Kathryn's Blog: Tell the Truth

How honesty gets you everything

Now, talk about an up-front and honest profile: He described himself honestly as a smoker with 11 children (ages 8 to 29) from two previous marriages. And he hadn’t cut his hair in 13 years.  And he STILL got the girl.

Elopement wraps up romance with a bow
By Joe Blundo

BERLIN, Ohio—Keeping marriage plans secret isn’t easy when the bride and groom have 15 inquisitive offspring between them.

Arlene Essinger and Kenny Link, both 49, got it done by eloping this month to a cabin in Amish country.

She wore a cranberry-colored dress and a wreath of roses in her hair. He wore his “dress sneakers.” A minister they’d met just minutes before pronounced them husband and wife, they kissed, and that was that.

It was a relief, the new Mrs. Link said.

“I don’t have to dance around questions my family keeps asking me.”

Their trip to Berlin, about 90 miles northeast of Columbus in Holmes County, had raised plenty of suspicions among relatives.

The Links confirmed them when they broke the news of their marriage to about 30 gathered for a cookout the weekend after the elopement.

“They thought it was an engagement party,” Mrs. Link said. “A couple of family thought it was going to be a wedding.

“So, after a while, everybody got over the initial shock, and I think we all had a good time.”

The couple’s elopement marked the culmination of a three-year romance that began online.

Mr. Link, a Mechanicsburg factory worker who believes in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach, ran a Yahoo! personal ad that softened no edges: He described himself honestly as a smoker with 11 children (ages 8 to 29) from two previous marriages.

The ad included a photo showing his hair, which hadn’t been cut in 13 years.

A mother of four (ages 16 to 30) who was living in Marysville, Essinger had recently divorced after 27 years of marriage. She initially considered Mr. Link more of an adviser than a romantic interest.

They chatted online for three months, with him schooling her on the Internet dating scene. His savvy and helpfulness impressed her.

“He’s a very intelligent man,” she said.

They met in person and began dating. Eventually, he cut his hair, although whose idea that was remains a he-said/she-said issue.

Mr. Link, an Air Force veteran, calls himself a “radical conservative”; he’s both anti-war and anti-tax. His new wife said she doesn’t agree with all of his views but she’s learning a lot.

She isn’t a person with strong political opinions or a penchant for speaking out.

They have other things in common, though.

Mr. Link had adopted four children; Essinger, two. He plays the piano; she’s a part-time music director at Hoge Memorial Presbyterian Church in Columbus. She wanted the freedom to pursue her goals; he encouraged her.

Mr. Link isn’t big on formality: He once wore a cardboard tie to a relative’s wedding. So an elopement suited him, although he insisted that the religious ceremony be preceded by a private commitment at which no one else would be present.

“There’s a plethora of symbols in our lives that mean nothing,” he said. “I don’t require a ceremony, but I will acquiesce if that’s what Arlene wants.”

He not only acquiesced but also made her a headpiece of roses and pipe cleaners for the service. And he hummed Wedding March as she made her bridal walk from the side door of their rented cabin to a patio where the minister waited.

The Rev. David Stutzman of Sugarcreek conducted a simple service in which he compared marriage to wine:

“My prayer for both of you is: Just like good wine that’s been sealed and tastes better with age, so will your marriage be.”

They exchanged rings, and the union became official.

“I’m not singing the recessional,” Mr. Link joked afterward.

The couple have different goals: Mr. Link, a Cleveland native, wants to retire from his job in two years and spend one baseball season as an usher at Indians games; then he wants to do service work, perhaps in a hospital. Mrs. Link, who recently completed a vocal-music degree at Capital University in Bexley with a minor in journalism, would like to work as a copy editor.

They’ve promised each other that in marriage they will continue the approach Mr. Link took in his personal ad: Be honest and speak plainly.

Which explains his cleanshaven face.

She asked him to remove a few days’ worth of stubble before the wedding.

“And I believe I said it plainly.”


What do people lie about online?  BeNaughty.com weighs in…

Here’s a very interesting survey by a British dating site about what singles like about.  A whopping 29% lied about the level of their debt!  I rarely hear about debt as being of concern.  Most folks get angry about lies that concern looks, like old photos or guys who say they are taller than they are.  Maybe Brits worry less about being over 6 feet—this survey says only 5% lie about height anyway. What’s the purpose of a lie about height, when anyone can tell on a first meeting?  Come to think of it, debt likely is easier to hide. 

BeNaughty.com Survey Exposes Britain’s Top Fibs

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Britain’s top fibs exposed in BeNaughty.com survey.

1. Debt (29%)

2. Smoking/drinking (28%)

3. Weight (24%)

4. Number of sexual partners (14%)

5. Age (13%)

6. Salary (11%)

7. Fidelity (9%)

8. Hobbies (8%)

9. Job/employment (8%)

10. Education/qualifications (7%)

11. Travel experience (5%)

12. Height (5%)

13. Where you live (5%)

14. Physical endowments (4%)

The number one thing we lie about in the UK is our own personal level of debt, according to a new national survey into our biggest fibs.

The Truth Be Told survey, commissioned by online dating site http://www.benaughty.com, revealed that nearly a third (29%) of the 1,028 people between 16 and 64 that were interviewed said they lied about how much money they owe*.

Running a close second (28%) of the things people lied most about was how much we drink and smoke.

And third in the benaughty.com survey, with just under a quarter of votes (24%), were lies about how much we weigh.

Number of sexual partners comes fourth in the list (14%), while a person’s age is fifth (13%).

Surprisingly, the thing both men and women lied about least was the size of their physical endowments.

Men versus Women – who are the biggest liars?

While just one in seven men lie about their weight, the figure leaps to more than one in three women.

The benaughty.com survey also reveals women lie slightly more than men when it comes to debt (30% compared to 28%), and are similar when lying about their smoking and drinking habits (28% and 27%).

Max Polyakov, EasyDate Ltd chief operating officer, said: “I admit I was surprised by the results of our survey because to be honest I expected most people to say they lied about their age or their educational qualifications.

“People must feel pretty ashamed of their financial situation or how much they drink or smoke if they feel the need to lie about it. These are really important things and honesty between people is really very important for relationships to survive and develop.”

http://www.benaughty.com will offer its website users the opportunity to compare themselves against the survey results, to see how they compare with the various national and regional trends.

Notes to editors

*Research conducted by TNS OnLineBus among 1,028 GB adults aged 16-64.

Interviewing was by CAWI over the internet between 24 and 26 June 2008.


Deals on keeping yourself safe

Anyone who reads my blog or newsletter *eMAIL to eMATE* knows that I am constantly harping about safety.  While I don’t think scamming is as much of a problem as most folks think, still, you are the only one who can protect you.  Being educated is the first line of defense. Reading what I have posted here on this blog is a great place to start your education.  I’ve also started developing products to help you get informed, the distilled, “nitty-gritty” about scamming (and lying!) in cheap ($1 each) easy to digest bites: My One Page $1 Wonders.

I’ve also located a great resource for singles concerned about their safety:  AssetSearchPros.com Asset Search Pros has offered an excellent deal for my Find-a-Sweetheart readers and clients: A big 25% discount on all their search packages!  Yea!  We like deals! 

To get you to make yourself just that much safer, all you have to do to take advantage of AssetSearchPros.com’s offer is to buy one or more of my One Page $1 Wonders. After your purchase, you’ll get a followup email with a promotional code that you will use on the AssetSearchPros.com’s site for your selections there.  Is that a deal or what?

AssetSearchPros sent me the following description about background searches that will help you figure out if they are something you can use.  You might want to think about having a search done on yourself.  After all, someone you are dating could easily do a search on YOU.  Shouldn’t you be aware of what might come up?

