22 Jun How’s Your Online Dating Going?
Online dating—it’s one of my most searched terms, next to “what is an orgasm?”. I’m on a dating site right now and have a few observations based on recent conversations with guys. So, a personal tidbit or two followed by what I hope is a successful tie-in of useful insight for those of you searching for companionship.
Lately, guys in their 20s and thirties have been writing me. Writing might be the wrong word as they all have one things in common—the apparent disinterest in, or inability to, write a sentence longer than 3 words. A couple of years ago a younger guy blew me off when I insisted that I call him from a blocked number. He told me there were plenty of women out there and that I needed to get over myself. That ended quickly; trust and respect for each other’s basic needs for trust and safety are important to me. Last week a 37-year-old started sending me messages. I asked him if he could tell me a little about himself, given a very bare bones profile. He started with (to his credit, a full sentence):
“I’m hungry now and want to eat something. =)”..
next text: ” I am OCD”.
I reply, “Neither of those are particularly inspiring. What about you would appeal to me? What do you do, what do you enjoy—what would I find fun about going out with you?”
Response: “I work HR. Interests include traveling, cooking, watching movies, photography, hiking and going to wineries. ”
When he gets no response from me, as I’ve walked away from my computer, he writes again, “no interest?”
To be fair to him I wasn’t behaving at my best as I could not see myself going out with someone that much younger, without more information in their profile that led me to think we had something in common. And, he didn’t give me what I wanted. So I politely said no thanks and wished him the best.
This follows on the heels of a conversation with a guy my age who rushed in and then when he didn’t get the kind of responses he wanted, simply disappeared. I wrote about that story with a touch of humor, or at least I hope it comes off that way, this week in my column at Midlife Boulevard, What I’ve Learned About Online Dating.
I think that most adults over 50 are looking for something more than a thinly veiled “wanna have sex tonight?” when they reach out to someone on an online dating site. And for those people, there has to be a little more substance in communications for that first date to move forward. I might be willing to meet a 50-70 year old who doesn’t provide me with lots of information; not so much so for a much younger guy. Because I’m suspicious when a 37-year-old wants to go out with a woman who is 24 years his senior. He showed up at the same time as a slightly older guy with a mother-voyeuristic fetish that he wanted to play out with me. Would I have been more inclined to meet the local guy if the voyeur hadn’t shown up? Maybe, but I still wanted a little more information about him before going to that effort.
Meeting people on-line requires you to have some idea of what you want…or what you don’t want. But, at the same time, as I tell audiences, it is a good idea to be a little flexible–to be open to being pleasantly surprised. Mr. 37-year-old OCD guy might have been the most charming man I ever met. Though I’m not meeting him–and maybe that was a risk I should have taken? Life is full of risks and as long as we are aware of that, a few calculated risks are good for us.
When I give dating workshops I talk about what to say in a profile and how to present yourself in a way that would attract the person you want to meet. As crass as it might sound, your online dating profile is like marketing copy for a product. Kink folks use certain words that offer hints at what they aren’t willing or able to say publicly. Even simple things like talking about your 5 dogs, or your 3 sailboats, or frequent hiking trips broadcasts your likes and dislikes. When we know who someone is, or what they enjoy it gives us a way to measure the possible “fit”.
As a writer, and someone who is attracted to intelligence, I want to meet thoughtful people–guys who are willing to take a few minutes longer to write a profile, or answer an email. I’m a fan of complete sentences, as a general rule. I’m not looking for men who have a strong need to take care of women and who want their woman to be delicate and a bit helpless (see article link above). Now mind you, once I know you well if you show up with your tool box and want to fix a few things I won’t say no. But I suspect the last guy I was in conversation with, wanted me to be more romantic and willing to share endearments with a total stranger. And I just couldn’t do it.
My point is that you have to be willing to take some risks if you’re going to use online dating sites. And, you need a sense of adventure, a thick skin and often, a sense of humor. The most risk-free approach to life is to do what you’ve always done, forget about new things and settle for the status quo. But, boy…is the play and adventure worth all the effort, the occasional disappointment and the odd sexual comment. This morning someone wrote to tell me that my screen name reminded him of the Lilith and Adam story in the bible and how he had not had a nocturnal emission in a long time.
Got an online dating story you want to share?