By ROB W. ANDERSON
Looking for real love through a virtual world can produce Hollywood endings more like paparrazi-captured moments.
Sometimes, taking a shortcut can produce a desired effect, like shaving time from a trip the store. But when it comes to establishing a lasting connection with another person, having realistic expectations is a must.
Several free or paid-subscription dating websites are available on the Internet or social websites, like Facebook, that allow members to establish a certain level of familiarity with prospective mates. But these online profiles are completed in such a way that what is most attractive about the person can be elusive, or exaggerated.
Honest descriptors detailing an individual’s history with drinking, smoking and maybe marriage and children are included, but phrases like “hates talk of politics or religion” or “dislikes people who brag about their kids” don’t exist, or must be included in information requests classified as “other.”
Former Tahlequah resident Robin Brown has been a happily married man since June 2, 1999, and said online dating provided some enjoyable moments, but also a level of disconnection.
“I did meet some women online and dated them, but it’s really hard to transition from an online relationship to the real world. It is too easy to be fake when your connection is a keyboard,” Brown said. “You build up all these expectations about the other person, and the spark goes out pretty quickly once you actually meet. You were attracted to the mystery and then, poof – suddenly, it’s gone. Not to mention that usually it is a long-distance relationship that seldom gets adequately nurtured enough to go anywhere. I had some enjoyable moments from online dating, but in the end, I found my true love by dating someone I had met in person.”
Dating websites Match.com and Plenty of Fish, or POF.com, present terms and regulations that lead a reader to feel safe in knowing he or she will be connecting with individuals who are “selling themselves,” but under set parameters designed to protect users.
One Tahlequah man, who asked for anonymity, said he took the online dating avenue because he was working about 75 hours a week, and had no time to go out and meet people.
“Women don’t seem to like meeting guys [in places] I frequented: grocery stores, convenience stores, etc.,” he said. “So I signed up with Match.com. I found most women on these sites to be scammers, but it isn’t in the company’s best interest to do anything about it because they bring monthly fees from men. The first way I figured this out was that I messaged a brunette lady who claimed to live in Tulsa. I received a message back from a Russian blonde. She said wanted to meet me if I could just pay for her airfare. Being tech-savvy, I Googled the town she claimed to be from, and the only results I received were stories about college men and Russian Mafia earning a living by scamming American men in this manner.”
The Press reader added that he immediately cut off communication, but the woman continued for weeks trying to rekindle the conversation.
“The second thing I noticed were women claiming to be from Tulsa who were gorgeous, but had been using and paying for the service for years. And it showed they logged on [to the website] every day,” he said. “I just can’t believe a sane, beautiful woman can’t find a good guy through normal channels, but also could find one through a dating service over the course of several years. I did meet several women from the service in public places, usually a coffee shop, and most of them were not as they described themselves, or they uploaded misleading photos of themselves that did not represent who they actually were.”
The reader admitted to being confused by this behavior.
“I don’t understand not being completely honest and providing full disclosure here,” he said. “The person you meet will find out the truth. Then it becomes not an issue of the way you look, but that you were dishonest from the beginning of a new relationship.”
He discussed the issue with a female user of the website, who reported a similar experience: Every man she met portrayed himself one way, but when it came down to meeting in person, all they wanted was sex.
Another reader who also requested her identity be withheld called herself a “Moo-Goo.”
“That is what the Nigerians call their online victims from whom they were able to steal their money,” she said. “I sent a Nigerian $300 to buy food for an orphanage. Later, I found out his whole profile was a fake. I thought he was a Caucasian business man living in the USA, but building a bridge in Nigeria. He wooed me until I fell for every lie he posted. Since then, I have had contact with other Nigerians who use Internet cafes to contact their victims. I have had contact with them on Facebook, as well as dating sites. They prey on single, Christian women who have money.”
On one occasion, she agreed to meet a man who, within an hour, asked her to marry him and insisted she meet his mother. She had to excuse herself from the table so she could telephone someone to come and pick her up.
“One guy I met didn’t have a car. Since I had two, I loaned him one of mine for a few days. I quickly decided I didn’t want to date him, and asked for my car back,” she said. “He refused. After about three months, I finally got him to make payments on it and let him have the car for much less than what it was worth. [It’s] A decision I still regret.”
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