Open Thread

Open Thread Update: Online Dating Follies

Last time (column below) I shared my experiences with online dating and asked readers what they thought of it. The results were a surprising mix.

Of the 117 respondents, some 47 percent of respondents said they tried online dating and were unimpressed. (Apparently their experiences were too  traumatic to share any details in the comments, though!)  Another 34 percent said “No’ and they didn’t plan to date online…and 10 percent said they got scammed!

The good news? The remaining nine percent had more balanced and encouraging news.

 “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. But the best lesson I learned was to value my self and identify what I really wanted in a mate. “

-Mary H.

..she also shared her great news in the rest of her comments, along with several others who met people and are happily dating. Good job!

Two respondents reported special challenges for non-meat eaters in the online dating scene.  Marie W. says “I really think the men thought I was a kook…” but one vegan adapted and found a smart strategy….

‘Because of the way I eat, organic vegan, I do not entertain eating out, on a date. I have become friends with some…”

-C. Hartfield

(Prof) P J Gammarano offers some sage advice for online daters. “Anyone with genuine legit intentions who tries this venue for meeting someone romantically had better tell several loved ones/friends/relatives that they are trying this–so that if something unintended happens those people can help out! Back in the day it was so different!”

You can say that again, Professor.

Reader JL has a wonderful perspective for online and offline daters alike:

 “How else to meet people? I also changed sites and my attitude. I now look at this as a great adventure. Life is about the journey not the destination.”

-JL

Lastly a shout out to reader Charles Moore for his nice comment.

“Had to laugh out loud. Entertaining piece. Subject would make for a great SP instruction/discussion series…”

Thanks!  That’s what keeps me going, Charles.

That’s it for now. We’ll keep the comments open so you can continue to comment and vote. Thanks for your thoughts!

Original post below:

“Try online dating!” my brother kept urging me in the years after my husband, Michael died.  It felt weird and very artificial, but I took the plunge. I sent in a picture, wrote a profile and posted.

Many of the replies read like the requirement specs software app designers list to use their software.  Instead of “Must have 3 MBs of space and run Windows 10 or later,” these said, “Must like slingback heels,” or “curvy but not overweight.”  The men were all “fit” and “athletic.” It was offputting to feel like a commodity in Aisle Three.

If it seems too good to be true 

One guy seemed ok – he was cute, but not too cute and sounded interesting.  We met at the Met, and he  was a good conversationalist who liked the same things I liked. He was OK with splitting the check.

During our short walk afterward, I sniffed trouble. He volunteered that Valentine’s Day was coming up and he had a business trip. What business? “Import Export.” “With what?” “All sorts of things.” He gave me his number, but not his neighborhood, just “Queens.”

When your date starts sounding like a Seinfeld episode, it’s time to bail. I said goodnight and left him downstairs. When I got upstairs, I got busy. (Do not mess with a trained reporter.)

Uh oh

I discovered that his number was a pay-as-you-go burner phone, usually purchased because of a bad credit history. Further research revealed that he was known to the court system as a con artist who stiffed credit card companies, local retailers and the nursing home where his mom lived.

I sent him a note that we weren’t a match, and he promptly changed his contact email and photo…possibly to look for a new pigeon.

Says who?

Then there was the guy from Connecticut who thought  the “Third Date Rule” was legally binding and made two clumsy attempts to engineer a sleepover that were straight out of a 50’s movie.  Besides telegraphing his expectations, he couldn’t even fake a cursory interest in me as a human being…like, say, asking a single follow up question to anything I said during our third date. He kept looking at his watch like a man impatient for the delivery of a long-expected package.

I tried a few more times – with the same well-established website – but nothing clicked.  I then tried another online dating service that claimed it was for intellectual types.  The first email I got was a dick pic.

Luckily, I have a big circle of friends and I’m in no hurry. But what about you? What’s your experience been with the Online Dating Follies? take out informal poll and tell us more in the comments!

Have you tried Online Dating?

 

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send Open Thread suggestions to her at editor@seniorplanet.org.

Middle photo:  Markus Winkler on Unsplash

COMMENTS

15 responses to “Open Thread Update: Online Dating Follies

  1. I tried online dating about ten years ago after my divorce. I listed all my likes and dislikes, what my interests are. I had no one to match with me, the website ask me to “dummy down”. I will not change my interests. Most of the men that I was linked to could not spell. No thanks.

