What Not To Do On The Gay Dating Apps
He’s in LA; I’m in Atlanta. We chatted online for six months. I really fell for him even though we’d never met. He’d say profound things to me like, “I love you” or that He writes poetry about me. He was supposed to fly into Atlanta and have me pick him up. I waited and waited but He didn’t arrive. I stayed at the airport for 3 hours before deciding to go to a friend’s house nearby to wait for him to call again. Somehow He went to voicemail, saying that I’d stood him up, so He went back to LA. Now He won’t return my emails, texts or calls. I’m crushed, and I just can’t rest until I know why He ended it. How bad is it to ask for closure from someone you’ve never met? I mean, if you’re talking every night for months doesn’t He owe you something?
— Crushed in Decatur
Most online dating injuries occur when people like you fall from their desperation onto their IQ. For all you know, “He” was a 16-year-old boy telling his friends, “watch this” whenever you got online. You want closure? The better question is, “how can I reverse my lobotomy?”
It may be too late for you but maybe I can warn off all the other pre-lobotomites. While I’m a big fan of online dating/hookups it’s got a few sinkholes that’ll swallow you whole if you don’t pay attention.
First, nobody’s real until you meet them. If you haven’t had a face-to-face after some heavy emailing, texting or calling, hit the delete button. The other person’s either married or a narcissist who likes the attention but lacks the intention. But most likely their face will remind you of a wrench—one look and your nuts will tighten up. You can still meet them if they don’t live in Atlanta — through webchat. Insist on it. If they demur, DELETE.
Second, everyone is guilty until proven innocent. Of seriously misrepresenting themselves, that is. You know those pictures that tent your jeans? Photoshopped to death. Ahem, just like yours. There are two rules of thumb when it comes to judging pictures: 1) People look as good as the worst picture in their profile. 2) If they’ve only got one or two pictures, it means they’re so ugly they couldn’t get more without the camera battery exploding. 3) If they don’t have a picture at all, they’re in a sensitive job or a rotten marriage.
Third, almost everyone lies online. In a study of online deception, a Cornell University professor found that 9 out 10 people lie in popular dating sites like Match.com and Yahoo Personals. Women tend to lie about their weight; men about their height. And pictures? Women were three times more likely to alter their photos than men. On average, women’s photos were 18 months old, and men’s six months old.
Interesting factoid: Liars tend not to use “I” and “me” in their emails and IMs. It’s called “psychological distancing” – a strategy that keeps their identity separate from their lies.
Luckily, the study found that the magnitude of the deceptions was usually small–most of them difficult to detect face-to-face. So why lie? Because if you don’t get too carried away, it works. If all He needs to hear is that you’re six foot tall, when you’re really 5’11”, what’s the harm in lying? An extra inch only hurts in the bedroom. The trick is to lie enough to get coffee, but no so much you don’t get sex.
The point of going online isn’t to have endless phone conversations and weave chat threads into adorable little sweaters. It’s to MEET. Men have substantial –and valid–safety concerns but if you’ve met them—by emotionally connecting, offering to talk first or meet through webchat and He’s still stringing you along, DELETE.
And by that, I mean his profile, not your brains.