Archive for October, 2009

Online Dating: You Can’t Have Just One Lie

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Surprisingly enough, people lie about obvious things. ¬†In fact, as you’ll notice, that’s the cornerstone of bad online dating stories. ¬†Usually it’s something small; she’ll say “I weight 120 lbs” when she really weighs 130lbs. ¬†Not a big deal. ¬†“I’m 5’6″”, she says, but she’s really 5’4″. ¬†Not the end of the world.

Elisa, however decided to go full bore on the lying front. ¬†After chatting online for a couple weeks, I determined that she was very nice, had a pleasant personality, and would be fun company. ¬†She sent around ten photos of herself, and she fit her description to a tee: 5’8″, 130lbs, a very proportional body, half white-half asian of some kind (I really don’t remember at this point). ¬†She had gorgeous green eyes, and dark brown hair. ¬†I was excited to meet someone who fit my preferences both physically AND mentally.

The plan was to meet at the Sharper Image at a mall in the South Bay. ¬†Sure, it was a 30 minute drive for a first meet, but hey, you can’t drive too far for potential love, right? ¬†So I got to the Sharper Image a little early, and was browsing through their products. ¬†(At the time, both Brookstone and Sharper Image actually sold cool stuff, not crappy plastic shit.) ¬†While I was looking, one of their employees tapped me on the shoulder. ¬†I turned to explain I was just looking, the woman said, “Adam?”

I looked at her, and said, “Hi, um, do I know you?” ¬†She looked hurt. ¬†“It’s me, Elisa!” ¬†I was shocked… ¬†If this was Elisa…then who was the girl in the photos? ¬†The woman in front of me could not have been taller than five feet, and couldn’t have weighed less than 200 lbs. ¬†My first thought was, if she fell down, she’d roll until she hit something that could stop her.

“You’re not what you described,” I started. ¬†She acted like I slapped her across the face.

“Well, everyone lies about their appearance!” she hissed back, “it’s not my fault you were so dumb that you believed me.”

I started walking out of the store, and out of the mall. ¬†She began to follow me. ¬†“What, you don’t want to hang out?” she asked, trying to keep up.

I turned, and walked backwards for a moment, seeing her struggle to match my fast pace, “No, I don’t. ¬†Relationships start with trust. ¬†I can’t trust you if you lied about EVERYTHING,now, can I?”

She was falling behind, panting from the 30 feet of exertion, “You wouldn’t have agreed to meet up with me if I had told the truth!”

Before I spun back around, I said, “We’ll never know, will we?” ¬†I walked back to my car, leaving her far behind to catch her breath.

I don’t even know what the moral of this story is. ¬†Honestly, most people don’t lie as badly as Elisa did–and really, I don’t think most people have the guts to actually meet up after doing so. ¬†Who knows.

Online Dating: Escape Plan

Monday, October 26th, 2009

One of the most important aspects about online dating (or really any first date, for that matter) is an escape plan.

During a holiday break, at the end of December, I found myself bored and restless. ¬†What better way to spend one’s time than meet someone new? ¬†Well, I was underaged, so a bar was not an option; I went online and got “double matched” with “Rebecca”. ¬†Now Rebecca had photos–nice photos. ¬†She had a cute, if not shy, smile, and from what I could tell, was in reasonably good shape. ¬†After chatting for a few minutes, and talking to her on the phone briefly, we decided to meet up. ¬†The plan was for me to pick her up from her place (I guess I didn’t learn my lesson), and grab a bite to eat.

I drove over, excited that I’d meet someone who seemed engaging and cute. ¬†I parked the car, and walked up to her door. ¬†I didn’t have a chance to ring the bell when someone opened the door. ¬†I looked up, and hoped that I had the wrong house.

