Category Archives: Online Dating World

Marriage Proposal Monday

So the other night, I’m sitting in my PJ’s, about to go elbow deep into some microwave popcorn, when my phone vibrates with a message from a friend, telling me she just received a marriage proposal from a guy online.  A guy she’d never met.  A guy she’d never even messaged/talked with.

This is blog fodder GOLD, friends.

I’ll just let you see.

marriage proposal setup

 

Oooooooooh yeeeeeah, baby.  I was drunk with power… what to say?  What to do?

Was it my place to steer this poor lost lad in proper online dating courtship methods?  You know… stuff like, don’t lead off with lifelong commitment?  After all – with great power comes great responsibility.
Or could I just have some fun with him?

I think you all can probably guess…I chose the latter.

Enjoy.

marriage proposal

So there you have it.  I feel I’ve really done some good in this world.

I’m like a SuperHero of online dating, basically.  The Dark Knight (or is it Knightess?) of cyber love.
And you all are my co-voyeurs.

You’re welcome.

Dating in an LOL World

Things are not as they seem.  …or as they USED to be… I just used “lol” in the middle of sentence in a text…and I wasn’t L-ing at all, certainly not OL. I don’t even recognize myself… What has HAPPENED to me? I’ll tell you – the same thing that’s happened in the world of dating – the rules have changed. Sigh… Oh, how they’ve changed. And “Lol” is only the beginning… I used to be the biggest stickler about this one – I’d only ever type “lol” if I had actually ‘laughed out loud,’ (which of course I do often, so it wasn’t that much of a stretch). But, now, if I audibly laugh, I feel the need to type something like, “LOL!  I ACTUALLY laughed!  Out loud!” I mean, mercy!  Isn’t the point of having those three letters, so that you DON’T have to type out a play-by-play of your comedic response? The term and use of “lol” have changed since its inception.  It no longer means you actually laughed…it just means something is laughABLE, or even mildly amusing.  People use it to poke fun at a situation or themselves… it’s become a texting tic. And it’s not the only phrase that’s seen an evolution in its use and meaning.

The dating world is full of phrases, ideas, and expectations that don’t mean nearly what they used to.

A couple examples :

1.  “Hang out” used to mean spending time with someone – maybe meeting for a drink or to take a walk.  Now it means, “give me directions to your home – I’ll bring the ruffies.” russian BC 1 Russian BC


 

2.  “Hooking up” used to mean – connecting with someone once you were both out on the town. [e.g. “Cool, I’m out with a friend now…let’s hook up later and grab a beer!“]
Now it also means – have casual sex.  (I’m noticing a pattern here).


 

And not only have the phrases/lingo changed, expectations and ideals have shifted dramatically.

A few of the myriad ways:
1.  The age of a man complimenting a woman is gone.  If you find a man who will verbally appreciate your beauty or character, he’s a rare gem and you should put a ring on it.

2.  Major declarations of intentions or significant messages can now be delivered via text, and it’s not rude.   Texting someone that it’s not a good match, or conversely, that you REALLY like them… isn’t cheating.  It used to be that texting was for quick logistics, or for lazy people, but sentiment was left for the phone or in person.  Not anymore.  And that’s ok…if you know it. The problem with this one is that not everyone is on the same page.  So, feelings get hurt or people feel underappreciated.  You have people like me who’d rather NOT talk on the phone…I’m a text or in-person kinda gal… upsetting those who still want an old-fashioned phone convo.  Sigh…

3.  A first date is no longer necessarily an all-night event.  Where there used to be an expectation of dinner and a movie, now there’s just coffee or one drink.  In fact, truth be told, most of us in the online dating scene, would prefer a quick 5-minute meet-up to be sure you do, in fact, have all (ok, most?) of your teeth, you smell relatively normal, don’t give off that “I may have a few dead hookers in my backyard shed” vibe, look remotely similar to your online photos, and don’t get that crusty foamy stuff in the corners of your mouth. Yeah…the bar is nice and low, friends.

4.  In the olden days (you know…that nebulous period of “feels like forever ago”…), a man would meet a woman who intrigued him, and immediately ask her to dinner or, depending on how ‘olden’ we’re talking, to join him for parlor games with his parents at the plantation.  (I’m making this stuff up as I go, folks… and the bulk of my ‘olden days’ dating knowledge comes from vampire novels, but stick with me).  Nowadays, a guy will sit on a potentially great relationship for WAY too long without initiating a face-to-face meeting.  I have girlfriends who have been messaging guys for WEEKS and there’s no talk of “we should get together!”  WHAT?  If someone is exciting enough to send messages to every day, don’t you want to be sure you’re not chatting with a tech-savvy 12-year old named Aiden or Tate or something equally nauseating? I, for one, am all for the quick-to-meet philosophy.  What do you have to lose?  If the person is interesting in person, they’re still going to be so by text.  But if they turn out to be a me-monster, or insanely insecure…don’t you want to cross them off the list before wasting weeks of well-crafted flirty texts?

 

There are countless other ways that dating has changed, but I’ll close us out today with a most bizarre scenario that happened with me a few weeks ago – where my humor (and only a sliver of the ocean of funniness within me, truth be told) cost me a first date.

 

Met this guy on Match – he messaged me first… we took it to texting and made a plan to meet a couple days after the New Year.  We were just making small talk – he was sick, I was busy, blah blah…boring stuff… this is why I’m quick to meet with someone. We checked in with each other every day or so, but with the holidays, it was busy and since I hadn’t yet determined that he was ‘full throttle adorable text’-worthy, it was limited communication.  I was just looking forward to meeting him and seeing if there was real potential there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then this happened…. What?
I mean… what?

