The first afternoon I move into my new pad in sunny Calgary, Alberta, I go on a date because online dating in Calgary is fun, right? Riiight?
(By the way, there’s a coupon code somewhere in this long, but informative, post!)
Let’s backtrack just a smidge …
A few weeks before I’d moved to Calgary, when I was only contemplating moving to Calgary, I’d signed up to match.com to check out the Calgary cowboy scene — not that dating in Calgary or the supply, or lack of, rugged, cowboy-hat-wearing male specimens would influence my decision (much).
Anyway, there was a dude on Match that was just my (old) type: Tall, Dark (haired), and Handsome. With blue eyes, my weak-in-the-knees-ness.
Dammit, I’m shallow. *Shrugs, moves on with her life.*
So, I start chatting with TDH via Match, and then we text. I discover he’s originally from Vancouver Island just like me! Instantly, I feel a familiar connection.
Dammit, I’m normal. Ish.
After a mix-up of him thinking I meant meeting on Saturday (I was a no-show) when, really, I meant Sunday, I arrive at the date destination in sweats and stained sweatshirt with virtually no makeup on — I just spent the afternoon moving, y’all, come on! — and sit hoping he shows up.
I’m early so I buy myself a bran muffin and decaf breve latte.
Shortly after and on time, he arrives via motorbike, as evidenced by the motorcycle jacket and helmet, which by the way, fellas, is damn sexy even if a girl don’t ride. (Side note: Though I actually do have my motorcycle licence, which you can read about here, I’m emotionally equipped to ride in the side car only.)
We sat in the cafe dining area where servers are on the ready to refill water glasses, which they did ― regularly. TDH Motorcycle Man (MM) didn’t order anything.
I’ll get to the significance; I promise.
We chatted and chatted, I learned that TDH MM wants to retire somewhere warm, like Thailand or South America, where he can “stretch his pennies.” (Also significant! I’ve spent enough time travelling “developing countries,” which you can read about here, and I certainly don’t want to live in one. I loathe the feeling of sand on my feet and laying around on beaches. The penny-stretching we’ll get to.)
After a couple hours, I claimed fatigue (mostly true) and bowed out, gave him a hug and said, “Text me.”
I went back the next day and gave that server an extra tip.
Because we, TDH MM and I, had sat there for two hours — two hours, people — a relatively long time for a server to provide commendable service … for which he didn’t get compensated by TDH MM, because he didn’t order anything. (I’d already tipped at the checkout for my items.) TDH MM either didn’t care or perhaps didn’t think about that fact. Not cool, folks, not cool.
But I figured maybe TDH MM was nervous and forgot his normally decent dining etiquette, so I cut him some slack and agreed to meet him again.
I had been trying to sort through my emails on Match, because if a woman on a dating site with decent photos and a spectacularly written profile, ehem, like mine, is gonna get emails, again whether she’s dating in Calgary or anywhere else.
Actually, let me rephrase that: If you’re a woman on a dating site with a half-decent photo, you gonna get emails. (But the quality of those emails will vary depending on your photos and written bio.) Which brings me to …
I don’t normally recommend anyone read every email.
Simple: it’s a waste of time. And wasting time on dating sites is why so many people get frustrated on dating sites and get off them. So, instead, filter filter filter first.
Also, I’ve learned that, most of the time, men would rather be ignored than get kindly rejected. And their egos get even more bruised if you try to pass them off to “a friend who would be just perfect” for them. Yes, passing them along makes them feel like “cheese on a cutting board.” #oops
Where were we? Oh, yeah, don’t answer all emails …
Well, because I had put my career notes in my profile, I thought I should read every email in case someone was asking a business question. Bad idea! Refer back to “too many emails!”
Note: I offered to buy next time, as friends. I always feel appreciative when a man buys me dinner but also guilty for not giving anything back. Pay attention to this: If I buy, you are now forever in the friend zone. Period. In my world, a man pays for food outside the home, and I pay for food inside the home.
Bottom line: If I didn’t know my deal breakers, Legal Matters might have swayed me.
And don’t be trying to change my deal breakers. My deal breakers are mine. You have yours. If you don’t like mine, then we’re not a match. Whew, good to know. Next.
We do both. The conversation flows but, at least on my end, it feels less connected. He doesn’t notice because I have naturally amazing people skills — perhaps from 20 years in sales — and every guy I’ve gone on a date with tells me that he’s “never opened up like this before,” so we know that I’m the devil. But whatever. It is what it is. (I am what I am: innocently devilish.)
So, anyway, I’ve edited my written profile based on my research (i.e., reading all those emails) and now only look at the ones who actually “qualify.”
I don’t want all the potential mates, just the right one — a dating strategy you might want to consider. And since this city is covered in snow for half the year, yes, online dating in Calgary is an efficient way of finding singles.
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Vancouver Matchmaker and Dating, Love and Relationship Expert