Long Distance Love

You are brave. Yes, you are! You’ve decided to take the plunge and render yourself helpless to a matchmaker in search of your “beshert”. The process seems harmless enough – submit a photo, complete a simple questionnaire, describe your perfect mate – and wait patiently for that “Hi, it’s me!” email in your inbox. What if you decide to tempt fate and consider a long distance love – someone from a different state, or even from a different country? What happens then?

Here’s where those all too trusting photographs come into play. You think about “extracting” your ex-husband and sending your wedding photo from 1985. You consider that great shot from your last ski trip in Colorado, but you’re wearing goggles and a Mickey Mouse hat! You ask yourself how you’re going to hide those recent age spots, hints of gray hair and those strategically located “love handles” so you can effectively market your “goods” online?

First rule of thumb: don’t hide it – flaunt it! For many of us, it’s a frightening proposition. You mean, submit “real” photos? Show complete and utter strangers what I really look like? My advice to you is – yes. More often than not, online dating photos are hardly ever recent. Some are touched-up, easy to do with simple graphics software. Blondes are not exactly blonde (are they ever?), and men you viewed online with a full head of hair, show up at the airport to greet you – as they like to say “gently coiffed”, when in fact, they are completely bald!

Unlike online dating sites, matchmakers often meet their clients face-to-face. After a careful screening process and a personal interview, they request numerous photographs, not just one, and together, they choose the best ones – and the “real” ones. When your desired “match” is not in the same city, and you’re left to your own devices – your imagination, instinct, and better judgment, you have to trust the photos you receive. My advice to my clients before you catch that Red-Eye to New York or venture across the Atlantic for that first date, request more photos from that man or woman across the miles. Family photos are great. Recent vacations or even office photos will give you a real sense of who you’re emailing or talking to on the phone.

I’ve had clients who’ve managed this with considerable success, but know that it’s a two-way street. You can’t ask without being prepared to deliver. Some of my clients are baffled by their matches who refuse to send more photos. When asked, I always advise both sides to comply. After all, our best decisions are made when we have the best possible information. If you’re considering the girl next door – or the boy across the ocean, and if you have a keen sense that this match may just be “the one”, take a closer look. More often than not, my clients are pleasantly surprised that what they see (and liked), is really … what they get.