 

Billy 1

Billy 2

I like to think I stay ‘up’ on the ever shifting shadows of the modern dating world, but this one even caught me by surprise. Apparently a random insertion of cat allergy discussion is NOT a laughing matter… and I was supposed to be doting on this guy, by text, more intensely than I was… before ever meeting and establishing that there’s chemistry at all.

Ah well… lesson learned. But, no love lost, he used WAY too many emoticons anyway.
And if THAT’S not a red flag, …well then I don’t know what is.

The shop around the cyber-corner

In this gift-giving season that’s upon us, I’ve been thinking a lot about shopping.

I love to shop.
But, not necessarily in that female stereotypical way… so, if you’re thinking, “no way… I hate malls…,”
I get it.  I can identify with not being the “typical” ‘loves-to-shop’ woman–

Heck, in a city where we’ve taken the idea of a mall and turned it into a metropolis-sized temple of materialism…
I practically need a wee dram of scotch and a football quality pep talk to brave Houston’s Galleria.

BUT…. Give me wifi, a mouse and a reasonable budget…and I’m your girl.

shopping 1Right now I’m in the market for a scrunchy, tall, black, suede-esque pair of boots… comfortable, yet fashion-forward – and under $40.  I’ve had the darndest time finding exactly what I’m looking for,  (it might surprise you to find I’m particularly picky…), but the search continues.

I’ve gone to several local shoe stores, to no avail.  So – I had to turn to the ‘ol interwebs… you get so many more options and filters…surely I’ll find what I’m looking for THERE…

And it occured to me… what if online shopping could be even better….
if you could streamline your requests, and add in all kinds of perks to the process while you search?

Well – I dare say it can!
With online dating.  The ULTIMATE shopping experience.  Hear me out…

shopping 4There is no other place in the world that you can fine-tune your specific requirements for your “purchase” quite like online dating.

Sure, when you’re buying shoes, you can narrow down the search by color, size, price… big woo…
With MAN shopping, you can narrow your search by height, weight, income, body-type, personality-type, religious preferences, number of kids, marital history, age, sexual preferences, location, political stance, ability to answer logic problems (not kidding!), education, income, and a hundred other factors.

PLUS you get to read essays they’ve written (which lets you know if they can write well, if they have a sense of humor, and if they’ve come to terms with the fact that “alot” is not a word.)

You also get to see how they’ve answered a bevy of questions ranging from their thoughts on dating/marriage, to how they’ll raise kids, to where they’d like to vacation, to whether you should buy real or fake Christmas trees…you know – the stuff that MATTERS.

But, it’s really so much more.  Online dating is the only shopping experience where you get these added benefits:

 

Unlimited Test Driving.

Sure, car dealers will let you take a car for a spin… MAYBE, if you’re lucky, you can keep it overnight.
But that’s it.shopping 3

Online dating lets you take the “car” out as many times as you need to, to know it’s the one.  Yeah…it may claim to have a sweet moon roof and Bose stereo system… but until you’re feeling the warm glow of moon light on your face and hearing “O Fortuna” in surround sound…who’s to say it’s not an empty promise?

Same goes for men.  Gotta see it to believe it.  He REALLY values family?  He’s REALLY romantic?  He REALLY puts the toilet seat down?  Hey – Time will tell.

And you get all the time you need.

 

Great return policy

If you find a product you like… and your shopping days are over… but then, tragedy strikes and he turns out NOT to be the one… you don’t only have 30 days…or 60… or even 90…
You can return your purchase ANY time you want, in whatever condition you want – no questions asked.shopping 2

Unless someone’s put a ring on someone, dumpers and dumpees are free to get back online to begin looking for an even better match.  Talk about customer service.

 

Constantly updated sales team & Product Turnover

Unlike Target (*kisses two fingers and holds ‘em up in the air out of respect for the mother ship*), you’re not going to see last summer’s flip-flops being pawned off as the next trend.  Sure…they may still be somewhere in the Fall line… but new merchandise is constantly being added.  Every time I’m on an online dating site, there are new faces/matches to review.  And the stores (sites) themselves are ever evolving for their customer needs.

 

shopping 5I could go on… but, as Dec. 25th creeps closer and closer, you need all the time you can get to do your regular, old-fashioned shopping.

So, shop with abandon.
But remember, if it’s a relationship you’re in the market for, your odds are much better than finding those “black suede boots.”

So – happy holidays and happy shopping!

Making a Donkey out of U-M-E

The other night I was playing the radio game with some friends.  (If you’ve never played the radio game, you should remedy that posthaste.  It’s great car-trip fun.)
Anyway – on one song, my friend named the artist before I did, and in his excitement, put up his hand for a high-five (for his amazing musical catch).
Without even thinking about it, I slapped his hand in reciprocal excitement…only to then think, “wait…why am I celebrating his win?  He’s my opponentHe’s the enemy!”
So, why did I high-five him?

assume 7
Simply because he put his hand up!

And it’s human nature to respond.
I’m basically just a sheep, blindly following non-verbal commands…even if it means praising my adversary.

And while that’s fine for me and a buddy playing the radio game, its more insidious counterpart in the dating world…isn’t so fine.
But it happens ALL the time.

 

assume 3

Men and women both do this – me make assumptive gestures – in words and actions – and on a date, it’s hard not to return the metaphorical hi-five.

Picture this… you’re 5 minutes into a date and the girl makes a comment about how you’re going to just LOVE her parents….
Um…what?

Or, before you’ve even finished your first drink, the guy is planning your next date.
Come again?

