Chick On a Date

adventures in online and offline dating

Chick On a Date Gets Some More Mail

Apparently people don’t learn: Every few days or so I get messages from people asking me questions or making comments about my blog. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

Dear Chick On A Date,

How do you feel about interracial dating?

Sincerely,

Wondering

Dear Wondering,

What, did we get in a time machine and go back a few decades? Does anyone even give a damn about the skin color of our partners these days? Okay, okay, I realize some closed-minded people probably do care, but if that’s what they’re worried about, I pretty much don’t care what they think anyway. The short answer, I guess, is I feel fine about it.

Dear Chick On A Date,

Is it acceptable to date your cousin if you don’t plan to marry them or have kids with them?

Signed,

Kissing Cousin

Dear Kissing,

What the fuck?

Dear COAD,

I am in love with a guy who doesn’t know I exist. How can I make him notice me?

Affectionately,

Invisible

Dear Invisible,

How about talking to him? If you have been and it’s not working, maybe you should move on. Just because you like him doesn’t necessarily mean he’s under any obligation to like you back, no matter what you do. I suggest you not use sex to get his attention, because you’ll just feel worse if he takes you up on it and then still doesn’t notice you. And grow a pair.

Dear COAD,

Can a long distance relationship work?

Guy in France

Dear Guy (I am pronouncing that the French way in my mind, by the way),

Probably not long-term. But hey, I’m willing to give this a shot if you wanna send me a ticket to Paris so I can get to know you.

 

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Weeding Out the Riffraff

Don’t get me wrong: I like Riffraff — you know, the guy from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I just don’t want to date him.

What with being one of the ever-popular over-40 grandmother types that are so hot on online dating sites, I’ve been doing a lot of weeding out of potential dates right from the get-go. There’s a big part of me that still feels kinda mean doing it — I mean, that guy can’t help it if he’s really unattractive right? He needs love like everyone else — but I’ve come to realize it’s a task that must be undertaken. No one on earth has time to go through 800 messages and respond, even if it’s just something polite like, “Thank you for the nice message.” Nope. Time to make some drastic cuts.

Here’s where I’m going to sound really shallow. I start with photos.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that some people just aren’t photogenic. Some people have personalities that more than make up for their dead-ringer-for-Gollum status. I’m sure you’re right; I just don’t have time to get to know a bunch of people who don’t appeal to me on some physical level. I’m not getting any younger here, people. And I’m about 100% sure these guys are doing the same thing. I need to get over my polite Iowa upbringing and just delete the fuglies right off the bat.

So who are the guys I’m keeping in the old in-box? It’s strange, because there really is no one “type” that I’ve found myself saving. Some are blond, some dark, some bald. Some are really tall, some average, and some on the short side. Some have a few pounds on them, while others seem pretty average or athletic in build. (Strangely, there are no “thin” guys I’ve selected. Hmm.) I think the only thing they have in common is something in the eyes, in their smile. And yes, almost all of them are smiling in at least one of their photos. I find myself gravitating to the ones who look a little mischievous, like I can almost see a little boy lurking under their 50-year-old self. I’m sure this says something about me as well as them.

Once I’ve separated the cute ones from the rest, I look at their profiles. Any man who has written “Just lookin’ for a good time” or “Let’s get naked” are immediately deleted. Next, I get rid of the ones who seem bitter or hung up on their ex; you would be surprised how many of those there are. I’ve seen profiles that are basically just a rant against the female sex in general: “No one is going to read this profile anyway and you will delete my messages and if we do happen to go out, you will decide I am ‘too nice’ and I will never see you again…” Eek.

What catches my attention are the funny profiles, or the ones where I really get a sense of who this guy is. I like reading about his hobbies; I’m not fond of reading a big long list of things he doesn’t want in a woman: “I don’t like clingy women, drama, cellulite, granny panties, or tattoos….” Hell, even if I met all his criteria, I wouldn’t go out with someone this tight-assed. However, even this is sometimes not completely true. I recently hit it off very well with a guy who has this in his profile: “If you have a lot of appliqu├ęd sweaters, I am probably not the guy for you.” (He did follow it up with a smiley face emoticon.) It was just one slightly funny comment, though, not a laundry list.