The Value of a Dating Background Check

Online dating is the fastest growing method for singles who are looking for compatible partners. Whether a person is in their 20’s and just looking for someone to “hang out with” or is older and seeks a “serious relationship”, online dating is the preferred method of millions of people.

Companies such as Match.com, eHarmony, and PlentyofFish provide information on millions of profiles, and sustain business by enrolling hundreds of thousands of new members every year. While it is exciting to find someone whose profile appears compatible with yours, remember that all information is provided by the member themselves. Each member understandably portrays themselves in the best light. Who hasn’t wanted to shave a few pounds of extra weight off of their waistline or deduct a year or two from their actual age? Doesn’t every 41 year old have a better chance of meeting “Mr. Right” when they say that they are 39?

While it is never a good idea to lie when you are looking to build a long-term, trusting relationship, some convenient fudging might be excusable, like height and weight.  But perverts, predators, rapists and murders have equal access to computers and dating sites. While online dating is “safe” and impersonal while you are behind a computer and emailing someone, there comes the time when you actually meet your online partner. How do you know that they are in reality who they claim to be?

A Dating Background Check is an inexpensive method to verify information that you have received. While it can seem minor that someone tries to cover over a few gray hairs or denies owning a herd of cats, information regarding current marital status, financial and legal problems are important, and will be revealed by having a Background Check from a service provider such as Asset Search Pros.

Here are some frequently asked questions and recommendations from our clients.

Q: I just met my date for the first time. We had a cup of coffee. When we discussed jobs and families, he told me that he had just moved to the area and didn’t really know anyone. How do I know he was telling me the truth?

A: We would recommend our Bronze Peace of Mind background check package. It is priced at less than $20 and will verify the name, and possible aliases, as well as current and previous addresses.

Q: I am in my fifties and am just starting to try to meet someone after my spouse died. What kind of things should I be wary of?

A: You need to be protect your personal finances. You may be self-sufficient in the area of money, but in today’s society, many people have had financial reversals. Some of these people are victims and some are guilty of fraud. You don’t want yourself and your children to lose everything to someone who has bankruptcies or court ordered judgments against them. If you should get married, remember, you could become liable for their debts. We recommend our Silver Peace of Mind background check for only $39. It is a small price to pay to discover any public information financial records including bankruptcies, tax liens and property ownership. This package also includes the name and address information provided in the Bronze package.

Q: I am a single mom with two teenage daughters. I just met the most wonderful man. He told me he has children, but doesn’t have much contact with them. How can I know that he is on the up and up?

A: Although it is exciting to meet someone, our children’s safety must be our major priority. Asset Search Pros has access to nationwide criminal databases. We specialize in obtaining names of convicted sex offenders. Our Golden Peace of Mind background check is available for $59 and includes searches for criminals and sex offenders. The package also includes the financials and other information provided in the Bronze and Silver packages.

Q: The person that I have been dating says he has never been married before. He always avoids looking me in the eyes when he talks about his past.  He makes good money, but never seems to pay for his share of the expenses on our dates. Things just seem fishy. Any recommendations?

A: Many of us have things in our past that we are not proud of and are reluctant to reveal. Still, it is better to learn as much as you can about someone before a major surprise comes at you unexpectedly. There could be financial problems or a past criminal conviction. He could have been married before and the reason he is not paying for your dates is the fact that he has court-ordered child support garnishments. There are steps you can take to verify the information he provided. One of the simplest, most economical and accurate methods is to purchase our Platinum Peace of Mind dating background check. It is only $89 and will provide information for: Nationwide criminal convictions, sex offender search, previous marriages, maiden name, bankruptcies, tax liens, civil judgments, possible aliases, extensive address history, property ownership and property values, vehicle ownership, professional licenses, and business ownerships.

All of these packages are available by going to http://www.assetsearchpros.com and clicking on the button “Dating Background”. Just click on Dating Background Check packages and you will see the description of each package. There is a convenient shopping cart for your benefit.


Millionaire Scratch?

In Internet dating, the caveat is always “Buyer beware!” and here is another good example of why.  I haven’t the vaguest idea why any millionaire would list on a dating site like MillionaireMatch.com, or why anyone would believe the riches story.  But clearly folks do—believe, I mean.  Remember the other adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Underlines below are mine.

Homeless man gets more than $100,000 from online conquests
By Sofia Diogo Mateus

A homeless man posing as a millionaire was arrested for scamming 13 women for more than $100,000.

Through the website MillionaireMatch.com, Paul Kruger, 50, met and convinced eight women that he was a Grammy-nominated music mogul who had worked with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, amongst others.

He met the other five alleged victims through one of the women he met on the website.

Later he said needed money for a CD and DVD manufacturing investment, for which the women sent him a total $102,000.

One of the victims was even shown a false stock reports, the court heard, since the operation apparently involved group investment in stock options.

“He did have a good story,” said one victim, a sales manager in Costa Mesa, Calif., who records show gave him $10,000.

The website, which describes itself as the “number one dating site for succesful singles and admirers”, is free and unregulated and anyone can join and claim to be a millionaire, simply by saying that they win $150,000 or more annually.

Steve Kasper, the marketing vice president of Successfulmatch.com, the parent company of MillionaireMatch.com, both bases in Toronto, said it was up to users to self-police.

“We do tell all of our members on all of our sites that you have to take precautions when you’re on the Internet and looking at people that you’re going to meet,” he said.

Charges were filed in Souderton, Pennsylvania, because that is where he told women to send him money; it is also the address of the home of his ex-wife, authorities said.

The money was used to fuel his gambling addiction, since he had various VIP casino accounts, authorities said.

Mr Krueger declined to comment to reporters as he was arraigned on charges of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, theft by deception, deceptive or fraudulent business practices and Pennsylvania Securities Act violations.

The Californian woman said she was willing to be a witness but that the experience had not put her off online dating.

“You have to be careful whereever you go,” said the woman, who is in her 30s. “You could get scammed meeting someone at a bar. It doesn’t matter. You just have to do your due diligence, and I didn’t.”


Hugh Gallagher’s Essay, in full

The previous blog posting here about stealing profiles got me to do a little sleuthing around to find out who Hugh Gallagher, the author of the most copied essay, really is.  This essay got Hugh into NYU, Wikipedia, won him Scholastic Press, Inc.’s national writing contest in 1990, and started him on a career as a humorist.  All from a college application.  See this masterpiece below, in its entirety.  But PS, don’t copy it! 

Hugh Gallagher’s ‘College Essay’



I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat 400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to college.


Profile thieves

Way back in 2002 when I first became a Romance Coach, the first thing I perfected was my Platinum Profile Workup and Rehab.  Since I had read plenty of profiles in my own search for love, and rewritten my own in the process several times, I figured I knew what I was talking about.  I discovered I had a real talent for capturing the essence of a person in a few short paragraphs, and a business was born! 

Given how easy it is to copy and paste just about anything you find on the net, it’s no surprise that singles would set about copying chunks and even whole profiles from a complete stranger.  For all I know, any of the thousands I have written for my clients have been copied and used too.  If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I would have to be quite complimented.

Frankly, it’s rather standard advice to peruse the profiles of others to find ideas about what to write in one’s own profile essay.  But you’d better be prepared to back up what you write, because people will notice.

I urge folks to be absolutely truthful in their profiles, using their real ages, current photos, etc.  If/when your date discovers a lie, you’ve got a problem.  Plagiarizing a profile essay would count as a lie, especially if you aren’t what you wrote.  As the article below so correctly points out in the title, copying what someone else has written shows at the least a lack of a “moral compass.”

The Cut-and-Paste Personality
Lacking inspiration and a moral compass, some online daters
are borrowing other people’s witty Web profiles.
February 15, 2008; Page W1

These identity thieves don’t want your money. They want your quirky sense of humor and your cool taste in music.