 

This is an issue I keep encountering in my own dating life… men who assume.  (And we all know what happens when you assume…)

Everyone jokes that women all do this – practically plan out your wedding before you’ve closed out date one.  But, I’ve experienced it recently, comin’ from the menfolk too.  It’s not just us girls.

These are the guys who, by their references and actions, presume all manner of things…about a level of mutual attraction that isn’t necessarily there.

There are two main forms this unrequited “we have a real future together” attitude comes in:  verbal and physical.

Verbal

This includes, but is not limited to…

making plans to do things or visit places together, inlcuding international travel
     “Oh, you haven’t seen the new Mummy exhibit at the Science museum?  We’ll HAVE to go…”
     “Well – you’re going to LOVE the margaritas in Cabo… you’ll see…”

speaking about meeting family and attending family functions
     “That’s totally something my mom would say!  She’s gonna love you.”
     “You haven’t experienced St. Patrick’s Day ’til you’ve spent it with my crazy family.  You’ll see.”

talking about what kind of house you want to live in, how many kids you could have together (or how to blend your existing kiddos), who would move to the others’ place, etc.

assume 6I was on a date recently with a sweet guy.  We were hardly 15 minutes into our date… as in – the food hadn’t even been ordered yet – and he was pulling up photos of RV’s we could use for future camping trips.
(Now, a caveat – most men, when they hear that I don’t like to camp, always want to win me over… so, this isn’t THAT strange, but when he continued on later in the evening, showing me more spacious and convenient road-living options… it was too much.
Really – ANY talk of RV’s is too much.)

 

 

Physical

These are tricky in first-date land.  Because everyone comes in with a different set of rules and limits on what they will/won’t do on a first date.  Will you hold hands?  Snuggle?  Hug?  Kiss?
These are already sticky wickets for 2 people who LIKE each other…but what about a date you’re just ‘enduring?’assume 4

Assumptive posturing in the physical arena may look like:

Putting your arm around my shoulder

– Opening up your hand to you, as if to say, “hold this”

– Leaning in eagerly, and oh-so-expectantly for a kiss.

These (and more) are all things that it’s hard to NOT reciprocate, without feeling like a 1st-class jerkface.

Say you’re watching a show/concert/movie and a guy puts his hand, open/face-up on your knee… …what would you do OTHER than hold it?  Give him an akward low-five?
Put a Werther’s in it and give him a friend-zone-worthy smile?
Cross your legs at that exact moment, as if you didn’t even notice his hand there, and watch his arm fall off with a thud?
Shoot him that “not gonna happen, buddy” stare?  (Seems harsh!?)

assume 5This happened to me recently on a date… I wasn’t feeling the spark at all… but the guy sweetly put his hand out… and what did I do?  I took it!  And we held hands for easily 10 min!  And all the while I was conflicted about the mixed messages I was probably sending.  Argh…

Same for the arm around the shoulder!?  Wriggling out of that isn’t exactly a subtle communication.  Sigh…

Now… the more egregious faux-pas are easy to sidestep.
If I’m dancing with a guy and he presumes to grab my hiney, I’ll take his hand RIGHT off.  That’s culturally acceptable… and often expected.

But, refusing to hold a hand…just seems mean!?
And yet…I really don’t want to hold the hand of someone I’m not feelin’ chemistry with.  Am I locked in, simply by rules of courtesy?

What’s a girl (or guy!) to do?

I need some super suave, stealthy tricks to evade these unwanted gestures.
Not unlike the “hug & roll.”
Open to suggestions here, friends.

assume 2

The moral of the story is this…

When you’re on a first date –
READ THE ROOM!!
Use the clues your date is giving you to know if you can pull off the hand-holding or even a little goodnight snogging.  Watch for things like eye contact, light touching, sitting close, etc. to know.

If she’s making frequent trips to the bathroom…with her phone, or looking off into space, or checking the time, or scooting away… it’s not the time for a smooch OR showing her the latest motorhome models.
It sleeps 6!  That means we CAN have those 4 kids!”
smh…

 

Boyfriend Sharing

sharingAre we not taught from our early years the value of sharing?

If you want to play with my toy and I’m done with it… the polite thing to do is let you have a turn.
What if my toy is a man?

So many times, I’ve gone out with a guy and within the first few minutes, thought to myself, “he’s not for me.  But, man, my friend ____ would love him!”  (Yeah… I have a friend who’s name is “______”).

Sure, it’s less than ideal for ME, but I’m hoping what goes around will come around.

dim sum

And, let’s face it – until the day when my fantasy of dim sum dating becomes a reality
(this is where you wait for each personality trait you want to come around the conveyor belt, pick out all the ones you like and create the perfect mate), this could be a delightful stopgap.

How cool would it be if I could e-mail him the next day, give him my ‘we’re not a good match’ line and then offer up a consolation date?  And vice versa.  When a guy goes out with me… I WELCOME him coming back to me and saying… “you’re not the girl for me, but I have a buddy who’d be perfect for you!”  I mean… if you’ve written, texted, called and had a first date, then you at least have an IDEA of the person’s personality and preferences…even moreseo than someone has after reading an online dating profile.  So – in one sense – who BETTER to set you up?

Problem is – (well, two problems) – this involves rejection and stigma.

The rejection piece is hard.  It’s life, yes.  But, it sucks.  Having someone tell you they aren’t into you, BUT… they have a friend…… well, they’ve still just lowered the boom of rejection, no matter how much they softened the blow with an alternative.  So – yeah – we’d have to get over that piece of it…

And then there’s the idea rolling around the back of most people’s head… “isn’t this tacky?”  A social stigma that we don’t just throw people around until they land on something that sticks.

