Monday, January 5, 2009

Photos: All By Myself

There's no excuse for not posting a photo online if you're seeking a date. I've heard most of the excuses: I don't have a camera, I don't know how to use it, I'm a big CEO of a company and must keep a low profile ...

I spit upon you all!

And of all the photos you post, arguably the most important are the solo photos. Duh.


1) Hire someone or ask your friend to take some of you while you're out. Simple.

2) DIY:

- Taking a picture of your reflection - Sure it's easy and effective, but it's kind of crappy looking. Either you get that big flash in the reflection or the lighting is all messed up. And a bathroom as a backdrop? Must I even say?
- Pointing the camera at yourself - Forget the MySpace overhead shot (yes ladies, I know this shows off your boobage). Why not just use the mirror to look at the viewfinder? It takes a bit of practice, but once you frame yourself right, redirect your gaze to the lens at the last second before snapping away. Or, you can use the timer to allow yourself precious seconds to set up.
- Webcam photos - Quality isn't always the best, but at least make sure you're looking at the lens and are at a proper distance -- not scary close-up or tiny far away.

3) Cropping

- Sometimes your best pictures have other folk in them. That's okay to post as-is, but using a simple photo editor to crop them out means that people looking at your photo won't have to hunt for you and that your face will be bigger on the screen. Win-Win.
- Bonus: You can crop out your ex or even your friend who's (slightly) more attractive than you are. (And yes, I did have a moment of browsing once when I was immediately attracted ... until I saw that the guy in the photo on the right was the one with the profile. D'oh!)


1) It dosen't matter if it's a bust shot (shoulders and up -- why, what were you thiking?) or 3/4 shot or full body shot -- we want to see your face! So please, at least have one photo w/o sunglasses or large-brimmed hat.

2) Head coverings - Yes, we want to know if you're bald or not. 'Fess up! Own it!

3) Why don't guys like to smile? Smile, dammit! One or two photos MINIMUM with a nice smile. The rest can be uber-serious or wacky-silly if you absolutely must show those sides of your personality. And the super close-up of the eyeball? That's creepy or artistic, but mainly I'd say creepy.

Did I miss anything? My thoughts on showing skin at a later date.

Who Is Leta?: An Introduction

The brilliant readers you are, I'm sure you've deduced that I am: female, Asian, single, alive from the consumption of nutritious food.

But I'm sure you would like to know the dirt on why I'm using the Interwebs to find a relationship and why, after being online for two freaking years, I'm STILL plugging away at it.

Answers to both are somewhat intertwined. I had a longterm boyfriend for five years, but it was mainly comfort and being stagnant. After I bid the very sweet fella a tearful adieu (believe me, it was far more excruciating than I make it sound, and I still feel bad), I told myself I wouldn't settle again for mere comfort.

So I went through a few years with very minimal dating. There was interest, but I just wasn't keen on them. Or, if I had a crush, it soon faded once I got to know them.

I had several friends who had met their spouses online (I will get to their success stories in later posts), so I always knew that I was open to that. One day, after returning from a fun vacation with my girlfriends, I wondered how much better the trip would have been with a guy -- my guy.

So yeah, not the sunlight through the clouds epiphany you were expecting, but it made me sign up for Yahoo Personals that night.

My intent was twofold: to date for fun/experience and to date to eventually find my future partner. I figured I needed the experience since my dating had been so spotty previously, and boy howdy, yeah, I was such an awkward little fluttery high schooler again.

I wasn't the cool-headed and practical dater I thought I'd be. But hey, that's what makes for the good stories, eh?

Well, I've gotten to be a better judge of character lately, so my dates aren't the spectacular, cringe-worthy flops they had been before (alas). As you saw with Joe the Sculptor, I can choose the nice guys, but I just can't control the chemistry.

I kind of figured I'd be online for the long haul, partly because I know I'm kind of picky, partly because my success story friends told me about their time served. Funny thing is I just know that after all this Internet experience, I'll have some random meet-cute on a plane, in the self-checkout line at Ralph's or browsing dirty books at the local Borders. And that will be that. Ha!

Wish me luck!


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Coffee, but alas, no chemistry

Today I met with Joe the Sculptor (not to be confused with Joe the Plumber) from

For argument's sake, I'll call this a first date, but really it was just a first meeting. I don't count them as real dates unless we're both sure we're interested in each other. This was more of an extension of the initial online feeling-out process.


Tall and lanky Joe emailed me first, not put off by my vertically challenged stature (even though his profile did say he was interested in 5'6" and up!), but curious about my sparkling prose and cute photos. Some intelligent banter ensued through emails, followed by a so-so phone call.

I had to go on vacation to visit my family for the holidays, but when I got back, Joe set up a meeting with me for the following Sunday.


We met at a quaint cafe in his neighborhood. Upon first meeting, there was an immediate strange vibe from him, which made my energy a little lower than usual. I tend to be peppy and talkative on these dates, but instead I was subdued. Sure, I was still articulate, but I just wasn't giving much energy.

He was just as pictured, tall and lanky, although he was wearing glasses. I'm somewhat nerdy myself, so that was no problem. Kind of cute. I don't drink coffee, but Joe was kind enough to buy me a frosty and tart San Pellegrino Limonata even though I offered to pay my own way.

I was not comfortable in the cafe. As lovely as it was, it was so damn quiet and with the tables so close together that I had no privacy. I'm not ashamed of doing online dating at all, but I choose the people with whom I share myself. Strangers eavesdropping at other tables? Not so much.

In the end, even though he had greeted me with a polite handshake, there was none upon leaving. You know where this is going, right?


I was wondering if I needed to email him a "thank you, but there was no chemistry" note when he beat me to it a few hours later. What a gentleman! No, really. Some folks would prefer not to get that kind of rejection, but frankly, since I wasn't feeling it either, it was a relief that he was so upfront about things.

If I had to guess actually, I think he just wasn't attracted to me, which is why I got that vibe from the get-go. Makes sense.

So not a total loss since he was such a decent guy. At least my pre-screening has improved since my early days online!



Happy New Year and Happy New Blog!

Hullo there,

I've been doing the online dating thing since February 2007, and hoo boy, it's been quite the learning experience! Dating in general is both frustrating and exciting, but add the online element, and there's a whole new set of social quirks to navigate through.

So if you're an online dater yourself, are thinking about joining the party or just want a cheap thrill/laugh at my expense, then go ahead. I'm here for you.

I intend to cover it all: hilarious profiles, awkward first contact, in-person disappointments, the hotties and the notties, my armchair psychology, rants for the wicked and cheers for the deserving, limited lonesome self-pity, frequent despondence yet perpetual optimism, unsolicited advice and yes, even sex in a very limited capacity (c'mon, a girl's got to keep some secrets!).

I have many passions, of which you'll eventually learn, but food is definitely up there, so my dating adventures will occasionally take a culinary twist. Don't be alarmed. For me, it's a natural progression to associate my love of food with my love for lovin'.

And of course, all the names (yes, even my own!) have been changed to protect the innocent ... and guilty.

So onward to the online stuff. Mush! (Mmm, mush...)