I can’t say this enough, your online presence has implications everywhere in your life, not just dating. Social media is everywhere and your photo is probably on at least 3 social media sites in addition to professional networking sites like LinkedIn
Online photos may be the only way that people who have never met you can see what you look like. That includes potential employers, potential business contacts, potential friends, friends of your family, etc.
Maybe you want people to think you’re gloomy…
I cannot believe what passes for photos on the dating sites. And since I’ve met more of a few of these women in person as social events such as Q-Girl parties – I feel it’s important to say something. Because you may be scaring people away and not even realize it.
First of all, are you smiling in your pictures? It doesn’t have to be a broad, toothy grin. Just raise the corners of your lips a millimeter or two.
If you have pictures online where you are growling at the camera, or scowling at the camera – you may think it makes you look like the stong, serious type.
Scowling and scary doesn’t look good on anyone
It doesn’t. It actually makes you look like you haven’t had a bowel movement in a couple of weeks. It does NOT make you look approachable.
Maybe you don’t want to be approached. Maybe you are a hermit who hates people. Maybe you want to scare everyone away. If that’s the case, then carry on.
However, if you have these kinds of photos appearing publicly on social media or dating sites, and you want a social life – take them down.
Find a friend who can take a decent photo where you’re having some fun, or where you just feel friendly.
Personally, I feel friendlier after a meal. My family and friends know if they hand me some food, it will always cheer me up. So when I take a selfie, I make sure I eat first.
An easy solution
So try to get a photo doing something you enjoy, whether it’s eating, drinking wine or shoplifting – snap a shot while you’re having a good time.
Even better, go to our next Q-Girls event. Everyone is smiling and happy at our parties. Make some new friends, have a glass of wine, grab an appetizer and then ask your new friends to snap a shot of you looking happy.
Scary/needy behavior scares people away. Unless you’re interested in someone even scarier than you. If that’s the case – have at it.
If you’re exhibiting any of these scary behaviors, then you might want to kick back for a minute and evaluate your life. It’s ok to take a deep breath and step away from dating to get a handle on your “stuff.”
You need to use an alias online
I just had an alarming experience on a popular dating site this past weekend. I reached out to a woman who looked ok.
Ok in my lesbian world means somewhat stable – job, home, checking account, still has most of her hair and teeth…that sort of thing. I don’t think that’s raising the bar too high by my mid-fifties.
So we exchanged a couple of messages on the dating site, then I gave her my real email address to make communicating simpler and then went to bed without giving it much thought.
I didn’t get a chance to check my email until Monday night. When I checked there were two emails from her. The one at 8:30 on Sunday night was light and chatty. it was fine. There were some harmless questions for me to answer.
Then there was a reference to her real name which was not the same name she used on the dating site. Apparently she’s run into weird people, hence the alias. Remember that show Lost In Space? “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!”
You’re hiding from someone, or they’re hiding from you
That was the first red flag. I’ve run into women who use aliiases and getting to know them never goes well. Without fail they are always much crazier than anyone who’d be foolish enough to track them down.
The second red flag was the emal that had arrived at 8:30 am on Monday morning went something like this: “Just checking in. Not sure if you still want to communicate. Hope to hear from you.”
So, unbeknownst to me, there was an expectation to answer her first email before I went to bed on Sunday night. By Monday morning she had already assumed the worst.
You’re making inaccurate assumptions by the third email
Some might disagree, but no adult should be assuming the worst with a complete stranger. Exchanging emails does not imply a relationship.
I’m thinking about putting a disclaimer on my dating profile. Something like, “Just because I emailed you does not mean we are going to have sex or adopt a new cat together. Let’s get that straight right now.”
The woman I was emailing assumed a twelve hour window for an adequate response to her email. She shouldn’t assume anything. The top reason being that we are complete strangers and she knows nothing about my schedule.
There are times someone might need a couple of days to write back. Their dog got sick. Their boss demanded overtime. They had to find a decent facility for grandma because she was paying visits to family and friends in her underwear. Shit happens all the time.
If you’re counting the hours till a stranger you met online answers your email, then you probably won’t even make it to the first date without scaring them away.
When I saw that Monday morning email, I instantly thought of Fatal Attraction. If she’s tracking response time now, what will she be doing by the third date?
This is why you should come to the next QgirlsNYC event. The woman are sane and fun in a good way. It’s always better to meet and greet in person!
You are only hurting yourself if you misrepresent your appearance
I was discussing this topic with a friend. She’s had a couple of instances where she’s met women on dating websites who misrepresented their appearance. She pointed one of them out to me at a party, while showing me her online photo. The discrepancy was terrifying.
I also know of friends who are fraudulent about their age online. It’s creepy. What these women don’t realize is that word about their stretching of the truth spreads quickly. It destroys their credibility within in the community. They are ruining their chances of even a first date if everyone is on to them.
Ruin your reputation with these online strategies:
I’m sure many women who exaggerate the reality of their age or appearance think it’s harmless. In fact, many don’t realize they are lying at all, but they are. And here are some ways they mislead potential dates online:
Putting up pictures on dating sites that are 20, or more, years old
I had a conversation a few months ago with an ex-friend who complained she wasn’t getting any second dates. I couldn’t avoid spotting her profile on one of the more popular dating sites, so I knew that her stunning profile pic was at least 15-20 years old. Not only was it old, it was a professional headshot.