And yet… what better system for set-ups is there?  Ok, ok… close friends and family may take the first spot on the list.  …but I dare say that I’d rather be set up by someone I spent a couple of no-spark-feelin’ hours with, than by the ‘robot’ inside Match.com… wouldn’t you?

Plus – think of the permutations.  Sure, you can set “I love to camp” Joe up with “I’m outdoorsy” Jane… but there’s also a group option here.  Like – I end a date with a guy and throw his stats out to my ready group of single girlfriends.  I include his photo and contact information and it’s up to them to scoop him up!?  The guy could potentially have dates lined up for the next 3 weeks just by not connecting with me!

One man’s trash….

sharing 2

Emoticons are EVERYTHING in this situation…

So – who’s WITH me?  I’m not even joking here.  If I have a bank of interested parties, I’m all OVER trying this out.

In fact, the next time I go out with a quality guy, but one who doesn’t have that ‘spark’ with me… I’m going to give this a go.  AAAaaaand…. write about it.

 

Now, I just have to find a date…

Good Fellas

I’ve gotten a few discouraged e-mails over this last week from readers (I think it was the “let me sniff it” message that really put a damper on peoples’ confidence in the world), so I thought I’d do a “nice post.”  Here are a few sweet or clever messages/profiles I’ve received/seen in the last few weeks.

There ARE good guys out there.  Their profiles may not make us simultaneously spit out our drink laughing while simultaneously dying a little inside…like most of the ones I post – but they exist.  And we should be glad they do.  Here’s some proof:

good fellas - nice smileHow sweet is this?


pick-up line - cleverA little nerdy, but adorable.


awesome shotHow AWESOME is this photo?  I had to “biggen it up” to really soak in its awesomeness.  I don’t know how many attemps it took to make this work,
but I LOVE it.


nice message 2 Continue reading

Shipping & Handling

People have been asking me to talk about which online dating sites are best, so I thought I’d give you my opinion of some of the big players.

But, when it comes down to it, all these sites really offer are varying levels of quality for filters and search tools.  The product?  Men.  (Or women, if that’s what you’re looking for, obvi).
To me, filter and search are like the shipping and handling of the online dating world.  And in the same way I wanna tell Amazon or any other online shopping, “look – you take care of the shipping, …I’LL ‘handle’ things,” I care much more about the filtering than I do about the built in search/matching options.  …But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Online dating sites are just like any other online shopping… I know what I want to begin with, and I go in search of it.  If I’m dead set on a pair of mustard-colored espadrilles, no, you won’t be able to convince me to buy suede boots.  In the same way, if I’m looking for a tall, metro-preppy, smart, funny, Jesus-lovin’ man who can dance… then, no, you cannot “interest me” in an uneducated atheist who doesn’t know how to correctly use its/it’s in his profile.
And, unfortunately for me – because of this blog, I click on a lot of less-than-desirable men who message me or show up in my matches… which seriously screws up my future match-ups.  So, now I get a lot of… “Because you checked out TexasUnimaginativeGuy69, you may like TXNotSoSmart69.”  Sigh with me…will you?

So, for me – I’d prefer a site that offers me:

– a large bank of quality men
– a user-friendly and easy-on-the-eyes interface
– detailed search tool options
– lots of filters (data)

Knowing that, let’s just jump on in to the ones I’ve used.  I’ll go in order of my subscriptions…

[Quick caveats –
1.  all of the following statements are MY opinion from MY experiences on these sites.  I know others have had different luck with them, so… take it as one single girl’s perspective…
2.  all the photos are how the site looks to me once I log in – just to give you an idea of the “look” of each.]

 

After a heart-breaking, gut-wrenching break-up 2 winters ago, (I like to start things out on a cheery note)… I decided to try online dating.  I had briefly used “ChristianMingle.com” before, which is where I’d found my ex-boyfriend.  Despite breaking my heart, he was a fantastic guy, so…I figured the site would have more like him on it to choose from on the second round.  I was wrong…it was a colossal disappointment.

ChristianMingle may USED to have had a bevy of hunky Christian men on it… now it’s full of either Osteenites (yes, I admit… not a fan of the ‘church of Joel’) or men who may love Jesus, but are about as smart as a box of rocks.  I’m sorry…I know it sounds harsh, but I actually had a guy on there tell me “not to use such big words”… sigh…


So, I figured I’d hit up the big guns – “Match.com.”  S & H - MatchThe apparent quality of men on this site was markedly better – I guess you do get what you pay for.  Of all the sites I belong to, this one probably has the most ‘settled’ men…meaning, there are many guys on here who have their stuff together – decent jobs, decent living situation, have dealt with whatever issues may have gotten in the way of having a relationship and are ‘ready’ to find the one.  The only problems I’ve found with Match Men are that –
1.  They can be cocky (they know they’re the cream of the crop, so they dismiss women quickly)
2.  I’m not as likely to find ones who place as high a value on their faith as I’d like (again…that’s for ME)

But, Match.com has something else going for it, and that is their “stir events.”  These are various types of real-life meet-ups where people who are members of the site can meet other members in group settings – they offer happy hour mixers, speed dating (as you may recall, I checked out one of their speed-dating events), cooking classes, sporting events, etc.
This is a GREAT incentive to subscribe – because you get the best of both worlds.

Still, when I started out on Match, before I was the cyber-dating shark I am now, it seemed to be, essentially an online street corner, where men troll for sex.  I’ll share with you later a few stories that will practically have a little voice in the back of your head whispering, “it rubs the lotion on its skin…”  But I digress…

In addition to Match being full of creepers, I also wasn’t getting any responses from the men I DID initiate conversation with… so I decided to analyze the situation scientifically – what could it be that was keeping men from interacting with me?  I mean…. I AM, after all, QUITE the catch.  I concluded that maybe it was the fact that I’m a mom… I get that.  I can see how it could freak someone out that I come with two children as part of the package…fair enough.


