Thursday, July 27, 2006
Internet everything
I've thought about it, and its kind of amazing how the internet is so central to my life. Don't get me wrong, I still have personal relationships and interact with lots of real life people every day. But, a lot of my life is centered online, like my job (web development and online advertising), my shopping (amazon, ann taylor loft, others), photography (shuttefly and flickr), communication with friends (message boards, games, email), music purchases (iTunes). Man I loved Webvan when it was around.

So, it kinda makes sense that I might sign up for an online dating service. For the most part, its been interesting. Fairly non-intrusive, and I think its fun to check and see who might be looking at my profile, and to see who else is out there. I've made a couple of cool connections, and there are a couple of guys that I can see myself being friends with. If I make some new friends, that's cool. I honestly don't have much in the way of expectations of who I'll meet, I'm just taking this as it comes.

But, then, I get this email, from a man a good deal older than me ... and for some reason I find it odd. It starts, "Well I thought that you have a beautiful smile and you are so incredibly cute and beautiful that I just had to send you an email... if for no other reason than to simply clutter your mailbox." While some might think its sweet, innocent, charming, what-have-you, I think its creepy. It made me realize that I don't have much in the way of control over *who* sees my profile. All these people have to do is pay a few bucks, and they can peruse everyone else on the site, and they have a way of reaching them online.

So this leaves me with the question of how do you deal with these people? While his flattery may be sincere, it could also be that he's using flattery to try to get close to someone. I'm not the type to be charmed into meeting someone, or trusting them, or even emailing them back, just because they call me beautiful or cute. That ain't gonna do it. I'm interested in people's stories, their passions, what they love, and when someone opens up, they'll get to see who I am, too.

Maybe this internet dating thing is not really that much different from hanging out at the bar. Some guys will be cheeseballs, some will be jocks, some will be nice. It's just at the bar, you don't wear a profile around your neck, and the guy would have to try harder to even get a name, or information from you. Maybe that's what bugs me. I'm not part of a catalogue, and I'm not trolling for dates. But somehow the dating site opens you up to people who are thumbing through a catalogue of sorts, or who are just casting a wide net figuring maybe someone will take a chance on their offer. I'll just need to figure out how to react to it all.


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