January 8, 2020

To All the Internet Daters – A Final Unapologetic Message

Today’s message contains my final words and thoughts to all you internet daters out there…

Dear single friends,

First of all, let me say that I honestly believe people are just people no matter where you meet them. There is nothing less human about someone you meet and fall for through internet dating services than had you met them at a party or a bar.

That being said, today I want to implore you to start being completely real as you present yourself online.

Me, personally, I have always preferred internet dating over other methods of trying to meet new potential love interests. Meeting someone on the internet gives us both a chance to see how our conversation flows, see if our lives are compatible before we meet, etc.

I have never given up on finding my forever somebody, and I am a realist who believes that my forever somebody probably won’t just walk into a party I’m at or strike up conversation at a grocery store. Most likely, that person is someone whose path I will never cross without meeting some other way.

That being said, I am a big believer in under-promising/over-delivering instead of over-promising/under-delivering when it comes to online dating.

While internet dating can be an incredible way to get to know new people, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to find the people we are actually attracted to as we peruse. While presenting the best side of one’s self has always been a thing in the internet dating world, in recent years we have a completely new phenomenon in the form of “makeover apps.” Women and men both are guilty of it, too.

We now carry personal computers in our pockets which can take almost any photo we take of ourselves and instantly make us… hot. These apps can get rid of our chub and they can tone us up and tan us up. They can change our hair color with the tap of a button and eliminate wrinkles just as easily.

A few years ago, I started noticing (as a man in my late thirties) that almost everyone my age had damn near perfect skin on the dating apps. Women who were also in their late thirties never had bags under their eyes, they looked like they were 25, and their teeth were all so white that a full moon would be jealous.

It was about two years ago that I just threw my hands in the air and said, “screw this,” after I went on my fifth date in a row with a catfish. This woman had the voice of someone who smoked a carton a day, she looked like she was almost 60 (not 25), and her teeth were all just… Yellow and gross.

I went back and looked at her pictures, trying to figure out how I was so duped yet again, and I just came to realize that technology is now so advanced that all the signs of Photoshopping are getting increasingly more difficult to see.

What I don’t understand is how people think that they will show up to a date and the person they are meeting will be anything besides disappointed. Do they think they’ll just pop out and say, “surprise! It’s me!” and the other person will immediately see their amazing personality, while not giving two shakes to the wind that they were just deceived into going on a date?

Nowadays, I won’t even swipe yes on someone whose profile pictures are all filtered. And, yes… While one photo by itself may be difficult to decipher as filtered, an entire account full of filtered photos is actually quite easy to spot once you’ve seen enough of them.

If a woman my age has absolutely no laugh lines or signs of skin that only a life lived can offer, I personally don’t swipe yes anymore. If she has eyes that are so big in every photo that I don’t even notice her perfect teeth, I personally don’t swipe right anymore.

I have more respect every single day for people on dating apps who simply present themselves as they are, without filters, and without any form of deception.

I don’t care how amazing or awesome you are. If I feel like you deceived me somehow to get me to show up and buy you a meal, I immediately lose any and all interest.

The ironic thing is that a lot of these people on dating sites are extremely datable and plenty attractive enough without all the filters. They don’t need all those layers of computer simulated beauty layered onto their already fun or pretty pictures. In my quest to find real people to date, I have no doubt that I have passed by many amazing people because I judge them solely on their extremely filtered photographs.

Getting cat fished repeatedly is beyond exhausting, and just because more and more people are doing it, doesn’t mean that it has become any more acceptable to do. Not to me, anyway.

“Under-promise, over-deliver.” Dating is so much better when you take that approach. Present yourself in such a way that when you do show up all done-up, the person you are meeting is pleasantly surprised instead of being immediately disappointed.

I can’t speak for you, but I much prefer the person I am meeting to have an awesome first impression instead of an overly sour one.

I am a fairly nice guy. I understand why people use the filters and digitally do themselves up. I understand the need to feel more attractive and the insecurities that drive them to create the profiles they do with the pictures they do. I don’t even fault them for it. Even then… I have never figured out how to mask my disappointment when I realize that I am not meeting the person I had expected to meet.

I can feel the disappointment exuding from every part of me when I first see them, and there is no way for me to hide it. Likewise, I can always see in my date’s countenance they they see and feel that disappointment, too. In my experience, there is no real recovering from that.

Ditch the filters. Take lots of fun pictures wherever you go. Take pictures when you feel pretty or attractive. Share all those pictures, but do it without the filters. Online dating will become so much more fun and fulfilling for everyone involved if you do. Of that, I am absolutely certain.

Dan Pearce | Dan Pearce Was Here (formerly Single Dad Laughing)