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 1: Interview #2 (Profile and First Matches), Female Case Study 1: Interview #2 (Profile and First Matches), Male Case Study 2: Interview #2–Profile and First Matches), Female Case Study 2: Interview #2–Profile and First Matches, Male Case Study 1: Interview #3 (Dating, etc.), Female Case Study 1: Interview #3 (Dating, etc.)
Female Case Study 2: Interview #3 (Dating, etc.)
Poppy describes the “disappearing act” that some men pull on women.
What are some of your most memorable dating experiences?
Q1: How long did it typically take for you to meet a person face-to-face after being matched?
Poppy: About two weeks. Most men did not want to spend much time talking on the phone.
Q2 (Follow-up): Are you saying you felt pressured to meet face-to-face sooner than you wanted?
Poppy: Sometimes, yes. I did feel pressured at times. At first the conversation would seem so exciting or you’d email back and forth, and then there would be men who would feel like—hey, I want to see you. They’d say, “I don’t want to waste your time. I don’t want to waste my time.” At the beginning, you don’t think about it. You don’t think about it as pressure. You just think it’s the next logical step, but then I think that after about a year or so, I realized they really are interested in seeing the product. They’d say, “She has a nice voice. She has a pretty picture. Okay let me she if her persona matches what I think. Let me see if there’s a spark.”
Q3 (Follow-up): How did you deal with the pressure for face-to-face contact when you weren’t ready for it?
Poppy: I really didn’t pay attention to the pressure. I wasn’t doing anything. So I would just go and check them out. But I would handle it very differently today. You end up realizing your mindset and their mindset are very different. What I mean is that you might be looking for someone to see if there is a spark. You want to get to know them. You want to see if something more might develop. But the person you’re talking to may have a different agenda. They may just want to meet someone, and then it they find you attractive, then it’s a let’s go hang out kind of thing.
Q4: How did your friends and family react when they learned that you were going on a date with someone you’d met online?
Poppy: I’m very private. So I really didn’t tell a lot of people. I didn’t really have to deal with that aspect of it. I did have people ask me how I was getting all of these dates. I would tell them that just because I was good at getting dates, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Okay so I go out on a date. Nice to meet you. It’s fine. So what?
Q5 (Follow-up): What’s your secret to getting a lot of dates and please define what “a lot” is?
Poppy: Really, my secret, if there is a secret was that I was actually open to meeting a lot of different people because I didn’t really realize that I didn’t know what I was looking for. I do believe that some people persisted in asking me out because they couldn’t believe my age. They think, “Oh she’s fun.” They always think I’m younger than my actual age, and I think some men are looking for a young woman to have a good time with no serious commitment…I may have a conversation with you, but there are some things you won’t know. So perhaps they may interpret that to mean that I am just trying to have a good time, which I am, but that was not my main purpose. But now, because I am more focused, I don’t get as many dates. You don’t want to become a magnet for everybody because you know what you are looking for—what you want—and so you weed out people without knowing that you’re weeding them out. “A lot” is, oh gosh I don’t know that I can put a number on it. I guess compared to others [people she knew that were in similar situations] who tried, I would go out more.
Q6: Typically how did you prepare for a first face-to-face meeting?
Poppy: I was very particular about how I would dress. I would try to be attractive, but not too playful or flirty. I would remind myself not to monopolize the conversation because I do like to talk, especially if it’s an interesting topic. I knew that if I did most of the talking, I wouldn’t learn anything about the individual. I would try to pick a place that was centrally located, but not in my neighborhood. I always let a friend know where I was going and some specifics about the individual. I would try to get there before the agreed upon time.
Q7 (Follow-up): Why was it important to you to arrive before your date?
Poppy: I didn’t want them to see the car I drove, and it would also help with the nervousness of meeting someone you really don’t know (other than a voice).
Q8 (Follow-up): What’s the concern about your car?
Poppy: I didn’t want them to know too much. Divulge information only as needed. I’m very particular about this. Some people might want to say that it’s paranoia. I don’t trust every Tom, Dick, and Harry…or Tyrone [She makes a reference to Erykah Badu’s song, “Tyrone.” I take a few moments to recall the melody, the lyrics, and the video.]
Q9: What were you usually most concerned about before a first meeting?
Poppy: That it would go well. That we would at least have a decent conversation for the time that we were together. That it wasn’t just…hey, nice to meet you and then I have to go. I had that happen to me, and it’s very uncomfortable and awkward. I figure an initial meeting should be fun, not awkward.
Q10: Sometimes things aren’t always the way they seem to be. [She interrupts saying, “For sure. Where do you want me to start? I could write a book on this.”] Describe a situation where the person wasn’t what you expected?