Among the 125 million people in the U.S. who visit online dating and social-networking sites are a growing number of dullards who steal personal profiles, life philosophies, even signature poems. “Dude u like copied my whole myspace,” posts one aggrieved victim.

Hugh Gallagher, a 36-year-old writer in New York, is one of the copied. Match.com1 has more than 50 profiles with parts of Mr. Gallagher’s college entrance essay, which he penned nearly two decades ago and later appeared in Harper’s Magazine. “I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees” and “I write award-winning operas” are among Mr. Gallagher’s most popular lines.

They worked well enough for Jim Carey, a 38-year-old pharmaceutical salesman in Bothell, Wash. He says he wanted women to know he was funny but was too lazy to think up anything. So he copied Mr. Gallagher’s essay for his online profile. A year ago, he arranged to meet a woman for drinks. She asked about his operas. He confessed. “I felt like a balloon deflating,” he says.

Original souls who discover they have been replicated say it’s unethical and creepy. “I came across a guy who completely STOLE my profile message,” posts one woman in Michigan. “I mean he had to have copied and pasted the whole thing and then just changed gender specific things to fit his own!!”

Online daters feel pressure to stand out and believe they must sell themselves like a product, say researchers at Georgetown, Rutgers and Michigan State universities who are conducting a joint study of them. “You are not making money off of somebody else’s work; you’re just trying to market yourself,” says self-confessed copier Jeff Picazio, a 40-year-old computer-systems manager in Boynton Beach, Fla. After hunting for some copy-and-paste help—including borrowing the line “you will soon learn that I’m a raging egomaniac”—Mr. Picazio says he’s gotten 20 dates.
Hugh Gallagher’s college admission essay has become one of the most-copied documents in the online dating scene. WSJ’s Jennifer Saranow speaks to Mr. Gallagher about the use of his essay.

A search on MySpace.com2 brought up more than 700 recent comments that accuse others of stealing headlines, user names, songs, background designs and entire profiles. In a recent survey of more than 400 online daters commissioned by Engage.com3, 9% of respondents said they copied from another person’s profile; 15% suspect their own words were stolen.

A Match.com profile of a man in Redmond, Wash., includes this postscript: “Shame on the woman who plagiarized my narrative and stole it for her profile!” And a 34-year-old woman in Basking Ridge, N.J., tacked this P.S. to her Plentyoffish.com4 profile: “To the girl who copied my profile—and denies it...you s-!”

The quest for originality has spawned the services of online-dating coaches and profile writers. Some of them are victims, too. Dave Mizrachi, 34, of Miami sells an “Insider Internet Dating” course for $97. Mr. Mizrachi includes his own dating profile, advising men to use it as a guide. But at least 25 people on Match.com have stolen his lines, including: “I get a lot of women emailing me, (which is great for an ego boost).” One man uses Mr. Mizrachi’s photo.

A recent search on Match.com brought up more than 90 profiles with such lines as: “I want an opposite. A yin to my yang,” or “You know that woman who is the first person on the dance floor at every party? That’s me.” They weren’t even from real people. They were cribbed from sample profiles posted online at E-Cyrano.com5 by dating coach and profile writer Evan Marc Katz. “It just seems so short-sighted,” says Mr. Katz, of Los Angeles. “Everybody steals the same lines so they are not original anymore.”

The Internet makes plagiarism anonymous and easy. Nearly half of high-school students and nearly 40% of college undergrads confess they copy online sources, according to surveys conducted by Donald McCabe, a founder of the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University in South Carolina. Stealing for appearance’s sake is a new twist. “People are still trying to develop a sense of how to present themselves online,” says Joseph Walther, a communication professor at Michigan State University.

The book “Online Dating for Dummies” tells readers not to fret about copying. TheProfileCoach.com6, meanwhile, offers 12 “proven” profiles for $4. Sample: “There is a shallowness, a fakeness to much of the ‘singles scene.’” A number of blogs offer free headlines for social-networking profiles, including, “Ernie’s train of thought has derailed.” For $50, weeklyscore.com offers 20 personal essays and 100 headlines, all updated weekly.

Thierry Khalfa says he had a good excuse to copy: His English isn’t so good. The 44-year-old Frenchman first cobbled a ho-hum profile that said he liked to cook and enjoyed walks on the beach. Then he stumbled across the profile of Mike Matteo, 47, a screenwriter in Tampa, Fla. Mr. Matteo’s profile had such nuggets as, “I have a sweet tooth, love my strawberry twizzlers and cheesecake jelly beans.”

Without thinking twice, Mr. Khalfa says, he copied Mr. Matteo’s prose because it also fit him to a tee. “That guy should be proud,” says Mr. Khalfa, of Largo, Fla., who runs an auto-glass business. “In France, in the fashion business, when you see something that looks good, you take it and you copy it.”

Mr. Khalfa caught the eye of preschool teacher Marjorie Coon, 48. They exchanged emails, and Ms. Coon wanted to meet Mr. Khalfa in person. Then she discovered he had copied the profile of Mr. Matteo, by coincidence her friend. She let Mr. Khalfa know she knew and dumped him. “I felt he was less than honest, a manipulator and downright stupid,” says Ms. Coon, of Largo, Fla. Mr. Matteo wasn’t too happy, either. “I’m not Cyrano de Bergerac,” he says, referring to the 19th-century play about a man penning love letters for a rival.

Some copiers are harder to figure out. Cambria Lovelady, a 31-year-old editor in Austin, Texas, went on two dull dates with a man and afterward reread his online profile. He had copied her entire “About Me” paragraph including, “I’m afraid of heights and large birds.” And Dale Sherstobitoff, 42, of British Columbia copied this from someone else on Plentyoffish.com: “I am the type of person that likes to think of my glass as half full.”

Tracing authorship can be complicated. Chele Frizell, a 34-year-old nurse in Dayton, Ohio, swiped a MySpace.com headline from a friend: “Those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.” She confessed her theft in a missive to the MySpace page of Holly Payne, 34, of Hollywood: “I totally copied your headline, but in Spanish. Does that still count?” Not really. Ms. Payne stole it from the late Kurt Vonnegut.

Chris Garansi, an electrician in Rock Hill, S.C., says he has received about 10 emails asking permission to copy his dating profile, which is headlined, “Wanted outlaw princess.” Said princess is someone who “while climbing a tree can be all woman, while letting you know she can climb higher than you would ever dare.” Among Mr. Garansi’s requirements: “Chunky is fine but lumpy is how I like my mashed potatoes, and rolls are only good when served with dinner.” He says he refuses people who ask to copy his work. “Either they lack imagination, or they just don’t know who they are,” says Mr. Garansi, 43.

Online administrators say complaints of copied profiles are rare. If a profile is sufficiently creative, its author could theoretically sue a copier under copyright law. But lawyers say it would be expensive. “As a practical matter, what you would probably try to do is try to get the site to take the copier’s profile down,” says Jeffrey Neuburger, of law firm Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP. Some sites say they do that.

Last year, JDate.com7 released online dating tips, including the importance of a strong “About Me” paragraph. “So make it count. How? Look at what everyone else is saying and then SAY SOMETHING DIFFERENT,” advises the site.

Yahoo Personals provides two examples with the plea, “Don’t copy these profiles exactly.” But a quick search shows plenty have. A favorite among women: “If you love mushroom ravioli, romantic nights by a fire, and spring camping trips, please reply!” And for men: “I guarantee I can change the oil in your car in 10 minutes flat.”

Laurie Crane says three men copied her profile, apparently thinking it would spark her interest. One wrote, “We have a lot in common.” The 43-year-old art director in Chicago didn’t date any of them. “Who knows what these guys are thinking,” she says.