“Adam, how are you?” she said. ¬†Shit. ¬†It was the right house. Standing before me was a girl who only barely resembled the girl I had been chatting with. ¬†She had a funny looking torso; but I couldn’t figure out why. ¬†She was wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants (I believe the term is “frumpy”), and resembled a pear. ¬†She had nice eyes, but her smile told a story of dental neglect. ¬†Her teeth looked as if someone had removed them, painted them various shades of yellow, gray, and brown, then threw them back into her mouth. ¬†I’m sure there are British people who would look at her teeth and say, “Oh dear, that is certainly frightening.” ¬†She led me into the house, where I was both assaulted and confused by the sounds and smells of birds. ¬†Every direction I turned, there were birdcages. ¬†Perceptive, she said, “Oh, yeah, my mom collects birds. ¬†She’s a little weird, you’ll meet her right now.”

What??? ¬†I was going to meet her mother? ¬†As I turned my head in surprise, I was met by the hollow gaze of an older woman, her silver hair straight but slightly dirty, and her expression empty. ¬†I shook her hand, I don’t even know if she realized that I was real. ¬†She either had some advanced dementia, or she was high. ¬†I didn’t have time to process it before she took me to another room, where her father was laying in bed, attempting to watch TV over the enormity of his beer belly–he must have had a waistline in the low 80s.

After his brief look and ignore, she took me to another room… ¬†Upon opening the door, the first thing to hit me was the stench of mildew, then the surprise of the lack of a floor. ¬†Wall to wall, and I’m not exaggerating, there were clothes, papers, upturned furniture, STUFF, just strewn about the room. ¬†It looked like a hurricane ransacked her room during an earthquake. ¬†Unabashed, she offered me a chair, and got a patio chair and set it atop some of the lower-lying piles. ¬†By this time, my shock had faded, and I was merely trying to breathe as shallowly as possible while trying to determine an appropriate escape route. ¬†Meanwhile, Rebecca decided now was a good time to show me her artistry skills.

Page after page of art was centered around what I’ll call a Fantasy theme; lots of animal-human creatures; what stood out to me what I think was a personified fox head atop a very busty and slim-waisted human body with a fox tail. ¬†I wasn’t sure what the goal was, but I had had enough–and Rebecca noticed.

“Am I boring you?” she asked. ¬†I was shocked she noticed.

“Yeah, well, it’s not that I’m bored, I’m just not into that kind of art…” I explained.

“Oh,” she said, a little disappointed. ¬†“Maybe this will be more interesting,” she said, and before I could say or do anything, she pulled off her sweatshirt.

Now in retrospect, I should have been a little more understanding. ¬†Obviously, she wasn’t getting the attention she wanted from her parents, or from previous boyfriends, or from anyone who mattered to her, and as a result, she was seeking it from random online men. ¬†By stripping her shirt off.

Well, I had been wrong in my initial assessment of her body. ¬†While I initially thought her to be pear-like, I found that that it was not her stomach that gave her a somewhat fat appearance. ¬†No, no such luck there. ¬†Instead, her breasts merely sagged down to where her stomach was. ¬†I must have been staring for 10 seconds or so–she interrupted my thoughts by saying, “What do you think?” ¬†I didn’t know what to think. ¬†By this point in my life, the largest breasts I had ever seen were a DD cup, and these breasts were at least twice that size. ¬†And they weren’t nearly as perky. ¬†In fact, her nipples were a great compass for gravity, they were pointing straight down. ¬†I fought a wave of nausea, and said, “I have to go.” ¬†I RAN out of her room, past her dad, past her mom, past about 1,400 species of birds, out the door, and almost tripped into my car.

I sped home, got into the house, turned the shower on, and took my shoes off before getting into the shower.  I forgot to take my other clothes off.  I took an hour long shower as hot as I could tolerate before feeling even remotely clean.  I then got out, changed, and called Rebecca to apologize for my behavior.

She wasn’t very happy. “That’s the first time anyone has ever run out after I’ve taken off my shirt.”

“How often do you take off your shirt?” I asked.

“All the time. ¬†I show all the guys my boobs,” she explained. ¬†“You’re the first guy who did that. ¬†What, are you gay or something?”

“No,” I replied, “but you’re not what I was looking for.”

