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On-Line Dating IV
(aka: A Gal’s Gotta Eat!)
Up to and including post # 2300
(c) Time Inc., New Media. Reprinted with permission
for more information and conversation about The Rules please visit
The Rules Board

What do you wish you knew when you began OL Dating? What are some of the things you've learned the hard way?

weezy - Feb 9, 2000
Weed fast. If you're not sure about a guy's first e-mail, read it again the next day and see how he measures up then. More likely than not, he'll be nexted on the second read.
Pictures. Get pictures. If he doesn't get you a pic there's a reason.

LRaine - Feb 10, 2000

Which service to use?

MissRed - Dec 26, 1999
Many of us are using it's a pay service so generally you'll find more people who are serious about meeting someone(not always). They all have a fair shair of jerks. You can do a free trial and see how you like it. There are a series of multiple choice and essay questions. You get a better response when you post a photo too.

marigold2 - Dec 27, 1999
there are tons of places to put your ad. Ones I've seen used here by some of the gals are Yahoo!, Excite, AOL, MMaker, etc.

Belle - Dec 27, 1999
I've had the most success with AOL.COM and Others here swear by and AOL and Excite are free, the others have free trial periods and then you pay a pretty minimal fee (IMO).

Belle - Jan 5, 2000
The most used services on this board are and They have free trial memberships and then you have to pay. Some other people (myself included) use and Those services are free. You are better off placing an ad, putting up a picture and waiting for the guys to write you first. You don't have to put up a picture, but you get a better response if you do.

LRaine - Jan 6, 2000
I personally didn't like nor MM. Might be just my area. My best responses (quality and quantity) have been from excite and one-and-only.

weezy - Jan 7, 2000
I've had the most responses from, so it's also had the best men and worst wackos. aol hasn't been as good. Only two or three responses from there I've taken the trouble to answer, most were just dull dull dull, at least for this area.
I liked MM better than but haven't checked out the match site lately, so it may have changed. Still haven't gotten around to one and only so can't give you any help there.

Newspaper ads vs. On-Line ads

AngelHeart - Jan 3, 2000
I am a qualified expert on newspaper personals. That is the only method I used until just this year, when I ventured into the on-line dating. I much, much prefer the newspaper personals, although, with on-line you do get a picture....(sometimes, not all guys have them). What I dislike about on-line is that it often remains in e-mail. With the newspapers, the guy leaves his number and if you're lucky, it will show up on reverse directory so you can at least get his full name. However, since many people have unlisted numbers, this doesn't always work....:(
also, with the newspaper ads, I get to hear the guy's voice right away and judge the quality of his answer. Again, some guys leave just a brief message due to the cost but most often, they really go into detail!!! As I live in a rural area, the phone number is also important so that I can find out what city the guy lives could be three hours from me!!! (And often has been even more than that!) Right away that rules him out.
You move it to RL right away with the newspaper ads. Leave a message for the guy, opposite of the time he says is good. For instance, he might be a shift worker and tell you to call between noon and 3. So of course you call at night. If he works regular hours and says, call after 8 pm, or whatever, then you leave the message during the day. I never give them the best time to reach me. I just say hi, this is AngelHeart, you answered my ad, and my phone number is......since guys may answer more than one ad leave some identifying info, such as, my ad is the one looking for the knight in shining armour, or whatever handle you have used.

Should we answer men’s ads?

MissRed - Dec 26, 1999

I have had very little success answering mens ads. Partially because it puts you in the position of chasing them.

LRaine - Jan 6, 2000

Let them respond to your ad. Pick the ones you like and reply within a couple of days. Then try to get them into real life. My trick is to increase how long I reply to their emails. For example: I reply to an initial response within a day. Their next email, 2 days. Then 3, then 4, ... they soon learn I'm not a penpal and will either poof or ask for a number.

What should our ads be like?

MissRed - Dec 26, 1999

It's best if you are light and brezy in your ad. No serious stuff, just fun and flirty with no sexual comments (cuz the nuts will come out).

Belle - Jan 3, 2000

On Love@AOL there isn't that much room for "dialogue." Just fill out the questionnaire, I personally leave blank the stuff where it asks you to choose one and then gives you a box to "further describe." The key fields are "Your favorite quote or personal thought" you should put in something cute and flirty. Under "What do you like to do" you can list any hobbies or sports that might be interesting to the men you want to meet. For "Anything else we should know about you" you can put "you'll have to write me to find out" or something cutesy. Leave blank anything negative you don't want to answer. Put in lots of smileys. Don't be sarcastic, it doesn't come across properly in the ad. And just remember LESS IS MORE!!! Don't be wordy or too specific in what you are looking for. If you put down that you only want men who are 6' tall, all the guys who are 5'8" will respond (and then when you meet them you will see that they are really 5'5").

neesa - Jan 3, 2000

If you are attractive or very attractive, I think it's ok to say so in your ad.
If your ad will be O/L, definitely include a photo. Then, I think its best not to say anything, as men find different types of women attractive.

Okay, I'm finishing up my ad for AOL. I have a few questions.
For iBody Style - I am a little overweight so should I put "a few extra pounds" or just not respond to it?
For iWants Children - I'm thinking of "yes" or "no preference."
For iPersonal Thought - I want to put in a story (about 2 paragraphs) about a man throwing a starfish back into the sea, someone says why bother because there are so many, & he replies that it makes a difference to that starfish. (I don't know if you have heard that one before).
Now for focusing on one aspect that I like in a man. I have it narrowed down to 2: intelligence and activity-oriented. Too shallow? And I don't want them to go overboard, i.e. a rocket scientist might be too smart and I don't want someone who is always on the go, but just likes to do a variety of things. And any suggestions on how to word it. I have trouble with wording things and getting down what I want to say (although that may be hard to believe with this long post).

Belle - Jan 4, 2000

For Body Style
If you are posting a pic, don't answer it (let them decide). If you aren't posting a pic then be honest.
For Wants Children
Doesn't matter, if you want kids, say so. If you're not sure, then put undecided
For Personal Thought
One sentence only, no stories. They don't read them.
Now for focusing on one aspect that I like in a man. I have it narrowed down to 2: intelligence and activity-oriented. Too shallow?
I don't know, I don't put anything down about what I want in a man. I just know what I don't want :)

Parmesan - Jan 6, 2000

Someone on the old board had mentioned not being very attractive (or this was her opinion). I would advise posting a picture anyway dear, because, and I'm using this philosophy for myself and hold it in general - it would ultimately cut down on rejection IRL. Unless of course you reject them. You know he is at least attracted to your picture before he even responds. TRII mentions something about some very good-looking guys being attracted to plain women. The point was that models/moviestar actresses shouldn't necessarily be going after this type because he may not be interested in the model/moviestar type, even if he is one himself.

Do you put up your picture?
LRaine - Jan 6, 2000

I don't, but I know many do. What I do is include a link to my photo at the end of my first or second reply, so they can get a picture immediately but don't judge me initially on just my photo.

Are you specific about what you are looking for (a possible long-term relation, marriage, kids, etc)??

LRaine - Jan 6, 2000

I'm not.

What is the best type of photo to post? What if I don't have a scanner or a digital camera? What kinds of places will scan it for me for a reasonable price?

soledad - Jan 18, 2000

I don't know what "type" of photo is best to post, but these days just about any photo developing place (from one-hour photostops to drugstores to mailorder) will offer you the option of getting your photos on disk or CD as well as developed normally. When I got a roll developed like this, it was $4 extra for a 24-exposure roll.
Copy stores (like Kinko's) will often scan a photo for you. I think that costs around $10.
The disk will come with viewing software (no need to buy special software).

weezy - Jan 18, 2000

Kinko's costs about $3 per picture you scan. They charge by the minute (!) but they show you how to run the stuff and it's pretty easy to work the programs. Just come with your own disk because they don't provide them.

BridgetJ - Jan 19, 2000

Not too casual... no jeans... Remember, you want to stand out from the rest of the girlz. None of that "I'm lying on the bed and this is my cleavage" stuff either.... yeesh.
I had a head shot and a full length shot in mine (long summer dress, indoors...)
And most importantly... SMILE!!! :)

chameleon q - Jan 19, 2000

I would recommend two shots - head shot and full length standing. Make sure you look good, but also make sure it's a look you can easily recreate so that when they see you, they aren't disappointed because they were expecting Miss Glamourshot.

When do we respond and how?

MissRed - Dec 26, 1999

When you do get responses, try to be very brief in your answers, Most of us find it works out much better to move them to the phone quickly and get away from the pen pal trap. By being brief, it usually gets them to ask for the number, because they aren't going to get a bunch of info out of you via e-mail. Some will give up. But that's ok.....It makes the weeding out process much easier.

When they email you first how do you normally respond? Do you ask them questions or do you ask them to tell you about themselves?

