Real Dating Advice For The Technological Age

Yesterday, I did an interview with CNN Live about Leonora Epstein’s article, “Automatic Online Dating Dealbreakers.” (You can watch it after the jump, if you’re so inclined, but please know the style department will be doing more about my hideous under-eye circles and lighting the next time around.) That same day, Julia Allison, blogging “sexpert,” was on MTV’s “It’s On With Alexa Chung” discussing the similar, but broader topic of dating in the realm of new media – texting, Facebook, online dating, etc. You can watch the segment above. She had five tips prepared for Alexa and then provided two others prompted by viewer questions. Some of her tips I could get behind, while the others kind of blew my mind. I’ll give it to you straight, after the jump… Julia’s tips are definitely targeted at women, though I think “It’s On With Alexa Chung” is for a wide audience, so it was unfortunate that they weren’t a lil’ more coed. Julia says the goal with these tips is to hide the fact that you — i.e. tha ladiez – are crazy, to trick the guy you’re dating into thinking you’re, well, sane, and then once he’s fallen in love with you, let your crazy flag fly. I know she’s joking, in theory, but I really hate to see anyone propagate the myth that all women are crazy. Plenty of men’s magazines do that already.

Moving on. So how do we manage dating in the technological age without men finding out we’re bats**t nuts? Here are Miss Allison’s tips:

  1. Use your real name for your online dating profile. I agree with Julia – just as Leo does in her piece – that one can go very, very wrong with a screen name. But just because “IHeartChuckBass” is lame that doesn’t mean using your real name is the way to go. Trust me, I (accidentally) did it. When I signed up for my OKCupid account – which has since been deleted – I used my first and middle names for my username, without thinking about it. (I think I was drinking white wine at the time.) Suddenly, a bunch of people, who read on The Frisky that I was online dating on OKCupid, were able to find me and message me. My privacy was blown.

    ALTERNATIVE TIP: As Leo wrote, Magnum anything is a terrible way for a dude to present himself online, but creating a screen name that reflects who you are in a positive way is difficult. I suggest you pick a subject or thing you really love and create a screen name based on that. Mine would be “PeonyMacNCheese.” What about yours?

  2. Do not Facebook-friend him immediately. Generally speaking, I agree with Allison on this tip, but not for the same reason – Julia says doing so will make you look like a psycho and, remember, you don’t want him to know that yet. I don’t think it necessarily makes you crazy, but perhaps a tad overeager. Facebook profiles reveal a lot of information about a person, tidbits that it’s much nicer to learn on, you know, dates. If his profile isn’t private you likely won’t be able to resist a looksie, but if it is, I would advise against Facebook-friending him JUST to find out what his favorite band is. That’s what Google is for.

    The real reason, though, that you should not friend someone you’ve just started dating is that if things don’t work out, you are suddenly stuck reading the boring updates of a person who you were never really friends with and then have to decide whether to unfriend him. I currently am Facebook friends with three dudes I’ve gone out on dates with. It’s irritating.

    ALTERNATE TIP: Facebook-friend him when you genuinely consider him a friend. I realize this is not always typical of Facebook-friending, as I am Facebook pals with everyone from that guy in IT from my last job whose name I can’t remember to my ex-boyfriend’s boss. Wait to friend him until you feel like no matter what happens between the two of you, you will be happy to read his status updates and take a peek at his vacation photos.

  3. Do not respond immediately to his texts. Allison advises waiting approximately 43 minutes to text him back. This is game-playing, and juvenile, amateur game-playing at that. Don’t be rude. Text him back when you have a response and the time to type it out on your little cellphone key pad. Jesus.
  4. Lock your phone. So he can’t read any of the sext messages you’re sending to other guys I guess? Or so he doesn’t see that you have Miley Cyrus on your morning commute playlist? Look, you should lock your phone so no one can sift through your private info, but if you’re that worried about your boyfriend having access to your Blackberry, you’re likely up to no good and I ain’t givin’ your cheatin’ ass no tips!

    ALTERNATIVE TIP: OK, here’s one. If you have something to hide, don’t hide it on your phone, dimwit.

  5. Don’t send him nude photos. Agreed with Julia on this one. This is how Vanessa Hudgens’ nudie pic ended up on the internet! Even if you trust him not to distribute that photo of your ta-tas covered in whip cream, do you trust him to be smart and cautious enough to hide it from prying eyes?

    ALTERNATIVE TIP: Take naked photos of him, of course.

  6. Don’t give a guy your Facebook password. Julia says that if you do this, when you break up, he will print out all of your messages and distribute them on campus. Wow, you were dating a real psychopath weren’t you? Most ex-boyfriends are not this pathological, however, if he does somehow have your password and you do break up, just change it. Duh. And remember to change the passwords to all your other accounts – email, iChat, etc. – because chances are he knows those too. Just sayin’.
  7. Your Facebook profile photo shouldn’t have your boyfriend in it. Allison says this sends the message – To him? To the universe? — that you believe him to be “one half of your whole” and dudes just aren’t into that. I don’t think Facebook photos send that deep of a message, because if they do, mine is telling the universe that I am a huge wino. Oh. Wait.

    Just kidding. It’s your Facebook profile photo and most normal people like to use photos where they think they look super cute or funny or hawt – if the photo that does that happens to have your man in it too, so be it.

    ALTERNATIVE TIP: If you really want to make sure that he doesn’t leap to the conclusion that the photo of the two of you together indicates you, ICK, like him, you should make sure that he looks like crap in it and that you look WAY better. That’ll show him!