We talked for another couple minutes–where I found that, when she wears one, her bra is a 42G. ¬†I think she was telling the truth. ¬†To this day, thinking about Rebecca makes my stomach churn. ¬†The smell of mildew reminds me of that horrible experience, and I hope it never happens again…

Online Dating: Start from the Very Beginning

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

As Julie Andrews said in “The Sound of Music”, “Let’s start at the very beginning; a very good place to start…” ¬†So I’ll tell you about my first meeting. ¬†After…I’ll give my post-mordem–why I thought it went badly, what I learned. ¬†Enjoy!

So back in 1999, when this all started, I joined a website to meet someone to go out with. ¬†My intent, as I recall, was to find a girlfriend; I had just gotten out of a long relationship, and really didn’t know any better. ¬†As I perused the profiles, most of which lacked photos, I came across a promising one. ¬†Described as cute, tall, slim, brown hair and green eyes, she had similar interests, and that led me to message her. ¬†Despite the fact she didn’t have photos, I decided to take the plunge and meet her.

We decided to meet on a Saturday, and grab lunch. ¬†She didn’t have a car, so she asked me to pick her up. ¬†She lived in North Hollywood, and so about 30 minutes of driving later, I pulled into her driveway…which was comprised of dirt. ¬†Her house looked like the last time it had been painted was around the time paint was invented; the chain link fence surrounding the house was easily 10 feet tall, and the other vegetation in the yard was a healthy shade of brown.

She bounded out of the house as I pulled in; imagine my shock to find that she was not cute, tall, slim, or have brown hair. ¬†Her green eyes were only green due to some cheap colored contacts, and to be honest, I was not expecting her to be Asian. ¬†She got in the car. ¬†“Hello,” she said with a rather heavy accent. ¬†“Food is down the street.” ¬†So against my better judgement, I pulled out of the driveway, and started down the street to find some cheap sandwich shop. ¬†As I was plotting my escape, I felt her hand grope me. ¬†Reaching over to move her hand away, I asked her to stop. ¬†She giggled, and immediately took my hand and put it on her chest. ¬†In the brief moment between her putting it there and my taking it away, I realized that not only was this girl, ugly, short, chubby, and completely unlike her description, her chest appeared to be mostly padding from whatever cheap bra she was wearing. ¬†I had had enough.

I turned the car around, and her voice got excited.

“We’re going back to the house?” she asked tentatively.

“Yes,” I responded.

“You come in?” she asked. ¬†I hesitated; I wanted to get the hell away–but I figure my best bet was to play along.

“Yes,” I said again. I could tell she was excited, but what should have been a boost to my ego was more of an adrenaline surge to get the hell out. ¬†I pulled into the driveway, and the moment the car stopped, she leapt from the car. ¬†As the door closed, I locked it. ¬†She looked at me, as if to say, “are you coming or what?” ¬†I gave my “I’m sorry” look, tossed my Camaro in reverse, and left some shallow ruts in her dirt driveway as I got the hell out. ¬†I’m glad their was no oncoming traffic–I would have been screwed.

Arriving home, I saw an email from her in my inbox.  She said,

“Why are you being such a tease?”

That was my first meeting. ¬†I almost didn’t meet anyone again, as it was somewhat horrifying, especially given my lack of experience. ¬†It was from this meeting that I started requiring photos–multiple photos–from people I met. ¬†Yes, it’s superficial, but being attracted is important. ¬†I should have also called her on the phone. ¬†I’m not sure why we didn’t talk on the phone in the first place; possibly that cellphones weren’t as common, and she may not have wanted to give me her home number.

I also learned not to meet people in a private place–the best bet is always a public place. ¬†That way, if something goes wrong, I can just go, and not be concerned for my safety. ¬†Additionally, when I saw her driveway and house, I should have just kept on going. ¬†It seriously looked like a scene from a desert Jurassic Park. ¬†Red flags everywhere. ¬†I learned a lot from my first experience, and I’m glad it was someone who didn’t kill me.