  2. I’m all for online dating, but you need to learn how to use it productively, authentically, and creatively. I developed my “How the Heck Do I Date at This Age?” webinar (https://joanprice.com/webinars) for exactly this purpose – to help people navigate this strange world. It might take meeting a lot of frogs (you don’t have to kiss them, thank goodness), but if you stick with it, you might be lucky enough to meet your next partner – as I did! – someone you wouldn’t have met otherwise.

  3. I turned to online dating after my 10 year relationship crashed and burned. I enjoyed (and probably needed) the interaction, both online and in person. Honesty is paramount. At this age it doesn’t make sense not to show your cards right off the bat, and it plays to the fact that most women list honesty as their most valued quality in a man. I may find true love some day, but until then I’m enjoying the company of some fascinating people.

  4. I am in my 70’s and my doctors always are surprised when they meet me because I am “not” your typical 70 year old female!….I exercise 7 days a week and used to model, etc……So, I try to take good care of myself! I have tried these online dating sites (probably all of them) to no avail. People will write to you who sound interested and never write back again!…Are there any “normal men” left? Or, at least “fairly normal”? I haven’t met any!….I never give my age!

  5. I got great ideas and confidence from a book, “The Offline Dating Method” (by Camille Virginia) on meeting friends/partners “in the real world” after too many stories from friends about online dating problems.

  6. I have met several guys on a particular dating site. I arrange to meet them at a park near where I live. We walk and talk. I am very active as in walking, hiking, cycling, traveling, etc.. Because of the way I eat, organic vegan, I do not entertain eating out, on a date. I have become friends with with some. We keep in touch via telephone and/or they walk or hike with me. Nothing serious has developed, but I enjoy the conversations and the occasional companionship.

    1. Ms Hartfield, I’m also vegetarian and I find that was a BIG threat to some men. I don’t mind if they eat a BIG steak in front of me, as long as my food is cooked separately and that there is a vegetarian option for me. But I really think the men thought I was a kook. I haven’t tried online since that one time.
      Happy to hear you found some friends.

  7. I, too, tried online dating after my husband died. At first, it was awful. The site I used was full of scammers. Fortunately, as another form journalist, I learned how to sniff them out. Some were so obviously fake, that you didn’t need half a brain to decipher them. Very depressing. Went offline for a while, then got on because of the pandemic. How else to meet people? I also changed sites and my attitude. I now look at this as a great adventure. Life is about the journey not the destination.

  8. This very interesting e-survey about on-line dating reveals an interesting statistic of almost nine percent being SCAM-attempted !
    It would also be interesting to see the actual number of people who cast their votes .
    Anyone with genuine legit intentions who tries this venue for meeting someone romantically had better tell several loved ones / friends / relatives that they are trying this–so that if something unintended happens those people can help out !

    Back in the day it was so different!

  9. I did online dating for a very long time – probably 10 years, although I wasn’t active on it for that entire time. Recently, I became more active and went on several dates. Finally, I met a man who was persistent and interested and we are now in a committed relationship. I was able to figure out who the scammers were and I got quite savvy at filtering them out. I thought of giving up often, but with Covid, there were not other options. I’m glad I didn’t bail. Patience and awareness are vital.

    1. My experiences were similar to Paula’s. Was widowed at 55 and not quite ready to be eternally single. Went to online dating over 10-11 years and learned many lessons. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. But the best lesson I learned was to value my self and identify what I really wanted in a mate. Narrowed it down to 5 categories and the dates had to meet those categories rather than me trying to fit into their lives. Soon after doing this I met my partner, couldn’t be happier!

    2. Hi Paula. I’m hesitant to use a dating app because I don’t know HOW to “figure out who the scammers” are. Someone even knew how to find if it’s a disposable phone? I guess I would rather be alone than open myself up to getting hurt or taken advantage of. I like my own company.
      How did you learn how to figure out scammers? Do you think you would have had the success you had IF THE MAN YOU MET wasn’t as persistent as he was?
      You really are blessed. Enjoy the company.
      Marie

  10. Had to laugh out loud. Entertaining piece. Subject would make for a great SP instruction/discussion series, to include those techniques mentioned to check out prospect in the “When I got upstairs, I got busy”, paragraph.

    1. It’s amazing what you can learn about someone just from a phone number and a Google search. There are services you can pay a small fee and learn ALL kinds of things, just with a phone number. BeenVerified, InstantCheckmate, Spokeo, Mr. Number are great paid resources.

      I also recommend checking LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media. Is this person who they say they are? Do things match up with their story?

      Finally, Rule Number One: Don’t Do Stupid. If the person is Stupid, walk away.

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