Outsourcing Gone “WILD” – Online Dating Ghost Writers

Who is the real writer of those emails you are getting?

After scrolling through one profile after another, I come across a smile or look that appeals to me. I click on the profile and am relieved to find that he has no bare chested photos, does not write in all caps, uses punctuation and actually seems to have a sense of humor.

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I email. Short. Sweet. A little humor. Keep him wanting more. I am excited to see an email from him 2 days later. It is surprisingly well written. It is more than one line just asking for my tel #. It has a beginning, middle and end. And shockingly, he actually asks me some questions about me! I am in heaven.

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The exchanges bring us along to a comfortable level that I can open up a bit and am ready to chat. His emails flow well, have personality and start to show me a little about who he is. I like it and want to know more.

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Finally, I agree to talk on the phone and he calls at the exact time he promises. Surprisingly, I am actually a little nervous and excited. It has been awhile.

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For the next 10 minutes, I chalk his jittery and stilted and uninteresting conversation up to nerves. For another 10 minutes, I start to think that someone absconded with my Prince Charming and this was his stand in.

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After 30 minutes, I end the torture and tell him I have to get off the phone. Afterwards, my head is spinning … and not from the titilating intellectual conversation but from confusion as to how a great email exchange can go so awry when you actually talk on the phone.

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I should not have done it, but I powered up the laptop and sent an email asking by would be suitor why the conversation lagged when our emails did not.

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I was surprised he answered but even more shocked by his answer. He said he was terribly shy and his friend wrote his emails for him because he felt things but had trouble expressing them in words. And, he hated phones but once he got comfortable, he started to open up.

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We had an honest exchange … just he and I through email … and then he called me … and the next 20 minutes flowed naturally … in real … without his online dating ghost writer. It was a truly pleasant surprise.

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We met and dated for a couple of months. Although it did not work out, we became friends … and he is now writing his own emails.

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Have you ever found that disconnect between how someone writes in their emails vs how they communicate on the phone or in person?

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Hmmmm … maybe they have outsourced their online dating email writing to the same guy answering the phone for Domino Pizza orders in India. Maybe? Anything seems possible these days.

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Q & A: Can your date “Man Up?”

Question
I met this great guy on line and we had a coffee date where we talked for over 3 hours. I am gay and I hate effeminate men. I don’t mean to offend anyone but I like very male men. I was excited to finally meet someone who wasn’t “obvious.” The next night I went to a local gay bar and they had a show with a guy who came out dressed like a woman … and my eyes almost popped out of my head when I recognized him as my date from the night before. He was more effeminate than most women. I feel betrayed. Should I go out with him again?

Sharon
What are you stressing out about? The fact that he was in drag or the fact that he didn’t mention to you that he performed in drag?

If it’s because he didn’t mention his drag show…back off a bit. You’ve only met and talked once. Yes, I know, 3 hours is a long time but it was still just the first time you talked. As a single gal who meets quite a few men through online dating, I can say that I never tell my entire life story at the first meeting. Not because I have something to hide but because — it’s the first time we’ve talked — and if things go well and we meet again there should still be new avenues of information to explore.

If you’re upset because he was in drag and therefore more effeminate than you’d prefer…again – back off a bit. A performers stage persona is oftentimes far, far removed from the persons real-life self. As an actress I find myself in roles that are wildly different from who I am in my day-to-day life. This is why I love performing so much….I can be and do things that I’d never do in real life.

So relax, give him a call and meet for coffee or drinks or dinner. Mention that you “caught his show”. You may find that there’s a very interesting story behind his performing, one that doesn’t really preclude his being manly enough for you in the real world.

Mariann
OK, I can totally understanding you freaking out. It would be like me seeing my man play Marilyn Monroe. Got it. I think you need to cut him some slack. If this is a gig for him … it could be all “acting” for him. How he is on stage will be different than how he is in real life.

Maybe he feels like this is something he discloses once he gets a little closer to his dates. I would go out a few times with him and see how he is day to day. Then, mention you might visit the bar on the night where he entertains … and see if he comes clean and tells you.

Take a step back and see if you like him enough to even continue seeing him and don’t worry unnecessarily. Let us know how it goes. Good Luck.

Tomorrow Me

We have a guest post today from relationship expert Maryanne Comaroto. Visit her site for great advice and be sure to tune into her live radio show at www.maryannelive.com/. Also check out Maryanne’s interview at the Huffington Post!

