Sunday, August 1, 2010

An online dating guide for men

If you are dating or thinking of dating, especially online, here are some tips that will help you. After all the experiences my girlfriends and I have had I decided that instead of continuing to complain and make fun of the ridiculous and self-defeating behaviors of male online daters it would be more constructive to just tell you how to step your game up. (Note: I will still make fun. With drawings.)

1) You have got to smile in your profile picture. Think about it - when you look at our pictures you usually notice our pretty smiles, right? Guys will message me and compliment my smile and then I go look at their profile and am irritated to find some lame super serious face. Really? You can't figure out that most people are more attractive when they smile, yet you are online dating? What's that, you feel self-conscious when you smile? Get over it. Seriously. You are selling yourself online, 50% of your attractive power lies in your picture. Do not think that your sensitive thinker face or stone-faced 'I'm so hard' pic are appealing. You look like an asshole or a serial killer - and if you've read the Venn Diagram of Dating, you know that at least one of those won't get you to the little red dot of happiness. They won't even get you an email response. If your serious thinker image is important to you use those for supplemental pix but smile in your main one. If you really ARE a serial killer, thank you for being stupid enough to make it completely obvious by wearing an expression that says you want to eat my face with some bbq sauce.

2) If you are married: Please stop dating. Get off the dating sites. No one wins by you being on there. If your wife doesn't want to have sex with you you should probably focus on fixing that. See also: Find the little man in the boat, he is your friend and ally.

3) Do not start immediately telling your female companion that you are meant to be together, perfect for each other, etc - especially if you have not even met yet. This is not how to get a first date. This is a really good way to get blocked and possibly get on a creepy potential stalker watch list. Do not say it on a first date, either. We find this instant desperate attachment just as squicky as most guys do if a girl tries it on them.

4) Do not propose marriage in your first email. This should be obvious but, based on my experiences, apparently needs to be said. Even if you are kidding it will most likely not get you anywhere good. Other jokes that don't go over well in a first email: Offering to let her cook for you. Jokes that make you sound like an asshole aren't that funny.

5) If a girl does not respond to your first message please do not assume that she didn't receive it or needs more encouragement to respond to you. She didn't answer because you look like a serial killer or, possibly, she just wasn't into you. It happens. Don't try to escalate the action by sending more and more personal contact information. It's not like we are sitting there thinking 'oooh, I really like this guy but answering his email is just SO HARD. I'm so hot. I hope he sends me his phone number and address so I can call him and/or just come over for sex.' (Note: Does not apply to Craig's List ads. Things like that actually happen there. This is specific to actual dating sites.)

6) Stop lying about your height. There is no point to this behavior. According to an OKCupid study height is one of the biggest misrepresentations of men online. Most female online daters already knew this. Men, seriously, no one likes details that are fudged. If you are 5'11 you do not need to say you are 6'1 - this is a pointless lie. Here is a small tip: women know how to do math. I promise. If I am 5'3 and wearing 1.5 inch heels - and yes, even girls who say they are bad at math do this little formula instinctively - and you claim to be 5'6, I WILL NOTICE IF I AM TOWERING OVER YOU. If me + shoes = 5'4.5 > your height, you are not 5'6. Also, if I am taller than you  and you have smaller hands than I do, you might be a little person. It's ok to be a little person. It is not ok to lie about it. Also not ok? Lying about your weight/body type. Don't say 'average' if you know you are overweight. Someone out there will like you for you. Just be yourself and, even if you feel like you are getting fewer first dates, they will be more productive ones.

7) Plan the first date. This is your JOB. If you cannot be bothered to plan the first date then you are too fucking lazy to be dating. We know it gets tiring. We know that the emails, messages, first phone calls, and constant disappointment are a lot of work - because we are doing it too. Every time we go on a first date there is a lot of outfit planning, makeup, smelling nice, etc that goes into it. Sack up and plan it. Even if it's just coffee/drinks - the recommended quick first date of the online dater - do the work and suggest some locations, dates, and times. If you want to sit back and let the girl plan every other date after that, fine, that's up to you guys if you make it that far. Also if the first date IS just coffee and you've both agreed to have a second date, the second date kind of counts in the you need to plan it category, since it is at that point the first real date. If you and the girl are both looking for a long term relationship and you cannot be bothered to plan 1.5 dates in the beginning it is a giant red flag about your energy level, intellect, excitement about the girl, or actual interest in working on a relationship.

8) Don't yell at her. If your first email exchange shows that she is not the girl for you, a big ole ranty email won't accomplish anything. If you are the type of person who is EVER tempted to go off on women on dating sites then you really, really need to spend some time with yourself and a good therapist. This is not normal. If you want to yell at a girl because she isn't into you, or because girls have so many silly rules, or you think all women are superficial sluts, or because you think they hate your job, you need some help. Any woman who gets these bizarre yelly emails knows exactly what it means about what you would be like in a relationship.

9) Respect her communication boundaries. If your first email to her is an invitation to talk on the phone, and she says she wants to email once or twice first, relax. If you want to meet before she does, have sex before she does, etc, you have got to be able to respect her boundaries. If you can't do that in the beginning it is really clear you won't be doing it later. I'm not saying that it's ok to get sucked into 3 weeks of emails; online dating, like any other initial relationship, should have an escalating pattern of communication and intimacy and should lead fairly quickly to a first meeting so that the two of you can establish if there is any real life chemistry. The point here is that your first 3 messages shouldn't be pressuring her to comunicate outside the intial 'safety' of the dating site. Remember, the woman you are talking to has many many guys emailing her, some of whom are complete assholes and/or serial killers, and she is trying to make sure that you don't fall into those categories. Yes you are excited about her and want to get to know her but be appreciative of that slight difference in context. Also, if you are too lazy to write 1-3 decent emails in an ONLINE DATING SITE you might want to try singles bars.

10) Read. Her. Profile. There is a reason that dating sites have those giant profile sections and are not just lists of pictures for you to choose from, and that reason is that women are actual people with preferences, wants, desires, and thoughts. We are not just faces attached to empty heads and blow up doll bodies. If you want that SHOP ELSEWHERE. Sorry to get so shouty about that but the whole point of having picture + self description is so that you can get an idea of what someone is like and what they are looking for to help figure out if it is a good match. I spent a whole 15 minutes writing my ridiculously clever profile, do not just email me and ask me to describe myself. I already DID. So when 15 guys email me in one week to ask me questions that are answered in my profile I think, hmmm, gosh I want these winners. (No, really, I don't. I ignore). If you don't read her profile she thinks that you are a) functionally illiterate b) just looking for sex c) too lazy to spend 5 mins reading basic information d) too stupid to understand her. You can imagine how attractive that isn't. If you do read her profile please pay attention to what she says she wants and ask yourself, honestly, if you think she won't notice/care that you are 15 years older than she says she wants. If a woman sets an age range most are willing to go 2-3 years outside it but not more than a decade. If she wanted an older dude she would say so, so please, please stop trying.


  1. Oh, AMEN.

    I went on a first date a few weeks ago with an OKC guy who advertised himself as 5'8" with a fit body. He was at BEST 5'5" (I am shorter than you, but was wearing super-high heels and nearly equalled him) and he was pudgier than he looked in his pics. Not horribly so, but enough that I thought, "He wasn't up-front. Urgh."

    I post the most recent pictures possible and I'm up-front about who I am and what I want. Why can't guys get that?!

  2. Where were the pictures?! I WANT THE PICTURES!!!
    Also, SO right on target!