A Lady’s Guide to Skype Dating
by Kelly McClure
Sometimes life unfolds in such a way that you find yourself having romantic feelings for someone who lives far away, and then have to put your imagination into overdrive in order to “date” them. This is most easily done in the form of Skype dating. I tried to make the term “Skating” stick in this context, but it didn’t work because there’s already a thing called skating and it doesn’t involve candlelit dinners with your computer.
A year ago I’d never even heard of Skype, but then I somehow fell for an Australian girl I met on Facebook who I never actually met in real life. (It’s normal.) The majority of our “relationship” consisted of emails and text messages. We never talked on the phone because 1) I hate the phone, 2) I’m not even sure I know how to dial an Australian number, I mean, aren’t there letters and stuff? 3) When I have mushy feelings for someone they’re usually the last person on earth I want to talk to because I get so nervous that my throat closes up and I eventually have to just put myself down for a nap. So when Australia would suggest this Skype thing, I’d avoid the topic or come up with excuses like “I have a nasty zit right now,” because the idea of having to talk to someone while worrying about my connection freezing in the middle of some kind of fucked up facial expression was too much for me to handle. Since the end of this “relationship” I’ve found myself in many more unique dating scenarios where Skype became unavoidable. Just last week, in fact, I found myself holding up a glass of $4 merlot and sharing a mock toast with the woman on my screen as we exchanged misty-eyed endearments and it made me wonder if other people’s lives are this … different.
There are many different ways to have a Skype date, and if done correctly, they’ll trigger the exact same emotions that an actual date would. In fact, they’re even better than actual dates for the main reason that if all goes to shit, you can just turn off your computer and go watch Dexter or something. You don’t even have to wait for the check. Here’s some guidance:
The First Date
OK, so let’s say that you live in New York and you met someone on OkCupid who lives in Portland (hypothetically); eventually you’re going to want to see this person move their face around and say some words out loud before you drop $600 on a plane ticket and fly thousands of miles to be greeted by some sort of nightmare. A first date can be arranged via Skype and if all goes well, the romance will blossom into a super expensive and not all that fullfilling quarterly visitation; and if not — well then you just sat through some kind of weird interview for no reason. For a good first Skype date to reach its full potential, it’s important to treat it the same way you would a real date. A flesh date? We’ll nail down the terminology later.
Leading up to the first date, make sure to set a specific time, being mindful of each other’s time zones. Write the time down in your planner and make a little notation that says “first date with whoever” and draw some hearts around it. Don’t tell any of your friends about it, because that’s embarrassing.
On the night of the date, start getting ready a few hours beforehand by cleaning your body from the waist up, and putting on a hat. The hat will serve as sort of a conversational safety, because eventually your date will ask why you’re wearing a hat indoors, and then you can respond with something funny like “because I have dandruff” or, “because it makes me feel fancy.” Make sure to ask lots of questions and nod when she/he is talking so they know you’re listening. You may have to exaggerate the nods because, depending on the quality of a person’s Internet connection, sometimes it’s hard to tell what from what. Once you’ve gathered all of the information you need to gather, initiate a longish block of silence where you just sit and stare at them with what you feel to be a sincere facial expression and then say “I have to go” and log off. Always keep them wanting more. Maybe call up a friend and tell them “I just did the funniest thing ever” and expect them to laugh while quickly realizing that they’re very concerned about you.
The Sex Date
After you’ve been Skype dating with someone for awhile, and perhaps even had sex in real life on one of your visits, you’ll want to do nasty things with each other on the computer. Sex dates via Skype always come out of nowhere. They’re never really planned out like, “oh, what are you doing on Thursday afternoon? Well I was thinking maybe we could both stay home and show each other our private parts and then touch ourselves and pretend that it’s the other person doing it.” Sex dates are all about suspension of disbelief. Like Gossip Girl. It’s best to not over-think why you’re gyrating your pelvis at your MacBook, or why these rich teenagers are so poised and flawless, it’s beautiful, it’s art, just close your eyes and surrender to it. Ew, I just texted a friend and asked her to contribute a few sexy Skype tidbits and she replied with “I’ve never had one. Do people do that?” Fuck this story.
The Emotional Date
This is like the Skype date I mentioned having last week. I recently re-connected with an ex who lives far away and we Skyped after not seeing each other for two years. It started out normal and civilized, we each had our cheap red wine, she lit up a ten foot long cigarette, and we kept telling each other how nice it was to be talking again. Somehow the better part of four hours got away from us and at the end of the evening we were huskily whispering “you bitch” at each other, and making sex eyes while placing our palms up on the screen. The next day we blamed our actions on the wine, but I know what’s real. I know.
Kelly McClure lives in Olympia, Washington, and spends most of her days checking and re-checking a variety of lists. She writes stuff, works at a record label, and gets hives quite easily.
Photo via Flickr