A few weeks into online dating and the plot gets thicker. I have received emails, winks and invitations for drinks and dinner. Not too familiar with the etiquette of the game, I went online to look for road rules to find out how to navigate through this dating process and how to interpret “winks” and emails.
Here are some rules I gathered from several online dating bloggers.
-Keep your profile short and to the point.
-Have a screen name that describes your appearance... men are visual creatures after all. Ravishing Redhead and Petite Italian are examples of screen names that show off your best physical assets, without sounding trampy.
-Wait 24 hours to respond to an email. Anything earlier than that will sound too desperate.
-List your exact body type and your age. It won’t be so awkward when you meet face to face.
-Put up a current picture of yourself. Don’t use pictures from different stages in your life. Guys will think there is more than one of you. But do post several current pictures. Remember, men are visual creatures.
-Winks from men are not okay. It’s like getting whistled at on the street. Winks from women are okay, though.
I only posted two current, pictures of myself. One is an arms-length, self-portrait and the other is one of me in a casual T-shirt and shorts. Even though I wrote my bio before I read the rules, I seem to have gotten it right. My bio is short, focusing on physical attraction, honesty, a sense of humor and the fact that I’ll eat pretty much anything and will enjoy most eating establishments.
I wish I could have read the rule on screen names first before posting mine. My screen name does not come close to generating any visual image of my appearance. If anything, it depicts a cartoon character from long ago of a little girl with dark-haired ringlets. It was an attempt to get as far away from my real name as possible. I was truthful about my age and body type. Pictures don’t lie and a very long time ago, I lied about my age to a younger date and got caught when the waiter carded me. I’ve never answered to “winks”. They are as bad as “pokes” on Facebook.
The rule on emails, also advises me to write back to those men that are actually responding to the details of my bio and not just giving me the old generic, blanket “shout out”.
Example of a generic “hello”, email I received:
"Hello, Your profile caught my eye. Please let me know if you are interested in meeting for a drink, dinner or coffee."
This “paste and copy" invitation, is going into the “wait past a gazillion hours", waste folder.
The following is an unsolicited dinner invitation from a gentleman who misinterpreted my dining preferences on my bio.
“Hello, I hope you don't mind but I arranged for reservations for two at CheZ Burger King for us at 9ish. My limo will be picking you up and the master chef is preparing a special dish of onion rings for us...mmmmmm :)”
“How are you today?”
Here’s another man who was attentive enough to read the part of my bio regarding what I thought was attractive in a man and is hoping I modify my requirements.
“Is it possible to grade on a sliding curve on first impressions...I'm not too attractive, not the smartest...wit not too sure about that...but I am humble....lol my attempt at humor..”
These examples are no different than what anyone often comes across during a face-to-face awkward overture. For many, it’s just as hard online than in person when trying to create a first, good impression. A lot of these men and women are putting their souls and hearts out there in search for true love. Many of the profiles I’ve read, and some of the emails I’ve received, are very good. But you don’t really know what you’re getting until you see the real thing.
I received a nice email from a gentleman who seemed attractive in his picture and had a decent profile. In his picture, he’s a young-looking, 54-year-old, man with blondish hair and nice blue eyes. He is successful in his job and humble in his words. We end up exchanging interesting emails, and phone calls, and decide to meet for drinks at a public place.
The night of our date, I walk into the crowded bar/restaurant and it takes me a while to spot my date. From a distance, I see someone waving at me. I squint. It’s a man with more grey than blond. I realize it’s, my date. “Wow!” I think. “Slightly different.” As I get closer to him, I also realize he’s not the 5 feet 10 inch height he gave on his bio. Maybe he used to be 5’10”, when he was younger? Awkward!
I say hello and he seems nervous. We begin to small talk and I notice a slight clicking sound coming from his mouth. “Does he have nervous tic!” I begin to plan my exit. A little more into our conversation, he lets out this hacking cough. “Are you okay?" I say. I remember he said he wasn’t a smoker on his bio. He coughs again. Then, I remember, he did say he was a cigar aficionado… emphasis on “aficionado”.
Our conversation is not bad, but after a few more minutes, I lie and say I have to go because my sitter can’t stay too late. As we say goodbye, he says, “I’ll call you,” and gives me an awkward hug. I begin to get the feeling I will never hear from him again. “What just happened?” I say to myself. “Did I just get blown off? I wasn’t the one coughing up a lung.” I remember that shortly, before I left to meet him, I had taken a B-complex vitamin, which usually makes me very chatty and energetic. “Could that have been it? I was too much for him?” I’m actually relieved, but confused. I guess he turned out to be a slightly older 54 year-old man for me, and I ended up being a too-energetic 40-something woman for him.
You live and learn. I’m going to have to go back and re-read the rules and make up some of my own. As I’ve said before, I have had very nice dates through online dating, but I enjoy writing about the anomalies of the process because, they are more interesting and we are all human after all. And are also very fallible creatures when searching for love.