From engaging profiles to meeting for the first time, Daisy_234 shares her tips for internet dating.
Ok, so here’s the thing – WHO out there is currently internet dating? If not, why not? – It’s actually not that scary, and you might have a lot of fun!
Sometimes, a life-changing event can leave you feeling rock bottom. Maybe a separation, a break-up or a divorce. These experiences are just so painful, and sadly there is no medicinal remedy – this is one situation where ibuprofen is not going to help!
But – with a positive attitude and a sprinkling of Dutch courage – you can do it! You can change your life forever. And here’s how – a beginners guide to internet dating!
SO….The first decision is which website to choose?
There is plenty of choice, with 42 listed dating sites currently listed in the UK.
The decision is up to you. For example, if you are older person, you might choose Senior People Meet. Or, for example, if you have strong religious convictions perhaps Christian Mingle or Coffee Meets Bagel. It’s all out there. Just log on and have a look.
There are other differences between the way the sites operate however. For Grindr, it’s all about beauty! The images of prospective dates flash onto your phone, and you swipe if you like what you see! If they swipe back, you’re on! It’s as simple as that! Funny then that the world’s last male white rhino apparently has his photo on the site!
Others, like eHarmony, requite lengthy profiles to be filled in and numerous questions and answers to be uploaded onto the site. They pride themselves by matching up dates back there at Trust HQ. They do this according to your likes, dislikes, professions, values etc… Whether this does work out long term any better than any other site is unproven, but they do ask everything from your favourite pizza, to your views on politics, – even on abortion and nuclear weapons!
Aged 52, I wanted a similar aged male partner, but I wanted someone with a personality, who could talk to me. I also believe friendship is essential for a long term relationship, with shared values, hobbies and interests. So my first site was the Telegraph Dating site, even though I don’t regularly read the Daily Telegraph – Ha Ha! – simply because I thought here, I might find a more educated type of person.
Now remember, you can go onto the dating sites and look at the current array of prospective dates before you part with any money. So I strongly recommend you do that. There’s also nothing to stop you being on more than one site. I was serious about finding a mate so in the end, I was signed up to 4 sites!
Sometimes the sites do deals, with a few days of free trial membership, so look out for those.
A small point to remember is that when you have found your perfect person, do remember to contact the site and stop your account! Otherwise you will continue to be charged!
The Profile… This is the most vital step of the process!
You will be asked to fill in some details about yourself that will stay on your webpage. When someone logs on, and is looking for a date, this is what they will see about you.
I think the effort someone makes on their profile says a lot about them. If they can’t be bothered to display themselves in an engaging and attractive manner, what does that say about the person? Bearing in mind I wanted someone who can talk to me, I need someone who can write well, can show me they have something to say about themselves and could be fun to spend time with. I didn’t bother to contact or reply to anyone who didn’t have what I judged, was a first-class profile.
How to write a profile
This is tricky. You need to write sincerely about yourself, but in a demure way, so you are not bragging or bigging yourself up. Similarly, tell the truth. So many people lie on the internet. Mostly about age, weight and height. In the end if you meet, it will be obvious you lied and very likely not to progress. You will have started your relationship on a lie, and this is very poor beginning!
Do make a list of all the things that are important to you, and don’t hide your light under a bushel.
Internet dating name? Yes, you need one of these!
It can be hard to come up with an internet dating name. Most people have an internet dating name to try and preserve their anonymity, at least early on. The name may be the very thing that catches the other person’s attention, so it is important. There are websites that can help you do this if you are stuck! See theheartographer.com for example.
A few tips. Avoid having anything to do with sex in your user name. It’s actually very off-putting! The best names are usually puns, play on words/names or totally quirky. Some good examples are Searching4U, Love2frolic, OhHiItsKirsty.
What you can do, is make 2 lists. One for things you like (Nouns) and one for things you like doing (Verbs). Then you criss-cross the lists. For example I could write:
And then create numerous names: ChocolateTango, RubyQ, RubyQuick, RubyQuickstep, TangowithRuby, RubyLovesChocolate.
Now – to the photo! YES… You DO need one of these!
There’s no getting away from it! That old hot potato, the photograph! It is VITAL!!
The photo is the first thing you see when you log on. It’s what attracts you to the person in the first place. OK, so when I first started I didn’t do it! I was shy, embarrassed, humiliated – whatever you want to say about it. But I had very few hits or replies.
One guy I had emailed, emailed me back saying “Good to hear from you, but please send a photo.”
