One of my very favorite bloggers recently posted an article titled, “The Craigslist Creep.” Her experience inspired me to write this article about one of my favorite dating experiences – cleverly (or not) dubbed “the switch-a-roo”. As you might be able to tell from the title, the switch-a-roo dating experience involves a classic bait and switch. The bait and switch is common in dating – especially online dating. If you decide to date online or already do, chances are you’ll experience this at some point in your dating career.
“The Switch-a-Roo” – Who Are You Again?
Fear Factor: 9
What-the-hell-just-happened? Factor: 10
Good Riddance Factor: 10
Crazy Factor: 2
The Date Setup
It was a fine spring morning. Birds were chirping, the sun was shining and it was a chamber of commerce day out so far. My spirits were riding high as well because I had just gotten a raise at work. Life was good! I followed my usual morning wake-up schedule: got up, showered, brushed my teeth and checked my Match.com Email. What’s this? A new match showing interest in little ‘ol me! Maybe today was my day! I opened the Email and remember thinking how eloquently worded the profile was. Great, fantastic profile description usually = a butter face. The main profile picture she had was pretty good but it was difficult to tell from the thumbnail so I opened up the full-size picture only to be disappointed; the thumbnail version was full-size. Crap!
Undeterred, I headed over to the portion of her profile that lists her details. Skimming over the details of her profile I’m a bit reassured. She’s a few years younger than me – not bad, not bad at all! She seems to fit into the type that I usually prefer to date. She lists herself as 5’7” and average, which, to me means she’s height-weight proportionate. Excellent! Time to Email her back and get this ball rolling!
I return her Email and we have a pretty good Email chemistry, as I suspected from just reading her profile. I think you can get a pretty good sense of how someone is going to be in person from a well-written profile. We talked via Match.com Email for a few days and then decided to switch to instant message. The chemistry continued to IM as well so we set a date for a phone call. This progression had become somewhat familiar to me and I was fine with it. Many women prefer to start off with Email then move to either texting or instant message then phone then meet. It’s pretty safe and I never fault a woman for being cautious. You never know who you’re going to meet out there, after all!
The Date Plan
The date was set and because the entire process only took a few days it was still the middle of the work week. We both expressed interest in meeting sooner rather than later so we scheduled a lunch date for a Thursday afternoon. Let’s do TGI Fridays, shall we? All systems were a ‘go’ for lunch.
Thursday afternoon rolls around and I’m so excited at work that I can hardly contain myself. I don’t think I got much of anything productive done that morning. I was talking with my co-workers about my fantastic luck lately including my lunch date that afternoon. They heard many of my stories of dating disaster so they were very happy that I was looking forward to a date once again. The moment of truth had arrived and I didn’t want to be late. I headed to our rendezvous point for our lunch date.
I arrived before her and the restaurant was filling up rather quickly. I asked the hostess if it would be ok for her to seat me somewhere close to the door because I was expecting someone for lunch. She obliged and sat my only a few tables away. I sat at the table, solo, nervously yet excitedly waiting for my date to arrive. Not paying a whole lot of attention to what’s going on around me, a stranger manages to approach my table without me noticing.
Stranger: “Hey, how are you doing today?
Me: “Not too bad, yourself?”
Stranger: “Are you Daniel?”
Me: “Um, yes I am.”
Stranger: “Hi, I’m Sally – we’re meeting for lunch.”
The Date Aftermath
To say I didn’t recognize ‘Sally’ would be an understatement. Jekyll and Hyde first comes to mind, actually. She was perfect… in my mind. She was something else entirely in person. Her profile listed her as late 20’s, 5’7” and ‘average’ body type. In person she looked closer to mid-30’s, 5’3” and about a buck-seventy-five or so. This was a serious WTF moment for me. WTF should I do? Should I stand up and welcome her to the table? Should I scream like a girl and run for the door? I’d like to consider myself a gentleman, for the most part, so I politely stood and apologized for the deer in the headlights look I had given her. She picked right up with our previous conversation on the phone, asking about my son, my job, hobbies, etc. She never missed a beat and meanwhile I was seriously considering a heart defibrillator to get mine going again.
We had a decent conversation but it was very difficult for me to act interested. Actually, I didn’t act interested because that would have been misleading. I was very Uninterested, especially given how the date had started. I’m not usually the confrontational type but I did work up the balls to ask her a pretty pointed question.
Me: “So, who is the picture of on your profile?” I rather boldly go where no one has gone before, apparently.
Sally: “Oh…haha, it’s of me, but it’s about ten years old. It’s the only picture I had scanned on my computer. I know I need to get some new ones.”
I didn’t take the questioning any further. I knew about all I cared to know. It wasn’t 1975 at this point, by the way. Everyone had a digital camera ON THEIR CELL PHONE. There was really no excuse for having an out of date photo on an online dating site.
The end of the date draws near – lunch is only an hour you know! Have to get back to the grind (thank GOD). The end of dates can be a thing of dread, though, especially when you’re not interested. We begin the small talk that will lead to talk of a follow-up date. Again, a bit uncharacteristically at that point I am pretty straightforward.
Me: “Uh, yeah I can’t say that I’m interested in another date. You pretty much lied about how you look. You look nothing like your picture now. At all.”
Sally: “I know I need to update my pictures, I’m sorry… I just haven’t had time to.”
Me: “That’s really no excuse. You have a Blackberry, right? That has a camera on it, doesn’t it?”
Me: “If you had been honest about your appearance before we met and we still decided to meet that’s one thing but you weren’t. I just find it really difficult to be interested when I’ve been duped.”
Sally: “I…ok, I understand.”
We parted after our lunch date and never spoke again. I logged into Match.com to check my Email the next day and I noticed that her profile had been removed from the site. I guess she thought twice about online dating. I hope if she decided to give it a shot later that she was more forthcoming with her potential matches.