An article written for Online Dating FOR SCIENCE.
I love you. You are handsome, sexy, quirky and an all around good time. I’ve been online dating you (many of you) for about two months now and it has been really fun.
I haven’t hit that bitter stage yet (and hope I never do!). My guy friends seem to reach saturation much sooner. They don’t tend to think it’s quite as fun. So I’ve been giving them some pointers and they thought I should share.
Here are a few ideas (from my humble opinion) that could potentially make dating online a little smoother for you—and all of us, really. When I speak bluntly please believe, it comes from the bottom of my heart.
Exes and Os
All we women really want is a man who can be real.
Own your shit. Be cool. Be yourself. Be confident. Man up. Get real.
Tips for Writing a Cool Profile:
Think of it like a creative writing essay. Don’t tell me what you do—describe it to me. For example instead of telling me that you like to travel, tell me a funny story about someplace cool you’ve been. Paint me a picture that I might be able to relate to. (Bonus points if you make me feel like I can see myself in that picture.)
In the “about me” section, tell me about you. When you spend the entire section that is supposed to be about you telling me who I have to be in order to get with you, I know exactly what kind of boyfriend you’re going to be. No one wants a selfish lover.
We do want a lover, though! Someone who will be kind, cool, sweet, sexy and fun. If you tell me about your lovemaking skills, what a great kisser you are or how you (I just read this on someone’s profile) are good at going down on a girl, like you never need to breathe, I don’t think “Love” and I don’t get excited. Are you just being funny? I like funny, but now I think you have STD’s. Not so funny.
While we’re on funny…
Don’t tell me you’re silly or goofy—even if you are. Seriously. I don’t want to date a fucking cartoon character. If you are funny, just be funny. Let me see how witty you are but don’t tell me how foolish you are. (Synonym for silly/goofy.) However, while you’re showing me that you’re funny, please don’t go overboard. Don’t try to get all crazy and ridiculously hilarious and witty in your profile. You’re trying too hard. Just be real.
There is nothing worse than someone presenting themselves as one person on their profile and then you meet them and they’re the opposite. For example, I went on a date with someone who described himself as eternally optimistic (it might have even been his handle) and then he spent the entire date complaining about the dating site, and telling me how he is happy in life but hates his job, and where he lives, and his family kinda blows too, but he’s really happy, everything just sort of sucks. Get real, man! You are a pessimist and I’m sure there is some gloomy girl out there for you. Let her find you so you can be all grumpy together. I don’t want in to your pity party. Get over yourself and man up or at least, get real.
Drop real nuggets about yourself in your profile that people can message you about. Gives the brave girls a reason to reach out. Little stuff that matters to you and might matter to someone else too. If they’re funny, all the better. We want to feel your personality.
And size matters; too short just isn’t enough. Too long kinda hurts. You know it’s true. The length of your profile matters. We like it just right. Short makes me think you’re not willing to take your time here or anywhere. Too long makes me feel like you’re going to smother me if I date you. Don’t be a self-divulging information whore! Leave something to the imagination for crying out loud!
As for your photos:
For goodness’ sake, men.
First of all, smile. If you aren’t smiling in a single picture, what are the chances we’re going to be able to get a smile out of you? Is life really that bad? Give us a hint that not every day with you is going to suck. So smile. And let us see your eyes while you’re smiling. Yes, sunglasses make you look cool, but a cool profile will only get you so far—eventually we’re going to see the real thing, so let us see who you really are.
Oh, you don’t have a single picture of your mug? Do you know one person on earth who would take a photo for you? One other person besides yourself? Please. Don’t go into the bathroom and take a picture in the gosh damn mirror. Don’t do it. Whatever gave anyone the idea that this was a good idea? Ever? Or, in your messy-ass bedroom. Don’t do that either. A friend, sunshine and a camera —that’s all you need. Sure, pepper in some moody and broody black and whites, but at least one normal picture would be nice.
Oh, you don’t do normal? Fine. Then none of this applies to you—but if you are trying to portray any semblance of normal—then don’t put up the pictures that you then have to write a post under it saying “Not sure if I should’ve posted this but…” Or, “Don’t worry, it was Halloween. I don’t always dress like a girl.” Or, “Circa Burning Man—this is normal.” If every single one of your pictures is in costume—I have no idea who you are or if you are capable of just being a day to day human. Costume parties are fun. Your profile can be fun too, but should not be filled with the moments you are playing dress up. Remember, we are looking for a man. Little girls dress up like princesses. Not men. Literally, unless you really wear dresses—and more power to you if you do— unless you are a cross dresser, don’t put up the picture of you in the dress. Don’t do it.