Finding her profile stolen angered Lavonna Short, of Sitka, Alaska. It also gave her pause. The 47-year-old mental-health professional says the thief used every qualification she’d written about her perfect mate: financially secure, able to take care of himself, not looking for a mother. It read like a shopping list, she says: “When I saw myself through someone else’s eyes, I didn’t like it.” She rewrote her profile—more mystery, less rigidity—and found her mate.


What you see and what you actually get

Yeah, yeah, singles online often do lie about everything from how much hair they have to how much money and how many wives.  You’ll see the whole spectrum, from the absolutely strait-arrow honest, to the sociopath who you know is lying because his lips are moving.  Sharpening up your observational skills will serve you well.  This article below is a bit too hysterical for me, with the killers and the police warnings, but there are a couple of new suggestions.  I particularly liked: People should ask to meet their date’s colleagues, friends and families, Woodland said. Many predators, she said, are isolated and don’t have support systems. The article is in red, and I underlined what I liked. 

What you see isn’t always what you get with internet dating
By Paula Burkes Erickson

Like Brad Paisley’s hit country song “Online,” where a nerd on the Internet morphs into a much cooler, taller dude with six-pack abs, many people misrepresent themselves in online dating services. Kelli Pickens and Shelley Cadamy can attest to it.

Pickens of Edmond once agreed to a date with a guy — who turned out to be a lot different than his online persona.

Uninterested, she begged off an after-dinner movie, and her date called her no fewer than 12 times in the next two hours, asking “Why didn’t you like me?”

Cadamy of Oklahoma City once met a man who told her he looked like a football player. Not really.

Of the roughly 30 men she’s met online or through personal ads, two showed up wearing wedding bands and a third, whom she drove to Dallas to meet, couldn’t hold eye contact for more than two seconds.

“This guy made the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” she said. “It was very difficult to hold a conversation with him, much less trust him.”

To reduce such disappointments and for their own safety, singles who meet online should take certain precautions, say health care and law enforcement professionals.

For starters, they should always should meet in public places and always let someone know where they’re going and when they’ll be back,
said Terri Woodland, clinical director of Sunbeam Family Services in Oklahoma City.

“Don’t wait until you’re involved to question who and what kind of person they are,” Woodland said. “Verify everything that person told you about themselves, including their education and workplace. And start early, so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment and heartbreak.”

People should ask to meet their date’s colleagues, friends and families, Woodland said. Many predators, she said, are isolated and don’t have support systems.

Just last week, Donna Louise Riles of Norman was shot and killed. Police arrested Tony Benae Smith Jr., a man Riles’ aunt said the 36-year-old single mother met two days before through a telephone dating service. Smith had several misdemeanor and felony convictions in Midland and Fort Worth, Texas.

Police are encouraging people to be careful when meeting strangers. Singles can use free online search engines and paid services to do background checks.

By paying $15 to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, anyone can request a criminal background report on anyone else, said Jessica Brown, public information officer. The reports show all criminal activity within Oklahoma but don’t include federal offenses. However, they give more detail, including charges and jail time, than the free information available on http://www.oscn.net, the Web site of the Oklahoma State Courts Network.

The registry of sex offenders in Oklahoma is free. “But,” Brown said, “keep in mind, people drop off the list after 10 years.”

Brown strongly discourages online dating. “The only thing you know about that person is they like to be on the Internet,” Brown said. “You have no reference from a friend or a neighbor.”

Cadamy considers online dating no scarier than any other method of meeting people. “At least you can read about how they perceive themselves — versus meeting in a bar or standing in a grocery store, wondering if the guy checking out the lettuce next to you is single.”

Cadamy recommends meeting for coffee on the first date, and going Dutch. Until she knows someone better, she only uses her first name and never shares her address.

If not for online dating, Pickens would have no social life. “I was a single mom with two toddlers,” she said. “I could schedule ahead and plan a date, but ‘Where was I going to meet someone?’”

Pickens met her husband, Alan Pickens, online. They “spoke” briefly in a chat room, and six months later, he e-mailed her and asked how she was. Long before they met, they became pen pals and friends via e-mail. They’ve been married nearly three years.

Alan Pickens entered the chat room on a whim, he said.

“It was exciting at first,” Pickens said. “Everyone was hitting me with questions because I was the new guy. But after a week, I got tired of it. It was really fast, and I couldn’t keep up.”

Pickens was drawn to his wife because he found her intelligent, based on the verbiage she used, and attractive, based on her photograph that accompanied her profile. “We got lucky,” Pickens said. “I wasn’t a freak, and she wasn’t a freak.”


Hustlers and Liars

This article below does not say a whole lot that is new, but it does make a good point about what the author calls “Internet Hustlers"-- I call them CyberLotharios.  And I really like his little story about being caught lying.  Lying is NEVER a good idea.

The author’s words are in red.  I’ve underlined parts I think are particularly interesting, and my comments are in black.

Internet Dating for the Beginner
Keep yourself safe while meeting new people online.
by Rudy Leisering

My 14-year-old daughter has a T-shirt. Blazed in black on a yellow background are the words, “Freddie says to relax.” On the back, in the same color scheme, it says, “Don’t do it!” This is sage advice if you are going to use the Internet as an avenue for meeting people and dating. Freddie is, of course, a reference to Freddie Krueger—a character from a series of horror films, noted for attacking his victims in their dreams.

Dating on the Internet can be a bit like that. You find someone; they’re charming, witty, and even sexy. They seem perfect. Ah, dreamy! They listen to you, share your interests, think you, too, are very witty—and then start stalking you, calling obsessively, go after your finances and, in general, ruin your dream.

Beware the Internet Hustlers
(I call them CyberLotharios—see my article “Beware the CyberLothario” here.

Reality check: The pen is mightier than the sword, and the Internet is even more powerful. It is more powerful simply because the interaction is so quick, yet can be so anonymous. It is just too easy to appear to be something other than what you really are. More frightening, especially from the perspective of a father, is that there are people who practice—and I do mean practice—this dark art of deceit. They treat it as a profession, and they get really good at it. Some are after money, some sex, while others just want the thrill of it.

I love billiards, and hang out around a few halls. I’ve watched hustlers ply their trade. Pool is the only sport where someone will come up to you and in essence say, “Hey, I’m no good, but I want to play you for money.” You would think nobody would fall for it, but they do, continuously. The Internet hustlers are every bit as smooth.

I don’t think you, as an individual, can outsmart them. It just takes too much time, but time is a good thing. Use time, be patient, and filter them out. Listen to the people you meet online, and keep track of what they say. Is it consistent? If not, dump them quickly.

What Not to Do

There are some obvious things not to do. Don’t ever give out personal information other than your name and a geographic area where you live, and even then I’d limit it to a first name. Don’t ever give out Social Security numbers, street addresses, the school you go to, or where you’re employed. If you do eventually give out a phone number, realize that you may have to change numbers. My daughter once gave out her phone number, and for weeks the phone was unusable because the number got posted on a site, and the calls came pouring in. Eventually we had to change it.

Don’t become part of the problem. I once (blush) faked my age on a site. Not by much, but enough. I got caught, ostracized, embarrassed, lost a lot of friends, and realized that I had been a jerk. Remember, you are dealing with real people.

This is an excellent point about lying.  It’s not at all unusual to see someone you know on an Internet dating site.  And someone you know also knows you: If you lie, you can be found out by your own social circle.  Bad enough to have to manage being found out a liar by a date who is essentially a stranger; You certainly don’t want to get the reputation with your friends or co-workers as hanging out on a dating site and lying.

Have Fun!

Do—yes, there are some things to do—have fun. Find a site that works for you. There are thousands, if not millions, of sites out there catering to people of various persuasions and interests. Some are really specific. If you aren’t of Spanish descent and into fly-fishing, then skip those types of sites. Instead, go to the “Eskimos Who Worship the Sun” site if you’re into frostbitten suntans. There’s something for everyone. Follow your interests, and you may be surprised at who you find.

