Tuesday, October 12, 2010

When Image is Everything

By GuestBug Vivian

Public relations (PR) – noun
  1. the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc. 
  2. the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill 

I have a theory. Whenever you meet someone new, you always put your best foot forward. You project yourself in a manner that shows more of the likable parts than not. You aren’t acting insecure or timid (or maybe you are, I don’t know); you’re a gorgeous, confident diva who doesn’t take any crap. Well, I call this good PR.

When it comes to online dating, it’s very easy to do. You write a happy description of yourself and your likes; in my experience, if you come off as a “Debbie Downer,” guys aren’t into it. Think about it: if you read a guy’s profile and it’s even the slightest bit pessimistic…it’s not really attractive, is it?

So people keep it peppy. It’s almost like the type of PR you put out for a job interview; instead of a new job, it’s a new mate. The first few exchanges are like the preliminary round. A few email/phone call/text messages later, you’re out on date #1. Date #1 is like your first in-person interview. You dress to the nines for the occasion, and if you hit it off, it’s date #2. If it keeps going at this rate, who knows where you end up. At some point, you let the walls down and show it all, the good and the bad. And that’s the true test.

Have you ever been out with someone and after a few dates you slowly realize this person is not the person you thought they were? I once dated a guy who kept it up for a whole three months. He was a soft-spoken, laid back rocker type who was totally the observer. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a talker. I mean I can talk you into next Tuesday if you let me, but not about superficial topics of conversation. And I did most of the talking. The thing was, he was the exact opposite of what he presented. I’m a liberal, so he was liberal. But he really wasn’t. To each his own, but own it, feel me? After three months, his true self came out, and it wasn’t for me. He just had such good PR, he didn’t PR any of his actual qualities.

So in my quest for online love, I’ve seen this more often than not. I read a guy’s profile, he sounds pretty rad, we talk on the phone, he can carry on an intelligent conversation, we meet, and there’s always something. Like date #15 whose profile said he was 5’9”, but when we met he was actually 5’6”. Or date #1 whose profile said he was looking for long-term, but then told me he was really just looking for a friend. The point is, whether I’m online through my profile or meeting someone in person, I’m not projecting my insecurities; I am trying to keep it real. Good PR only takes you so far; the rest has to come from you, baby!

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Read more of Vivian's dating perspective at her very own blog, http://datinginqc.blogspot.com.


  1. Viv, thanks for gracing JBT with your awesome presence. I haven't tried the online dating thing, but I think your experience is something all singles can relate to. From time to time, we meet other singles who SEEM like quite the catch (because of good PR), but overtime the walls come down, and we realize that we simply do not fit or in some cases, they are absolutely bonkers. I guess we can only tell by taking a chance on the possibilities and allowing potential partners to be who they are over time. Best of luck in your virtual quest for love! In the meantime I'm saying, "Boo to the whack PR!"

  2. I have not dabbled into online dating. When I was desperate once, I created an OK Cupid page and closed it a few minutes after I'd created it. Just not for me.

    Ms. Mashari, as far as "taking a chance on the possibilities," I came to a realization lately. I've taken a lot of chances with "maybes," people I'm kinda-sorta interested in, thinking "maybe, if I just give it a chance." However, I'm so over "maybes." I've decided that if a person doesn't move me or inspire me in some way, after we've had a couple of conversations (I always like to have a few conversations first before I even consider dating a person), then I'm not going to waste their time or my time. If I don't get that, the person's not a possibility.

    I'm all about growth, mutual growth. And if the person doesn't move or inspire me, then I see no growth possible. Besides, I've dated a lot of "maybes," and at the end of the situation with him/her, my mind hadn't changed: I was still only kind-sorta interested, if at all, just as I had been at the beginning. I know what I like and I usually know it immediately when I see it, or once I've talked to the person a couple of times. I'm done fooling myself, and going against my instincts.

    Maybe I'll be a lonely old spinster with a couple of dogs. But, you know, I can deal with that.

    I realized this all very recently, after finally getting over someone I'd been "hung up" on for ages, for like more than a year. Know that movie, "500 Days of Summer?" It's the story of the last 500 days of my life, approximately. :D I kept asking myself, "What was it about this person? What was it about him that let me get so emotionally jammed up?"

    See, he was one of only two people who caught me - I had a jones something bad. I realized that it was because this person moved me, he inspired me to want to be a better me, not in a negative way (not in a "I need to change, b/c there's something wrong with me" way). He made we want to be the best Berneta ever. Cheesy as that is. And, having experienced that kind of connection with someone, I can't settle for anything less anymore. That kind of connection is so rare and powerful, and for that reason, I positive that I'll know it when I find it, and I'm jumping on that horse.

    So no more "maybes" or "kinda-sortas" for me. My motto is "Move me or move on." For real.

    I'm not saying this approach is right for everyone. But it's right for me. It took me a long time to figure out.

    I know all that really wasn't the point of the post. Just wanted to respond to Ms. Mashari. Thanks for the wonderful post, Vivian!