pre-dating is a period of time that online daters know well, a definite period of time between mutually agreeable communication and the first real-life meeting. once the first meeting occurs, of course the pre-dating period ends.
the pre-dating period could be long, or it could be almost nonexistent. in my experience, older guys and professionals tend to require longer pre-dating periods, mostly because they're busy and tend to schedule social events well in advance. depending on the date's personality and the connection, the pre-dating period could be relatively uneventful. it might consist of no more than a few e-mails or text messages exchanged for the purpose of setting up the first meeting.
on the other hand, with the right type of person, the pre-dating period could prove to be quite fun. by way of analogy, good pre-dating is a lot like pre-heating the oven. pre-heating creates a hot environment in which your food will cook fast when the time is right. pre-dating, when done right and when given a long enough opportunity to heat up, can create a hot environment in which chemistry could really get cooking when the time is right, i.e. the first date. flirty e-mails and text messages might be exchanged. maybe some photos. a Facebook request is always fun (even though i usually don't accept the friend request until after meeting the guy, this provides the opportunity to stalk him without his being able to stalk me).
i'm currently pre-dating my oven. oh. wait. mixed up my metaphors. at any rate, a series of fortunate circumstances caused a first date that i scheduled to get pushed back for more than a week. first i had to cancel because i forgot that i had already made plans for that night. then he had to cancel because he got sick with the flu or something unattractive. cancel + cancel = an extended pre-dating period.
and i'm having a lot of fun with it. he's not a complete grammar retard like most guys, so i don't mind the e-mail chain we have going. and he's fairly flirty via text (our generation's version of uninhibited anonymity), which can really brighten up a dull afternoon, especially when the text includes a disgusting yet somehow cute photo of him sick in bed. god bless the iPhone.
i'm enjoying pre-dating this guy even though i am fully aware that it probably won't go anywhere. i say that not to be a Debbie Downer, but because i know myself. i never like them once i meet them. i usually find a reason why we can't date. (on the upside, i often keep them as friends. oh yes, my menagerie of almost-dateable but fully lovable friends.) so despite my self-awareness and general pessimism regarding the dating that i'm trying to effectuate, i am currently very much enjoying pre-dating someone.
so there you go. i've found someone who i really like over text, and we're pre-dating.
hm. maybe i just.... shouldn't... meet him. ever...