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"Love makes you stupid for a good reason," Alexander says. Another reason to go easy on the online digging: The more you learn about someone, the harsher you may judge him, according to one study.
For example, Google might find that your new guy likes soccer, bourbon, and reruns (hey, you too! But it also reveals he was president of his fraternity (and you weren't into the Greek scene).
As one friend described it, "There's a fictional element to all your interactions online. Then in person, you meet the big-screen version of the character—kind of different! Maybe the actors don't even resemble the characters in your head." But as long as you're not spending the whole movie making comparisons to the book, you could actually enjoy yourself.
The way everything runs through our computers, smartphones, and tablets these days, unchecked electronic overgrowth can grind your life to a halt without a moment’s notice.
Investigating a date on the Internet "compresses time," she says.
I didn't know anyone but an elevator liked Michael Bublé! He was somewhat vague about his job, so when she got home, she promptly started her browser and found out that he worked for the gun lobby.
—while discovering your random common interests: salami sandwiches, Dickens novels, and whatever else we cannot know since the swelling music obscures the words, but any observer can tell it's all charming and perfect.
Classic Hollywood would cringe at the 2013 version: You're not in a rowboat, and you're not bathed in candlelight.
So what's a tech-savvy, time-strapped, and curious girl to do? "But if it's a choice between four minutes in front of each other or 20 hours of Google-stalking alone, I'd meet in person," he says.
Obviously, digital diligence can save you from disaster (guy with girlfriend, serious drunk, misogynist, jihadist, ax murderer). "The stuff you can tell within minutes of conversation"—whether you have a good rapport or sexual chemistry—you still won't know after hours and hours of staring at your computer screen. If your searching turns up three DUIs or a blog of photos of him setting squirrels on fire, well, you're right to run.