What would you do, what would you give, to have your very own personal life coach, someone who was with you all the time and who knew your values and goals inside and out? This person would be there to guide you and advise you, showing you the path to your highest self and pointing out the unhelpful patterns in your life that are holding you back. They would keep track of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions, and respond accordingly to help you make the most appropriate decisions possible. Sounds too good to be true? Well it’s not, and the good news is, your personal guide is already living inside you – it’s your tomorrow me.

Now, you’re probably thinking the same thing I thought when I first heard this term: my what? But it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Your tomorrow me is the version of you that represents the you of tomorrow (and next week and next month and so forth), and it keeps track of all the decisions you make and all the things you do and think and say. When your tomorrow me sees something going amiss, it steps in to try to assist you in thinking things through and making the best possible choices for the life you want to lead.

I first discovered my tomorrow me when I was doing something that at the time was common for me: avoiding housework. I looked at the clutter around the house that procrastinating me had been successfully ignoring for more than a week, and just when I had decided to put it off another day, a little voice piped up and said, “excuse me, but do you really think your tomorrow me wants to have to deal with this mess you’re leaving?” I responded immediately to the tone of that internal voice – my tomorrow me meant business.

Since then I have kept her by my side as a constant guide, and she has never failed to give me the best advice at every turn. In addition to showing me what sorts of things I’m doing that will affect my future, she also helps illuminate the past so that I can more clearly see the unhelpful patterns that do not serve me well now, and will not serve me well later. Whether or not you listen to your tomorrow me is up to you, but I can show you how to get in contact with that voice so you can at least start getting acquainted.

*The best way to meet your tomorrow me is to ask. Sit in your room, close your eyes, and ask to have your tomorrow me revealed to you, the part of you that has your best interests in mind and will guide you to day in order to pave a better way for tomorrow. Sit and listen quietly until you can note any feelings or thoughts that arise.

*Make sure you know what you want your tomorrow me to do. A list can be helpful; write down all the areas of your life that could be improved with the help of your tomorrow me. It could be specific things like how to deal with a certain friendship or what to do about a dilemma you’ve been facing, or it could be something more general like career advice or help with dating.

*Don’t just connect with your tomorrow me whenever you need something – treat it like any other relationship that needs to be nurtured. Check in at least once a day to find out how you are doing, and what you could be doing better!

*Sound guidance deserves rewards, so don’t forget to show your tomorrow me your gratitude! A quick treat or even just some well-deserved relaxation tame is all it takes to say thanks for all the extra energy and balance you’ll be enjoying in your life!

*Don’t approach your tomorrow me as if you expect a drill sergeant. Your tomorrow me is more like a sibling or a parent, protecting and looking out for your best interests.

Your relationship with your tomorrow me will be one of the most enlightening ones in your entire life, so once you establish it, don’t let it go!

Q & A: First Date – Drinks, Dinner Or Both?

To Dine Or Not To Dine

Can you be independent AND pampered?

Question
Met a guy on line and we are going out on Friday night. Meeting for drinks and then he said, “we can also do dinner if we both feel like it.” That’s fine, but I am very independent and don’t want to feel obligated to split a dinner if I am not “feeling it.” Any suggestions?

Mariann:
Going to dinner has nothing to do with being independent. It has to be about whether you enjoy your dates’ company and if you want to spend more time with them. A suggestion about staying for dinner can be stressful because if he does not ask then does it mean he is not interested? I would say that you have to be somewhere and can do drinks and if you like him … then go out again … perhaps for dinner. And, if he asks you to dinner and you accept then … he asked … please let him pay. Splitting the bill does not mean you are independent. Just accept the dinner … and at the end (but before the check arrives) … say, “Thank you so much for dinner. I enjoyed it.” And if you open your wallet, may lightening strike down and stop your hand from stupidity. Allow the man to court you. Let us know what you do.

Sharon:
You’re not obligated to do anything if you’re “not feeling it”. That said, I’m reading some underlying hesitancy in your question that I suspect has nothing to do with dinner. Perhaps you’re not sure if this guy is someone that you’d have fun with over the extended time of drinks and dinner? Most women, myself included, would leap at the chance to see a guy who I was very interested in…wouldn’t question the drinks and maybe dinner thing at all. Except maybe to stress over whether he was really into me and was using the “maybe” as an escape route. And remember, the maybe thing could be your escape route too….so go for drinks and if it leads to dinner – and you’re happy about that – then enjoy.