S & H - SingleParentMeetSo… I signed up for a couple months on “SingleParentMeet.com.”  Wow.  Just……wow.  I literally – and I am not making this junk up – for almost 6 months, renewed my subscription with them SOLELY for the rich material it provided me for the blog.  The steady parade of egregiously unqualified men was staggering.   And when I say “unqualified,” I don’t just mean as potential partners… but I don’t know how some of these guys are allowed to BE parents at ALL!  Sigh…


S & H - eHarmWith the wind somewhat sucked from my sails, I thought I’d pour my remaining vestiges of hope into the almighty “eHarmony.com,” or, as I affectionately call it, “The eHARM.”  Now, eHarmony does things a bit differently – you can’t go searching (let’s call it what it is…shopping) on your own.  You have to wait ‘til they deem someone worthy of a match and send you the information.  And they have been…. Across the board…. All of them – as in, 100%…. ugly.

I know it sounds harsh, but it’s the sad truth.  Men – if you’re reading this and you are good-looking and on eHarmony…. Call me.  I mean…um….(shifts nervously)…you’re the exception.

Yup.  They may have a great character, good job, love Jesus… but they certainly aren’t about to win any beauty awards (holla  Monopoly’s “Community Chest”).  And, I’m sorry, but there has to be a physical chemistry/connection!!


SO, even though I can’t stand either of the names of these next two, I thought I’d join millions of Americans and condescend to the free sites… Plenty of Fish and OKCupid.

S & H - POFIf Match.com seemed to be the street corner of cyber dating, then Plenty of Fish is the under-the-bridge option.  If you’ve lost all self-respect and are just looking to hook-up with someone who very well may have at least one communicable disease… hit up PlentyOfFailFish.
I’m not saying EVERY guy on here is gross.  But if they’re NOT, then they’re probably not here for long…they’re the unfortunate misguided traveler who stumbled upon this quality-forsaken hole by utter accident.  OR…they (like me) stay for the sheer staggering display of reprobation.

By some divine intervention, I have actually met a couple of great guys on this site… and we’re still friends (in fact, the acclaimed “Raul” was a PoF find), but all of those men have since seen the light and moved up to a higher-grade site.


S & H - OKCupidOKCupid  was one I resisted for a long time because, what kind of a name is that?  Not – “YAY, Cupid!” or “Let’s DO this thing, Cupid,” but rather… “meh… whatevs… so-so…. OK….”

Still, I’d heard good things about it, so I ventured in.  And I gotta say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.  I’d have to say this may be my favorite of the online dating sites.  It’s pleasant on the eyes, easy to use, has a fascinating associated blog with tips and tricks for the dating world, but mostly – it’s the questions.  Yup – OKC has hundreds of multiple choice questions you can answer (you answer as few or as many as you like…and you can go back and answer more any time) which help them match you up with others.  The answers you choose, and the importance you assign to the topic, are compared against potential matches so you can see how closely you line up on various issues.  It’s a pretty cool system actually.


S & H - eVowThen, one day while harvesting blog fodder from PlentyOfFish, I saw their advertisement for their sister site, eVow, which claims to be ONLY for people looking for serious relationships.  I wrote a blog post about this, including my findings after testing them out to see if they were legit in their claim (which they were!).  I haven’t been on eVow much because I haven’t seen any guys on there I would date… they may be looking for the same thing I am, but they’re certainly not dazzling me with their charming wit or sparkling intellect.  So… meh…


 

So – that’s what we’re working with, in terms of online dating.  Here are the cliff’s notes:

ChristianMingle – the K-Mart of online dating – used to be something in its day, but it’s taken a nose-dive into loser-ville

Match – Once you learn how to avoid the creepers, a decent bank of options

SingleParentMeet  – Clueless/Dim (my soft euphemisms for stupid) men…with children (heaven help us all)

eHarmony – all the men with the “great personality!” (you don’t need GoogleTranslate to know what that means…)

PlentyOfFish – perfect if you want an STD or a stalker

OKCupid – Free and pretty good, considering.

eVow – meh…

Conclusion:  I’m still relying on chance coincidences or “happening” to bump into Mr. Perfect at Club Kroger…..

 

And ONE of these days, I’ll convince my programmer friend to help me BUILD a dating website… which will be AWESOME.

Til then… happy shopping!

Let’s Get REAL…like the housewives

Ok, I admit it – I’m about to recycle and old post on you guys.  But a have a really good reason…

I’m out of ideas.

 

HA ha!! As if!

I have more ideas than I’ll probably EVER get the chance to write about…because they flood into my mind faster than I can capture them, write them up and post them. Not to mention, you all have been GREAT about submitting questions to the “Ask Sarah” page…and I plan to answer them all.  (Keep ’em coming!)

 

No, I’m reposting this because I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people lately about boring or poorly thought-out online profiles, and it reminded me of one of my early blogs… so I thought I’d reshare.  If you’ve already read it, well – read it again in a cool accent.


 

Ubiquity is Everywhere.

 

Look.  You are no different from anyone else when it comes to the basics of what you want in a partner.  Obviously everyone is unique and has certain idiosyncrasies that set them apart in what makes them choose one over another.  But, the basics…the standard fare – is always the same.  I mean, c’mon – no one says “I’m looking for a lazy, ugly, cheating, raging, cheap man who will give me no attention or affection.”  (But if you know this girl, give her a “bless your heart” hug as soon as possible.)

