Tag Archives: internet dating

Dating in the digital age

11 Jun

internet datingSomething came over me a couple of Thursdays ago and I found myself posting my picture on a dating site. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in this case, it is. I went cold turkey after ten years of what I think I can now say was an internet dating addiction. Since that time, I dipped my toe in the digital dating pool only twice and ran away screaming within days of joining.

The picture I used this time is sort of bright and hazy and I said little about myself outside of my statistics and that I wanted to meet men within 5 km of me. I was astonished to find that within two days, I had 100 “likes” and over a dozen emails from men all over the western world. I felt overwhelmed – this is not what I expected.

Contact

Sometimes men will tell me about their time on dating sites and complain that most women don’t answer their emails. I ask them what they write. “Hi,” they often say. A good start, but Hi for what reason? What inspired you to write to her? A girl needs something to go on, fellas!

I got a lot of email and admittedly I didn’t open all of it (including the ones that just said “hi”), but I did respond to the ones I opened and I’m always polite in my exchanges. The very first message was from a gorgeous creature with tattoo sleeves, but he was looking for casual sex—I passed. Later, I had conversations with a couple of interesting artistic types, a guy with cool style and a fun attitude, and brief exchanges with two men from the UK and two from the U.S.

I wrote back to the foreigners to say thanks for the email but they were too far away (sometimes efficiency is more important than romance). The one in Liverpool wrote back to say how much he wanted to express himself to me and all men voiced their disagreement with my choice and said we should get to know each other over email first. I’m flattered, but I’m also practical.

So lonely

After looking at so many men`s pictures and profiles, I started to feel their loneliness, their anger, and their desire to be wanted. Some of the emails I opened begged for attention (I imagined one man literally on his knees), and some men wrote long emails to try to convince me to get involved with them. It made me feel sad; it made me realize just how socially isolated we are from each other.

One man in particular embodied the emotional desolation of modern dating and romance. In his first message to me, this American man sent his phone number and says he’s willing to relocate after one exchange:

HE: Gooday [sic] dear….good to read your profile… you look adorable and down to earth. Would love to know more about you and maybe have a longer conversation with you, to see if we have something in common and to also see if we are going to be compatible…You can send me a text anytime and I’ll be glad to hear from you. (XXX) XXX-XXXX Much love, _____

ME: _____, it’s good of you to get in touch but I’m looking to meet men within 5 km of me in Toronto. Best wishes to you!

HE: Am ready to relocate, if i get the one my heart beats for…and i believe since am attracted to you am ready to do anything just to make the one my heart beats for happy

ME: _____, you won’t believe this, but a guy from Maryland just sent me the same email. I’m afraid I’m not the romantic type and I want to find someone near me. Good luck.

HE: am mostly attracted to you …please don’t do this to me…just give me a chance into your life and see the little love that can make you believe am for real.

HE: just send me your number so i can call or text you as to enable us know each other the better.

It would seem that in the world of online dating, women suffer from the noise while men suffer from the silence.
– My friend, Andy

After only five days, I took down my profile. At the risk of sounding conceited, I had trouble with the amount of attention I received: by the time I deleted my profile, I received 220 likes and there were 27 emails in my box.

Irony of ironies, three of the men I was in conversation with on the website sent their email addresses to me, so I contacted them and guess what? To date, I’ve not heard from one. Reminds me of the last time I attempted internet dating: I met a man, chatted a bit, then set up a date for a Sunday afternoon. He cancelled only an hour before we were to meet. Humans, eh? I guess some people don’t believe they deserve happiness.

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Truth or consequences: Dating in Toronto

1 May

There is certainly no place in the world like Toronto but for reasons you may not expect.

Will a nightclub draw a suitable partner?

Will a nightclub draw a suitable partner?

S. is a successful 39 year-old financial professional who owns his own house and car. In less than two years, he’s worked hard with a personal trainer and lost 70 pounds. One might think he’d have luck with women with all of these things going for him but after a year of clubbing, he’s still single and still looking.

R., a 35 year-old from Ireland works in construction and began dating as soon as he arrived in Toronto. He had no problems meeting women as a newcomer with a charming accent, but after three years, he describes the Toronto dating scene as “bizarre”.

Both gentlemen feel that dating in Toronto is about narcissism and feeding the ego. Those of us who live here know there is no place like it: people avoid other humans and don’t make eye contact, it is difficult to meet new people, and according to pick-up artist, Roosh V, it is the worst city in North America to meet women. (Read his 15 reasons why the city sucks for dating, and take the racially charged reason #7 with a grain of salt.)

Toronto is a large city and with large cities comes wide choices in people to get friendly with. This, combined with the vast amount of choices of people to meet in Toronto over the internet widens the net. When I internet dated,  I found it very difficult to settle on one man because there were so many – possibly too many – choices. What happens if I start up with Mr. Right Now and then Mr. Right comes along? This thought caused a kind of terror and was one of the reasons I ran away from internet dating, screaming.

