A little courtesy goes a long way

If your grandmother is (or was) anything like mine, you’d have a hard time getting her to understand how to open an email attachment. So the idea of turning to her for online dating tips might seem preposterous. But if you apply one of her most basic pieces of advice – “Mind your manners” – to just about any online situation, you’re going to get better results. And if you get the chance to test your virtual success by meeting one of your matches in the real world, I hope you’ll bear at least the standard Emily Post wisdom in mind.

But before you even get to that stage, you’ve got to line up dates. And despite your best efforts, they may not always go so well. Here’s an example:

Let’s-Call-Her-Alice had been dating women she’d met on popular free sites like OkCupid and POF for a few months when she went out for a meal (hint: not a good first date) with Let’s-Call-Her-Jamie. As is often the case, they spent the first several minutes discussing their respective internet dating misadventures – and their relief that at the very least, both of them seemed to be reasonably well-groomed adults who resembled their pictures quite closely. Then Alice raised the obvious question: why were they both still single?

Jamie started crying. Not just a little teardrop in the corner of the eye, or a quaver in the voice. Full on crying. Alice thought it was a joke at first. Then, when she realized she’d triggered something major, she offered a hanky. Just like Grandma (or Grandpa, if he was the right kind of manly) would have done. Then, twenty minutes later – with Jamie still carrying on, seemingly inconsolable – she left.

That night, she went home to close her two online dating accounts, determined never again to waste her time and money on a real life encounter with a freak she’d met on the Internet. Then she looked in her inbox, and realized that she still had another date scheduled. For the following afternoon.

Jamie started crying. Not just a little teardrop in the corner of the eye, or a quaver in the voice. Full on crying.

Desperate though she was to cancel, she realized that it would be the height of rudeness to do so on such short notice. And besides, her prospective date had a very cute picture. So she put her game face and date makeup on, and braced herself for another grim reminder that the only thing worse than a lifetime of loneliness was an hour of craziness. If only she’d met crying Jamie a day earlier, she could have begged off. But less than 12 hours is unacceptable except in cases of emergency, and Alice is a person of conscience.

And had she canceled, Alice would never have met Let’s-Call-Her-Tracy. And when they did meet, even though she had a really really really great horror story to tell – she sat on it.

(Because  talking about bad dates – even though it’s something to which all online romance seekers can relate – is bad etiquette if you’re hoping to have a good date, in my professional opinion. At least, right out of the gate it is.)

Plus, Tracy was even cuter than her picture. And she laughed a whole lot harder at that story when she finally heard it – at their engagement party.

A little courtesy goes a long way, lovers – and in all kinds of ways you could never predict. Be nice to each other every chance you get.



4 Thoughts on “A little courtesy goes a long way

  1. John on May 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm said:

    Very funny yet heartwarming story.

    Is it ok to talk about 3rd party dating experiences while on a first date? ;)

    • If the date was arranged by a third party – and dating sites would qualify, of course – then it’s probably going to come up naturally. How could it not?

      I think the key is not dwelling excessively on anything negative in a first meeting. Even if it does seem quite germane, and the hilarious story you could tell about it might be just riveting enough to cement a second date.

      Why? Because by drawing attention to how often things go wrong in a “blind date” situation, I believe you cast just a little doubt on your own judgment by being there – never mind what you’re unconsciously saying about your companion. You never want to highlight desperation – even if it’s not your own, or you don’t think it is.

      A brief acknowledgment of the fact that yes, it’s weird that we “met “online (or through a friend or whatever the case may be) should be enough for that first encounter. If more follow, it’ll become part of your own funny story, if you’re lucky enough :)

  2. John on May 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm said:

    Good points.

    Looking forward to future posts.


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