POP INTERVIEW: Does Vicki Wagner “Impress” Me on Online Dating?

As the worst stick in the mud, the eternal, nagging pessimist hating on online dating whether one is straight, LGBT or somewhere in confusion – I’m the one in the corner making the “I’m not impressed face!” like this :/ because I like my first meetings in real life so I know if we have chemistry – I thought it would be fun for Vicki Wagner, comedienne, charismatic host of Lesbian Knows Best and author of several dating guides, to convince me otherwise. Did it happen? What about you – are you convinced to try online dating for the first time or get back into it? Let’s find out what Vicki had to say!

vicki wagner

If you hadn’t been kicked out of the Air Force, do you think you would have stayed anyway?
I believe I would have stayed until at least the end of my four-year enlistment.

Do you believe that cheesy saying, “Things happen for a reason?”
I’m honestly not sure whether I believe that line or not. Some have told me that getting kicked out of the Air Force allowed me to be able to share that experience with the world, but I’ll tell you, it was a horrible experience to go through. It was very tragic, unsettling and heart wrenching. After all, they threatened to send me to prison for 5 years, so that hanging over my head was agony every day of my 9 month long investigation.

At the time, that probably hurt your feelings; any setback does. How were you able to make that funny?
Getting kicked out of the Air Force for being gay did more than hurt my feelings. I wasn’t able to laugh at that for many years. Finally after taking a comedy class I realized I needed to stand out from the crowd and was told that there weren’t any other comics who were talking about getting kicked out of the Air Force in their routine. I struggled with it and then started looking at it like an outsider. Almost incredulous- like- “This is the stupidest policy ever. WHAT does being gay have to do with performance on ANY job?” So I started making fun of the military policies from that perspective. I came up with about 7 minutes of material just on that. The jokes really need to be acted out to get the full effect so I can’t really give any one-line examples.

How do you turn bad events around so they can be funny?
Most comedians know how to turn tragedy into comedy. A lot of people have experienced similar things in life: Rejection, humiliation, embarrassment, being made fun of, having an overbearing parent, etc. Those are things we all have in common, so if you can get to the heart of that you can turn it around and other people will find comfort in the fact that you are saying it out loud. It’s kind of a release for them…and for the comic too. Take any incident you had and allow yourself to not be the butt of the joke but part of it- you are laughing along with the audience. Like- “Did that really happen?” “Yes, yes it did and it happened to me and here’s how.” Then elaborate on the crazy details, throw something unexpected in and there ya go!

You’re all about online dating in your books, and I and many people like me are not. If someone lives out of town, I like meeting a person first and keeping in touch for a while before calling anything we do dating. Most definitely. I cannot stand the idea of dating itself, when people pretend to like what you like or act great until you meet them in person. Two people have told me, not my opinion but theirs, “Online dating is for people who can’t get dates in real life.” Yikes! For people like us, who prefer human interaction, should we be convinced to do online dating or is it not for everyone?
I would have to say- at least give yourself the opportunity to TRY online dating. In the United States alone, there are over 45 million people on online dating sites. That’s a LOT of prospects! With online dating you get a chance to see what the other person has revealed about themselves. You get to see their likes and dislikes, how they talk, how they write, if they are literate, if they have families, etc. You know way more about them going into it then if you were to walk up to someone off the street. All you know is their appearance. That’s it. You know nothing else. Finding love about what’s on the inside, or how someone feels, it’s not about instant attraction that usually fails. With online dating, you get to have a few conversations with someone before you even have to decide if you want to call them. You can usually tell a lot about someone by the way they respond to your emails. Are they brief? Abrupt? Long and rambling? Do they seem needy? Anxious? Controlling? Jealous? Those are good things to know about a person before you commit further.

About your friend’s comment, “Online dating is for people who can’t get dates in real life.” I completely disagree. In fact, the person trying online dating is going to have a far better chance at finding a match then the person who hooks up with the nearest hot guy or girl. Appearance has little to do with who someone really is and after a few dates you’ll readily find that out. It’s easy to get laid. It’s not easy to have a successful long-term relationship. You improve your odds at that with online dating. Online dating is like shopping in the Macy’s Catalog of Love. You can shop from home for the make, model, the size, and the color of the person you are looking for. It is literally “shopping for people” online. You can browse hundreds of profiles and say- “Aw Hell No!” I’d never meet that person in a million years and then CLICK you are on to the next one. It is so much easier than going on that blind date that your aunt, or mom or sister is trying to set you up on. Because with blind dating you never know WHO is going to answer the door when you ring the bell.