Online Dating Stories: Ground Rules

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Ok–so I’m finally going to do it–I’m going to write about my online dating experiences. ¬†Before I begin, I need to set up some ground rules… ¬†Mainly for myself, but to have some semblance of decency, for you too…

Rules for Me

  • I will not use real names, nor¬†give details so specific that you will ascertain the person’s identity.
  • I will not tell stories about people with whom I maintain contact or keep in touch with in any way, shape, or form.
  • I will not tell stories about people with whom I have had more than one meeting.

Rules for You

  • If you figure out who the person is, please do not let the world know who they are, too.
  • Please don’t guess who they are, either–the likelihood of you having met some of these people is extremely low.
  • Do not be offended if you think the story is about you. ¬†It is not. ¬†I do not keep in touch with any of the people I will write about. ¬†If you are reading this, and you know it is about you, then you’re stalking me; please stop. ¬†That’s creepy.

Other “Stuff”

  • Many of my meetings have been similar. ¬†As a result, I might mix a few details up, combine people together, or separate them into different stories. ¬†I’m sorry in advance; but I don’t actually keep notes or records on anyone. ¬†This is ALL from memory.
  • I don’t intend to embellish any stories from the truth. ¬†If something seems too bizarre to be true, well, it’s probably true.
  • I’m sure that I’ve been the weird one in some of these meetings. ¬†I’m probably not going to talk about that much.

Thank you for respecting the rules, and enjoy hearing about my experiences!

The Online Dating Intro

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

As many of you know, I do the whole online dating “thing”. ¬†Over the years, I’ve been on numerous websites; Socialnet, AOL dating, Match, eHarmony, Craigslist, Hot or Not, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, Yahoo Personals, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting. ¬†Overall, I’ve probably met at least 200 people from online in person, and communicated with almost 1,000 online. ¬†I know I’m FAR from being perfect, but boy, I’ve met some really interesting people…

When I first started in 1999, digital cameras were expensive and low resolution (cameras that were 640 x 480 [a third of a megapixel], ran almost a thousand dollars), and scanners were not common place. ¬†Photos were few and far between, so if I was lucky, I would see one photo of a girl before getting the opportunity to meet in person. ¬†As a result, I had to go with a description of what the girl looked like. ¬†This was about half as effective as a police sketch. ¬†So my first 10 or 20 meetings were often met with utter disappointment, as a low-resolution, blurry, often old photo was standard, if I got one at all. ¬†Of those first meetings, only two girls were really truthful about their appearance; one I went on a couple dates with, the other I dated for a month–but both had issues I just didn’t want to deal with…

…so 10 years later, and hundreds of meetings later, I’m still refining my online dating strategy. ¬†Lots has changed since I started; there are a lot more dating sites out there, and there are a lot more photos to see. ¬†Mind you, a lot of people have learned to Photochop (not a typo) their photos, so you never know who is really representing themselves truthfully, and the matching schemes have been a little more refined.

What hasn’t changed, however, is people’s propensity to lie about themselves.

Whether it be height, weight, hair, complexion, education, career, bra size, personality, self-image, or whatever you can think of, it’s all subject to scrutiny. ¬†I’ve become somewhat adept at figuring out who lies and who doesn’t, and who has personality issues and who fakes it.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll tell some stories of some of my more…interesting…online dating experiences…from the overly aggressive, to the completely psycho. ¬†There are lots of fun stories… ¬†You let me know if you want to hear them. ¬†Most are funny in retrospect, and often graphic. ¬†So…yeah. ¬†Let me know.

Have You Driven a Ford Lately?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Last night, I had a little time on my hands, and I stopped by the local Ford dealer to check out a couple of their new cars. ¬†I had heard that Ford has upped the quality of their cars, and I wanted hard evidence that an American car company was about to produce something comparable to the Germans or Japanese. ¬†I was a little disappointed, perhaps due to my high expectations, but they’re obviously going in the right direction.

The 2010 Ford Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKS are essentially the same car; the main differences coming from their styling, and driver space.  And the prices; the Ford stickers for $42,000; the Lincoln for $52,000.  I drove both.

