Peace All! One kind reader suggested that I go over some of the precautions I’ve been taking in my approach to the online dating scenario for the benefit of readers who may be considering it. I think that’s a great idea! Human beings can be absolutely insane, and no one, male or female, is trying to get themselves into an unpleasant or potentially dangerous situation. So here you are then, some of Aya’s Personal Dos and Don’ts for Online Dating. These are just what work for me; take from them what you will.
First, my Dos:
Do use fake info.This applies not only to potential dating candidates but also when I was registering for the sites I’m using. Is this dishonest? Hell No. It’s safe. I’ve especially guarded my name because it is an unusual one. It’s not all that hard for people to get your personal information once they have the tiniest bit of it, so I do this to protect myself. Almost anything about anyone can be found online if you’re persistent and knowledgeable. Believe it. Thus in addition to not using my real name, I have not used my actual zip code, or my real email address. I set up a completely separate email just for online dating interactions. If or when I divulge information such as names and phone numbers depends on how comfortable I feel with the person, so it varies. Some of these dudes will never know anything but my username for whatever particular site we’re both on. Be aware though, that just as you might be on multiple sites, so are other people. I don’t know why this came as a shock to me, but it did. Given that, I use pretty much the same spiel with each site so that I don’t have to remember what I said or omitted in which place and to keep people from piecing info together about me from multiple sites. No, I’m not paranoid lol. But a good offense…
Do plan to meet in a busy, public place.From what I’ve read elsewhere, people tend to like to have first dates at places such as coffee shops. I don’t feel that this is a terrible idea, but I don’t use it. The reason why is that it gives the first date a feel akin to a business meeting – which it is of course, if you’re seriously looking for someone to date. A first date is no less than an interview. However, it shouldn’t seem like an interview. That being the case, I’ve tried to stay away from situations where we have to be looking directly across from each other the whole time, at least for the first date. Instead I prefer first dates where we are doing things – nothing too strenuous, and nothing that will take much longer than an hour or so. The last thing I want to do is have a long date planned, then find in the first fifteen minutes that I don’t like the person. To that end, any place is good as long as there are lots of potential witnesses, and it is well away from any place that a person might expect to run into me on a regular basis.
Do let other people know your plans and status.I feel it’s always a good idea to let people know where I’m going because I am in essence going to meet a stranger. It seems to me that no matter what they said online or how they looked, the possibility of them being other than I envisioned is fairly great. I always tell a family member where I’m going just in case, and I’ve also taken to pulling out my phone - all mid-date like - and posting my current status on Facebook. I say something like, “Won’t you please excuse me for a moment? I just want to let my friend know that you’re not a crazy person.” I say it with a giggle, and they usually laugh. Meanwhile, I’ve also let my date and a whole bunch of other people know in semi-specific terms that a record has been created of what’s going on, where I am, and who I’m with.
Now, my Don’ts:
Don’t settle for mediocrity or dishonesty.Ladies and Gents, if I’ve put effort into planning and preparing for a date, shopping, plucking this, and polishing that, and the person I’m meeting clearly has not done so, I’d kindly express my thanks for their having come out to meet me, let them know that I feel uncomfortable with the situation, and then be out. I’m not trying to get G’ed up to meet some dude wearing a white tee. That lack of effort tells me that he’s not serious and that he’s disrespectful. I will say that there was once where I ran into a situation somewhat like this, and I let the date continue. Nothing bad happened, but once was good enough for me. It won’t happen again. Also, if the person clearly isn’t who they presented themself to be, I have no qualms with bailing immediately. I usually wouldn’t do anything so rude or cruel as simply walking away without greeting a person just because I wasn’t satisfied with their appearance. Even if I knew that I wasn’t going to be into someone right away, if it was clear to me that they put real energy into meeting me, I would feel obliged to honor that effort by staying til the end of the date. The world is small, and you never know what kind of friend or contact you might make. However, if a person misrepresented themself, all I can feel in that situation is that all bets are off. There can be no wiggle room with liars in my opinion.
Don’t put up or send crazy pictures.As I said, the world is small; this fact is made clearer than ever by web2.0 tech. While I might garner more interest by posting or distributing pictures of myself with my ass hanging out, the potential of something like that getting back to my bosses or other individuals who I wouldn’t like to see such pictures is high. Also, I realize that the quality of the people I’ll attract in that situation will likely be pretty crappy. I have had some people who were unsatisfied with the pictures I posted and wished me to send them additional photos. My answer to this will always be “No.” I don’t want to feel as though I have to justify my attractiveness to someone. I realize that there have been people who have had bad experiences with folks misrepresenting themselves online, but if a man trusts me enough to meet me in public, then he’ll have to trust me enough to believe that I look the way I say I do. In addition, I don’t post pics of me with my kids. I’ve seen a lot of people doing this, and it just doesn’t sit well with me. For one, showing a pic of me with a child doesn’t mean that I’m a good parent or even that I see my child regularly. It means nothing. Since that’s the case, I really don’t see any reason for my kids to be involved in an online dating situation at all. Of course my kids know what’s going on and support my decision to start dating again. My dates all know I have kids, but I don’t see that these potentially psycho individuals really need to have information about my kids’ names or what they look like. By the time I get to that level with someone, we’d no longer be online dating; we’d just be dating. Honestly, I feel that potential suitors will be able to tell what kind of parent I am just by getting to know me. I’ve planned to post a fuller discussion about dating with children in the next couple of posts or so.
Don’t get sexual.I’ve heard a lot of people do it, but I’m not sure why being DTF would even seem like a good idea. Really? Oh, so we’re just gon’ meet up and sleep with random folks? AIDS, anyone?? Seriously, I don’t really have any kind of real physical contact on the first date. If it was a good date, you might get a hug at the end, or I might just wave goodbye. I’m probably not kissing anyone. Each person has to judge for themselves, but my kisses are generally tied to emotion. I don’t just give them away for no reason. If we share a nice passionate kiss, it means that I’m into you, and I see our interaction going somewhere. I’m pretty sure that makes me old fashioned and more reserved than most, but I also feel that it says something to my date about my standards. There are plenty of other ways for me to let a person know that I’m interested without having that kind of physical interaction, and if my date is into me, he’s going to put in work to get to that level of physical interaction. If he’s not willing to put in work, I guess he’s not the one. I’m sure I wasn’t quite so severe when dating in my teens and twenties, but I’m in my thirties now. It’s a whole new, higher-stakes ball game.
Well, this post was a little more serious than others, and I’m sure it didn’t gain me any fans, lol. But I feel like it’s important to play it safe out there. My failure to do so can have too many negative consequences for people other than myself. Also, I’m committed to the goal of soulmate finding. If I just wanted someone to lay up with, I wouldn’t be putting in the effort that I am. Those dudes are easy to come by. In the end everyone has to judge for themselves, but I hope what I’ve written here was of use to someone. Til next time!