Some of the stories we’ve gotten in for “LifeBytes™, Real Stories of Online Dating” have been scary. I mean like Steven-King-would-shit-a-brick scary. There’s a statistic out there that says about one in three people on online dating sites are con-artists or sexual deviants or worse. I believe it, it’s one of the things that turns people off to online dating. Better to sit home and collect tea pots or cats…you could then star in an episode of “Hoarders“…it’s safer. I understand this.
But you can date safely online. The trick is to develop your “slime-ball detector”, learn to sense the red flags before you get wrapped up and suffocated in one. To that end, I seem to have developed a knack for reading between the lines in emails. Here’s a funny-creepy exchange I had not too long ago:
I got an email from someone who is about six years younger than I am, who also had no photo posted. He said “Wow, you’re gorgeous! I can’t believe that’s your real age listed..you must be younger than that. Let me know if you’re interested, I’ll send a pix.”
Well, hot-damn…who can resist an opening line like that? I can’t.
I emailed back with a short note and a request to send a pix, and he did. Sidebar: The dating site that we were on has it’s own email system so you don’t know a person’s real email address. Unless they attach a photo. Then it gets routed to your personal email.
I found his pix in my personal in-box, one of him alone (notice I italicized that…) and one of him on a beach with his arm around a petite, cute, brunette. I also had his email address: HotMale4U. HotMale4U?????? If this was his personal email…either stupid or bad. His work email? Even worse!
Despite the immature email address, I emailed back – through the dating sites system, not my personal email. There was no way that HotMale4U was going to get access to my private account. I wrote, “Thanks for the photo. Probably not a good idea to send a pix of you with a woman. A girl could get the wrong idea….LOL”.
I was expecting either no answer or a sheepish, oh sorry that’s my sister, gay best friend, cousin, therapist. Instead I got “Gee, everyone mentions that. I never take pictures alone. Let me know if you want to talk”.
Er, what? First reaction was to just not reply and move on, but …I used to be a teacher and chose to create a “teaching moment” (yes, I can be a little nuts that way). I replied and pointed out that there are a lot of creepy men online and women are (and should be) cautious about who is contacting them, and if you’re with someone in a pix you should identify them. I ended the email with the comment: “and yes, I noticed that you still haven’t told me who she is”. I actually expected to never hear from him again.
But nooooooo, I received this: “Thanks for explaining that Sharon. I never take pictures alone. Let me know if you want to talk”.
My answer to that was a huge, screaming NO FREAKING WAY. An answer that I never actually emailed to him. I did what one should do when faced with a creepy situation, even if it’s just in email form….I walked away.
Was he really a con-artist or some creepy perv, or was he just wildly naive and trying to be vaguely flirty? Sorry kids, don’t have hard, cold proof either way here. Let’s just say my “slime detector” was blaring sirens and flashing red lights enough to wake the dead. And that’s enough for me.
Safe Dating To All,