I was annoyed. I know I’m gorgeous and I’m not just sending my photo to anyone I’ve never met – I thought! So I messaged back,”Why on earth do all you guys always want to see a photo before you’ll even get into an email dialogue? You’re obsessed with image!“
He messaged back, “Put it this way, if you hadn’t seen my photo, would you have messaged me?!”
Touche! He was absolutely right of course! Now I understood. So – I got on and uploaded the photo!
Here’s the thing, personality is the most important thing, BUT, there has to be a degree of physical attraction. If there isn’t – you can send as many emails as you like but it will end in tears! So much better to see the photo right at the beginning. I absolutely insist on it!
Remember, many people lie. They may put a photo of them taken 20 years ago! Or, it might be a photo of someone else completely! So beware. What you see, may actually not be what you get! But believe me it is very important to do this.
So…you’re up and running! Getting started!
The computer will ask you things like what age of partner you are looking for, and within what geographical distance from your house. In general my advice is to put within 30 miles. You don’t really want someone literally on your doorstep, in case it doesn’t work out of course!, but equally you don’t want to commit to travelling long distances. This is often a complete killer and although it can work, it’s very difficult, time consuming, and expensive .
If you like the look of a guy – go on – make contact! You can send an email. Or, if you are shy, just send a smile, or a wink!
This just means, Heh! I’m interested!
How do you choose who to approach?
Well, you have to decide what it is you are looking for. I came up with 5 criteria, but yours may be very different. Here are mine: Looks, Personality, Solvent, Educated and Available. If they didn’t tick those boxes, there wouldn’t be a date!
What happens when you log on, and there’s no one there you like the look of?
I would say be generous. Few of us are supermodels, and personality is everything. But, it is true there has to be an element of physical attraction. I was realistic, especially at the age of 52. In my book I summarised this by saying “Two eyes, a nose and a mouth would be nice!”
The other practical option, if you have exhausted the site and there isn’t anyone left for you, this is the time, to take a deep breath, and sign onto another site! Go on! If you are serious – go for it!
What to say in an email?
I would say keep it brief to start with. Be positive and complimentary. My most successful starting email was “BOO! It’s me Daisy! – Have I got your attention!” It seemed to work every time!
Keep the emails witty. Don’t reply too quickly, leave a pause. It can get quite frenetic. It’s very easy, when you have blank screen and a dream, to dive in and reveal too much of yourself too quickly. Try not to do that. In a real life dating situation, you wouldn’t start a conversation with someone you didn’t know, by telling them the details of your past history of alcoholism for example! Keep it light and friendly. Refer to what you liked on their profile and anything you may have in common.
If things are going well, I would suggest a meet up quite soon, as you don’t want to waste time and energy emailing a guy who is a non-starter. You just need to meet – in the flesh! It’s OK for either of you to suggest a date. This is 2017!
The First Date
OMG! You’re going to meet!
First, meet in a public place, and just for coffee or a drink. Honestly, it’s soul destroying when you set eyes on this guy in the car park, and you know immediately they are just not for you, and you have to sit through a whole evening in a restaurant. Unbearable! You spend your whole time plotting an escape! – Much better to go for a drink, and if it’s a success, you could suggest staying on for some food, but don’t do it the other way round!
What to wear?
This is very personal. But my suggestion is do smart casual, but keep it sophisticated but not too OTT. I used to wear a dress, as I wanted to appear feminine, as I am very feminine. I liked the idea after all these years of doing a bit of dressing up. You can judge how much effort they have made by how they look on arrival. If they can’t make an effort, it says a lot about them
What to say?
I would say that most people like to talk about themselves. So have some general questions ready and be a good listener. You will get your turn to speak. But no one likes a person who hogs the conversation and seems full of themself. Be upbeat, funny if you can. I was amused to hear a comedian the other day say he always does some research before going out to dinner with his partner of 23 years. He makes notes and plans what they might talk about! I rather liked it! It’s easy for the conversation to dry up, so listen to the news that day, have the radio on, take note of the stories you hear, be ready to bring up a topic. It’s also a good idea to steer clear of difficult issues…so try and stay fairly mainstream!
What happens next?
After the date you need to contact the other to say how it went. This is easy if it was good, and hard if it wasn’t. If it wasn’t, I would be a bit slow to get in touch, maybe wait a few days. Then say something like you had been emailing some other guys too, prior to meeting up with him, and actually you have started a proper, new relationship, but thank you and good luck in your search. It really doesn’t help sending personal comments, so don’t get into that one! (Like I really liked you, but I suggest you start using mouthwash – that sort of thing. It ends in a upset!) Yes – It’s a white lie, but it gets them off your case.
