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After I was snorting with derision re: eHarmony’s new TV ads on Twitter (eHarmony matches for me in America were the bizarre end of bonkers. ATV-riding farmhands with no passports from the back end of New Jersey who lived with their mothers? Why, yes please, eHarmony and your algorithm of INSANITY, I’ll take five), I fell into discussing the wonderful world of internet dating with various online friends. I dated online a lot in New York in 2007 – and wrote about quite a few of the nutjobs I met on LLG (look under the Dating category for my war stories.) So, as the New Year is prime signing up for lurrrrve time, I thought I’d share my hard-won internet blind dating tips.

Okay: here goes:

1) Most people have a selection of photos. Find the one where they look their worst. The photo they threw in there just at the last minute, as makeweight, thinking that the glory of the other photos will over shine the less good pic.
That, THAT photo will be the one that looks most like them. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the bad photo is an aberration and that rather gorgeous one where they look a little bit like David Tennant (personal choice here) is the real deal. It isn’t.

2) Do not spend weeks in email conversation with the object of your affections. Cut to the chase. If you discover he can spell, has a sense of humour and doesn’t refer to his mother in his messages, ask him out.

a) Because there is simply no point in establishing a connection with someone in the ether, only to meet and discover that the new love of your life is distinguished by his galloping dandruff, halitosis, a comb over, shoe lifts and a clammy handshake. I’ve fallen almost in love before online and been utterly miserable when there was zero real-life attraction.
b) Because you can bet he’ll be talking to other women too, so get in there first. (See pt 8 re: male/female ratio) I distinctly remember some ace-sounding men disappearing without trace.

3) Same goes for phone calls prior to first dating: I’m sorry but anyone with half an ounce of intelligence can make themselves appealing on the phone. The entire phone stage should be cut out IMHO.

4) Resist the temptation to write essays in your emails: you do need something left to talk about in person, & miles of gushing prose are best left for your secret diary.

5) This is a personal thing, but I don’t tell people about my blog before I meet them. But I think the same thing goes for the name of the company you work for. It’s all about an element of privacy. If your new object of affection (now referred to as NOOA) turns out to be loop-la-loop/borderline stalker-ish (it has been known), the last thing you want is them being able to track you down.

6) Which leads me neatly to: Google. We all do it, & I’m in a favour of a cursory search just to check that they do exist and that their wedding photos aren’t on display, but try not to track down their entire life history before you meet. Not least because the NOOA will doubtless be a bit freaked out if, after a glass of wine, you start referring to parts of his life he has yet to tell you about.

7) This is commonsense, but don’t trip off to your first blind date with your NOOA without telling someone else where you are going, and arranging to SMS/call them at a set time during and afterwards to let them know you haven’t been Mr Kipper-ed.

8 ) Unless you are just looking for a hot one night-er, resist the temptation to hop into bed with the NOOA on date one. Online dating sites are riddled with men gleefully playing the field: it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the hot girl/hot man ratio is hideously skewed in the male favour and, if you are looking for lurrrrve, keeping your knickers on is a good way to sort the sheeps from the goat-ish.

9) Do not meet for supper, an exhibition, a movie or anything else that requires close proximity for more than 45minutes on date one. I used to favour weekend coffees, brisk walks in the park (nice bit of multi-tasking there), or quick after work drinks. If you like them, great, go on another date,  or out for dinner, but being stuck with someone you can’t abide for even a nano-second more than necessary is purgatory.

10) At all times maintain a sense of humour. Even if you are on a date with this guy. Or this guy.

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38 comments

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sublime advice

horrific fact of life that it is the way to meet

meeting in real life is too random

shocked to find that two college girls with all those beastly charming boys underfoot prefer to race to their computers to find … boys.

innewyorkparistomorrow.blogspot.com

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@madeleine gallay: oh I’m torn… I dream of the random meetcute. But accept that given the way the world has changed, online makes a lot of sense…LLGxx

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That first disaster date in ’07 made me chuckle! My only ever internet date was with an aussie living in Amsterdam who would not stop slagging of my country. Though he had a point in some cases, it was utterly uncharming and a rather boring topic for a first date,

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@Saskia: No s**t! LLGxx

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Even though my husband is FANTASTICALLY annoying sometimes, this post made me feel quite affectionately towards him. He’ll be v. grateful towards you for this 😉 xo

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@MTFF: Ha. He can pay me when I’m next over. LLGxx

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This is brilliant!! I feel a bit cheated now that I never had a chance to have an online dating adventure. For about two seconds, when the started, online dating sites seemed sorta deviant; then suddenly, they were totally mainstream and sensible.

