Perfect….Or Not: One Woman’s Take on Online Dating

By Brenda Brody

Fellas, can I speak to you a second?

This online dating thing….we’re trying it out and hoping to meet someone we really like. You are too, right? It has its ups and downs and can be tricky. Yeah, some folks lie about how they look, and I know some of those profiles just aren’t real. Some of them are Nigerian or Russian men trolling for gullible Americans they can separate from their hard earned money. I’ve seen my share of them too. I know you have to be careful. But for once, think about us girls. How does it work for us?

Folks looking to date online are not necessarily desperate. Most of us are really busy and work hard and going out to meet people is not always an option. Meeting men in bars is not the best way for a lot of us. I don’t think I need to go into that. You know why.

We spend a lot of time online so it’s easier to meet folks there. We try to look for that special picture of us that we hope will catch your eye and we also try to be honest about us and how we look. It doesn’t make much sense to lie if you hope to meet the guy anyway, does it? Yeah, there are some women who just want to play games and I am sorry if you have run into a few of those. We’re not all like that. Some of us are real honest loving caring women who are just trying to make it in life and want to find a man to be there with us.

But ok, you see our picture and you decide you want to get to know us and you send an email and hope that we will respond. If we see something in your picture that we like, we usually will. If you aren’t what we are looking for, we won’t. No harm no foul.

Now, let’s discuss this picture deal. You see our picture on our profile, but you don’t bother to put YOUR picture on your profile. What’s up with that? Why not? Why not give us the same advantage you had? I’ve had guys tell me they didn’t know how to post a picture. Huh? This isn’t really that hard, fellas. Really. That alone says something about you that won’t get you a response. Ask your niece or nephew or the nearest 6th grader to help you post a picture if it’s that hard for you.

Other men have told me they don’t want to be judged by looks. But it’s ok for you to judge us by how we look, right? It doesn’t work that way, dude. What’s good for you is good for us too. I don’t respond if you don’t have a picture on your profile. I bet a lot of other women feel the same way.

And why post a picture of your dog? Or a picture of you on the back of a truck or one where we cannot see your eyes? I’m glad you’re off somewhere having fun, but if you are going to post a picture, please use one where we can see your face clearly without squinting or trying to enlarge the picture and getting a fuzzy mess. Get someone to take a picture of you.

And it doesn’t help if I see your phone in front of you. I don’t want to see the back of your IPhone. I want to see your eyes, your smile, your face! You want to impress me, right? So why do I see a picture of you with a ripped up shirt, no shave, your hair standing on end and your belly hanging out of that hole in your shirt? Is that the best you can do? Really?

Another puzzle. I like to date interracially. I always say in my message about myself that I prefer to date white guys. But it never fails that each day, I will get emails and messages from black men who apparently did not read my profile and don’t know or don’t care what I want or what I like. I’ve had to argue with them in the past about my preference. I don’t now. I just don’t even answer. But what really gets me is if my profile is on a site specifically for interracial dating, why would a black man want to send me a message when it’s quite clear I am not looking for them? Why??

I think I know why. Men go through the sites just looking at the pictures. They don’t read the profiles. What the woman wants is HIM and he knows it even if he hasn’t read that she has 3 kids, 4 dogs and two jobs. Think of the time we would save if men read the profiles and realized right away that the woman they are looking at is just not the one for them?

I sometimes search for guys myself, going through profiles looking for the right one. I can’t say what he looks like, but I am looking for that gleam in his eyes, that smile, something to tell me he’s engaging, he’s funny, he’s sexy and he’s fun. I’ll send a note or a flirt if I see it. I expect fellas do the same thing. But if he says he likes blondes or tall women or women with children or women younger than I am, I don’t flirt with him. I know I’m not what he’s looking for and though I may like his eyes, I pass him by. And guess what, fellas? It doesn’t hurt.

Guys, let’s say you see a pretty girl and you want to get to know her. You send her a message and she responds. You chat for a few days and somewhere along the line, you ask her what her favorite sexual position is. WHAT?  Hit the brakes.

Trust me, when we see that, especially from someone we have only gotten two or three emails from, we are stunned. You jumped the shark! It wasn’t time for that kind of discussion! We don’t know you yet. What would make you think that’s what we wanted right away? Yeah, some girls are looking for fun and fun only. But most of us aren’t. We’re looking for someone we can trust and love and have fun with. Sex is a part of it, but not right away! Slow down!

Look, if all you want is to get your freak on, there are websites just for that. Please go there and look for your fellow freak. But on a dating site, it’s just inappropriate. A woman will give you signals and let you know what she wants and what she likes. If she doesn’t protest when you send her that message, she might be ok with it. But if you don’t hear from her again, well, you asked for it. And if that’s all you want, say so from the beginning and give us the option of passing you by and looking for the man who just might be a boyfriend instead of a one night stand.

Instant messages…..they can be fun. It’s a great way to get to know someone, isn’t it? You can chat online and have fun. But they can also be a drag. Here’s what I mean:

I’m online and I get an alert that lets me know that JohnBoy2010 wants to chat with me. I am not really doing anything and so I go to chat with him.

