Kathryn's Blog: Search Smart

SAQ #9 How realistic should I be about what I am looking for?

In short: VERY.

The more realistic you are about who you are and what you have to offer, the better. If you have assessed yourself accurately, then you will be better able to judge what you can get for what you have in exchange.

Internet dating has really brought to the forefront the market aspect of looking for love. It’s not that dissimilar from buying a house. A house is worth what someone is willing to pay. A really nice house (with a savvy seller) will hold out for the very highest price.

When you go house shopping, the place that a realtor will start with you is figuring out what kind of money you have to offer. What are you bringing to the table? There is no point in showing you houses that you can never hope to purchase.

Venturing onto a dating site is like going house hunting without a realtor. You plunk yourself down in the site and then try to sift through all the candidates. Since none have an obvious price tag, and you likely have a rather distorted sense of your own worth, why not try for the best? Of course, everyone else is doing that, too, so the top 5 or 10 percent of the candidates get close to 100% of the emails. Since those folks are getting a clear indication that they have a lot of “worth” in this market, they are going to hold out for the very best offers. Is it any surprise that so many first emails go unanswered?

We tend to have a pretty high – and unrealistic – estimation of what we have to offer. In surveys, most people rate themselves as above average in appearance, which is of course impossible. In truth, most of us are in the middle of any attractiveness scale.

There is nothing wrong with going for the top candidates on a dating site, but be realistic: It is probably a long shot. A very long shot. You will probably not get a reply. It is not the fault of the candidate. You misjudged, so learn from the experience and try again. Start moving down from the 10’s to the 9’s and 8’s, then 7’s and 6’s, until you start getting strong positive responses from those you are contacting.

The reality that you cannot get 10’s or even 9’s or 8’s to respond to you is not the dating site’s fault. They aren’t your market. Once you find your market – which could easily be 5’s or 6’s, because most of us are in that range – then settle in and have a good time. You’ve found the buyers who are interested in what you have to offer.

P. S. A Romance Coach (me, for instance) would be very helpful to you in figuring out your “market value” and even how to improve it. Why not get a consult with me? Signing up is easy—see that blue box over there on the left, under my picture? Click “Set a meeting” and you’ll be walked right through.


Custom made mates

Custom Made Mates

Are you able to buy your clothes off the rack and they fit perfectly?  Or do you have as hard a time as I do finding things that fit?  I have NEVER been able to get a good fitting pair of jeans.  What I learned to do is to buy them too big in the butt and then get out my sewing machine and take in the hips.

Even then, they are not perfect.  Frankly, I’d about given up.

Imagine my surprise when I found a website where I could get jeans custom made, and priced so that I didn’t have to take out a loan.  Not only could I get my odd dimensions covered in denim, I could pick the particulars, like the color of the denim and the number of pockets.  Even better, when the new jeans came in the mail, I found out if they did not fit perfectly, I could get a new, adjusted pair made at no extra cost!

Come on!  I’ve got to be kidding, right?

No, I’m not.  And I’ll never be jeanless again.  I’ve got that site bookmarked.

The Internet is fantastic for finding things like custom made jeans, recipes for Mint Juleps, and now romance.  But you know, there’s something about the ability to find what you want online that I think sets singles up to be disappointed.  Maybe you have been disappointed, too.  Here’s how that happens:

Like with my custom-made jeans, dating sites encourage us to get very specific about what we are looking for, all the factors we think will make a good fit for us as a partner.  We can put in the measurements, the religion and race, the location, even down to eye color, of our fantasy date.  And then with just a click on “Seach,” magically, we see all those who the perfectly fit our parameters.  Maybe.

Many of us have very specific ideas about what we are looking for mate-wise.  After all, we have been thinking about Mr. or Ms. Right for a very long time.  But here’s the bad news: It’s a fantasy!  And our ability to find what we want on the Net (like those custom-made jeans) coupled with the way dating sites work encourage us to think that we will be able to order up exactly the kind of man or woman we want in our heads.  And he or she will be perfect, just like our fantasy, right?

Of course, we also have our romantic mythologies, too, that encourage us to believe in Prince or Princess Charming.  Do you have a story in your head about how love should go that you compare all your dates to?  One guy I coached said “I think if she were the right one I’d be thinking about her all the time and always want to jump her bones.”  All the time?  What about work, or when you are in the middle of a good book?

Behind the photos, behind the essays, are real people, with flaws and warts, just like you’ve got.  If you get too hung up on your perfect fantasy, coupled with the illusion that the Internet and dating sites feed – that your fantasy really exists and that somehow you deserve it – you will be disappointed over and over.  It’s a great way to stay single.