Poppy: Let me pick one that’s good and interesting…Wow! Okay, I’ve had this happen several times. We’re having a conversation. I always ask, “How do you feel about children? Do you have any children?” You know, the children question. Usually this comes up because I’m a parent, and they will say, “Oh, it’s great.” So then the next question is, “How often do you see them?” So I’m thinking they see them every other weekend or whatever. But they’ll say something like in the summer or every other holiday. I’m sitting thinking okay, “What about conversations?” Then I’ll ask, “How often do you have conversations or do you talk to them on the phone?” They will say, “Oh, every couple of weeks.” So I have a problem with that because I wonder how you can have a good relationship with your child if you only talk to them once every two weeks. My perception of a good relationship or quality time with children is different than theirs. I have another one that will make you laugh. I met this man. He had his own company and was a Mr. Big Wig. He had all of these big plans and dreams. I was invited to his home, and he didn’t even have water in the refrigerator for me to drink. Talk about misconceptions! The same individual took me to…and I’m okay with coupons, but we went to a very nice restaurant and he’s just a bigger than life individual. Then he whips out the coupon. [She starts laughing before she can finish the sentence. I think I know what comes next in this story.] He tells me that I can only choose from a certain part of the menu because that’s what the coupon covered. [My, my, it’s worse than I thought.] I can laugh about it today, but that day I wasn’t. I think what bothered me was that this person gave the perception that he was well-to-do. He could’ve taken me to a more affordable place, and we would’ve had a good time. So yeah, that was one. Oh and I think my favorite one—this man was older. I asked him if he wanted to meet for lunch, and I said we can meet at such and such a place. We decided on a time. After I hung up, he called back to ask me if I was going to pay for us or not because in the past if a woman asked him to meet for lunch, she would pay the bill. [I close my eyes while I type this because I just…can’t…bear…it.] I didn’t know what to say to that. He had two Lexus vehicles, a 5000 square foot home, and his own business with contracts with the city. He was the CEO of his company—well—at least that’s what his business card said. [On that note, we are going to move on from the madness. I don’t even know how she finished a single conversation with this man.]
Q11: Describe a situation where the person was exactly as you expected?
Poppy: Wow. [She appears to be stumped. She shakes her head back and forth.] No, I don’t think there was anyone who was exactly as I expected. I was either pleasantly surprised or thoroughly disappointed. I had quite a few cases where I was pleasantly surprised.
Q12 (Follow-up): [She is still thinking about Q11, but we move one anyway.] Tell me about a situation where you were pleasantly surprised.
Poppy: I agreed to accept the advances of someone who I typically would not have even been interested in. It was enjoyable at the beginning—the dating and interactions—the honeymoon stage of dating where everything is hunky-dory and you live in the clouds. I was surprised that everything was going well, but it just didn’t work out. How we hit it off. I would say that was the biggest surprise.
Q13: How many dates does it usually take for you to feel comfortable with physical intimacy?
Poppy: [She looks away.] I guess I have to tell the truth. I guess a month of dating, but it would have to be seeing each other a couple of times a week. So maybe 9 or 10 dates. If I was only seeing them once a week, then it would be longer. But in retrospect, if I were to answer that question, I feel that it would take about three months or so of active dating, not sporadic because I do feel it was rushed.
Q14 (Follow-up): What would you say is the downside of getting physical too early in the dating process?
Poppy: It makes the getting to know each other way too difficult because if you have a good physical relationship, you don’t focus so much on the things that last: good conversation, values, goals, things that are with you for a long time. I also think that you don’t…I don’t’ think it’s appreciated as something special, like it should be.
Q15: Has a person ever told you that you weren’t what they expected? How did you handle the situation?
Poppy: They would say that I wasn’t what they expected if it was a positive, but if it was a negative, they wouldn’t. I was never told anything negative. Usually, they would just start to disappear instead of expressing how they truly felt.
Q16 (Follow-up): How could you tell that men were doing the “disappearing act”? How long did this process go on for you?
Poppy: I would know when the intensity of our communication or interaction or willingness to go deeper in a conversation would not be there, but it was there at the beginning. It’s very strange. I didn’t notice at first. I just thought it didn’t work out, which it didn’t. When I say at first, the first couple of people I dated, I didn’t pay attention to the signs. I just thought that they wanted the same thing that I did, but after I saw a pattern, I stopped to reflect and what I noticed…and it may have been who I chose…once it got to a certain point where it became more serious to me, that was not what they wanted, but they wouldn’t tell me. They would just do things to make me not want to be bothered with them anymore. It usually happened over weeks. But usually when it started I wouldn’t notice until—thank goodness it wasn’t months. It was a learning process.
Q17: Let’s hear about your most memorable dates. Tell me about at least two that you’ll never forget.
Poppy: I guess for me, memorable is pleasurable, but the coupon one—I won’t ever forget that one. I won’t ever forget it (in a funny way). But there were two dates that I remember and enjoyed. One was to a winery. It was just fascinating, the whole experience. It was just different. I would say that one was the most memorable one.
Q18 (Follow-up): What happened to that person?
Poppy: He’s gone. It really just wasn’t the right match. I can say there are no hard feelings…Different aspirations and goals.
Q19: What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you on a date?
Poppy: [She laughs.] We met for dinner at Houston’s restaurant. We sat down and we were having conversation and then we ordered our meal and I guess the conversation didn’t go in the direction that the man anticipated (I’m guessing). He was done. I was still eating, and he asked me if I was ready to go, and I was still chewing. [Really? What? Wow! What? I don’t even know what to say.] He did walk me to my car, but he didn’t call to make sure I got home. It was late. I thought that was what gentlemen do.
Q20: What’s the absolute best thing that’s ever happened to you on a date?
Poppy: I don’t think there was an absolute best, but I have had good experiences. I have made a friend or two. They may not be good people to date, but friends, they weren’t bad.
Q21: Tell me about any regrets you have related to the online dating experience.
Poppy: The only regret I really have is how naïve I was when I started.