Dear Readers: Every year I step away from my column to work on other creative projects. I hope you enjoy these “Best Of” Q&A from 10 years ago. Today’s topic is: Digital Dating.
I also invite readers to subscribe to my new weekly “Asking Amy” newsletter, at Amydickinson.substack.com, where I post advice, as well as my own brand of quirky commentary.
I’ll be back with fresh Q&A next week.
Dear Amy: I recently met a wonderful man through an online dating site. He lives in northern Michigan. I live in Minnesota. He is sweet, honest, good, kind and unspoiled, and we had a very nice, fun time during the weekend he came to my town to visit.
He thinks a long-distance relationship could work between us, and I believe he could be right.
Early on, before we spoke on the phone, he warned me that he has a certain kind of "northern Michigan/Canadian" accent. I responded, "Oh, you don't sound like the people in the movie 'Fargo,' do you?" Amy, he does! And it really is a discordant note to my ears.
I came from a rural area in Wisconsin, and the first thing I worked on when I went off to college was the sloppy diction, etc., that I grew up with. Now, no one would guess where I was born.
Can I ask him if he'd be willing to work on his accent? Or do I just have to take it or leave it? My friends are divided, and I am torn.
– Mystified in Minneapolis
Dear Mystified: As someone whose own accent arguably resides within the "Fargo" spectrum, I fail to see what is so awful about this, although you obviously find this (or maybe any other than your own "no one would guess where I was born" accent) grating.
But when everyone in North America starts to sound like a news anchor, we will have lost something important, not to mention charming.
Because your friend brought this up before you two spoke, you have to assume that his accent has been a factor in other encounters and relationships, leading one to assume that he might already be working on it.
The nice thing about the initial stages of getting to know someone is that you can raise these obvious issues and use your discussion as a way to further your understanding of the person. But please remember that the content of a person's character will always be more important than his pronunciation.
Dear Amy: After 30 years of a wonderful marriage, I was widowed at the age of 51.
At 54, I have dipped my toes into several online dating sites to try to find a match.
My issue is that I used to be quite obese, and since my wife's death, I have shed 135 pounds and gotten my life back.
Most of the responses I have gotten are from ladies 10 years either way of my age and from ladies the size I used to be.
My profile is very specific about my eating and exercise habits. I always answer all responses, and I am always polite and try to let these women know that I am not interested in dating a large woman. I have lived that lifestyle and do not want to go back.
I get a lot of hateful and abusive responses!
I know that we should each look to the person inside, but if there is no initial attraction, there is no initial attraction. Is it kinder to leave the ladies wondering, or to let them know directly that I am definitely not interested?
– New to Dating
Dear New: For an expert's opinion on this, I shared your letter with Bela Gandhi, a dating coach and founder of Smart Dating Academy in Chicago (smartdatingacademy .com).
She says, "The rules are totally different in online dating. 'No response' is the right thing to do when you're not interested – it's the polite way of saying, 'No thanks!' It's much more humane. Who wants to wake up to an inbox full of detailed rejection notes?”
"Online dating is a whole new world, where anyone can contact anyone, and you're competing against millions of men. Make sure your photos are current and show you at your best: Well-dressed and smiling, with head shots and body shots. Also, make sure your online profile essays reflect interesting and fun specifics about yourself, not just eating and exercise habits."
©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.