 

JB2010: Hi

 

Me: Hello! How are you?

 

JB2010: Good n u?

 

Me:  Fine.

 

Two minutes go by before he responds.

 

JB2010: U busy?

 

Me: Not really. Are you?

 

JB2010: No.

 

Me: Cool. What’s up?

 

Two more minutes pass before a response.

 

JB2010: Nuttin. Just wanted to chat.

 

I start to think, well why don’t you then? Chat that is. Say something.

 

Me: All right. How has your day been?

 

 

JB2010:  Ok.

 

I’m already getting bored and you see my drift. If you want to chat, chat! Don’t waste my time with one word answers. Say something!!! And by the way, I am really impressed if you use whole words and spell them correctly.

And then there is the one I call the Stalker. He’s been sitting there online just waiting for you to sign on and as soon as you do, he’s right there, and if you don’t respond right away, he’s hitting the –DING!- to get your attention. Maybe you just went online to answer an email or to look something up but this guy wants all your attention as soon as you are online and gets offended if you don’t want to sit and chat with him and him alone. A problem with chatting is it keeps me from doing other things that I usually do. I don’t always just want to sit and chat with a guy unless I’m intrigued with him and I will let him know if that is the case.

I have been chatting with men online for years and the whole thing has lost its luster for me. I only want to chat with men that I have an interest in and if you don’t fit that criteria, I don’t want to. I do lots of things online – I read the news, I go to the political sites I like, I catch up on my teams and sports, I look at shopping sites, I go to travel sites, I play games and I post comments on Facebook. I moderate two groups and I belong to a few others, so I spend time there. And I am a writer and sometimes I have my instant messenger on while I am writing and I don’t see that you are trying to get my attention. I’m just not sitting there waiting for you to say hello. I’ve had a lot of men get really angry when I tell them I’ve been busy.

It’s two a.m. and I can’t sleep. I get up and pick up the computer and decide to go online to read something to pass the time. And then I get an IM from a man that starts out “Hello sexy.” I already know where that is going. This guy is sitting at the computer looking at porn and he is horny and wants to “play.” He figures that is why I am online too and he wants to get off so he starts a discussion with me. He’s slow to respond because he’s typing with one hand.

I have learned over the years to ignore such messages. Unless I feel like participating in virtual sex, this is going to be a waste of my time. And I usually don’t feel like playing those kinds of games unless it’s with a man I’m already involved with and we are separated for some reason and we both want to titillate each other. Why don’t you ask what I’m doing online or why I’m on at 2 a.m. before you decide to “play?” Or ask me if I want to play with you? Don’t just decide I want what you want. Most likely I don’t.

Another issue is this thing about perfection. Perhaps you have heard that it doesn’t really exist? It really doesn’t. Not one woman on this earth is perfect and there are no perfect men either. I’ll just bet Anne Hathaway ain’t so special without her makeup and hair done so don’t expect us to stand up to such scrutiny either. And you? A few extra pounds? A little less hair? Your teeth not up to par? Yeah, you.

You have imperfections so why is it wrong for a woman to have them? Who do you think you are? Get real. Even if you did meet the woman with the perfect breasts and flat stomach and kissable lips, what makes you think she will want you – just as you are?

We’re hard enough on ourselves anyway. We hate our fat thighs, our spongy tummies, our flat butts and our thin hair. We know we have imperfections and we try to work with them. Yeah, ok, I don’t get up every day and go to the gym. I don’t run every day. I have a tremendously average body but for some men, that is just not good enough. And some of these men have stomachs that enter the room a couple of minutes before the rest of them do and their hair on the back of their head is waving the front of their head goodbye as it slips away.

We’ll forgive you for that in many cases if you are charming and funny and sweet. We will forgive you even if you aren’t. (How else do you explain some other men…who seem to get women all the time… except that they have money and that’s a whole other subject!)

Be honest with us. I have had men post pictures that didn’t look anything like what showed up at my door. Post a current picture please. Or post YOUR picture. I’ve had men tell me that they don’t smoke and then when we meet, they are running outside every 45 minutes because they need to smoke.

Most of us don’t mind a few extra pounds. Many of us have a few extra too. There is a lot of difference in a few extra pounds and being fat. I personally don’t mind a few extra pounds, but I am really not turned on by a grossly overweight man. And if you haven’t been honest with me the one time we see each other will surely be the only time. And that goes two ways, ladies. Either tell him or take a full body picture of yourself so he can see what you look like for real.

I’m not looking for the perfect man. I’m looking for the man who is perfect for me. There’s a difference. I don’t care if you have a few extra pounds, if you don’t have as much hair as you once had. I don’t mind if you aren’t tall. Neither am I. I do like a man who is kind of smart, who is witty and funny and is charming and nice. Kindness goes a long way. I like a man who can communicate and is not afraid to say how he feels. And I also like one who listens and I mean listens. And oh, yeah, if he can cook, so much the better. I cook too, but I think a man in the kitchen is sexy.

Guys, this isn’t easy for either of us sometimes. But if we are both looking for the same thing – a person to share our lives and our love with – it shouldn’t be so hard. Give us a break and we will surely give you one too.

Deal?