Web sites all have their particular flavor. MySpace is different than YouTube, which is different from Yahoo! Personals. Each has a different feeling to it. All are highly customizable. Take advantage of that. Many sites allow you to create your own Web pages quite easily, with a selection of tools that really allow you to express your artistic side. Also, some people make a distinction about sites. Some are intended solely for people looking to meet someone, and have a single purpose. Others are more like the school recess yard where everybody intermingles. One of the fun things about the Net is the sheer number of people you can meet. Take it easy; it can be overwhelming.

Sites to Visit

Be careful of sites that just want your credit card number. Why pay for something that you can get for free. There are legitimate dating services out there that charge a fee for their services, but to me, that’s not really online dating. If you’re really in a rush to meet someone and are willing to pay for it, then use a local service that you feel comfortable with.

I don’t agree with this advice.  Paying a fee weeds out those who are less serious.  Go for the biggies that have been around for awhile like Match.com and Yahoo! Personals.  They still are less than a dollar a day, a bargain for this kind of access to other singles. 

If you do an Internet search on online dating sites, you get about 4 million hits. That’s just in the English language. To get you started, I’ve compiled a list of five free sites that you might want to visit if you are really serious about dating or meeting people. Since the sites are free, I can’t say, “Buyer beware,” so I’ll say “Freebiers beware!” Also, the people who run these sites do like to make money, strange as that sounds. Frequently, sites will have a multi-tiered scheme where you get basic services for free, but full membership requires those magical 16 numbers on your credit card.

CasualKiss.com (http://www.casualkiss.com) This site has been around for a while, claiming to be the oldest site around. It also claims to have about 120,000 members.

Plenty of Fish (http://www.plentyoffish.com) The name of this site is appropriate. It should be the attitude you have when visiting any site. This one is a bit more mature, but I don’t mean as in XXX. This site manages its profiles, so rude and obnoxious behavior gets you kicked out. The site is huge and has lots of visitors and features.

Okcupid.com (http://www.okcupid.com ) This site has a nice feature: You get to create your own profile tests. Don’t like women with silly little dogs? Put it in the test. Don’t like guys who don’t like cute little dogs? Put it in the test. The site claims to be “an intellectual’s approach to love.” Isn’t that oxymoronic?

Connecting Singles (http://www.connectingsingles.com) This site emphasizes that it is free. Its services include searches, e-mail, forums and listings of local events. It caters towards U.S.-based people.

Book of Matches (http://www.bookofmatches.com) This is not a very complicated site. It is full of dating options, such as forums, friends’ lists and live chat. Some of Book of Matches’ free dating features keep the large user base growing constantly, such as scrap booking and blog tagging. A nice touch is that the site lists cities on its main Web page, so you can rapidly select a geographic area.

These Web sites ought to get you launched into the online dating scene. Be careful out there. It’s a jungle, but that’s a good thing. In all the reefs of the oceans around the world, the side of the reef that has the most abundant life in it is the side that the waves pound on. The sheltered side is actually pretty dull.


How to spot a liar, con man, and character disorder

When we got our new satellite tv system, we got a dvd recorder as part of the package, like a Tivo, and boy, do I love it!  Finally, like the answering machine tamed the telephone, the tv is now our servant, rather than it feeling the other way around.

I set it to automatically record various shows like Nova and Nature that we like—and also, Oprah and Dr. Phil.  I don’t watch all of the Oprah and Phil shows, just delete those that have no interest.  And frankly, a lot more of Oprah gets zapped.  Because I fancy that Dr. Phil and I are in the same business and I like to see how he handles things.  Sometimes he is good, a few times, very very good.  Often so-so (I feel good in comparison), sometimes down-right bad.  Then I can’t stand to watch and just zap the whole business.

What I have gotten the most from Dr. Phil has been accidental: I get to watch show after show of people lying and evading the truth, close up.  Sometimes Phil does pretty well at pinning those folks to the wall.  It is impressive. 

If for no other reason than to train yourself to spot liars, watch Phil regularly.  Very cheap and effective training.

The best show I have seen yet for “putting pathology right on the screen” was shown on 12/31/2007.  Probably a pretty dead day for viewers, but I taped it and watched a few days later.  If you want to see a character-disordered con man, super-slick, you have GOT to see this show.  The show is called “Faking it?” There’s a writeup and slide show available online, but if I were you, I’d buy the video for $29 which you can through the website.  It’ll be worth every penny.  The skillfulness of this guy does not come through in the write-up.

Being about to spot character disorders was the most difficult part of mental health diagnosis for me.  (I’m a professional therapist, have been for 30 years.) The short definition that works for me is that “Normal neurotics,” folks like most of us, feel too much responsibility and too much guilt.  Those who are character disordered don’t feel enough responsibility or enough guilt.  The jails are full of character disordered folks: “I didn’t do it.” Higher functioning character disordered folks can do very well in things like politics, even get elected president (or in present case, vice president).

If you can get a copy of this show, just watch Fred slip and slide, or at least try to, while he evades getting pinned down in lies and inconsistencies.  Phil does pretty well keeping up with Fred, but you can tell that Fred simply doesn’t get Phil’s side of the discussion, he is so character disordered and convinced of his view of the world. 

Then, for dramatic contrast, stay tuned for the second guest, Linda.  While Linda too is a con and deeply disturbed, she is not character disordered.  She knows what she does is wrong, feels guilt, and wants to change.  Far different than the way Fred presents.  As crazy as Linda’s behavior is, you can feel some empathy for her. 

Not Fred.  People like Fred make the rest of us feel crazy.  They are master manipulators.  Watch Fred carefully to see how a good one does it.


Wisdom from a Starbucks cup

I cut this out of a Starbucks paper cup awhile back and I have been meaning to post it here.  At least I think it was a Starbucks cup.  I threw away the brand part.  Anyway, here it is:

The Way I See It #239

“It takes two seconds to tell the truth and costs nothing.  A lie takes time and costs everything.” Randi Rhodes

No better reason I can think of to always tell the truth, especially with online dating.


Background Checks

More for your resource list on how to check up on potential dates…

Sites help with background check

Question: I am going to try online dating, with some trepidation. Can I use the Internet to check the men I meet online?

Answer: There are many free search options. Start with a general search, such as at Google.com, Yahoo.com or Live.com. Also look at social-networking sites, such as MySpace.com. Go to business sites, like Xing.com, Ecademy.com and Ryze.com. Look for inconsistencies. Court records can be illuminating. Start with the National Center for State Courts (Ncsconline.org). Many pay sites offer endless databases. Beware of “free” offers that are too good to be true. Such research is still specialized. If things are serious enough, consider hiring a private investigator.


The Role of the Decieved

You know, it wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t find anything at all online or otherwise about Internet dating.  I love it when mainstream magazines come out with great articles like the one below.  The author here is a firm supporter of online dating and knows why—she does it herself.  But she also treats the issue off lying and deception, and interestingly, the willingness of the receiver of the deception to believe it.  Have a read and let me know what you think.

Best, Kathryn Lord
Your Romance Coach

Online Dating Not Just a Trend
Your computer as effective matchmaker. But beware, the internet leaves plenty of room for deception.
By:Hara Estroff Marano

Surely you heard about the Kassem Saleh, the “Army Romeo” who while married and making Afghanistan safe for democracy found time to propose to 50 or so women electronically, all of whom he had “met” via email.

The internet leaves plenty of room for deception on both ends. On the sending end, anybody can describe himself falsely, although I’m not sure why he would—if a flesh-and-blood meeting is the ultimate goal. Sooner or later there has to be a reckoning. This aspect of the internet has received a lot of attention, maybe more than it deserves.

