I was the first of all my friends to try online dating. I started over 10 years ago, when you had to whisper about it and make up stories about how you met to tell other people. Initially I tried it as a mere distraction. It did help that it tends to also be a bit of an ego boost. Sometimes we all need that. There are times when you just need a confidence boost.. maybe you just broke up with someone.. maybe it’s been a long time since you dated anyone seriously. You find yourself clicking around online.. seeing what’s out there.. cheap dating sites?.. free? You don’t?? Well then maybe you should..
Katrin told me I should blog about online dating about a month ago. Most people who know me know I have a decent amount of experience with online dating. I find myself giving my clients advice on it all the time. Seeing as how I JUST GOT ENGAGED to an amazing man this past weekend.. and clearly my online dating has finally paid off (we met on okcupid), it seemed like the perfect time to share some of my personal advice on the matter.
*Don’t over-correspond before meeting
My first ever online date was with a guy named Jason. We emailed and instant messaged for a month or two before even picking up the phone. Then we called each other and texted for another month or so, before finally deciding to meet. Now here’s the thing.. Lesson numero uno in online dating: Do not correspond so much that you have nothing to say when you finally meet. Definitely ask for a few pictures, ask some questions to try to make sure they’re not a total pyscho, and try to gage whether you’d be a good fit. The minute you feel you have a remote idea you’d hit it off.. Plan a date. Leave a little bit left to figure out about each other when you finally meet. (Jason and I are still friends.. we never actually dated, but have remained friends 10 years later)
*Ask a few key questions
What questions should you ask? My favorite go to’s were always fairly simple. What are your favorite bands/musicians? (I’m big into music.. so if you tell me you’re a huge fan of Hootie and the Blowfish, The Spice Girls, and The B52’s it’s probably not going to work) Where have you traveled/where do you want to travel? (I also love traveling.. this opens up a good deal of conversation normally.. and if it doesn’t.. that’s kind of an immediate deal breaker) What are your favorite shows/movies? (If you have some in common that’s definitely a plus.. especially the comedy, you can tell here if you have a similar sense of humor or not.. which is very important) And last but definitely not least… what kind of shoes does he wear? You think that’s a strange question? A lot of men do as well.. but here’s the thing… I have always found, that you can tell a great deal about a mans personal style by his shoes. So you wear crocs, or birkenstocks.. stop right there.. I’m not your girl. Harsh you say? Maybe for some.. maybe some people don’t care. I’m a hairstylist, I like fashion, and I am attracted to certain looks a lot more than others. Birkenstocks with socks can take a man from a 10 to a zero real quick.
*Ask for more PICTURES!
Definitely ask for more pictures! And lots of them!! I think just about every person I have ever talked to about online dating has some horror story about the person they met who looks nothing like their photos. I have had many friends that felt shy or rude asking for more photos. This is silly. It’s dating.. you need to be attracted to each other. You also need to make sure that you aren’t talking to some 500 lb 68 year old wrapped in saran wrap in his mothers basement… unless that’s your thing. If every single picture they send you looks like a modeling shot.. they probably aren’t a model.. they are a fake. Move on. Pictures pictures pictures! If they are wearing a hat in every pic.. or always have their mouth closed.. I just straight up ask – “Do you have any pictures without a hat on? Do you have any photos where you are smiling?”. Any guy who would want to date me would also be attracted to my forward blunt nature. So why not? I have never met someone who truly surprised me by the way they looked. I always knew what to expect. Personalites… now that’s a different story haha.
*Don’t be overly picky about appearance
One thing that really bothers me is how overly superficial people tend to be when they are initially trying online dating for the first time. Clicking through every photo until you get to the one guy who doesn’t even check his inbox its so flooded with emails. Try to remember that a lot of people you meet in person, become more attractive to you because of their personality, charm, wit, and general presence. If someone is remotely attractive to you.. not necessarily the hottest person you’ve ever seen.. scroll down and read their profile. Chances are, they will start to become more appealing to you. A lot of the time, that super hot David Beckham look alike has a really lame profile.. or they didn’t even bother to write anything… UNAPPEALING!
