Yes, the word freakin’ is in the headline. Not being flip. I’m aware that dating for the first time in a long while can be scary.

It’s just a freakin’ meet is meant to put you at ease. In your head. Where it counts. Why?

Because no matter how hilarious he is in email, no matter how cute her smile in her profile photo, nothing counts until you meet.

Back in high school when we were still called boys and girls, no one in class was married. Everyone was available. All the boys had hair, all the girls had perfect pouts.

Things are different now. Say you’re at Home Depot on the hunt for a pan head screw and you’re confused. Since the balding guy rifling through the bolt collection has a nice butt, you ask for help. Great start but you can’t always tell who’s attached. In fact, attached has so many meanings these days, it’s more confusing than choosing a really good screw.

And so we land at Internet dating. Where everyone is available. Sort of. Why sort of? Some are married. Others are curious. They get a kick out of flirting in email, asking questions, flexing the ego. She likes my smile. He’s into me. It’s a real kicker to know there’s a real person at the end of the email that’s just popped into your inbox. An ego boost on a rainy Friday night could be someone’s idea of entertainment.

In a way, the emailing part is easy. You can edit and rewrite for hours in your baggy pants and spaghetti-stained T-shirt.

And some people can’t imagine meeting the person at the other end of the email. Don’t let that be you. Emailing isn’t dating.

Here’s the scene. It’s 5:00 pm, happy hour at a crowded restaurant, the clink of beer mugs, calamari perfuming the air. Enter a man and a woman who’ve never met. They look around, hesitate, recognize each other from online photos. He gives a little wave.

And that’s the huge difference between dating in high school where you’re dissecting that frog with your lab partner, the very boy you’re crushing on.

Internet dating is the modern equivalent to the dreaded blind date.

Even if you’ve got that icky stomach churning, you can do this. I know because I’ve done it.

Keep these three pointers in mind:

  • You’re meeting to have fun.
  • Keep the conversation light.
  • If nothing else, you’ll have a story to tell your friends.
only a meet picture 1

Remember, you’re not on a date.

The date comes next if you hit it off. Besides, you don’t need a date.

You’ve got a life. Share it with your meet.


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