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.