I like to collect online dating stories. If I discover that someone is doing the online dating thing, I always ask lots of questions. The answers are usually quite informative and this allows me to find common patterns that become subjects for blog posts just like this.
One of the common problems in online dating is the bait and switch. A person (male or female) presents themselves in a profile but uses “aspirational” lying to better attract the opposite sex. This manifests in the common lies about age, weight, and height. Mostly these lies are modest in scale. I man who is 5’8″ tall may state in his profile he’s 5’10” tall. A woman who is 51 years old may state in her profile that she is 47 years old. I advise anyone doing online dating to take this in account when evaluating profiles.
Sometimes those aspirational lies in online dating profiles cross the threshold from relatively harmless exaggerations to wild falsehoods. It becomes a bait and switch scenario and I have heard too many stories of this happening. I’ve seen women post their daughter’s or younger sister’s photos. My boss told me of dates where the woman looked nothing like her photo. Her excuse for the photo switch was lame and my boss, being smart, ended the dates immediately.
My boss now has a rule about online dating. A colleague – with another unrelated story – unknowingly backed up the rule. In mentally reviewing all the bait and switch stories. I’m now onboard with the new rule but I consider it more of a recommendation:
Skype or video chat is strongly recommended during the escalation process that might lead to an actual date.
As broadband Internet access is the norm and computer cams are cheap, there is really no excuse not to have a video/audio chat with a potential date. Most instant messenger applications support video and audio. Skype is extremely popular, too. The online dating websites might also have video and audio support for their internal instant messenger programs.
It’s rather obvious why a video/audio chat helps to avoid the bait and switch. The most obvious is the comparison of profile photos to the image of person who appears in the chat window. My colleague found this out just recently when he noticed at least a 30 pound difference between the profile photos and the girl he was chatting with. His words: “Is it possible to gain 30 pounds in just her neck?” Ironically, it was the girl who insisted on the video/audio chat! Not very bright, cupcake.
Of course, an audio/video chat is not without some challenges to overcome. Remember that the camera is looking at you, too. It’s also looking at your living room or office. So, that means before a chat session can commence, some preparation is necessary. Hair and clothes should look presentable. Your appearance should match your online dating profile photos (update those photos if you must). Your computer room should be tidy and free of clutter. You should be in a good mood and be willing to talk. This advice is for both men and women, of course.
For guys, I especially emphasize on the clean and tidy computer room. And gentlemen, don’t turn the video/audio chat into something sexual. If she wants to go that way, that’s up to her. You keep it classy, buster. If you want to drop a sexual double-entendre to test the waters, go ahead but that’s as far as it goes unless she picks up on that double-entendre.
For women, I especially emphasize the hair and makeup thing. Let your hair down, for the love of femininity and all things decent and good. Don’t wear a low-cut top but don’t be wearing your “comfortable” clothes, yeesh. Recommending or accepting a video/audio chat is a great opportunity for you.
If a person rejects the video/audio chat recommendation, this should not be automatic grounds for rejection. Consider it a yellow flag and escalate to a phone call, regardless. Video/audio chatting vis-a-vis online dating is not the norm, yet. Expect some reluctance.