When embarking on internet dating there are some hard and fast rules to stick to if you are to retain your sanity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in your twenties thirties or fifties negotiating your way around the wonderful world of a dating app or website can be a treacherous minefield and it is wise to have some tools to help you cope.
I know in an ideal world you would meet the man/woman of your dreams in Sainsbury’s or at the gym but I think we all know in our hearts that lovely as this dream maybe it is unlikely to happen. Internet dating is now the most likely way you are going to get a date so whether you love it or hate it you may just as well embrace it and use it to your best advantage.
Like most people I didn’t have a clue what the hell I was doing when I signed up for a Dating website. Newly single (after a 22-year marriage) lacking in confidence and not knowing which end was up I tentatively set up my very first profile with the help of a friend. For months I would just stare at my laptop and when messages started to arrive I would open them and giggle like a twelve-year-old and promptly close them again too afraid to respond. Eventually I started to send the odd message and before I knew it I was on my way to my first cyber date. The least said about THAT the better but having got in the swing I decided it couldn’t get any worse and promptly went on date two. This was much more like it. The six foot two with eyes of blue Australian sold me on the idea in about ten minutes! If this was internet dating bring it on.
But I learnt early on that internet dating is very hit and miss. It needs careful management if you are going to remain emotionally intact and keep all your marbles in good working order. Here are a few tips that I have picked up along the way, with I might add some rather gorgeous guys.
Firstly, profiles without pictures are best avoided at all costs. These guys are invariably either married or fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. So only reply or message those profiles with pictures.
I know that looks are not everything but with the law of attraction you need to have some idea whether you are going to remotely like what you see. If you are looking to make friends fine! But starting off thinking you are going to meet Prince Charming only to find he is fact The Toad will not help that first date sizzle. This works both ways, so keep your own pictures current and honest. The look of disappointment on your date’s face when you first meet would be impossible to recover from. I did see a very funny quote on a guy’s profile on Tinder it said “If you don’t look like your pictures then you are buying the drinks until you do !!” Sums it up nicely I think.
That said beware the profile with only one picture. There are some exceptions to this so use your brain. Does the guy look good enough to eat in his one lonely picture? Is he so gorgeous you would happily lick his face off? If it’s a body shot is it the best six pack you have ever seen? Does he have perfect hair and teeth that blind you? The chances are that if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. To check upload, the picture to Google’s face recognition app Tin Eye. It will soon tell you if you are looking at a dental advert or a male models profile shot. (in my greener days I wasted so much time and energy on these ones)
If you are enjoying the email, contact and seem to have a rapport with your target then suggest a phone call. This will sort the men from the boys with immediate effect. One of four things will happen if you send them your number.
- They will be very happy hand over their number and ask when you can talk.
- They will text you incessantly but never actually pick up the phone.
- They will ask you to send them photos and offer to send you one.! If your profile has a good selection already you may wonder, why? They are looking for something shall we say more seductive.
- They will without warning send you a Willy Picture. It will appear in your inbox in all it’s marvellous veiny detail. Now if you are in to that sort of thing then carry on (everyone to their own) But in my experience you will rarely get to meet the owner of the beast. These interneters are usually just looking for some titillation until their wife gets home and are using you to self-help!
The phone call if it comes is key to the first date. Listen, ask questions, refer to their profile and have fun. You can tell a lot from someone’s voice. Go on your instinct. Do you feel excited by his voice? Is he easy to get on with? If you build a verbal rapport, then at least you know you will have an enjoyable first meeting. However, if things don’t add up and the conversation is stilted then make an excuse and cut it short. On to the next.
At the end of the conversation if it’s gone well then hopefully you will be discussing meeting up. Be light about this and not too available (one doesn’t want to appear desperate). I should talk about face-time or skype here. I am personally not a fan of this. Us girls like to look our very best when approaching a possible date. That just got out of bed look is not a great first impression. Worst still is the drunken night when you can’t speak without slurring and your make-up has run and you have a half-eaten kebab between your teeth. This also gives them an opportunity to display their assets just in case you hadn’t seen one that big before. Sigh! When you first clap eyes on each other I think in person is by far the best way.
First dates can be nerve racking experiences but just have to be dealt with. Try and find somewhere sassy for you both to get to. A coffee of a drink is less intense than dinner which can have you worrying about eating with a stranger and the bill can be awkward. I prefer a noisy bar and a nerve relaxing glass of wine than a quiet coffee shop. Offer a couple of dates. For safety always make it a public place and let someone know where you are. Do not let him drop by your house or meet him at his! Obvious I know but needs saying! When one is agreed and you excitedly tell your friends that you have a date just take a step back.
The ‘date-wait’ now begins. It is probably true to say that despite plans being made there is a good chance this first arrangement will not happen. Sometimes it does and nothing gets in the way of that first meeting but from my experiences the chances that something will come up are high. Be prepared for this and if you can have a plan B. If the date is broken, make sure it doesn’t break you. It is wise to have a number of first dates in your diary with different people. It stops you fixating on just the one. If the date is cancelled by text which is usually the way, read the excuse and then take a deep breath. Stand back from the buttons and give yourself five minutes or so to consider how you feel about the reason given
Providing the text comes in plenty of time and you haven’t started getting ready AND the reason seems or could be genuine then I would usually express disappointment and suggest another time. (if he hasn’t already). If you have already established a rapport and you were quite excited about the date, then resist at all costs the urge to call him a “Twat” or tell him to Fuck Off! This is where I apply the two date rule. If the second date is arranged and yet again it gets cancelled, then feel free to tell him how you feel. Be liberal with your words if it makes you feel better. I usual send them something like“What a shame and I was wearing my best underwear too”. Soooo as you have broken my 2nd date rule it’s bye and take care! I usually then press delete. On to the next!
Remember internet dating requires patience and time. Try and not put all your eggs in one basket. Play the numbers game! keep looking and talking to people even if your diary is full to the brim with dating possibilities. The ones worth waiting for will appear soon enough.
Have faith and don’t take it all too seriously, dating is supposed to be fun. One day your Prince will come, even if he is late and has forgotten his wallet.
Good Luck !