Belle - Jan 6, 2000

My first response is short and sweet and "BTW do you have a pic?" No pic, no more e-mail. If they respond back that they have no pic but they are "very handsome" or something like that, RUN FAR AWAY!!!!

LRaine - Jan 7, 2000

Depends on what they say. I normally only reply to someone who's mentioned something specific from my ad and/or something specific from their own life. Then I ask them for more info.
{heehee} Once, my only response was that I liked his cat!

What do you do if you get a response from a personal from someone you are not interested in? How do you tactfully let them know?

BridgetJ - Jan 9, 2000

Just don't reply. It feels "rude" at first, but really, it's not. It's better to "smile, delete" than to make a big deal over why you're not interested.

confidential7 - Jan 10, 2000

I agree, if you are not interested...don't reply. You are certainly under no obligation.

Who to delete, who to keep…

rulesrubyslippers - Jan 11, 2000

I delete those who respond to my ad that don't specifically mention something in my profile. I think some men just send out general emails to several ladies to see who will respond.
With the read my email and respond if interested. I usually ignore, but if there was something that caught my interest, I MIGHT, write back with a ;) or something very vague.
For me its a combo of looks and profile and what he writes. Looks for me should be generally in my catagory, its who a man is, what makes him more or less attractive to me. Also, if he smokes for me he's out, if mentions sex, he is out. If he mentions his wife, exgirlfriend, I just broke up with someone, all women are idiots kinda of thing, he's out. I try to see if we might be at all compatible - even if this just means can I stand to have coffee with this guy for 30 minutes. Then how much effort he puts into it. I usually respond in 24 hours in the beginning, but he needs to pursue. I had one, who wrote nice pic :o), I wrote thanks :o). he wrote whats your dogs name ;o). I wrote xxxxxx ;). Enough is enough LOL!

LRaine - Jan 12, 2000

1) Basic requirements: I have a list of bare minimums that a guy must have. As soon as I find he's missing one of them, next! Now, we'll each have our own lists, so please consider this as only an example:
Single/Divorced, 25-40 years old, no drugs, some education (preferably BS/BA or greater), within an hour's drive, has a career - not just a job
2) In his reply, I look for something I can reply to or comment on easily. If I can't find something to converse about while reading his ad or response, then I get the feeling he's just boring or not really interested.
3) I also look for red flags in each email. Does he mention an ex in a horrid or overly-detailed way? Is he inappropriately explicit? Stuff like that.

Urban_K - Feb 6, 2000

I can't believe that I am cyber next'ing men! I next the ads with:

1. a girl, any girl cut of the picture, (dudes need to take a pics by themselves, sheeesh)

2. the email address has some sex thing (, etc.)

3. handsome men who aren't willing to travel the distance for a date.

4. anyone who *occasionally smokes* or prefers not the say, (I'm guessin the recreational weed counts!)

bizbug - Feb 6, 2000

Please let me add a few NEXTable offenses:

1. Any guy that sends a one line matter how cute they sound.

2. Any guy that doesn't tell me his age in 2 emails.

3. Any guy that says "you won't be disappointed..." (A BIG pet peeve...How the hell do they know what may or may not disappoint me!?!?)

Do you consider men who are outside one or two of your criteria if they're interesting enough?

LRaine - Feb 15, 2000

It depends on what's missing. I keep a list of "Must have's", "Nice to have's", and "Nextable's" for anyone I date. So if I meet a guy who has all of my musts but does drugs, he's out of the picture because drugs are on my Nextable list. However, if he's missing something from the nice list, then why not?

MissRed - Feb 15, 2000

Absolutely! If the other interests provide a balance, yes. There is criteria and then there is an unspoken criteria. Some are Deal breakers....i.e... lives to far away, married, separated (won't go there again),way out of the age range, and other things that just don't feel like a good fit. most of the time I get a feel from his profile...

If something rubs me the wrong way, I wont respond. Sometimes it could be nothing more than a photo that is not appealing to me,or if someone is sexually suggestive in their correspondence, It's a next.

bizbug - Feb 15, 2000

I ALWAYS consider men that are outside of one or two of my criteria. For instance, I prefer shorter men, but I just met a guy that is 6'4" and is definitely a keeper...for now! I have the list of criteria for "my man" in my head, but I know that when I finally meet "the one" IRL, he'll probably deviate from that list a little.

So you think it's bad form for them to tell you to check out their profile? Isn't that what I heard here somewhere?

Belle - Jan 17, 2000

Yes it's bad form. Shows lack of effort on their part. They can just whip out 1,000 e-mails that say "See my ad."

How do you get a guy who has admited he is shy and likes to write and write e-mails to get to know a person, to stop writing and set up a zero date IRL? I want to respect his comfort zone but OMG I want him to meet me before he knows everything about me.

shakinglikemilk - Jan 22, 2000

Don't give him too much in the e-mails. Just one or two lines. Plus your phone number and a :).
If you feed him by e-mail, he won't be hungry to see you IRL.

weezy - Jan 22, 2000

Also space out your replies. Each time add another day before writing back so he realizes you're losing interest and -- let's hope -- takes action.
You can also tell him you aren't really interested in a pen-pal situation.

Systems for Keeping Track of Who’s Who

TheBestPeach - Feb 14, 2000

I cut and paste profiles onto their own page in Word, create a folder using their screen name, type their bday in at the top with their real name when I get it. Save photos in same folders to open in Photoshop when I need to. To save photos, right-click within the photo and you will be given a menu. "Save as" then choose the same folder and put photo1, etc.

Does that make sense?

I do the same with their email and my responses. It's one doc named email that I keep in their folder, and as our correspondence continues, I keep cutting and pasting into that running document.

I know, it can get confusing! But also so much fun. (Said with tongue in cheek.)

MissRed - Feb 14, 2000

I had to do a notebook after last fall, before I met CoP. I had soo many men in pursuit, I couldn't keep them all straight. It can be even more difficult when you find 2 with the same first name. I found that by printing out each profile and subsequent emails, along with writing notes on the pages during phone convo's it helped tremdously. Just be sure to hide them well.

I'm not having that problem this time.... I'm nexting them all before the second date. :(

LRaine - Feb 15, 2000

I keep index cards with their username, real name, and info. Kinda like recipe cards... isn't it?

What to say When

....sometimes i like to go skinny dipping with a few close friends....tell me your prefrence in men..what turns you on at the beach...

ok witty RGs, how would you respond to that?

chameleon q - Dec 29, 1999

Don't respond. It's much easier to next a guy who means nothing to you, than to get all involved with him and find out he will always be crude and thoughtless about what is appropriate.

Belle Canto - Dec 29, 1999

A response would only reward his bad manners. Besides, would you want this caliber of guy in your life?

I really need help on what to say when they want to meet. This really stumps me. How do you nicely say, you need to figure this out and plan everything without sounding like a snot? Anyone good at this?

I feel funny suggesting a restaurant, because I don't want it to be too expensive or too cheap, is this to hard core? I guess especially when he doesn't know the area.

LRaine - Jan 5, 2000

I stall. "Gee, I hadn't thought about it...{big pause until he feels edgy and starts talking again}"

If he doesn't know the area, though, I'll suggest a few different places, like, "Let's see... there's an Indian place here, a nice Italian place, a good coffee house, a really posh restaurant, ..." Then let him pick one.

I went out with an online guy the other nite. He was nice enough, but not for me. Is it appropiate to blow him off on e-mail? Or should I do it over the phone?

weezy - Jan 11, 2000

Has he asked you out for another date? Until he does, you don't actually have a chance to blow him off. If he does call for a date, you can say "no thank you" until he gets the message.

weezy - Jan 13, 2000

Having a little fun with the 26 year old. He wanted me to send him my pic. I did, but wrote "I thought you had already seen my pic with the ad."

"I did. I just wanted the real thing."

"But you don't have the real thing. You only have a photograph."

He wrote back in about 3 minutes wanting my number!

I met a guy on line, and so far we've met for drinks. He has asked me out for a second date next week but all of this "conversing" has been through email. He has not yet asked me for my phone number. I think this is strange. Also, in all honesty, I'm just duty-dating right now. I'm not very excited about this guy but I am willing to give him a second chance because maybe he was nervous. Should I accept the second date?

LRaine - Jan 14, 2000

Many of us won't even accept a first date without a phone call. And there are a few reasons for this:

Oh, and I strongly suggest getting caller id if you're doing OL-D. It's a big help!

He's been pretty good at doing all the pursuing, and phoning for dates etc. but all of a sudden, I find the ball sort of in my court. He asked if we could get together, and said he was free all day, forcing me to choose the time. I also think he is expecting me to decide what we'll be doing and let him know where and when to meet. Hmmm. How did this happen?!