So, since we’ve established that we all want the normal baseline of decent human character, can we stop TALKING about it?  I am so sick of reading profile after profile that say the same stinkin’ thing.  They all want a woman who is sweet, but also speaks her mind; who is pretty with or without makeup; who enjoys her work, but isn’t consumed by it; on and on…. something, something…blah blah…I’m alseep.

Can we start an uprising?  A revolutionary new way of approaching this?  How’s about this:  don’t say dumb stuff that’s obvious.  Say something that sets you apart.  I’m telling you – the profiles that grab my attention and make me want to send the guy a message, are those that have a flash of wit or an interesting musing or even just a silly story.  In an effort to jump start this grassroots campaign for uniqueness, I’m offering up my services – that is, I’m going to tell you how to not screw it up.

First off…guys, why do so many of your profiles say that you want an HONEST woman?  Well, duh.  Do we have to SAY that?  All you’re doing is letting everyone know that you were cheated on.  Which is sad, but it’s not particularly relevant for searching for a woman online… I mean, let’s just think this through to the end – if I’m NOT an honest woman, then obviously I’m not going to tell you I’m dishonest…that would be honest…which I’m not.  So, I can CLEARLY not choose the wine in front of you!  (If you don’t get that reference, you should have your funny gland checked… no, seriously…I’m a little concerned…)

Next, a helpful list for quick reference when writing the “about me” section:

Things EVERYone loves, so you don’t need to verbalize it:

–       Long walks on the beach.  The beach is beautiful, day or night.  Walking hand in hand with someone you love is delightful.  Who wouldn’t like to put these two things together?

–       Have fun.  ….OOOOooh.  Ok. Gotcha.

–       Staying in and watching a movie, cuddling on the couch.  Men always list this right after they’ve used that whole line about wanting a woman who can put on her heels and go out on the town, AND be able to just throw her hair up in a ponytail and relax at home.  I think they must think that we need to hear them admit to being homebodies?  Everyone likes vegging out on the sofa.  Everyone likes having someone around to snuggle with.  Again…put these together and you have a universally acceptable partner activity.

–       Laugh.  Really?  You have to say this?  You have to specify that you enjoy that thing your body naturally does…when you’re experiencing enjoyment?  Is there such a thing as a person that doesn’t like to laugh?  I mean, barring all those people with cripplingly painful laughter muscle diseases… obvi.  But, are there women out there who hate it when they laugh?  Try picturing someone laughing and hating it at the same time…kinda funny, right?  Kinda makes you want to laugh, right?  I hate that.

–       Love.   So, wait… you love love?  AND you’re on an online dating site?  That is so. weird.

–       To enjoy life to the fullest.  This one really chaps my hide.  Why do they have to be so extreme?  I mean… I like to enjoy life as much as the next guy, but…. ‘to the fullest?’  I don’t know that I’m ready for that kind of commitment…

–       Simple Pleasures.  While I prefer to have to toil tirelessly for a small amount of happiness, I suppose I can get on board with some pleasure that comes easy… it’s asking a lot, but I’ll try to power through.

And, let me just admit that I’m guilty of this too.  I guess I feel like if I DON’T list the globally understood basic  decencies I want in a person, that I’ll be that lucky girl who ends up with some soul-less sociopath, rocking in a corner somewhere, muttering to myself, “I should’ve specified that I wanted a nice, honest guy….what have I done?”

But, perhaps ….just perhaps… one day, I’ll be bold enough to take my quasi-generic checklist down and put something like this up in its stead:

“Sassy, sometimes controlling, but always fun grammar nazi seeks a man who:

– prefers real Christmas trees over fakes ones.  I mean…eww.
– will kill spiders and all manner of bug or icky-like creatures that come into my path.
– will play the radio game with me, and never stoop to letting me win.
– won’t tease me about my spray butter problem, unless it’s that adorable flirty teasing thing.
– won’t judge me for watching trash TV…and maybe will even watch a few shows with me.
– is handsome enough that I can’t resist him, but not SO perfect that I feel insecure around him.  I don’t need abs of steel… abs of a good firm back-sleeper-pillow will do just fine.
– won’t roll his eyes at my habit of turning every phrase into a song.
– will let me convince him to abandon white flour.  It’s the wave of the food future, dude.  Just surrender now.
– will let me have 5/6ths of the bed and keep the ceiling fan off.
– will watch chick-flicks with me without rolling his eyes and saying words like “formulaic”
– doesn’t consider a matinee and dinner at Chili’s a “romantic evening”
– will offer to rub my shoulders without me having to ask, from time to time
– can cook.  Or at least will join me in a culinary adventure where I cook and he’s my hunky sous chef.  Oh my….
– drinks wine.
– owns clothes other than graphic tees
– will throw a party with me… bonus points for hosting or going to a costume party where he actually dresses up.
– loves Jesus…and actually GETS that we need him.”  (whoa…heavy…)

So – there you have it.  Men of Houston, form a line and let’s do this thing.  I’m accepting 7’s and higher tonight.

Stalking is Sexy

I think we’ve already established that dates are like interviews.  Anyone on the dating scene knows this to be true.  And if you prepare for an interview, wouldn’t you do the same for a date?

But, today’s question is – how much “preparation” is ok?  And when does pre-date prep stalking research cross the line into a place that will actually HURT your chances at a successful date?

I’m a big believer in using the variety of tools at your disposal to be prepared.  But, how far is too far?

Many times, I will Google a guy before even agreeing to a date at all.  I don’t always have this privilege because it requires having some basic information (last name, where he works, etc.) that online dating doesn’t always afford you, but if I can – I do.  I will Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other available cyber stalk.  And what am I looking for?  I just like to get a sense of his personality outside of the profile HE wrote about himself.  I also don’t mind verifying that he actually has a job.

