First, click here to find out everything you need to know about this series.
Then, read the previous interviews to catch-up.
Previous Interviews: Male Case Study 1: Interview #1 (Introduction), Female Case Study 1: Interview #1 (Introduction), Male Case Study 2: Interview #1 (Introduction), Female Case Study 2: Interview #1 (Introduction), Male Case Study 2: Interview #2 (Profile and First Matches)
Female Case Study 1: Interview #2–Profile and First Matches
Honeysuckle talks about when people don’t live up to their profiles.
Have you had similar experiences?
Q1: What was your mindset and how much effort did you put into writing your profile?
Honeysuckle: My mindset was one that I guess…How can I put this? I didn’t want to seem too anxious or pressed to be with someone. So I thought about my delivery. Since men would be reading this and they interpret things that women say different than how we mean it…See, I like to laugh and have fun. The word “fun” was not a good thing to put in a profile for a woman because a lot of my responses were…So what kind of fun do you like? They would take the word “fun” to another level when I was talking about going to the movies. They were thinking Victoria Secret. [She laughs. I join in knowing exactly what she means.] It normally took me a few tries to get it…for me to be comfortable with it. There were a lot of adjustments I had to make.
Q2 (Follow-up): What kind of adjustments did you have to make to your profile and why did you feel you had to make them?
Honeysuckle: The kind of adjustments I made were things like keeping it short. I had to dial back what I was trying to say by making it shorter. I think men tune out when it’s too much, too many words. You know what I’m talking about. They want to get to the bottom line. I switched words and things that I thought were better for a one-on-one conversation. I tried not to share so much in my profile.
Q3 (Follow-up): How did you handle those situations when men took the word “fun” out of context?
Honeysuckle: Well, it depended on two things—if I thought they were joking or if I thought they were serious. If I thought they were joking, then I would clarify what I was saying by joking back. If they were serious and made sexual innuendos, then sometimes I blocked them. I’d block their profiles so they couldn’t contact me anymore.
Q4 (follow-up): About how often did you have to block them for that reason?
Honeysuckle: Usually at the beginning, when I established a new profile I’d get the crazies. On the site I’ve used the most (pof), I’ve joined, dropped out, and rejoined a few times for many reasons. Every time I would rejoin and reestablish my profile, I would have to edit my profile to get across what I wanted to say.
Q5: Profiles with photos are said to get twice as many responses. How did you feel about posting your photo?
Honeysuckle: I had mixed feelings about the photo. When I first did it (online dating), I tried it without a photo. That way I was the one doing the searching. But I always ended up having to attach a photo in a private message to someone. [She doesn’t have a happy look on her face right now. She looks uneasy.] I’m still conflicted because I’m not a picture person. You get judged by your photo and because mine are face shots, I was often asked if I have any body shots. The reason men always gave was that they’d had a bad experience with a woman not being honest about her size or body shape. One even had a woman use a fake photo. [Wow…I’m a little shocked. Using a fake photo seems a little out there to me.] This other guy told me that a woman sent him a photo, but when he went to meet her, he couldn’t find her. The problem was that she had used a photo from 20 years ago and had gained 100 pounds. He said she had two stomachs. [I’m still shocked, but think the guy had to be exaggerating.] So it makes me uncomfortable when men start asking me for body shots because they want to make sure I’m telling the truth. Needless to say, they never get them.
Q6 (Follow-up): Have you ever had an experience where a man posted a photo that wasn’t accurate?
Honeysuckle: I don’t think so. I haven’t had that experience. No, I haven’t. I’ve been lucky enough that I haven’t had that happen to me, but then again, I have only gone out with a handful. [She counts the men she’s been out with from online matches.] I think I’ve only been out with four or five people from the site over the past year. Maybe the number is higher. Well only two headed in a serious direction. [I consider asking her about the two, but…] I’m not with either of them now.
Q7 (Follow-up): What do you think you would do if you agreed to meet a man and he didn’t look anything like his profile photo?
