AMPLIFICATIONS: A dating primerMore Info
I have a friend who trolls a certain online dating site, looking at pictures and reading the notes men send to her. She never answers. I understand her reluctance, but hope to encourage her to take a chance only because I don’t know of any other way to meet a potential partner in this area. Neither of us goes to bars to meet people, a practice I found sad even in my youth. While there is a local matchmaker, I know of no organizations that offer speed dates or lunch dates, as could be found when I lived in Boston. No one has introduced me to a man since 1980, and him I married.
Since I work at home I will never meet anyone at the office unless he is breaking in and my friend is never going to date her clients, that leaves us with our computers. And hope—hope not just to meet someone, but hope that they will be real.
I ventured back into online dating a few months ago, and I can tell you that the landscape has changed from when I tried it years ago. While there are plenty of sincere gentleman looking for that last first date, there seems to be little regulation over the scammers. And the scammers seem to target women more than men, though I have talked to fellows who have had their fair share of ladies looking for a free meal or help with “moving out of their homes,” which is a popular shakedown.
So here is a little guide:
If the guy says he is in “distribution,” he is most likely selling drugs. Ditto for a job “in sales.” If he tells you his housing situation is “complicated,” then he is living in the garage next to his ex-wife or with his parents. If he does not smile in any of his photos, it may because he does not have teeth.
If he looks too handsome, or too young and only lists one or two photos, he is probably a phony. There seems to be a swindlers’ rulebook and the script varies very little. The guy is in the military, or an engineer, or working a gas pipeline or oilrig out of town, though he has listed a local address. He is away, but will be back in a few months. Almost always he claims to be a widower. You will be told he was raised in Europe or has parents who spoke another language, which is why his grammar is sometimes off or why he has an accent, if you actually speak to him on the phone. These guys will set up a phone date with you and then always manage to miss it.
After writing you or texting you for weeks, they will have an emergency at work and need you to loan them $15,000 to buy new equipment so they can “get home to you.”
I even had one gentleman, who claimed to live about 90 minutes away, tell me he could only trust me if I went to the store for him before an approaching snowstorm arrived. While I was choking back laughter, he changed the request and I was asked to buy him an iTunes gift card, for which he would reimburse me if “he must.” I turned him into the dating site, but suspect he was never barred from there because there seem to be no rules or consequences for criminal activities where romance is concerned.
I have met some very nice men, though I have had just as many dates that sent me running home, bemoaning the fact that I’d bothered to put on mascara or wishing I could crawl out of the bathroom window in a coffee shop. Whenever I would meet anyone, I would text my location and his name and number to my friend Barb and always call her on the way home to let her know that I was safe. I have always driven out of my area to meet a potential partner and I have cautioned my niece to take a photo of her date’s license plate and send it to a trusted friend before she first gets into someone’s car, which should never happen on a first date anyway.
Mostly I want my friend to take a chance, trust her gut and give it a whirl. I am an unapologetic optimist when it comes to finding true love and I like to think that there really is someone for everyone. You can just block and delete the rest.