When I first mentioned the idea of trying out Internet dating to my friends, they thought I was mad. They imagined the worst kind of horrors that lay ahead for me: anorak-wearing weirdoes would bore me to death in dimly lit pubs, married men might use me for one-night-stands to stave off boredom, axe-wielding rapists could be lurking around the corner where I expected to meet my next blind date. I don’t think anyone anticipated that it might actually work out, that I’d end up meeting anyone special.
They certainly didn’t expect that I would have success on my first official date, after just ten days. This is my story of why and how I think Internet dating worked out so well for me. And how I exceeded every expectation by meeting and falling in love with a millionaire …
When I was encouraged to try Internet dating, I was feeling pretty fed up and disillusioned with the dating game. Ready for something different, I decided to check it out—if I didn’t like it I could easily walk away. Where was the harm?
So, one quiet evening at home I sat down with my laptop and keyed in the Web address I had scribbled on a scrap of paper. I recall my heart beating loudly in my ears as I began typing in a few brief details to get me started. What on earth was I letting myself in for? Was I sad, mad, and desperate for even trying this?
Once I had completed the first section of information I navigated away from the relative safety of my profile pages to see what lay on the other side … Straight away guys started talking to me. I had a couple of emails and three simultaneous chats with complete strangers. It was so much fun! The guys were all around my age, as I had specified wanting, and the interactions were immediately friendly, flirty, and harmless. My intended brief foray into the unfamiliar turned into a two and a half hour odyssey of profile-filling, flirtatious banter, and explorations of the delights of Internet dating.
When I finally dragged myself away from the laptop I had missed my favorite TV show, parted with $20 for a three month membership, and had an enormous smile plastered across my face. This was fun! So much fun I couldn’t wait to log back on the next day, and the day after that and the day after that and the day after that …
Over the following few days, I behaved like an Internet dating junkie. I got through my work days with the help of sneaky peaks at my homepage to check for new messages. When I arrived home in the evenings I’d make a super-fast meal and log on to the Web site to see who was around, who was new and catch up on any emails I had been sent. And I hadn’t even managed to upload a photograph—I didn’t have any digital pictures or the equipment to get me started on what seemed like an unnecessary and onerous task. But that didn’t seem to put anyone off!
On day six, I was still exploring the site and came across a new page called Your Matches. Clicking through, I found a list of different matches based on who was online, who was new to the site, and another list headed Two-Way Match. Navigating to the Two-Way Match page I found a list of twenty guys whose criteria for a girl met my own criteria for a boy. Perfect! I clicked to see the profile at Number 1, checked his profile in detail, and dashed off an email to introduce myself. Thinking no more about it, but pleased to have found yet another brilliant page on my now favorite Web site, I continued chatting with the four guys currently on my radar and even arranged a date to meet one of them.
The next day I received a reply from Mr. No.1. He wasn’t online when I read his email so I tapped out a response and added him to my friends list so that I would see when he arrived. Then I waited, entertained by a few familiar names while I did. Half an hour later and Mr. No.1 appeared online, my heart started racing as I played it cool and gave him time to read my oh-so-witty email … I think I managed to wait five minutes before saying hello and we started chatting. “So, how am I doing? Let me take you for dinner?” he asked a short time later. I replied with my phone number.
It really was that straight forward. Three days later we sat down for dinner and the next thing we knew the place was empty. Chairs were stacked on the now-vacant tables and a mop was propped against the bar. We had overstayed our welcome.
I never did go on the other date I had arranged, or any other.
Mr. No.1 is still my No.1!
My Internet Dating Rules
1. Be honest—write up your profile with the utmost care and don’t try to be someone you aren’t, unless of course you’re only playing—then you should be whoever you damn well please!
2. Think carefully about what kind of man you hope to meet and be honest, and realistic! I stipulated that I wanted someone who earned at least 10K more than me but didn’t set a maximum. I love reading and walking and hoped to meet someone who also enjoyed these past-times so I made certain to note this in my profile and marked them as priority-rated.
3. I ignored anyone who emailed me less than ten words, failed to use punctuation, or had clearly copy and pasted a pre-prepped introduction email. If they couldn’t be bothered to take the time to introduce themselves properly or personally, I wasn’t going to waste my time or eloquence.
4. Similarly, if anyone began chatting with a short “Hi” and didn’t quickly follow up with something more imaginative, I ignored them.
5. I avoided anyone who was only interested in “fun.” Sure, I wanted fun but not at any cost and not to the exclusion of something meaningful if it was out there.
6. Although I did lots of online chatting I made up my mind whether I was going to meet someone quite quickly—as with Mr. No.1. I tried to avoid building a quasi-relationship online which would be hard to live up to when meeting face-to-face. Emails and online chatting can get easily intimate if both parties want it—but you run the risk of disappointment when it’s time for a safe online relationship to become something more.
7. Tell someone you trust when you are going to meet someone for the first time. Tell your friend as much as you can about who you are meeting and arrange the date to take place in a busy public space. Have an exit plan, just in case you need one.