More intriguing is the deception that occurs at the receiving end of e-mail. It’s there that the power of emotions and belief and need can commingle to deceive one into believing that a real and durable relationship exists purely in unverified words.

Part of the problem is that you read e-mail in private. It’s just you alone with your own psyche, its dreams and its hungers. Many of the usual brakes on human behavior are absent. There are no friends around to reality-test against. Your mind is free to run away with itself.

And there is in fact something about the my turn/your turn rhythm of exchange of e-mail, and the slow revelation of self it allows, that is exciting. I think of it as slow dancing at the cyber café. It’s truly seductive.

All the more reason why critical faculties should go online as well as hopes and dreams. Hopes and dreams are not enough to build a relationship on anytime, anywhere, on or off the internet. Colonel Saleh isn’t the first to dupe women; it started long before the internet was ever conceived.

I am concerned less with Saleh than I am with the women he toyed with, although there has to be some psychic flaw that would encourage someone to a) spend that much time online and b) get his kicks by deceiving, and thus harming, others. It’s called sociopathy in the psych biz. I’m not sure that it’s punishable by court martial, as his contacts are now demanding.

The sad part may be that the wooed women were drawn from tallpersonals.com, targeted because they were guaranteed to be needy, placed by the accident of height in a Darwinian social universe that made them less sought after as potential mates. And of course, that would have given them a whole lot less practice at love and a lot less knowledge about it.

I consider myself a romantic, but romance for me isn’t glass slippers and overwrought declarations, as it seemed to be for Saleh’s conquests. “He made us feel like goddesses, fairy princesses, Cinderellas. We had all found our Superman, our knight in shining armor,” said one disappointed bride-to-be.

Maybe it’s because I have had long-term experience with the real thing, enough to know that love isn’t about finding Superman. Superman doesn’t exist. We love in spite of someone’s flaws. It’s much sexier and allows moments of unalloyed transcendance.

I would throw up if any guy said to me, whether to my face or in an e-mail, as Saleh reportedly did to his correspondents, “You and the thought of you have created a desire so deep within my soul that I cannot fathom a time I will ever be without you.” I would be embarrassed to tell another human being that I might actually have fallen for such a line. I would wonder about the sanity of any guy who proposed to me online without ever having met me.

Most of all, I don’t want someone who can’t live without me; I want someone who can live without me but chooses not to. Someone with a stronger sense of self than Saleh’s messages suggest. That’s what real love demands.

If Saleh’s declarations didn’t seem overblown on their own merits, there was a dead giveaway to deception. He told at least one woman that as a result of parachute jumping he had actually shrunk from over six feet to about five foot nine. I’m sorry, that’s just a howler. Still no suspicion?

I suppose that I am truly annoyed at Kassem Saleh—but mostly for giving internet dating a bad name. Online daters are not all losers longing for Superman. I demand a personal apology.

I not only think posting an online personals ad is a great idea, I’m actually doing it. I’m a 60-year-old widow who is busy working, volunteering, living a life. I had a great long-term relationship; I know how good love can be. I want to go through life with a partner.

By the time one reaches adulthood, one is hopefully spinning down some reasonably interesting, possibily individualistic, path in life. You have some special facets you’d like to more or less align with someone else’s interests. So the pool of possibilities shrinks considerably. I just don’t encounter that many eligible males now in the course of a day. The intelligent use of the internet opens up possibilities of people who might live a block away but whom I might not ordinarily encounter.

Before I leapt online, I researched personals sites, read ads posted by males and those posted by females. Most were boring (is there a guy who doesn’t want to cuddle by the fire, walk barefoot on the beach or believe in “chemistry,” whatever that is?)

I wanted my profile to work hard for me, to entice the kind of guy I might actually like—while screening out unsuitables. A good profile, I decided, provides an accurate picture of a person, in words.

I have met a few extraordinary guys. There are definitely some world-class guys out there. So successful was the first profile I posted online that I urged a newly divorced friend to follow suit. I drafted her profile, an appealing—and accurate—verbal snapshot of her. Four months ago I was matron of honor at her wedding.

I am now back in the market, and I’ve posted a new personals ad. I like to think it captures my essence, conveys my wit and spunk—demonstrates it rather than my having to declare it—and so keeps away the humorless and the insecure.

ROAD-TESTED. HANDLES WELL!! I’ve been around the block but I’m in excellent condition. Maybe even better than new. Powerful, smart and very lively engine. Fully automatic, .... You get the picture.

Warped Romeos need not reply.


Lie About Age? Never!

Any form of lying has an heavy “Ick” factor.  It is beyond me why anyone looking for a long term relationship would lie about anything.  Of course, maybe that’s part of it: The liar is NOT looking for a long-term relationship (which are based and built on trust—ie no lying), but for something short-term and exploitive.  What do you think?

From the New York Post:


July 8, 2007—So you’re 41 but know you’ll probably get a lot more interest if you post your age as 38. Or maybe you are a 52-year-old who shops at Urban Outfitters and listens to the same music as your college-age kid; would it really be so wrong to post your age as “40-something?” We take a closer look with this roundtable made up of single people like you and some online dating experts.

Q: Why is age so important anyway? Is it more important in the online dating world than out at a party or bar?

Stacy Kravetz, author of The Dating Race: An Undercover Report from the Front Lines of Modern-Day Romance: Age is an issue, no matter what age you are. Just when you’ve swallowed the big 3-0, it seems like every celebrity on the cover of People magazine is barely out of her teens. Online dating only magnifies the issue, because we’re given the option of pre-selecting for all the characteristics we find important, including age. And we get all this information about a potential date before we’ve even decided whether to meet them. So age becomes even more important, because we’re using it as a criterion before a date, rather than a piece of information we learn on the date itself. Also, men tend to worry that women between 35 and, say, their early 40s are bound and determined to have kids. So even if they’re 35 themselves, men tend to look for women who are younger just to take the pressure off the situation. Not that women over 35 are all looking to mate for life on the first date-but to see the way men run for cover, you’d think they were.

Jack Conway, author of the eBook, Guaranteed To Get A Date Guide: We live in a youth-obsessed culture. Whether we like it or not, our society equates youth with beauty. But it goes beyond that: In order for a relationship to work, people need to have common interests, goals and lifestyles. These things tend to be age-related. So there’s very little chance that a 20-year-old woman will view her interests, goals and lifestyle as similar to those of a 40-year-old man.

Q: Exactly how many years do online daters typically shave off their age?

Cozette, online dater, 38: I delete four years-it’s closer to the age most people guess I am, and it’s closer to the age I feel. When I posted my real age, I didn’t get any emails for the first two months. Not one. So I changed it to 34 and within days I had literally hundreds of responses. So far, no one has ever questioned it.

Debbie, online dater, 53: I say I’m 47 because that’s around the age I’m looking for in a date. I’ve had a lot more emails since I adjusted my age. Now people I’m interested in - and the ones who are interested in me - are actually finding me.

Pamela, online dater, 50: I reduce mine by three years. We all discount our ages-you have to since people are using age ranges as part of their search criteria. If you’re fit, attractive and hoping to meet the same, you have to lower your age.

Jerry, online dater, 53: I’ve been tempted many times to fudge my age online, but I think it’s a mistake because once you start lying, you’ve got a big mess on your hands. But I do steer around the issue when I meet someone face-to-face. If I sense that the conversation is moving in that direction - like, what year I graduated college - I’ll change the subject. Women usually misgauge my age by about five years.

Q: When, if ever, is it time to fess up with your actual age?

Debbie, 53: Once someone contacts me by email and it looks promising, I tell the truth before we meet. I explain why I lied in the first place, and it’s never been a problem.

Pamela, 50: At the first meeting, so the truth is on the table as soon as possible. As long as you fess up right away it’s not really lying. More like truth in lending.

