Proud to admit it: I used to be an on-line dater. And, I’d do it again in a heartbeat (or, should I say, a mouse click) if the circumstances required it (translation: if the guy I’m dating dumps me).
Why? Because I had “the best first date of my life” thanks to an on-line dating website. But, I’ll get to that… First off I have to tell you about my bad experiences and the lessons I learned from them so that you don’t make those same mistakes. Only examples can truly get my message across. This is what you shouldn’t do if you’re on-line right now…
Example #1 (excerpt from an introductory on-line dating email I received in my Inbox):
I have been in the office since early morning and need a break, perfect time to drop you a line. Are you from the west coast, a 49ers fan, or both? I’m both but I’ve been here for almost eleven years. I have a great life but I’m not a rocket scientist, in fact I’m pretty dumb, but if you are, that won’t intimidate me. Maybe you can teach me to float in space and I’ll teach you to make sauce.
(name has been deleted to protect the not-so-innocent)
Grammar and typographical errors aside, this guy tried especially hard to be witty and wanted to prove that he had paid attention to my Bio (note the shout-out to the “west coast” and “49ers” as I am indeed from San Francisco so much appreciated). However, I also gleaned that he wanted to make sure I knew he didn’t score a MENSA I.Q. level but was okay if I had (I haven’t). No, I’m not a rocket scientist – I’m just a writer and a lawyer. Finally, what the heck was “sauce”? Did he mean spaghetti sauce as in he cooks Italian food (he did end his email with “Ciao”)? Or, was he talking about another kind of sauce? Please don’t tell me he was making some thinly veiled reference to his sexual prowess. Needless to say, due to the ambiguities inherent in this one, Example #1 did not score a date.
Example #2 (another excerpt):
I am looking for a tender, warm-hearted, intelligent woman who is looking for a confident, intelligent, emotionally open, sensitive man. I see these qualities in your photograph, your words and in your eyes and would like to learn more about you.
(Mr. Form Email)
This was so obviously a form email. I mean, my Profile Pix featured me partying it up with some girlfriends at a funky restaurant with a big glass of wine in hand so how did he read “tender” and “intelligent” into it? I was also wearing bright blue sparkly eye shadow which doesn’t translate into “warm-hearted eyes,” but, you know, I’ll take what I can get when compliments are thrown my way for no apparent reason. In fact, it was those compliments that got this intro email a second read. But, when I was reminded that he simultaneously sent it to at least 25 other women I deleted it, because form emails are not proper “netiquette” when it comes to online dating. Sure this IS email and all, but that doesn’t mean it has to be… impersonal.
Example #3 (my all-time favorite):
You have pretty hair. I’d like to touch it sometime. Wanna go out?
(I called him Mr. Shampoo)
This needs very little explanation. WHAT was he thinking? On no level is this appropriate. Mr. Shampoo needs to take one serious look at his on-line communications and wash that weirdness right out of his hair!
I could have posted many more excerpts from my sordid on-line dating history but alas these are my Top Three. They get my message across, and that’s this:
If you’re bold enough to venture into on-line dating territory (and it does require courage and perhaps a little bit to drink), then be bold enough to say what you mean and mean what you say. And, most of all: be for real.
How does one be “for real”? Well, re-reading all of my “saved” on-line dating emails (and yes I do keep them for posterity), I got to thinking that the three gentlemen above could really learn a lot about authenticity from looking at an Apple computer. Huh? Allow me to explain. An Apple’s packaging is clean, sleek, and minimalistic. What makes the computer “honest and genuine” though is that the inside matches the outside. When you look at an Apple, you think: “Oh wow, it’s so simple and uncluttered.” When you open it up, you think the same exact thing. The design geniuses behind Apple knew that no bells and whistles were needed to get across their message. On-line daters should heed their wisdom: make sure your outside image matches what’s inside your heart. And, if you do, you may not be subject to as many viruses, er, I mean, bad suitors much like an Apple.
Pretty simple, right? Okay, maybe not, but one guy succeeded in getting it right…
A final example:
How’s your day going so far? Mine’s going swimmingly. Well, not really. I work for a real estate firm, and we’re trying to close a deal by end of the week so it’s pretty busy right about now. But, I wanted to make sure I sent you an email now in case you meet Prince Charming tomorrow.
I’m impressed with your love of the arts (yes, I read your Profile). I go to lots of movies, shows, etc. too. I’m probably a fan of music like you are to movies. And, yes, I’m trying to learn to play the guitar because, you know, a guy with a guitar is… right.
Anyway, being a lawyer and a writer, you sound like you lead a pretty full life. If you have a few minutes in your day to shoot me a line, please do. I’d love to hear from you. Who knows? Maybe we’ll end up grabbing coffee or something in the near future… There’s this cool place I know in the Virginia Highlands… just sayin’…
(Mr. Best First Date of My Life)
See? It can be done. And, I have all the faith in the world – well, at least within the on-line community – that you Apple users can succeed in forming genuine connections and not just wireless ones.
Just kidding. I’m not Italian, so I’ll simply say:
Good luck! An Apple a day… “you know”!
About Cavanaugh: By day, she works as a prosecutor in Savannah, Georgia. She writes, of course, by night. After recently toying in the world of cyber-dating, finding true love, becoming engaged, and then becoming unengaged (yes, he’s got the ring, she’s got the dress), she decided to parlay her modern romance experiences into a hilarious, heart wrenching novel that all young women (and men) will relate to and enjoy.