Comment: Hi Moxie: So I’m giving online dating a try and signed up for JDate. My Modern Orthodox community here on Long Island is medium size, but I’m open to meeting less religious types…and those outside of my immediate area. Among those that keep showing up as ideal matches are a few guys in my community…two of whom are actually interesting. Not sure how to handle the “I see you on JDate” thing, I sent each of them a cute email which essentially said “Hi I see you here online, nice profile”. Nothing more personal. One man I know (he’s in the fashion biz and seems to date models), and the other is a very high profile business man. (He’s widowed).
I should add that I have kids in middle school and both of these gents have kids who are in college and beyond…so unless they want a busy household…I won’t be interesting on that level either.
Did I do the wrong thing by saying a nice hello online? Both responded politely, nothing more. Not that I’m really expecting something, but I’m curious as to how YOU would handle things when you see someone in your extended circle on line.
Here’s what I think, and this is definitely going to be colored by my personal preference.
In today’s world, many of us have online and offline personas. We all feel somewhat vulnerable about who sees and who knows what. I’ve had men reply to my dating profile and refer to the column or call me Moxie. I don’t like it. I always delete those emails or don’t respond. If I did respond, it would only encourage the guys to continue emailing me and I don’t want that. As I’ve said before, I don’t date men who show interest in the column in any way beyond general curiosity or who offer themselves up as column fodder. These men are showing interest in Moxie, not the real me. I am at a distinct disadvantage with those men, since they have access to me that I don’t have of them. That makes me way too vulnerable, so I avoid them at all costs. I’ve been involved with someone who did that, who used information he learned from monitoring me online without my knowledge, and used said information to his advantage while feigning ignorance. I’m sure most of these men have no malicious intent. But some do, so they all get thrown in one group. Not a risk I’m willing to take.
While there is no real stigma to dating online anymore, that doesn’t mean people are totally comfortable with folks from their “real” lives knowing anything about their personal lives that they do not choose to share. It’s not about being embarrassed. It’s about feeling a little too vulnerable. We’re all so accessible now that I think many people prefer to believe – even if it isn’t true – that they can still be somewhat anonymous. (PS? You submitted this letter using your real name. In the future, be sure to use an alias. If I didn’t know you, I may have posted this letter using your real name thinking it was an alias. )
I often see people I know on various dating sites. I don’t contact them unless we’re close friends. If I know them well enough and want to say hello, I email them. But if they are just guys I’ve dated or acquaintances? I let them go about their business. I allow them to believe that nobody is watching. Dating is hard enough. Nobody wants to think that someone is monitoring their personal lives in some way. Sure, people might say that they’re choosing to put themselves out there, etc. Yes, I agree. But there’s a difference between putting themselves out there the way I or any other blogger does it and the way a “civilian” does it.
I think, should you encounter other men online that you know in real life, you shouldn’t acknowledge that in your intro email. If they recognize you, they recognize you. By saying something to them about how you know them offline, it could make them a bit…paranoid. By not saying something, you’re demonstrating an understanding of privacy and boundaries, two things very important to most men.
I don’t think you did anything wrong by saying hello, per se. But I wouldn’t be surprised if their polite response and nothing more had a little to do with the fact that they recognized you from real life.