Once I get through the profiles, I look at the actual message the guy has sent. Any message that starts with, “Hi sexy!” or “Hey beautiful!” gets deleted. I’m sure the guy means it as a compliment, but I’m not looking for empty compliments; I’m looking for substance. Likewise, I don’t want to read his life story; that should come out after we’ve met. A brief message that highlights the things we may have in common or mentions something I had in my profile is a winner in my book. This lets me know he actually took the time to look beyond my photos and read my profile.

I don’t think all that many men actually do read profiles. I clearly state in mine that I’m a vegan, that I lean to the left politically, and that I am interested in the arts, literature, etc. I have gotten many, many messages that say things like, “Hey, let’s go out for a steak sometime!” or “Do you like hunting?” or “I don’t like Democrats, so I hope you aren’t one.” Seriously. I’m wondering if some of these guys just have so much to do they can’t take five minutes to read through a profile (mine is pretty short, actually), or if they’re just assholes.

So after all these steps I can pretty much figure out the guys I might be interested in and the ones who get delegated to the “Definite No” category. Then begins what I think of as the Messaging Sequence, where we start exchanging messages until one of us suggests an actual meeting. I like this to happen within three or four messages; I’m not on dating sites to find a pen pal, and if a guy is so busy he doesn’t have time to meet me within the next week or so, he either A) is way too busy to date anyway, or B) is married. I admit that the old fashioned girl in me loves when a guy suggests meeting first. (Yes, I like to be pursued; so sue me.) I really like when a guy suggests a phone call fairly early in the Messaging Sequence. This signals that he’s pretty interested, and we can get a feel for each other’s personality and tell whether we might get along in person. I’ve found a phone call to be extremely valuable in guessing which guys will be good dates.

So that’s my method of weeding out the riffraff. Any other tips?

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Check Your Ego, Lady

I’ve been pretty full of myself the last couple of days. After all, it’s been about three days since I joined a couple of dating sites and I’ve had well over 500 messages and many, many more views of my profile. I have dates set up for the next two or three weeks already. I must be pretty amazing, right?

Not so fast.

I did a little research, and it seems that men outnumber women on most dating sites — sometimes the ratio is as high as 3:1. Seems like the odds are definitely in any woman’s favor. So maybe I’m not quite as hot as I thought.

And then I had a conversation with a very nice gentleman who had viewed my profile and wanted to strike up a conversation, and what he had to say was eye-opening. It seems that one of the things that makes my profile stand out among the thousands out there are that I have a slightly funny, normal-sounding “about me” section, and I don’t have any negative stuff written there. According to this guy (let’s call him Jack), many women have a long laundry list of things they do and don’t want in a mate. Sometimes, those lists can seem a little overwhelming. And if that guy can’t live up to her standards, he just knows he’s gonna get kicked to the curb. So why should he try? Makes sense to me.

Jack also mentioned my photos. Now, I don’t have any fancy-schmancy pictures up. They are pretty much the same ones I post on Facebook, that my family and friends have seen. I have a few of them up, including one that gives an idea of my body type. I’m a pretty average-looking middle-aged woman, and all of my photos are recent, from about the last year to the present. I’m a strong believer in “what you see is what you get.” I don’t want some guy expecting an Angelina Jolie look-alike to run screaming from a coffee shop when he first lays eyes on me, after all.

But Jack says because my photos are so casual, they seem to show what I really look like. (I’ll leave out all the compliments he paid me, since I’m trying to un-swell my head at the moment.) He also said he never messages women who aren’t smiling in their pictures. This is one time I’m glad I smile all the damn time; it’s working to my advantage, apparently.

So I may not be all that, but I’m doing something right and it seems to be paying off. Take note, fellow searching ladies. Be yourself, lighten up, and smile. It may be just that simple.

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