Woman for Sale? (No Money Back Guarantee)

The other day I overheard this conversation:

Woman: I think I’m going to sign up for online dating.

Man: Don’t do it.

Woman: Why not?

Man: You might as well be a mail order bride.

Woman: Really? How so?

Man: The entire premise of online dating revolves around you selling yourself to men. It’s disgusting and barbaric. Why would you want to participate in that?

Me (thinking to myself): Wow, dude, calm down. Online dating is NOT like being a mail order bride.

Creepy

Creepy

I would have given him the following reasons:

  1. I’m not for sale. Personally, I don’t allow men to pay for me on a first date. While I always want them to offer, I prefer to pay for myself. It’s not that I’m a feminist, but I try to see the situation from their perspective. Men are expected to pay for the first date, and if they are dating online, most likely they are going on multiple dates. Online dating is a crap shoot, so they could be going on several first dates a week, paying upfront before they even care two cents about the girl. Of course, a truly chivalrous guy wouldn’t care, and that’s why I always take into account if they offer. However, there is nothing wrong with letting a guy pay, but he still isn’t purchasing you; you don’t owe him anything.
  2. Unlike a shopping catalogue, where you pick what you want, order and pay for it, then it’s shipped to your house, online dating isn’t a guarantee. A man could ask me out and I could say no, and vice versa. You’re simply being “introduced” online and where you go from there is up to each person individually. For now, the “place in shopping cart” button has not yet been invented.
  3. The return policy sucks. In some cases of mail ordering a bride, if you’re not satisfied with the “merchandise” upon arrival, after a determined time, you can return your “purchase,” with a money back guarantee (usually minus shipping costs). With online dating, there is no such safety net. You’re on your own. Awkward first dates, men who disappear out of nowhere, failed relationships… they are all par for the course and a risk you take.
  4. While online dating (in most cases) is far more humanizing than being a mail order bride, in a sense you are selling yourself. For some people, there’s no getting around the “ick” factor. However, in my mind, it’s all about presentation. If  you’re listing off your qualities like you’re a show pony up for auction, then the ick factor increases. But, contrary to what some people believe, there is a dignified way to date online. You can write a few sentences about yourself and briefly describe the kind of person you’d like to meet, without coming off like you’re soliciting someone for marriage.

My advice for your (non mail order bride profile): Keep it real, keep it light, keep it fun. Because, after all, you’re not desperate (for a green card), you’re just looking for someone to enhance your life. And there’s nothing wrong with that (Yes, I’m talking to you, bitter, angry man in line at the grocery store).

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Enough is Enough

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Disclaimer: this is a rant and if you are male, I apologize… or as my roommate attaches to everything she writes on social media: #sorrynotsorry.

Sometimes I prescribe taking the high road. Sometimes I admire soft-spoken words, passive resistance, and turning the other cheek.

Sometimes… I say stand your freakin’ ground.

This morning I woke up tired of the abuse. Okay, not mine specifically, but the abuse of my friends. Men constantly manipulate them to get what they want. And do you know the worst part? They let them. I confess, I’ve been there too. And I know it’s not that simple. Relationships, life, men, are complicated. It’s never black and white.

Except, sometimes it is.

For example, men (some, not all) can be boorish jerks online (okay, and in “real life” too). For some reason, they feel like they can say whatever they want– whether it’s rude, inappropriate, demeaning, arrogant, demanding, whatever. Some of it can be attributed to bad upbringing or stupidity, but some of it is… brace yourselves… our fault (as women, collectively).

Don’t freak out…. let me explain. Some woman, somewhere, has responded positively to one of the inane and appalling emails sent by one of the men responsible for proliferating the online dating scene with garbage. And by responding, she condoned the behavior (and affectively gave him what he wanted).

Kind of mean, but still funny. ;)

Kind of mean, but still funny. 😉

Now, I’m not saying you have to explode rage on every guy who sends you an aggravating email, but please DO not respond positively. I don’t care how cute he is (seriously, I don’t care). Stand up for yourself AND the rest of us. (Like LifeontheVirg in her latest post)  At some point, men need to learn that their behavior isn’t acceptable. The same is true online, as it is offline.

Ladies, we are awesome. And it’s time we only allow good men to experience our awesomeness. Enough with the jerks.

