“My first online dating experience brought me to tears . . . of laughter”


By Rory Gibson

In his inaugural post Rory recounts his first online dating encounter, after his newspaper editor asked him to write a first-hand account about using a dating site. His experience on eHarmony brought him to tears… of laughter.

The first time I dipped a toe in online dating waters, it got bitten off.

I’ll get to that shortly, but first some observations.

There is no stigma attached to online dating anymore. Everyone is doing it: some people are lonely, some busy, many just curious . . . for whatever reason, people are out there in what is essentially a cyber pick-up joint that doesn’t have any of the drawbacks of real pick-up joints, like drinks that require a mortgage payment to buy, door nazis who won’t let you in because your shoes aren’t mauve enough, ear-splitting music that prevents potential dates from hearing your name let alone your best pick-up lines, and not enough toilets.

It’s a phenomenon that is flourishing.

It’s a wonderful way to socialise, even fantasise. It works, too, for those looking for lurve. I know plenty of people who’ve found a mate through online dating and they couldn’t be happier.

But honestly, some people don’t do themselves any favours. Given the opportunity to talk about themselves in their dating profiles, too many lonely hearts decide that is the time to unleash their inner novelist.

And talk about confusing! They either sound like they are vying for the Miss Universe crown, or can’t make up their minds. They love slobbing at home – or going out partying. They adore socialising with old friends – but can’t wait to meet new people. They are longing to travel to Italy – but spending a weekend away in a tent is to die for. Make up your minds! This is no time to sit on the fence.

They want world peace, Third World debt forgiven, justice for animals… oh, and a man who is loyal, honest, independent, generous, warm, intelligent, loving, sexy and financially independent.

Is that all? You need to aim higher, ladies.

But no one reads that stuff. They just check out your photo. But that’s another tale. Back to me.

I arranged to have my first date with a woman named… let’s call her Jezebel. She was better looking than her photos suggested, which surprised me because I assumed everyone put up pictures of themselves as fit teenagers despite looking like shop-worn frumps in real life; like I did.

We had a couple of glasses of wine, and the conversation came easily. She told me some hilarious war stories about her online dating experiences. It was a really pleasant encounter.

Even though I was doing it for the purposes of gathering anecdotes for the piece I had been asked to write, and had told Jezebel as much, I was single and found myself thinking of it as a real date.

At some point while we were talking I had the thought, “I could go out with this woman. She’s a peach.”

Jezebel must have had similar thoughts because as I walked her to her car she said, “It was lovely meeting you, let’s do it again”.

How easy was that? You pick a good-looking face online and a few emails later you’re sitting in front of that face and getting on famously, planning a second date. No wonder everyone is piling in.

She texted me the next morning, saying once again how much she had enjoyed my company and that she was looking forward to Friday night, our next outing. Sweet.

On Thursday I texted her to confirm time and place. No response. Must be busy.

On the morning of our date I texted again. Silence. Hmmm.

Then, hours later, the bombshell. “Oh Rory, I’m sorry. I can’t go out with you tonight. I’ve decided to pursue a relationship with a special man,” she wrote. “I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

“Special man”? What *bleeping* special man? She failed to mention a special man three days ago. She couldn’t have met the love of her life in that short window.

And I wasn’t looking for anything! She asked me out.

I was appalled. What a duplicitous minx. Weirdly, given that I had known this woman for only two hours, it felt like someone had cheated on me.

Did the “special man” know his girlfriend had cosied up to someone else just days before they became the new Bogie and Bacall?

Soon though, my feelings of outrage morphed into mirth as I realised how foolish I was to feel angst over someone I had met once and had never intended pursuing. I wished Jezebel all the best.

Two weeks later, an early-morning text. “Hi Rory. That didn’t work out. Would you like to go on that date now?”

Just call me Plan B.

Had a similar experience to Rory? What was your first online dating encounter like? Let us know in the comments below, or join the conversation @eHarmony_AU or on Facebook.com/eHarmonyaustralia.

About Rory

Rory Gibson is a writer who lives in Brisbane, Queensland. He is the father of three teenage sons and the four of them are forever giving each appalling dating advice. He shares his often-hillarious experiences with us in a new fortnightly series.

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