Since he did the inviting then in your case, I would certainly expect him to treat for the evening. I’m not as hard-nosed as Mariann is about things like who pays (I’ve met FAR too many men who said it was everything from sweet and charming to a total turn-on when a woman offered to pay), but as I said…his invite…his treat. If you hit it off and go out again you can always take the inviter/payer role the next time around.

Be Your Own Valentine

It’s Valentine’s Day and no one is showing up at your door tonight with roses and Godiva’s in hand and you will not be carried off to a candlelit dinner at your favorite bistro. What do you do when the entire (or so it seems to you) world is kissing and cuddling and you’re home. Alone. Totally. Alone.

Yes, deep down we all know it’s a made up holiday. Just another excuse for Hallmark, Godiva, Victoria’s Secret and the little bakery down on the corner – you know the one that makes the awesome cupcakes – to improve their bottom lines for the fiscal quarter. Still, there’s something about having a special “faux holiday” dedicated to letting someone know that they’re loved. And here we are spending VeeDay alone.

This would lead one to believe that the only choices are: Cry, drink lots of wine and cry, nuke a Lean Cuisine meal and then cry, watch Sleepless In Seattle for the eight-hundredth time…and have a good cry. …..OR…. you can just be your own Valentine. Yes…you. What makes Valentine’s Day so much fun is being just a bit pampered by someone who cares. And who cares about you more than you? So show yourself the love, smile – a smile is a powerful thing and can lift your spirits, lower your blood pressure and just make you….happy. So how do you get smiley and happy, when all you really want to do is bury your face in a bucket of ice cream and then eat your way out of it? Like this:

Stop and smell the roses. Buy yourself a bunch of the prettiest flowers, and while you’re at it throw in a box of chocolates. When you do this for yourself you can be absolutely sure that you will be getting your favorite flowers and candy. Don’t like chocolate? Get gummi bears, or whatever your heart desires. After all who knows what you like better than you do yourself?

Put on your fleeciest PJs and hog the TV all night. Watch all the movies that you and no one else but you loves. Watch the entire set of Die Hard movies ad nauseum because YOU like em, dammit! It’s all about you tonight baby!!

Call your unattached friends and have a “Lonely Hearts” dinner. I did this once years ago. I had just been through a bad breakup and wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball and die for Valentine’s Day. My friends had other plans for me though. My buddy Rob brought heart stickers for us. Made us tear them in half and paste our “broken hearts” on our lapels. Five of us then went out to dinner wearing our badges and I have to tell you – this was one of the best nights out I’ve ever had. I really can’t say that I’ve ever laughed more than I did that VeeDay….and I usually laugh a lot.

Pay the love forward. Show the world you care by making a donation to your favorite charity. Give blood or take a CPR class. What better way to pay the love forward than by possibly saving a life. You could also save the sanity of your married-with-children friends by offering to baby sit on Valentine’s Day so they can go out and celebrate. Best part of this is, they can repay you by house- or dog-sitting for you when you DO have a new love in your life and you’re headed to the Bahamas for a romantic weekend!

So, how are you going to be your own Valentine this year? The phone lines are open…

I Heart You All,
Sharon

Q & A: That Pesky Online Profile. What To Do, What To Do?

Online Dating Profile

He looks soooo familiar!

Question
I’ve been dating online for what seems like forever…couple of years actually. I had a lot of typical “two-date” relationships, met some creeps and some nice guys and then….I met this guy who I’m pretty sure is Mr. Right for me. I think he feels that way too. We’ve talked about how much we enjoy each other’s company and are basically exclusive, although we haven’t discussed our dating status with one another yet. Now here’s my dilemma – both of our profiles are still up on the dating site, although neither of us has been “active” in over three months. Should I take my profile off the site now? His is still up there. Should I ask him to take his off? Ask him why his is still up there? I know, I know, too many questions but I’m just not sure how to handle this!

Sharon
First, congratulations for finding someone special! Gives us all hope. Now to your question – which really isn’t too many questions. It’s just one: Are you and he in an exclusive, monogamous relationship, or not?

You need to have a conversation with your man…now. It needs to be a two part talk. First the exclusive relationship thing, you need to see if you’re both headed down the same path in this. If you are now “going steady” as they used to say – you have to take the profiles down. And I mean DOWN…GONE…BYE BYE HEADSHOT.