Get real and get reasonable about what you are looking for – and what you reasonably will be able to attract – in a partner.  Start with a “Must Have, Can’t Stand” list, winnowed down to 10 each (you won’t believe how hard that exercise is!), and then stick to it.  Think about the Rolling Stones’song: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you get what you need.”

P. S.  Haven’t done a “Must Have, Can’t Stand” list?  Send me an email and get the exercise by return email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Green dating?

I don’t tend to suggest niche dating sites, green or otherwise.  Internet dating is about numbers, and niche sites are, by definition, about small slices of the singles community.  This article below struck me as pretty west coast, Seattle in particular, but I went ahead and took a look at the GreenSingles.com site anyway.  I did a search on Florida, men looking for women, and a surprising 224 guys came up.  And most seem to be the over-40 crowd.  However, there were 379 ladies looking for men in Florida too.  That’s about 50% more women than men.  (Always check the gender ratios and go for the sites that you have an advantage in)  I checked Maine, too, and while the numbers were smaller, they were respectable.  Though the ladies outnumbered the men 2 to 1. 

A niche site that appeals to a part of you might be worth some time and investment, but pick on IN ADDITION to your big name, big membership site.

Single Shot: The eco-dating game Special green services want to help you find a sustainable soul mate


Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if everybody’s trying to out-green one another these days. A woman I was talking to at a restaurant the other night said she’s even using Seventh Generation diapers for her baby. I don’t know about you, but that seems like one really old diaper.

But such is the pressure to reduce, reuse and recycle.

As an apartment-dwelling single with nary a dependent, I can’t brag about how I use cardboard diapers for my kids. Nor can I point to the energy-efficient appliances I’ve purchased for my solar-powered yurt, or wax sanctimonious about my backyard worm bin (I’d install one in the kitchen but my lease says no pets).

But I can do one thing to keep from being completely left in the eco-dust. It’s called green dating.

Green dating officially got its start about five years ago, around the same time niche sites like LargeFriends.com and EquestrianSingles.com began cropping up faster than recycling ordinances in the city of Seattle.

GreenSingles.com, a personal-connection site for people in the environmental, vegetarian and animal-rights communities, probably has been around the longest, hooking up singles who share a “global consciousness influenced by holistic philosophies, green politics and a willingness to explore the mind, body and spirit” (i.e., tree-huggers looking for love) since 1985.

A quick search through the site - “made with 100 percent recycled electrons!” - yielded me 71 potential dates in the greater Seattle area (I’m thinking global, but dating local), including a marine biologist, a musical gardener and some guy who lives on a permaculture farm in the woods. (Does that mean he grows pot?)

Over at Green-Passions.com, brought to you by the same folks who created StachePassions, MulletPassions and TruckerPassions (what, no TrailerParkPassions?), I didn’t have nearly as much luck. My search netted only four eco-friendly singles in my area, plus the site kept crashing every time I tried to check out the guys’ profiles.

Not that it really mattered. Butted up next to each match was a large ad for a hot pink waterless composting toilet. I’m all for saving water and everything, but talk about a buzz kill (not to mention a not-so-subtle reminder that my love life was in the crapper).

Undaunted, I plowed ahead and soon found a handful of other sites where a green - or even celery-colored - single could find a sustainable soul mate.

DemocraticSingles.net ponied up 86 matches from a pool of more than 25,000 environmentally and politically aware mates, including one guy interested in “trees, mountains, sex, wild birds and conversation” (or was that conservation?). Earth Wise Singles (ewsingles.com) gave me 21 candidates, among them a tall slender sensualist into environmental design and another guy hoping to find someone who likes to garden naked.

Let’s hope he doesn’t keep raspberries.

EthicalSingles.com is a matchmaking portal for people concerned about human rights, animal rights, pollution, global warming, genetic engineering, organic farming, timber sourcing, circus animals and a slew of other topics you’ll never hear discussed on Fox News.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single ethical date in my area. At least not until I widened my search criteria by 60 years, lied about my home state and switched my sexual preference. None of which felt exactly, well, ethical.

Dateless but undampened, I surfed over to GreenSpeedDating.com, which touts itself as a new way for singles to find “carbon neutral love.” Only around for a matter of months, the L.A.-based Web site recently held its first event in Santa Monica in which 16 singles hiked, biked, bused and (gasp!) drove to a bar for complimentary fruits and veggies and a raft of three-minute minidates.

