I know it's Christmas Eve and I should be decking the halls and jingling the bells, but I am avoiding the holidays this year. Isn't it over yet?
So, in untraditional fashion, I chose a subject tonight that couldn't be farther from holiday greetings. We shall discuss for a while the lack of truth in advertising when it comes to online profiles. I have been cleaning off my computer after a few days in the computer hospital and I ran across something that I had written that inspired this posting.
I internet dated for a few years (buy a copy of "Hot Bubbles and Chocolate" when it comes out if you want a play by play of some of my bad internet dates...names changed only because I blocked them from my phone and my memory) and I've had profiles on pen pal sites off and on for quite some time. I much prefer pen pals to meeting men through dating sites. My wants and needs are quite different now than they were in my online dating years, and I'm quite content to make really good friends that care about getting to know me instead of what color underwear I'm wearing. When I've gone through bad stuff in my life, sometimes my pen pals are better for me than people who live next door (metaphorically speaking). And it's always nice to have good news to share, knowing there's someone who'll be happy for you. When choosing a pen pal, you're not concerned about looks (most sites don't allow photos, although of course you can ask for one later if you want) or location or job titles or annual income. Just the person behind the screen name. One of my pen pals is a married with kids Brit, we have a lot of things in common and never run out of things to talk about; another an 83 year old Scot with wicked sense of humor. He's made me laugh through tears more than once. All of my pen pals are male. It's my favorite flavor. I've always had more male friends than female and since I'm not a girly girl I find I have more in common to talk about with intelligent men than I do with women, no matter their level of intelligence. Other women specify they only want female pen pals. To each their own.
Even in the pen pal world, liars abound. And male predators are no different just because they are hunting in a different setting. You have to be careful, follow all of the online rules to a T. Never ever give out your phone number until you've known someone longer than just a few weeks and emails. Don't give out personal information until much much later. If ever. Use a dummy email acccount that you don't use for anything but internet chat. Don't use your real name, except possibly just your first name. Don't consider meeting in person until you are certain the one you're writing to is the one who will be meeting you at the restaurant, or (if you're much braver than I am) at the airport. A lot of people can carry on a charade a remarkably long time if they think there'll be a prize at the end. I will never understand why people think it's ok to treat someone else badly just because it's an "online thing." You should always remember in your dealings with the people who write to you, that those are real people behind those words, and treat them the way you want to be treated. While being aware that their grand-daddy may not have taught them that rule.
There have been very rare cases in my life where I knew almost instantly that someone was not only who he said he was, but that he was very special. And I broke my own rules. So, I will admit with a blush that this is one of those "do as I say, not as I do" lectures. It has only happened to me twice. The first time was the start of a year long relationship that was one of the happiest memories of my life. The second. Well, that's a secret. I'll tell you later.
Be careful when you're writing your profile not to give someone the wrong impression. There should be a handy cheat sheet of what men (and I'm sure women, although I don't read many women's profiles so I don't know) really mean by what they say in their online profiles. It wouldn't be very beneficial if men could know what women really mean by what they write because most of them won't read it anyway. It's like throwing chum in the water near a school of sharks to put your profile on a dating site. Almost instantly you will get a deluge of letters from men that could not be farther from what you've said you were looking for if they were in a rocket headed to the moon. Don't be flattered, be wary. This first wave is usually the desperates that haunt these sites hoping that if they send enough letters, even if they are horrid, that someone will eventually fall for their line. Obviously sometimes timing is everything and Mr. Right PenPal just happens to be searching when you hit send on your profile. So, yes, you're going to have to read every letter carefully. Look up their profile and double check them. And then decide whether they get the "sorry, but no" form letter or the "I'm intrigued, tell me more" one. And if someone is crude enough to send a first letter full of innuendoes, requests for sex talk or dirty pics, don't bother writing back. They don't deserve consideration.
I created a profile for a site that was offering a prize for the best one. (Some things changed here to make it sound more current. I think I was actually 47 when I wrote this.)
This is it.