Honestly, I’m really not usually looking for “dirt,” I just want to get a broader sense of who he is!  Is his FB page full of political rants?  Photos of family?  Annoyingly “inspirational” posters?  What is he passionate about?  What does he like to DO?  Could I show his Facebook profile to my mother?  Does he play Farmville?  This is very important. I say yes to Words-With-Friends and an emphatic no to Farmville.  They’re very different sorts of guys…  It’s like the Bloods and the Crips…only less stabby.  But, back to our topic…

I know that some women will take it to the next level(s) as well:
– if they’re going out with an alleged millionaire, they can check out whether his company is registered with Companies House
– if the guy claims to be a musician, she can look for him on MySpace, YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, etc.
– and I’ve even had women I know call in favors from law enforcement family members and friends to run background checks.

This is certainly not exclusive to women.  I know men pre-date-stalk too.  In fact, the impetus for this post was a guy friend who started reading the blog of the woman he was going to go on a date with and asked me if I thought that was inappropriate.
(Inappropriate, not because it was ‘creeper’y, but because…is there such a thing as knowing ‘too much’?)

The trend seems to be – women would rather know more about a man ahead of time and men would rather discover these things in person.  Why, you say?  Well…that may be enough fuel for a whole other post, but …it has to do with trust, insecurities, fears, etc…. cheery stuff.

Here is my stance on all of this.  I think it’s fine to collect as much information as you want to before a date.  But the tipping point of how it will GO for you, is in HOW you use your information.

First…know that every piece of information you have – you have OUT of context of the whole person.  So, while it may be integral  data to your processing, it needs to be paired with the REAL person.  Meeting and talking with someone face-to-face will ALWAYS shed light on who they are, no matter how much preliminary data you’ve collected.  And once you have a feel for the real person, every bit of information before and going forward is now filtered through that lens.

An innocuous example of this is my blog.  I’ve had people criticize its tone as being harsh or mean… but the people who KNOW me, “hear” my “voice” as they read it and hence, hear it as dry-humor or the silly rants of a woman who has a soft heart.  They’ve seen my face, heard my voice, seen the tilt of my head or the wink of my eye as I say things, and now when they read, THAT’s the Sarah they ‘hear.’  This works with people you date as well.  So – remember that all that information you gathered ahead of time is SANS real person.

Next…no overshares.  When you’re going on a job interview, you WANT the potential employer to know you took the time to research their company, learn about the history, management, stats, etc.  This impresses them.  This does NOT impress dates.  Just to clarify.

As in… do not lead in with any talking points, “So, when I read that article you wrote your junior year of college…inspiring.”  Or, “those pictures of you in the bathtub when you were four are just precious.”……. chirp…. wide eyes… not a great date-starter.

The trick is to USE your information wisely.  Remember…with great knowledge comes great responsibility.
(What…that’s NOT how it goes?  Well… consider that my own pithy rule of thumb then.)

Knowing tidbits about your date is a great insider edge when making conversation, but use it sparingly and mostly as information in the back of your mind that helps fill in the master portrait of who they are.

If people will get to know the WHOLE person in the dating process, we’ll be that much closer to living lives of authenticity.  And in then end… that is what will make a relationship work.

 

Speed Dating – 2.0

Some of you may remember my first foray into speed dating last summer…which, aside from the entertaining story it provided and a friend I made in the process, was a colossal failure.  When you endure a 5-min. long detailed description of a man’s recent toe surgery, you pretty much know you’re not walkin’ away with a life love… or a man who can walk correctly at all, really.

But this week, I participated in Match.com’s version and it was considerably more successful.  Sit back and let me tell you the tale.

Let me begin by saying that I DIG the idea of speed dating.  I think anyone on the dating scene can agree that in 5 minutes, you know if your date is someone you want to spend the rest of your date with or if you’d rather be home watching Storage Wars.  So, the premise is simple and reasonable – 5 minute dates with several men, and if you liked what you saw, you could contact them (or they, you) for a real date.

Eighteenth Cocktail Bar

Eighteenth Cocktail Bar

The event was held at the charming Prohibition-themed “Eighteenth Cocktail Bar” near Rice Village, and Match.com had supplied SEVENTEEN dates!  Not shabby.

I was greeted by an enthusiastic woman who gave me the run-down of the night and passed me on to another fun, charismatic personality (I would later covet her job) who signed me in.  There was about a half an hour of mingle time where people could get drinks, food and chat.  That’s the only part I would’ve done differently had they asked ME to run the show… not everyone is comfortable making conversation ex nihilo.  I think an icebreaker type of cheesy game would’ve helped the non-extroverts of the group ease into the night.IMG_5335

I was fine because I ooze conversation, but even for me, it was a stretch – so I can only imagine how the less “Sarah-ish” folks fared.

One of the nicest guy there

One of the nicest guys there

So, I got my perfectly crafted mojito and sidled up to a few folks to start chatting.  The girls were great and the guys seemed …well… normal!  I didn’t see anyone right from the beginning who caught my eye on looks alone, but the personalities were enjoyable for sure.

Finally, the woman in charge (did I mention I want her job?) got everyone’s attention and gave us a run-through of how it would work, including directing everyone’s attention to things like table numbers, list/notes for the night, and suggested icebreaker questions/conversation starters for those people who can’t think of how to move conversation along for the ENTIRE five minutes… hmmm…  She was great, though.  Her introduction helped bring a shared humanity and recognition of a collective nervousness to the event that evened things out a bit.

