I recently had a job working for an online dating website. My assignment was to get the scoop on the online New York City dating scene. I was not only asked to go on a few dates, I was told to go on many dates with as many attractive women as I could. It was a tough assignment but I was a professional. If someone was going to be unleashed on the unsuspecting women of New York City, it might as well be me.
I didn’t find anyone I had that magical chemistry with like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle. After three months of looking at profiles, sending emails, winks, pokes, prods, jabs, instant messages, smoke signals, and going on 100 dates with 75 women of all ages, types, and styles, I felt utterly confused and I debated becoming a monk.
It wasn’t all downside. Here is what I did learn:
-I can’t change anyone. If’s she’s almost what you want and could be if you changed a few things, move on.
-I needed to toughen up and face rejection en mass. I realized early on that there are people who wouldn’t like me and others who wouldn’t be my bottle of bourbon. And there women who you like who will like you at first and then they ignore your emails and will never respond to you again no matter how many times you check your inbox.
-People lie online – it’s amazing the amount of lies people will tell about themselves to try to sell themselves to you.
-I was honest. I posted recent pictures and one was of my face and the other was full length. I didn’t want t anyone to think ‘Oh shit. Look at this bald dude. Where’s the guy with the thick head of hair in the frat shirt?”
-Many women don’t know the ‘sex’ signals they are sending out to guys of the male gender. I had a date with a woman like this. We met for coffee and her boobs were on display in the front window with nothing left to the imagination. Cleavage is like the sun; you grab your quick glance and look away. I must have looked too long and she commented “were you staring at my boobs? I hate it when guys ogle me.” I responded with “you wore a shirt like that because you wanted me to notice your eyes.” Then a left and ignored her calls.
These are some of the women I met on first dates:
The Interviewer – She a high powered executive and will treat the date as if it’s a job interview. She will have her bullet-pointed questions and responses to those questions will be compared with those of other candidates.
The KGB – She is the interrogator and the not so nice sister of The Interviewer. She will ask you about what you want even though your profile clearly states it. She will inquire about your ex girlfriends and why you broke up. She will poke and prod to see if there’ any feeling left for anyone. She will insist that you recite her profile verbatim to make sure you’ve read it. You’ll know her when you meet her because your shirt will feel too small, you pants will feel too big, and you’ll be wondering when you get your one phone call.
The Elephant –Not only does she remember every bad relationship experience she’s ever had, but she projects those issues onto you. She has more baggage than the two of you can carry.
The Dr. Judy –She will read deep into everything you say. If you make a joke, she’ll label you as immature. If you have a random lone cough, she’ll accuse you of having swine flu. If you’ve dated someone in the past decade, she’ll think you’re still hung up on her. The only way to avoid saying or doing something that will offend her, is to say and do nothing. Then she’ll yell at you for saying and doing nothing. Don’t walk away from this girl, run, Forrest. Run.
The June Cleaver – She is the All-American woman. She is cute and sweet and smart and caring and will stay by your side until the end. The downside is she won’t be nearly as exciting as some of the others. But this girl is like a new silver Camry with all of the options; practical and utterly boring. June’s un-excitement is probably the reason Ward named his son ‘Beaver.’
The David Letterman – This girl seems uptight and uncomfortable and awkward on the outside, but she has a secret. She’s up for a wild night but not for the cross-country trip.
The Sally Albright – This is Meg Ryan’s character from When Harry Met Sally. She will be perfect from the moment you lay eyes on her.
-Starbucks is your friend – As clichéd as it sounds, a coffee shop or a bar/restaurant you know is the best choice. Avoid setting up dinner plans. Regardless of what eHarmony says about its 29 Dimensions of Compatibility, there is something to raw animal attraction. You know in the first thirty seconds if you like someone. And it’s not from a picture or a profile or a phone call. If you don’t feel drawn to them or if things don’t go well, you have your twenty minutes of conversation and you go your separate ways. If things do go well, you can move on to dinner or a museum or take a walk.
-Don’t talk about sex or your ex. When presses to comment on my most recent ex, the most I said was “As a result of it, I now know what I want and what I don’t. Do you need more coffee?”
-Don’t pick up your cell phone and check your messages or texts.
-Don’t talk about other dates. Again, if pressed, I said something like “I went on a few first dates but we didn’t click. Can I get you another coffee?”
On my last official online date, I wasn’t expecting much. To be quite honest, I really didn’t expect anything except a good story to tell my friends that would go under the heading “You’re Not Going to Believe What Happened to Me.” She was relieved to discover that I looked exactly like my pictures and I wasn’t four inches shorter than my profile said. I was guessing I’d be meeting someone ten years older and forty pounds heavier than the person in the profile. When our eyes met, we both knew and like those old Levis, my Sally Albright just felt right.