Getting Back Into the Pool: Online Dating – A User’s Perspective, Part II

Part Two: Do’s and a few “Please don’ts!”

In part one, I covered the basics. Let’s move on. 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 who 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?

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Editor’s note: We thought that with so many people using multiple means to expand their social and dating options, in keeping with our “borderless” theme it makes sense to include the views of those who include online dating as an integral part of their lifestyle. 

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Brenda Joyce Thompson is a Chicago-based writer and educator who lives a full life penning fiction and promoting the written and musical work of various artists. A walking library of rock music, Brenda is a peace-loving not-so-reformed hippie who misbehaves every chance she gets.