I had four choices when it came to dealing with the problem of scaring off men: do nothing, be even more transparent in my profile than I already was, strip remaining identifying information out of my profile, stop writing about my dating experience in my blog, or, the most extreme choice, give up on online dating.
Albert Einstein’s admonition came to mind: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. I abandoned the notion of doing nothing.
Becoming even more transparent in my profile by fessing up to my blog was appealing because it fit with my commitment to directness, authenticity, and transparency. Before I began writing about my dating experience, I had joked that to write about it might weed out the boys from the men. It had probably done that, but it seemed to be scaring off otherwise perfectly good men too.
The third possibility was stripping identifying information from my profile. I had already made a change to my profile by changing my online moniker. It had been connected with my business name, thereby making it almost effortless to find me quickly. I gave myself a moniker that could not identify me. I had also stripped out some of the references to shamanism because it obfuscated things. The primary identifying words remaining in my profile were writer and editor. It seemed easy enough to eliminate those words, and I reminded myself that close female friends had been urging me to give less information about myself on my profile for some time.
The fourth possibility was to just stop writing about my dating experiences in my blog. Of course, the blog posts I’d already written could still be found unless I took more drastic action, but anyone finding the blog would at least be able to tell, from the date of the latest post about dating, that I had stopped writing about it. I wasn’t ready to give up blogging about dating.
The last possibility was to just abandon the online dating world altogether. It seemed a defeatist approach, but I did want to consider it. I was a member of two paid online dating services. I received endless views and contacts through one of them, but some of those views and contacts were from men out of state and few of the rest were from men I would choose to date. And when I did a search using geographical and age parameters, there was almost no one I found appealing. The other site had a much larger pool of possible partners, but I had less views and contacts from men on that site, and I had enough experience with my messages to men being ignored to tell me that even when I reached out, I wasn’t getting much response. Of course, I had to admit that the problem of my transparency might be impacting that. I wasn’t ready to give up on the idea of online dating, though I was ready to look at what other sites might be better for me when my paid memberships were up.
It seemed that the most sensible approach was to revise my profile, stripping out any identifying information. There were a couple of others things I could do too. When asked my name, I had been telling men that I reserve giving my name until I have a phone or face-to-face meeting with a man. Instead of saying that, I could just as easily give them my middle name. I couldn’t be easily identified from it, and it is a real part of my full name. The other thing I could do was to avoid giving out my cell phone number. A reverse search made me quickly identifiable from that number. I had attempted using a Google number at one point, but that hadn’t worked well. Just holding the phone number in reserve until a meeting seemed the best route. Alternatively, I could give my land line number because, thanks to a quirky issue with how it is listed, I was hard to track down from it. But I would need to screen a man before doing that.
I went to both online sites and not only stripped out identifying information, but also refined my profiles. Then I sat back to see what would happen.
Just changing a profile or adding photos tends to bump a profile up in the page listings on these sites, so I had to take that into account. And I had read the first part of the year always brought an upsurge in online dating activity, so I also had to take that into account. But I not only received a bit of a burst in views, I received new requests for back-and-forth communication and, ultimately, meetings.
One thing I hadn’t changed, though, was my commitment to being up front about my blog once I met a man. When I had done that in the past, few men seemed to be put off by it. Would that still be the case? Or would the sheer number of posts, coupled with the erotic quality of a few of them, scare off any man who left a first meeting with me and did a little blog reading?
There were many unknowns, and I was back to being a dating anthropologist.
Copyright 2017 by Melanie Mulhall