LRaine - Jan 20, 2000

Sometimes, I've noticed, guys like to test us. To see if we'll take the burden off of them. I always counter with "What did you have in mind?" and avoid setting the time, plans, etc. Be elusive!

nika99 - Jan 20, 2000

Is this a situation where you are scheduling by email or on the phone? If this is email, I would try to move it to the phone just for ease in planning. If it's over the phone, stick with the "sounds good" and "what did you have in mind" routine and keep saying that (or variations thereof) until he finally comes up with a plan. Also, don't be afraid to use silence as a tool. I had one date zero turn into a dinner date (which was what I prefer even though I know it's frowned on here!) by having him suggest "coffee" no response, "a drink" no response and then "dinner" to which I said that sounds good!

"maybe before the spring, we might even be able to graduate to a phone call ... who knows."

Now I ask you ladies....maybe I'm getting a little rusty, but does this qualify as a request for my phone number?

kittshey - Jan 24, 2000

He's being coy. Don't give in. You could reply to this one statement with "You're right. Who knows?" and leave it at that.

What to say (and not say) about ourselves…

BridgetJ - Dec 29, 1999

Don't even discuss your financial status in your ad. Honestly I really don't think most guys care.

TaTa - Jan 22, 2000

"What happened in your marriage?"-This is way too personal. Way too personal. Don't answer garbage like this. Some of these people are just voyeurs.

How do I answer the question "tell me about yourself?" when I answer "what do you want to know?" he says "whatever you want to divulge?"

LRaine - Jan 5, 2000

Hey since everyone is snowed in, why dontchall help me with this one? This is part of his 3rd e-mail to me and he asked pretty much this same thing in the second, plus a couple of other questions. I just ignored the subject last time.

so tell me....what are you looking for in a'm looking for a woman of substance, who is intelligent and who isn't afraid to speak her mind...someone who will first and foremost be my tell me more about your interests...strengths/weaknesses...idea of a perfect date...inquiring minds want to know...gotta run, but talk to ya and have a great day!!!

BridgetJ - Jan 25, 2000

Sounds like a job interview!! Strengths and weaknesses?? bleh.

Just be short and sweet...

"More about me? Well, I love to (X), and I'm quite good at it..."

3 lines, all positives, no focusing on dislikes or negatives...

If he continues to push, say "well... I prefer for people to make those decisions on their own... *wink* "

If he doesn't ask for your number by then, fuggedabouthim.

In initial emails for example or on date zero, how do I answer the question: So, what do you *DO*? Say I'm a student? Semi-retired? On sabbatical? Or just between projects? I'd like a nice brief thing to say to people I don't really know.

nika99 - Jan 28, 2000

I was in a similar situation re: school. I usually described it as having gone BACK to school, and maybe gave a little info about the program I was in and why I was trying to change careers. I did this both in emails or on date zero. If you are back in school because you are following your heart, show that interest and enthusiasm for what you are doing - it's a very attractive quality!

LRaine - Jan 31, 2000

You could say simply that your pursuing a variety of interests at the moment... not that there's anything wrong with saying you're in graduate school (no matter what your age!).

The Basics…

BridgetJ - Dec 27, 1999

The quick pointers... Always meet in a public place; do not let him know where you live until after the first meeting... Remember that even if you have a picture of him, it could be a picture of another person!! Don't let the e-mail thing drag out... if he doesn't ask for your # early on (like 1st 2 weeks) chances are he never will... I prefer to chat on the phone first, some girls do not... But I think you can tell alot about a person by the way they SPEAK (as opposed to the way they write)... Keep your ad short and sweet... don't give away too much info/too many secrets... Keep the mystery... Appeal to their "visual" and "physical" sides (NOT their libidos!!) eg... mention that you enjoy lazing on the beach on a summer day... NOT that you look hot in a bikini!!

BridgetJ - Jan 5, 2000

One thing ~ get used to the A-holes if you're going to be doing Online dating. Something about the "security" of a screen name makes people lose their manners. Just "smile-delete" and go on with your day. Take NOTHING personally (even the good stuff!) Believe NOTHING until you meeet them In Real Life.... you never know if they're lying to you!

On the telephone thing ~ yes, there are conflicting opinions on this, as with most things, but particularly with O-LD.

Some girls feel safer making the first call (but ONLY the first call!) Some don't talk on the phone at all until after the first RL meeting (and they are more comfortable letting the guy know her #). Most, I think, expect Him to make the first call, a la TR, but extend that first call to longer than the 10 minute TR guideline... The opinion is that if you whisk him off the phone within 10 minutes before you ever meet, he may think you're not interested in meeting at all. I usually do NOT return his first call if he misses me (actually, I usually screen the first call anyway, to see how he sounds on the machine and to allow for time to trace the # from caller ID through reverse phone directory), but I will return the call after the 2d or 3d depending on how the message sounds, preferably when he's not home so I can leave a message in return. My current beau, TBN, left me 3 messages before he caught me, but not once left his # for me to call back... a true RG dream!

If he offers his number first, I think general consensus is to reply with "of course I'd love to chat IRL :)" (assuming you would) and then give him your # (if you're not uncomfortable with that for seafety reasons). Act as if his giving you his # was his way of asking for yours.... then let him call you.

If he insists "you call me" just smile-delete. Act as if you never even saw the question. Do NOT tell him to call you ~~ he has your number, he should figure that out on his own.

Never ever call the man first unless this is a strong consideration of personal safety for you (which is understandable). Some girls give out their cell phone # and others have a separate voicemail-only box set up, specifically for O-L guys, until they get to know them.

Most importantly, follow your gut. If there's something that makes you uncomfortable about a guy in IM or e-mail or on the phone, there is probably a reason. Do not worry about feeling rude. This is your life and your security... There are a LOT of great guys out there doing O-LD, but a lot of creeps too. (Just like IRL.) Anyone who does not respect your security concerns before you meet likely will not respect them after the fact.

Ruth15 - Jan 12, 2000

I've gone through several cycles of this with different ads, refining each time. Here's what I currently do –

I include about myself as little as possible beyond physical description. Physical description includes ht/wt/eye/hair color, plus I highlight what I feel are my best features (great smile, etc).

I then list the top ten characteristics or so I want in a guy. I answer any survey questions as L&B as possible, even trying to sound a little dingy (they figure out I'm intelligent from my job).

When I get responses, I try to respond back in 24-48 hours in beginning if I'm interested, longer if it's on the weekend. I never respond on Friday/Saturdays. I choose to respond based on their profile, their pic (if they have one), and how much effort they put into the email. For instance, I will respond to a guy with a so-so pic who puts a lot of effort in his email (sometimes RL looks different than pic, but OBVIOUS physical char. that I next on are facial hair/overweight/obviously too ugly to look at). I NEXT any wimpy guys who say things indicating they want me to do part of the work in the beginning, and any guys who write those short "HI" one liner emails (no effort, they expect you to wow them). I ignore guys who don't try to move things toward RL meeting w/in the first 3 emails (ask for pic or offer #, etc). I don't write too much in my reponses, but try to ask at least one Q to keep the conversation ball rolling. I keep it L&B. Some guys like to set up first meetings via email, which is fine with me. They may have safety concerns too!

I don't believe in making calls to guys EVER, so I ignore it when they offer me their number/ask to call. I would give them my # if they insisted on talking on phone first, but I really prefer to set up Date 0 via email for safety.

BridgetJ - Jan 24, 2000

Answer every e-mail until you've met IRL, if it gets that far. Just don't answer *immediately* ...

Some girls space the time between replies longer and longer until he asks for a phone # or gives up and next's himself (i.e. .. one day on the first e-mail, 2 on the 2d... 4 on the 3d...)

Personally, I try to reply if I've logged in, b/c they "know" I got the letter (on MM they can tell) and I feel it's rude to not reply.... If I'm in a rush, so much the better... I just say "sorry I have to keep this short but I wanted to reply to your note! :)"

Once you've moved to RL, curb the e-mail! You don't want to encourage that form of communication... It should be a tool for meeting, not for maintaining a relationship.

If they e-mail an "I'd like to see you again" simply reply with a smiley face :) They should get the hint that you're receptive but not going to accept e-mail planning since they have your number...

Three days in advance of a date, definitely!!!!

Pictures.. DEFINITELY!!!!

Phone... Depends on what you're comfortable with. I insist on a phone screen, to see if they can carry a conversation... A lot will come out in that first call. You may decide he's not worth meeting after all....

Others insist that he not know your # until after you've met...

That's a personal preference/safety issue.

Most importantly, TRUST YOUR GUT, and have fun!!! Don't fall in love until you've seen the whites (or yellows, in Miss Red's case) of their eyes!!

TiffanyGirl - Jan 31, 2000

Re *phone numbers*, I try not to pin down when they call. Usually I am not home or screening my calls so they will not get me anyways. I also don't want to be at home waiting. 2 out of 3 guys have called so far. Venture Capital guy hasn't--maybe he is still travelling through the states.

