I was looking at CNN and they had this article Pitfalls of Online Dating and it reminded me of an article I had written few years ago on Persianmirror.com. While the new online dating scene may be different with Valentine's Day being just around the corner and everybody going all nuts again, I thought to repost my article in honor of this holiest day on the calendar!
Of course if you're looking for a uniquely Iranian gift for your Valentine, I recommend Faramarz's Bowl of Sholeh Zard!
I used to respond to newspaper personal ads back in the early 90s before online dating became popular. I am no longer in the market – did not find my wife online – but can share with you some of the quick tips that I think can help you navigate these internet personal ads and find some success. These rules should apply to all age groups, so don’t say I am too old or too young for this.
First of all, I’d like to talk about Iranian websites such as iraniansingles.com or iranianpersonals.com or similar websites. American websites are plenty but unless you live in North Dakota or Arkansas I suggest you stick with Iranian websites. Although, if you are in South Dakota and stuck with yahoo.com or match.com as soon as you say “Iranian” - in any way shape or form - your prospective date disappears in a New York minute! So no luck either way!
Now here are some rules that should be easy to follow:
1. Do not doll up too much! Guys, do not grease your hair like there is no tomorrow and gals do not throw out your cleavage like you’ve just come out of plastic surgery! Be modest and let your other qualities and outlook speak for you. Try to be sexy and decent, just don’t go overboard. A little less hair grease and a little less cleavage will do just fine!
2. Do not give out your High Definition large picture unless you’ve achieved a level of communication with your date that says s/he can write a sentence or 2 or can talk about his/her feelings regardless of whether or not s/he knows good English.
3. Guys if a girl is looking for a guy who is “financially secure to the bone” do not take her seriously. You can play games with her and say you are a CEO or a VP or something just to get some laughs but if someone is looking to pick your pocket instead of your brain, she is just wasting her time, never mind your time.
4. I will skip the usual give away items, like full figured, adventurous, romantically challenged or hopeless, full of energy and so forth. These really don’t matter and you have bigger fish to fry but they are good to know.
5. Rarely you’ll like the person you meet in a blind date at first sight. There is always something that is not right and even if you like him/her chances are s/he didn’t like you. That is one reason not to over do it with perfumes or colognes, remember rule number 1 above!
6. Always meet your date for a short encounter in a very public place for coffee or something. Some place where you can easily get the hell out if things were not nearly as advertised. In one case my date ended up being a married woman who was looking for a date for her sister!
Meet in a famous hotel lobby, like Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt or other hotels. These hotels usually have nice lobbies with comfortable chairs where you can have coffee, a glass of wine or beer or something. You can also meet at Starbucks or another coffee shop or a sandwich shop in a mall.
The point is that it is better to start with a simple place and move to dinner at another time or later that evening if things work out and you both want to continue it. If you don’t want to stay and torture yourself it’ll be hard to leave in the middle of a 3 course dinner.
Also, try to meet your date early, as soon as you exchange few emails, maybe on the first or 2nd weekend. If you wait too long you’ll be wasting your time.
Once you meet few people online and meet some of them in person you’ll know what to ask and what to look for. You can exchange a simple picture and meet in person to get a better idea and go from there. I think online dating is really good and if you do it right you can find many people and even have a long term relationship and possibly even marriage.
Meeting the right person online is hard just like any other relationship and the way you start it shouldn’t be any different from the way you go about carrying yourself. Once you find the right person, the same old traditional rules apply and you are on your own. If you find yourself talking on the (cell) phone for hours and hours or texting thousands of times, something is wrong with that picture. Either you are off or your date is off! While it is normal to be excited and talk for hours in the beginning, it is not normal to do it consistently. You should meet in person and do things together instead of doing it over the phone!
If your date is telling you that s/he has to do some stuff with his/her family and doesn’t have time, it is normal. Don’t take it the wrong way unless s/he does it over and over again. You should have plans of your own and shouldn’t substitute email or phone with seeing each other in person.
So try your luck and do not get discouraged if your date doesn’t like you. Move on to the next date. One thing I never did was speed dating and I wish I had an opportunity to do it. If you have the chance to do it, I’d highly recommend it.
Last rule of online dating is not to be discouraged if you get rejected. You may like your date and send an email and ask for a 2nd date with dinner and the works, but you may get rejected. These days people dump each other via a text message! Don’t worry about it, just move on to the next person (and the next person) until you eventually find someone.
If you are persistent enough it will be a matter of when not if. Matters of heart take time and you shouldn’t be discouraged if you find yourself doing this for a few years. There is always someone new to these websites and soon they’ll become “experts”, like you!
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