Cozette, 38: I think I’d fess up over the course of becoming friends. This way we’ve already made a connection, and hopefully he’s less likely to bail. But sometimes the truth comes out before you get the chance to confess. Last weekend I took one of my online dates, who was 28, to my brother’s birthday party, and my brother slipped my real age. Luckily, we already had a rapport, so my date didn’t seem to mind too much. It’s funny… he wants to be exclusive now. He doesn’t seem to care about the age difference at all. But I might.

Q: How do dates react to the confession?

Pamela, 50: Actually, my date was relieved. I was 49 at the time, but I could pass for 38. I told him I was 46. When we first met I was wearing this short skirt - I tend to dress young - I looked really cute. We sat down, started talking. I said, “Look. I have to be honest with you. I’m not 46. I’m 49.” And he said, “Thank you.” It turns out that he’d lied, too. He claimed that he was 49, but he was really 52.

Kirk, online dater, 40: Lying of any kind was an absolute deal-breaker for me. This happened to me twice with women I’d met online through a dating service. They had some system where they divided you into age categories and assigned every group a letter of the alphabet. I was an F because I fell into the 35-39 bracket. I found interesting women profiled in the F’s. But in both cases, they admitted over dinner that they’d altered their age because they felt they belonged in the younger category. One of them was truly the most beautiful woman I’d ever met. She said, “I just couldn’t consider myself a G. All the other women in G look so much older than me.” She really did look a lot younger than her age, but that insecurity about her age was not attractive.

Let me tell you a quick story: Last October, I got married to a wonderful woman I met online. She was 42, I was 39. She was honest about her age and I was absolutely charmed. She said, “I treasure my maturity,” and when I heard those words, I knew I’d met the woman I wanted to be with.

Q: How do you handle it when dates turn up looking older than they say they are-should you say something?

Jack Conway: If you’re having a good time with your date, you may not want to bring it up at that very moment. But you don’t want to start off a possible relationship with a huge doubt, either. If the date goes well, you’ll most likely be talking with this person afterwards, probably by email, maybe on the phone. That could be a good time to bring up your concerns. But subtlety is the key. That way they feel at ease and are more likely to spill the beans. One way to bring up the issue might be - and you’ll want to say this with a bit of humor - “You know, I know you’re only 34 years old, but you come off as someone who’s a bit older and wiser.” I’m not saying you have to say this word for word, but if you have any concerns at all, about age or anything else, it’s in your best interest to deal with it early on.

Stacy Kravetz: It would be tough to broach the subject. Some people just look older. And once we reach a certain age, say, over 30, it’s pretty hard to tell how old anyone is based purely on looks. You could try to be subtle. Get into a conversation about awful music from the 80s, for instance. Couch it in terms of what life stage you were at then-grade school, high school, college, first real job… Anyone who was in high school in the mid-80s is under 40 years old.

Erin, online dater, 42: I’ve come up with a surefire way of getting them to fess up. When a man tells me his age and I suspect he’s lying, I’ll say, “That’s really too bad because I prefer older men.” Right away they’re scrambling to explain why they lied and even breaking out IDs to prove that they’re older.

Q: What should you do if you spot a profile of a person you’d love to meet, but they’re looking for someone younger than you-should you contact them? And should you lie about your age?

Jack Conway: I’ve found that most people use these age ranges only as loose guidelines. So, I’d say go for it. Don’t lie about your age, but go ahead and make the first contact. Most of the time, if two people are connecting and really seem to enjoy each other’s company, it won’t be a concern.

Kirk: I firmly believe that if you can’t be honest in online dating, you shouldn’t be dating at all. It’s not fair to the people out there who are being honest and trying to meet someone they can be with.

Jerry: Women are skittish enough-you tell them you lied about your age and they’ll be wondering what else you’ve lied about. Next thing you know, they’re wondering if you served time in San Quentin.

Stacy Kravetz: Most men can get over knowing that the person they’re dating is older than she says more easily than knowing she lied about it. If you see an amazing profile asking that only younger women apply, why not just send a light-hearted email admitting that you’re having the 5th anniversary of your 30th birthday and see if he’ll raise his age bar? But I don’t think you should lie. The problem with lying is that if the relationship works out, you’re eventually going to have to get honest-or perpetually hide your driver’s license. How long can that go on?

Debra Kent is a freelance writer and author of The Diary of V series of books.


Research on Australian Online Daters

I love it as research comes out about online dating, especially when it supports what I have been saying all along.  Researchers in Melbourne, Australia, have been looking at online dating and report in below.  I have underlined what I think is particularly significant and supports what I have been writing and saying.

Online dating: truth or dare

[ The University of Melbourne Voice Vol. 1, No. 7 11 - 25 June 2007 ]

By Katherine Smith

So-called ‘Gen X’ online daters tend to be well-paid, professional people who are ‘highly instrumental’ and organised in their mission to meet the one special person with whom they can establish an intimate real-world relationship, according to a University of Melbourne study.

Sociologists Dr Millsom Henry-Waring and Dr Jo Barraket found online daters pursue a means to an end. Evidence suggests they fill out truthful in dating profiles because if they later meet the other person any ‘enhancements’ will be obvious.

Dr Henry-Waring says her investigation into the sociology of on-line dating stems from a longstanding academic interest in the social implications of technology and, in particular, how technologies ‘mediate intimacy’.

“One of the main characteristics of online dating is the speed at which a relationship conducted largely by email can become intense. Many daters interviewed during the project described a relationship that moved quickly to intimacy and an easy, rapid revelation of personal information.

“But what may seem like chemistry by email and SMS is often not proved by a physical meeting, which can be disappointing.

“One media report recounted someone establishing a promising online relationship only to feel devastated when a meeting showed her new friend to be an ex-partner, in whom she was definitely no longer interested.”

Intimacy and personal connection rely heavily on visual cues, tone of voice and body language, says Dr Henry-Waring. “Communication through language matters, but not as much as we think. Similarly a set of highly matched personal preferences, characteristics or likes and dislikes doesn’t always lead to a connection.

“Most users of online dating quickly learn there is a danger in over-filtering potential dates and that highly specified profiles don’t attract people with whom they can eventually ‘click’. It seems people need a fairly broad catchment from which to successfully choose a partner.”

She says the study found that despite increased opportunities to meet partners from ‘outside the square’ being facilitated by digital technology, singles still select potential partners according to more conventional norms. Crossing cultural, racial, class and other social boundaries were not as common as the opportunities suggest.

Findings showed people engaged in online dating spent quite a lot of time online, searching sites and responding to emails. They were also familiar with technologies such as Blackberries, I-pods and PDAs and were comfortable engaging in relationships mediated through technology.

Fewer stigmas now exist about meeting people online than even a few years ago, according to Dr Henry-Waring, and she expects this shift to continue.

“The way of telling ‘the story of how we met’ to family or friends will change over time, and people will feel more relaxed about revealing their online meetings.”

Yet to be seriously addressed in the area of online relationships are some of the “unintended consequences” of establishing networks and intimate relationships online.

Dr Henry-Waring says relationships may become more disposable when one is able to ‘shop’ for the perfect partner.

“This raises some interesting questions about trust and fidelity. The decision about when to take your profile offline can be difficult. When you have met someone and established an intimate relationship, there comes a point when you have to decide you are no longer ‘looking’. Commitment can be conflicted by feelings that you will miss the buzz of meeting new people, or that someone better may be out there.”

The most successful online daters, it seems, are honest from the outset, open minded about people, and strive to establish genuine trust in relationships. In the digital age, old-fashioned, truthful straightforwardness still seems to be the key to successful relationships.


Tell Your Worst Secrets

I just stumbled across the greatest site: It’s a blog where secrets get posted.  What a great way to deal with something embarrassing in your past: Make a postcard with your secret on it and send it in.  Every week, new ones get posted.  The blogger Frank Warren is an artist and has complied the postcards into book.  See them here on Amazon.