Although there was nothing on the calendar for Seattle, singles across the country are encouraged to set up their own GSD events (just go to the site and click on the appropriate link). Not only will you up your chances of finding the low-impact love of your life, your $25 fee will go into a fund designed to take solar energy to rural Nicaragua.

And there are greener pastures yet.

In June, Portland’s Pedalpalooza sponsored a “bicycle speed dating” event, drawing 40 single cyclists in all their helmet-haired glory. Here at home, there’s SeattleGreenDrinks.org, a big green monster of a gathering held the second Tuesday of each month (for those who don’t like crowds, there’s the more intimate Green Lunches).

Although the group isn’t a singles organization per se, there’s plenty of environmentally savvy eye candy plus lots of opportunity for, if you’ll pardon the expression, icebreakers (“Soooo � are you as concerned about toxic sex toys as I am?”)

As for me, I may decide to join one of the eco-dating sites (many offer free or discounted memberships to those who donate to green causes) or spend some quality time discussing all things organic over a biodegradable cup of green beer.

Then again I may decide to simply stick to the basics: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Surely I have to have at least one old boyfriend I can ease back into the dating picture. Heck, I’ve recycled before; why quibble about doing it now when resources are so tight?

Or maybe I’ll ask around to see if anyone in my circle of friends has discarded some perfectly good soul mate. Instead of letting him just go to waste, I can pick him up, dust him off and see if he wants to get eco-friendly. The two of us can ditch the car (relatively easy for me since I don’t have one), skip the wasteful wining and dining and go for a nice long (trash-collecting) walk on the beach.

Who knows? If we like the cut of each other’s carbon footprint, we might even come back to my place for a quick game of spin the recyclable bottle.


The Plight of the Single Career Woman Looking for Love

The more educated and successful a man is, the more marketable he is for love.  Just the opposite for women.  Ergo, the complaint of women in their 30’s, 40’s and up: Where does a high-powered, successful woman find a date, let alone a mate?

It’s a real conundrum.  More women are going to college and grad school now than men.  Younger women are at least as concerned and focused on their career as men have traditionally been.  Men have tradionally “married down,” paired with women who were younger, less educated and career-minded, and perhaps even lower on the social ladder.  Women have tradionally done the opposite: “Married up” to older, more successful men.  As women rise in education, success and finances, there is a dwindling pool of men who are more and better than they are. 

Then you have the “I don’t want to ‘settle’” attitude, meaning “accept less than what I think I deserve.”  And then you have an gigantic demand (highly qualified women) meeting an extremely limited pool of applicants (well-qualified guys, who may be wanting to do what guys have always done, marry down).

Women need to rethink what “settling” would be.  What might fit the traditional model of “more than” for the women might be nice for a date, but not so good for the longer haul.  What if both parnters were heavily career focused?  Who does the important support functions that a marriage and family needs?  And remember that careers don’t go on forever.  But hopefully a mate will.

Qualities that work better in a mate than tall, dark, handsome, and more successful might be trustworthiness, dependability, and persevereness.  What women—and men—might want in a date (handsome or beautiful, exciting, fun) might wear thin rather soon in a marriage. 

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


The Male Version of the Ticking Clock

Elline Lipkin wrote an interesting piece recently for Salon.com called “The Mating Game.”  35 and certainly entering the “Ticking Clock” time zone herself, she fled New York for Texas to save herself from becoming “a particular stereotype that I’d sworn never to become: the overanxious, time’s a-tickin’, neurotic single woman over 35 living in New York.”  Instead, she found herself suddenly thrust into middle age, since marrying before 30 is not the unknown in Texas that it is in NYC. 

So she hit the Net to try her luck, and found herself bombarded with men 10 to 15 years or more older, who suddenly “wanted it all” and were most concerned about the state of her womb and age of her eggs.  These guys looked primarily for women under 35.  Lipkin writes: “Now that they’d set the goal of getting married, they seemed more than a little surprised (bewildered, in fact) that this was one goal they couldn’t make happen by simply applying their will.” and “I didn’t disavow that someone 10 years older might have something in common with me, but when I met these men, it was rarely the case. Their grizzled hair (or what was left of it), paunchy bellies and lined faces placed them in a life stage that seemed distant from mine—still finding my way into a new career, longing to start down the path to family with someone also navigating the way for the first time.”

