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Here's today's question:
I've tried online dating sites and wound up matched with a welfare recipient and a Walmart music associate. Does online dating work?No offense to welfare recipients and Walmart music employees, I'm sure. As Hologram Pac would say, you are appreciated.
My marriage is so ancient that it predates the explosion of Facebook and I never bothered with online dating, so I can't speak from personal experience here. But I can tell you about two very close friends who met their future husbands through online dating services. Both couples have been happily married for years. So yes, online dating works.
I think problems arise when people are dazzled by the bells and whistles of online dating and lose their grasp of common sense. Before you invite that online buddy of yours over to your crib (do people still say crib?), keep these things in mind.
Don't believe what you see.
People put too much stock in profile pictures.
On his profile, he looks like that guy from The Wire.
In real life, he looks like that guy from The Wire.
It's pretty freaking easy for an online dater to submit a fake picture to lure in unsuspecting prey. While it's totally natural to be drawn to a profile pic, don't get too excited until meet this person face to face. And speaking of that...
Don't unveil all your business upfront.
It kills me how eager people are to invite total strangers to their house. I dated plenty of women back in the day but the only girlfriend worthy of stepping in my house was my future wife. And I knew and interacted with those other women in real life! Until you meet your guy or girl in the real world, keep personal information private. They shouldn't know where you live, who you live with or how much money you make. It doesn't matter how nice they seem, reserve personal details until you move beyond the laptop and the relationship progresses.
Keep your emotions in check.
Courtesy of urbandictionary.com: Thirst - 1. A form of lust or want of members of the opposite sex. 2. Too eager to get something. 3. Desperate.
Some of y'all act MIGHTY thirsty on Facebook. That eagerness can easily come off as desperation. Take things slowly and don't push the issue. Online dating should serve as the opening stages of the relationship, not immediate cybersex. On the other hand, don't come off too cool for school. I don't care how cute you are or how much money you make - don't act like the interested dater should be honored to be in your presence. That's the quickest way to get cyber-dumped.
Some people use online dating as escapism. Suzy's life might be boring, but behind that laptop she becomes LotusFlowerBombXXX - every man's dream. If Tim falls for LotusFlowerBombXXX online but meets boring Suzy, don't you think he has a right to feel duped? If you want a man to love you for you and not your screen persona, introduce him to the REAL you upfront.
Trust your instincts
Just use common sense, y'all. If your online boo can only meet you on the weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., has a ring-shaped tan-line on his finger and there is a car seat in the back of his Volvo, even Inspector Gadget can figure out something is up. If something seems weird, don't turn a blind eye to it. Unless you want a black eye from his babymomma.
Essentially, online dating isn't all that different from regular dating. Be yourself, be optimistic (but cautious) and don't rush into a relationship. Basically, it's what I preach in this column every week.