With the whole process, I don't keep track of emails, profiles and even delete their emails after awhile. I figure if they can't eventually make an appearance in *person*, the rest of the writing is jibberish and fantasy.

Almost the less you care and track, the better.

With respect to *pictures*, I am more into intelligence and ambition than looks, although I want to make sure they are not fat or gross. Most of the men don't look as good as they claim anyways. With surgeon guy, I forgot to ask for his picture and was too embarassed to ask for it after we talked. He turned out cute.

Also, I don't use online dating to meet *ordinary* guys or *rif raff* I could meet going out. I want specifically a guy with extreme intelligence and ambition and my profile clearly screams this. I haven't had as many responses as many girls because my picture isn't posted and most guys that don't qualify don't bother (they know better). You can eliminate a lot of disappointing responses by being very specific. If more than one gets through the filter and into real life, I am thrilled!


LRaine - Feb 17, 2000

Since we have some newbies to OL-D here again, may I suggest that we all share our safety tips again for them?

I'll start...

GigiGirl - Feb 17, 2000

You forgot one...

nika99 - Feb 17, 2000

*67 will block caller id (at least that's what it is in my neck of the woods). You can usually find it in the front of the phone book.

I'm afraid of being stalked again. Should I take a chance and put that I'm interested in a LTR? I would be interested in trying it some more, but please help me with suggestions re: security and the wording of my ad. I kind of also don't want to put my picture on the net b/c I have the kind of looks alot of men think they want in a woman, and again I don't want any more weirdos stalking me.

cruella - Feb 9, 2000

Not only do I not post my photo because I am a big chicken about stuff like that, but I don't send a photo to people who respond until a few exchanges later... get a feel for whether they seem ok or not.

Also, make sure the email address you use doesn't have any personal info on it.

marigold2 - Feb 9, 2000

My big rule is ALWAYS meet in public...I was duped by a pervert once.

LRaine - Feb 9, 2000

Here's what I suggest...

Phone calls, Chat Rooms

shakinglikemilk - Jan 5, 2000

Do *not* give your phone # out to these guys unless you have an unlisted number, or one that otherwise cannot be traced to your home address through reverse directory. You do *not* want these guys to find out where you live until you've had the chance to meet them in person and suss them out.

BridgetJ - Dec 29, 1999

I've found that until you meet an OL guy IRL, you should really extend the calls from TR recommended 10 minutes to about 1/2 hour or so... if you keep it at 10 mins, then they might think you're not interested. Once you get to know them IRL, slowly wean back to 10 mins...

As far as how long to chat before meeting... In my experience, every guy that I've met IRL asked to meet me at the end of that first call... The ones that chickened out or said "call me if you want to get together sometime" (yeah, right!) never called back.

Just like e-mail, you want to move it to RL... So don't panic if they want to meet after just one call, and don't let it drag out to more than 3 calls if they aren't asking... Chances are they aren't everything they've led you to believe they are if they don't move it to RL pretty quickly...

MissRed - Feb 7, 2000

Do not consider the phone call a date. Never,EVER! Because it's online, the first call can be extended from the 10 min. minimun....and do not let it go over 20 mins. max.

An online dude phoned me for the first time last week, I kept the conversation short 15 min max and ended it first. He said that we'd chat again. Got an e-mail today from him. Do I respond or wait and hope he calls in real life?

MissRed - Dec 29, 1999

I'd e-mail back a simple...:) and nothing more. It shows that your receptive to his contact and yet doesn't give him much more. Since he has your number, he will have to dial that phone to get your attention. This is true for any man, once they have your phone number, wait at least 24 hours before you respond to e-mail, and make it short (extremely short). After date 0....I'd wait alot longer.

BridgetJ - Dec 29, 1999

At most, do what Miss Red said, but personally, I wouldn't reply at all. It irks me to no end when a guy who has my number reverts to e-mail. Bleh, can you say "lukewarm"?

Flicka BB - Dec 30, 1999

What I don't understand (like so many women have posted here) is why a guy who HAS YOUR PHONE NUMBER would rather email you than call and hear your voice.

Belle - Dec 30, 1999

Once I give a guy my phone number, I no longer respond to their e-mail. This way if they want me, they have to call.

What is it about IM hell? Sometimes I log in and I am IM'd to much that I cannot carry on ONE "conversation".

LRaine - Jan 4, 2000

Isn't there a way to block your name on IM so guys don't know you're on?

Parmesan - Jan 4, 2000

if it's aol, on the buddy list click Setup, Privacy preferences, check Allow only those people whose screen name I list (don't put anyone on the list), and on the bottom part, Buddy list and instant message (as opposed to just buddy list). This way you don't show up on their buddy list when you sign on.

They can do a search on your s/n and find out you're online I think, but at least they won't see you without making this effort. If you still get a lot of im's you can actually block all im's (same procedure as above). Maybe put something in your profile that you'll only be available for im's sometimes. When you feel like flirting change the settings to allow, then change 'em back when you're done.

Belle - Jan 4, 2000

I'm on AOL. I set up a special e-mail address for my on-line ad. The controls have the IM blocked from everyone. I also have that account set for auto-AOL (used to be called "Flash Sessions) so that the system signs on every few hours, downloads the mail to my C:/ drive and then I read it later. This way they don't see that I'm on. I get e-mails all the time saying, "You are never logged on!!"

I gave an online guy my phone number and he called me when I was not home (Thursday evening) and left me a message giving me his number.

Well, I did not want to call him (of course) but I also did not want to seen disinterested so I went online and send him mail that said I received his message and was out and that the best time to reach me would be Sunday.

Was this ok? Any suggestions on how I could handle that? Or, do you think it would be ok to return his call?

Belle - Jan 16, 2000

With OL dating, getting to and actually having that first phone call is rather tricky. IMO I think it's important that you encourage him to call again. I don't thing you did any damage. If you want them to continue to call as opposed to e-mail, I suggest calling him back when he's not home to let you know you got the message. Lose e-mail completely from now on or else he'll be asking you out on dates by e-mail, which is not a good thing :)

He’s sent me an email today and requested me to put him on my MSN list so we can long until i reply to him and should I add him to my chat list? I already added him...mistake?

TaTa - Jan 26, 2000

I'm new to this and I don't do chats. I use email to get them directly to the phone. Written electronic stuff just prolongs the development of a real relationship. Online chat lists are worst. They can "see" when you're on and come over and bug you. It's like if they know you are at home and bug you.

MissRed - Jan 26, 2000

I have met several men over the past year or so through Instant Messaging. It can be good and bad. But the key is to move them off of the computer quickly. And to do this it is critical that you have more than one screen name (I have 4). After your first seesion, keep cutting back the time available to chat. After your initial chat, you never chat longer than 5-10 minutes, never more than 2 times a week. Tell them they just caught you on your way out, you have to go and let the dog out, the best is.. sorry I have to run the phone's ringing etc....<hint,hint>

Just as with a personal ad, you DO NOT WANT a pen want to move them to RL as soon as possible. IMO, guys can be incredibly lazy about calling, if they think they can catch you on line....this also happens if a phone call to you involves long distance charges. Cheap.

Guy who answered my ad and whom I met Sun called last night at 8:50 pm. Said he wanted to talk some more and to call him. I didn't pick up and didn't call back. Do I need to call back?

Auberge - Feb 3, 2000

I'd wait a while. He might try again. If he doesn't, I'd call him (after waiting at least several days) and leave a brief, l&b message ("Hi, just returning your call. Bye!")so he doesn't think you're blowing him off. (Unless you want to, of course.)

Why do guys ask for numbers but never call???

MissRed - Feb 7, 2000

I think they chicken out....or just plain lazy. I've even had them call 3 or 4 times and never make it past the 3 day rule before they give up.

BridgetJ - Feb 7, 2000

Any or all of the above. Don't sweat it. Treat 'em like the guys at bars who ask for your number then never call... Too bad for their loss, Next! :)

I know that a common problem is an OL guy not moving onto the phone, but how do you deal with the opposite problem?

nika99 - Feb 10, 2000

The short, mysterious answer is a tool for getting a guy OFFline and into RL (or at least the phone). If you prefer to stay online for a bit longer, you need to be willing to give him a little more info about yourself to keep him interested.

Is it really bad to call a guy back? Especially if you are in the begining stages of dating after meeting online?Isn't it enough to just not initiate calls?

LRaine - Feb 7, 2000

With OLD, calling back is ok. It's like smiling when a guy smiles at you first. But many ladies here, myself included, have suggested in the past that a gal should return the call when she thinks he won't be home... thus making him work again to reach you without coming across as cold.

Once a relationship is established, though, seldom return his calls - and only when there's a specific question to ask him!

cruella - Feb 7, 2000

I have been very fortunate that guys who have called me in the dating stages have never left messages asking me to call them back, they say "sorry I missed you, I'll try again later". And frankly, I think that is how it should be done. Mostly because I hate the phone, but also, because he is the one who is doing the asking for the date, so he can't all of a sudden throw the ball in your court and have you call him so he can ask you out.

