We went on such dates usually at the urging of a friend, and with few expectations, even though we had a friend's recommendations. But we knew that when it comes to the opposite sex, how much insight does a friend of our same gender actually have?
ANd we knew the answer: not much!!! People naturally 'promote' themselves and are generally on 'best behavior' in casual social situations, so whatever impressions the blind date may have made on our friends are, shall we say, superficial, at best.
I know that MY friends only really knew the shape of their thighs when they described the women they wanted to accompany me on a blind date.
OK, with online dating, we don't depend on our friends as much. Usually we talk with the person directly, and they probably have a picture. But of course, a picture is usually posed, and the people are made up and/or dressed up...we can't depend on their actual appearance being anything like the picture. Sure it's better than verbal sketches, what I got from my guy friends, but not by much!!!
As far as people's description of themselves, we all know that is often totally fabricated. Certainly in the early days of online dating, my friends and I used to make up descriptions of ourselves just for fun, and tried to match ourselves with 'six-foot blondes with French coiffures' and the like, just for fun!
And I know a lot of women just use online sites to tease guys, and turn out the lights, pretending no one is home, when the guy actually shows up in response to their ad, giggling behind curtains when he shakes a fist at their window...
I dont' think I need to mention there are a lot of really crazy people out there trying to 'meet' you online. Haven't we all heard the stories?
But we've also all heard the stories of wonderful relationships and decades-long marriages that started with online dates.
Still, the successful ones were usually not 'cold' online chance encounters. People were 'introduced' online by people who knew at least one of the parties really well and had some contact with the other party. I can't think of one really 'cold' online encounter that ever went anywhere. The odds against it are so great.
First of all, many if not most people aren't truthful about what they say about themselves. Sometimes it's just a matter of omission or slight exaggeration, but when the first meeting involves several such 'misunderstandings', it's hard to see anything good developing!
Secndly, we tend to see what we want to see in an online introudction. For one thing, if we weren't just a little desperate, would we be dating ohline in the first place? ANd so we tend to overlook 'red flags' such as 'strong personality' or 'like to cling to old ways' and only really see what appeals to us.
That happens to some extent in 'real time', of course, but for most of us, reality is stronger than our preconceived notions.
But our preconceived notions are stronger than verbal 'red flags' in most situations. SO..the first meeting turns out to be the revelation that the person is a drug addict, ('tied to the old ways'),or a serial cheater ('romantic free spirit'), or a powermongering navel gazer ('unbridled enthusiasm for life'), or any number of other sudden disappointments.
And a lot of us are too polite to just walk away...sometimes even getting to a second date, hoping our time hasn't been squandered, against the evidence of our own eyes...
Perfectly human behavior, of course, but if we had met them in 'real time' to begin with, there would never have been even a first date in these circumstances!
To sum up, don't depend on cyberspace to fulfill your romantic fantasies. Too often you'll just have nightmares as a result! Online chatting is a nice supplement to a relationship. But starting one?
Out from behind the computer screen, and into the streets!