Midnight on the weekend… and all across town mobile phones are lighting up with text messages. What are you doing? Busy?
The midnight fisherfolk are engaged in a huge interconnected auction trying to find the most attractive person willing and able to sleep with them that night.
But no-one likes being a back-up plan so the fisherfolk (both men and women) have to keep meeting new prospects.
Which is where internet dating comes in.
Having been at it for a year I thought I’d share, if not the secrets of success with dating in Canberra, then at least some of the more disastrous ways it can go horribly wrong.
First you need to find a site. RSVP claims to be the biggest (and bigger generally means better), Lavalife has its fans but I can’t say I’ve tried it, OkCupid doesn’t have a lot of people on, but DOES do a very good job suggesting matches, more importantly it’s free, most of the others cost an arm and a leg.
There’s also a plethora of friendfinders, matchmakers, and whatever else a dodgy self styled entrepreneur has come up with this week, your mileage will vary, don’t part with your money until you’ve checked out there’s a large and active community of whatever you’re looking for.
Dating sites featuring the word “Adult” tend to be chokkers with scammers, prostitutes, and fat 50 year old women putting Coopers bottles in places one rather wishes they wouldn’t.
They all tend to work the same way. You tell the site what you’re looking for, it shows you a bunch of profiles that match the criteria, you send a wink or a kiss to the ones you’re interested in. If they send a positive one back then you send an email to the object of your desire, and take it from there.
For women it tends to be a case up of post a new profile with a moderately attractive photo and be inundated by desperate, normally rather dull, men.
As a rule the guys pay to make contact. Get used to it fellas, generally you’ll be paying for drinks and dinner too.
A trick for new players at the game is falling for a profile. For a start they tend to be a pretty idealised view of anyone. But more importantly just because you’ve read a 500 word sketch of who they are, and really liked it, doesn’t mean they feel the same way about you.
So it’s a volume game. The midnight fisherfolk are SMSing a lot of numbers, and you’ve got to meet a lot more people to get any numbers. Send 10 kisses, get back 8 rejections (it can be brutal), start talking to the two who responded.
One clicks in email, IM, phone, the other doesn’t. Arrange a date with the one left.
There are some pitfalls to a blind first date.
- 1) We make time for what we want. If it’s too much bother for either of you to fix a decent meetup then one or both of you just aren’t that into it. Don’t get angry about it, just move on. In the rare cases where they really do like you but are really busy they’ll come back when the time is right.
2) Do not meet for coffee. Blind dates are stressful. The last thing you need to be doing is knocking back espresso while you wait for your invariably late date to show up. A nice bar (where you are not too well known to the staff and the clientelle), preferably one that does food so you can upgrade to dinner if things go well, is a much better option.
3) Don’t settle for less than a proper date. A 3pm meetup indicates they have little real interest in you but just want to take a look in case they’re wrong.
4) Ostentatious dinners are a no-no. I know a girl who got taken to Axis in the National Museum as a first date. The pressure of the surroundings and the cost of the meal killed off any chances the overpaying swain might have had.
Relaxed, comfortable, flexible is what you’re after. King O’Malleys in Civic is great for this stuff and if you hit it off there are options for later. But any of the better suburban bars that do food will see you right.
It’s really important to manage your own expectations. Sex on first dates happens, but so does not even a kiss by the fifth date (although that’s deep into timewaster territory). Take condoms, don’t expect to be using them.
I went on a first date last year that went really well. When I asked her if she wanted to see me again she said “I’d really like to, but I’m seeing four other guys this week, I’ll let you know how you stack up.” (As it happens we ended up going out for a few weeks until deciding neither of us could be bothered after all).
It’s a strange game of musical chairs, everyone’s excited and confused. Everyone’s talking to and seeing a lot of people.
At some point when you’ve had a few dates and decide you like someone it’s time for a conversation about all those other people you’re both seeing.
(Alternatively another woman last year informed me she’d made a decision when I discovered via Facebook that my relationship status was changing from “single” to “in a relationship”.)
The final thing to watch out for is geography.
Where you choose to live is a reflection of your priorities.
Tuggeranong and Gungahlin are roughly the same place, as are Woden and Belconnen, I even hear an Inner Souther can manage a relationship with an Inner Northican. But a homeowner in Richardson is unlikely to ever have a healthy relationship with a share-houser in Lyneham. It might happen, but considering everything else you’re up against it’s a longshot.
Next Week: Tales of the Midnight Fisherfolk – The lies!
(If you’ve got an amusing tale about modern dating in any form feel free to email it in to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion, confidentiality guaranteed)