Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Internet Oooh la la

Sunday, in one of the New York papers online, there was an interesting (to me) article about a woman who put up an internet site to get dates for lunch. She evidently then writes about the men, the meals, and how it all went. Her aim is one hundred men. Since I had read the book 'A Round-Heeled Woman' by Jane Juska, which was about a woman of a certain age who placed an ad in a literary magazine to attract sex and romance to her life, I was definitely intrigued enough to read--Take me out for lunch.

From the looks of it, Babe has all the right moves in her blog to attract men. She was honest about what she's looking for and understood she was putting up an advertisement, not a hundred reasons why a man wouldn't want lunch with her. She was gutsier than I'd ever be by posing in a French maid's costume, but then she had the figure and youth (guessing 30s somewhere) to pull it off. I am assuming the men took the costume as a sign she has a sense of humor. I know I did. She has links to some interesting articles she has written-- one for women who want to meet men through the Internet.

If you aren't single, you likely have no idea how many ways there are for singles and marrieds , to meet up on-line. There are the general match sites like match.com but also niche sites for those who are looking for specific things in a partner-- like one just for millionaires! Or one for the 'beautiful' people where you audition with photos of you.

Maybe as a writer, maybe just as someone curious about people, I have found reading male and female profiles at match sites to be interesting. A profile is where people lay it all out and tell others who they are and what they are looking for. Some lay out more than others. I had a rude awakening at a Yahoo match place where in viewing profiles, it asked if you wanted to see adult profiles. I clicked on yes-- after all, I am an adult. I was definitely not prepared for pictures of what some men think is their best feature (men friends have told me some women do the same. I never went back to check).

A few years ago, in a magazine I enjoy reading, I saw an ad for an online, western oriented, niche site to find friends and mates. I looked over the site, and the men and women there looked like people with whom I'd have something in common.

Having read other people's profiles for awhile, done one of my own, I have a few opinions about what makes effective profiles-- take it for what it is-- simply my opinion. To start, I think writing a profile is good for anybody whether you intend to join such places or not. It forces you to think about who you are, what you are interested in. If you were to succinctly describe yourself, what comes first as being your most important attribute or value? Writing about what you want in someone else is also healthy for similar reasons. You are focusing on 'self' and 'other.'

In profiles, it does no good to ignore issues that would be deal breakers for you-- nor is it helpful to fake who you are. If you did find a friend that way and you had lied about big issues, how long would the relationship last? But you also don't need to lay out your entire life history to people who are basically strangers (some like me reading them out of curiosity). If you are still angry about failed relationships in your past, you are more likely to be successful in a new one if you get rid of that anger toward the opposite sex first. It's amazing how anger shows through in profiles.

When I read other women's profiles at my western site, there were some that were so appealing I would imagine they were bombarded by male interest. Then there were the one-of-a-kind types. One of those I especially remember had a picture cute as can be (think Reba McEntire) but her profile sounded like an extremely sad, country western, cry-in-your-beer song. In meeting someone online, there is a time where you need to let prospective partners know what you have gone through; but in a match site, I don't think it's the profile. Hers read like a soap opera. Was her profile fiction? Whoever knows with such places?

Another young woman with gorgeous pictures described herself as a cattleman's daughter, who could rope, ride, work all day with the cattle or horses and still put on that silky little black dress at night to go out dancing. Her profile read like a romance novel character-- most especially as she described her parents as being former model mother and big handsome rancher dad. I would have loved to see if she attracted the right type of man to deal with the competition of that strong of a father. That's the bad part with reading profiles; you rarely know how the story ends.

For those of you who might someday join a match site, look at your profile, and most especially the photo with it, as fishing. You are putting out bait. Maybe that sounds superficial but it's sometimes easiest to use a simple analogy to understand something. If you joined a match site, you are there to be noticed and by the right kind of fish-- not a shark unless it's what you were fishing for.

