Are You Ready? Our Publisher Elizabeth Millen is.
Meet Phoebe Jayne, Online Dating Guru:
I was an executive recruiter for almost 20 years, assisting clients in finding the perfect employee and candidates in finding the perfect job. Literally, I was a professional matchmaker, just on a corporate level. With all that experience of good fit and right match, I, Phoebe Jayne, have taken my tried and true career principles and put them to the test of online dating. Voila! Applying my recruiting techniques has proven to be an incredible (and successful) model to follow.
I have been an online dating consultant for two years. Of course I started by using myself as a test candidate; I had to see if my theory was on track. I kept accurate notes, timelines, research and charts. And, even with all that stuff that sounds a lot like work, I had fun in the process!
Have you been considering online dating? I won’t say it’s for everyone, but it has worked for me, as well as many women I know. Follow me over the next three months here in Pink as I mentor Elizabeth Millen, Pink’s Publisher, in online dating. We’re here to show you how it’s done and try to give you pointers on making it safe and fun in the process.
Getting Started: Is online dating right for you?
You can wish and pray to date someone, but wishing and praying needs to be accompanied by action. The fact is online dating is the most popular way to meet people today. Basically, once out of college, it’s tough to meet and date. Perhaps, you might meet someone at your workplace if you’re lucky.
However, most women work in fields heavily dominated by women, which equates to high competition in the supply and demand pool. It is also possible to meet someone through an introduction from a friend, but again, you have to put yourself out there. And then there is the traditional advice for meeting that someone special we have all heard:
> Tell friends and neighbors you are looking for someone to date.
> Join clubs or activities of interest.
> Go to weddings.
> Hang out in the produce sections of supermarkets.
> Get a big dog and go to the dog park. Strike up a
conversation with men with dogs.
> Go out alone to events and strike up a conversation.
> Attend reunions.
> Join and attend a church.
> Ask for directions.
> Smile more at the gym.
For those who none of these suggestions have been fruitful, it’s time to consider joining the millions who have found connecting through online dating sites fun and successful. Life is busy and filled with distractions—career, family obligations, friends, laundry, aging parents, curve balls, etc.—so putting a dating plan together can be low on the priority list. Let me help you navigate through the online dating process.
In the 1980s newspapers started publishing personal ads to help the busy person meet others faster. With today’s technology, online dating is the modern form of personal ads. It provides a controlled environment to get to know others who are also looking to connect.
If you are curious and have never attempted online dating, or if you have been unsuccessful in finding “Mr. or Ms. Right For Now” the following may be helpful:
> First…Answer the following questions…truthfully:
> Are you ready to date? Do you have all your ducks in a row, meaning are you free to date and ready to meet new people without tears regarding past loves or recent negative events?
> Do you have a goal? Is it casual dating, serious relationship, or marriage?
> Are you ready to commit and invest time to online dating? To be successful you will need to devote time to this project.
> Can you take rejection?
> Are you ready to post your photos and promote yourself?
If you answered yes to all the above questions, lets get started.
PICK YOUR SITE
Before you sign up for any site, do your homework. Research online dating sites to get the scoop on different ones and decide what seems to fit you. There are specific sites for different age groups, religions, and specific professions. Other sites are fall into the general category but have filters to make sure only your preferences are sent to you. I suggest picking two you find interesting.
Here are a few examples:
> General: Match.com, Zoosk, POF, eHarmony
> Religious sites: Christian Mingle, Catholic Match, J-date
> Over 50: Our Time
> Profession: Farmers Only, Elite Singles
SMILE… Lets talk PHOTOS:
Take or select at least three photos which best represent you. I suggest two close ups and one full shot. Current photos are a must and please nothing photoshopped. You want your date to recognize you as you are today. If you are into golf or tennis, consider using a couple action shots. Travel? Have a picture of you at favorite (recent!) visited spot in the background. Pets? Absolutely, but have them with you not just a picture of them. You can have a picture of you with your family but I’d shy away from putting your children or grandchildren in the spotlight.
Each site will have a fill in the blank portion asking for your profile. These are usually basic snapshot questions (height, astrological sign, degree, etc.) They all want your story and some will ask what type of person you are looking for.
As you start to describe yourself be careful with your words. A short paragraph or two is sufficient. Don’t give a full life story. Your profile should reflect who you are today and what you are interested in. Be full of positive words, make it fun with future speak.
You’ll want to visit your profile every week and change it up by adding or removing certain comments. Keep it fun and interesting. Avoid hidden meaning words that would refer to sex. You don’t want your admirers to think all you want is to get laid. Adding a favorite quote is also a fun way to show who you are, or even a short poem. Add things that interest you, or things you would be interested in a partner.
> A visit to all the national parks of the Northwest is high on my bucket list.
> If you’re an early riser I’m always looking for someone to walk the beach at sunrise.
> If you like to hang out in the kitchen the position of sous chef is open.
