How to Survive Internet Datingbyrachlou©
Internet dating is like most things in life -- a lottery at the best of times. There will always be people for whom it works, as well as those who gleefully tell you their horror story of the psycho who required a restraining order against them after the second date.
I am not going to lie and say that I have had huge success with it. I haven't most of the time. But, there are cunning ways and means you can employ to allow yourself to gamble with the best odds and thus increase your chances of success.
Before You Jump into the Shark Infested Waters...
Firstly, and most importantly, have a long hard think about what exactly your expectations are. If you have no idea what you want from the dating scene, then it is unfair to expect anyone else to know what want. (Not unless you plan on dating psychoanalysts)
If you have just come out of a long-term relationship/marriage, it is probably better to allow yourself at least six months or so to get over the last significant person in your life. Most people are understandably wary of dating anyone who has very recently split from an ex. Nobody likes to be that 'rebound relationship' It is doomed for many legitimate reasons, not least the nagging worry you will get back with your ex every time they ring up and ask you to come and fix the washing machine.
If all you want is casual sex, then at least be honest about it. There are plenty of like-minded individuals out there who are after exactly the same thing -- no strings sex. Many of them are already married and cannot possibly commit to another person, but they still fancy a fuck-buddy to play with occasionally.
This is fine if you are up front about it. There are plenty of dating sites that cater for that type of relationship. Go there and add your kinky nude picture and see how many 'hits' you get. And good luck!
If you are looking for marriage and six kids, there are also plenty of people out there who are after the same thing as you. Again, be honest about it. Okay, it might not be prudent to admit your 'beach wedding in Fiji, followed by six kids' fantasy, all on the first date. This kind of behaviour is likely to get you labelled as a potential stalker. But, if your ambition is to settle down and play house, then it is only fair to let potential dates know you are hoping for something more serious, should you meet the right person.
Most people tend to be looking for something in the middle of these two extremes.
Dating is rather like buying shoes -- you have to try an awful lot on for size before you find the ones that fit just right. So now it is time for a little shopping...
Once you have given some thought to what you are looking for, the time has come to find a website that matches your needs.
All sites tend to have far more men than women on their database. This may seem a little unfair, but tough, that's life. It just means that if you are a man, you have to work ten times harder! (Well there has to be some benefits to being female)
A decent profile will make all the difference. If you are a man and you don't post a photo, you may as well forget it. Most of us women are a shallow bunch and will not bother with someone when we have no idea what you look like. Okay, so you might just resemble George Clooney, but on the other hand, you might also look like Quasimodo's twin brother.
While we are on the subject of pictures, please post a recent one! That photo your ex took of you in Florida ten years ago, might make you look like a Baywatch extra, but its called 'false advertising' when we eventually meet and you are now 200lb heavier with a shiny bald head!
A recent, decent photo will make all the difference. Preferably a close up of your face as well as a full body shot -- and NO, not a nude shot!
(A small piece of friendly advice here - we women really don't appreciate it when you send us rude pictures of your dick after we engage you in conversation. You might think we are drooling over it, but actually we pass the pictures between our friends and have a good laugh, so be warned)
Be honest and up front in your profile blurb. A sense of humour is an excellent way of attracting women and men. Hobbies like gun collecting and breeding pit bulls are definitely not.
Once you have a decent profile and picture on the site of your choice, sit back and wait for the babes to fall into your in-box.... not!
You have to be proactive. Be prepared to sift through the endless photos and profiles and contact as many as you like the look of. For every twenty messages you send, one person might answer. If you are a woman, you can maybe afford to sit and wait for the men to come to you. But if you are a man, you really need to do the legwork.
What Happens Next?
Okay, so you sent a message saying 'Hi, I like your profile!' to that gorgeous person you fancied the pants off, and they actually answered!!
What do you do now?
Well you write back to them! The best way is to keep it short but sweet to begin with. Ask them questions that build up on what they have said in their profile. Show them that you are interested in them as a person, not just as a potential sex romp.
