Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 15th 2015 Contents 6| WOW MAGAZINE
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt February 15, 2015
By Roslyn Carrington
WHETHER YOU'RE SINGLE and looking to mingle, lonely
and aching for company, or romantic and waiting for your
soul-mate, finding a good man is difficult. It's hard to
meet men who are not only attractive, but single, com-
patible, and, well...sane.
Bars and fetes are a colossal disappointment, well-mean-
ing aunties contrive elaborate schemes to set you up
with men you wouldn't give your number to otherwise,
and wishing upon a star is just plain fruitless. So what
about the internet?
Cyber dating? Well, why not?
Ten or fifteen years ago, it would have been inconceivable
to anyone but the most visionary technophiles that we
would be engaged in many of the online activities that
we now take for granted; watching movies, live streaming
concerts, buying fete tickets. So why should dating be
Do you know anyone who has tried it?
Enough respondents shared their stories of cyber dating
to suggest that it may be more common here than we
imagine. One woman met her husband online, and several
years and three children later, the marriage is still going
T&T is a tiny country, so that lessens the pool of available
men in cyberspace, but that doesn't dampen the ardour
of foreigners who are willing to visit, or entertain you in
their home country. A friend of WOW met her husband
in a chat room; he defended her against a bully who was
being too aggressive in his advances. She eventually
moved to New Zealand to marry him. Although the mar-
riage lasted only a few years, she is still happily cyber-dat-
Digital wall of shame
We may be cyber dating, but we aren't eager to admit it
to our nearest and dearest. The stigma is still strong
enough --- and admittedly, the hazards of encountering
someone dangerous still real enough --- that many
women tell bare-faced lies about how they met their new
romantic interests, so as not to arouse concern.
"I told my family I met him at a student conference," says
an admin assistant whose Canadian boyfriend moved
down to be with her. A senior executive who has formed
a trans-Atlantic visiting relationship with a lonely Lon-
doner made up a yarn about meeting him while standing
in line at a bank. "That's our story, and we're sticking to it."
What about safety?
Probably the best reason for any woman to get antsy
about forming a relationship with a man she has never
met is her own personal safety and, to a lesser extent,
the security of her assets, her identity, and her bank ac-
count. Although it's rare, we have heard accounts of
women in T&T leaving home to meet their online sweet-
hearts and meeting monsters instead.
So, what to do? Your first line of defence is good old-
fashioned common sense. Does this man seem too good
to be true? Does he sound like he's only saying what you
want to hear? How long have you been conversing online
before you agree to meet? Are you feeling pressured to
You can look to the web itself for help. A good resource
is FBI.gov, where you can search articles on recognising
online dating scams and potentially dangerous situations.
Among the red flags they cite are:
• Requests for money to help with "emergencies"
• Instantly falling in "love" with you
• Pressuring you to leave the safety of the dating website
to communicate via personal email, etc.
• Sending or asking for inappropriate photos, or tries to
draw you into explicit conversation...copies of which are
very handy as blackmail material.
When in doubt, use your mouse. Block them, report them
to the dating site, or just click yourself as far away from
them as you can.
Where can you meet Prince Charming?
A search of online dating sites produces a dizzying list of
possibilities. Some are general and all-encompassing; oth-
ers are specific, catering to niches such as religion, same-
sex, etc., or even smaller groups such as animal lovers,
gamers, and those with very, uh, peculiar sexual prefer-
ences. It's a good idea to stick with the more established
sites at first; learn to swim in the safety of the commu-
nity pool before you strike out beyond the reef to paddle
Here's a quick look at a few sites out there, and some
feedback we got.
Match.com -- Ranks high on almost every feedback site,
but to sign up you need either a US zip code, or have to
reside in (or pretend to reside in) a narrow list of other
countries, which does not include Trinidad and Tobago.
Craigslist Caribbean --- It's free, so that means anyone
can play (see concern below about weeding out scrubs).
A few of the posts would make the hairs on your skin
snap to attention, as many are quite frank about their de-
sire, and we aren't talking about hand-holding at the
movies. Approach with caution. May make you lose your
faith in humanity.
Tinder --- Not really a site, but a mobile app for your
phone that uses your Facebook account to hook you up.
The good thing is that men can only message you if you
"like" them back. Good for flings, perhaps, but not suited
to long-term relationships.
eHarmony -- A little pricey (around $40 US per month,
depending on which plan you choose), but hey, the cost
alone filters out the scrubs, and who can complain about
that? The site uses elaborate psychometrics to match
you up with men who just might fit your bill, and you are
virtually bombarded with "matches" with whom you can
communicate in the safety of their site. They're open to
the world, so you can be matched with men anywhere
between Kyoto and the Falkland islands, unless you spec-
Interesting, no? Online dating is probably worth a browse,
at least, but keep your head on, don't take risks, and listen
to that inner voice of reason. It's never wrong.
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