It's a new year and for lots of us, that can mean a resolution to eat less, move more, get a new job or find love. Karen Dunne, author of the witty, off-kilter wedding blog, Beating Myself Into a Dress, is a veteran of the on-line dating scene. And she's just one of its many successes – in three months time, Karen will be walking down the aisle to marry Damien, the guy of her dreams. As Beaut.ie Dating launches and many of you are thinking of taking the plunge for the first time, here are her expert tips to help you maximise your chances, stay safe and weed out the time-wasters.
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and join a dating website. Congratulations! It’s scary, fun, frustrating and exciting all at the same time – you’re gonna love it.
I am a veteran of online dating, having been tasked, as part of my job as a journalist a few years ago, with writing a column about the hunt for the perfect guy.
Sick of listening to me moaning about the lack of good men on the dating scene one Monday morning, my editor handed me an advertisement for an online site.
“Join this site,” he instructed, cutting me off mid-rant leaving me talking to his back “and write about the good, the bad and the ugly, ok?”
He popped his head back around the side of my cubicle “Especially the ugly, yeah? We’re very interested in the ugly.”
Anyway, somewhat reluctantly I joined up and jumped right in – and a whole new world was opened up to me.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: online dating is like shopping. Shopping for boys, where you get to pick and choose exactly who you want to go out with.
You get to go on dates, be wined and dined, meet new people and your social life goes stellar, really, what’s not to like?
Of course you may also meet the boring guys, the no-shows, the married guys and the downright gobshitey guys but what I found was that the fun times far outweigh the bad.
On top of the fun though, is the very real possibility that you may meet a lifelong partner, a soulmate.
I did. It took me about a year, dipping in and out of online dating, but when I met him it was love at first sight.
It is now 92 days to our wedding, not that I’m counting or anything, and I am blissfully happy – it may have started with a private message rather than a kiss, but our trip down the aisle will be no less special.
So especially for you lovely Beaut.ie readers I present my Seven Golden Rules of online dating to get you started. Good luck!
- Join a reputable site, one where you have to pay to access all or some premium sections of the site. You’ll find people who are genuinely interested in meeting someone and who are willing to pay out a monthly charge. Sites where you have to pay generally weed out a good percentage of the time wasters.
- Stay local. There is very little point in investing a huge portion of your time and feelings in some guy from Alaska. Honestly, stick to Ireland for the time being, there are enough men here, trust me!
- Write a decent profile. Your profile is like an advertisement all about you. It’s how you’re going to sell yourself to potential lovaaahs and to be frank, if it’s boring, you’ll get nowhere. Ensure your spelling and punctuation is perfect, there is nothing as off-putting as a poorly spelled profile. Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself that you can be. Don’t tell lies, there’s no point in saying you look like Angelina Jolie when in reality you look more like Brian Cowen, but play to your strengths.
- Always upload a photograph of yourself. You’ll get loads more replies and you’ll know that, at the very least, the lad you’re chatting to liked the look of you. Beware the man who doesn’t upload a photograph – he’s either married or ugly. And to be honest I’m not sure which is worse. There’s nothing like going on a blind date with a Les Battersby lookalike to open a girl’s eyes!
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for guys to approach you, browse profiles and approach the lads you fancy. You have to put some work into it. Once you’ve made contact with someone you like the look of on the site and exchanged a few emails or private messages, arrange to meet him. There’s no point in beating around the bush, you joined the site to find a date, didn’t you? So go forth and date! Don’t invest months and months into a guy only to finally meet him and realise he’s not your type. Or worse, that he pronounces it ‘supposebly’.
- When you do find someone you like enough to meet, it is vital that you do so as safely as possible. This is no joking matter. Although the Internet is wonderful, very dangerous people can hide behind it and the anonymity it offers. Always meet in a public place, in daylight if possible, especially on the first date. Stay sober, or limit your drinking to one or two and of course never leave your drink unattended. Never arrange to meet in your home, or in your date’s home. Never get into a car with your date, or let him into your car. Always tell your family or friends where you are going and who you are going with and what time you will be home. Don’t reveal too much too soon – keep personal information about your work and your daily whereabouts to a minimum, particularly at first. It is perfectly acceptable to bring a friend with you on the first date, if you’re particularly nervous – any guy worth his salt won’t have a problem with this. Go on the dates and have a good time by all means, just be smart and stay safe.
- Despite what I’ve just said above about safety – and I’ve probably scared the bejaysus out of you – my top tip is to enjoy the experience! Online dating is a whole heap of fun, it involves going out and enjoying yourself with handsome lads, it’s not a chore. Throw yourself into it and be open to whatever it offers. Sure, you might discover it’s not for you and go back to meeting boys in clubs, but who knows, you might just meet The One.
Karen's tips are excellent, informative and really helpful, we reckon. Have you got more to share? Leave them in a comment!