Online dating – how to spot a player

Trawling the online personals in search of Mr Right is a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Cyberspace is a massive place and, with online dating a $1 billion per year industry, we’re talking a big numbers game here. So, in an effort to simplify things, I’ve devised a little personal checklist to help separate the keepers from the players…

For starters, a picture tells a thousand words: If I have to suck it up and post a photograph of myself up there, advertising my availability for all the world to see, then so, dammit does he. Refusal to do so means one of two things: A) He’s dating incognito for fear of ridicule from others – aside from raising an instant wussy red flag, this will make explaining later where the two of you met a sticky point. Or, B). He’s no oil painting – fair enough, but you’re going to discover this in the fullness of time anyway, so why beat around the bush? Reality is, if he’s not prepared to put a face to the name, he damn well better have the gift of the gab…

Which brings us to the personal profile. While spelling and grammatical mistakes make me flinch, there are certain words that instantly press my “skip” button: “Independent” is one of them and can be loosely defined as either “looking for a no-strings fling” or “too busy to invest any time”, both of which don’t bode well for a long-term commitment. “Casual” is another no-no and should immediately be suffixed by the word “sex”, because that’s exactly what the guy’s after.

Profiles that start with “I don’t know what to right here…” are lame and indicate a complete lack of effort. When, however, as is often the case, these words are then followed with a long diatribe of personal achievements and philosophical musings, again, consider yourself warned. This is the kind of guy who wears a flimsy mask over his acute self-absorption and can mean only one thing – interminably long, yawn-worthy hours of indulging his verbal masturbation.

I don’t bother either with a profile that includes a laundry list of likes and dislikes. This is someone who still believes in the notion of perfection and will have a closed mind to anyone who does not exactly meet his catalogue of precise criteria.

Finally, if he mentions his past relationship in his online dating profile, move on without further ado – as he clearly hasn’t.

– Single-again Samantha

Net Gains: Online dating in 3 easy steps

On-line dating in three (not so) easy steps…

  1. Think of something to call yourself… and good girls don’t choose names like Horny Harriet or Vicky the Vixen.
  2. Create a profile – a marketing campaign for yourself in which you need to highlight all your positive attributes without coming across as self-important or a vain pig head. It’s also important to say that you’re easy going and love Nature, as all men seem to ask for this on their wish list.
  3. Upload a picture. Which one and should it include the kid? Yes, of course. Be open about your situation and proud of your child. It’s not like you can lock her in the closet should things progress to the point where he’s coming around regularly (that said, I personally hold off blatantly advertising that I’m in the market for a daddy in addition to a date – let him figure that one out in the fullness of time). Of course, you could choose not to upload a photo. But that’s kind of cheating, isn’t it? Besides, there’s no shame in being so desperate for a man you’re prepared to advertise for one on the Internet.

Ignore my cynicism. Truth is, I actually think the Internet’s a godsend for the single girl. The one out of eight married couples that meet this way prove the point. For one thing, you can pre-screen the fish tank and filter out all the dross before it becomes flotsam and tries to stick its tongue down your throat. Also, as one’s pool of suitors tends to shrink the older one gets, it helps to fish with the biggest net available, so to speak. And gone are the days I’d need to get all tarted up in my LBD when on the hunt – these days I search for a partner wearing a dressing gown and face mask. Lastly, if worse comes to worse, you get a free meal – a welcome respite from fishsticks and projectile peas.

– Single-again Samantha

Life, Liberty and the Happiness of Pursuit

I bumped into Mike in the coffee shop this morning. Pleasantly satisfied to see that he’s got a little rough around the edges since we last knew each other. Aaah, the indulgences of living the single life for too long. This guy is a committed-for-life bachelor (he would once have been called an “eternal bachelor” but these days this apparently has homosexual overtones, and take it from me, this guy is no homosexual – he’s the kind who has a woman on both knees… so long as they’re not on his hands).

I met Mike online about a year and a half ago. We went out for a few months and it ended when I realized that what I had here was a man for whom wedding rings resembled miniature handcuffs (it should have ended sooner but I was still a bride-eyed wannabe at that stage). He was a real catch though, and came with the bravado that only bachelordom bestows. When I saw him this morning, the first thought that popped into my mind was whether was still leaving his socks and wallet lying around that beautiful condo of his – only a bachelor can do this with complete peace of mind.

Mike is tall and blonde and utterly charming, but a man who has no problem forgetting his mistakes. He is so proud of his solo status – his neatly squeezed-from-the-bottom toothpaste tube and the fact that he can get into bed from either side – that he feels nothing for having failed to embrace his “opportunities”. He lives in a high rise on the Upper East Side, has traveled extensively and knows how to iron his own shirts.

I asked him if he is seeing anyone. Avoiding the issue (so typical), he said something along the lines of leaning, but not far enough to fall. Mike was never a man to chase a women he couldn’t outrun. We make idle chit chat, me laughing too loud and gesticulating too much. Then we part ways, him footloose and family free; me asking, what do you do with a bachelor who thinks he’s God’s gift to womankind? Exchange him for something else.

– Single-again Samantha