DON’T BE STUPID GIRLS
(aka P. Charlotte being not so funny because she loves you)
(aka Watch, “Looking For Mr. Goodbar!”)
Because I, and half the universe, partake in the pleasures of online dating, the perception that it is “safe” has slipped into our collective consciousness – at least for those who don’t read headlines or watch Lifetime movies. But alas, online dating has paved the way for a new world of financial scams, emotional abuse, and even physical danger.
Often women are on multiple apps, dating multiple men, swiping hundreds of profiles and making decisions to meet up with someone based on very little or no information. Slow the crap down!
I don’t mean to yuck your yum regarding the world of love via technology. You should do it. But if you aren’t savvy, it is easy to be duped (or worse). With hundreds of men on the Interweb, just know some losers are pretending to be someone they’re not. While most of the universe is guilty of presenting photos or writing profiles that perhaps shine a positive light on the truth (we would never do that, would we?), some dudes create sham profiles looking to exploit vulnerable women. (I’ve been one of those vulnerable women.)
“Catfishing” is a scam wherein some d-bag creates a fake profile with false information in order to trick another person into some sort of relationship. Motives vary from boredom to revenge to monetary gains or worse. (We will examine this ugly, bottom-feeding fish-dude freak in a later chapter.)
But do not despair, tender Tinderettes. Do not let fear deter you! Rest assured, there are red flags, common sense, and tangible precautions to take so you can freely enjoy the world of online dating… and have the fun you so rightfully deserve.
1. LOOK FOR SIGNS:
* His social media profiles are set to private:
He’s hiding something.
* He goes dark for large periods of time:
As in, he consistently responds to your texts, then suddenly doesn’t respond
for three days sending you into a state of extreme anxiety, creative
rationalizations, and manic texting with your friends… then he texts again
then goes dark again… while you completely freak out and piss off your
friends because you’re acting like Jan Brady in the “Marcia Marcia Marcia
* You receive a text meant for someone else:
“Hey Peggy, whatcha wearing?”
* He avoids answering personal questions:
If he won’t give you his last name, DELETE.
* He turns even the most innocent text into a sext:
“Hey, P. Charlotte. Whatcha up to?”
“Oh, yeah? Are you working… in bed?”
“No. I’m paying bills at my desk.”
“Oh, yeah? I like to pay my bills… naked.”
“What do you like to wear when you pay your bills?”
“I’m wearing flannel pajamas and pink fuzzy slippers.”
“Oh, baby, that’s making me so hot. Whatcha got goin’ on under
“Uh, a maxi pad and cotton underpants.”
“Ohhhh, baby. You’re gonna make me explode…” etc…
* He flakes on plans at the last minute:
As in, he doesn’t really want to meet you in person, because you’ll find out
he’s actually a thirteen-year-old* boy… or a chick.
* He sends you an unsolicited dick pic.
Need I say more?
* When you don’t respond his text, he sends you forty-three more.
As in he’s obsessed, drunk, or most likely crazy.
- USE A REPUTABLE SITE THAT HAS ACCOUNTABILITY:
With over 2,500 sites to choose from in the U.S. alone, it’s a good idea to stick to those with proven reputations. Ask friends, read reviews, and check the site’s security measures. Some of the big online dating sites do background checks for sexual assault, identity theft, and violent crime.
But even with these precautions, things can slip through the cracks. And let’s face it, the security measures available are using information given by the potential member. Ergo, it’s a good idea to do your own background checking. You haven’t lived until you and your gal pals have done margaritas and cyber sleuthing.
- CYBER SLEUTHING (Some places to poke around):
The first stop for everything.
You’re not going to get much personal information, but you will get a sense of his work life, whether he’s lied to you about it, and if he has a job.
* Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.):
While there are some older gentlemen who perhaps do not partake in this new-fangled phenomenon, generally, most do. And unless he’s hiding something, he’ll be out there somewhere.
(True story: One of my girlfriends, upon some crafty Instagram investigation, discovered the man with whom she’d been dating and boinking (at the time she referred to it as “making love”) was, in fact, in a serious relationship. She contacted said girlfriend (via Facebook), and together they taught Mario the Lothario the what’s what. Needless to say, he is now single, no longer on Instagram and his Facebook page said “buh bye.” And no, this is not being made into a chick-flick buddy-comedy for a next summer release.)
* Criminal Checks:
If you want to take your sleuthing to the next level but don’t have the time to jump through the hoops required for an official state search, there are actual sites designed specifically for the online dater. Just search “online dating background checks” and you will find a smorgasbord of sites willing to play a game of bust-a-perv and deliver you a full report.
- FIRST DATE SAFETY RULES:
* Get to know as much about your date as possible before your initial meeting.
* Drive yourself, meet in a public place, and stay there.
* Never go home with a first date or bring him back to your place. (And if you bring him back to your place while your kids are there… I have no words.)
* Tell a friend where you’re going. Better yet, synchronize your mobile tracking devices. Even better, have your posse show up at meeting place in disguise. (Trust me, it’s fun.)
* Do not disclose too much personal information (i.e. your home address, social security number, mom’s maiden name, kids’ schools…)
* Keep your purse and phone with you at all times.
* Don’t get wasted.
* Keep your panties on.
* If he’s from out of town, he can rent a car and stay in a hotel. Do not go back to his hotel, and follow the above rules.
* Trust your instincts!
Many victims of online predators say they felt something was off, but didn’t do anything about it. If your tummy says, “I should get the hell out of here,” then get the hell out of there
- SECOND DATE RULES AND BEYOND:
* Let the relationship grow slowly.
* Continue to listen to your gut.
* Do not take any shit.
* Do not introduce him to your children or parents unless you are sure he’s a keeper. Come to think of it, do not introduce him to your children or parents until after you’ve been married for one year.
Now go, be safe, and have fun!
You deserve it!