A photograph is usually what draws someone in to look at your words. A sexy picture, if sex is not your main goal, is likely going to be a mistake. The photograph, which angle is chosen, what is in the background, what you are wearing, can all be additonal statements about who you are. To not have a picture at all is like dropping the hook in the water without a fly or worm on it. You might attract some to read your words but not nearly as many. I don't personally think (this is clearly a woman's view) glamour or drop-dead-good-looks draws as much response as people who appear interesting, lively, and have a look in their eyes that says they are open, caring and excited about life.

Some think the internet is filled with those searching for cheap flings, obviously for some sites, that's true; but the people I heard from were mostly wanting friends or a partner, their last real love. Certainly there are risks in having a profile up or meeting someone from online. There also is in church, at the neighborhood bar, or anywhere else you meet someone new. From what I observed, the internet is not a bad place to look for love-- if you choose wisely from the people who contact you, don't give out too much information too fast, take some time getting to know each other from a distance, and are careful where you have that first meeting. Oh, and loan nobody money nor pay their plane fare anywhere. The stories I heard....


Fran aka Redondowriter said...

I miss visiting, Rain, and will be back very soon.

Parapluie said...

Wouldn't it be great to have a site for creative artists to leave their profile just like the friendship ones only leaving a picture of their own self portrait? Do you think anyone would respond to just a picture without a written statement? Where are these sites?

Rain said...

I like that idea of an artist site with self portraits. I painted myself many years ago but should try it again now. Actually looking for something to illustrate this piece, I took one of my pictures and played with it on the corel program, and turned out some interesting effects but it didn't help tell the story; so it didn't get used.

I suspect that just a picture, if it was the right one, would get some responses at least to ask why if nothing else. Be an interesting experiment

robin andrea said...

What an interesting post, Rain. I've never thought about doing online friendship sites. My sister once joined a few of those match-up places, but was really disappointed by the men she met. Something was just not right with each one of them.

I have found that blogging has expanded my world and brought in new people. We have a few friends here in our new adopted home, but we're both homebody types, so we don't socialize much. We are often the first to break a date with some of our new friends.

I like the idea of having pen-pals, but I'm not really up for meeting lots of people. Did you plan on meeting any of these new friends, or was it going to be strictly an online friendship?

It would be interesting to write a profile. I think I would be compelled to fabricate a new personality and identity. I'm afraid the one I have in real life is rather sullen and stand-offish. I wouldn't attract a soul!

Dick said...

I have given thought to online matching places. I lost my wife to death last summer and, while not wanting to rush into another relationship, I loved being married to a great person and want that same thing again. I don't go to bars, all those I meet at church are already happily married as are those I meet most other places, so I don't know where else to look. Maybe I'll get brave and try it a year or so after her death.

I enjoy reading your posts although I don't always fully agree with you. But we wouldn't want to live in a place where every one was the same. I sent a link to you to a young friend on the east coast who I think would like to read your writings. It will be interesting to see if she comes over to check your blog out.

Rain said...

robin andrea, I have made some good friendships online over the 10 years I have had internet access. Some I have met for real and others not yet but likely someday. I thought that would be the case with whoever I might've met through the western site.

and Dick, I think with the match sites, it's just get to know people and see how it goes. There are a lot of nice people and I think you get more chance to meet them if you are open to various ways of connecting. I've heard of good marriages off internet but also some negative experiences. The main thing is go slow and not everybody online is honest with who they are but everyone I have met has been exactly who they said they were. I agree with you that we don't always have to agree and I enjoy reading people's comments here who see things differently than I do. People can disagree and still respect each other. I read your site also :)

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Very interesting observations on the singles meet market scene on the internet. I noticed that there was a feature tonight on some news program about eHarmony. I've had a few friends who have met their marriage partners there.

I did do the Plenty of Fish thing before I got so busy at work, but I quickly saw that at my age, I'm not likely to meet perky like-minded men--but you never know, I guess. More I think I've come to the conclusion that my life is rich without a male, but it would be nice to cuddle in bed on winter nights. I simply give myself away; I'm such a people pleaser.

Anonymous said...

I find some information here.