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SINGLE IN THE CITY

Web dating only netted bad news

August 14, 2003|Samantha Bonar | Times Staff Writer

The things I won't do for you, dear readers. I decided to go undercover into the world of Internet dating.

Can't I just write about shopping for fall shoes? Dancing at the Derby? Adventures in pursuit of fine pie? No, it was my duty. At the outset of this mission I felt, to borrow a phrase from novelist P.G. Wodehouse, like an ostrich swallowing a doorknob.

I chose a well-known Internet dating service that offers a free tryout. I liked this site because it allows users to post detailed profiles.

I posted my answers one afternoon and electronically sent my picture. In the next 24 hours, I received about 40 e-mails. A few categories of men emerged.

The first category I will call the What on God's Green Earth group. As in, "What on God's green Earth makes these guys think they have a shot with me?" Before I am accused of thinking that I am all that and a bag of chips, a side of slaw and a slice of apple pie a la mode, let me just say that I think it is fair to say that I am half that. And these guys were the icky bit of hard pie crust that everyone throws away.

While I like being told that I am "enchanting! mesmerizing! intoxicating!," hearing that from a guy who won't post a picture and describes himself as around 250 pounds and bald takes away some of the thrill.

That same gentleman went on to disclose: "discretion is a must! my biz requires it! my girlfriend is a famous actress ... she is gorgeous! bi! works on a tv series in nyc. we have an open relationship!" and "married 4x ... so if you are looking for a hubby

Some of these Joe Below-Average guys who contacted me were extremely pushy, even though I had listed "pushiness" as one of my turnoffs. If I didn't respond to their first e-mail, they would send a second and a third. Lesson: There are men who want what they want and whether you want them is irrelevant. Thankfully, another handy thing about this site is that you can block e-mails. I wish they had a block button in bars!

A second group emerged that highlighted a trend even more disturbing. Apparently there is a population of men out there who believe that by waving money around, they can get a woman to set aside her preferences, no matter how carefully thought out and worded. I heard from quantities of Richie Rich men who were clearly unsuitable for me but who nonetheless seemed to feel confident that they could "buy" me.

One self-described "hot" number (not!) dropped not-too-subtle hints about how he could provide "Schramsberg champagne" and "600-thread-count sheets" and how he liked to go shopping on a first date. Blech.

Tiffany's -- or the promise thereof -- was also waved in my general direction by another john, er, I mean "suitor."

Suffice it to say, after one day, disillusioned and disgusted and a little afraid, I was eager to take my profile down. But I hung in for you, dear readers. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my descent into the fiery pit of Internet dating.

Samantha Bonar can be contacted at samantha.bonar@latimes.com.

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