Advice from the Female Side of the Fence
For better or worse, online dating is here to stay, and it’s the solution many busy people have adopted in an attempt to find others to hook up with, date, or even marry. There’s nothing undignified about using the internet as a tool to meet other people in addition to traditional methods (friends, school, work, church, hobbies, etc.) But for every social success brought about by online dating, there are an infinite number of complaints. If you choose to join the ever-growing populace of online date-seekers, here are some perspectives from one modern woman to help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure a decent return on your investment:
Read Her Damn profile. Then, Ask Her About it
An online profile is not just a tool for her to market herself; it’s a tool for you to pique her interest. Women (hell, all people) like to talk about themselves. She’s probably spent a fair amount of time on those introductory paragraphs – and you should use the information she provides to start a meaningful conversation. Her profile will give you some great clues about things she likes to do, her philosophy on life, and any obvious barriers to dating – such as the two of you living 2,000 miles apart, or her having 6 kids when you hate the snotty brats. Be attentive, reference things she mentions, and inquire further. She’ll appreciate you took the time to look at more than just her photos, and it gives the two of you some topics to talk about.
Your Profile Picture
Your profile picture should never, EVER be one you took yourself using your iPhone and the closest accessible mirror. This is by far the most common offense committed by both genders in the world of internet dating. Women like to know their potential dates interact with others and have friends (you do have some, right?) — so get a buddy to snap a nice head shot of you sometime. If your current photo is one you took yourself in your own bathroom, please award yourself 500 un-dateable douchebaggery points. If that photo contains a display of freshly-trimmed pubes in the sink, a left-up toilet seat, or other equally-disgusting detail in the background, please award yourself 1000 points. If that photo somehow manages to capture the urinal cake in a PUBLIC restroom and you’re wearing your work key-card access badge on your belt proving just how many diverse bathrooms you frequent to photograph yourself in, award yourself 898,462,345,625 points and go buy me another point-awarding machine because you just broke it.
So does grammar, punctuation, and forming complete sentences. What and how you write will attract potential dates accordingly. If you send a message to a girl saying “hey ur hott n i would like 2 c u sometime,” and by some act of god she replies, don’t be disappointed when she doesn’t stimulate you intellectually. If she’s not even worth so much as the extra two seconds it takes to actually spell out a word, what sort of treatment has she got to look forward to when the two of you are dating? Here’s a hint if spelling isn’t your strong suit: compose your messages in a Word document, then copy & paste to fill in the online text box if it doesn’t come already-equipped with spellcheck.
Don’t introduce yourself with “I know you’re looking for _______, but…” She’s already stopped reading and is moving her mouse toward “DELETE” as fast as you can come up with potential excuses. Dating sites have filters for a reason, and women set criteria for a reason. She gets messages all day long from lackluster prospects who – like you – want to convince her they’re somehow the outlier. (They’re not. Neither are you.) Mention the positive attributes you do have, NOT your deficiencies that fall short of what she’s looking for. Or, see #1, and talk about her (not you).
She doesn’t care how much time you spend at the gym
Leave your gym regimen out of your personal description. Pictures will show her what kind of shape you’re in – and no, not the “here’s me revealing my totally-awesome cut abs and obscenely huge biceps and arrogant gym face” pictures. If you enjoy living a healthy lifestyle, just say so, and leave it at that. I’ve read honest-to-god real profiles listing interests as follows: “Gym, working out, pumping iron, being fit, staying in shape.” Guys, listen up: We don’t want to know how many hours you’ve spent to become a self-centered gym rat. Spending your whole adult life chasing after physical perfection is pretty shallow, so if this is you, don’t make it the focal point of your online profile.
A first date is not the appropriate time to discuss what everybody’s fair share of the bill ought to be. This is your time to impress your date by showing her she deserves a classy meal out on the town, at your expense, because she’s worth it. This is not the time to haggle over the $3.17 difference in tip amount after you take her up on her offer to contribute because you are the obtuse asshole who couldn’t recognize a polite gesture you should have courteously declined. If you’re a starving artist or a grad student drowning in student loans, negotiate expenses at a later time if she’s still interested (or avoid the situation altogether by taking her somewhere fun & free for a first date, like a gallery opening or a summer street festival or a nice park). Not all women are manipulative gold-diggers, but all women enjoy eating a meal they didn’t have to cook or pay for.
Treat Dating like a Job Interview, and Deal with Rejection Responsibly
In today’s economy where hundreds or thousands of applicants are applying for a limited number of open positions, we’ve all gotten used to hearing “No thanks” in our search for desirable employment. While the news of non-selection is accompanied by short-lived disappointment, we gather up the determination we need to try again. Dating is not much different, but we tend to react much more severely to rejection, wallowing in self-pity and allowing momentary challenges to damage our confidence or send us spiraling into clinical depression. Failed interviews provide opportunities for constructive criticism, self-improvement, and additional practice, ultimately leading toward later success when we land other jobs. So do failed dates. Each crappy experience you suffer through is just better preparation for when the good one comes along.
Stop Hiding Behind Messages and Ask Her Out Already
While a bit of back-and-forth conversation is useful to gauge similar interests and schedule availability, the reason the two of you got online in the first place is to meet and date other people in the flesh, right? Stop screwing around online and go live your life! Worst case scenario, you have an awkward time or meet a date-from-hell, and now you have a hilarious story to tell on a future date with someone more deserving.