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@annemarie: Hmm my dear I say you were well out of it. TBH there is more just plain meh out there than mad/bad or lovely. But I do agree with mainstream & sensible. I’m always at a loss when people slag off online dating. If you don;t work in an office, or trawl bars where exactly are you supposed to meet people? LLGxx

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Excellent advice, particularly about meeting up sooner rather than later and keeping your knickers on. I met my current BF online, it took of a couple of years of frogs, but I finally met my prince and kept my friends entertained with dating disaster stories, I’m not sure if they weren’t a little disappointed when I finally met someone.
clairebrewster.co.uk

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@Claire Brewster: oh just hurrah for online success stories! Good for you. (And, yes, when I was dating, my friends used to interrogate me for details. Not that they got much out of me!) LLGxx

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All sterling tips.

I would add: however tall he says he is, subtract two inches.

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@Blonde: Ah Blonde, you always hit the nail on the head. Bang. I’m going to add ESPECIALLY in NYC, where men are generally on the teeny tiny side. LLGxx

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Oh I loved this. The thing about looking at the worst photo and quick dates was very true. And the comment about subtracting two inches is so true too.

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Good list LLG, and here’s a thought from the (male) dark side. I’m a man, and not wholly innocent of some of these ‘crimes’, but I’m surprised by how naive some women are in their dealings with strangers in scenasrios such as these. My extensive experience of such arrangements, has helped me develop a list of tips for women using the internet to find a guy. Ladies-

Please for your own protection and sanity…
1.Never, never, never, give them your mobile number or ‘proper’ email address until you’ve decided they’re for you. I’m still being text stalked by a crazy teacher from way back 2008.
2. Assume everything he tells you is untrue until you have incontrovertible proof. Don’t necessarily think he’s a liar, but just wait for evidence that he ‘aint.
3. Don’t accept faded, old, half-face, ‘artfully shady’ photos as proof of looks. If there’s any chance the photo may be fake assume that it is it is ‘dodgy’ and ask for a ‘more recent’ one.
4. Meet soon, somewhere very public, as LLG suggests, and make it ’30 minutes with the option of a second coffee, if we get on…’
5. Then have a friend on standby with a ‘work query’ after 30 mins that you can choose to take, or ignore, depending on how the coffee’s going. But it gives you a ‘out’.
6. Don’t have an alcoholic drink for the first hour if you can’t take a glass without losing your inhibitions- I’ve made that mistake and ended up in a sticky place bacuse I find it hard to say no after two, and impossible to stop my ‘silver tongued devil’ after 3!
7. Always keep your knickers on for a first date. Men too. Far too complicated otherwise.
8. If you meet and feel that you’ve been deceived by the other person in any way, take that call after 30 minutes and Ruuuun! If this is them on their ‘best’ behaviour, then it’s not going to get better once you’ve swapped fluids.
9. Basic maths in support of Ms B- Subtract 2 from their age, 33% from their salary, 25% from their IQ and double their claimed number of girfriends.
10. Going Dutch- If they quibble over who pays, or suggest you pay half, just leave. This isn’t sexual politics, it’s social courtesy.
11. If they’re really Dutch then everything changes, as they’ll expect you to pay for everything, and give them a hand job in the taxi. Just tell them you prefer German men and ditch them.

Good luck, and if you follow these thoughts you can have great fun in great safety. You just might end up with fewer horroe stories to tell your mates.

Rob

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@Rob Voltaire: Thank you Rob – for both sensible pertinent advice, and for making me HOOT with laughter. I’ve also emailed you. LLGxx

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Agree with all of this. I did a lot of Internet dating from 1998-2002. I stopped because it was a dreadful exercise for me. I met a number of international Lotharios seeking no more than what used to be called the dirty weekend; I met ordinary men with paunchy stomachs and dingy teeth who were hoping I met have a friend–preferably a nurse–who might be interested in a threesome; I a heavy drinker of Irish coffees and straight-up whiskies who mistook the pair of trousers he hung on their bathroom curtainrod for an intruder and who attempted to slay it.

That was all in California. I won’t share the stories of rural Florida.

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@Suzanna: Oh GOD, I remember you telling me a few years back how awful some of your experiences were. I certainly met waaaayyyy more oddities on line in the US. I think the kindest way to put it, wld be an awful lot of unrealistic expectations…LLGxx

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Re: Blonde’s comment above mine. Yes. A must.

I am five seven and often wear heels. A man’s height is important to me. I seemed to have trouble meeting tall men on line, however.

The most distressing flew from Ireland to San Francisco to meet me. We went to a bar near the airport. His wee legs and tiny feet did not meet the floor as he dangled them off the bar stool.

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@Suzanna: oh hon. That doesn’t sound ideal. No, not at all. LLGxx

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