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In the age of e-mail and E-Bay, dating has taken a turn towards cyberspace. Gone are the days of getting all tarted up and cruising the local bar scene in hopes of snagging a mate. No longer do women have to dally in inter-office romance shame. These days a gal can simply apply the pimple cream, pig out on Soy Crisps and log on to find her dream date. While some skeptics may scoff, there are a great many virtues to virtual dating. Not only does this cut your time choosing the perfect ensemble by nearly 90%, it will also save you innumerable hang-overs from Cosmopolitans and advances from the dregs of "last call". With on-line matchmaking becoming more popular with the mainstream public, there is an unlimited amount of resources for the dating pool of the new millennium.
You may be saying to yourself "But I haven't yet finessed the old fashioned way of dating!" Fear not, modern woman. With a few good tips, you too can join the e-masses and surf the web of love.
Location is key: It's a wide world and we're all connected on the Internet. In order to make a love connection, place parameters on your possible dates' location. Stick to a region near your own for convenience. Perhaps there is a certain "Sleepless In Seattle" romance to the idea of a long distance dalliance, but the fact of the matter is that if you are unable to actually meet on a regular basis the chances of the fruition of a relationship will be practically impossible.
Be specific: Now is no time to lower your standards. You're a woman with discriminating tastes, and there is no longer any stigma in employing matchmaking services. State exactly what you are looking for in a man (sizable income, broad shoulders, stamina, etc) and don't settle for anything/anyone less.
Double check your profile: Make sure you've checked off the correct options (woman seeking man, woman seeking woman, woman seeking validation, etc) in order to facilitate a proper match-up.
Be (relatively) honest: Lets face it: we all embellish when we're first trying to impress a date. But it's much easier to turn a little white lie into science fiction when we're sitting in front of a computer screen rather than face to face. If you describe yourself as looking like Morgan Fairchild when in fact you look more like Morgan Freeman, your potential mate will understandably be annoyed. Post current flattering photos rather than your high school yearbook photo. Shave no more than 10 pounds off your current weight. Don't pose as your sexy neighbor. Nothing is more of a turn-off than exposed identity theft.
Don't be afraid to break a few hearts: Just because "StudMuffin" from Altuna responds to your ad doesn't mean that you must reciprocate his interest. You have access to a veritable cornucopia of possible dates so don't waste precious time if you are not interested.
Check out the photos: Anyone who isn't posting their photo on-line and uses the excuse that they just want to be appreciated for their personality is hiding something (perhaps a third eye or elephantine nose). Scope out the background of the photos: does it look like a correctional facility or shack in the middle of the woods? Is it too well decorated (a clear indication of a wife/girlfriend or, at best, an overbearing mother)? Is the gent in question perched atop a Camaro? Take all minor details into consideration as it may give you a glimpse of the candidate's worthiness.
Weed out disagreeable candidates through correspondence: Engage in lengthy discussions over the Internet before agreeing to meet in person. A clue that you're headed in the wrong direction is when he asks, "What are you wearing right now?" If this appeals to you, perhaps you should stick to trolling chat rooms. Otherwise, talk about common interests (vacation destinations, baby names, annual income) and discern whether or not you could be a potential pair.
Enlist the aid of your girlfriends: Your girlfriends (the good ones, not the ones who try to sabotage you by telling you that you look good in white pants) will give you an objective perspective when seeking an on-line lover. Make a night of it: prepare some killer Mojitos and invite her over to view the selection. If it should come to pass that you meet with a contender in person, ask your gal pal to accompany you (even undercover) to provide you alliance.
Meet in a well-lit public place: Admittedly, there are a few crackpots floating around in cyberspace. To avoid ending up in a Hefty bag in the river, always agree to meet in a highly populated place. Never divulge where you live or agree to be picked up/taken home until you are certain that he is not a sociopath. Don't despair: most psychos can be weeded out in the process of e-mail elimination by a canny woman (read: you), but it is always better to err on the side of caution.
Now is the time to make your virtual love a reality! Happy interfacing!
©2004 Rebecca Ash
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Ash is a nomadic freelance writer and thespian. She lives with her husband and two mini dachshunds, Melody and Emma, in a domicile ruled by the iron paw of the fat feline Queen Bink. It is her dream to someday be able to support her shoe and bag fetish while still being able to pay the cable bill.