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Minefield of online dating can be surreal

Talking Point | Published:

Express & Star columnist Jan Denning with today's Talking Point

Ping, ping, ping

Online dating and dating apps are proving one of the most popular ways to meet a prospective partner, catering for people from all walks of life, ages and interests.

The taboo previously surrounding online dating is no longer a concern and the market is buoyant.

The dating site promise of: “Meet fun, attractive, intelligent, social and like-minded singles” lures you in. After all with a headline like that, who wouldn’t be tempted?

It reassures us that the site isn’t full of mass murderers but instead people just like us . . . pretty normal, happy go lucky, clean (yes clean) and sociable.

You spend hours creating a great, interesting profile that best describes you, your values, what you’re looking for and what you hope to get out of the site. You upload your best and true to life photographs (or pics which is the word we all seem to use now), check it over, check spelling, check grammar, bite the bullet and press ‘publish’.

Within minutes . . . ping, ping, ping, pin, pi, p, p p p p . . . the sound of messages coming through. You’ve been recognised as ‘fresh meat’. With great excitement you open your chosen dating app. You’re hit by the reality of those ‘fun, attractive, intelligent, social and like-minded singles’!

For me I read the profile name first and don’t feel inspired to read; ‘Before it’s too late’, ‘Make me smile again’, ‘Gift2Women’, ‘Desperate looking 4 love’, and I wasn’t overly excited when ‘CiderPig’ added me as a favourite. I could go on. Really, do these guys really think they’ll get any interest? The profile name and pic is the first thing you see, so make sure it’s good.

Then there’s the pics, surely a great pic is essential when it comes to online dating? I sit here shaking my head as I browse through the images of guys who cannot post a photograph the right way up.

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Then there’s the guy in his ‘lounge wear’, well if I’m honest gravy-stained vest and joggers. This next one looks promising, six guys standing smiling, which one are you? Oh and the pictures of their own wedding. Move on. Next, holding a cigarette and a pint, if they’d read my profile I clearly state non-smoker! Sigh, next.

Absolutely, pictures are important. But there is more substance needed than just a selfie. And be honest, if you’re not six foot then don’t say you are. I went on a date with a guy who said he was six foot. I saw him in the distance on the pub car park where we’d agreed to meet, thinking he’d probably get taller as he got closer. He opened the car door for me, that was nice. I literally felt myself unfurl to reach my full 5’ 8”. He was 5’ 7”, did he think I wouldn’t notice?

Then there’s the one’s that if you don’t respond to their message within five minutes, you get a tirade of abusive and unfounded messages. Block.

I’m really no expert on how to find a great online date, so I’ll end by saying aim high, don’t settle, be patient, relax, enjoy, and if Mr Right does possibly come along, then bonus. Oh and my number is 07…… ha ha, only joking.

  • Jan Denning is founder and MD of Destination Wolverhampton & The Black Country.

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