That is all. (And I hope I haven’t scared you all away)

This Profile is Too Small. This Profile is Too Big. This Profile is Juuuust Right.

Stereotypically, women tend to over-share. This charming quality is often only magnified  in the online dating world. A whole profile to talk about me?! Yippie! We write about our jobs, our hobbies, exes, even the dream we had last night.

Then there’s the anomaly– my friend J, whose profile was so sparse you might not have even realized she had one. Well, she might as well have not had one. She came to me the other day wondering why her profile has been up for over a month, but she’s only received a few messages. So I took a look, and here’s the “life lesson” I gave:

FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE

Sure, if you look like Kate Upton, you can probably get away with posting pics only. Heck, you could probably get away with posting that you like to bathe in the blood of newborn puppies. But if you’re the rest of us, less isn’t always more. Then again, more isn’t always more either.

Don't try and copy this pose and make it your profile pic... just don't.

Don’t try to copy this pose and make it your profile pic… just don’t.

So here’s the trick: fill out your profile enough so it looks like you give a damn, but don’t go so overboard that you creep everyone out. We DO want to know if you prefer quiet evenings at home over sky diving, but we DON’T want to know the name of your gynecologist.

Bonus tip: don’t assume your profile is set in stone. If you do fill it out, but your inbox is dwindling after a month or two, don’t be afraid to revamp! Freshen things up and you might be pleasantly surprised. And by “freshen things up,” I don’t mean trade out your photo with a snapshot of Kate Upton. Spice things up, just keep it real.

Post Apocolypse… I mean Valentine’s Day… Musings

Since a few days have passed after the dreaded Valentine’s, I’m going to assume we all survived. I, fortunately, more than survived- I flourished- thanks to a thoughtful man who took me (and my pup) away to Monterey for the weekend (sorry, I’m a slacker when I’m on vacation).

Soaking up all the coastal, Californian sun!

Soaking up all the coastal, Californian sun!

The drive was just shy of three hours and for a change of pace I decided to play one of my audio books– Not A Match by Brian Donovan. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure how my guy would react- it’s a book about horrible online dates and we met online. Would he think I was trying to imply something?

Luckily, he thought it was hilarious and we laughed the entire drive to the coast, which got me thinking… We’ve all been there, online and off. We’ve all been on one (or two or three) horrible, nightmare-ish first (or second or third) date(s). Dating debacles are like a right of passage on the journey to finding “the one.”

Recently a friend of mine has had a bout of bad luck with men. And right around Valentine’s Day, all her bad luck has looked like a sign from the dating gods that she is meant to die alone. So as we sat in the living room with a glass of wine in hand, I gave her a piece of (easier said than done) advice: try and keep everything in perspective. Meaning, the hard times in life make the good times that much more meaningful.

Think about it: if we were just handed love, without any trials or bumpy roads, if we were just given it the first moment we even thought about wanting it, would we even appreciate it? Or do all of the heart breaks and bad dates make us see love for what it really is: a beautiful, precious gift that we shouldn’t take for granted? I hope it’s the latter. And I hope as we all travel on this crazy, complicated, sometimes crushing journey, we keep everything in perspective… and blog about it all along the way.. Because one thing that makes our travels less troublesome is knowing that we’re not going it alone.

So happy post-Valentine’s Day everyone!

The New (and improved) Valentine’s Day

lw

Guess what day it is…Now, I know you’re afraid to say the name out loud, like it’s Voldomort, and calling it by name will somehow unleash all its evil power, but brace yourself….

IT’S VALENTINE’S DAY

And this year my roommates and I all have very different relationship statuses.

Me: in a loving, long-term relationship (after meeting online, if you didn’t catch that earlier). We still have a few sweet surprises planned for each other, but it’s not the same butterfly-fest it was the first year. Not like…

L: in a brand, spanking new relationship– so new she agonized over which cutesy Pinterest gift to make him… you’re a catch (with Swedish fish)? or you’re my stud muffin (baked goods)? Wait… is that too much?? What does that gift say exactly? (Sweetie, it’s food. Just pick one.)

E: just got out of the worst relationship ever (maybe a slight exaggeration) and works in high end retail where every man hits on her, while buying his lady a V-day present. Can’t get much more jaded than that.