Honeysuckle: If we had already planned the evening and he showed up…No first of all, I always met them somewhere in an open place. I never have anyone come to my house. So if I felt the situation was really bad [I assume she means if the guy is just really unattractive.] No, let me back up, I can’t imagine that it would be so bad that I wouldn’t go forward with the date. However, if I showed up and that person was just 100%different…If he told me he was athletic and when I got there he looked like Heavy D… [I interrupt. “Wait a minute. Heavy D was kinda cute,” I say.]…Yeah he was, but it wouldn’t be because of the extra weight or size, it would be because he didn’t tell me the truth. It would depend on…I don’t know. That’s a loaded question. I probably would continue the date, but it would be the only one. By the way, one of my most recent contacts on a dating site…in his profile he said he was a few extra pounds. The site asks you if you are average, athletic, or a few extra pounds. But in the part of the profile where you talk about your profession, he said he was a fitness trainer. How does that happen? [I urge her to explain.] If you’re a fitness trainer, why does your profile not say athletic instead of a few extra pounds? So to me this person was suspect because he wasn’t even telling the truth in his profile.
Q8 (Follow-up): Did you go out with him anyway? [Let’s face it. Sometimes women still give men a chance even when their initial actions are suspect.]
Honeysuckle: Nope. Never responded. Something I just recently realized is that the same man might have several different profiles, but they won’t put pictures on them. They’ll only put a picture on one of them. [I stop to think about what this could mean for the women interacting with these men…I don’t like it.]
Q9: What was the experience like when you saw your first matches online (for any site)?
Honeysuckle: I’ll say it like this, it was kind of like going through a deck of cards and you’re hoping you’ll get to the king. I was disappointed card after card, match after match. [I wait to hear more, but she’s done. She’s made her point. I feel sad all of a sudden.]
Q10 (Follow-up): Have you ever found one king or even one that came close—a prince perhaps?
Honeysuckle: I found one that I thought was a king, but I was very wrong in the end. I was wrong about that one. Instead of a king, he was a joker.
Q11: Describe your habits. How did you work through the process? How did you interact with your chosen matches?
Honeysuckle: Well, the thing about it is, what was so different about eHarmony and Match versus the site I usually used (pof)…pof didn’t do a very good job with matching. So I didn’t even contact my matches. I just used my in-box. The men would contact me by leaving messages for me in my in-box. Sometimes it was just overwhelming. I would miss them. eHarmony and Match had better systems to match people, to match their commonalities. eHarmony and Match processes are so long that you have to do a lot of things to create a profile. Their process of matching people is more complex than the site I use. My strategy is to read the profile of the person who sends me a message in pof. That’s when I decide how I will respond.
Q12 (Follow-up): On average, how much time did you spend on the sites?
Honeysuckle: I usually checked my messages two to three times a day. I didn’t stay on long, usually five to ten minutes to check and respond to messages.
Q13: Overall, did you like the process? Why or why not?
Honeysuckle: I only use one site now (pof). I don’t use the other sties anymore because women get a lot more activity or messages than men do. So just having one account is enough. Yes, at this point I like the process, the process works. It works because I’ve learned what to do and what not to do. Initially, I wasn’t totally comfortable. But for me, I didn’t stay on long. I would have a profile for awhile and then when I’d get bored or when it was time for me to disappear, I’d delete my profile for a month or two. Then I’d reappear. The reason I did this was to refresh my profile. Usually, there would be new members on the site then.
Q14 (Follow-up): Why do you say women get more activity than men on these sites?
Honeysuckle: First, because a lot of men tell me that. They say they don’t get a lot of women contacting them. But if you think about it, a single man is usually going after more than one woman. They are going after any and everything. [I urge her to go on.] Men are the aggressors. One man might contact 20 women, but a woman is more selective. We might have 20 choices, but we may only choose two to contact. Men seem to like back-ups just in case one falls through.
Q15 (Follow-up): Do you think women should do the same thing men do? Should women be more aggressive?
Honeysuckle: I actually think women are starting to take their cues from men because I’ve heard so many stories about how men are caught off guard by women flipping the script and doing what a man would normally do.
Q16 (follow-up): Are you becoming more aggressive in your approach?
Honeysuckle: Not so much. I think if anything, I’m actually being more careful and more selective. The more I’m on the site and the more I’m out there, the pickier I feel I need to be. So far nobody is who they say they are in the end. I realize I have trust issues, but then again, nobody so far has given me a reason to trust them.
Q17 (follow-up): So why continue with online dating?
Honeysuckle: I just recently went back to it within the last month. [She shrugs her shoulders.] How can I put this? I just recently started back after leaving what I thought was going to be a long-term relationship behind. So right now it’s just about meeting friends to talk to and maybe have a meal with or something like that.