Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On Internet Dating, Part 2

See part 1 here. I was 34 years old in 2001 when Denis contacted me on the Christian Matchmaker website. He was 49. He says that he was interested in my profile because I had similar tastes in music and movies and he was impressed that I included the fact that I have scoliosis in my profile. I would not have initiated contact with him. He was outside my search criteria because he was older than I was looking for and shorter than I am. (Denis has a form of dwarfism and is about 4'5" I think.)

Anyway, we started writing. At the time, I was living in Portland and he was in Minnesota. I was in the process of planning to build a house in Medford to be near my mother as she is getting older. Denis was considering building a house on property that he owned. We wrote about movies, music, fishing, camping, house plans, etc. I fully expected that our friendship was in the realm of "pen-pals" and that eventually he would stop writing like everyone else that I had corresponded with. But he never stopped writing me. After a year had gone by, we had talked on the phone a couple of times. Denis finally worked up the nerve to ask me if I would consider travelling out to visit him. (turns out he was interested in me all along).

Now here's the dillemma at this point. We are aware that there are major limits to how well you can get to know someone via email. So much of communication is beyond the scope of words. In email, you get no tone of voice, no gestures, just words on a screen. You make a lot of assumptions about someone based on the limited information that you have. So how much of a risk are you willing to take to get to know someone better?

In the end it worked out for Denis to visit me instead of the other way around. When I first saw him, I thought, "oh Lord, what have I gotten myself into?" But here he was for a week to visit me. Well, I knew that at the least he was a good friend and we would get to enjoy getting to know each other better. So I showed him around the great state of Oregon. We drove west to the coast, south to Medford to see where my house would be built, and to the central area of the state to see the mountains. I was pleased to find that we had plenty to talk about and we still seemed to have much in common. But every once in a while, I would see him looking down over his bifocals and I would think, "man, he's old!" So I put him back on the plane, not sure what I thought of the guy. Stay tuned for one more episode....

9 comments:

Priscilla said...

oh boy! This is getting more and more interesting!!! Can't wait to read more!

I've noticed the same thing about blogging...no one knows when you are joking or when you are serious when you comment sometimes. I've already been misunderstood a few times. Luckily...the situations were not that big of a deal.

Priscilla said...

I skimmed through your archives. Did you and Denis ever buy that "teardrop" camper. It really sounds great to me. We would like to find something like that...only we need rrom for 3 kids too.

Tracy said...

No, we are still only dreaming of a teardrop. It would cost $5-10,000 which we don't have right now.

I was thinking that if we ever have kids, we could still have the teardrop and put the kids in tents. Although yours are a bit young to be by themselves yet, aren't they?

Tracy said...

Denis corrects me that he was 49 when we met. His birthday is in December, so he had not turned 50 yet. Just for the record.

Priscilla said...

Ok! The record is straight!

Yeah...don't knw how comfortable I'd be with the kids outside in a tent by themselves yet.

lm1 said...

priscilla... here are some things to let people know when it is a joke...
:)= smiley = happy comet.
;)= wink = sly or goofy comet
:(= sad = well uh sad.
LOL = laugh out loud
roflol = rolling on the floor laughing out loud.
these might help.

lm1 said...

oh sorry... let me finish... put these signs on at the end of your sentances.

Priscilla said...

Yes...I really am aware of these little tricks. But they still don't take the place of facial expression and tone of voice.

lm1 said...

true so true.... I guess you just have to wing it... me I am absolutly funny....and really not to be taken to seriously... most of the time. :-)