Lately I’ve had more than one friend ask me about online dating and each time I responded with a torrent of tales. It seems I have opinions about it? So I figured I’d try talking online about a subject that’s a little more relatable than disconcerting parasites or urban penguins and here we are!
Dudes have a lot of work to do as well, but being a hetero fella I’ve spent far more time *researching* ladies than guys online. I feel I should point out that I’m not trying to pick on women by focusing on them, I just pay way more attention to that particular gender and therefore I notice more.
I also fully admit that some of the following may not actually be female-specific but just seems that way to a straight guy looking exclusively at women.
Something clever is definitely a bonus but don’t lose any sleep over this. Theoretically a username is the first thing a guy sees but odds are high that whatever he cares about most (pictures, musical tastes, attitude on having kids) will be zeroed in on so fast as to make your clever handle borderline irrelevant.
Hahaha! Oh man, oh man. This could easily be an article unto itself but I’ll try to hit the main points.
It’s not exactly a national secret that every single hetero dude looks at women’s bodies and that a body is part of what makes him attracted to a lady. You don’t have to be in a bikini and making a duckface while pushing your breasts together like two kids that don’t want to hug it out after a fight (what?) but one picture that gives a general idea of your proportions is a good idea.
Why? Because on the first date he’ll look below the neck the nanosecond he’s able. That’s okay! Don’t you care whether he’s slender, muscular, fat, thin, has Paul Giamatti instead of a penis etc? Of course you do and that’s okay too.
Be up to date and honest with your pictures as well. It’s totally understandable to let that picture from before you gained weight or got a bad haircut be your ambassador, but again – the second he sees you in person he’ll know a) the truth and b) that you’re willing to lie and dissemble if it’ll get you what you want. Is…is visual proof of a misleading representation a good first impression? Help me out here.
This absolutely goes for all the guys lying about their height as well. Dudes, this is even worse then lying about your penis because odds are pretty high she’s seen way more men in well lit, public situations then she has wangs. If anyone knows a woman for whom the reverse is true, please give me her email because I have some questions about her lifestyle.
As I say, this part could almost go on forever but for now I’ll just add one more thing. Straight dudes are on dating websites to date ladies, not landscapes. It’s cool that you’ve traveled and of course you want to convey this information if a love of travel is important to you in a guy. However!
Make sure that you are clearly visible and relatively close to the camera! A picture may say a thousand words but most of those words still need to be about you, dudes aren’t looking at your profile to get a better idea of what the Eiffel Tower looks like.
This is a great place for mixed messages. If you’re looking for “Friends only” then maybe cleavage-heavy or bikini pictures are not the thing to put up. I’ve also seen “Friends only” people write things like “Message me if you’ll treat me like the bee treats the flower”.
There is literally no such thing as a platonic bee.
“I HATE FILLING OUT THINGS LIKE THIS”
Nobody cares. Stop it.
DON’T PAY FOR IT
I mean, pay for it if that’s your thing, but there is no good reason to use any of the pay-only dating websites out there. OkCupid (aka the best dating site) already wrote a great blog post on how it’s in the interest of pay-only sites to keep you single that, sadly, got pulled soon after they were purchased by Match.com
Luckily there’s a cached version of it for you to check out later.
But hey, rub two brain cells together and obviously a dating site that charges you will stop getting money if you find someone so it’s counter-intuitive for them to actually provide a good environment for you to do that in. Stick to the freebies!
HOW SOON TO MEET UP
Messaging is cool and all, but it lacks body language, tone of voice and all sorts of other great things that help you decide if you like someone. Profiles, messaging and chat can only ever give you the gist of a person and that’s assuming there’s no false advertising going on. In my experience it’s best to meet up sooner rather than later.
Plus the computer is a busy, distracting place. The sooner you meet in person the sooner you are A Person to him or her and not just another message thread that needs tending to.
Now it’s true that women need to be careful of creeps, but that’s why you meet in a public place and – if you want to be extra careful – you arrange to call a friend at a certain time in the evening with the rule that if you don’t call then something untoward may have happened so they should call you (and contact the police if they can’t get an answer).
A great thing about online dating is that it lets you sort through many, many more interesting strangers at a time then in regular, non-Internet life. This doesn’t mean you should chat about it in person while on a date!
Though it can certainly be cathartic and amusing to discuss online dating mishaps with someone doing the same thing, this is better reserved for platonic friends. Why? Because by talking “shop” you’re creating a phenomena similar to when a film prevents you from being fully absorbed in the story by reminding you of the the fact that you’re watching a film.
Talking about online dating while on a date which came from that world keeps the other person from thinking about trying to form a real connection with you because you’re basically painting giant neon letters in the air above your head that read “Oh hey we’re on a date! WEIRD, HUH? You are only one of many, many people I may have messaged but you replied so here we are!”.
Speaking of trying to make a connection, don’t do this:
I knew about goldfarming but….wow… Also? It’s important to pay attention to the entire story of Cyrano de Bergerac.
There pretty much isn’t one anymore, don’t worry about it. Besides, unless you’re in school or some other institution that forces random mixtures of strangers together it’s not like real life gives too many appetizing opportunities.
Parties where it’s all the usual friends you see! Bars where everybody has been programmed from birth to view “picking up” as sleazy and awful! Public bathrooms where the cops always seem to get involved somehow (FIND YOUR OWN DATE, OFFICER)! And so on…
LAST MINUTE STUFF FOR GUYS (WHO’RE INTO LADIES)
As I said at the start of this article, I’m a hetero fella looking at ladies but even so I’ve picked up some stuff about what y’all fellas are doing through the reading of women’s profiles and talking to female chums that online date. Guys like guns so here it is in pew-pew bang bang bullet points (know your audience!):
Again, don’t lie about your height or put up bullshit “clever perspective” pictures. Judging by how many women complain about this in their profiles, I also wouldn’t recommend shirtless pics, dick pics or anything with your car in it.
You know how you struggle to get a response from your messages? That’s largely because ladies struggle to find a decent message amongst the horde of “OH HAI YOU LIKE COKCS I GOT A KOCK” messages they get. Take your time and write something sincere that conveys how you actually read their profile.
When making your profile it is a good idea to ASSIGN YOURSELF THE CORRECT GENDER. Holy crap I cannot believe it’s 2012 and there are still people in their twenties who can’t handle a two-option dropdown menu. About once a month I see a fella come up in my search results and every time it makes all the color drain out of my body.
I HOPE THIS HAS BEEN HELPFUL
You found time to read that Sonic the Hedgehog/Sarah Jessica Parker slash fiction epic but you couldn’t be bothered to read the above? Sonic Jessica Parker would have read it!
Oliver Brackenbury is a horrible creature whose latest project is Sweet Fever, a webseries with candy and professional pillow-fighting where the lead solves her financial problems with VIOLENCE. Check it out at www.sweetfever.tv