Online Dating Gets A Bad Rap
I’ve decided I really like online dating. No, I’m not making any kind of euphemism to any twenty-first century sexual escapades. I actually like meeting guys online and then meeting them in person—with their clothes on. Online dating is kind of like blind dating for straight people. This way, though, you don’t have to have a friend do the “setting up” and you actually know what the person looks like before you get there. This definitely saves time (and dignity) at the restaurant.
Dating online has many advantages over dating offline. For me, the most valuable aspect of online dating is meeting people who don’t go to bars. This is Richmond, and—let’s be honest—Richmond isn’t the biggest city in the world. Sure, there are new people around from time to time, but even if you only go out to Nations or Barcode twice a month there’s a good chance you’ve seen or even met almost every person in the city that goes to bars. Besides, Momma always said you’d never meet anyone good in a bar. She never said anything about Adam4Adam.
Online dating also gives you the ability to put your own best face forward. You get to pick the pictures that you post; you might even fudge a little on the statistics. Of course, that means you have to be picky about other people’s information, too. Studies have shown that people tend to shave off about 5-10 lbs, and add about an inch on height and between a half and a full inch on other places. So make sure you read that “6’1’’ 175# 8in” as “6’ 185# 7in.” Still, those numbers aren’t so bad. Moreover, studies show that other people expect you to lie, too, so if you put in factual numbers there’s a good chance they’ll think you’re much bigger (and smaller) than you really are.
Of course, the one thing you can’t really predict from online conversation is personality. For this, I find the best solution is to take the shotgun approach—you have to go out on a lot of dates. Take last weekend, for example. Friday dinner was a bakery clerk, a bit too excitable for my taste. Saturday lunch was a waiter, nice but still living with his ex. Saturday dinner was a financial analyst. I thought he was totally hot, but he ended dinner with “So, I’ll be leaving the country on Tuesday…” So much for that one. And Sunday dinner was a college student, very nice but way too young. At the end of the weekend, I wasn’t really thrilled by any of them so I returned to the pool again.
It took until Tuesday to set up another. This time a state employee. We had only planned to meet for a drink after work, but three hours later we were still gabbing and enjoying ourselves. Even though it’s rare, something clicked. Even with the best “stats,” personality is a totally unpredictable detail. At the end of the evening, we parted company and planned to meet again. We’re going to dinner this weekend, and then maybe we’ll see a movie. What can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic.
So get online! As long as you’re safe and insist on meeting first in a public space, online dating can be a highly rewarding and convenient way of meeting people. And don’t worry—you’re not being promiscuous if it’s just coffee…or if you wait to do it until you’ve finished the coffee.
Patrick is a SGM in Church Hill. Read about his dating life on GayRVA.
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