S. and R. want to meet women and frequent downtown clubs on weekends. S. says that women expect attention, free drinks, and ego validation, with the option to brush the guy off. They told stories of their attempts to strike up conversations with women, many of which were received with rudeness and sometimes humiliating responses. S. says that women have walked away from him, one said, “I don’t want to talk to you”, and another actually pushed him away. He told me about the time his friend went over to talk to a woman who responded by punching him in the jaw which caused his mouth to fill up with blood. There is no excuse for rudeness and certainly not for violence. A polite, “No thank you” will do.

That said, many men don’t realize that women are in a tricky social position because we are targets of male attention, desire, and sometimes aggression, and this puts us into a state of constant defensiveness. We also know that men will always want us and we usually have the choice whether to couple or not, especially if we’re good-looking. When men approach us however, we have a choice in how we handle it. Choosing a rude route, like what R. and S. experience in bars is, I believe, learned and perhaps socially encouraged, depending on your generation.

Has the internet spoiled us?

R. says that the internet is killing character and genuineness. Before internet dating and social media, people were different. Before the digital age, people were people, warts and all, and our in-person selves drew others to us within our circle of friends. Now, people edit and censor themselves and become synthetic versions of their true selves, put on display for the world to see. Younger generations born into smart phones and social media see edited versions of the world and this is a massive influence on their psyche.

Young women seem especially susceptible to digital media influence and because society is still obsessed with what women look like, the expectation to be beautiful and sexy is even more pronounced. This, and the influence of media that seems to reward and normalize bitch behaviour can create legions of women who say, Yeah, I’m all that, and you have to work for it. Many women expect attention and fancy that they could and should have the pick of the litter. In the Kardashian-styled age of the egotistic selfie and the popularity contest that is social media, we have become horribly self-absorbed and narcissistic. It really should be no surprise to men like S. who is interested in younger women that many will have an arrogant sense of themselves and feel entitled to cast men away because this is what they’ve been taught.

My friend Gail likes the term “age appropriate”. She believes that instead of going after beautiful young women in their 20s, mature men, including our gents in question, should go by the 5 year guideline: choose partners 5 years younger or older than your age and there will be much more harmony. A woman within 5 years of you will be easier to relate to, there will be far less drama, more emotionally maturity, a sense of self, and she’ll have the ability to pay her own way. In other words, there will be no princess expectations.

I proposed this idea to S. who said that he just wasn’t attracted to women his age. Well, I thought, you’re really narrowing things down for yourself – women over 40 are #$%&! awesome. Gail says that women in their 20s are not really connected to men and are quick to dump and move onto the next one. A bit flighty, I suppose, because they’re young and they can be.

The gentlemen complain that everything has to be on women’s terms and many women will string them along in-person or by texting. Something to do with the notion of having an entourage of men to keep their egos buoyant. I suppose there must be men who do the same thing, but I’ve met more women who like to show off their digital “collection” of men which to me says, “look at how popular I am and how many men want me”, and yet these women remain single. It makes me wonder what their goals are.

Bitterness

S. says that though the constant rejection by women was difficult in the beginning and he took women’s refusals personally, his confidence has increased and his skin is definitely thicker. With a touch of bitterness, he now takes satisfaction in rejecting women himself, to “give them a taste of their own medicine”.

Sounds like a war that no one will win.

For men tired of this treatment, S. told me about an online men’s group called MGTOW – Men Going Their Own Way, “a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else”. I completely back this empowering premise because I know how frustrated men can be with the attitude of some Toronto women, but unfortunately, the site quickly turns vile. The founder, apparently a guy in his mid-30s who works downtown, known as Sandman, is very bitter and hateful towards all women according to his videos I’ve watched. He says that men have “learned the ugly truth about female nature. Women are made out to be harmless, beautiful creatures but the truth is many women today will rip out your heart and testicles through your wallet and move onto their next victim.”

It is one thing to be frustrated and disillusioned with women, but quite another to be hateful towards the entire gender and make sweeping statements like all women being whores and liars who trick men into marriage and fatherhood so they can divorce them and collect the legal booty from courts that favour women. Sandman, remains anonymous behind his screen and slut-shames, fat-shames, and age-shames women, and complains about single (gee, can you imagine why?). Disturbingly, MGTOW has over 7000 members and his introduction video has over 100,000 views. That’s a lot of fuel for the bonfire of masculine rejection and bitterness.

Is there anyone out there?

S. has decided that the woman for him does not live in Toronto and possibly not even in Canada. He plans to travel to meet women because as he sees it, it is more financially feasible to travel and try a long-distance relationship with a genuine person instead of spending $100 a night in clubs on the weekends. This is not the first time I’ve heard this; a friend of mine passed on an online forum made up of men, sick and tired of the self-important attitude of Toronto women, who moved to or visited places like London, Ontario to meet “real” women.

