Navigating online dating has not been easy. As I enter my third month of online dating, into what I am now deeming a serious social experiment, I have started to uncover the good, the bad, and the ugly—which is what I what I like to call “the undateable,” of online dating. Note that when I use the word “ugly” it has nothing to do with the attractiveness of a particular man, but rather what can often be the seedy underbelly of the online dating world and experiences you might have there. The good news is that I can now fairly quickly discern the differences in these men, so that I can more rapidly factor out the bad and the ugly of online dating and save myself tons of time in the process. More importantly, I get to impart my wisdom to all of you single ladies who are on this same adventure as me and hopefully help save you from the good, the bad, and the ugly of online dating. Here goes.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Online Dating — And the Equal Opportunity Approach
Before we get to the good, the bad, and the ugly of online dating, let me first talk to you about being an ‘Equal Opportunity Dater’ or an EOD. This is how I’ve chosen to approach this, but I’ll warn you, if you don’t have a thick skin and a strong stomach, this might not be the approach for you. The EOD approach is not for the faint of heart or the weak. An EOD mindset and approach to online dating means that I don’t pay attention to the photos that the potential dates put up on these online dating websites, but instead, I pay attention to their profiles. In short, it’s not what I see that that matters to me, it’s what they say. Here are the things you look for when using the EOD Approach:
- A real and true command of the English language
- Wit and intelligence
- A real and true command of the English language
No, I’m not crazy. In fact, adding that qualifier twice was NOT a mistake because, in fact, it is the first and most important thing I look for. While spelling errors can be forgiven, it’s the profiles that start to read too good to be true and then end with a sentence that might have been put into one of those translator programs and the translation was, well, lost. Clearly, if it’s too good to be true and then the final sentence shows that English isn’t a language they have command of, but they claim they are from Michigan, that is a pass and a red flag. And, ladies (and gentlemen), the red flags are everywhere if you pay attention!
An EOD approach also means that one does not turn down a date based on age, race, education level, looks, or income level. This means if you make it past the written profile and the emails back and forth are at a minimum of three or four semi-interesting conversations, and a date is set up, I’ll go. But, this leads me to the purpose of this article, which is the good, the bad, and the ugly of online dating. And of course, that undateable part.
The Good of Online Dating
The good parts of online dating actually tend to make up for many of the bad parts of online dating. There are those guys who are the good guys of online dating. I have even managed to find several of these good guys. They are super nice, intelligent, and make you laugh—all things that are really important. For me, I need those things, plus I need to feel some chemistry and a spark. If you can find all of these things with a good guy, look past the small things they might be lacking that are not on your bucket list. This could be income level, education, or looks.
The Bad of Online Dating
Most of the bad parts of online dating you can avoid before you are on an actual date. But sometimes the bad can disguise themselves as good, and ladies, never forget that you can’t really get to know someone until you are face-to-face with them. So ‘bad’ … what does that really mean? Of course it’s defined differently by everyone depending on our individual preferences, and only you know what you like, don’t like, can’t tolerate, won’t tolerate, etc. For me, a bad online dating prospect is that narcissistic guy who never stops talking about himself long enough for me to even manage to order a glass of wine. Or that guy who is so busy looking around the room they don’t look at you when they are telling you every wonderful thing about themselves or listening to you answer the one question they did ask you. And then there is that one guy who you think maybe you have misjudged them, but every time they open their mouth it’s to challenge you. The first date is a ‘meet and greet’, not an inquest.
Here’s how I handle the types of dates that fall into my “bad online dating” category. First of all, it helps if you have a smart watch of some kind. If not, be sure to keep your phone out on the table, but put it SCREEN SIDE DOWN. As the bad is getting worse, look at your smart watch or pick up your phone, look surprised, and say “ Oops…gotta run….” and grab your handbag and prepare to depart. He doesn’t have to know what it is that you’re running to, tell him that it’s your kid, your parent, your office…it makes no difference, but it’s an emergency and you’ve gotta go and deal with it. That’s it, you’re out.
The Ugly Part of Online Dating a/k/a The Undateable
Now that we’ve covered the good and the bad of online dating, that brings us to the ugly part of online dating, which is, as I mentioned, what I like to call The Undateable. I’m so very sorry to tell you this, but that category comprises about 90 percent of what you’re going to find out there. If you ever end up in front of one of these dates, you have no option but just to walk the hell out, and you need to trust me — and the massive amount of experimenting I’ve done on this front. Just go. Quickly.
Just like the ugly, the undateable looks different for everyone, but here are some general guidelines for you:
- The guy who shows up is not the guy from the pictures. If that guy who shows up isn’t the guy, run. Fast.
- If before you meet, the guy won’t give you facts, like last name or phone number, do not meet with them!! You need to be able to google these men and you can’t do that without all their information. If they aren’t honest before you meet, they won’t be honest when you meet, thus—undateable.
- Look for an outline of a wedding ring, or even just the ring itself. There are lots of men on these sites who are married and looking for some Ashley Madison fun.
- Honesty if the best policy always. So, if you catch your date in little lies, ladies (and gentlemen), that means they are undateable!
How to Avoid the Ugly Part of Online Dating a/k/a Mr. Undateable
As I’ve outlined above, there are some real crazies out there. And we can probably all agree that it’s always best if the ugly part of online dating, and meeting up with that undateable jerk (let’s face it, if he’s undateable, chances are very good he’s also a jerk), can be avoided. To that end, even someone who has chosen to embrace Equal Opportunity Dating, can follow these simple steps and avoid having to deal with the ugly part of online dating—that undateable human being. And it’s really not all that difficult. Here’s what you do:
- Remember that Google is your BFF when it comes to the world of online dating. First off, do a reverse Google image search on every profile you are interacting with.
- When you start to communicate with someone, ask him for a last name. Once again, head to Google and see what the search results net.
- Check out their social media profiles and see if you are connected with any of the same people — do your research.
- Never give out your personal information. Ever. You don’t have to reciprocate until you know this date is real and you feel comfortable!
- Remember what I said about the command of the English language? This is super important when you are sending those text messages privately. If it’s clear they are using a translator program, run.
- If the conversation goes to sex, run.
- If his profile includes naked pictures, run.
- If they want to just discuss sex, run.
- If they want to send you naked pictures, run.
As my own adventures continue, I have learned valuable lessons and am getting much smarter by the day with this online dating business, and I’ll continue to pass my insights along to hopefully spare you from some of the low spots or mistakes I’ve made along the way.
How’s it going with you? Are you out there, dabbling around in the world of online dating? If so, nothing would be better than to hear your thoughts on this topic, and any insights you might want to share. Better yet, submit your stories to Middle Chicks so we can all learn from each other!