Peril of the Week – The Donny Downer
First dates can often be compared to first job interviews. With online dating, there are several dating phases you must successfully go through—The irresistible profile, the email introduction, and the pre-date phone call. If all goes well, after the phone date, you’ll agree to meet in person for a first date.
The process is similar while looking for your dream job. You’ve hopefully perfected your resume, sent a captivating cover letter via email, went through the pre-interview via phone, with the result of scheduling an in-person interview with the hiring manager. It sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? But if this is what it takes to find the love of your life, isn’t it worth paying attention to all of the phases of digital courting?
Meet Donny, our latest Peril of the Week story. He described himself as a happy person in his profile, indicated that he was looking for a serious relationship, and listed interesting places he had traveled to, including China, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia. His profile successfully made it past the first phase of online dating.
Donny then engaged in an online email communication chain, including sending nine pleasant emails to the woman he wanted to meet. After five months, they finally graduated to a phone call. He was a patient man. However, the phone call didn’t go so well. Donny’s phone chemistry didn’t match the profile and upbeat personality reflected in the emails. Donny actually seemed confused and bothered by the initial call. He complained about the cost of replacing the heater in his swimming pool. He didn’t remember who the woman was when she called, although he had sent her an email with his number a few hours prior to the phone call. Was he ill prepared due to a case of being a serial dater, or did she just catch him at a bad moment?
To be gracious, she accepted a date to meet Donny for lunch. Unfortunately, Donny didn’t look anything like his profile. He had lied about his age by several years and posted old photos, which is not uncommon. He was no longer working and had been retired for quite some time. The life he described was the old Donny, not the one who arrived at the table.
Donny spent the course of their lunch complaining about money, while speaking with food in his mouth. She wondered, didn’t his mother teach him about table manners? He once again complained that it would cost $1200 to fix the heater in his pool, so his pool’s water was always cold. Then he complained about five of his businesses which had failed miserably and how much money he had lost in each of those five instances. Then he complained about how one business he’d lost had been sold for $21 million to the investor who came in after him. Donny’s date didn’t expect to be having a conversation about accounting during their first date.
Donny’s conversation changed from financial woes to conversations about his ex-wife. He mentioned details about her and her family problems seven times to his date. The conversation then moved to health problems. Donny’s date was empathetic when Donny talked about his mother’s Alzheimer’s condition, but the attention to details of everything she forgot ran it’s course quite quickly after ten minutes. Finally Donny pulled out a plastic bag and dumped a pile of vitamins on the table at the restaurant. One-by-one, he took his vitamins after dessert.
At the end of the lunch, she was emotionally drained and exhausted. She left the date and wondered why didn’t Donny put his best foot forward? Why couldn’t he talk about more positive things such as what he loved about the interesting countries he had visited? Why did every topic end with a sad story, financial loss, or medical problem?
We know that life gets in the way and our journeys are filled with bumps in the road, but if you told your prospective job employer all the reasons why you’d been fired from previous jobs, should they want to hire you? Should you remember to have proper table etiquette on a date and not continue to talk with food falling out of your mouth? Shouldn’t you excuse yourself to go to the Men’s room to take your vitamins privately or wait until the date was over?
As a dating expert and coach, I tell singles to ask themselves the following question before they go on a date. Would you actually date yourself? Think about keeping the conversation light and upbeat. Write up a list of positive things that you’d like to share with your date and read them before you arrive. Remember to leave the baggage and the vitamins behind.
No one wants to date a Debbie or Donny Downer. Let us know if you have a dating disaster story to share for the Peril of the Week.
Julie Spira is a leading online dating expert and the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Visit CyberDatingExpert.com for dating advice and share your online dating stories. Follow Julie on twitter @JulieSpira and like her at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert
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