So what do you do when an OL guy "bookmarks" you online?

MissRed - Feb 10, 2000

I wouldn't even consider his request a bookmark. I think he was getting ready to move it to the phone, but not asking in the true sense yet.

Simply respond, with a "that sounds lovely".....and wait for his next move.

Remember....he doesn't exist, until he calls.... it's not a date, if he doesn't exist.

In your online experience, how many guys do you *actually* end up meeting in real life???

BridgetJ - Feb 7, 2000

In my online experience, I averaged about one every other week. Some of us (the names have been deleted to protect the serial daters) have two or three lined up in a day!

Date Zero (meeting for the first time)

BridgetJ - Dec 29, 1999

Keep the first meeting short ~~ most girls recommend coffee or lunch... to see if you have "chemistry" ... Then even if you do get along great, DO NOT extend the date that day!!! You are a RG after all, and have things to do! Don't worry, if it's meant to be, he'll call.... :)

chameleon q - Feb 9, 2000

Hands everywhere on date zero is NOT a total gentleman. Come have dinner 10 feet from my bed on a first date is NOT a total gentleman. Hasn't had a date in over a year. He's horny, sugar. He's not seeing you as a CUAO. He's seeing you as a life support system for what's between your legs.

You erred in allowing a date zero to be more than a meet and greet. You don't want to be 'just any woman'. You are a CUAO. He needs to get his feet wet so he can tell the difference.

I need advice an online guy asked me to dinner by e-mail, how do I respond????

Belle Canto - Dec 30, 1999

Just a ;). It's non commital. You didn't say yes or no. And wait a few days before doing this, it establishes a pattern that you don't receive and return e-mail promptly, if at all. You do not want to start the bad habit of him becoming dependant on e-mail to communicate. Too many guys are wonderfully articualte and smooth in their writing. Then when you get to meet them in real life, you are always dissapointed that they are nothing like the image, or voice, you concocted in your imagination. Have you talked on the phone yet? Have you exchanged pic's? A phone call is a must for me before I decide to meet them for a small date. I like the 1 hour coffee date idea, other CUAO'S on here do "drinks" or a lunch date, depending on how long they have been dating people from OL and how proficent they are with the Rules technique. E-mail is too impersonal and easy for guys. And of course, he has to want to call you (hence, no e-mail, or so sparatic, he has to call), and he has to ask for the number. No freebies.

I don't know what to wear! What do you wear to a Greek restaurant when he's wearing jeans, shirt, nice jacket? Everything I have is either too dressy or not dressy enough!

Belle - Dec 30, 1999

Always wear a skirt!!

BridgetJ - Dec 31, 1999

Isn't it great to feel so pretty when everyone else is wearing jeans?? I used to feel awkward and over dressed and self conscious, but now I feel soooo good, and I've noticed the people I go out with are starting to dress nicer when they're with me!! What a great thing... :)

I want to keep it brief so what do I say to him to get out of there in an hour?

LRaine - Jan 5, 2000

When the hourish is done, simply thank him for a wonderful time but you must be going. You don't need an excuse, you don't tell him why you're leaving. You're just a busy gal! But you truly did have a lovely time... {grin}

She met another man for lunch yesterday, and got this email from him, tell me what you think :" I enjoyed our lunch very much and the conversation was wonderful. Honestly I'm still trying to figure out this dating thing after my divorce. Although I didn't feel alot of romantic attraction, the conversation was wonderful. I'm moving this week and going out of town for a couple of days next week, maybe we can get together at least as friends and see how things progress from there" Does this seem like a nice blow- off?

LRaine - Feb 2, 2000

Yes, this is a well-worded way of saying "let's just be friends".

For date zero, do you ever meet halfway?

BridgetJ - Feb 5, 2000

ALWAYS meet him somewhere for Date Zero. He is a stranger. You should meet somewhere that YOU are familiar with; whether or not that's halfway matters less than the fact that you will be on familiar territory.

Had date 0 with OL guy last nite. I arrived a little bit earlier than he so I ordered a glass of wine while waiting. I felt stupid sitting at the bar alone not doing anything. Is that a rules thing to do?

neesa - Feb 9, 2000

Next time, I would wait for him in the restaurant lobby. I think it's important for the guy to pay for your drink/snack/meal. It shows he's interested in you or at least courteous.

LRaine - Feb 9, 2000

I always show up for date 0 about 5 minutes late to avoid getting there before the guy does. Only once, as a result, have I beat a gent. So I simply chose a visible table and waited... without ordering.

What is date 0?? Is that the very first date and it isn't counted as date #1??? If so, why?

- Feb 9, 2000

Date zero is your very first real-life meeting with a guy. It's not counted as 1 because it's really the first true introduction you get of this guy. It should last no more than an hour and be something simple, like coffee or lunch. That way, if he's a goober, you can leave quick (and if he's a keeper, you can leave him wanting more).

What are the guys like?

marigold2 - Dec 27, 1999

I have met nice guys, nice ladies (I am bi), nice couples, pimp daddies, guys who offered money for sex, guys posing as women, freaks etc. you will get all kinds.

For a while I was mad and removed my ad when I was faked out by a man but it's back in there since I really have met some wonderful people. If anything the responses will give you some comic relief.

Barbiedoll65 - Dec 27, 1999

Several of us on the boards have met our wonderful men through OL Dating. Emma Cat, Marina Oceanid, Cinnamon Princess, me, Bridget J, etc.

A lot of us are still together and are progressing into more and more serious territory. Some have had less luck.

I also felt like OL was a last resort, but the guy I met went to the same college, same grad school, and worked in the same industry as me (in the same town) and we never met. OL brought us together when circumstances didn't. That's the way I see it.

malakai - Dec 27, 1999

My sister met her husband through a personal ad she placed. I have done personal ads in the past. At the bottom of my ad I always wrote something like "written responses and photos only please." Men would still call through the VM system but usually would say hi and that they are sending their photo and letter my way. I dated a lot of great guys in the past that I met this way. Beyond my sis, I know two others who married someone they met this way.

I think the majority of very successful men do the OL thing if they are single. Although I have only had one bf I met OL. He was extremely successful (Pres of a Co), attactive and someone I never would have met in RL because he lived 1500 miles from me.

AngelHeart - Dec 27, 1999

Look back at the guy who just responded to my personal ad!!! A surgeon, hunky, single, thriving practice....all of which is on the up and up!!!!!

Every single guy I've met through this manner, is a guy I wouldn't have ran into any other way!!! It really breaks the ice.....

shakinglikemilk - Dec 28, 1999

I've met lots of great men. Not all of them were right for me, but a lot of them were great guys. I met my current BF online. He's terrific and I'm very happy.

I recommend ads very highly. Just be careful and follow the cautions the other girls have given you. If you screen them carefully, you can have a great time.

Belle Canto - Dec 28, 1999

what do you know. a response back from a guy who is quite eloquent. THEN, I take a look at his picture. Urgh... double chin, the 3 day shadow of uncut stubble, and an unlit cigarette hanging from primate lips...

PhiSigna - Dec 28, 1999

Anyone remember the "promising' guy I tried TR on in an attempt to get a date and not a bookmark? He did the emoticon and immuture/teasing response thing so I basically ignored his last mail and he poofed. Well...little did I know how lucky I was in avoiding a major nightmare!!!!

Here's a copy of the mass email he sent as a "Holiday Greeting" to all the women he's encountered through OL Dating...

Subject: Merry Christmas...Am I hot looking or what?

hellllllloooooooo ladies!!! a very special Merry Christmas and happy holidays to each and very one of u..... whether u are girls i met in person, or did more then just meet in person :}, or if u are my precious godchild, or those who were lovers, or ex-lovers, those who met me and hate my guts, those whom i met and hate your guts, friends, those who readily admit i am the best kisser u ever met, those of u who rode with me and got to see the true definition of road rage, those who called me Brad Pitt, those who loved my muscles, those who love my looks, but not my temper, etc.. etc...either way, i know u all love me :} all females do, i realize this now!

so all said and done, have a great Holiday Season!!!!!! bye MATT

Thank goodness for TR and it's assistance in weeding out this loser!!!!!!

rulesrubyslippers - Dec 28, 1999

Well my online experience hasn't been great. No word from buttman or operaboy. Got 2 letters from a guy who I didn't find all that attractive, not butt ugly or anything. He REALLY liked my picture, might think about duty dating. Not sure how I feel though about the whole duty dating. Can I get input from a bunch of you, if you have done it, do you just date any one who is reasonable, help. Also got an email from someone who says based on our profiles we wouldn't work long term, but maybe dinner sometime, haven't seen a pic of him at all.

