Beth Cook is a dating coach and wing-woman who throws private dating events for San Francisco’s most awesome and unattached. She also writes and draws about her own dating experiences and would love to hear from you. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email.
Last year, a friend set me up on a blind date — a very blind date; this dude did not exist online. I went, I spoke, and I concurred. We had a fantastic hour-and-a-half date filled with stories, laughter, a phone number exchange, and plans for a second date.
He said he’d call and then I never heard from him again.
For a while I thought my date-assessment-meter was broken. How could he have seemed so into me and then not have called?
My friend later told me why. He Googled me, and he wasn’t happy with the results. It turns out, not everyone wants to date a dating writer.
Maybe I should have been upset, but I wasn’t.
My blog entries and tweets are a reflection of who I am. I could never date someone so terrified of them—and who assumes that I’m not reasonable enough to protect his desired anonymity.
In fact, I fully expect my date to Google me. And whenever I meet someone that piques my romantic interest, I wander over to my laptop and take a cursory glance at his online presence. Nothing too creepy—I just sift through Google search results 1-10.
As you know, this casual search will usually deliver a LinkedIn page, a Facebook profile, a Twitter handle, and nowadays, a useless Google+ page.
No need to go too far: dates really are the best places to learn about people. But stalking-light has its uses: assessing whether someone is normal-ish. Does he have more than 14 friends on Facebook? Check. Does he tweet endlessly about #worldofwarcraft or #farts? Uncheck. Does he have a job (or at least the qualifications to get a job)? Big check.
A cute picture is a plus—to share with friends before/after what will surely be an awesome first date.
Farts and World of Warcraft aside, the only time I am suspect about a date is when I find nothing—as in no online presence. I have a penchant for scoring dates with guys who feign social media allergies (nerdy academics stuck in the 19th century and geeky tech guys who are nervous about sharing information because they actually know how it can be used against them).
With no online persona to riff off of, I turn Nancy Drew-like on dates, asking crucial, cut-to-the-chase questions in quick succession: Who the hell are you? What is your purpose in life and on this date?
Kidding. But only sort of.
I’m much more interested in whether someone is on a special diet and if they ‘hate’ things. The right answers are no and no (except for cats).
I have never been so turned off by a person’s online activity to cancel a date with him, though obviously there is a guy or two who can’t say the same about me.
What am I getting at?
Let it all hang out my technocrat friends. Don’t make your Twitter feed private and password-protect your blog: be your own damn self. You don’t want to date someone who would be horrified about your electronic music obsession or weirded out by your home brew science lab. Having a rich online presence will actually help weed out the Googley-eyed guys and gals who aren’t right for you—and spark the interest of those who are.
Photo by Lorena Cupcake