It has now been over a month since I last saw or spoke with my ex and, although I am visiting my parents in Alabama, I have decided it is time to reacquaint myself with the dating world–specifically online dating.
Dating is the bane of my existence. I can think of very few things I despise more than “get to know you” questions, nervous laugher, dreaded awkward pauses… First dates always feel like you are on trial with a jury of one. The best part about online dating is that you get all the nonsense out-of-the-way before you even agree to meet your potential soul mate/first husband/baby daddy/fling and head straight to the second date chemistry assessment. The worst part is, the person you meet may not be the dude you spent hours conversing with.
So, when it comes to online dating, how personal should your profile be? When is it appropriate to divulge personal details regarding health, family, and financial issues? Should your profile include a disclaimer to weed out possible matches that will ultimately consider the unmentioned a deal breaker? Exactly how much “about me” do I include in the essay “About Me”? Here is my take:
- Do not lie about your height, body type, age, or occupation. Guys, adding two inches to your height and listing your occupation as “Law: an ordinary hero keeping our streets safe” when you operate the metal detector at a middle school and moonlight as a bouncer is more than a little misleading. And 20 y/o photos look completely different than week-old selfies from an Iphone.
- Be honest regarding the reason you are on the site: If you are looking for a short fling without commitment, state that in your profile or a girl looking for something serious will unleash her wrath…it isn’t likely she will suddenly change her mind to suit your whim of casual sex.
- Make a decision before you meet regarding how/when to disclose the BIG stuff: Everyone’s idea of “BIG stuff” varies, but I choose to give notice at the bottom of my profile that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and that the disease does cause certain limitations at times. I have heard stories from men and women about being quizzed about their sexual history. Sex questions are never appropriate whether or not you met online if you are on your first physical date…so I would put that on the back burner for awhile…a long while.
- Do not connect on social media before you are in a committed relationship: You still do not know this person and social media is a brilliant (and terrifying) tool that can be used to the advantage of stalkers or anyone who wants to know when your home will be empty. It can also be a source of great hostility if either of you goes out with friends and your new romantic interest only learns about it on Facebook and Instagram.
In the end, one has to draw from past non-cyber dating experiences as well as his or her own gut instinct as to what is and is not an appropriate topic of discussion in the beginning of a relationship–whether that be over drinks at a wine bar, text chatting at 2AM, or on your dating profile. Analyze your date’s vocal and silent reactions to smaller matters first to gauge the potential for conflict over the main issue. Or make the bottom of your profile a giant “CAUTION” sign and weed out the pussies you would have kicked to the curb after the obligatory thirty-minute drink, anyway.
Despite this past month, I finally believe I will love again.
(special thanks to my pals RJ, Peter, Rob, Alicia & Corbin, etc.)