EmmaCat - Jan 3, 2000

I wanted y'all to be the first to know that NDG proposed on New Years Eve!!! (oh, and I accepted!) Yup ... this is an ON-LINE DATING success story!!!

raspberryberet9 - Jan 25, 2000

A man who answered my personal ad stated to me, over dinner, that placing an ad is pursuing men and didn't I think so. I said no, I wasn't the one who asked you out for dinner.

In any case, 99% of the men who answer my ad do act as if I'm pursuing them. They email me that they haven't heard from me in awhile. They allude to sex after dates, or at least stand around with expectant looks on their faces, asking questions like, is it easy for you to get home by cab but then they don't hail me a cab.

uptown girl - Jan 31, 2000

Ugh .. I'm feeling frustrated about these online guys... I just got stood up on a date zero!!! by some guy. I am learning to read the signs, though -- and I had a bad feeling about this guy. Not that he was dangerous, but just lazy. Long periods of time between his emails -- he never asked for my number or sent a picture -- just wanted to meet right away. And then nothing. Next time I'm going to trust my instincts.

chameleon q - Feb 2, 2000

(in response to "prob explains why a neurosurgeon would have to be online dating")

Don't put him down for it. He's doing it for the same reasons you increase his contact with the opposite sex. There is nothing wrong with making an effort to meet women. RG *like* men who make an effort. He could be sitting at home jacking off complaining that he doesn't have time for a relationship....instead, he's doing something about it. Don't fault him for it....after all, YOU are online dating so there must be *some* good prospects online.

How can you tell who is real and who is not?

Belle - Jan 6, 2000

It's just a feeling you get when you read the e-mail. Sometimes they seem really well-rehearsed at this. Sometimes they seem really nice and by the third e-mail their stupid self starts to show. It takes time and practice. Trust your gut. If your first instinct is to delete, then do it.

LRaine - Jan 7, 2000

I agree with what's been said - go with your gut. I'd like to add, too, that you should always talk with them on the phone at least once before meeting. If you're at all uncertain about him, don't meet him. Do you have caller id? If not, get it. It's a great way to make sure he's not calling you from a pay phone or something.
Even after all that, he might not be real. Be sure to meet at a public place (coffee shops are great) that's at your convenience. Make sure someone knows where you are and when you'll be home. (Someone who'll freak if you don't call when you get in.) Remember that safety is way more important than anything here!

He lives at the other side of the country but remarked in his first ad that he is in my city quite often on business. We have had long conversations on the phone and enjoy talking to each other so much. I feel like I am really falling for this guy. WHat do I do in this case? Not only is he a stranger but a long distance one. As pessimistic as I usually am, I actually feel there is something there. I do not want to "scare him off" but I want to show him I am interested. (He knows I received many responses.) How should I handle this?? Any suggestions? Is it possible this could work out?

TheBestPeach - Jan 19, 2000

Lucky you! Now is the time to do bootcamp. He has to come see you. Several (three) times before you can go see him. Limit the phone calls, so that he will be panting to come meet you! LOL Have fun, sweetheart! But don't let him know what WE know here! Keep that to yourself.

nika99 - Jan 19, 2000

SLOW DOWN!!!! Unfortunately, email and even phone chemistry don't always translate to the real thing. Keep going with the positives but try to meet in real life as soon as possible. Don't let yourself start to imagine that you are falling in love until you meet in person. I've had more than one meeting tank after the most positive signs in the world. You just can't know for sure until you are in the same room.

chameleon q - Jan 20, 2000

You are way too focused on a complete stranger. You may be right. He may be a fabulous guy, but you can't live your whole life in the next 30 seconds. Back off, and respond to other men. Give this man some competition. Right now all he has to do is say "Boo" and you'd jump. What would blow it is being too easy. Make him work for your affection.

LRaine - Jan 20, 2000

Be careful with these long distance guys. You never know if there's a wife back home! Remember, right now he's a complete stranger who happens to be literate!
Be careful also with getting too caught up in a guy you haven't met. Just because he writes well and appears to have everything you want - you still have no clue how this will translate into real life. A few times now, I've thought a guy had tons of potential, because of his emails, until I talked with him.
He should visit you and HE should suggest it. Everyone here has their own favorite tricks to get a guy into real life (mine is to increase my delay in responding to him each time). Let him take control.
Finally, if he's poofed on you, don't care. You've got so many responses, you said - are any of the others interesting? Why get hung up on one guy? You could be missing someone who's sincere and local!
And I repeat - right now, he's a complete stranger - remember that!

TheBestPeach - Jan 20, 2000

Yeah, this reminds me of this guy I was writing for a few months... back before there was email... I had placed an ad in a publication called... oh, I'm brain dead (up all night) but anyhow, we started writing and I thought he was the cat's meow till we got together in person. YUCK! I couldn't wait to get him out of my house! And he drove all the way to Idaho from California to come see me. The worst thing was, his front teeth were rotten! puleeeeeeze!
So, the moral of this long-winded story is, don't get too excited about him until you have at least met him face to face. Lots of stuff sounds great in writing.

BridgetJ - Jan 28, 2000

Please be careful not to take anything too seriously with Online guys until you MEET them... A pic is a good start, but meeting is key. Mr. Perfect may seem perfect on paper, but did you ever think that because you were so specific in your ad, you may be actually telling them what you want them to tell you...?
He could be a lowlife scum who is feeding you a load of crap, because he knows what you "demand" from your ad.
The 3 month email guy is a perfect example... maybe the reason he never took it to RL was because he wasn't really the person he was projecting himself to be in email...
Personally, I keep the "what I'm looking for in a man" bit pretty light, if I even reply to it at all. That way, every response will seemingly put their best foot forward, and I'll know whether that's a foot I want crossing my threshhold.
Also, a first e-mail that long might be a red flag... Wait... skip that... if it was 5 screens (just read that post) it is Definitely a red flag....
This is all theory and speculation, of course. He could actually BE Mr Perfect. But until you meet him and get to know him IRL, you will have no what of knowing for sure.
The key with O-LD is to keep a grain of skepticism... don't believe a THING until you have more solid ground to work from.

Too bad my date zero DID show up... he was about 3 inches shorter than his ad stated.

Auberge - Feb 11, 2000

It amazes me that any guy would be dumb enough to lie about his height. I mean, the instant you meet him he's going to be caught out.... Weight you can disguise a bit, and age you can conceal for a long time, but height?

LoveBug32 - Feb 11, 2000

In my experience, men who are less then about 5'10" are the ones who lie about it. It is embarrassing to meet them and be thinking "These boots that I'm wearing have a 1 1/2" heel and I'm towering over him". That's one thing I don't believe until I meet them in person. And I love chunky heels that make me at least 5'10" and I'm not giving them up ever again unless I find heel I like even better.

liongirl - Feb 11, 2000

I totally agree the ones that I've met in RL that claim they are 5'9 are really 5'5 or under. I'm only 5'6 and I tower over them!

weezy - Feb 11, 2000

Men who are less than 6'1" lie about their height from my experience. Those that are honestly taller lie about their hair (or lack thereof).

rulesrubyslippers - Feb 11, 2000

Got a nice response from a guy. Only one "small" problem. He says he is 5'6". So accroding to the above does that mean he's more like 5'2"?

Is it possible we are too hard on these guys? Expect too much? I am really beginning to think that a lot of them disappear before meeting IRL because they haven't a clue of what they are suppose to do. Shouldn't we help re-educate them (for our own benefit)?

LRaine - Feb 16, 2000

Don't worry about them being clueless. Guys in RL can be clueless, too! I've learned that if a man is interested in you, he will move it to RL. If it's a clueless man, he'll figure out that you're a busy, unique lady and will eventually figure out that he needs to ask you for RL. But if it's a lazy boy, he'll never go to RL even if you spell it out for him.

You've given enough hints, more than I do! If a guy really wants to meet you, he'll ask. Let it be.

MissRed - Feb 16, 2000

Hmmmm, my preference Is that they have a clue on their own, I have found most of them move on their own. They pick up the clues as long as you continue being responsive. The ones I've given a clue to, seem to need those cues again and again, down the road. They end up weeding themselves out.

I do like your response, I have had others who tend to drop subtle hints about where to go from here. Generally they are trying to find out if you're comfortable moving to RL. And it's ok, to drop a hint, without coming right out and saying Call me.

We've discussed this before here, You still want them to think it's their idea, but in the online world of dating, it's different from normal rules in that you need to work an intial screening process.

I never cut off the initial call after 10 minutes (I give 20-30), so I can screen them a bit. After that it's always 10<or less>

And yes, these guys are all aware that women need to feel some safeguards, so most are going to go slow. Work from a gut level. If he's initiated a "hint" after several emails, it's ok to drop the hint that you'd feel comfortable moving to the next level. But make sure it's in response to something he's asked.

I hope that answers.... not sure...I've only had 1 cup of coffee.... my brain is still asleep.

