Thursday, January 05, 2012

'Maze of Online Dating'

EOPC is publishing this to point on the chronic lying implicit in online dating. We believe the author minimizes the danger inherent here.

EOPC NEVER recommends or approves of Online Dating to meet people. Under ANY circumstances. Join a volunteer organization but NEVER Online Dating.

His online profile -- dark hair, 5'6", athletic build -- caught her attention and the e-mail exchange went well, so Carla Riemersma agreed to meet the 58-year-old Wisconsin man in person.

But the nonathletic, 5-foot-2, 64-year-old, bald man who greeted her on the date didn't exactly match his cyber persona.

"I'm looking for this stud-muffin, and it didn't quite turn out that way," Riemersma said.

Frustrating dates such as this inspired Riemersma, a 65-year-old college professor from the Hudsonville area, to start taking notes.

The result is her book, "What are the Odds? The Likelihood of Finding Love and Romance in Cyberspace." In it, Riemersma, shares her personal adventure and documents the pitfalls of looking for love online. She takes an academic approach to the topic with statistical research.

Riemersma, who teaches at Baker College and the University of Phoenix, spent about $500 for 15 months of online dating services, including Match.com, Yahoo.com, Sexy Ads, American Singles, Senior Friend Finders and eHarmony. She met more then 200 men, sometimes fitting as many as three dates into a single day.

To research the book, she spent four years reviewing 4,000 active profiles randomly chosen from several well-known Internet dating sites and conducted interviews with nearly 300 Internet daters. About a third of those participants were women.

She often would arrive at a meeting with her date's profile in hand to compare reality to what was advertised online. When people lied, she made a note of it. She found 97.5 percent of the online daters she interviewed were dishonest about their profile, with women most likely to fib about age and weight while men often fudged their age and marital status.

White lies

Riemersma calls it "cyber-truth" when people post a false age, weight or marital status in an effort to get a date.

... Now, she strongly advises people to be honest from the beginning if they're serious about finding a person to love them as they are.

Dating detective work

Online dating tips from Carla Riemersma, author of "What are the Odds? The Likelihood of Finding Love and Romance in Cyberspace":

• Do not lie or exaggerate when writing your profile.

• Use a current photo.

• Avoid confusion -- list your ground rules for the first date in your profile.

• Do not give out personal information via the Internet.

• Use a cell phone instead of home phone if you decide to call your date.

• Once you know your date's name, do a Google or Yahoo search. Read ALL the pages.

• Always meet in a public place for the first date.

• Never consume alcohol on your first few dates, and monitor alcohol consumption of the person you are dating.

• Always tell someone where you will be during the first date, and make sure your date knows you're going to call that person during the date to say you're OK.

• Make sure you have your own transportation to and from the date.

"Eventually, you have to meet, and how do you explain the extra 20 pounds if you listed yourself as slim or athletic?" she writes.

She said about 60 percent of the men who stated they were single, separated or divorced still were married. So, she quickly developed a radar for men with tan lines on their ring fingers and indentations where a wedding band usually goes.

"It was so obvious," she said.

One guy showed up to a date with a bandage wrapped around his ring finger. She asked if he'd had a mishap with a saber saw. It turned out the man's finger was fine, but he was married.

Throwing in the towel
Terri Timmer, 52, of Grand Rapids, tried cyberdating for a few months, but gave up in frustration about a month ago.

In contrast, Ken Cote, 47, of Lake Odessa, has had pretty good luck meeting women online. ... It helps that he is a private investigator. He says he does background checks on his dates -- and he checks on the people his friends are dating, too...

While Riemersma was researching her book, there were an estimated 40 million people dating online in the United States and more than 1,200 online dating sites. Those numbers continue to grow.

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