Last week in Theory 28, I spelled out some of my romantic woes with a man I’ve never met who is committed to using my W-2 and Social Security Number to prove our financial bond and make hay with…..my tax refunds. Well, I’m committed to Tall Child, I can tell you that I am 100% certain that no man or flawed government institution (IRS) will put us asunder. Plus, I’ve learned through my buddy that I don’t want to enter the modern day dating scene.
My colleague Red Hot (single mother to Suspenders and Spectacles) is a member of the online dating community, and over the last year, I’ve lived vicariously and virtually through her digital dramas. She uses a site for men and women over 50 years old, even though I think she’d make an awesome cougar with her vibrant personality, red cowboy boots, life experience, and sexy Tre`semme`ed curls. Red Hot is not the only friend or family member relying on dot coms for dot diamonds, so I figured a good post of the dos and don’ts of online dating may help cure the lonely.
Red Hot and I are teachers, so it’s only natural we use brain based research to teach readers how and how not to conduct themselves while looking for love online. We’ve constructed a list using Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory. Gardner explains that learners excel with one or more of eight learning styles. So, to meet the needs of individual learner daters, we will break down the dos and don’ts of online dating by learning style. So, try to identify what your love interests’ learning styles are, and consider these dos and don’ts. Also, music is CRUCIAL to romance, so Red Hot and guest contributor Cool Country Ginger tossed out one song that peaks their radio waves for each learning style category:
VISUAL/SPATIAL LEARNERS – learn by observation and visual stimulation.
Don’t post a picture from 1987. First, you let everyone know you must be now bald, fat, and hairy (male or female). Confused about bodily changes as you age? Consult Theory 13: As people get old, they morph into the opposite gender. Plus, you come across as a goober when you have a mullet, tinted sunglasses, Coca-Cola shirt, and are leaned against a Chevy Impala. Nobody wants to know that you THINK you are “athletic and toned” when, in reality, you are a hog. Potential daters will fear the 2010 version of you.
Do have someone take a flattering, current photo of you. He/she should take the picture at an angle above, not below looking up at you. That way your feet don’t look three times the size of your head. Google “good photo techniques for portraits.” Good research leads to good romance. We suggest you use natural light. Fluorescent bulbs highlight wrinkles, wash you out, and make color-treated hair look brassy or bleachy. Go on and be fat in the photo so no one feels misled. Besides, some people like curvy women.
Don't put more pictures of your Yorkie, cat, pontoon boat, Harley, tomato plants, yard, fruit trees, porch, children (that means you share custody), any woman your age (confusing), and—for Heaven’s sake, your mother (Psycho) than you do of yourself. Be really careful what is in the photos. If you are a big man with a little bitty dog, that is a problem. And please wear a shirt.
Song: “She thinks my tractor’s sexy” (Kenny Chesney)
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BODILY KINESTHETIC LEARNERS – learn through physical activity and body language. You like hands-on learning and role playing.
Remember, no matter how “close” you are in cyberspace, your first date will feel like a blind one (for blind date categorical analysis, see Theory 18: Blind dates are the best dates EVER!)
In case you actually plan to meet in person, don’t over promise for you are sure to under deliver. If you say you are a dancer, you’d better be able to break it down. What if your online man turns out to be a Grand Strand Shag Champ and you are a natural wall flower. No shagging for you!
Hate sports? Hate guns? Don’t say you’re an NRA member who loves the great outdoors unless you want to freeze your tail off in a duck blind to bond with your new guy.
Men, don’t post a photo of yourself shirtless, even if you are a Cross Fit madman.
If you were physically fit in 1985, that does not carry over to now. Played basketball in college? How about now? Where do you post up? Because it looks like some of you “athletic types” post up at the concession stand. Are you shaped more like the foul line or the ball?
Don’t try to be all “I’m a tough football playin’ stud” by not smiling in your pictures. That just screams mug shot, or dud, or wife beater, or desperate, or forced into this by a relative, or toothless. We don’t believe you are “happy, fun-loving, and adventurous” when you don’t look happy, fun-loving, or adventurous, but instead look like you just finished probating a will.
By the way, if you are not athletic and slender, what makes you think you can demand a woman who is athletic and slender?
Caution: Always remember to install anti-virus software.
Caution: Always remember to install anti-virus software.
Song: “Shake it for me” (Luke Bryan)
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LOGICAL/MATHEMATICAL LEARNERS– like patterns, calculations, processes, learning through concepts that just make sense.
Distance matters. Even online. If you live in the WCC or PAC 10, don’t promote yourself in the SEC. While we’re on this topic, Red Hot wants to know: Is there a woman shortage in California and Michigan? Or, are West Coast and Great Lakes guys just hot for Southern girls? Every other profile she sees is from a man in CA or MI.
Don’t get huffy if you meet a single mother online but she can’t meet you at your convenience. Nothing is convenient for her. This is your chance to shine! Do cater to her schedule. Expect her to eat fast, get to the point, and put everyone else’s needs ahead of her own. Need pre-marital prep/tutoring? Consult Theory 20: Never call a woman fat, lazy, or selfish. Them's fightin' words.
Song: “Home” (Michael Buble`)
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MUSICAL/RHYTHMIC LEARNERS – love music and lyrics help you learn. You like vibration and rhythm, but not from too many sources.
You are sensitive and responsive to sound.
On-line Romeos, don’t expect someone “sensitive to sound” to jump at the chance to hang out at your triplets’ birthday party. Do woo with music. Think back to how different songs were the backdrops to certain romantic experiences. Find a song that helps you relate to him/her. You may strike just the right chord. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) My Baby Boomer Tall Child did. He won my heart on our first few dates by playing the Tams and knowing the words to every song. Plus, he dances at parties!
