The Stranger

Name: Kitty

State: NY
Age: 45
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.

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6 Responses to “The Stranger”

  1. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Moxie has a fairly unique perspective on this most likely because of her public persona that most people don’t really have to worry about.

    I had a woman contact me on Jdate telling me she had seen me at a party and wanted to say hello. Of course, I knew who she was too from facebook and other social circles. To tell you the truth, it was one of the most flattering things for me. I’m fairly reserved in real life and it was nice to see that I was making a positive impression in real life as well as online and that there were women out there who were interested that maybe just were shy or didn’t feel I was approachable. In this case, I did go on a few dates with her. Things didn’t work out but not because of how we met. There were other reasons.

    I think its fine to mention you know who they are in real life, especially in the limited community you’re in where people pretty much know everyone anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. Christina Says:

    Hmm, in theory, it shouldn’t be a problem, but in reality, it can lead to some embarrassment. When I was dating, I ran into this situation twice. In one, a guy in my church showed up as one of my matches. I was pretty sure it was him, although I’d only been introduced to him once. Problem was, his picture had to be at least ten years old and 80 lbs lighter. I honestly didn’t recognize him from the picture, just from his description of himself. It was awkward, because when he messaged me, surprised that I didn’t recognize him, I didn’t know how to call him on the picture issue, because he was a nice guy, and I had to see him every Sunday. Ugh.

    The other incident was when one of my co-workers kept viewing my profile, but not sending a message. We kind of avoided looking at each other for a few days (he was cute, but 15 years younger), but got over it. I don’t know what it is, but unless you know each other really well, running into someone you’re acquainted with on a dating site is just kind of uncomfortable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. fuzzilla Says:

    I would usually send a friendly “hey, I know you, isn’t online dating crazy?” message if I saw an acquaintance online. I figure he’s gonna see me in his “visitors” list and I wouldn’t want him getting the wrong idea. If it was someone I dated before, I’d just ignore them and suck up the “oh noez, he saw I was a visitor” part.

    >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 dunno, it seems weird to me to not acknowledge something so obvious, like "huh? What're they being so coy about?" I wouldn't go on and on about personal things, just "hey, you're also John's friend, right?"

    I don't know what my approach would be if they were social circle acquaintances I was also interested in dating. I guess the same with anyone I was interested in, engage them in conversation, see where it goes, maybe suggest getting drinks. It's possible the guys she e-mailed just weren't interested, but it's also possible her generic-friendly approach made them think she wasn't interested (i.e., they responded to what you put out, which was – it sounds like – a friendly hello and nothing more).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  4. Bigcitylife Says:

    I am a little confused, did you want to explore a romantic possibility with these men, or were you just surprised to see them online. If your intro was just “hey, I see you are on here too” I would assume that you are just saying hello and please don’t consider me, but if I saw somone online dating site and I liked them for dating potential I may have said hi and stated something I liked in their profile etc. If you saw them and weren’t interested then I wouldn’t have said anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • Kool Kitty Says:

      actually I am interested in the older widowed man. he has travelled far and wide and is intellectually curious (like me) and quite bright. and easy on the eyes. i didn’t know how to approach him nicely online. although we are in the same community, i have spoken with him exactly once…when my ex and i ran into him and his wife in FL about 4 years ago. we spoke poolside for about an hour or two.

      so when i saw him online….after about 2 weeks of having him show up, i sent a nice icebreaker referencing his trip to Australia and asked about the Great Barrier Reef….and honestly don’t think he recognized me. when i attended a synagogue learning event last week i think he realized who i was….

      we’ll see if anything happens.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      • VD Joe Says:

        Don’t overthink this, getting his attention hasn’t changed since you were in the dating world.

        Stack it and pack it sister!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

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