If We’re Going on a Date, I Already Know All About You
More than one person has told me I should have been a private investigator, and it’s probably true. If it’s online, I can find it. Give me a name and place of employment, and I can find your social media accounts — yep, even that one — your dating website profiles, and your senior yearbook photo. And you better believe I exploit this particular talent to the fullest when I’m considering going out with someone.
By the time I’m willing to say yes to even a casual date, I’ve already Googled you — yes, I go farther than the first page — checked out all your social media accounts, and done a light background check in four counties. I know where you’re from, who your childhood best friend was, and whether you’re still Facebook friends with your ex. Tell a regular person this, and you’re likely to get some weird looks. Tell a fellow single parent, and she’ll remind you to reverse image search his profile picture because she forgot to one time and found out three weeks later he was married.
Many more single parents than will ever admit do extensive research on someone before committing to a date. If someone asks, we’ll say it’s because it makes it easier to prepare conversation topics for any awkward pauses and to make sure we have stuff in common, but really, we just want to make sure you’re not a psycho. Many of us single parents have been burnt before. We know what it’s like to be attracted to the person someone pretends to be only to find out that things are much different after a few months. If you’re going on and on about how much you love alternative music just like me, but your Spotify playlists are all country, I call BS.
A lot of the reason behind the stalking — um, researching — is also that we’re trying to protect our kids. If you have a domestic violence conviction from three years ago, it’s an automatic no. Have kids you never see? No thanks. Thousands of dollars arrears in child support payments? Been there, done that. Have tons of female friends and constantly commenting, “Wow! Hit me up sometime ;)” on every single pic? Um, no. Posting pictures of yourself blackout drunk every Friday night? Move along. We’re looking for responsible partners who can be good role models to our kids and pull their own weight. Checking potential partners out online lets us weed out the lazy, crazy, and just plain weird, saving lots of time and many nights with Ben & Jerry lamenting our terrible taste in men.
What about the mystery of a new relationship or all those long text threads getting to know each other, you ask? It’s cool. Ideally, our researching should make us even more excited to pursue a possible relationship. Just because we know you grew up in Iowa and you have an irrational fear of being attacked by a polar bear doesn’t mean we don’t really want to know the back story.