“Real” women do exist in Toronto (I consider myself one) but I don’t go to clubs to meet men, and I’m not sure that a club is the best place to go to meet genuine, down-to-earth types of people. I also don’t have faith in internet dating for reasons already stated. So where does that leave us? This question I cannot answer, but what I do know is that people aren’t telling the truth. Being honest and upfront may cause initial disappointment, but ultimately, it is the best route to take. Honest and respectful communication is key; I wish more people would understand this.

Davy Jones

8 Mar

This week, we lost one of the good ones. Davy Jones, the former singer of The Monkees died at the age of 66 of a massive heart attack. He leaves behind a lifetime of talent, loads of laughs, and a million broken teenage hearts.

Davy was born in Manchester, England and began his career on the much-loved series, Coronation Street, then took the part of the Artful Dodger in the London West End production of Oliver! which brought him fully into the entertainment fold (he was nominated for a Tony award for his role in the New York production). He appeared on the same Ed Sullivan Show as the Beatles in 1964, you know, their first US television appearance where masses of hysterical teenaged girls drowned them out.

“I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that,” Jones said of the evening.

In 1966, Jones auditioned for a new series that followed the adventures of The Monkees, a music group trying to break into the rock and roll world. The Monkees were really the first corporate pop group, a fabricated American version of The Beatles, made complete by Davy Jones, the clever, handsome Brit. The group had some very catchy music, often written by the best songwriters of the period: Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Diamond, and the group’s own Michael Nesmith, and the series won two Emmy Awards in 1967 for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy (James Frawley).

I watched re-runs of The Monkees TV show when I was a kid and I inherited my one-time Davy Jones-crazed aunt Betsy’s Monkee records, so I have my own happy memories of Davy and his gang of wacky band mates. Betsy, like millions of pubescent girls worldwide, went mad for Davy, plastering his pin-up face on their bedroom walls and dreaming that she was actually the one he was singing about when he crooned, “I’ll be true to you, yes I will”.

I got hate letters from girls all over America because I wouldn’t go to the prom with them.
-Davy Jones

He sang heart-felt ballads and he could shake a mean maraca; he was the kind of fella any girl would fall for – deep brown saucer eyes, thick dark hair, a beautiful face, a sharp wit, and a charming British accent. Davy was just as sweet, just as cute, and caused just as much teenage hysteria as our modern adolescent heart-throb, Justin Bieber. These two share another commonality – their stature. Standing a compact 5’5, Justin is only 3″ taller than Davy was.

Davy was so small that he sometimes served as a prop on The Monkees series.

Short

“I’ve always thought if all the show business success hadn’t happened, I’d have been a world champion jockey. It’s in my blood,” Davy said in 1996.

In Davy’s case, his small stature helped him become an accomplished horseman, though most people might argue that taller is better. In a publication I used to do before I started this blog, I devoted one issue to men’s height. Through my research, I developed a theory about why the western world has a hate on for small men, and I think that Britain’s George III is responsible. When the French army, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, threatened England, caricatures of the French leader being small and weak in comparison to the larger, stronger British monarch began to appear in newspapers, colouring society’s view of short men. The truth is that Napoleon stood at a very average 5’6 for the time, while George stood somewhere around 5’11, and he saw this as a point of ridicule. Short men have been in the dog house ever since (source).

For the record, there is no correlation between height and intelligence; short men are just as able and just as intelligent as tall men, but because we have been socially conditioned perhaps by George III’s political posturing, things aren’t so great for short guys.

I learned  more about the short man’s plight in the survey I did for the height issue, finding that of the men surveyed, those under 5’7 reported height discrimination. Short men complained of problems buying clothes, feeling overlooked, and being socially perceived as being “less than” a taller man. It’s understood that shorter men suffer in life, work, and love, making less money than taller men and working extra hard to attract women. (Read this blog about dating short men by a short man.)

I had a conversation about height with a 5’7 foot male friend the other night who uses internet dating sites. He complained about the profiles on these sites being full of women who insist on meeting tall men only, making my shorter friend feel bad and “rejected”.

Seeing as though our culture neglects short men already, I can see why a short man might be hurt by a height exclusion, so, in support of my small brothers, I’m going to make an admission: I am 5’2, I prefer short men, and I have height restrictions when it comes to dating too. Nothing personal, but the closer a guy is to 6′, the less attractive he is to me as a romantic partner. When I used dating sites and saw an interesting face, I’d check his height and if he was too tall, I passed. It’s a proportion thing for me. I know that I am not alone when I say that I cannot think of anything more attractive than a compact, self-assured man. Believe me, fellas, contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of women who dig short guys. (Read this blog about dating short men by a woman who likes smaller men.)