When to have sex?

chameleon q - Dec 25, 1999

According to Cosmo, Date Six is the Sex Date.

Mistakes We’ve Done and Damage Control

emmazon - Feb 1, 2000

A sex chat room is no place for a rules girl, no place to find a rules relationship. Stay away from the chat room. That way you can avoid him, move on & not be aware of what he's doing. Who cares if he's in the chat room? Find a better way to meet a better man.

I sent an e-card wishing him a Merry Christmas. Very Generic, no mushy stuff, actually it was a religious card....but initiated contact just the same.

weezy - Dec 25, 1999

If he wants to talk about things, he'll call. Enjoy the evening. Yes, the e-card was a bit of a screw-up, but I think you can recover with your dignity.

Belle - Dec 25, 1999

Don't sweat it! I don't think there was too much damage with that. It lets him know you are still open to having him contact you and won't blow his head off if he should call. It's sort of the reason I dropped the cookies off at Neighbor Guy's house yesterday. We had a little tiff on Thanksgiving and I asked him to leave and I wanted him to know I didn't hate him.

BridgetJ - Dec 26, 1999

(If you must...) e-mail him back (don't call!) and tell him you forgot you sent the e-card weeeeeekkkkks ago with a delayed delivery... oops! But you do hope he had a good holiday...
Say NOTHING about wanting to talk.
His "call me if you want to talk" is wimpy. WIMPY WIMPY WIMPY!!!
Esp since he didn't even respond to your "break up" e-mail (tacky or not...)

weezy - Dec 26, 1999

Have been thinking back over my lunch date a couple of days ago. I realize now that I made some dating errors, most of them towards the end of the date, so I left him with a poor impression of me:
1) Talked about other men (attorney/clients with whom I work)
2) Forgot to compliment the food, indirectly snubbing his choice of restaurant
3) Did not end the date first
Things I did right:
1) Stayed upbeat, L&B
2) Asked for and took his recommendations for dishes to try
3) Did not ask about or show interest in his former marriage/wife/etc.

I finally gave up and called the Greek since he kept asking me to. I think they want us to make the first call, coz they think we feel safer that way. But they have caller id just as easily as we do!
anyhow, then he EMAILED me to ask me out! I realize I am almost impossible to get a hold of, since my line is busy when I'm online

BridgetJ - Dec 29, 1999

SO, did he SAY that he e-mailed you BECAUSE he couldn't get thru on your phone, or are you making excuses for him? Hmmm???

I am trying not to freak out about new guy not calling me to confirm our date tonite! This is date zero. I'm so tempted to send him a message, "Have you decided where we are going for dinner?" shit, I can't do this!

Skyler - Jan 6, 2000

DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT message him! This is no no... He'll call. If not, then consider him another cyberloser who's not worthy of your time anyway. You CAN do this! Hang tough

Remember last night I said that I sent an apology note to my online guy last night in case he was offended by my "bogus web page joke." Well, this morning I got a quick email from him saying that he never received anything and if I could tell him what it was. Now I feel so damn silly. I emailed him back saying what it was and also that I felt silly. I don't know if I have lost him now?? My sister, like a couple of you on the board, was laughing at me and said, "And that is what is bugging you? You are taking this guy way too seriously too fast." I know this is true. I am the type of girl who rarely is attracted to anyone, and when I feel a sense of comfort, I tend to be an open book without mystery. I have even told the guy that he was my number 1 choice out of tons of responses! How can I "redo" the rules, or am I too late? Help!

LRaine - Jan 20, 2000

Sounds like you talk before thinking when you like a guy! That's just plain dangerous. Anytime he asks you something, and anytime you find yourself about to say something, ask yourself how you'd respond to a stalker. Do you want a sick stalker knowing you find him attractive? Do you want a stalker knowing personal details about you? Think, girl! This isn't a game anymore! You're getting all caught up with a guy you know nothing about! It's not funny, it's frightening - he honestly might be a stalker, be married, be abusive, ...
And he doesn't even live near-by. Be careful, girl! Don't fall in love with a phantom!

I met one recentley on MM and we have a ton in common. Anyways, he got my number last Friday and called, we talked to long... shoot and he ended the conversation first, double shoot! But, after that he took to long write me, I sent him a Virtual e-mail card. (stupid, and too much) Turns out he's got the flu and that's why he didn't write, now I'm keeping the e-mails short and sweet and to the point and waiting to respond to them for a while instead of as soon as I get them or something... So I know I screwed up with this guy a bit, do I still have a chance with Firefighter boy? :)

weezy - Jan 25, 2000

Yes, you have a chance if you apply TR rigorously. Mostly, though, I would try to get him off e-mail and back onto the phone. I don't know how much time you're talking about when you say "waiting to respond to them for a while."
Think in terms of days, not hours. I rarely return e-mail on the same day with OL guys, and never on the weekends until late Sunday evening.

BridgetJ - Jan 25, 2000

OK... define "too long to write" ... How many days? Never, never, NEVER send an e-card to an OL suitor... Too, too much!! Pursuing! Clingy! Ack!!
OK... well if you're being honest about curbing the replies and all that, then yes, I think you may be able to regain your CUAO mojo... But since he has your number, you should really be OFF the e-mail now anyway. Stop replying altogether and see if HE sends YOU an e-card.. or better yet, picks up the dang phone! If not, he's not worth your RG time anyway...
Have you met IRL? Be careful of guys who have gorgeous pics but then never move things to a RL meeting... Don't fall for him, please, until you've actually MET him and you can see how he looks, and how he acts in social situations...
You seem VERY enthusiastic, and if you read enough of the back posts on this board, you'll see that us "old timers" have had to do a LOT of weeding. Yeah, there are great guys you can meet on the online services (EmmaCat is marrying one), but there are also a lot of creeps, players, and sociophobes.
I think most of us were overwhelmingly encouraged at the first venture into O-LD... So many replies! So little time! It's not until after that round of disappointing Date Zeros that you really get to be able to "feel out" which ones are worth your time and which are not.

Red Flags

Why do these guys do this....a nice sounding response to my newspaper personal, sounds great, lots in common....but he works seven days a week on second shift!!!! How in the world could we ever date?????

LRaine - Jan 5, 2000

How great can he be if he's a work-a-holic? Do you really want to play second-fiddle to his job?

I wanted to see what you girls thought about my date's final words to me last night. I met him through MM and we went on date 1 last night. He seemed to be smitten with me, we had a good time, and he even walked me to my door and gave me a quick hug. Then in response to my usual very L&B "It was great meeting you and I had a great time" (which usually encourages them to ask me out again) he said: "Do you have my private email address?" I said: "No, do you have mine?" And he said he would email it to me through MM. What does this mean?

Skyler - Jan 6, 2000

Your story reminds me of an experience I had. I went on two dates with an online guy. We had a good time and I'm sure he liked me. The next day he emailed me saying he had a good time, etc etc...and ASKED FOR MY PRIVATE EMAIL ADDRESS ??????? I was thinking, "geez this guy has my phone number, has been to my house, we've had two dates....what's with this?". I ignored his question and did not reply to his email. Nevah heard from him again... My theory is that he was more interested in cyber communication than the real thing...good riddance...

rulesrubyslippers - Jan 7, 2000

Also got a response from someone who seems nice enough, but mentions his dead wife in the last two letters. Not a good sign. All I want to do is duty date, geeze.

Belle - Jan 9, 2000

Oh my date 0 was the usual stuff: looked nothing like the pic, not employed right now, wore BRIGHT YELLOW running shoes (I even called him by the wrong name -- lol!). I could go on and on. It was the longest 45 min. of my life. He would have gotten the full hour if he had paid for the coffee, but since he was standing behind me when I ordered mine and didn't offer to pay it was an automatic next.

chameleon q - Jan 17, 2000

Men who stand you up on date zero are almost always Nexts.

MissRed - Jan 23, 2000

I've come to the sad conclusion that when a man does not attach a photo in the initial e-mail....There is a very good reason.

I wrote hunkyguy back yesterday and told him I would love to meet him, but it would work out better if he met me in my area. He wrote back and said he didn't have a car, he would rent one, and would I be free Saturday AND Sunday, and didn't I like to drive? I also gave him my work phone number and know he is in class. Should I give my home number? It is Wednesday and don't want to wait too much longer or I won't go out with him. He wrote last night, is responding this am ok? or should I wait? I would like to at least talk to him on the phone. I was actually surprised he responded. Go figure.

What do you all do with sexual innuendo's? ignore? smile? Getting To I Do, talks about if I man wants to sleep with you, that is normal and good, it is his bod responding, but you need to keep him in line. I am at least waiting until committment, but don't want to seem like a prude.

LRaine - Feb 2, 2000

And what did you say in return?

Home number: is it unlisted and do you have caller-id? Then it should be ok to give it to him. Still, go with your comfort level.

Innuendos: I ignore them. If they persist, I next the dude. As far as they know, I'm a Lady and expect to be treated as such.

