Internet Dating and First Impressions

On a whim, I decided to join eHarmony last week because I don’t know how else to meet new guys. Okay, I meet new guys (and girls) all the time because of Say Kimchi but I can’t date any of them (I’m the organizer, it would be wrong). So need a way to meet new guys whom I can date. And since I only write about Korean culture – I’m not actually Korean – I have no friends and family to set me up on blind dates (which are hugely common and popular in Korea). Besides, the last time I dated a friend of a friend; it didn’t work out so well. I’m on my own in my mission to find a boyfriend.

Over the past year I’ve tried speed dating twice but I find the age ranges odd with the company I used (free passes so I can’t really complain). Why is age an issue? I really don’t know but ever since I lived in Korea, I’ve been more conscious of age than I ever was before. Plus, I’m firmly convinced that I didn’t mature like a normal person. I’m certainly not at the same stage in life as some of my friends from high school (most of whom are married with children). It’s not that I’m immature – I’m actually quite responsible – but more that I matured differently. But as usual I digress. When I tried the speed dating, I found all the guys to be young (under 30) but the next age category is too old. Ideally I’d like someone between 30-40 I think but I also need to focus less on the age!

Since the speed dating didn’t work for me, I thought I’d try internet dating. And since eHarmony has the best reputation for relationships (seriously, I’ve never understood using the internet for hookups. They aren’t my thing but isn’t that what bars are for?) I joined.

And it was great timing as they were having one of their “free weekends” so I could actually communicate with guys. I couldn’t see their pictures without paying – and I’m not sure I want to pay – but I’m okay with that. So for three days, in between having a fabulous long weekend visiting my family, I followed the eHarmony communication process with several guys. Six of which made it through to “open communication” where we could send each other emails.

Email is a great form of communication for me, I feel absolutely no shyness online. Perhaps because I’m a writer? But in person, I can’t ask a guy on a date and I tend to sound like an incredibly socially awkward girl when I first meet any guy I find attractive. It’s mortifying! If we are friends, no problem… I can talk your ear off whether you are a guy or girl. But if you are a cute guy (and I use “cute” to mean attractive, I use “cute” to mean a guy I’m interested in), I become tongue-tied. So email rocks, I can get to know the guy a little without sounding like an idiot.

I use the “everyone deserves a chance” principle to first dates – unless you creep me out (one guy did in his profile) or seem completely incompatible (another did, dude didn’t read), I’ll meet you for coffee/tea or a beer/glass of wine. Profiles (and pictures) can lie or not paint the entire picture, but I trust my first impression of you. 

I met one of the guys for what I thought was just a drink (he ordered food which was awkward since I hadn’t planned on eating) earlier in the week. And it confirmed two things for me. One, while I have become a little obsessed with age, dating older (even just a few years) doesn’t work for me. I have nothing in common with most people older than me – it’s almost like there’s a generation gap (when I know there isn’t). There is a reason that all of my friends (other than my friends from high school) are all a little younger. We have more in common!

The second – and more important – point that this “date” confirmed for me was that meeting someone in person is crucial. People can seem compatible on paper (or rather on the internet) but you really need to meet them to get a true impression. And no, I’m not talking about appearance but rather personality.

I’ll give you an example. I’m a busy person! I work a full-time job, run Life’s an Adventure 2 (which is another full-time job between the events I attend, research I do, emails, and of course, the writing), manage Say Kimchi (a Korean-English language exchange group), volunteer, and spend time with friends & family. So yeah, I understand that my date is a busy person too. But if I make time to have a drink with you, that hour that I’ve set aside for our “date” is your time. And I expect the same consideration. If you can’t, don’t make a date with me.

A huge turn off for me is someone who is constantly checking their phone. I know we are all sometimes guilty of it – myself included – but it’s one thing to say, I’m expecting an important email/call/text and put your phone on the table where you can see it. Everyone would understand that. But to constantly check your phone like you are still at work… sorry, but that just tells me that I’m not important to you.

But no worries, it was just one date. I have another one on Sunday 🙂 Fingers crossed that it goes better. But even if it doesn’t, I love my life. I’m working towards making my writing into a paying career and so the only thing I’m missing is love. It’s out there… it’s just up to me to find it!


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