Saturday, April 29, 2006

Bringing you up to speed...

Okay, it's now been a full three weeks since I've been online so I really need to fill you in on how it's been going so far - this is going to be a long post.

After a long period of procrastinating, I finally got my sh*t together and did everything I needed to make my online 'debut'. I got my girl H to come around one night and take some pictures for me, trying to get that perfect mix of sexy but not slutty, friendly and open yet still a little mysterious, well posed but not contrived, and generally just gorgeous and not in any way desperate looking.

Let's just say as good a photographer as H is (and she rocks behind a camera), we struggled to get some good shots. Got plenty of me halfway through a blink or with some moronic expression on my face, but that wasn't really what I was going for.

We gave up and H and I went back to our business of eating pizza while indulging in some episodes of our fave Sex & The City on DVD. After H went home I touched up my lip gloss and took a zillion photos myself, doing the old stretch the arm out in front of you trick. I took so many and smiled so hard for so long that somewhere along the way I began to feel good and my smile became genuine and I got some really good shots, including the money shot which ultimately made it up online. Phew!

Now with the photo, I could write my profile. This wasn't so hard as I'd been working on it off and on for several weeks, after I first began to look at some sites and consider it as an option.

I uploaded my photo, chose a great username (nope, not telling, sorry ;), submitted my profile and sat back for a moment, wondering what can of worms I was opening up. I got a message saying my profile needed to be approved and that it could take 2 days. In the end it only took twelve hours, and as soon as it went up and became visible, responses started pouring in.

Mostly they were 'virtual kisses' - god I hate how lame that sounds, but it's a way for people to say 'hey, I'm interested', without actually writing anything personal. If you like the look of the person, you 'kiss' them back and they know they're probably not going to be rebuffed when they email you. If you get no kiss back, it's less of a rejection than if you sent an actual email.

The very first guy to contact me was a chubby fellow living in Whangarei. Hmm, not the most auspicious start. I wrote back saying thanks, but letting him know I'm limiting my search to guys that live in my city.

Several middle aged, divorced men living in rural towns followed. Then the foreigners started contacting from places much more far flung than Whangarei - Mexico, Dominican Republic, Ireland, Italy, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Japan, UK, Peru, Norway, Colombia, Australia, India - all over the place!

I was dumbfounded, I really hadn't expected that. What are these people doing looking for people in other countries? What do they want, what do they expect? I had a creepy feeling that maybe it was about cybersex (ew!), either that or they want a meal ticket into clean, green NZ, or maybe just a bit of escapism from daily (married?) life. Whatever the reasons, I find it absolutely bizarre and ignore all foreign virtual kisses.

So things were getting off to a somewhat weak start. I was surprised at the quantity of responses - it started to feel like work, all the administration involved with reading emails, looking at people's profiles to see if I wanted to contact them back - it reminded me of what it's like when you're hiring new staff. Some of the initial emails even sounded like cover letters you get with resumes (Hi, I am honest, straight and a gentleman. I also enjoy coffee and a walk on the beach. I am looking to carefully build a relationship with soulmate, wife, partners for life as the ultimate result. I look forward to your response...). Funny stuff.

And then I got one email that I liked the look of, from 'gotim5698'*. He said that he liked my profile, that he slipped under my age criteria (he's 27, I listed 29-39 as my bracket) but that he'd never had a girlfriend his own age. He said he had a funny photo up (a shot of him sitting at his desk from a distance, so you couldn't actually see his face) but that he could send a proper one through. He said a couple more things and then he signed of with a couple of kisses xx, cute.

I liked it, it was casual and light hearted, it wasn't a lame-ass virtual kiss, and he sounded nice. I looked at his profile and liked what he'd written. So I wrote him back an equally light hearted email, saying he sounded interesting and that I'd like to see his photo. Asked him a couple of questions based on his profile and signed off.

The next day the photo came through and lo and behold - the man was cute! Yes, I say this with some surprise because I tend not to trust a profile photo that doesn't actually show your face. What's so bad with it that you can't show it? But not Tim, he'd taken his own photo the same way I had and had a nice smile on his face, a cheeky gleam in his eyes, thick curly dark hair, trendy thick black rimmed glasses and was wearing a very cool shirt. In short, yummy! He joked that he thought he looked like Beaker off the Muppets which I thought was funny (and so not true!). But funnily enough he did remind me a little of the lead guy from Weezer (he wears the same black glasses), who coincidentally did a music video with the Muppets once.

I responded, saying it was a relief to see a good looking guy, and continued on our email conversation which was going really well and highlighting some things we had in common. It was coming up to Easter so I asked if he had any plans and shared that I would be generally resting and relaxing and partaking deeply in the eating of Easter chocolate.

He wrote back the next day telling me about some of the things he was planning, and then he said "Well I must say, you're the only person I've talked to, or have seen on-line that I would actually like to meet in person. :-)" which made me smile. And he suggested getting together for coffee or something over the long weekend, leaving his contact details at the bottom of the email.

I was delighted and excited at the prospect of meeting him. I texted him to say it sounded like a good idea, and after a fun, flirty text exchange, we made plans to meet at one of my favourite cafes the next afternoon. I went back to my work with a big smile on my face, feeling good and looking forward to tomorrow...

* names all changed to protect the innocent


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