So needless to say, my house has been a lot of fun this week. And I think I might develop a stress ulcer from having to switch from “isn’t love grand?” to “men suck and they should all die” every two seconds, depending on which roomie I’m talking to.

And even though I enjoy the sweetness of Valentine’s Day with my man, I was brought up to have a broader view of the controversial day (thanks mom and dad). Growing up, my parents (okay, mostly my mother) would surprise us kids with little treats throughout the day, and we’d be encouraged to do things for our friends, teachers, anyone important in our lives, and even random strangers (give a box of chocolates to the neighbor, or a heart shaped cookie to the homeless man on the curb).

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t just be about our significant other (or lack thereof). It should be about all-encompassing love, doing something to put a smile on someone’s face, making a difference in some small (or big) way.

I know what you’re thinking… barf. Can you be any sappier? Yeah, probably. And even though I advocate online dating (I mean, why not?), today I’m going to advise staying offline. Sure, you could sit in your heart-dotted underwear, guzzling a bottle of Cabernet, belting out “All By Myself” while swiping left on Tinder. But you could also spend the day appreciating the people who are already in your life. Okay, I’ll even allow the cute guy in the cubicle next to yours. 😉

Because this year, being surrounded by old love, new love, and loves gone by, I realized there are a thousand different forms of love… what makes one any better than the next?

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I’d Even Sign Up for Online Dating to Find You

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I’m sure it’s no secret that online dating memberships increase around Valentine’s Day. In fact, the number rises 25%- 30% between Dec 25th and Feb 14th.  American singles are now finding love online more often than through friends (25%), at work (8%), or in bars and clubs (6%).

And it’s no surprise that around Valentine’s Day, when love is forced down your throat, singles are more likely to turn to their computers and smart phones for solace. But is it really a good time to fill out your profile, maybe even pay that new membership fee?

I say…. sure! Why not?

Some say steer clear until the sites have settled down. The holidays attract a lot of wary members who may or not keep their membership for more than a month, tops. But I say, all the more reason to hop on the train now, right?

While, personally, I never hesitated to try online dating, I’ve known plenty of friends who have, and not because they have a fear of commitment. Whether or not online dating is increasing in popularity, there is still a stigma. Some people, especially men, just aren’t sure about it. So even though your cute dreamboat may have signed up for Match.com one dark, lonely Valentine’s Night, while wielding his tenth bottle of Corona, does NOT mean he wouldn’t be serious about you. Maybe he just needed a cheesy 1-800-Flowers commercial (or two or three or a hundred) of a sickeningly happy couple to push him (over the edge) to click “find your match now.”

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And, sure, there will be a lot of wishy washy newbies on the online social scene, but there will also be an increased selection, so if you’re already online and starting to feel burnt out, welcome the newcomers, and thank the over-blown, commercialized holiday that inevitably causes people to revaluate their love lives. Just, as always, use your judgment when sizing up potential dates.

So, friends, when the sun rises on Valentine’s Day tomorrow morning, don’t be down– embrace new possibilities… and check your inbox, you may have a pleasant surprise!

Here are some actual online dating secrets, as revealed by the author of A Million First Dates.

Six Months Until I’m a Spinster! (According to Time)

While reading a fantastic post by Diary of a Serial Dater, I was rerouted to a Time’s article which claims it can calculate my perfect marriage date based on the average age my Facebook friends got hitched. Trepidatiously, I allowed them access to my Facebook info, crossing my fingers I wasn’t already a spinster waiting on the grave (which, quite frankly, was already my assumption). My results:

The median age of your 16 married friends is 29.1 years old

That leaves you 6 months and 20 days. But remember, half of your friends were married after that age!

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SIX MONTHS TO GET MARRIED? NO BIG DEAL! I’M NOT WORRIED! WAIT! AM I YELLYING?!

Okay, seriously though, I’d be lying if I said the numbers weren’t a little scary. Because, let’s face it, my friends got married on the older side– thanks guys! And even though I’m in a long term relationship, and we’ve talked about marriage, the sound of six months still makes my head explode.

Now, I know it’s just a silly little Time’s article (what do you know, Times?!), but isn’t the ticking time bomb mentality common– especially for women?

I’ve seen some online dating profile that are, for lack of a better work (and because it’s an accurate word), desperate. They practically scream, MARRY ME RIGHT NOW, MY OVARIES ARE DYING!  Not exactly the mating call most men are looking for. But online dating gets a bad rap for being a last ditch effort– the final attempt to get married before all of your friends are celebrating their silver anniversary.