Write to the woman!
Every guy I know who tries online dating complains that women have more men writing to them than men have women writing to them. Yep. It’s true. And when you’re at the bar you usually have to approach the woman or buy the first round or whatever as well. It’s the same! Women are waiting to be approached.
Don’t worry—it’s annoying for us too. And yes, of course we could just write to you or approach you. And I often think the same thing—and want to! But then you wouldn’t like us as much. It’s true. We can fight about this till we’re blue in the face but logically I’m on your side and want to be able to tell a man when I think he’s hot. Unfortunately back before our logic, a man wants to chase a woman and a woman wants to be caught. So you have to man up.
If a chick looks at your page more than once—open door. If she “rates you” ask her out! If you don’t, she’s bummed.
When you’re on the date:
If you like her, offer to the pay bill. If you don’t like her, ask her to split it. That’s fine and that’s cool. But that’s that. It’s not hard. It doesn’t need to be a thing. You are showing her you’re interested in courting her if you pick up the bill. Or you’re not. Boom. Thank you for the clear message.
Did you hear that? If you ask me to split the bill with you, I think you’re not interested. Now don’t get all up in your head about trying to be fair or diplomatic or feminist or whatever. By the time you’re done with a date, you know if you want to go on a second date. If you do, you have to be willing to take the risk of buying them one meal or coffee or whatever it is you invited them to go out for. If you split it because you’re not sure if they are into it or not… well, if they were on the fence, now they’re not. Sorry, but when I had to buy my own tea, I knew you weren’t for me. There are just certain things built into our evolutionary psyches. Woman wants man who will bring home the bacon. Man up!
Get real. Remember, this is a date, not a freaking interview. You are not trying out for a role and neither am I! Stop making it so awkward! You can talk in your normal voice. In fact, I’d prefer if you do! How do you talk to your friends? That is the dude I want to know.
I was on a date with this guy on Friday and I mentioned I wished I could see what he was like with his friends and he says, “Yeah, maybe I’ll introduce you to them.” No dude. I don’t want to meet your friends or see you again for that matter. My point was that I wish I could have met you in a normal fashion because then I might have an idea of who you are instead of this image of a person you are creating for me. I said that (but not like that of course) and he said, “I’m just making a good impression for you.” Heads up: No you’re not. And I don’t want an impression; I want a human connection. I cannot overemphasize this enough—just be real.
And then be realistic when you size up how it’s going. Read her body language. Listen to her. Is she engaged? Does she want to keep hanging out? Pay attention! Typically, women are pretty obvious. We know what signs we’re putting out there. If you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it for a reason. Trust that. If we’re putting out the “not into it vibe” do not go in for the kiss. Awkward. And then when she pulls away, don’t pull her closer trying to make that sexy. It’s gross when some guy shoves his tongue down your throat and pulls you in and tries to pretend you like it. Gross. Pay attention. Get real. Don’t be gross.
Follow up. Be honest. Kind and true is the best way to roll. If you aren’t picking up what she’s putting down, it is in everyone’s best interest if you just say so. Of course no one wants to dump or be dumped, but it was just one date. We all know what we’re on a dating site for. If you aren’t into her, just say so. A woman would much rather know than not know. If she really liked you and you string her along rather than a nice clean early break, you will both be worse off. Guaranteed.
And if you ask her out again and she is up front enough to be honest with you about where she stands and she isn’t interested, don’t pester her into another date. Do you really think that is going to get you anywhere? Man up! You’re better than that! Find another babe to hunt.
I wish you luck in the hunting! Please feel free to follow up with me here and give me all the feedback you have. I know you’ll have plenty to say about how wrong I am about all this. It’s actually already begun. I just let my best guy friend read it and he says most girls play more games and apparently it’s not normal that I like honest and direct.
I still say, put out there what you want to get back. If you are looking for a girl, be a boy. If you want a woman, man up! If you want honest and real, be true. I will be too.
Maybe I’ll see you out there in cyber love land…
Exes and Os
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Ed: B. Bemel
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