Online Dating: Don’t Scam Yourself

Normally, I would be hard-pressed to disclose what I’m about to write an entire column about here: I signed up for online dating.

Some might view this as an unspeakable subject that only the unscrupulous would choose to blab about in public. After all, isn’t it more natural to find a successful match organically instead of being peddled on a website?

Well, I’m excused. Other than claiming this endeavor as purely for research and development, you see, my own mother was a picture bride from Japan. It would be no different for me. So with reverence, I rose to the occasion and flourished, but not without growing pains.

The Big Question posed by the website should’ve given me a clue as to the agony I would endure: Who are you and what are you looking for? I mean, this is the most important question of one’s life … and we’re supposed to answer that now? That would require intense introspection and self-awareness, an impossibility considering I was under the impression that the site will hand me a partner of lasting happiness with very little effort.

So the initial answer is, of course, generalized: Blah blah blah … I am a beautiful, intelligent and wonderful woman looking for an equally beautiful, intelligent and wonderful person. Apparently the men out there also are beautiful, intelligent and wonderful and looking for the same qualities.

Well, the site should solve the problem — in fact, it should be a slam-dunk for us to meet, being that we are exact matches. So I pick the handsomest, most intelligent and stable guy around, but I end up with scammers from Nigeria or Thailand. Scammers post beautiful pictures they steal from someone else’s profile; tell us they are professional architects, engineers, doctors and lawyers; lie about every other detail; and then proceed to woo us with gushing remarks about the inner and outer beauty we didn’t even realize we had. But it’s true now, they told us so, thus dragging us deeper into their scam. Sounds good, until they start talking about their child or mother who’s ailing and they need us to send them money. Only $500 for now. But they will return us the money, of course, when they get out of their unusual financial predicament. Right.

Then there are the legitimate long-distance connections with real people with real jobs looking for real partners. But they are thousands of miles away from this paradise called Kauai. What are we thinking? There’s a documentary about a woman from the Mainland who dates a man from Russia. When they finally meet, it’s perfect — they get married, have kids and live happily ever after. Well, have fun in Russia.

Of course there are dates on this island, too, but that subject is taboo because there is only 1 degree or less of separation here — everyone knows everyone and their mother and what they all did on Fourth of July and, actually, every non-holiday too.

During the six-month subscription, compatibility was elusive. Perhaps I wasn’t answering the Big Question. I repeatedly rewrote my profile, becoming truer to myself along the way and hoping someone could relate to my truths. In the process, my connections became more fitting, authentic and diligent, and who lived relatively nearby.

Online dating can be a foray into self-reflection, and I would recommend it — with the caveat that a partner of lasting happiness doesn’t come served on a platter like the sites make you think it does. Finding lasting happiness is still very much an organic process.

Rise to the occasion — the only scam is not being truthful to yourself!