Here’s the thing that frustrates a lot of us (me included) about online dating…it’s just so THERE. It’s so easy to hide a profile temporarily and then have it magically reappear when a relationship is even a tiny bit rocky. I met an online guy for coffee once and he was going on and on about how he never removes his profile, just hides it when he’s dating someone, and he did this during a four year relationship with a woman he was considering marrying! Seriously, if you’re both serious then you must WALK AWAY from the online sites. It becomes a crutch otherwise, an easy out that you can take rather than work at making a relationship work.

Mariann
Online dating can be like champagne and chocolates … addictive and hard to rid your life of them. But, there is an addictive nature to dating online and always “keeping your options open” since someone new and wonderful and perfect might be 1 page of profiles away.

The fact is … if you have been dating exclusively for a while and both your profiles are up there … Shame on both of you! You both need to go your separate ways or communicate as to where your relationship is going and if you should both (not just one) take your profiles down. Sounds to me like this is bigger than just profiles still up on the website … this is a commitment and relationship issue that needs to be address … NOW.

Grab the bull by the horns (yes, symbolism intended) and decide where you and this relationship is going.

I think once two people decide it is exclusive and they are not going to date anyone else, then they should show their respect to the other person and take their profile down.

Single in America: Fact vs. Fiction

Are women needier than men? Are all (or at least most) men hell-bent on keeping their relationship status “single”? If you’re out of a job are you also out of luck in the dating arena? The definitive answers may surprise you….or maybe not.

This week Match.com published “Everything You Think You Know About Singles is Wrong…” Based on a comprehensive study by biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher, professor Stephanie Coontz, and University of Binghamton’s Institute of Evolutionary Studies. The study explores the more common myths about single men and women and the results were indicative of how the state of “being single” has evolved over the years.

Were the results a revelation to me? As a single adult – yes I was surprised at some of the results. As one of the collaborators on the “LifeBytes, Real Stories of Online Dating”, anthology…not so much.

One of the myths discussed: Guys don’t want to get married and have kids. Not true, according to Match’s study. What do I think? As a single gal, I’ve had one or two relationships that imploded because the male half of the deal wasn’t ready to commit. On the other hand, we’ve gotten quite a few LifeBytes stories from men – the majority of which were tales of How I Met My Soulmate. This from a call for submissions specifically asking for the full range of dating stories, from funny, to sad to scary to sexy, to weird and so on. Yet the guys all seem to want only to share their love stories. Interesting. I was describing this phenomenon to a male acquaintance and he just shook his head and said, “that’s because we always want it to work out.” Awww, so now the truth is out guys. Under those tough exteriors lies a cute and cuddly puppy who’s just looking for love.

More myths debunked: Younger singles are promiscuous and older singles don’t care about sex. No…and NO, according to Match. And according to LifeBytes too, as a matter of fact. The pull of sex and the enchantment of finding that “perfect” partner is universal, no matter the age, gender or sexual orientation. One of my favorite LifeBytes stories is from a senior woman who found her soul-mate at the age of 62…:). Ain’t love grand?

We have found though that younger singles tend to be far less cautious when forming online “relationships”. Some of the most truly scary stories have come to us from singles in their teens and twenties, and these situations arose not from casual sex, but from searches for lasting love. Caution and wisdom do come with age in so many ways.

One of my favorite myths is: Single parents have no social life. According the the Match study, single parents date much more than their childless counterparts. As a single parent myself, I say to this…”Well, DUH”. I have a full and amazing social life, and not just dating, I have friends and hobbies. I have worked hard to build this single life for myself. So, I will offer Match.com a why for this non-myth. As parents we understand the need to have a many-faceted life. We understand that this is what keeps us sane and grounded…and we work hard at it.

Which leads me to another myth debunked by Match: Women are needy and clingy in relationships. Well…no…actually we’re more likely to need “space” to enjoy our friends, hobbies, work and more. The jury of one (me) agrees and I will refer you, dear reader, to the above paragraph on single parents. Women understand the necessity of having a multi-facted life. C’mon guys, admit it, that’s why you find us so utterly fascinating…LOL.

There are a few more singles myths debunked in the study, but I will leave you to read through those and comment below on them yourselves. I’m interested to hear your take on them, and on the ones I’ve waxed poetic about here too!

What I’ve mainly come away from the Match.com article with is a renewed sense of awe. The LifeBytes, Real Stories project never ceases to amaze and enthrall me, giving me a peek through the keyhole at the varied experiences that single men and women have in their search for companionship and love. Puck in a “Midsummer’s Night Dream” says, “What fools these mortals be”. Fools? No, personally I think the line should be: “How fascinating these mortals be”.

Happy Dating,
Sharon