Monday, May 11, 2009

Online Dating: Chapter One

Like it or not, online dating is here to stay.  Add that to speed dating and online sexting, and you know times have changed, especially for the single, over-fifty crowd.

Men and women "of a certain age" are joining dating sites faster than you can say "let's meet for coffee". Honestly, I'm not sure I could ever "put myself out there" like that, but then again, I'm a big fat chicken.  I admire the ones who can and live vicariously through friends' blind dating escapades.

Over the past couple of years, my gal pals have dated guys like Al Bundy (bowling anyone?), Bernie Madoff (jail bird), a couple of Wild And Crazy Guys (ala Saturday Night Live), a surfer dude (think flip flops), countless wannabe actors, and even Osama bin Laden.

Yes, my friend Rita-- a gorgeous fifty-something babe, was hooked up with Osama bin Laden on an online dating site!  It was more like his identical twin brother, not actually him, but he was a very scary look-alike, and definitely NOT, someone she could ever bring home to meet the family.

Newly divorced, Rita found her first venture into online dating a little embarrassing, so she didn't dish about it with our more experienced gal pals.  

After hours of painstakingly completing her personal profile to sound interesting, entertaining and like a "new 40-something", Rita clicked the "register" button and waited for possible mates to fill her inbox.  She waited. And waited.  Finally, after two extremely long weeks without a single "match", the photo of her one and only "dream connection" with a huge "98% compatibility rating", started to download on her computer.  His screen name was "No Batteries Required", her expectations soared.

Rita still has a slow dial-up connection, the kind where the picture starts loading from the top of the page down, one, slow, quarter inch, at a time.  As she waited for her Battery Boy's picture to appear, she wondered what the missing 2% might be in their compatibility connection. 

Would he be a rich Republican, would he be poor trailer park trash, I answered Que Sera Sera....

The picture grew and grew until it filled the screen in full living color.  Holy crap!  Was this a joke?  Could it be the guy the United States Army and everyone else has been looking for?

She swore Osama bin Laden was staring at her from cyberspace.  HE was Rita's perfect love connection? Damn! 

It's true, Mr. 98% Compatible was a nasty guy who looked like he'd been living in a cave in Afghanistan for years, crusty beard, dirty turban and all.  This is not the online date Rita had in mind.

Panic stricken, she called me wondering what the hell happened! Her dating dreams were shattered and it was all over a creepy looking guy she'd never even met.  She wanted to cancel her registration and throw her laptop out the window.

I immediately talked her down off the ledge and conferenced in a few of our friends who'd successfully navigated the online dating scene.  Their advice was unanimous...

First step:  Always register on multiple dating sites and sign up for their "free trial" offers, but don't post your photo-- yet. You'll get the lay of the land and see which site you like best before you spend all that time writing your profile and letting the world know you're available.

Second step:  Search the 25 mile radius from your zip code and see which guys turn up repeatedly.  You'd be surprised how many guys are on multiple sites and aren't afraid to show it. Don't they realize it's a great way for you to see if your potential "connection" is "connected" or just wasting your time and working the Internet for love?  Note:  Avoid these guys. 

Third step:  Watch out for bozos.  You know, the guys with the goofy pictures of themselves as a baby, or doing something abnormally macho, or using a fake picture that he thinks will drive women wild.  Kick them to the curb unless you like pranksters.  They're just playing with you.

Forth step:  Check to see when and how often a guy is reviewing his online profile-- Yes, dating sites actually tell you stuff like that!  This helps weed out the desperate, obsessive, and/or possible stalkers.  If a guy is online, day and night, checking to see who loves him, it's a red flag.

In Rita's case, Mr. bin Laden was actually the humor-deprived loser with the fake photo.  Bastard!  He scared the daylights out of her.

Our experienced gal pals said this guy's been around for years! Battery Boy bin Laden's real name is Mickey, and he'd sent them Hell's Angels and George W. Bush pictures.  Apparently he's a legend-- in his own mind-- and keeps doing this to women because he's yet to find his comedic companion.

Rita felt somewhat better knowing a friend of the Access of Evil was not really living in her zip code.  But, even with a 98% compatibility rating, she hit the delete button and erased him from her screen.

Instead of crying over her dating predicament, she decided to "play the field" and registered for trials on multiple dating sites. Rita is now sorting through the bozos and working the system in search of her true love connection.  Two can play this game!

What are your online dating tips?
Welcome to TheFiftyFactor  -  Joanna


  1. That is hilarious!

    Online dating seems to really have lost its stigma over the last few years, sort of like blogging, which is awesome! Sorry your friend couldn't find a match.

    Alas, I have no tips since I've never tried it myself- However, I'm all for it for the singles. :)

  2. Thanks for your comments! Every time I hear my single friends' dating war stories I thank my husband for marrying me :-) By the way, your blog
    is a total hoot!

  3. That's both funny and disturbing at the same time--rather like when a guy grows a soul patch--what are they thinking???
    Yowza! Poor Rita!

  4. Hey now, all I can say is that I'm an internet dating love story gone very very right. I met my beloved on Yahoo Personals. I'd been on various sites and had lots of good experiences meeting interesting and fine men.

    You do have to go through your share of odd balls and loons. No question.

    But, do I recommend it? Absolutely. You simply have to be willing to play the game and treat it like a project.

    But, that's my advice. We've been together over five years now and married going on three. He's not perfect; he's simply perfect for me!

  5. Thank goodness I am married and the guy using the Osama picture...definitely laughing at him..not with him. I hope your friend finds her perfect love match soon and doesn't have to weed through too many bozos to find him!


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