Fashion & Lifestyle

Online dating: The good, the bad and the ugly

Clara Bensen and Jeff Wilson took a leap of faith by going on holiday together just weeks after meeting.

After just four weeks of knowing each other, Clara Bensen and Jeff Wilson decided to take things up a notch. The Americans booked a 21-day trip around Europe, agreeing to take nothing more than passports, iPhones, maps and toothbrushes. Bensen, who wore the same green dress for the entire trip, took a spare pair of underwear. Wilson didn’t.

Their three-week date went viral this week and the couple, who met through online dating site OKCupid in April, are still together.

Freelance writer Bensen noted in her article: ‘As Mark Twain so aptly put it: “There ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”’

Bensen told Life&Style that this was her first foray into online dating.

‘My friends recommended that I add some interest to my life by giving online dating a shot,’ she says.

‘I thought I might make a social experiment out of the process by dating a different person each night for a week. I ended up finding Jeff’s profile within an hour. I deleted my account a few days later.’

Her rather unusual date may have had a happy ending but, she adds, ‘a little common sense and gut intuition goes a long way when it comes to the internet – especially if you plan on travelling to the other side of the world together.’

Student Jessica Moore recently created the site as part of a thesis demonstrating her design skills. However, the response has been so positive she plans to continue curating it.

Moore claims electronic communications are having an undeniable effect on the way people find love and says there should be a place to share dating stories.

‘With the casual nature of sites like, and, people are willing to talk about their experiences,’ she says. ‘My basis for creating the site was that people have a lot of crazy dating stories and want to share them.’

And share they did. The stories range from heartwarming to unprintable (‘A Different Kind Of Angel’ will make your eyes water).

Her own experience involved dinner with a 35-year-old man she met online. He gave her a package at the end of their date but, mortified by the forward gesture, she waited until the next day to open it.

‘Inside I found a teddy bear, propped up with a newspaper-filled Victoria’s Secret bag, a plastic rose and some chocolates. Suddenly I noticed the bear had a white, sticky stain on its head.’

She threw it away and fielded phone calls, voicemails and texts from her date who, bizarrely, couldn’t work out what he had done wrong.

A couple of years later he contacted her through a separate dating site to apologise.

‘If there is a secret to a great date, I am the last one to know,’ says Moore, ‘but I think it’s best to plan for a short encounter. That way it can evolve if it’s great or you can get out if it’s not.’

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