She no longer looks like the beauty in the pictures. So her dates are expecting one person and getting someone who looks completely different.
In her mid-fifties, she looks like a normal mortal with wrinkles and sagging chin and an expanding middle. And there’s nothing wrong with that, we’re all getting older. She’s still pretty, but she’s not 30 anymore.
But her dates are expecting someone whose movie star pretty. The discrepancy between her photos and what she looks like in person are jarring. It’s easy to understand the lack of interest. It’s a turnoff. It also shows a woman who’s out of touch with the reality of her appearance.
Add to the mix that she was not an easy person to get along with, and she definitely didn’t handle criticism well. Her sparkling personality didn’t help the dating issues.
Pointing out the fact that she was misrepresenting her appearance online would have been pointless. It would have just pissed her off, and it wouldn’t have changed anything. So I left her to it. I didn’t stay directly in touch for other reasons. But to my knowledge, she still isn’t getting any second dates.
Lying on dating profiles so it shows your numeric age incorrectly
I have another friend who presents her chronological age as several years younger than she actually is. She gets away with it because she looks good for her age. But sooner or later it’s going to catch up with her.
Women have an age range of women they’d like to meet for a reason. A 45-year-old may feel ok with a 54-year-old date. She may not feel as comfortable if her date was 59. My friend lying about her age shows a lack of maturity about speaking her truth. It shows a discomfort with the aging process. And it shows a comfort level with just plain lying that that should be a red flag to anyone dating her.
I happen to know this woman prefers much younger women. She likes women that are at least 20 years younger than her. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing. But taking advantage of potential dates by stretching the truth is never going to end well.
If you lie about your age, then what else are you lying about?
I have a male friend whose boyfriend lied about his age. Two years into the relationship my friend spotted his lover’s driver’s license. Turns out he was almost 60, not almost 50! It almost ended their relationship. My friend felt very betrayed, and he was.
In a wonderful New York Times article that discusses our cultural shame about aging, Ashton Applewhite says, “… trying to pass for younger is like a gay person trying to pass for straight or a person of color for white.” She’s right. How many of us have spotted the 70-year-old trying to look younger by dressing like a teenager?
It’s much easier to go with the flow than to fight Mother Nature tooth and nail.
Lying about your age is a betrayal of trust. Be prepared for the consequences if you get caught. It’s not worth it.
Putting up photoshopped selfies and photos on dating profiles
I know an ex who erases all of her wrinkles before she posts pictures on social media. It occurred to me long after we broke up that the online pictures that attracted me to her were enhanced.
She wasn’t actually lying about her appearance, she was just embellishing a little. I went out with her anyway because she was cute with or without wrinkles – but I caught her embellishing the truth about other things on several occasions. Not being able to trust her eroded our connection.
In the end, it’s about accepting our age gracefully
Meeting new people is tricky enough without starting off on the wrong foot. Part of aging gracefully for all of us is accepting our age. There are lots of hot women in their 50’s and 60’s. Part of their hotness is their honesty and integrity about every aspect of their lives, including their age.
Would you really want to start a relationship with someone who judges you by your age and appearance? Probably not, we want to be embraced for who we are. That acceptance starts within.
You’d never know it by meeting me in person at one of the Qgirls parties, but I struggle with quite a bit of social anxiety at large gatherings.
I guess I’d be considered a typical introvert. I like people, but in small, measured doses. I have a handful of close friends – more than a handful and I’d get overwhelmed. I am outgoing, pretty intelligent and can hold down a conversation. I’ve even been told I can talk to anyone. But the minute I contemplate heading to a large gathering of women – I freeze.
I’ve always dreaded bars and typical lesbian tea dances because I never seem to know where to go or who to talk to. I force myself because I know it’s important to maintain a social support network. Once you hit your forties it’s not like college anymore. A lot of friends are married and partnered, and spending too much time with couples can get, well, depressing. Let’s face it, lives and careers and hobbies…life just gets busy.
I had met a couple of the organizers of Qgirls a while back. They kept encouraging me to attend an event, and like the typical introvert, I smiled and tuned them out.
I don’t know what possessed me, but I finally decided to take the plunge and go to one of their events a few months ago. I was pleasantly surprised.
The Elmo’s lounge is a relatively small space, but roomy enough for a full bar, an excellent DJ-and comfy couches to sit on when my bad knee acted up. The music is for everyone’s taste. The DJ effortlessly mixed hits from the 80’s and 90’s with hits from the 21st century. Something for everyone. I couldn’t help but dance a little, the mix of music was that good.
And the best part? Everyone was friendly. I’m sorry to say that is not always the case at women’s events that cater to lesbian and bi women. They can sometimes be cliquey, or women trying to be New York City chic just have an attitude.
At Qgirls events the attitudes, if there are any, get left at the door. It really is a fun, friendly atmosphere. The women are open and fun to talk to. Everyone is friendly. So even an introvert like me was able to mix and mingle for the first time in a long time.
I’m going tonight, maybe I’ll meet some fellow introverts. Or maybe I’ll meet my next best friend or love of my life. Even if I don’t meet anyone who will change my life. I know I’ll have a great time.