Lesson #1. I have to follow through with what I started.
Living in a rather small city like New Orleans, I was afraid that word about my new virtual social life would get around quickly, so I decided to create an alias. My pseudonym would be Lola and my username Lola1983. However, Lola1983, Lola2010, and Lola2383 were all taken, leaving me with the possibility of becoming PookieLola. I was terribly offended that Match.com would even suggest PookieLola as an appropriate name, and realized the absurdity of 27-year-old PookieLola surfing the web for her one true love. The thought made me want to shut my laptop and erase my match.com history from my browser as well as my mind.
Then I realized that there are probably lots of girls like PookieLola who are stuck with equally outrageous names, each looking for a nice boy to take her out and treat her with the respect she can’t find through more conventional social outlets. For them, I decided to persevere. Because that, after all, is the point of my journey.
In the end, I actually chose Lola4277 as my username. Those numbers have no significant meaning to me and I’ll probably forget it by tomorrow anyway, but I didn’t want anyone else to pass judgement on PookieLola, the way I did.
But for dating blog purposes, I can’t resist: PookieLola it is.
Lesson #2. I have serious anxiety.
My next step to online eligibility was to create a profile. I answered all the questions truthfully because, let’s face it, I’m not a good enough liar or actor to pull off Lola’s personality.
Although the questions were seemingly obvious and simple, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would be judged based on my responses. How would match.com rate me and what would other online participants conclude about my personality by simply looking at my answers?
When I came to the question about the hypothetical possibility of children, I debated among all the choices. I considered choosing no, but had visions of match.com headlining my profile as “selfish, cold-hearted brat not capable of caring for anyone else is searching for her counterpart.” And as I dragged my cursor over the “I’m open to the possibility” option, I predicted an inevitable date with a desperate man who wants nothing more than to test my fertility. Final answer: Not sure.
The debates went on for another 45 minutes as I answered questions, and I realized that choosing a response based on what someone else might think is a little deceiving. It made me realize that one of the biggest obstacles to tackle in dating is deception. Lying on an online profile, not being yourself on a first date, leading someone on when you’re not really into them are all are common examples of date deception that can make or break the relationship. Here is match.com putting all the appropriate information out there to avoid this common problem from the beginning, and I would only be spitting in its proverbial face by not answering accurately. Reminded yet again of my ultimate goal, I proceeded with the analysis.
Lesson #3. I have a potty mouth when I don’t even mean to.
After that temper tantrum over my username, and the minor panic attack from a simple questionnaire, I finally submitted my profile for approval.
Only it returned. Twice.
And after reviewing my answers and assuring them that I was in fact over the age of 18, not married, and that it was all written in English, I found the culprit. Two simple words — “cocktail” and “hurt” — had gotten me kicked out, even though used in reference to how much I like to laugh.
This revelation made me consider my personal filter (or lack thereof). It baffled me to think that a comment I thought witty and charming could be misconstrued as offensive. Still, it made me wonder how many times such a small, unintentional mistake might have set me back in the past.
If anything constructive comes out of this process, it’s self discovery. Even if online dating is not for you, I encourage more people to try the quiz. You’re forced to self promote, and you’ll discover what traits you choose to highlight when making a first impression and which ones you’ll save for later in the relationship.
You might even learn something new about what you are looking for in a relationship, and you never know when you might pick up on a little deal breaker that you didn’t even now you had.
Pookie Lola writes Crescent City (Mis)Connections weekly for NolaVie. Next Saturday: What’s this ‘New Orleans is the Paris of the South’ thing?