Undercover Dater

Social Media Editor

We have all thought about what online dating would be like. If you have not, you are lying to yourself. Be honest, those commercials look very intriguing. I mean, what if you meet “the one?” But we all also have an inherent fear of the unknown. What if we decide to meet the person we have been talking to online and they are not who they said they were? What if you decide to go home with this person, things get out of hand and you get hurt? Well, all of these things were going through my mind as I decided to go “undercover” to give those curious people the inside scoop of what it’s like to date online.
First off, I used an app on my phone, not a service on the computer. Those two things are very different. Usually, when you are doing online dating, you pay. You can set up an account for free, but to contact any of your matches, you have to pay a monthly fee, usually around $25 for a basic membership.
However, with almost every dating app I’ve seen, you pay nothing, but there is also no regulation. Online websites have moderators who make sure people aren’t trying to meet up as soon as they meet, as is often the case on an app.
The app I used is Tinder, because it links to your Facebook, letting you see their actual first name (not some sketchy username), as well as all of the shared interests you might have on Facebook. It let me find some things to talk about other than the weather and when I could meet for a beer, which is a question I got asked every time I met someone.
After going through around 200 hundred profiles, I finally decided to meet two men, Thomas and Nick. Both men portrayed themselves as very respectful, honest men who would never try anything on the first “date.” They wanted a relationship, not a one night stand. However, people are often very different in person than they try to appear on an app, Facebook, or through text. So, both of these men hoped for sex, neither being successful. And both of these men didn’t stay in contact with me after they realized they weren’t going to get any either.
Now, I’m not saying do not use the app, or any app or website, because I still have the app on my phone. Not to date, but because I like to meet people and hear their stories. However, there are some things to keep in mind if you do decide to date online.
1. Be smart. I cannot stress this enough. Not to scare people, but there might be serial killers, rapists and psychos on these sites. There are also “normal” folk, but you still need to keep your guard up for a while, at least until you have known them for some time.
2. If you plan to meet someone, do it in a public place for the first few dates. It is safer.
3. Tell a friend. My best girlfriends not only knew these guys were here, but made excuses to come see me in my room while ea guy was here, just to check up on things.
Now, I obviously cannot tell you how to live your life, but I can highly encourage you to use your brain when doing online or mobile dating. There is potential for some really sketchy people coming on to you, but there is also potential for meeting some genuinely great folks who make really good friends. It is up to you to sort through the crazies and find the good ones.