Coping with emotions
It can be a very disappointing process. You’ve been emailing an apparently hot guy for several weeks and then you meet. You may have had to travel quite a distance. You are full of anticipation. You get there, and the minute you set eyes on him, you just know there could never be any romance. It’s quite upsetting. I have driven home before in floods of tears. I am reminded of a guy who had put on his site, “Will someone please help me get off this site – forever!” Some people have been on the sites for years.
Here’s the thing – new people are always signing on, or some people haven’t been actively dating for a while for various reasons , so the sites are constantly changing. There is someone out there for everyone. You have to treat the whole experience as a game. Try and find the fun aspect. Don’t expect the dates to be Mr Perfect. They rarely are! But it’s better than sitting on the sofa with a packet of chocolate biscuits! Take the view that if, and if ever, it really is a success, this will be a bonus. This helps you not to get too upset when it isn’t what you thought it was!
On the other hand, there are a lot of highs. You may well have a lot of smiles, winks and emails. It’s very good for the self esteem not to feel unattractive after all! You meet nice people, get taken out for drinks, meals and excursions, and there is a feel good factor, as everyone is doing the same thing! Overall, I thought the experience was far more exciting, liberating, rejuvenating and downright FUN, than I had ever imagined!
Internet Dating v Internet Mating
Now this is my only reference to sex in this guide! The hot issue of sex is always lurking. It depends what you want, and if it is casual sex, there is plenty there. I didn’t want that. (I am not going to help someone who is a notch bedpost gatherer.) I want to find someone and have a meaningful relationship. So that was my goal. My friend Jane, who is the oracle on internet dating and who got me into this, said wait for 6 dates! – This may seem a lot or a little… I don’t know!
I want to just say 2 things. One is, it’s fine to be Internet Dating several different people all at the same time, if you are honest about it. But I would suggest when you start Internet Mating, it’s time to ditch the others. The dating is all about finding a mate. Once you’ve done that, in all decency, it’s time to stop the dating, at least until you see if this is working out.
Second thing, men love the chase. It is true that if you give on to early, it doesn’t do you any favours. Honestly. So try and keep the Mating for someone you think really might tick all your boxes.
Take Home Message
The internet has an amazing ability to connect people who otherwise would never have met. Ask yourself what you have to lose by not giving it a go? You just don’t know who is out there.
If you are worried about your friends and family seeing you on the dating sites, just forget it. They haven’t got time for all that! The only people on dating sites are the people looking for dates!
I believe life is so much richer when you have someone to share it with. And you won’t find that person by sitting on the sofa!! You know what?… ditch the sofa!! No time for lazing about in front of the TV. The internet is a boyfriend shop, and you have plenty of shopping to do!!
What do you do when you’re a newly divorced 52-year-old mother, keen for a second chance of romance? Why internet dating of course!
Daisy Mae_224 embarks on the internet dating process with trepidation. Having not been on the dating scene for nearly 30 years, and with fairly rudimentary computer skills, she finds herself embroiled in a series of haphazard and hilarious situations. Daisy keeps a diary of her internet dating life and reveals detail by detail, the ups and downs of her midlife dating extravaganza. Soon after starting out, Daisy realises her true mission. With no past experience and no-one/nothing to guide her, she needs to produce – Internet Dating lessons.
Read on to find out about PLONKERS, muppets and MAWDs, and a whole host of amusing anecdotes, tips and ideas. Working by day as a Sexual Health doctor, the story as it unfolds contains accounts of Daisy’s clinical experiences with patients in the Sexual Health clinic. She also reflects on her past life with Voldemort (the dreadful ex-husband). With advice and encouragement from Imogen, her 17-year-old daughter, her surrogate parents known as the Amigos, with a big house and swanky swimming pool, her friend Pinkie and from Jeannie, her nonagenarian friend from the Nursing Home, Daisy resiliently persists in her quest to find a long term partner.
This is a heartfelt story that will ring bells with anyone who has ended a long-term relationship and now wants to find somebody new. Will Dating Daisy find her “prairie vole?” Or will the whole process end in disaster?
Daisy_234 lives in the south of England and shares many similar professional, life, and dating, experiences as her protagonist; for this reason she has chosen to write under a pen name.