So, I have—once again—been tossed back into the dating pool. It seems a little more shallow each time I wade in. I really believed I wouldn’t be back here. But, here I am.
One thing I immediately saw: you guys need to let me help you. Please, let me coach you a little about online dating.
Keep your composure
Let’s start with the initial message sent to a potential date. It really is not that complicated. Take five minutes to compose it. Take the entire five minutes.
Here is a small sampling of what NOT to say when communicating to someone new:
I have a large tongue.
So does Gene Simmons. Not a selling point.
I’m super fit and super hung.
This only works if you are on Grindr.
My eyes are black.
OK, Rosemary’s Baby.
If you are in doubt about whether you should include something in your response email, feel free to message me with a question. Or just don’t include it. That's what I would suggest you do anyway.
Don’t ask someone to hit you up. It makes them want to hit you upside the head.
Don’t write a long list of what you already don’t like about someone. This was one I got a couple days ago:
I would never be rude to someone for who they are. If I don’t find you attractive I promise not to jump into bed with you. Not crazy about ink. I have known girls with a rose or butterfly and I find that attractive. If you pull your clothes off and look like a newspaper, I am not too crazy about that, but I am not looking to just jump into bed. I could have dinner and a conversation with a person with ink. I am not that judgmental.
Back off ladies. I saw him first.
After you have composed your response, read through it, eliminating anything creepy or obnoxious. You will want to run a spell check. It's the simplest thing to do. Your computer wants to help you look like you made it through 8th grade. Let it do its job.
Scan your message for any use of one-character replacements for actual words. U dnt need 2 rite like a 12 yr old grl. This isn’t Twitter. You are not character limited. Spell out your damn words.
Speaking of words, use more than ten. Never send a message with less than that. For example, do not use:
Hi hon, u r so cute :-)
Hope to hear back.
How're you doing?
what kinda stuff are you in to?
I’m married. Is that ok?
If you have any hope of having sex with this person, DO NOT mention sex! Don’t even go there. No asking about favorite positions. No mentioning that you’ve got 5 inches, but it’s thick. Stay away from bragging about your kissing ability. And under no circumstances are you to discuss your oral skills or inquire about hers. You behave yourself, and you might just find out about them the fun way.
Here, I’ll make it easy. Copy and paste this.
Hi there! I really liked your profile. You sound really cool and you are very pretty. <Put a color she was wearing here> is really your color. Would you tell me a little more about yourself? Where did you grow up? Do you have a favorite drink?
Hope to hear from you soon.
<put your name here>
Worth 1000 words
Let’s talk about pictures. First off, do everything in your ability to not look like a serial killer. Try smiling.
Selfies are sometimes unavoidable for single people. There isn’t always someone around the moment you are looking super hot with your new haircut. But step out of the bathroom. No one wants to see your toilet in the background.
Do not take a selfie in the gym mirror. Yes, yes. You are very fit and you have big muscles. But, let me drop some truth on you. Women are pretty intuitive. We can tell you are fit by looking at the photo of you at your cousin’s wedding. We don’t need to see barbells in the background for context clues.
The exception to workout selfies: if you are hanging off the side of a mountain or scuba diving. Those pictures a pretty cool.
If you post a picture of your motorcycle, you better be sitting on it. If you post a picture of you holding a fish you caught, know that most women will not give a shit. We do not care about your dead fish.
One picture with sunglasses is sexy. Eight pictures with sunglasses makes you a douchebag. Unless you are blind. Then it is ok.
For the love of all that is holy… wear a shirt! At least for your main picture. When women are looking at your profile, they are imagining how you will look on their arm for their high school reunion. And they are picturing you clothed. Don’t destroy that illusion right out of the gate.
And your chances of being shirtless in her bedroom grow exponentially when you are wearing a shirt in your profile picture.
Don’t post a group picture unless you can very clearly identify which person is you. Do not post group pictures of fraternity reunions, bachelor parties, or prom. And we all know what a rainbow or sunset looks like. Skip those.
I cannot believe I need to mention… You would think it goes without saying… No mugshots.
