Between The Lines

7 Jun

So you want to meet someone…

Someone you found online?


You think that a particular internet dating site is a great place to meet people because you can see into your potential lover’s mind first, and worry about their physical attributes later. Guess again Pedro. It may sound ideal but there are some serious pitfalls ahead. Not to mention some interesting assumptions being made.


Online dating has a hazardous side to it which is often overlooked.


I am not talking about those stories you you read and hear about a woman whowas butchered by someone she met online. Common sense dictates that you don’t fly halfway across the  country to meet someone you have only seen a picture of or talked with on the phone at an out of the way motel in Lizard Walk Arkansas at midnight. Anyone stupid enough to do  something like that is asking to be removed permanently from the gene pool.

Our physical sensory impressions of people, biased as they may be, are the most accurate indicators we have to judge the suitability of a person. Inflections, gestures and facial expressions usually reveal more about someone in five minutes of conversation than a month of email.

Even if it is only over the phone, you can hear more emotion in someone’s voice than a million silly little sideways smiley faces. Someone once said that a telephone conversation is somehow even more intimate than face to face conversation. Supposedly you do not have to deal with the visual aspects of an in-person conversation, you can focus your concentration on just the voice.

In many cases you will find yourself meeting someone online that you would have walked right by in public, and not given a second glance. Why is that? It is the same reason you notice the cute one in a group of people…

Online dating, despite its comfortable mask of flirtatious innuendo (in lieu of real emotions) is bound by the constraints of a one-dimensional communications medium: words on a screen. Important (and missing) ingredients include the subtle and subconscious cues we use to determine attractiveness. It’s not just physical attractiveness here folks. It is also how someone smells, how they move, how they walk, how they talk, laugh, cry, eat… How they look you in the eye and then quickly glance away. All that and more.

For illustration purposes. Fran Drescher (at the time of this writing) is a stunning woman. Tall, great body, and all that other stuff that gets male hormones running. Then she opens her mouth. 5 minutes of that voice and I would be longing for the door.

You can not experience the the sight, sound, smell, touch or even taste of anyone via email. I don’t know about you but my memories of someone rarely include their correspondence.

Let’s face it, not everyone has the writing talent, or typing skill, to convey the thing that makes them a wonderful and unique person. Any real writer will tell you that “Writing Is Hard Work”. And Hard Work can take the fun out of online relationships for some people real quick.

Compatibility is more than sharing aesthetic tastes and speaking the same language –it is about attraction– the myriad little actions and idiosyncrasies that comprise a person. It is not that you agree or disagree about religion, pets, politics, wine, movies, music, etc. It is how you disagree. The most an online relationship can give you is an inkling of someone’s intelligence and intellectual compatibility.

But when push comes to shove, it is looking into someone’s eyes and realizing that you really don’t care that they are an opera fan. When, not 30 minutes ago, you told someone you would sooner cut off a limb than listen to opera.

There will always be parts you like and parts that you dislike. None of which is readily discernible between the lines.

Note: The seed material for this little bit came to me from a lady whom I met online a couple of years back. She emails me a lot of stuff. A while back she sent me an essay about online dating. I liked it, parts of it. About half the words here are not mine. Here’s how to tell the difference, the ones that sound erudite, thoughtful and clever are not mine. I just wish I knew who to credit for the inspiration.

Originally posted before I added WordPress to this site. Published date is approximate.


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