Sunday, September 27, 2009

Becka, 70: Internet dating winks, flirts, and peeves

Becka, 70, the most active member of my senior online dating posse, has been trying to puzzle out the internet dating maze. Here's her third report:

Trying to decode the mystique of the internet dating scene is a little like being lost in the middle of a Dan Brown book. “What does it all mean?” you ask yourself – many times.

My first piece was titled “Wading Into the Senior Internet Dating Pool.” I erred. The experience is more like being thrown fully clothed into the deep end of your neighbor's pool which has not been cleaned for months!

I've discovered that these dating sites pad their numbers by keeping people on the rolls who have not visited in months, in some cases, years. They are, in effect, ghosts and will not, of course, respond to your inquiries.

Despite the ghosts, I have received a slew of responses. Some men who liked my profile responded right away and a day later sent me petulant “pokes” as to why I had not answered. Hold yer horses, buster! I've yet to figure out both the etiquette and the technology of this thing. But one thing I do know, I'm deleting the guy, age 65 who is looking for a woman 40-60!

Some of the choices you have for communicating are “icebreakers,” “winks” and “flirts.” I don't know about you, but I've never winked at a guy in my life unless he was under the age of 8. If you are 60 or older, chances are you will not be comfortable taking the aggressive role. Okay, go to your corners and come out flirting! Luckily for you, it's all anonymous. That makes you braver than you thought you'd ever be with men you don't know -- and might not want to know.

Some peeves:

  • Senior Match encouraged me to fill out a personality form only to disclose that I could use it if I paid. I didn't like the subterfuge. But I'm finding out that if you don't like subterfuge, don't try internet dating.
  • A number of guys had signed up with two different user names, so if you rejected them once, you get a second chance to reject them all over again.
  • On all of the sites I found links that didn't work, windows you had to check but they didn't drop down for you, and pages that would not come up.
  • On one site I could not choose my state and so I received a dozen interested queries, the closest being from a man 750 miles away.

But I soldiered on and learned some surprising things.

Thank you, Becka! Coming soon -- what did Becka learn?

Would you like to join our senior online dating posse and report on your internet dating experiences for the education and entertainment of our readers? Email me.

Note from Joan: I apologize for posting about a particular dating site's special free weekend offer recently. I don't know if the site was overloaded or what, but one reader reported that after spending forever filling out the long questionnaire, the site gave an error message. She wasn't about to start all over again, so she emailed customer service to find out if what she had done was saved so she could continue from there. She got a form email telling her to phone -- but no one manned the phones on the weekend, and the free offer would be over by the time the phones opened. She gave up and receives frequent solicitation emails from them now. I deleted my post about the site's free weekend, so don't bother looking for it. I'm not naming the site now because I don't know if this was one person's freak experience or that's what happened to many of you -- let me know.

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