Don’t post a picture with your ex scratched out. Do not post pictures of you with another woman at all. You might think that she serves as an endorsement of how desirable you are. It only makes us feel like she is one more woman we will never measure up to.
This next one is iffy ground… Pictures of you and your kids. Pictures of you at a ballgame with your kids? Cool and fun. A photo of you in a pink boa having a tea party with your daughter and her stuffed bear? Adorably sweet. A formal picture of you and your three kids in a line with a pair of red high heel shoes in a space between you and your eldest? Holy crap, dude. (I swear to god, I have actually seen this photo on a dating profile.)
No dick pics
Seriously. No woman likes a dick pic. There is not a woman out there that will want to date you based exclusively on a picture of your dick. However, there are many, many women that will choose NOT to date you because you sent them a dick pic.
It’s not that women don’t like looking at your dick. They just don’t like it nearly as much as you like looking at your own dick.
You know who likes looking at dick pics? Gay guys. Because gay guys are first and foremost guys and they are visually stimulated. It’s the same way you straight guys like looking at pictures of boobs. Actually, a lot of gay guys like boobs too. But you get my point.
Do not send a woman a picture of your penis unless she specifically asks, “Will you please send me a photo of your penis?” And ladies, if you get an unsolicited dick pic, just forward it along to your afore mentioned gay friends with the sender’s email address.
No carpet bombing
Don’t send a generic email to every single profile in the hopes that you get just one reply. It is a total waste of everyone’s time, and we can all tell when that is your game plan. Take the time to find a profile that interests you. And write a response showing that you have actually read it.
Kick out Kik
If you ask me to use Kik to communicate with you, I know it is because you don’t want me to have your real information. Why are you so neurotic and secretive that you feel you must maintain a level of anonymity? If you ask me to use Kik, I will know that I will be cheated on or cheated with. Either way, no bueno.
If you have to lock your phone, turn off notifications, and use anonymity software because you are hiding something, it’s not going to end well. Women know what you are doing when you are texting someone under the table during a romantic dinner. (Yes, this actually happened to me.)
Aside—Wanna test if your man is cheating on you? Grab his phone from his hand and lock yourself in the bathroom. The length of time it takes him to kick in the door to retrieve his phone is inversely proportional to how many text messages from other women you will find. If he resets the whole phone rather than let you see what is on it—destroying pictures of children in the process—head for the hills. Take my word for it.
The man you are with should be able to say to you: Hey Babe, I heard a text come in on my phone. Can you read it to me? My hands are messy from cooking dinner.
OK, the dinner part is a stretch. But the first part is just how it should be. Ladies, do not settle for less.
Read more than one word
I know that you cannot help what you are attracted to. We like what we like. But there is nothing more richly hypocritical as when you say you are looking for someone slim or athletic when your profile pic is you holding your beer and showing off your dicky-do.
You know what a dicky-do is, don’t you? It’s when your stomach sticks out father than your dicky do.
I think it is perfectly ok to look for dating profiles that aesthetically appeal to you. But be very cautious about declaring your preference for slender or athletic women. First of all, I think most women have a very skewed perspective of which body category they are in. So I don’t think their self-reported appearance is very accurate.
Also, I know some tremendously athletic women that would not be what you consider “athletic” looking. But they can knock your ass off your skates with one hip check.
Here is a thought. Stop eliminating women based on one word in their profile. Do you think they look pretty? Do they sound interesting? Does it seem like they are fun?
I know the equivalent female behavior is finding a man’s salary before she looks at his interests. Same rules apply in this situation. Read more than the one line of information. What if he is a total asshole that makes $250,000? Is it really worth it? And what if a sweet, sexy, smart man only earns $25,000 because he is an artist that won’t bow to corporate America. You really want to miss out on that?
I know that there is an inherent danger of being disappointed when meeting someone you were introduced to online. I know it is easy to fudge with 10-year-old photos or overinflate incomes. That just comes with the territory. But try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
So, expand your circle of matching profiles. Lower your artificial standards and raise your expectations.
Back into the dating pool I go. Maybe it’s a good thing that the pool is getting more and more shallow. Maybe it will finally be easier to get that beach ball.