Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Fishing Around

Plenty of Fish
I confess, I've dabbled in online dating. There we go, I just admitted to one of the biggest social taboos out there. I say admitted, like my nearest and dearest don't already know! The irony of writing this post on a Sunday afternoon to schedule is that I’m in front of my TV, binge watching Catfish the TV Show on Viva.

But anyway, after about a year of having an account with a popular, free and fishy dating site, I've had my eyes opened to the whole world of trying to find a partner via a wifi connection. After many first messages, several actual online conversations and a few first dates, I thought I'd share a few experiences of the good, the bad and the ugly of dating online.

First Up, Profile.
I was about to type 'you must not lie on your profile' until I remembered that I have a little white lie on mine. Thankfully, it's nothing dramatic like my age, sex or location (or ASL for anyone who used MSN back in the day), it's that I can make lasagne. It's not that I can't make it, it's that I've never tried and I was encouraged by a work friend to write it as if worst came to worst, I could blag it. But I digress, my culinary abilities aren't what this point is about.

Not lying about the things you can't blag/will get found out about is a no-no (and not lying in general would be good too). This includes your photos, height and profession. A friend of mine (actually was a friend, I'm not just referring to myself) got catfished when he turned up to a date and met a girl who was several years older and stones heavier than her photos. A guy I met told me he was 5'9 and turned up pushing my height at 5'6. Don't exaggerate this kind of stuff. You can't lie your way out of it.

And then there's the First Message.
There are good and bad ways to start a conversation and I've had both. Good ways involve a polite message including a reference to your profile showing they've read it (I've had a fair few referring to lasagne... My bad). The bad ones include one word messages or something that has clearly been copied and pasted. If I'm honest, a message which is coherent and has good grammar is a decent starting point.

The Common Denominators.
Another thing that I've learnt from my fishing experiences are that hobbies tend to be a list things that I take for granted. I know that I go to the gym (and I’ve turned into one of those girls who tweets about it a lot, soz), see my friends and binge watch TV shows (except for me, it’s Catfish, not Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones). You’d be surprised how many times you’ll see people listing the frequency of their workouts - maybe it’s a subconscious caveman thing where guys want to appear the biggest and the strongest to attract a mate? Or maybe that actually is their hobby. Either way, it happens a lot.

Privacy is Important.
As much as I joke, there are a few serious bits that I feel the need to drop in. Don't post overly personal information on your profile. This includes your contact details, where you work and shared usernames. Don't let your profile mimic your Facebook account unless you want to be stalked, likewise having the same username as your Twitter account. Oh and don't take photos of yourself at work in your uniform, you never know if your customers/clients/boss might be on there. It’s a lot easier to place a face that you think you recognise when it’s put into context.

Being Propositioned.
It's a common thing for girls (and guys too, I'm sure) to be propositioned inappropriately on dating site. Some people are looking to get laid, others are looking for the one and it's down to individuals to check what their prospective fishy friend is 'looking for' before sending out a message. This can offend/shock some people but personally I politely decline and usually won't hear back. There are some people who are out to be nasty (keyboard warriors) but hey, they're easy to block. 

The First Date.
Oo-er, this is the scary bit. There are do’s and don’t’s of first dates. Meeting in public, turning up on time and having a few suggestions of places to go to in mind is always good – nobody likes the awkward wandering around going ‘where shall we go, I don’t mind’. Suggesting somewhere shit, like sticky-floored chain pubs, getting smashed and not having at least a few conversation topics in mind in case you run out of things to talk about are rookie errors. All those ‘dont’s’ happened to me in one date by the way. Just sayin’, it happens. The best dates seem to involve casual drinks, bars without overly loud music and a back up plan in case it goes wrong.

Making Excuses.
Sometimes you can meet someone and click straight away, other times, you can meet someone and they turn out not to be quite who you expect (this could be anything from a height lie to a weird obsession with Britney Spears - thankfully I haven't met any weird Britney fans). Personally, I think once you’ve met someone you should take one for the team even if you don’t like them as it’s only polite to give someone a chance. But occasionally, excuses have to be made to leave early and unfortunately, having your friend ring you having an 'emergency' has been a tad overdone. So you have to either get so creative that it's obvious (harsh, but they'll get the hint) or, like my sister, get dramatic. On one occasion she met a guy who looked nothing like his photos and seemed weird. Cue a declaration of love for her ex boyfriend and a swift exit.

So that’s a few things I’ve learnt about online dating. I think it’s a great way to meet people, especially as a single girl in a new city but there are pros and cons. In a world where we’re always on our phones, is this stopping people hitting it off in the Starbucks queue or is it better to meet people where you know you’re looking for the same thing?

Let me know in the comments :)
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2 comments

  1. Good luck with it! I had a good few hideous dates but I met my now fiance online... it's the modern way to date and it can be great fun. http://www.ladympresents.co.uk

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    1. Aww that's lovely, congratulations! I agree, it really is the modern way to date, it's just got such a social stigma, when in fact a lot of people do it :)

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