GigiGirl - Feb 2, 2000

don't want to seem like a prude.

Why does everyone say this like it's a bad thing?

I'm proud to be a prude. It means I value my self enough to think of my body as a temple, and not just any guy's playground.


Do men just really not *care* about holidays as much as women do, or are they afraid of showing *too much* interest (and therefore be required to do so forever and ever and ever...) so they show no interest at all?

weezy - Dec 26, 1999

I think it's probably the latter. Christmas is about family, so I think a guy thinks if he calls you/sees you on Christmas, then you must be family so ohmigosh if he calls to say Merry Christmas, he thinks you'll think he said "marry me". Bizarre logic, but men are known for bizarre logic.

MissRed - Dec 26, 1999

I agree with Weezy, I'll bet he thought about calling though.

Recently started emailing with a new guy who I may be interested in (not sure yet). Since V-day is coming up shortly, should I try to get him to the phone this week? He's already offered to call me and given me his number. He really wants to move to RL. Should I specifically do it before V-day? I want to see just how interested he really is.

BridgetJ - Feb 3, 2000

Don't ever make moves of any kind based on an impending holiday. It's a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment.

Removing, Hiding, and Updating Ads… and How it may affect a Gent (or 2)…

I recently met 2 guys through Swoon that I actually liked (hard to believe), both of whom I will see again because they are calling. I want to update my profile, but I realize that they will then know that I am still actively looking (updated profiles appear first when browsing) Will this scare them off? Do I appear rude and disinterested? Should I wait it out & see if anything comes of these 2 guys before I update?

rulesrubyslippers - Jan 8, 2000

I wasn' t clear if you have been dating these two guys only once before? I think you are free to do what you want until things get more exclusive.

Here's my dilemma - at the very same time I was thinking about pulling my ad from the online personals, I met one of the "results" and kind of liked him. We've had a couple of dates, have planned a third, and I still like him. But I don't feel I can pull my ad now, because I don't want him to think I have set my sights on him and am no longer available to date others. In the mean time, I am getting responses from people I have no interest in, and I really don't want my ad out there any more!

Anya - Feb 7, 2000

I would just not answer any of the ads and log on just once in a long while...

TheBestPeach - Feb 7, 2000

Do you think he will notice? Can't you just ignore any subsequent responses, or are they filling up your inbox too much, or what?
TR says we should not be exclusive until we have an engagement ring.

Wisdom from the gents…

kittshey - Jan 12, 2000
Here I am putting a whole ton of effort into giving JesusFreak (yes, she is NO LONGER churchgirl) the benefit of the doubt, and as it turns out she lives in SEATTLE! She posted on canada.matchmaker because she was looking for someone in Vancouver. What a doorknob.
Check this out:

Here's the thing (gulp). I got some 'splainin' to do. Now you will hate me and will probably never write again (sigh). But you know you'd be missing out, don't you? Okay, okay...I'm getting to it.
I don't actually live in Victoria (I wish). Been there quite a few times and love it. Almost went there for my 21st birthday to just party, but didn't make it. Well, in fact, (taking cover and dodging bullets) I live in the north end of the Seattle area. Aaaack, don't hit me, don't hit me! You could be justifiably mad now, because I didn't mention this before, but it's really only a two hour trip by Clipper. I posted on the Canadian Matchmaker site because I really only expected to go for someone in Vancouver (1 and 1/2 hours from here) and figured we could meet halfway. How was I to know I'd be attracted to someone from Victoria? So do you hate me now? (making puppy-dog eyes and pouty lips)
Well, for what it's worth now, I will give you my phone number. Promise you won't call just to chew me out, if you call. And don't expect me to be really funny either. I'm too nervous about this to be funny. So here it decide if you want to call...XXX-XXX-XXXX

That's it. Next.
Ladies, here's some OL advice for you. Do not ever do this sort of thing.

Chris965 - Jan 17, 2000
I'm a guy that has taken interest in these boards, and I just had to comment..... There was a time that I used to put considerable effort into each of my responses. The no responses/one line responses back my way made me switch to a case-by-case basis. My thought is that women get so many more responses than men, that they don't have the time to spend reading detailed write-ups. I put a pic & lots of info in my own ad(s), so I feel it's more appropriate to direct that person to it rather than do a repeat. This is especially convenient since some services don't allow attachment of files (pics) to responses.

Interloper Man - Feb 13, 2000

"Can you give us specifics of things we might have Nexted a guy over, that you thought were extreme?"

Neesa's example of the fellow who took of before she got in the door is a good example of a sin that I don't think should be punishable by "next," at least if the neighborhood is very safe. But I was mainly talking about a general sort of eccentricity, such as a man who rides a bike 5 miles to work in his business suit almost every day to do his bit for the environment or tells you on your first date that he enjoys reading Marquis de Sade. He might just have an intellectual curiosity about extreme philosophies. Reading de Sade doesn't make him a genuine sadist :-). The most intelligent people tend to have some extremely divergent facets of their personality that add up to *weird*, and often don’t have the inclination to censor them. WYSIWYG {I see how much you RGs tend to love acronyms :-) }. No need to *assume* you'll be getting more weirdness than what you see.

"Have you done online dating yourself? I'd be interested in a male opinion of the whole process."

Yes, and I was quite the klutz, which is why I’m here :-). I had some brief forays into online dating. At first I was too slow to move it to real life because that's what I *thought* the gals *wanted*. We men keep hearing how gals want to take things *slowly*, so I took it at face value. Later, I stated straight out in my profile that I would ask for a number early on, and things picked up, although no relationships developed. I was more interested in gals I'd met in person, and I'm not into what you call "duty dating."

"What do you like to have happen when you write to a girl or she writes to you?"

If a gal writes me I tend to give a kind response, even if I'm not genuinely interested. I want to encourage women to write and thank them for doing so. I think women *should* write men who interest them, because a man might not think she would be interested if he doesn't meet the criteria she lists in her profile. Moral of the story: if you don’t plan to respond to men’s profiles add a disclaimer if you’re flexible about your criteria, or state them in terms of "my *ideal* man…"

When I respond to a woman's profile, there's nothing specific I'm looking for in her return message. I’m just glad to get the message. Asking a few questions of me is a good way to get a good conversation going. A little flirting is nice, if you're bold enough. I like when a gal tells me more about her, and discusses things of mutual interest. I love funny responses, too. It's all good if she writes back :-).

"How fast do you like to move things to real life?"

I like to move things to real life quickly. Now that I’ve seen what most of you feel, I’ll usually ask for her number and provide mine on the next message, or the one after that if I don’t detect receptivity.

I'd prefer to set up dates over the phone than via email.

Now I have a question: would you mind if a man asked for your phone number and/or provided his in his first message in response to your profile?

I do think pagers are bad news, *unless* he provides his real # too. Keep the pager # on file for later reference & use the other #s. If he just gives a pager, he could well have a wife, girlfriend, and/or (sic!) boyfriend (couldn't resist).

I don't care if I call a gal first or she calls me. But if a gal asks me for my number without giving hers, she certainly should call, otherwise it would take some major compensating factors for me not to next her. Some women prefer to call first so they can talk with the man before he gets her number. Hence, I provide my number when I ask for hers.

"How do you react if a girl says she prefers to meet you at place X rather than place Y (which you suggested)?"

No problem, as long as it's in the planning stage. Making plans is a 2-way street. What’s the good if we’re not both happy with the arrangement? A suggestion is just that: a suggestion. While I certainly don't *expect* it, I like when a woman makes a suggestion, too. If she’s interested in a concert, art exhibit, or whatever, and wants a companion, why not?


Belle - Jan 29, 2000
Well my little one year Rules/On Line dating experiment has finally come to a close/screeching halt (well officially it ends on Monday, but really, why drag it out). So basically to sum up this little pet project of mine:

Total # of men responding to ads: 216

Total e-mails received: 738

Number of men met IRL: 36

Number of these that were losers: 29

Number of times stood up: 2

Number of men would have slept w/if given the opportunity: 4

Number of men actually had sex with: 2

Number of men would have sex with again: 1

Number of laughs generated by this project: too numerous to mention :)

Lessons Learned:

If they don't have a pic, there's ALWAYS a reason

If they say they'll get a pic, they usually won't

If they say they're good looking, they're usually not

If they say they have an issue, but it's no big deal, "and hardly anyone notices," IT IS!!

Some demographics:

# of confirmed married/separated/"winding down a long marriage": 46

# of geriatrics/senior citizens: 13

# of persistent geriatrics/senior citizens: 1

# of school boys: 47

# of foreignors/living outside U.S.: 58

# of women who responded on behalf of male friends: 2

# w/in my age range(+/- 3 years): 23

Unknowns/didn't bother to find out: 108

# of men looking for their mothers: 215

# of men who knew what they were looking for: 0