yet – even if he pleads that he urgently has to use your bathroom. Our friend fell for that ploy on a first date, and when she offered her hand as he was leaving, he suddenly French-kissed her, slobbering all over her face. Yum.
DON’T behave like a kid in a candy store full of online temptations. If you’ve met a nice, sincere guy, and you’re having a good time dating him, don’t fly to your computer the second you get home to flirt with a dozen new seductive suitors. On the Internet, it’s easy to get distracted by the smorgasbord of smooth-talking guys -- only to lose sight of the one who just might be Mr. Right.