All you gotta do is act naturlich

Oh, those dulcet tones of Ringo – every time I hear one of The Beatles songs where the afore-mentioned Mr. Starkey took over from John or Paul, I can’t help but picture Thomas the Tank Engine’s cheeky chops half-obscured by a nearly-beard and a pair of starr-shaped shades singing from behind a set of drums and a microphone.

But he did have a point when he sung that title-line from the Help! LP song, never more so than when it comes to your online dating presence. Living up to an online persona you’ve created that’s as alike as Emu was to the late, great Rod Hull will take some doing, if you’ve created a whacky, zany character when, in reality, you’re the shy, retiring type.

Hiding behind the gazillions of miles of cyberspace encourages many a would-be dater to dispose of their heavily-lacquered safety shell next to their duffel-coat on the coat-rack and transform magically behind their dating site profile into a “Tonight, Matthew, I’m gonna be…” Stud-muffin Steve from Stirchley or Raving Rhona from Reading. Which is fine, as long as you can live up to that expectation when you first meet your dating partner that’s become attracted to that side of you.

If, however, you once crawled back inside your pencil case every time the teacher came out with ‘sex education’ at school but have since discovered that you have the chance to be like that girl/boy you always wanted to be, getting up to no good around the back of the bike sheds, through creating this alter-ego on your dating site, it’s probably a good idea to leave that other you in fantasy chat-land whilst representing the real you behind another personality altogether, more akin to what you’d feel comfortable with in the offline world of dating.

If you are meek – which there’s nothing wrong with; don’t want to upset you – then you should be looking for a genuine date offline who’s going to complement your personality, not crush it like a bug within ten minutes of your meeting. And it’s of little use play-acting up to the role, either; if the character you have created is your Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll will soon get found out by your new partner, which could be devastating for the both of you, shattering confidences a-plenty.

There is nothing inherently wrong with role-play, as long as you recognise it for what it is and be totally upfront on your dating profile that [you’re] only there for friendship; the last thing you want – or a person who finds the other you fascinating, for that matter – is an unattainable relationship with someone who simply does not exist, in any real sense.

When you fall for someone on your dating site and they feel the same, in order to be at ease with the relationship offscreen, it is imperative that it is the real you that has attracted them, and vice versa.