Book Writing Adventures

Point, Click, Date, and Mate: An Online Dating Primer

Online dating takes the pressure off finding an interracial match

She’s baaaack, my co-author, ace reporter and writer extraordinaire, Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn discusses a topic that scares the begeezus out of some black women: online dating. Some of us fear they’ll meet Jeffery Dahmer’s best friend, Ted Bundy’s ghost or at minimum, that guy with the weird hair in those Staples commercials:

Online dating is a GREAT way to meet men you might otherwise pass on the street, and better yet, you get to like the person from the inside, out. We’ll have comprehensive tips on how to perfect this dating technique in the book, but since we like you so much, we’ll just give you a taste, but NO SECONDS!

Okay, I’m going to shut up know and let Janice take the floor.


For those who read my introductory entry last week, you are aware of how painfully e-apprehensive I am about this whole blogging business. So just imagine my trepidation about online dating (yes, more of the proverbial kicking and screaming). But after a friend in New York suggested it was time I broadened my options, I signed up.

I’d been going through a dating droop after my six-year Hollywood romance with an actor ended like some pathetic daytime soap opera storyline. (Dumped via email. He’d met someone else.) The only guys paying me any attention were married men, older men (like Sean Connery-grandpa age, but not as sexy) and gay men. So, really, what did I have to lose — except for maybe some time and a couple hundred bucks?

I got it out of my head that finding a date online didn’t equal desperation. (Christelyn met Michael online eons ago and look at them now!) It was about maximizing my man options. My NYC pal had met her newly wedded hubby on eHarmony, so that’s where I started.

About a month in, I got bold and decided to maximize my hookup options with After four months and endless hours online trolling photos and profiles and, yes, a few dates — one with a black man, a couple of white guys and a Mexican with a fetish for women in high heels — I decided it was cheaper to get a BOB (battery operated boyfriend) and a fabulous pair of sexy 4-inch Max Factor red pumps, and curb my online enthusiasm for a while.

Although I was going on dates, I really wasn’t enjoying the process. I realized later that I was treating online dating like job hunting, aiming for “the one” instead of having fun — and fun is precisely what Leslie Oren suggests in Fine, I’ll Go Online! The Hollywood Publicist’s Guide to Successful Internet Dating (St. Martin’s Griffin). “I never say you’re going to meet your husband online,” Oren said about the book for an article I wrote in Emmy Magazine. “But the more you date, [well…], the more you date—just like getting traction with a celebrity, or a movie, or a television show.”

Oren is senior vice president of publicity for Fox Television Studios. During her career, she’s helped launched shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Extra and The Bachelor. In her book, she applies the same tricks of the PR trade to help women “spin” and “pitch” their online image: from crafting the perfect profile and photos to practical put-your-best-foot-forward advice that’s helped her friends – and Oren (who last I heard was engaged) – get great dates. According to Oren, online dating can be …

  • Empowering: “It’s really about women feeling empowered about dating and how to put themselves out into the world that leaves them optimistic about the future,” she said. “At the time I started writing (the book) I was experiencing, that Sex and the City post mortem breakfast that you would see on the show, with my women friends going around the table taking about the men they’d been dating, and that dejection really broke my heart. I was look at these women going, ‘You guys are the bomb, and these men are making you feel like nothing. We have to change this!’”
  • Humanizing: “When I was younger and living in New York,” Oren said, “I could walk down the street, be on the subway, stand in a movie line, be waiting for a table in a restaurant and meet people each time. Today, in those same scenarios, nobody’s available or reaching out to you — everybody’s on their cell phones their PDAs, their Blackberries, they’re texting. Ironically, while all this technology has caused community in our actual lives to shrink, our communities online have expanded, and there are millions of people all in one location all interested in dating.”
  • Ego boosting: “Online dating gave me confidence and optimism,” said Oren, “because all of a sudden I was dating again and meeting people online and off-line – and that’s as good of a reason as any to date online.”
  • Enlightening: “What I consider success online is that you manage to pull from all of these different men online that you think you might have something in common with,” Oren said. If you meet and it’s a nice experience, that’s icing on the cake — you go out again, big success.
Follow Christelyn on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. And if you want to be a little more about this online dating thing, InterracialDatingCentral is the official dating site for this blog.