Saturday, April 11, 2009

Breaking the Code

"Only about ten percent of the profiles contained out-and-out lies. But nearly ninety percent had exaggerations or evidence of delusional thinking."
(From an article in Online Dating News)

Although I encourage mid-life singles to give online dating a fair try, I stress that, on dating sites, what you read is not always what you get. In fact, even what you see is not always what you get, given the prevalence of photos showing someone when he or she was ten years younger or fifty pounds slimmer.

Most experienced online daters have developed a sixth sense about the veracity of claims made in member profiles, and are wary of vague-sounding terms like "attractive", "youthful-looking", and "height-weight proportionate." But for those who are just starting out in the world of online dating, I thought I'd offer my own take on what certain words or expressions might actually mean. We'll call it breaking the online code.

  • "Outgoing and fun" (Translation: Never shuts up)
  • "Intellectual interests and a quirky sense of humor" (Translation: Weird, neurotic, high maintenance)
  • "A young 55" (Translation: Might pass for 54 on a good day)
  • "Successful business owner" (Translation: Owns two taco stands, one of which is in foreclosure)
  • "Adventurous, will try anything once" (Translation: You'll be the third guy she takes to bed this week)
  • "Athletic build" (Translation: Yeah, if your sport is sumo wrestling)
  • "Attentive and Affectionate" (Translation: His hands will be all over you in the first five minutes)
  • "Let's meet for lunch" (Translation: Married)
  • "A few extra pounds" (Translation: A few extra pounds on top of many extra pounds)
  • "Seeking soulmate" (Translation: There's gotta be someone out there who can tolerate me)
  • "Commitment-minded" (Translation: Potential stalker)
  • "Friends first" (Translation: Hell will freeze over before I have sex with you)
  • "Will relocate for the right person" (Translation: Broke, unemployed, and facing eviction)
  • "Must love animals" (Translation: Known in her neighborhood as the crazy cat lady)
  • "Loves travel and fine dining" (Translation: If you're paying)
  • "Recently divorced" (Translation: Bitter and vindictive. All you'll talk about is the ex)
  • "Your pic gets mine" (Translation: I have a better chance if you don't know what I look like)
  • "New to online dating" (Translation: Just joined this site, but failed miserably on ten previous ones)
  • "Ready to finally settle down" (Translation: Can't get it up any more and nearly at death's door. Hoping someone will take him out of pity)

OK, I'm just kidding. But please do exercise a degree of skepticism when you browse the profiles. And try to meet a promising-sounding match in person at the earliest opportunity. There's nothing funny about wasting weeks or months corresponding with a person who's clearly wrong for you.