*Make your profile clever and honest
What about your profile? I say edited honesty is the best policy. Long walks on the beach and puppies are your interests… blah blah blah blah blah. I had a friend who I basically had to force to try online dating. She didn’t care about writing a profile. She told me to write it for her. I sat there with the computer on my lap while she unloaded groceries and did stuff around the house. I just started asking her the questions…. What do you do on a typical Friday night? “Ha” she said.. “I don’t know.. first I drive around for about 20 mins looking for parking, then I lug all my stuff upstairs, then I microwave an annies mac and cheese, and then I sit and watch bad reality TV for a couple hours before I pass out” I decided what the heck.. I’m just going to write it all down. -What are you good at I asked “crushing it” .. so ridiculous.. but so dry, sarcastic, and funny. Low and behold, this friend of mine, who didn’t even want to online date, got some crazy VIP status on the dating site where they started hooking her up with other VIP members (apparently people who got so many emails they got moved into a popular bracket.. yeah you’re hot stuff and we’re going to hook you up with other attractive cool people).
Me? I was tired of trying to be something I wasn’t..one of the things I wrote in my profile was that I don’t tan.. so if you don’t like pale girls, I’m not for you. Just put it out there.. along with some clever things, and just plain honesty. It will make you stand out, and to the right people.
This isn’t to say my online dating was always successful. There was that one guy, who wanted to take me to Fresh Choice for our first date. “So what you’re telling me is that you want to drive out of San Francisco, a city laden with unbelievable independent restaurants, and go to a salad buffet chain??!!” Then there was that 3rd date.. yea I know.. how did we even get to the 3rd date? I found myself at In-N-Out (outside of San Francisco once again.. almost next door to Fresh Choice), and he was wearing Birkenstocks. I called a friend from the bathroom to rescue me. Don’t judge me! It was a bad situation! ha
*Always tell a good friend where you are
Always give one of your friends as much info as you can before you go out to meet someone new. I almost always sent a photo, maybe even gave their phone number, and when and where we would be on our date. Then check in with a quick text when you get home safe. Better to play it safe. You never know.
Ok.. back to the good stuff.. my fantastic fiancé.
So there he was… this very handsome, very clean cut looking brunette man. He struck me as a guy who most definitely dated blonde girls from the marina (an area in san francisco known for sorority type bubbly blondes, and neon ray ban wearing frat boys). Now if I had just judged a book by its cover I never would have written him, partially out of fear that I was not his type at all, and partially because I wasn’t sure he was mine. I decided to scroll down… and there it was. Shantaram. Shantaram is probably my favorite book of all time. At the time I read it not many people knew about it. I told everyone I knew about it, and it quickly became a favorite amongst my friends and coworkers. The last book he read was Shantaram!
He also liked some surprisingly indie/ alternative bands. Hmmm.. maybe this guy wasn’t exactly what I thought.. maybe I’ll shoot him an email. I wrote him about Shantaram. I later found out that he responded to my email because I was one of the only girls on OkCupid who didn’t have pictures from burning man, or any of me, making a stupid pretend mustache in a pic.
He was a gentleman. He walked me home in the rain. Fast forward 2 years.. and here we are. So completely perfect for one another, I didn’t even think it was possible to be so compatible, and SO IN LOVE. It’s so true when you know you just know… and not only that, but you also wonder what in the hell you were doing in all those other relationships where you tried so hard to make it work, when you were so clearly incompatible. I guess you just don’t really know any better until you find the real deal. Did it take a long time to get here? Absolutely. I can’t even count the number of times I asked myself when? When was I going to have that.. I saw some of my friends find it, I saw it in movies.. but was it ever going to happen for me? How may difficult breakups was I going to have to endure.. how many first dates, or 3 month relationships? Here’s the thing. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT. I’d do it all again… all of it.. just to have him at the end. Because that’s what it’s all about.
Then there we were.. at our favorite Italian restaurant, and the most beautiful perfect ring, sitting in front of the most beautiful perfect man.
So if you’re single, struggling to meet anyone new in your social circle.. try it. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Happy online dating!!