Certainly a huge complaint of women who are in the same age range as these over 40, 50 and 60 guys is that the men are looking for much yournger flesh than theres.  Who knows, maybe they’ll find it—particularly if they have the assets (ie money) to pay for it.  But most men are going to find that like Lipkin, most women 35 and under are looking for guys their own age. Read my earlier blog posting to see what eHarmony’s Neil Clark Warren has to say about the same subject.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Sharp Eyes and Dumb Criminals

A man wanted for robbery and murder was spotted by an Internet dater who was looking at profiles on PlentyofFish.com.  26 year old Calvin Bennett had posted a profile and photo on PlentyofFish.com and had been contacting women while he traveled north from Arkansas, where he had committed the crime.  “America’s Most Wanted” had shown Bennett’s photo on the show, and a viewer called the U. S. Marshall’s office to say she recognized him.

In a path worthy of a terrific movie, the Marshall’s office contacted the website owner, who was able to trace messages that Bennett has sent to various women, and locate him in Wisconsin, where he was staying with a woman he had met on PlentyofFish.com.  The Marshall’s moved in and arrested Bennett.


1.  You are not private on the Net.  If you are a criminal, it is probably not a good idea to post you photo on an Internet dating site.

2.  Murderers and robbers have the same access to online dating sites as everyone else.

3.  Internet daters, beware.  Your potential mate has the duty and obligation to prove who they are and that their intentions are positive.  These people are strangers, and need to be treated as such until proved otherwise.

4.  Do not invite someone you don’t know into your home.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Googling and Zoominfo

Here’s a newer twist on the relatively new practice of Googling (see my posting on Googling below): an article in “Wired” posted 3/21/05 describes a new service offered by zoominfo that allows you to search your own name and get a summary of what’s available publically on the web under your name. Then—and here’s the good part—you can make changes for free. Zoominfo can’t erase what’s on the web or make it not come up in searches, but you may be able to influence the order that comes up in such a search.

I did my own name, and came up first of five listed. I clicked on my name and found a page of my personal summary that included a variety of places on the Net where my name appears, as well as articles I have written that are posted all over everywhere. Then I could click on a link “Is this your Web Summary? You can update ithere…” and be led through a series of steps to make any changes I’d like.

Just as it is a good idea to check your credit report for irregularities, running your name through zoominfo might be a precaution you’d like to add to your to-do calendar as well. As you may be Googling your prospective partners, they’ll likely be Googling you, too. You should know what the web says about you, for your own information, but also, just in case you may need to do some explaining.


“Googling for Love”

Here’s a article I wrote awhile back about Googling—I’m posting it here because of a new resource I discovered this morning. I’ll write about it in the next blog entry, but this is background material:

Google: (GOO.gul) v. To use an Internet search engine such as Google.com to look for information related to a new or potential girlfriend or boyfriend.

Have you Googled yourself yet? Can anyone resist? If you haven’t had the pleasure, here’s how:

Go to Google.com, type your name in quotation marks, and see what comes up.

A lot depends on how common your name is (like John Smith). I tend to get references to nobility (that’s the Lord part), and the genealogy citations are many. But sure enough, there’s my house in Maine (I rent it during the summer from an Internet ad) and stained glass courses that my husband Drew and I have taught. When I add my middle initial B, then the references are pure cyber romance. Yea!

Drew’s name gets his scientific publications. If I had googled him when we were courting, I would not have made the embarrassing gaff of bragging about my publications (2). He had me beat hands down. But also, that google search would have added to his credibility, because he is cited over and over as a scientist and connected with the Army Corps of Engineers. I would have been reassured.

But what if other connections had come up? Somebody with my name is a personnel expert. Also, it sounds as if my name is common in England. Maybe there is worse, buried under my name in the Net.

Seems like it is a good idea to be aware of what comes up if your name is Googled, sort of like keeping track of your credit report. If something negative comes up under your name and it’s not you, you need to know that and be able to explain it to another. If it’s not so good and IS you, you need to know and explain that, too.

While visiting some of my older relatives recently, they were quite interested in being Googled. My favorite uncle, who has an unusual spelling of his last name, shares that spelling with a rather well known gay porn star. Or at least, we assume the gay porn star and my uncle are not the same guy. The porn star does sound like he has some rather amazing physical attributes.

That’s the kind of google citations associated with your name that it is good to know about!

There seems to be some embarrassment associated with Googling a prospective date or partner, but I can’t see why that would be so. Unless it appears being a little too interested, like “I can’t be bothered to check credentials, even though I have an easy way to do so. This person just doesn’t matter that much to me.” Why would you want to convey that message?

Especially if you are using the Internet for a mate search, it only makes good sense that you would use one of CyberSpace’s best tools to help you make a safe and secure match.

But it also points out the need to keep one’s cyber nose clean. It follows that if you are doing something that you wouldn’t want anyone to know that you are doing, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.



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