This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Dating itself has never been simple, but at least the Old School rules for dating were. A guy asked for a girl's number. He called her (on a landline!) and invited her out. The two of them went to a movie, followed by dinner. They hit it off. Or they didn't. End of Old School Dating Ritual.
But with the advent of the Internet, the dating game has become infinitely more complicated. Nowadays (with apologies to Paul Simon) there are at least 50 ways to find a lover. That's why today's singles often turn to experts like Wendy Newman.
Newman, a Salt Lake native now living in San Francisco, is the author of the newly published "121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!)." A professional relationships and sex educator, she's also a seasoned veteran of the online dating experience. Newman shares those experiences with a sharp eye for what went right and what went wrong, and ahead of an event Friday, April 1, at The King's English Bookshop, she's happy to share insights with Salt Lake Tribune readers.
Do men and women approach the online dating experience differently?
Yes. My women clients complain that men are just out there for a good time, while they're serious about finding true love. We do approach dating differently, but we aren't necessarily after different things. It all starts with our point of view.
Most women tend to date for partnership, and from their point of view, the decision to display that upfront is the best strategy. Then, under the "I'm Looking For" [category], the vetting for lifelong-partner material begins.
Men understand online dating for what it is: It's the place to go to meet a nice stranger and see if you like each other, want to hang out, know each other better, and to see whether, over time, you might fit into each other's lives. Think baby steps.
My advice is that we all adopt a man's point of view. Online profiles are for basic filtering, and beyond that, it's just the place to go to meet people you don't have access to in your daily word. Take a light and friendly touch to it and see what's possible.
What are some online dating dos and don't's?
Be true • Are you 54 but don't look a day over 34? Good for you! You can write all about that in your profile, or better yet, show off your youthful looks in your current photos but list your accurate age. Don't start your relationship with a lie.
Reach out to people you like • That's right, this is for the men and the women. If you're a woman who doesn't want to ask a man out, that doesn't mean you can't reach out. I never once asked a man on a date, but I reached out to 80 percent of my online dates.
Meet right away • When you know there's enough interest, go check each other out face-to-face. Make the first date simple: coffee, a walk in a public place or an evening drink at a favorite hot spot. Writing, calling and delaying meeting won't make the connection stronger or more real. People know in a matter of moments if there's a spark once you're in front of each other, and if you've done a lot of virtual communication in advance, it can be devastating when it's over in 2 minutes in person.
Delay dating • Don't wait to be in the mood (is there such a thing as a "dating mood" anyway?). Don't wait until you're less busy, you've lost weight or your friends and family don't need you as much. You will always be busy, there's never a good time and trust me when I say there will never be a 100-percent perfect day when you have all your ducks in a row. So don't wait!
Stop over a bad experience • I was once asked, "Why is it that some people have great online dating experiences and find the love of their life, while others have nothing but nightmare stories to tell?" The answer is simple. The ones who found their love didn't stop.
Date alone • There were three people who kept me from quitting dating altogether my three single dating buddies. A dating buddy is someone who wants something similar to what you want, who will have your back, listen to you, love you up when you need it most and hold the vision of your special person coming into your life even (and especially) during times when you just can't. The importance of doing this for each other of witnessing each other's lives during single time cannot be overstated.
What are some strategies for handling rejections?
I always liked having a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey while binge-watching "Law & Order" reruns, snuggled up with my dog, but I'm thinking that didn't do me any real favors in the long run.
I'd recommend letting those dating buddies of yours love you up: Let them tell you how amazing you are and listen to them when they say it's going to all turn out for the best (because they'll be right). Option B? Scream along to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."
Can you give one tip for creating a successful online dating profile?
Be true. Simply, truly and uniquely you. Consider current photos that are just of you with at least one full-body shot. Write your essay in present tense (OK, maybe a little past tense thrown in if it makes sense), but you're going for who you are right now, not who you'll be in the future with him/her.
Make it a date
Wendy Newman will discuss and take questions about her new book, "121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!)."
When • Friday, April 1, 7 p.m.
Where • The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Tickets • Free; 801-484-9100 or kingsenglish.com
'121 First Dates'
By Wendy Newman (wendyspeaks.com)
Atria Books/Beyond Words
Pages • 320
Cost • $16