I’m 58 and don’t look a day over 75. I’m totally physically fit and have been confused for a Victoria’s Secret model on multiple occasions. Only my knee replacement surgery scar kept me off this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue cover but there’s always next year. I’m fit as a fiddle. Don’t be jealous, but I can still wear the earrings I wore in high school. I would love to get sporadic poorly written emails from a man who is getting nice long interesting chatty emails from me and ignoring any questions I might ask, while also not responding to any deep thoughts I might share. Any sexual innuendo should absolutely not be carefully and artfully disguised in the form of playful banter or light flirting. Heaven forbid that wordplay come into motion. Or that intelligent conversation might slip in now and then.
Talking about the universe, our place in it, our lives, our hopes and our dreams are firmly discouraged. Deep thoughts and meditation give me a headache. I hate animals. If you have pets for heaven’s sake don’t write me. Especially if you’re one of those nuts that considers them “family.” I would love it if you’re a trophy hunter that kills only for the heads or tails or whatever you have hanging on all the wal. Preferably you don’t care about the environment, believe that your religion and race is the only one that matters, are intolerant towards other beliefs and think that tolerance shows weakness. It would be nice if we didn’t discuss our hobbies or interests. I don’t care what you’ve read. Or what you do for fun. I just want to know how well-hung you are.
If you have a great sense of humor and would rather laugh than talk dirty, move on to that cute little thing next in line that likes to take long walks on the beach and pet kitty cats. I’m just here for the sex chat. And maybe a few dollars.
Whether we have anything in common or not won’t matter to me, as I will only be writing to you long enough find out if you get a good pension/retirement package and how easily you can be separated from it. I need some help bailing my oldest son out of jail. It was a bum rap. His lawyer is using the SODDI defense (some other dude did it) and I am sure that he won’t do time. I hope not. He didn’t know the gun was loaded. The sun was in his eyes. His sister’s baby is due any day and since she doesn’t know who the daddy is, her brother is going to have to help out with the new kid. I’m busy with her other four. My ex-husband won’t help with any of the bills because he was never sure they were his kids anyway. (I wasn’t either).
The perfect pen pal for me would believe that women only get online on dating and pen pal sites if they are desperate for sexual attention from males. If you show the slightest indication that you respect a woman’s intelligence more than her body type you will be blocked from writing to me again. I am more than just a mind. I am a body that has been neglected far too long and needs a REAL man to remind me that I am a woman. You saw right through me, didn’tcha big guy? You’re right on. I only put in my profile that I’m “open-minded” because I would consider a threesome. And I’ve got this friend…
If there is even the slightest chance that there might be something in this relationship for me other than dirty talk and unasked for photos of your private parts, please don’t write. I have absolutely no interest in getting to know someone through long, nicely written, honest, truthful, interesting and interested letters over time. And don’t write to me if you have the slightest belief that you might fall in love with me. I can’t imagine a worse fate. Please, keep that foo foo love stuff to yourself. I’m only interested in the here and now and fame and fortune. The only possible instance that I would consider love talk is if it’s in the first week of our writing when you ask me to marry you because “I have such purty eyes.”
* * *
OK, if you’ve read this far, I hope you have a smile on your face. No matter what I write in a profile, most men read it as above. Don't be most men. Don't disappoint me by being just another jackass in nice-guy clothing. I've ridden too many good horses not to know a jackass when I see one.
You have my address if you’d like to correspond with an intelligent 58-year-old single lady who is not ashamed of the scars that prove that the things that tried to kill her failed or the lines that prove she has laughed more than she’s cried. . If you’d like to get to know someone who places honesty far above any other quality, a woman who has been around the block a few times, but still has a few more good miles left in her, who values good friendship and isn’t looking for instant love ...tell me about yourself.
If you see me somewhere, say hello. I'll write back, although I'm not "trolling" for new penpals any more. I caught my limit, and even had to toss back a few. I think all of my profiles are now closed, but you know how the internet is. What you put out there is always out there. Someplace. (Another reason to be careful about what you put in a profile that might come back to haunt you someday).
Until next time...
PS: Merry Christmas!
THAT'S MY STORY
I've never been normal. I've never tried to be. I can't imagine anything more boring.
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