If someone makes a profile, how do they sound different?
An online dating profile is simply an advertisement of you. Think of an ad in the newspaper or a catalog. They are SELLING something and so are you. You are selling yourself. Think of a flashing billboard that says “Pick me Pick Me.” So essentially you need to follow the rules of advertising. That is what you need to do:
• Get Attention
• Get your ideal date’s Interest
• Create a Desire in them to contact you
• Get them to take Action

In your profile, you should tell a story of who you are. All to often people just make lists of who they think they are. They write boring profiles like: “I’m funny, I like to walk on the beach, share a bottle of wine, hold hands and snuggle.” Yeah, so does everybody else. Instead of making lists, you should reveal something and be vulnerable. What’s REAL about you? What makes you HUMAN? People want someone real, someone they can identify with, someone who might understand them.

What have you experienced in your life that has really made an impact on you? What are some of the adventures you have had in your life? What fond memory can you share? This will allow you to write something like: “One of my fondest memories was going on a cross-country trip with my sister and my cousin. We drove through Wyoming and almost got trampled by a stampede of cattle. When we got to Yellowstone a geyser almost took us out. We had a lot of fun pretending we were the three stooges and I’m sure glad we didn’t burn down the field in Washington when we were lighting off those fireworks.” Putting this STORY in the middle of your profile is going to make you stand out. It is also going to reveal that you have traveled somewhere, you are adventurous, and you are close with your family, you like fireworks and you have a sense of humor. The STORY you tell about yourself will reveal much more than just stating those things.

How can a man or woman avoid sounding like a jerk or too boring?
Don’t come off cocky and as for boring -see my above answer.

Can someone use a photo of themselves not smiling if they normally aren’t a giggly person or wearing say, scuba gear if they have a passion for that? I see people all want to look alike in their profiles on dating website commercials.
The most important part of your profile is your profile picture. No, I am not vain. I am realistic. If you think people like you for what you say in your profile, you are kidding yourself. This is the real world like everywhere else in the world and people want to see what you look like. They are either attracted to you or they aren’t. In fact, many people don’t even do searches for people that don’t have photos. How can you know that the person you are communicating with online isn’t a man pretending to be a woman or whatever? Yes, it does happen. In addition to that, let’s be honest. Most of us have to have some kind of physical chemistry with another in order to be intimate. Believe me, your profile picture says a lot about you. People want to see that you have teeth so yes you should smile. People want to see your eyes, so don’t wear sunglasses. Keep the focus on YOU. If you are into scuba diving you can use that as a secondary picture but never your main profile picture. Your photo is the first thing people are going to see when they are browsing the hundreds of pictures on the dating site. This is the first chance they are going to have to get an image of you. They will either be interested in you or they won’t.

What about the belief that you can’t force love because it must come to you? OK, I got that from my favorite thing ever, the “Carmen” opera. 😉 Call me old fashioned. Old people I have hung out with over the years tell me young and middle aged people don’t know what they’re doing – you cannot make love happen by asking for it, and you may end up marrying someone who is all wrong. Is setting up an online dating profile ever forcing yourself to make something work that shouldn’t, say, you are not ready?
You can’t force love. That is true. But people don’t fall in love in an instant. They fall into attraction, desire, lust, like, or compatibility. Love only comes from really knowing someone. So setting up an online dating profile is giving yourself an opportunity to meet someone you will eventually fall in love with.

Are there alternatives where someone might still technically be dating online or meeting a significant other but not through a dating service? What are these alternatives?
You can meet anyone, anywhere at anytime. You could be grocery shopping and bump into someone and strike up a conversation, or taking a class and be interested in your classmate or going on a hiking trip with a hiking group. The opportunities to “meet” someone are endless- but that doesn’t mean you will be compatible with them and that’s where you get a leg up with online dating.