If they seem interested and reply to your messages within a reasonable space of time, suggest a chat on messenger at their convenience. This is a good way of deciding whether or not there is any kind of rapport.
By the way, if a person takes more than a few days to reply to your messages each time, it is a sure fire sign they either have hundreds of other people messaging them, or they are really not interested and are too polite to tell you. Cut your losses at this point -- you are backing a three-legged horse and it will only end in tears.
Getting to Know You...
Spend a decent amount of time chatting on messenger. It is an excellent way of building a fledgling friendship. Personally speaking, I can tell after fifteen minutes of talking to someone whether I will like him, or not.
Keep the conversation away from sex to start with -- unless you are doing the 'no strings fun' route.
If you are a man, please take heed, women do not appreciate being asked in the first three sentences what their bra size is, and if they wax or shave...
Nor do we like you to say, "I'm gonna switch my cam on now..." Then, when the web cam comes on, we are treated to a full frontal of your erection. "You make me horny babe..." is really not a good enough reason.
Sorry guys, we don't want that just yet, thanks. We might be happy to play those games when we are having a relationship with you, but it's a little early to be having 'webcam fun' when we only spoke to you for the first time ten minutes ago.
Once you have built up a relationship online via messenger and email, the next step is a telephone conversation. Many people, especially women, will be wary of giving you their home telephone number. This is fair enough and you should never push for it. A mobile number is just as acceptable and texting is a good way of keeping in touch when you both work during the day.
However, be wary of the person who says it is not good to ring/text them in the evening and at weekends. This person is quite likely to be married or in a long-term relationship.
Once you have spoken on the phone and are not repulsed by their accent or voice, then it is time to contemplate a face-to-face meeting.
A first date should always be a low-key affair. The chances of any chemistry being present are fairly low. You should see it more as an opportunity to spend a pleasant evening chatting and getting to know someone rather than the beginning of a star-crossed romance. If you go along expecting flowers and fluffy bunnies, you will be disappointed. This is not to say that you won't fall madly in love at first sight -- but it is highly unlikely.
Go to meet your amour with a healthy dose of cynicism, and the disappointment will be less acute when they look nothing like their photo and their domineering mother has come along for the ride.
Always, ALWAYS arrange to meet in a public place and tell lots of people where you are going and who you are meeting. Personal safety is very important. After all, a wise person once said the only sure thing you know about someone you have met off the Internet, is that they have a computer too.
Okay, you have arranged to meet the man or woman of your dreams. You have talked to them every night for weeks and exchanged millions of flirty emails. You know lots of interesting things about them; all you want to do is meet them now. You're excited and you think that this person is THE ONE!
Slow down... chances are they won't be 'the one'. It's more likely that they will be one of many in your dating lifetime. However, they could be good for a short term fling, so stay hopeful.
It is a good plan to make the first date a fairly short one. Meeting for a coffee in the daytime is useful as it gives you a chance to finally see each other face to face without the pressure on you to spend hours with someone who you subsequently discover has a serious personal hygiene problem.
Arrange to meet for an agreed period of time. A couple of hours are more than enough initially. You will in all likelihood make up your mind within the first few seconds of contact about whether or not you fancy the person. If not, don't be too disappointed. Many good platonic friendships have developed from lukewarm dates.
At the very least they may have a skill that is useful to you, (and no, I wasn't referring to their oral sex technique). Dating can give you a whole new circle of friends who are more than happy to help you out in the future, assuming you remain civil with them. Friends last a lifetime - dates are usually short lived, so cultivate those useful contacts!
Treat dating as a networking opportunity and you will never lose out.
What to wear...
If you have been out of the dating scene for decades, it is a good idea to ask a close friend to give you a once over in order to check your look. Whilst you might think your electric blue suit and cowboy boots are a hot look, it is probably helpful if a tactful friend can enlighten you as to what's currently in fashion. Nobody wants to be seen dead with a fashion reject from the seventies. Your personality might well be wonderful, but if your dress sense is hideous, a date is unlikely to stick around long enough to find out that you are really an amazing catch!
