Online dating: Not as gross as it sounds
MILLINER MUSINGS - Mich L. Dulce (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2013 - 12:00am

I’ve got a new favorite thing to do in-between work.

I’ve completely embraced online dating — and I think every single person should, too.

When I first moved to New York, I decided to sign up on OkCupid. I mean, why the hell not? I was single, it’s free, I had time to do it, and I’ve heard so many good stories about online dating from my friends who’ve done it before.  Plus, New York is filled with so many hot boys. I totally had to increase my chances of meeting them as my line of work doesn’t exactly put me in contact with a lot of straight men (one of the major perils of being in the fashion industry).

I booked my first date the same day I signed up. Online dating is pretty good for your self-esteem — someone is bound to like you. I’m not going to lie: I was pretty scared for the first date. It’s daunting to set your first meet-up with a stranger. It didn’t help that my NYC BFF sent me a text saying, “If you get killed, I told you so!” But it turned out fine and I enjoyed myself.

I went on many first dates after that. They were fun and it was perfect for moving into a new city –– I got to eat at a lot of restaurants that I wouldn’t have known about, and thanks to chivalry, most of those meals were free (I love being a girl!). I can’t say I’ve met anyone I’ve fallen head-over-heels with enough to want a second date, but I can say how liberating it is to have that choice, to have options, to have room to say “Okay, no spark. Next?” It’s literally having a choice of men at your fingertips. And when I moved to another city, I just changed locations, and met more people. The fun never stops.

Now, as a veteran online dater (Okay, fine. I’ve only been on it for five months, but hey), I’ve decided to put together some tips for moving up in the online dating world.

Get over the stigma. That whole “OMG, but it’s so pathetic, it makes me look desperate” blah, blah, blah? It’s all in your head. I, for one, see nothing wrong with wanting to meet someone online based on common interests/cute photo/witty profiles. In my humble opinion, what some people do — which is get dolled up, get drunk, and hope that someone hits on them in a bar — is much worse (and harder, considering I don’t drink). Think of it as networking. Think of it as increasing your chances and creating a broader network of potential partners. Online dating is not gross. It’s the future.

Work on your profile. The more you put up online about yourself and what you like, the more you’re likely to attract someone who would be a good match. Obviously, put your best foot forward. Cute pictures, witty profile. Add a lot of details that can be topics of conversation, openings for people to message you. I like to put up obscure things I like so that if people know about it too, that’s already something to talk about. I try and make my profile sound like me when I speak, but obviously the best version of myself. Don’t try to impress, just be real and…

Do not write anything on your profile that you wouldn’t want your friends to see. The world is freakishly tiny.  I’ve actually met okCupid people in New York who knew my friends in Manila. You can’t hide even if you try to, so just don’t try and make sure that you are comfortable and confident about everything you have online. I kind of look at it like it’s an extension of Facebook.

Increase your visibility. On the online app of okCupid, they have this thing called “Set your broadcast” which basically lets people know that you’re active. I do it when I have time and it’s insane! I get 50 people responding to that broadcast. Which leads me to…

Do not get turned off by gross guys messaging you. There will be a number of them, and that’s what the block button is for. Or delete. Just ignore them and respond to the ones you think are decent. For every five yucky guys, there will be one guy you wouldn’t mind talking to. And if there’s none, use the search button, or that whole “your matches” feature and…

Don’t be shy. Seriously. Why would you join online dating if you were too chicken to message someone you thought was cute first? See someone you like? Write them. Do not just click that like button or rate them –– being coy doesn’t work. Just say hello and talk about something you read on their profile that you like. Hopefully they’ll reply, and if not — screw them.

Choose wisely. It’s not all about looks and a profile picture.  Try and analyze someone’s profile to see whether or not you will have something to talk about when you see each other — nothing is worse than dead air on the first date. My trick: choosing people based on their musical tastes. That way if there’s dead air during a date, I can just talk about my new favorite band, or ask him about what new music he’s been listening to.

Check details. I always forget to look at the little box on the side of the page that state things like height, religion, etc. I remember setting a date with someone based on pictures and profile. When I met him, I completely failed to realize that he was short. Not that it’s a bad thing to be short, but I could have prepared myself for that –– it’s always better to know more about what to expect. I mean I don’t want to accidentally go on a date with some Satanist who clearly said that he was on a profile but I just missed it.

Don’t be stupid. Obviously when you set that first date, use your head and be smart. Meet in a public place, don’t ride in anyone’s car, make sure to check in with a friend before your date, just in case.  While your potential love may be on that site, there are some freaks, too, so stay safe.

Don’t take things so seriously. Didn’t meet the guy of your dreams? Oh, well. Adored the guy you went out with but he didn’t call you back? Sorry na lang. No point overthinking and feeling bad about it. Just move on, click next and start again. Believe me, in the wonderful world of online dating, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

 

DATE DON FACEBOOK FIRST NEW YORK ONLINE PEOPLE PROFILE WHEN I
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