I’m an online dating Queen. I have no shame in saying that, and have been having a great time with it since about 2010. It’s the perfect way to mend a broken heart/find romance/explore taboos/have fun/find love/make new friends/get laid/connect/learn. I’m a strong advocate of it for women, especially anyone approaching 50 or over who’s sitting at home alone, wondering where all the good dates are. Don’t go to waste: tuck yourself up in bed with your pjs and cat, grab your laptop, and start cruising. Don’t get me wrong; I love being single too, and certainly living by myself… But a little bit of attention and interaction from someone cute never goes astray does it?I reckon I’ve got online dating down to a fine art after all these years, and within 10 minutes of talking to someone in real life who’s saying they would like to try it, I can tell which website they should be using. That’s because I’ve tried them all, and am familiar with who else is using which ones, and thus what types of people you are more likely to find where.
When I lived in Adelaide a few years ago, I used to joke that I should charge a fee for my services, so many times did I encourage women to open a profile. I even coached people I didn’t know over the phone a couple of times, whose friends had passed them my number. I love it! Of course it’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly an effective avenue for exploring who’s out there from the comfort and safety of your own home. Much more pro-active than sitting on the couch feeling sad and lonely, assuming that your romantic life has passed you by.
If I had to distill 7 years of experience down to one paragraph (for which I should probably charge, or make into a TED talk), I’d say this:
- Be clear and honest about what you want (there’s a big difference between seeking a marriage partner or a kinky sex playmate for example). It is also totally appropriate to admit you don’t know what you want; just be clear about that.
- Be polite (I always say ‘Thanks but no thanks’, unless you’re a rude idiot, and then I won’t hesitate to Delete, Block or Report)
- Exchange emails for a couple of weeks before giving out phone numbers or meeting
- Meet in a public place like a café
- Most importantly, whatever it is you seek, REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE THE PRIZE AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN THEY MUST CLIMB
So I’ve online chatted with men, women, married men, married women, bisexual people, older or younger people, a priest, several psychologists, various artists, a plumber, a headmaster, someone stuck in bed with chronic fatigue, a professional hugger, travel agents, a human rights activist, a few lawyers, a dog groomer and ex-professional golfer, a political speech writer, plus a multitude of office workers and small business owners. It’s been so fun! But I developed high standards about who I will actually meet face to face, depending on my needs, as my time is precious, and I enjoy being discerning; for me, that winnowing out of the chaff from the good stuff is part of the pleasure process, like the cyber equivalent of the thrill of the chase.
I’ve evolved a set of protocols I guess, which work really well for me, as I’ve learnt the hard way about too much online emailing and then the disappointment of reality, or the power of projection, or the time-wasters etc etc. And in those protocols or rules, I’d have two sculpted in golden capital letters, one of which I’ve shared already, but which is so essential that I’ll paste it again:
- REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE THE PRIZE AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN THEY MUST CLIMB (i.e. don’t sell yourself to someone; be sure of your value, and the worth of what you’re offering, whatever that is)
- DO NOT GET INVOLVED WITH SOMEONE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, OR EVEN JUST INTERSTATE/ACROSS YOUR OWN COUNTRY
Right. That’s pretty clear obvious clear.
So what have I gone and done?
After almost seven years of hugely fun, successful, illuminating online dating (on and off, using 2 or 3 fav websites [hello OKC]), I got involved with someone living in a different state… 1,636kms away to be precise… in Melbourne, Victoria.
But not just ‘involved’…
*Deeper sigh, and insert eye roll Emoji
More like… ‘falling in love’ involved… *insert cute pulsing red heart
I didn’t mean for it to happen.
I don’t really know how it happened.
Yet on the other hand, it couldn’t have happened any other way…
[To Be Continued]