Online Dating Horror Stories

On some online dating sites, Hitchcock says, if a member wants to express attraction for another member after reading their profile, but without going to the extreme of sending them an e-mail, they can send an electronic "wink." "I was inundated with winks and messages in my True inbox," Hitchcock says. "I am not kidding when I say 'inundated.' Over 2000 members viewed my profile. Of those, at least half were winks." Usually, though, what the winks actually mean is: "I saw your picture and I think you're hot, but I'm too lazy to read your profile and it costs me nothing to just shoot you a wink on the off chance that you think my balding head is sexy, or that you're a nymphomaniac."

You'd think the anonymity of online interaction would make it easier for guys to come off as smooth and in control. But the opposite is often the case. That same anonymity seems to give some men a license to be rude perverts. "One guy came right out in the subject line of his message and let me know he wanted to meet me and do 'bad things' to me," Hitchcock reports. "Another claimed he was a real cowboy in New Mexico and wanted to have sex with me bareback on his horse. Oy."

From Russia With Love

Loneliness can be exploited, as some lonely hearts in the United States have found out. The Web site of the U.S. embassy in Moscow has some good advice for Americans who think they've met their online match in Russia, and run into trouble. From the Q&A page, here are two of the issues that can crop up in such intercontinental romances.

The individual I'm writing to says that s/he needs $1,000.00 to show for "pocket money" or the airline won't let him/her board the plane. Is this true?

(The Embassy responds that this minx from Minsk isn't required to "show" one cent to travel.)

I think I have been scammed. I have sent this individual $2,000.00 and now I find out his/her visa is a fake. How do I get my money back?

("Tough ****," the Embassy replies, in effect.)

For some longtime Internet daters, the names, facts, faces, and interests of responders to their profiles begin to run together. And the limited creativity of many dating-site members doesn't help matters. "John" from Chicago posted this "Open Letter to Match.com Girls":

Stop. Just stop. You're pissing me off. First of all, your screen name. Stop putting "sassy" into your screen name. Stop putting "citygirl" into your screen name. When registering, if you tried to use "cubfan" as your screen name and it came back telling you that you'd have to settle for "cubfan57836," that should have been your first clue that you have picked a disgustingly unoriginal name. You are not clever enough to think of something good, therefore you should not expect to be coupled with someone who is. Speaking of Cub fans, stop saying you love sports and that you "act just like a guy."

And the same is true of the men. From Jayne Hitchcock: "I started to whittle the list down by deleting those with eyebrow-raising or just plain sad screen names, such as variations on 'loverboy,' 'mr. romantic,' 'lonely guy,' 'lonely one,' 'kiss me,' 'true love MD,' 'huggy bear,' 'party man,' 'sexy upndown,' etc.--I am not making these up--and subject lines such as 'Hi Beautiful,' 'Wow!' 'Hi Baby Pretty,' 'Hey there, cutie,' and 'Me wink; you reply.'"

The Onion's Online Dating Tips offer this suggestion: Set yourself apart by choosing a descriptive user name like SocialRetard342, CuteFaceFatAss, or RohypnolLarry.

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