Our host and a kindred spirit (meaning that she was loud and vivacious....like your favorite blogger)

Our host and a kindred spirit
(meaning that she was loud and vivacious….like your favorite blogger)

We got started and I sat at table 12 (I’d like call it “the best table” from here forward…) to await all my 5-min. suitors.

And they trickled in, one by one, shaking my hand, introducing themselves to me and asking questions to get to know me.  I will say this – most of these guys were quite lovely – they have good jobs, they were intelligent, capable of making conversation and asking me about myself and they were (mostly) appropriately complimentary.

IMG_5331

There were exceptions, of course… a couple of the guys talked WAY too much about themselves, filling the entire 5 minutes with talking about the details of their jobs and how important they are, and never asking me anything about myself.  But, hey – that’s life… better to happen on a 5-min date than a 45-min one (or worse!)

Some guys were simply drinking too much.  When a guy sits down and he’s obviously drunk…well, let’s just say – you’re grateful for the 5 minute limit.
(related note…any blurry photos were taken by people who couldn’t master the button pushing because of inebriation.  Let me apologize in advance for them).

Being goofy with some of the folks after the fact

Being goofy with some of the folks after the fact

This guy (dubbed "the coolest guy in the room" by the moderator) and the person taking the shot...were quite drunk.  Sigh...

This guy (dubbed “the coolest guy in the room” by the moderator) and the person taking the shot…were quite drunk. Sigh…

One gentleman was especially smarmy.  He started out great…asking me a unique ice-breaker question, “What were you doing on New Year’s Eve?”

I answered him, telling him I was at a party with a singles group I coordinate,

and he went on to ask what the IDEAL New Year’s Eve night would look like for me…

IMG_5339
…interrupting me to grab my hand in his,
scoot slightly uncomfortably close and remarking,
“You have the reddest lips and fantastic breasts!”

(record scratches)…

Um….. thank you?  …man I’ve known for 42 seconds…?

So, that was fun.

 

 

About halfway through the evening, the MC announced a short break and, as I’m sure you can imagine, the ladies’ restroom was abuzz with debriefing.  It was like a sociological study in there – listening to all of us exchanging stories and anecdotes and talking in general about the world of dating…fascinating stuff.  If Match.com wants the REAL scoop on what people were thinking of the event, all they’d need to do is plant a mole in the Women’s restroom and listen.

IMG_5329

I honestly could’ve ended the evening there – conversing and laughing with the other women – but duty called and I returned to my post.

At the beginning of the night, I’d tried to make contact with all the people in “charge” of the event, including a manager of the restaurant and the bartenders helping us out.  I guess I made an impression because right smack dab in the middle of one of my 5-min-dates, the bartender came over to me and brought two shots of some delicious melon drink – one for him (the bartender!  Not my date!) and me.

Bartending twins...totes adorbs.

Bartending twins…totes adorbs.

It cracked me up – and I didn’t quite know how to navigate the situation except to diffuse the awkwardness with humor, so I thanked him and told my ‘date’ that he was probably making up for snatching my not-yet-finished mojito from the table while I’d been in the bathroom.  Still… it was hilarious and flattering to be interrupted during the shortest possible date, by a man offering me a free drink.

 

 

Photo taken by the aforementioned "coolest guy" (perhaps we should name him the "drinkiest guy?") Thanks for at least getting PART of my face in there, fella...

Photo taken by the aforementioned “coolest guy” (perhaps we should name him the “drinkiest guy?”)
Thanks for at least getting PART of my face in there, fella…

SO… there were several men who helped vindicate my enduring faith in online dating – that is,…they’re great guys who will make someone very happy I’ll bet.  But none for me.

Although…there was ONE guy there who was quite fascinating to talk with… friendly, handsome, engaging, witty… sound familiar?  Yup – it was Raul!  (For those of you who haven’t been reading the blog long, Raul is a close friend I made via online dating.  We simultaneously and mutually agreed that we weren’t a romantic match, but we’ve had a fantastic friendship ever since.)

He was there!  What are the odds?  (OK, maybe he heard me talking about it and decided to go WAAaaay outside of his comfort zone and come check it out.  He’s guest posted a couple of times on here, and… he’s going to post TOMORROW about HIS perspective from the night!

At the end, I snapped some photos with folks who agreed to let me splatter their faces all over the interwebs, said my goodbyes and went on my merry way.

In retrospect, there’s really only one thing I would’ve done differently.  I think a classy move all around, would be to put a tip jar on my table.  You know – I’d pad it with a couple of ones and let the cash roll in.  I mean… as each guy left his 5-minute date, I could give it a subtle tap-tap with my fingernail, as if to say, “I’m not saying a sizeable tip would increase your chances of another date……but…..”
Hey – money talks.  Let’s make it rain, boys.

What…??  I might be sassy and confident, but this single mama’s gotta make a living!
As Daniel Tosh says, I’m a baller on a budget.

The next day, I got a few messages from guys who were there…but not many.  I suspect that Raul got considerably more… we’ll have to wait and see.  But, I hypothesize that my lack of enthusiasm over any one guy was obvious…I’m known to be pretty transparent.  I don’t think I was at ALL rude or unkind.  I had FUN with these guys.  But, I also think they walked away thinking, “that was fun.  But, I don’t think she likes me enough for a date.”

speed dating 1

 

speed dating 2

 

Speed dating 3

 

All told, I consider the event a success.  I didn’t go in thinking I’d probably find love, so I wasn’t disappointed… but I WAS encouraged by a room full of well-adjusted (mostly) folks looking for the same thing I am… that connection with that one person… and they haven’t given up hope.  THEY are all still searching like I am – still believing that it’s out there to be found.  And that’s nice to see.