Girls - wear something sexy, but understated. I tend to go for jeans on a first date. If a guy isn't interested in me when I have my jeans on, he's not going to change his mind when I wear a skirt, (even if I do have killer legs). The golden rule is not to dress too overtly sexy unless you are hoping to get laid on the first date.
Guys -- dress smartly, but casual, (unless of course you have booked tickets to see an Opera and it is black tie). Women like to see that a guy has made an effort, but we don't want you to out-shine us; it's rude! Nor do we want to seen with a tramp.
If you have spent a reasonable amount of time chatting prior to the date, you should already have plenty of conversation topics to talk about. If conversation falters, try and ask about holidays, families and other neutral topics, anything to keep things ticking over.
One conversational topic to be avoided at all costs is the bitter and acrimonious split with your ex. Potential new partners do not want to hear about how you got shafted in the divorce courts and that you are never going to trust anyone else again. The past needs to be left right there -- in the past. If you still haven't managed to move on, you shouldn't be dating yet.
Always pay attention to what the other person is saying and if you are a man, try to avoid staring at a girl's cleavage rather than her face. Yes, she may have the best DD's you have seen all year, but she's hardly going to be flattered when all you want to do is talk to them.
Try to avoid rambling on about your obscure hobbies unless you know she/he is truly interested. Listening to a boring monologue about video gaming and your collection of Japanese Samurai swords is hardly likely to endear you to the girl/man of your dreams. It is more likely to send them into a coma.
Ask lots of questions about the other person and LISTEN to their replies! Sounds simple doesn't it, but believe me, not everyone does this!
Take notice of your date's body language. If they are leaning towards you and hanging off every word you say, you have made a good impression. If on the other hand they are checking their watch every five minutes and also checking out the cute person at the next table, they are not interested at all.
What happens next...
If you have survived the date without having a drink thrown in your face and your companion did not head for the toilets half an hour ago, never to return; the question on your mind is -- where do we go from here?
The simple answer is, it depends on how you feel about the person and what your expectations are.
If you liked them and found them sexually attractive, you may already be deep in fantasyland with them tied to your bed moaning ecstatically. However, it is never a great idea to fuck someone on the first date. It's fine if that was your intention all along, but if you plan on making it a more long-term thing, it is far better not to rush things.
There is a very good reason for this -- once sex is on the agenda, you tend to skip on the conversation. It's not nice to discover that the girl you've been fucking senseless for the last two months is up in court on Monday for attacking her ex with a shovel. Moral of the story, wait and get to know them first!
It is perfectly acceptable to try for a kiss should you fancy them and be fairly certain they are receptive to your charms in return. Keep it short and sweet until you are positive they are responding to you and not about to yell "RAPE!"
Always end the date on a good note and suggest date two if appropriate. If you have decided that they are not for you, be polite and let them know that you enjoyed it, but the chemistry was not there.
(Or, if you are too chicken to tell them to their face, text them later)
Hopefully you will now be heading home full of enthusiasm for the whole dating experience, and not needing therapy to help you recover from the trauma.
Dating should be viewed as a hobby -- something to enjoy, but not to be taken too seriously. Dates can spot desperation a mile off and if you come across as too keen, they will disappear very fast in the opposite direction.
Play it cool and wait a couple of days before contacting the person again. Hopefully they felt the same way about you and are keen to see you again too. But don't be too crushed if they were not as interested as you. That's life I'm afraid.
Worst Case Scenario...
If it all went horribly wrong and you had the date from Hell, consider it a learning experience. Just pour yourself a large drink, sit back, and think how lucky you are that you will be able to amuse your friends for months with anecdotes of how your date bored you to death, and you were forced to climb out of the toilet window to escape...
Congratulations ~ you have survived the first date!