Good morning to all, and thanks to everyone who posted to Sunday’s poll about where you may have met your Prince or Princess Charming. The poll is not the first bit of research into Online dating that I’ve done. Most of you know that I’ve dated digitally myself.
This morning I’d love to share some of my earliest introductions to the intrigue of the Internet Romance. In my early days as a “single-again” woman, I had been fortunate to hear more of the good than the bad when it came to Internet dating. I seemed to go against the consensus and trust the idea of hiding behind my keyboard to create a social life. After all, technology was taking over everywhere else, right?
This morning I would love to share one of the stories that gave me hope through the dine-and-dash relationship failures of those earliest days.
I have a dear friend at the office named Scott who I met a few years back. I knew him through Happy Hours, office lunches, and the coffee pots. I knew he was handsome and smart, but I also knew he was married. Often I thought to myself – what a lucky lady she must be as I would twist under my breath that it should have been me.
Over time, Scott became a fantastic sounding board for my dating dilemmas. He always gave me the man’s view. He helped me see when I was being stupid. He praised my virtuous ways. He guided me when I was confused. In short, he acted as my therapist.
Now, friends, if you don’t have a “Scott” of the opposite gender – get one. This role is an essential friendship if you need someone to slap you across the face with the ugliest of truths. Believe me; you’ll be grateful for the honesty from a friend rather than the heartache from yet another dirt bag.
At the same time when Scott and I were evolving as friends, I had a physical therapist from a shoulder injury – Jen. She had one of the gentlest smiles I had ever encountered (Even if I did call her Attila the Hun). During our sessions, Jen would ask all about my dating life and my adventures with men. She was always so curious about the guy I was seeing at that moment in time….Did I meet him at a party? What about the guy my friend set me up with? How is that man from back home I was seeing? Jen loved the stories, and I loved her opinions.
Jen would also mention to me bits here and there about her beau. She was a young bride with a darling infant, and she seemed to have a magical relationship. I was jealous to say the least. However, I never really asked Jen how she and hubby had met. To me, it just seemed that they had always been. She seemed so naturally connected. Maybe inside I was jealous of Jen – ok, so no maybe about it. I wanted what she had.
During one of my appointments, Jen saw my office badge.
“Oh, Heidi Lee, you work at West?” How did I never know that?”
I suppose my tales of men and romance had always been more interesting than my work life. She and I spent over 2 hours a week of muscle-managing with me, and we had rarely talked about anything other than my men.
“Heidi Lee, maybe you know my husband. His name is Scott.” And the light went on in her eyes. “Oh, Heidi, I never made the connection. You’re Scott’s Heidi from the office. I feel like I already know you.”
Jen, you see, never brought work home with her. She was truly a professional, so they never came together to compare notes on me. She kept our discussions as well as my treatment completely confidential.
We laughed through the irony and talked a little bit more intimately about our lives from that point forward. With this new level of comfort, I asked Jen, “Where did you and Scott meet?”
Jen’s smile brightened and she got a tingle in her eye remembering her first encounters. And she beamed, “We met Online. Match. He winked; I winked back. The rest is history. He is simply wonderful.”
I returned to work following my physical torture and I marched right into Scott’s office. “You could have told me your wife was a Physical Therapist. I’ve been seeing her for weeks now since the accident. She is adorable – lovely. Hell, you really did well, buddy. I love her”.
Scott’s face lit up like a school boy with his first crush as he started to tell me about their courtship. And he told me about his experience on Match, “You know, Heidi Lee, guys don’t get many return winks on Match. Jen had her pick of the litter, and she picked me. Can you imagine?”
Actually, I could. And I had – and it would have been steamy. And I never would again – promise. My sweet and handsome friend met his soul mate in an Internet Catalog. And he was happy. She was happy. And neither of them had any horrifying stories of Internet freaks or psychotics – only stories of a few genuine people all in the same quest for Happily Ever After.
Over the last few years, I’m still surprised when I ask, “How did you two meet?”. Online dating is usually at the top of the responses. People who truly have committed to finding a relationship seem to migrate to the virtual channels with the trust that everyone is there for similar reasons.
The great thing about these sites is that woman and men alike should be able to weed through the catalogs and select the sizes with the most potential to be right. The tip I can give you is to go into Match or eHarmony honestly. Expect to date losers just as you would if you met through another social setting. There is no magic formula, and there are no guarantees. Instead, you get the security of learning about someone from a more harmless location – your own home.
True, any type of dating can be dangerous or disappointing at the least. You have to be smart about it, and you have to watch for inconsistencies in truths. Do it right – you may end up with the romantic side of a Scott of your own.
In my blog, I’ll share some of my lessons learned with you here if you are interested. For today the best lesson I can give you is – keep an open mind and an open heart. That’s it. Don’t judge yourself or others for using Online dating to find a dinner date. After all, if my PC hadn’t wanted someone to take to dinner one Friday night, I would still be single and searching. And Attila wouldn’t have found her Hon.