Alright. I got messages. Now what? I didn’t have a list. Honestly, I didn’t. My only criteria was that he needed to be a nice person. Obviously, I had never thought about who I wanted to date. I had never met a scumbag in my social circle. When I started to think about who I would be interested, I felt bad. How can I screen someone out based on his looks, height, education, location, or something I see in his photos? Is that unreasonable? Who do I think I am? Am I any good myself? But I learned. I admitted to myself how I felt and thought based on the first digital impression I got from an online profile. What about kids? Pets? How do I feel about them? Then I learned how to look at endless profiles. My brain did its magical calculation of all the factors that were important to me and my finger did the swiping. Left. Left. Left. Right. Based on my first digital impressions, I made decisions somewhat hesitantly.
My first responses to initial messages were very hasty. The man usually wanted to meet right away and I usually said yes. Then I learned that first impression based on an online profile was hit or miss. Words and pictures might not tell everything. I developed rules after a series of failed first dates. Big and small things! No sunglasses. Face and full body picture required. Not naked. No gun. No burning flag. No open relationship or with a serious girlfriend on the other side of the country. Now I had a list. I wish I didn’t have to but I had to translate my learning into something. I admitted to myself that I had criteria. I was learning to be okay with that. It was not anything against a particular person. I was just learning about what was important to me. After a few more failed first dates, after I admitted to myself how I really felt and thought, things started looking up.