But here’s the truth: if you’re using online dating as a desperate attempt to not die alone, it’s probably not going to work out that well for you. Most men want women who are comfortable with themselves and content and happy with their life. So how do you accomplish calm, cool and collected while the Times is telling you you’re getting left behind in the dust? By remembering that you don’t need to be average. You need to be you. And trust that the right guy will come along at the right time, which isn’t necessarily the same time that Time says it is… get it?

If you feel like it’s the right time in your life for a relationship, put yourself out there– online AND in the “real world.” Join multiple sites, pick up a new hobby, make yourself more approachable and most importantly… take a deep breath and smile. And tell Time (double entendre implied) to shove it.

Online Dating Vs Bar Scene: Creeper Round

Pick-Up-Lines-When-You-Have-Had-Too-Much-To-Drink

The other night I went out with a friend to a new Irish pub that had opened up. After only a few hours of being accosted, as though we had gotten dressed up, drove to the bar, and bought a drink for the sole purpose of being molested by creepy, strange men, I realized (yet again) why so many women turn to online dating.

Here is a brief sampling of the night we had:

Guy 1: I really do own a party bus.

Me: That’s nice.

Guy 1: I’m serious. Here, I’ll prove it.

Not that I cared. But he proceeded to whip out his phone and pull up his photo gallery. I turned to people watch while my friend E was nice enough to humor him… until it happened.

Guy 1: Oh, sorry! I forgot that was in there (referring to a pic of his penis). But now that you’ve seen it, what do you think?

E: I think you need to see a doctor.

He laughed it off, but she was serious and we scrambled to escape.

Guy 2: How tall are you?

Me: Five-seven, but my heels are at least three inches.

Guy 2: Wow, that’s tall. My face only comes up to your boobs, but that’s good if you know what I mean.

No, I don’t. And I don’t want to. Cue awkward smile/grimace as I back away, or rather as E drags me away as quickly as possible.

Guy 3: Girl, you’re so fiiiiine!

Me: Thanks, but I know where you’re going with that, and I have a boyfriend.

Guy 3: Oh, yeah? Well, where is he?

Me: At home.

Guy 3: Then he’s not here, is he? (accompanied by a creepy, salacious grin.)

No, no he’s not. I thought I covered that with “he’s at home.” But regardless, I’m not interested. And I’m especially not interested in cheating, but thanks for implying I’m that kind of girl. That was really sweet of you.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. Online dating has its fair share of creepers as well, and some of the parallels are uncanny.

  • You’ll still see pics of penises– against your will.
  • You can run but you can’t hide– just as the same guy will approach you several times in a bar, some guys will send you multiple messages.
  • Shameful pick-up lines are prevalent online– and offline.
  • No matter what you say, some men simply don’t care

So how about the differences?

  • It’s easier to delete a message than it is to ditch an in-person interaction.
  • You can block someone online with one click, while filing for a restraining order is a bit more tricky
  • While lurid emails are no fun to read, they’re a little easier to stomach without the perverse expression that goes along with it.
  • No one can roofie your drink from inside your computer.
  • I’m less likely to want to punch a guy. Okay, not less likely to want to, but not afforded the opportunity.

Conclusion: Online Dating vs. Bar Scene?

Online dating: 1        Bar Scene: 0

While online dating loses to “real life” dating in some arenas, since its proximity to creepers is at a safer distance, it wins this round.

Online Dating: Why Every “Date” Shouldn’t be in Your Pajamas

While reading Data: A Love Story ( an online dating how-to, of sorts), I laughed at the author’s description of sitting at her kitchen table sans makeup, with matted hair and ratty sweats, trying to flirt with men online. The scenario was comical, but how many of us are guilty of the same scene?

Less this...

Less this…

... And more this

… And more this

So what’s the big deal? Dating online, at home, in your ten year-old ratted pajamas with the ice cream stain, no make-up, wayward hair, and a huge glass of wine sounds amazing! Who wouldn’t want to date that way? Besides, no one’s going to see you like that anyway so what does it matter? It doesn’t. Right?

Wrong. At least some of the time.