> Looking for someone spiritual to go on meditation retreats with.
> Looking for a healthy active partner, who enjoys cycling, hiking and golfing. Couch potatoes need not apply.
> Antiquing, flea markets and Sunday afternoon rides through the countryside are where you’ll find me.
Enter Elizabeth (A/K/A the guinea pig):
After a three-year courtship, which turned into 25 years of marriage, I am single. Sometimes I find it hypocritical to get out of relationship just to seek another. What makes me think another one will be any better? Nonetheless, I find the desire to have a man in my life is something I’ve thoughtfully considered and something I would like to have again.
Of course, friends have encouraged me to give online dating a try. I didn’t do it for a few reasons: 1. My divorce wasn’t final. It is now. 2. I needed time to heal. I didn’t feel it wise to jump right back into an arena where I had failed without working through the tsunami of emotions that came with separation and divorce. I was a broken person and quite frankly, just wasn’t ready. Finding someone else would have definitely eased the pain and been the easy way out. It would have been comforting to feel wanted during a time when I felt thrown away, but I took the route of going to counseling once a week for 16 months (and still going strong) to deeply process the quagmire of divorce and the destruction of a family. (I promise I will write about all of this eventually.)
So here I am sitting on the edge of a whole new world, where the possibilities are endless. And, boy do I have plans. So far none of them include a love interest, but I figure, after consulting numerous friends, I will dip my toe in the online world of window-shopping for a man. However, I have recruited Pheobe Jayne, a long-time, dear friend and online dating guru, as my mentor. Basically, I’m in online dating boot camp with homework and all. She has told me the ups and downs of this game and what to look out for and is teaching me how to play this game to win.
The Plan: Pheobe Jayne is taking me under her wing for three months. She will share tips and suggestions based on her experiences and her very brass tacks approach to online dating. My part in this is to be the “stool pigeon.” I’m the one who does the homework and actively seeks a date. I don’t know how well I will do. Pheobe Jayne says to be successful at online dating, one needs to approach this as a job. Well, I already have a job, with not much time to spare. But I’m going to give it a whirl and we shall see what unfolds.
I have a few guidelines I have set for myself, in addition to Pheobe Jayne’s advice:
> Thou shall not seek in desperation. I’m doing just fine on my own, so I can be picky.
> On being picky: I have put together a list of what I want and what I don’t want in a man. That probably sounds arrogant but I encourage anyone who is single —woman or man—to do the same. Technically, we do it with most things. You put a list together to go to the grocery store. Why? Because you know what you want. You have an idea of what you want when you go to buy a new car. You know if you want a car, SUV or truck. You know if you want two doors or four. You know there are certain brands you’re not even willing to look at. You know the basic amenities you need—must have Bluetooth, back up camera, heated seats, navigation, etc. You know which ones are deal breakers—heated seats I can live without, but it must have Bluetooth capabilities.
Well, that’s the kind of thing I have done in thinking about a significant other. I put my list together. (No eye rolls here, please.) The list is long but I’m not unreasonable. I went back and paired it down. I circled the top three things that are a must. For me, they are funny, attractive (meaning I’m attracted to them) and they must believe in God.
This exercise was eye-opening. There were things on the list that were no-brainers such as be loving, ambitious and not angry or volatile. Must enjoy wine was on the list. Then I thought, no they really don’t have to. But after more thought, I realized it is important because I love wine—not in the way of I drink a glass of whatever wine daily, but in the way of I love the industry of wine—as in trying new ones, tastings, going to wine country, going on wine cruises and learning about wines. My best friends are also into wine. We have entire weekends where we open bottle after bottle of fabulous wines and most of the conversation is about it. So after much thought, it is important Mr. Soon-To-Be enjoys wine. Why? Because I don’t want to take someone with me to all these “wine” things and feel they’re are bored and wondering how much longer. This evokes low energy that feels heavy and puts a damper on things. I don’t want to have to beg to do things I love to do. So after much thought, Mr. STB needs to like wine. See how thinking things through just makes sense?
All of this I’ve done without logging onto a date site once. My homework now is:
> Decide the date sites I want to sign up on. Pheobe Jayne recommends choosing two to three sites.
> Start putting my profile together. What do I want to put out there to draw interest?
> Picking the photos I want to share, or have some taken. She says there should be one full body shot (that’s just great) and two headshots. All of the pictures need to be current, as in the last 30 days—not 30 years. The goal is for someone to be able to recognize you from your picture and not think you sent your mother in your place.
By the time you read my next entry, I will have signed up and hopefully been “winked” at a time or two. This should be interesting. While I never go into anything expecting to fail, my thoughts can’t seem to get beyond “just looking” status. We shall see. My favorite part is sharing the experience with you. You know what they say? When you least expect it, expect it.
Look for the next installment, “Managing your profile, Deflecting the Scams and Online Predators,” in the March issue of Pink.