We got a pretty interesting email from a reader last week, informing us of something that’s come up again and again on dates with people he’s met through HowHookup: at some point in the conversation, the girl will find it necessary to tell him that it’s her first “online date,” and that she doesn’t usually “meet people from the internet.”

This reader (who wishes to remain anonymous) was both baffled and frustrated: why do people make such a big deal about being online dating novices, and what should his response be?

Why People Say It

Online dating, in the grand scheme of human relations, is an incredibly new innovation. People aren’t used to it, yet. Their parents didn’t meet online. They might be some of the first among their friends. It’s basic human nature, but people are often uncomfortable with being different.

Bringing this up, on a date, is a way for insecure people to say “I don’t want you to think I’m weird, or desperate, or even a serial dater.” Which you probably weren’t thinking, anyway. And if you were thinking it, it certainly wasn’t because you happened to meet him or her on an online dating site.

What To Say Back

The best reaction is just to keep it as light as possible.

-”Oh yeah? It’s worked out well, in my experience, I’ve met some great people.”

-”What made you decide to try it?”

-”I’m glad you decided to meet me in person!”

-”Is now not a good time to tell you I’m an alien?”

-”I think ultimately, once you get to the restaurant/bar, a date is a date, no matter how you meet.”

We’re interested: have any of you encountered this sort of reaction while on your dates? How have you handled it?