Don’t use it as a ringtone; if you ever do make it to the phone call stage, and she hears “our/your” song, she’ll think you are a musical playa.
Don’t say you play guitar. Someone may actually ask you to play guitar. Why don’t people think of that?
Song: “How deep is your love” (Bee Gees)
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NATURALISTIC LEARNERS– respond to plants and animals and like to classify things.
Don’t claim to love spending time outside climbing rocks, wading in creeks, fishing, hunting, climbing, and looking for animals that aren’t really there unless you are ready to actually do all those things! (See Theory 9: The more a zoo advertises a critter, the less likely visitors are to see it.)
Don’t say you like to hike. There is no way that THAT many people actually like to hike. I (Bug) once went on a hiking date to The Chimney’s in The Great Smoky Mountains after I professed to like to hike. It was ugly. No one should sweat and pray, uphill, on a first date.
My cousins A-Boo and Bags and I had this conversation not too long ago:
Bug: What is your first date nightmare scenario? Mine would be having to wear a bathing suit.A-Boo: Mine would be scuba diving. I'm not sure I could get a wetsuit up over my thighs. I eat too much cheese.
Song: “Islands in the stream” (Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers)
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INTERPERSONAL LEARNERS– intuitive when it comes to the needs, thoughts, and emotions of others. You navigate well among different personality types.
Don’t send a flirt, smile, or any other random one-click response! If I am important enough to flirt with, send me a message with real words in it. Do respond to emails. If someone takes the time to email you, respond—even if only to say “thanks, but no thanks.” Don’t leave an online dater hanging in cyberspace to wonder through an infinite number of reasons for being dumped by a stranger.
Don’t be a smart mouth and call out someone for something he or she says on the profile page. Verbal abuse is just not the ideal way to start a relationship. Don’t like me? Click on "next" to see more results.
Whoa, boy, do be careful with the text messages. Remember that texts and emails do not communicate inflection, tone, or mood. Red Hot had a date scheduled with someone we’ll call “MooMan.” On his way to meet up with her, MooMan texted, “Hey, what do you want to do tonight?” Red Hot texted back, “Whatever.” MooMan turned his car around and drove back to Moo-ristown. Red Hot was simply being easy-going and agreeable, but MooMan took the text in a negative way (he’s probably letting disappointment from his past determine his attitude). Red Hot said, “He’s too MooDy.” She dumped him.
Song: “True companion” (Marc Cohn)
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INTRAPERSONAL LEARNERS – have superb self-understanding and appear calm, self-assured, and self-aware.
These may be the hardest fish to catch, because they know precisely what they need and are self-sufficient. Don’t offer to be a hero. Do offer to be an equal partner. Single parents especially don’t want to carry you (financially, emotionally, or otherwise). Chauvinists and male-bashers need not apply. Red Hot’s profile reads, “Make my life [even] better or don’t bother.”
Don’t reach out to someone if you know you’ll never go out with her. These learners know when they are being played, and they might report you to the dating forum moderator. Do remember to search and comment with caution; There’s no back button in online dating.
Song: “I’m sexy and I know it” (Redfoo)
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VERBAL/LINGUISTIC LEARNERS – learn through language and know how to influence and articulate to others through written and spoken language.
Don’t trash the Queen’s English, unless you want someone who don’t know how to talk proper. There, their, and they're are many academic ways to turn off a potential love interest. Spell check and proof read to find the kind of lovin’ you need.
Do be academically realistic. A smart lady doesn’t want to be Jenny to your Forrest.
Do be honest in your profile. If you really want to meet someone, you need to take the time to write a respectful, detailed, and well-thought-out profile. Write SOMETHING specific about yourself. Don’t copy and paste! If you plagiarize, you’ll womanize. Pen “I’ll tell you later” and we’ll delete you now.
DON’T choose a username that includes “hot,” refers to any body part, tapping something, or makes any reference to minors. Gag me with a dead Smurf! Examples of those Red Hot has deleted (just in the past few months) include:
UserNames Our Responses
HotSnake Get some Desitin
[Name]NeedsDate You’re advertising that you’re advertising?
WalterBHot So B we, but who B hotter?
SweetManWV Says your last girlfriend, a.k.a. “Sissy”
TapperDude You play percussion?
RockEnd Which end?
HotBeachLover Hot lover, you love hot beaches? Confused.
Kabobbin For ka-apples?
VocalMan You sound bossy.
HotMel As in the Diner?
TNTeachingStud OMG we work together, get off my profile!
WildWhat’sHisName Looking to settle down?
AloneNow[Name] Sad. What will I have to fix?
FlyDrive This is a no fly zone.Twerkin Not at your age. Nobody believes that.
Song: No question on this one! “Let’s get it on” (Marvin Gaye)
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Readers, I hope you learned something from Red Hot’s and my lesson today. You just never know who will be looking for love online. You, a friend, a coworker? We have to help each other. So, if you are focused, concentrating, and planning a difficult lesson or project and your colleague walks into your office or classroom and asks, out of nowhere, “Okay, what makes me smile?” she’s talking to somebody. Odds are he’s in California or Michigan, but still, she needs your help. Stop working. Be supportive. Collaborate with creativity. Help her format and proofread her way to happily ever after.
Speaking of proofreading, lessons, and co-workers, I just thought of next week’s Theory30: Workplace Etiquette training should be a graduation requirement.
See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn.
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