The fact that I’m 6’8″ does not bode well for most cars, and these two were no exception. ¬†I had to recline the seat back in both cars more than I would have liked, though not so far that it was terribly uncomfortable. ¬†The Lincoln had more legroom, whereas the Ford’s center console got in the way of my knee. ¬†Unfortunately for the Ford, that would be a deal breaker; over the 10 minute test drive, my knee hurt from the contact. ¬†The interior styling of the Lincoln was more luxurious than that of the Ford, however the features were virtually identical–in fact, with the exception of the Park Assist, they WERE identical. ¬†The interior styling was better than I would have thought to find in either a Ford or Lincoln, and the quality of the components was high. ¬†The center screen was very nice, and the graphics were crisp, modern, and desirable. ¬†I was surprised that neither the Ford nor Lincoln had a pretty LCD display in the main instrument cluster, and instead had a cheapie LED matrix… ¬†I would expect to see that in a $10,000 car, not a $40,000 or $50,000 car.

Now for the handling… ¬†I was not surprised to find that both cars are a bit fluffy when it comes to handling, as I have a very strong bias against American cars. ¬†The steering felt disconnected, which makes only a little sense due to the speed-sensitive steering; braking was a little squishy and confidence reducing, and cornering was imprecise at best: ¬†While both cars are all-wheel-drive, they seemed to lack the proper suspension to handle and high-speed cornering (yes, I threw the Lincoln into a corner, one that I was confident it would handle well, and yet the roll of the car almost threw the salesman into my lap). ¬†The automatic transmission shifts only slightly better than my grandmother on a stick, and I was rather surprised at how rough and sudden each shift was. ¬†Despite these negative attributes, there’s one saving grace in both of these cars: ¬†The engine.

Both models have the EcoBoost engine. ¬†A twin-turbo, 3.5 liter V6, the EcoBoost engine produces 355 horsepower (that’s NOT a typo). ¬†And due to the rather low first gear, the car can really get off the line. ¬†While on the freeway, both cars took off like rockets–which really surprised me. ¬†Obviously, Ford has spent some time on this engine, and it shows. ¬†I can totally see both these cars being ticket bait, and it was exhilarating to experience.

If I had to buy a new car today, I would give consideration to either the Lincoln or Ford, however I would be stopped by the lack of headroom and legroom (unique to me) and the tank-like performance of both cars. ¬†If Ford spends a little more time working on the performance issues, as well as the interior space, I would absolutely nab one. ¬†The interior quality is approaching that of the Japanese, and doesn’t have a long way to go before it bests the Germans (my standard is an Audi, and I personally think it has the best automotive interior for a car under $60,000). ¬†The EcoBoost engine is a dream come true, and I hope that Ford continues to push that through their vehicle line.

I drove a Ford, and I’m happy to see that the Americans have a fighting chance.

Turing Test…fail

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

So a Turing Test is a method of determining whether or not something/someone is human. ¬†Really, the goal is to figure out if the test taker can “think”. ¬†If the testee passes the Turing test, then he/she/it is deemed human, as computers, at least as far as I know, cannot “think”. ¬†Captchas are a form of Turing test.

Lately, a spambot has gotten ahold of my Yahoo name. ¬†Whenever I log on, I get a few messages from people I don’t know. ¬†Because I am on a few websites, about 10% of those messages are legitimate–but the other 90% are not. ¬†Initially, it took me about 2 minutes to figure out who was real and who wasn’t, as the spambots are programmed to respond to a user’s input. ¬†For instance, if you ask “Who are you?” the spambot will respond something like, “I’m Michelle. What’s your name?”, then use that input later on in the conversation. ¬†The problem is, after a couple minutes, “Michelle” will send a link to her webcam, and immediately, I know I’ve been fooled by a spambot.

So I decided to do a little experiment. ¬†Rather than respond immediately to the new messages with something that makes sense, I instead ask a question, like “What’s four plus five?” or “What is three times 8?” ¬†If I get a valid response, I can be more confident the message is from a real human–and if the response is more of, “Tell me about yourself”, I know that it’s a spambot.

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