Sure, you could sit at home in the scenario I described, chatting flirtatiously with some cute guy who works on muscle cars for a living, and quite successfully set up a date for Friday night. But what if you don’t feel very flirtatious? What if you don’t feel attractive or desirable? What if you don’t feel like going on a date Friday night, or any night for that matter?

Sometimes the way we feel comes across in our communication with others. If we feel sexy or appealing, we will come across more confident. However, if we feel unattractive that can come across too. Why am I bringing this up?

I think, at times, online dating can create a certain laziness which doesn’t always translate into successful dates. Since we are home alone (maybe a cat or two) with only our laptops to judge us, we don’t exert any effort. And some times it doesn’t matter, or affect us, but sometimes it does.

So what if the next time you logged on, you treated it as a date? What if you showered, put on something without food stains, and swiped on a little lip gloss before sitting down at your screen? Maybe, just maybe, you’ll feel a little more confident. Maybe you’ll even decide to message that cute lawyer you’ve had your eye on, but have never felt good enough to approach him.

Now, I’m not saying this exercise will cure all your online dating woes, but it might help. Just as women who work from home who actually get dressed in the morning find they have a more productive day, you might have a more productive love life if you treat online dating like you’re dating, instead of ordering a pimple cream off of Amazon.com.

Just a thought. Now I think I’m going to go get out of these flannels and take a shower…

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

Privacy seems to be a key topic these days. You can’t flip on the news without hearing how the government is spying on us through our webcams and hacking into our emails. But recently I discovered a new enemy to be worried about… our smart phones, more specifically, our apps.

How many of us actually read the fine print when we sign up for anything, let alone when we purchase a new app on our smart phones? Not many. But maybe we should rethink our blind trust of technology. Your phone could be recording private moments and broadcasting them to the world.

If you have the flashlight app, you might want to delete it. Or at least check out the disclaimer. Downloading the application means that you give them free reign over your photos, and also allows them to take photos, or videos of you at all times to use at their discretion. Think I’m kidding? Check it out:

Screen shot of terms before accepting the app

Screen shot of terms before accepting the app

Learning this creepy information made me think twice about internet privacy too. Did you know that even if you make your Facebook page “private,” there are apps that will enable people to see it anyway? The internet can be a scary place, and online dating isn’t exempt. Now, this isn’t to say you should avoid online dating, I merely suggest taking certain precautions.

  1. Don’t give out your full name— until you’ve met in person and trust them enough with this information. Sure, an adept stalker could probably still find this out, but don’t make it easy for them. Remain on a first name basis until you’re sure they aren’t crazy (or at least not more crazy than the rest of us).
  2. Create a unique username— don’t use the same username for your dating profile that you use for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. You don’t want them to be able to find you online until you’re ready and willing. Also, don’t include personal information, such as your birthdate, in your username. Like I said, make the stalker work for it.
  3. Don’t dole out your digits too freely— make sure you’re comfortable before giving out your number, and if you want extra safety ask for their number instead. You can always *67 before calling.
  4. Save the specifics— Before you’ve met in person, don’t tell them your favorite place to hang out, the street you live on, or even your neighborhood, don’t tell them your regular Starbucks or where you work. Leave a little mystery until you’ve solved the mystery of their sanity.
  5. Keep communication on the site— (until you take it offline) not through your personal email or social media sites. You signed on to the dating website for a reason, so there shouldn’t be a need to friend them on Facebook or exchange emails unless you’ve met and have started dating. Today’s society is all about over-sharing, but until you’ve been on a few dates, he doesn’t need to follow your tweets about what you ate for lunch.
  6. Keep your wallet closed— this seems like a no-brainer, but still needs to be said: NEVER GIVE OUT MONEY, your debit or credit card information or your social security number. I don’t care if they say they need bail, a heart transplant or to save their precious pup from being put down. DON’T do it. EVER.
  7. Wrap it up— don’t carry on an extensive online relationship. Exchange a few emails, then if you’re feeling it, meet up (in a public place). Don’t be the next schmuck on Catfish. Although it’s entertaining, the show shouldn’t even exist,  not if we’re smart about how we date online.

CONCLUSION: don’t blindly trust technology. It’s your frenemy. Use it, don’t let it abuse you. Of course, these are basic guidelines, not set-in-stone rules. Use your gut and your common sense, and when in doubt remember the age-old saying: better safe than sorry.