Davy Jones was one of the first men who made being short sexy, passing the torch to short men like Tom Cruise, Prince, Jason Priestly, and Elijah Wood who have all been very successful in their careers and in their romantic lives. With three wives, four children, and an entertainment career spanning over 50 years, little Davy did pretty well for himself. He didn’t suffer from “short man’s syndrome”, walking around with a chip on his shoulder or shivering in insecurity over his small stature; Davy didn’t have anything to prove, he just enjoyed himself and believed in himself, and it’s that confidence that makes a short guy shine.

Thanks Davy.

Image disconnect

19 Jan

Wouldn't it be weird if this man was actually an insurance professional?

A business contact that I have a lot of faith in sent me a link to a sales tip blog by a salesman who has been working in sales for decades and has influenced thousands of people with his sales tactics. I went to the blog site and there on the first page, before any text, before any sales tips, was a picture of the author – a man easily 56-years old but probably a lot younger, skin pale, hairstyle dated, wearing rectangular tinted eyeglasses and a plain white collared shirt. I saw a middle-aged science teacher from the 70s. I did not see a sales guru.

I kept his web page up to read for about a week with the intention of reading it but in the end, I just couldn’t do it. I just didn’t have faith in him.  The man had absolutely no presence.

You only get one chance at a first impression

Now, some of you will be chastising me for not giving this man a chance, but this is exactly the point. We only have one chance to make a first impression, and to me, I saw a disconnect between what this man does for a living and the way he projects himself; the two together just didn’t add up. This man did not look like a “sales guru” let alone a professional, so I decided that his advice was probably as dated as his haircut. In other words, I felt that his credibility was questionable because his messages were confused.

When I’m talking about politicians to the media, we often discuss what visual cues promote believability and trustworthiness. I tell them that when there is a disconnect between what a politician says, how he looks, and his body language, he affects people’s opinion of him. The same goes for any one else – when we send mixed messages, our integrity is compromised and we become suspect.

In your personal life and in business, a fragmented image isn’t going to be doing you any favours. Here are some more examples to help you understand how this works:

–> I know a fellow in the insurance industry who insists that he is warm and understanding. He could very well be warm and understanding, but the sight of a thin, pasty-skinned man with long wiry hair and large glasses makes him look rather like a mad scientist, not anyone particularly “warm”. I’m not sure how many people could get past this first vision of him and accept him as a “warm” person because he certainly doesn’t project that feeling. The disconnect between what I see and what I hear throws me into confusion and I doubt what he says.

–> If I had a meeting with a person I only knew from his picture on the web, and he looked about 35 with a full head of hair, and the man I met was actually 55 and balding, I would certainly be confused and I might decide to not trust him (if you’re using a 20-year old picture, this could be interpreted as a little something called “dishonesty”). People recognize and trust genuine and honest people, and if people perceive that you’re not being open and honest with them, you may have to kiss the business/kiss the girl/boy good-bye. This happens a lot with internet dating. It’s in your best interest to maintain an honest and up-to-date online web presence.

–> I volunteer for a cultural organization in Toronto and we are in the process of updating our website. The woman in command and I met with a fellow who raved about the websites he’s created and was sure that we would be convinced that he was our man for the job. When we met with him, he was dressed in dusty clothes and his skin was rough. This vision was immediately confusing to us because we expected to meet someone who looked like a web designer, not a drywaller. On top of this, the man did not prepare anything for our meeting – I came to the meeting with more ideas than he did. What’s wrong with this picture? He looks and behaves opposite to the way he came off during telephone and email contact, and guess what? He didn’t get the job.

–> About 10 years ago, I was buddies with Andy. Andy was a computer geek and had a lot of friends. I got to know one of his friends who helped me with some internet something-or-other and we exchanged some friendly emails. I thought he was a nice guy. A couple of weeks later, I had a party. Andy and his friend were supposed to come together, but Andy couldn’t make it in the end. I suggested that his friend come anyway.

Party night. Andy’s friend buzzes in from downstairs. I open the door to a tall, scruffy man wearing a ripped Ren & Stimpy t-shirt, and reeking of body odor. I sensed something menacing about him. I was so thrown off by what was in front of me that I questioned his identity to make sure that he was Andy’s friend. He was. Dang. Being a polite Canadian, I let him in but I wish I hadn’t. He unleashed himself upon my guests, overpowered them with his stink, bombarded them with his conspiracy theories, and creeped them out by his general demeanor. What an awful experience.

Sending, or not being aware of sending inauthentic messages, might cause you to lose out. I’m telling you this, men, because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes as the fellas in our examples. We’re looking for honour here, gentlemen, an awareness of who we are and the messages we send out to the world about who we are. Are you aware of the messages you’re sending? Are they true and balanced, or are they inconsistent and unclear? How do your messages affect your relationships?