What does someone do differently if you are gay, bisexual or lesbian with dating online?
Absolutely nothing. The rules are the same. The only difference is whom you are meeting. I created two books, one for gay people and one for straight people because some of the terminology we use is different- for instance, the term “butch” in the straight world is going to apply to a man but “butch” in the gay world can apply to a man or a woman. So 97% of what my two books say is the same and the 3% applies to whether you are gay or straight. The principals themselves are exactly the same.

How long after a relationship ends should someone wait to begin dating?
It depends on the individual. Some people want to get right back out there and some want to grieve. Some people need to take a break to figure out why the relationship didn’t work and they need to take a look at themselves to find out why. But there are no rules for this. It is different for each one of us.

And…pardon me for asking this…how many real life dates should someone wait before having a sexual relationship? Is there criteria, like four dates before this and eight dates before all the way intimacy?
There are absolutely no criteria. If you are feeling it on the first night go for it. That is a personal choice that only you can decide. There are no “rules” and anyone who says there are is making that up. What works for some may not work for others. “Know thyself” is the key.

So much nowadays is about someone having money, beauty, etc. it could be someone feels inadequate for dating a man with more money and having him go to their small studio apartment, or feeling like people might wonder why you’re a handsome man dating a plain woman. People don’t always see what you see when you like someone, and we cannot hear enough of “What are they doing together?” If this is your case, what should you do? How do you block out what other people say and have fun dating?
You should never worry about what other people think of your relationship. It is none of their business. People fall in love for all kinds of reasons and people decide to be in relationships for all kinds of reasons. That is nobodies business but theirs. Some people decide that character is more important than looks and they go with that. Some people want stability, some want good looks, and yes some want someone with money. That is all personal preference. If you are truly comfortable and secure with who you are you won’t care what other people think. If you are not secure and live your life caring about what the world around you thinks of your every move, then you need more than this book, you need a therapist.

THE VERDICT:

You mean, was I impressed?

I'm not impressed

Vicki is an awesome advisor when she isn’t working on her comedienne duties. She makes some pretty convincing arguments that may indeed work for some people. Some of what she says is actually very inspirational. It makes you want to get out of the house and scream, “I AM GOING TO SIGN UP FOR MATCH.COM AND GIVE THIS OLD SKIRT A CHANCE DATING LIKE MAD EVERY WEEKEND IN MY SUPER SKINNY JEANS!” Men may shout, “I WILL FINALLY GET THE ONE WHO HAS A LOT IN COMMON WITH ME. MAYBE I WILL NO LONGER BE SCARED. WOW!!!!!” If such is the case for you, you were impressed and this article helped you. *clap* You should look into purchasing her books if so, where Vicky offers to help you get your best ever profile and so on.

I however, am not impressed. Oh, yeah, I said, I AM NOT IMPRESSED(!). *about to make side face in a sour toad expression* This is largely because I am really obnoxious to the point of no return. And also because I get this high when I meet people. I like knowing what they look like sans Photoshop, and I’m sure vice versa. I feel comfortable meeting someone first in order to measure our chemistry. For me, joining an online dating service takes away my fantasy of being a modern day flapper chick “it girl” attracting suitors and laughing as we sip champagne, I mean, in my case, juice or diet soda. I love the chase like I love human attraction. As a wannabe James Cameron power director, I feel in my heart we all do love this ourselves or we would go watch movies without actors containing a bunch of text every minute. “LOL” followed by “I C U! Super cute!” Julia Roberts would be unemployed. I love the fantasy of meeting someone intriguing and mysterious at a cool party. I love the shock of wandering out somewhere while running errands and low and behold, someone breathtakingly good looking, smart and successful asks me a question as I pick up a veggie pizza at Whole Foods. The feeling is irreplaceable.

But this is me, and if you are really digging what she says, by all means, try it. Online dating has lead many to successful marriages and relationships for both LGBT and straight people. You can by all means join this group of happy people by starting your very own eHarmony profile! And definitely buy her books, each of which is tailored to needs based on your situation.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for asking the questions Nicole.
    For your readers who are interested in checking out my book, “Get a Date Today, How to Market Yourself for Love.” here are the links.
    For Straight People- http://www.getadatetoday.com

    For Gay people- http://www.getagaydate.com