Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t advise any individual to engage in midnight chats on ultra-hip Internet dating websites, but the dating pool is scarce, and singles are far and few between. As a single woman who is always looking for new and innovative ways to meet potential dates, Internet mingling didn’t sound like such a bad idea. But it wasn’t until I met my suitors over coffee and conservation that I realized this whole Internet dating fanaticism is not for the faint of heart. My experiences with Internet dating have ranged from squashed expectations to utter disappointment. I have met many suitors through Match.com and myspace.com, who have squired me along on coffeehouse dates. As if first dates aren’t awkward enough, meeting someone who you have never seen before except through questionable pictures from an online dating website is the ultimate blind date experience.
So, prior to meeting any potential mate from an Internet dating website, there are few precautions and tips, both men and women alike, should consider before going on that far from ordinary first date:
Make sure your Internet Interest has more than one picture.
If he or she has only one picture available, run and run fast. One picture could indicate two things: the picture is dated, meaning the picture was probably taken five-years ago, when he or she looked their best. Next, he or she most likely stole the picture from their good-looking older brother or sister or took the photo that comes with a picture frame they just bought. So, your potential mate has only one picture, ditch the barrage of e-mails and instant messages he or she will likely send you. Take it from me, meeting a man or woman with only one picture can be a grand disappointment that will lead to a date of awkward pauses, silences and stares.
Hitch a ride to the meeting ground.
Do not drive to the date destination alone. Ask a friend to come along with you or drop you off. Internet dating has its dangers. Remeber, you will be meeting a complete stranger, who you have never seen before in person. Take a cell phone with you and a Taser or pepper spray. Well, maybe I am overly paranoid, but risky activities call for unusual measures.
Have a Back-up plan.
If the conversation is dead and the chemistry is missing, make an excuse to leave the date early. It is not worth an hour of contemplation and regret. Be an adult and just say you’re not interested. If being this open is difficult for you, and if you go with a friend make sure you have a signal that will indicate the date is over. If someone dropped you off, excuse yourself to the restroom and call your ride to pick you up, pronto. Remember, go with your first instinct, if the date doesn’t feel right leave immediately.
Whether you enjoy meeting prospective dates on dating websites or at hole-in-the wall bars, you should always try to have a great time and absorb the experience. Still, no Internet dating flirtation that consists of ridiculous Internet messaging like ; ), which means wink, wink, compares to a real-life wink feast with someone you have intense chemistry with. You just can’t beat the thrill of real-life glances, touches and face-to-face conversations with your potential love interest.
Veronica Rocha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.