Here’s another, more effortless and less arty way to confess your flaws:  grouphug.us Here’s another one, though the “confessions” are a bit raw:  onlineconfessional.com

I’ve written quite a bit about secrets, their power to keep us from getting close to someone else, and what to do about that.  You can get a copy of my article “Do You Have a Secret?  How to Tell Your Sweetheart Your Worst” for free by subscribing to my enewsletter *eMAIL to eMATE* or you can buy it at Your Sweetheart Store

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Fake Dating Experts?

I can’t believe it.  Not only is lying by singles a big problem, now we have lying by people/websites purporting to be dating experts.  See the article below from “The Globe And Mail.”

Rest assured that this “dating expert"-- me—is very real.  I give interviews, as well as copious proof that I do indeed exist and know what I am talking about.  Just see my website.

Best, Kathryn

Beware the mysterious online dating guru


May 12, 2007

Paige Parker and Christian Carter are my new best friends. They e-mail me every day, mainly about boys. Specifically, problems with boys. Boys who don’t call and boys who can’t commit and boys who withdraw emotionally when the going gets tough. Boys who just want sex and boys who don’t want sex and boys who say they adore you, offer to take you away for the weekend and then turn out to be two-timing slop buckets.

Paige and Christian know all my “issues,” and tell me they’re caused by low self-esteem, a fear of abandonment and an inability to treat myself the way I wish others would treat me. They say all I need to do is learn how to become the confident, independent bombshell I was born to be, and communicate with men in a language they understand (which is not, apparently, standard English). I’m not sure how they know all this, but they do. Which is weird since I’ve never even met them. All I did, actually, was log onto their websites.

Okay, the truth is Paige Parker and Christian Carter are not my friends. They might not even be real people. For all I know, they could be the same person. Or a dozen people. They could be an 11-year-old in a basement in Sausalito.

What they are - and this is for certain - is part of a trend of mysterious online dating gurus who are fast unfurling their viral marketing tendrils and excreting a new kind of snake oil to (who else?) the sad, lonely and desperate. And, as of last week, me.

After checking out Paige Parker’s site DatingWithoutDrama.com, downloading Christian Carter’s cringe-inducingly named e-book How To Catch Him and Keep Him, and receiving daily e-mails with subject headings such as “Why men leave after the ‘Honeymoon’ is over” and “What your feelings are telling him,” I came to the conclusion that their advice wasn’t so bad. Silly, yes. Worthless, possibly. But good entertainment when you’re waiting for the streetcar.

That’s the genius of it, after all. A savvy, professional gal like me wouldn’t go out and buy this kind of pathetic self-help - but skimming a free e-mail on “the top 10 Love mistakes women make with men” while waiting for your friend to show up at the restaurant, now where’s the harm in that?

Things got weird, however, when I decided, quite innocently, to contact these alliteratively named experts to find out a bit more about them. Neither of the websites lists any credentials, contact address or biographical information. This creeps me out. Don’t I deserve to know a few things about the “friends” who are e-mailing me about my personal life every single day?

After much back-and-forth with auto-reply functions, I managed to get in contact with Brad Lensing, a man who says he works with Christian Carter. His response to my interview request was blunt: “Thank you for your interest in Christian’s e-book. Christian currently does not do any interviews, but most likely will be in the future. Sorry that we cannot be of more help for your current article.” When I e-mailed back requesting sales numbers, dates, or even a short bio, I was greeted with radio silence.

Paige Parker was only slightly more forthcoming. While she declined a phone interview on the grounds that she was “just about to travel” (um, it’s called a cellphone), she was happy to engage in an e-mail correspondence. We chatted a lot about her philosophy, but when it came to the details of her personal and professional life she was circumspect. Asked what her rough sales and website hit numbers are, she said she “connects with and helps tens of thousands of women from every corner of the world.” As far as her own relationship history is concerned, Parker chirped: “After several years of experiencing dating drama of my own, I created ‘Dating Without Drama’ and became its very first success story! Today, I am happily married to the man of my dreams.”

Which is funny since I’ve overcome all my insecurities and am planning a holiday with Ryan Gosling. Only he doesn’t know it. Which makes it sort of not the truth. But whatever.

Speaking of the truth (and there seems to be a lack of the hard kind when it comes to Paige Parker and Christian Carter), I am not the only one who feels that dating gurus have a responsibility to come clean to their readers about who and what they are - even if it involves a bunch of twentysomething website technicians in a suburban office space in suburban California. (I’m just speculating here.)

Lisa Daily, a real-life Florida-based dating expert and the author of Stop Getting Dumped, says there is good reason to be wary of the Christian Carters and Paige Parkers of this world.

“Whenever you take advice, you have to look at the source,” she explains. “When you’re talking about a person who is not willing to make themselves known, you have to wonder, ‘Why not? What have they got to hide?’ “

Daily is particularly fed up with Parker, who bought a misleading ad on Google: Type “Lisa Daily” into the search engine and a link to Parker’s website appears as a sponsored link, misdirecting readers to the competition. It’s a marketing strategy that Daily sees as unethical. But what more would you expect from a mysterious online dating guru?

“Lying is rampant in online dating and now maybe it’s getting rampant on online dating experts,” Daily says. “People should be careful what they believe.”


Establish Identity and Background Checking Resources

Trufina.com: Prove you are you with a free Trufina ID Card Share your Trufina ID anytime you need to prove your identity online

Here’s how the Trufina site says you can use it’s services for online dating.

Intelius.com:  Background Check By Social Security Number
Background Check Includes: Criminal report, sex offender check, lawsuits, judgments, liens, bankruptcies, home value & property ownership, 30 year address history, relatives & associates, neighbors, marriage records, and more.

You can view a sample report by clicking a link on the Intelius site.

The Corra Group This service does background checks for businesses, but will also do searches for individual uses.

Also, don’t forget to Google your date’s name, or do a search on MySpace, remembering that many people may share the same name.  I just searched my name on MySpace and got five girlie’s, some of them pretty young.

If you live in the Pittsburg, PA, area, you can check out the website maintained by the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department to catch dead-beat parents.


Is this nuts or what?

Here’s a letter to Dr. Joyce Brothers from the Seattle Times:

DEAR DR. BROTHERS: I started talking to this guy on a dating site on the Internet. At first, I didn’t think I would like him or meet him or anything like that, so I gave him the standard pack of lies about myself. I mean, I lied about my age, my weight, my name, my education and other facts you don’t want to tell a stranger. But now, after a month of chatting together, we are about to meet. It turns out I am very interested in him, based on similar interests and hobbies we have (these I didn’t fake). Should I confess about my lies before we meet, or just surprise him?—M.C.

DEAR M.C.: Before we deal with your upcoming meeting, I’d like to talk a little bit about giving strangers on a dating site a “standard pack of lies” about yourself. I think it is wise not to reveal things like real names, phone numbers, addresses or employers to just anyone, and I’m glad you are prudent. But you should use the type of dating site where you can feel comfortable telling the truth about your age, weight and hair color—in other words, one where there isn’t a lot of pressure to present yourself as looking a certain way.

It sounds as though your incipient friendship is not based on those things you lied about, but on the hobbies and activities you might enjoy together. That’s excellent—and if your new friend can get past the fact that you lied about the other things, it sounds as though you might have a chance to develop a real relationship. But be prepared for him to be disappointed or even angry—especially if he didn’t lie to you. Tell him now, so you can meet on an even playing field.

Standard pack of lies???  Is their a pack of lies that is “STANDARD” nowadays?  This woman should fess up, apologize for her caddish behavior, and beg forgiveness.  And the guy should NOT agree to meet her, if he cares about his future, at all.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord