How to Suck At Online Dating

“I’d forgotten just how much of a feeding frenzy online dating is,” sighed my friend Emma. She’d just broken up with her boyfriend and had reactivated her OKCupid account. Evidently the emails started rolling in almost as soon as she’d clicked “confirm”.

Well, if you're going to chum the water, you have nobody to blame when the sharks show up...

Well, if you’re going to chum the water, you have nobody to blame when the sharks show up…

I’d been helping her fine-tune her profile and I’d had an opportunity to see some of the winners come in. There’s nothing like seeing “Can I cum on your tits?” as the first line on an email from a complete stranger to remind you that maybe online dating isn’t the cornucopia for women that a lot of people think it is.

“Seriously, you’d think that some of these guys would’ve waited long enough to actually pretend that they’ve read my profile.” She rolled her eyes; this had been a long running complaint since the last time she’d attempted online dating. As it was, she was trying to adjust the quality of interest by systematically weeding out all of the apparent creeper-bait from her profile; she’d had to switch from “bi” to “straight” when the only responses she’d gotten were from guys. “At least this time I’m not getting deluged in offers from older guys and couples who’re looking for a third.”

Being able to experience online dating from a woman’s perspective – if at one step removed – is something of an eye-opener to just how many guys seem determined to make sex vanish into thin air. For every guy who complains about the number of emails he sends into the void with no response, there are ten women who’re getting two dozen from dudes who make their skin crawl… and ironically, it would be so easy to stand out from the pack.

Let’s look at some of the ways you can suck at online dating.

You Advertise Your Bitterness In Your Profile

Attitude is a key part of success in dating. Not only does it color how you see the world, but how others perceive you; a positive outlook is far more attractive than someone sitting around, radiating anger and vitriol at everyone who passes by. There aren’t any women sitting around thinking “you know what I really want? I’m looking for somebody who’s favorite hobby is stewing in his own juices about how unfair the world is and everybody sucks.”

"Speak for yourself. I'm ROLLING in bitches, yo."

“Speak for yourself. I’m ROLLING in bitches, yo.”

Being a bitter, resentful mess isn’t attractive to anyone. 

So why in pluperfect hell would you broadcast this to the world?

Case in point: Emma showed me one email she’d received from a guy. “So you’d think this would be perfect. He’s got a cute photo, a nice smile, a funny message… then I clicked on his profile.”

Nope, nope, nope...

Nope, nope, nope…

In the span of three sentences, this guy had moved himself from the top of a very short list to getting blocked. There was simply no way that Emma was going to bother to respond – this became a large clue to just what’s going on in his head and it wasn’t pretty.

I can understand the impulse; online dating is a frustrating exercise for everyone, men and women alike. There will be times when you want to vent your frustrations to the world… which is fine. Just do it offline. Negativity has no place in your online dating profile, especially when you’re complaining about how undatable you are.

The cold truth is that you’re not going to get responses to 80% of the emails you send out. That’s just online dating. Everybody goes through this. Complaining about it online is only make you look immature and betray a lack of emotional intelligence.

Plus: why would you want to even plant the idea that you’re undatable in anybody’s head in the first place?

You could always just skip the foreplay and just go with "I'm going to whinge at you until you promise to blow me.."

You could always just skip the foreplay and just go with “I’m going to whinge at you until you promise to blow me..”

Quit shooting yourself in the foot already.

You’ve Put A Body Part In Your Username

Seriously. This is a thing. I’ve seen this in many people who’ve asked for my help with their profiles. I’ve seen ILuvUrTaTas, pussylover69, MightyDong69, GoinDown and many, many others have shown up over time.

In fairness, they’re doing a great service: they’re helping filter out dudes that women will never ever want to talk to.

You Have A List Of Demands

Over the last week, somebody posted what may well be the greatest Craigslist personals ad in history. Part of what makes it amazing is the LONG list of pre-requisites and demands that the individual had before he would even consent to write back to anyone who messaged him. And just to go the extra mile, he even included a 28 question FAQ to go with it.

But as everyone was asking “Who in their right mind would think this is a good dating strategy?”, anyone who’s spent time in online dating is thinking “I think I know that guy”. Many guys are perfectly happy to insist that their prospective suitors should jump through many hoops before they’re allowed to communicate.

Take, for example, this segment of an introductory email that NerdLove reader Katia received from an online swain:

I suppose you might be interested in what I look like. I do have pictures available to send, but for now let me tell you that I stand approx. 6’1″ at about 220lbs. I have a broad / athletic build (like a linebacker, but with a neck *laughs*). Additionally, I am in the process of making several “self-improvements”, including working on getting myself in the best shape of my life (learning to skate to play hockey, etc.). I had Lasik and no longer require glasses!! *BIG smiles* But I want to stress, I am doing these things for me, not to “make myself more attractive” *sincerely* I say that because the best part of me is one which cannot be seen in a picture.It is my heart. Incidentally, and this is also going to let me know if you actually read this *laughs*, if you respond to me and ask for a picture, I will cease correspondence with you. I realize that probably makes me seem like a big jerk, but you know, there are several reasons for my taking this approach. First, if somebody’s focus is more on the physical then on my heart, then she is not the girl for me. Looks are ever so fleeting. It doesn’t matter if I look like a troll or prince charming. What matters should be my heart. Second, what I have found is that, for the most part, those people who simply respond with a request for pictures tend to be very young people, or people who are otherwise misrepresenting themselves, and “trolling” the internet for pictures. So, hopefully you will respect my position and agree that there is a better time to exchange pictures, after we are both more comfortable with each other *politely, sincerely*

 

(It’s worth noting that this letter goes on for another two pages. *smiles* *politely*)

Let’s be honest here: you’re not Brad Pitt. You’re not Idris Elba, Ryan Gosling, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Kanye West, George Clooney, Michael B. Jordan nor any other gloriously handsome celebrity. You aren’t so overwhelmed by female attention that the only way you can possibly handle the load is to demand that women dance for your pleasure in order to vie for your affections. All you’re doing is ensuring that you look like an entitled, controlling douchebag and that you’re going to have “No one’s reached out to him this week” attached to your profile permanently. By making demands of total strangers, you’re letting them know that you’re probably kinda crazy

Speaking of:

You Have A Long List of Deal-Breakers

One of the great things about online dating is how it lets you be as selective as you could possibly want when it comes to finding a prospective mate… no matter how outré or specific. Looking for a cosplay enthusiast? They’re out there! Looking for your fursuit-sporting soulmate? More power to you. Don’t want to date a smoker? You can filter them out. Looking for the lacto-ovo-pescatarian of your dreams? You can let people know that meat-eaters need not apply…

But – and there’s always a but – there comes a point where your list of unacceptable traits becomes a list of “this is why you’re still single”.

Especially, especially, if you’ve outlined all of it on your profile.

Can you imagine all the panties that must just EVAPORATE when this guy's around?

Can you imagine all the panties that must just EVAPORATE when this guy’s around?

Once again: I can appreciate the frustration when you’re hearing from people who you know really aren’t going to work out. It’s understandable that maybe you just want to date more efficiently and not find out that the woman you’ve been flirting with believes in the Vagina Goblin who will bite off anything that enters her before she’s been sanctified by the Holy Church. You’re welcome to be as discerning as you want, as long as you realize that you’re artificially restricting your potential dating pool… but when you’ve started outlining every single thing that you can’t stand about women, all you’re doing is making sure everyone realizes that you put the “mental” in judgmental.

Thanks for the warning, creeper...

Thanks for the warning, creeper…

You’re Propositioning Women Off The Bat

One of the great things about online dating is, when you’re doing it right, it can make getting laid the easiest thing ever. There are plenty of people online who are quite open to some no-strings attached nookie from the right guy, girl or various combinations thereof. Back in my single days, there was a point where I was using OKCupid like a sex ATM.

Notice very carefully how I said “when you’re doing it right”.

Just because someone might be interested in casual sex – even if they flat out list “casual sex” in their “Looking For” field, opening with “Hey, I’m looking for a fling” is a bad ideaYou think you’re cutting to the chase, neatly severing the Gordian Knot of socialization by being straightforward about what you want. She thinks you’re displaying poor social calibration at best and being actively creepy at the worst. You’re coming off as the sketchy guy in the bar who keeps coming up to women and saying “How about a handie in the bathroom?”

"It's the law of averages, man! Throw it out there enough times and you'll BE SURE to find someone who likes it eventually!"

“It’s the law of averages, man! Throw it out there enough times and you’ll BE SURE to find someone who likes it eventually!”

Now to head off the obvious arguments, yes, I do advocate being overtly sexual when you’re looking for a same-night lay. But there’s a profound difference between sexualized flirting and leading with the fact that you’re looking to get laid while the wife’s out of town1 or telling a girl who lists herself as “bi” that you’re looking for a threesome2 regardless of whether she gives any hint that this is what she’s into. Moreover, the number of women who are willing to just leap into bed with somebody that they’ve never even met in person is so small as to be nonexistent. Even women who advertise that they’re down to fuck – assuming that they’re real people in the first place - aren’t going to respond positively to somebody acting like a dick; they’re already being deluged by assholes who think that all they have to do is show up.  The secret to getting laid via OKCupid or another dating site is simple: go on dates. Build some chemistry. Women are far more likely to sleep with somebody if they feel that the sex would be worth it… and the guy who’s asking to tit-fuck her as soon as he says hello is demonstrating that no, it almost certainly won’t be.

You Over Share

OH GOD WHYYYYYYYYYY?

 

  1. Which I’ve seen people do []
  2. Ditto []

Comments

  1. hobbesiean says:

    I'm really glad I put that site behind me. I met a few interesting people and had some interesting, if short, conversations and even a meet up or two but i realized that it just wasn't going to work out as a dating website. The people who responded tended to be hours and hours away, and while they were nice people, it's difficult to build even a casual friendship if you have to drive 2-3 hours just go hang out. It also helped me to learn just how insular the Georgia Geek community was too.. as i'd go 3 hours to hang out and have coffee with someone only to find out she knew all kinds of stuff about, if not me directly, but other people I knew.. One of them knew my first ex-girlfriend by reputation because of how many guys she'd pulled the same stunt on! That was eye opening..

    For what it's worth, I find the BS that women on these sites have to put up with distressing, and the guys who do it should be ashamed of themselves.. they aren't ruining just their own chances.. and ruining the women's enjoyment of the site, but they are inversely ruining everyone's chances

    • I've never tried online dating. I think a part of me is still averse to the whole dynamic. I much prefer to initially meet someone in person, as it's so much easier to get to know them and make an evaluation. However, if you just aren't having luck I could see it working.

      • In my experience it's very helpful to people who aren't great at giving an appealing or welcoming first impression in person. e.g., I have a fairly shy and reserved personality and often come across as stand-off-ish even when I am actually open to meeting people. Despite working on that a lot, I still wasn't getting approached at all by guys, and felt very awkward trying to flirt etc. if I approached a guy. With online dating, guys knew I was interested in dating, so when we met up in person that was already clearly on the table, and because I'd gotten to know them a little before we met up, I could be more relaxed and emotionally open in person, and so came off as more engaged and enthusiastic. Win win! ;)

        But I can see it's definitely not for everyone.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          But to be fair, when you met your husband he was someone you talked to on an online forum, but not an online personals site, right?

          • My husband found me via a profile posted on a not-dating-specific social networking and meet-up site… So, not totally geared toward dating, but geared toward finding people in the same area to meet up with much more than a general online forum would be. And I'd posted my profile there specifically to try to meet more friends and potential romantic partners because I struggle to do both in person for the reasons given above. And my husband freely admits he used the site primarily to look for women who interested him as potential dates. ;) So it amounts to about the same thing.

            Also, one of my three boyfriends I did meet through a dating-specific website, and I met one other guy I might have gotten into a full relationship with if he hadn't ditched me after a couple of dates, and one guy I thought I might be interested in but just wasn't feeling as more than a friend after a few dates. Considering I only ended up meeting I think five guys across the time I was using the dating site (partly because I only used it for brief periods of time–less than a month before I got together with the boyfriend and a few months some time afterward before taking a break, during which I met my now-husband–and partly because, as has been stated here lots of times, many women don't actually get that much attention even online), making a long-term connection one out of five times, and a couple of near misses, across a timeline of a few months, when I'd never managed to even get close to making a romantic connection with any guy I'd met in person across several years… I'd still say that's a success and a reason to think it's a viable model for at least some people.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Mel, thanks for responding.

            "My husband found me via a profile posted on a not-dating-specific social networking and meet-up site… So, not totally geared toward dating, but geared toward finding people in the same area to meet up with much more than a general online forum would be."

            I'm really curious what this site was, but I'm guessing maybe it's specific to where you live so you don't want to list it?

            "And my husband freely admits he used the site primarily to look for women who interested him as potential dates. ;) So it amounts to about the same thing."

            That's cool, but I see them as pretty different. Like speed dating is different from meeting someone dancing.

            "Also, one of my three boyfriends I did meet through a dating-specific website"

            I'm interested in "led to a long term relationship", that counts. How long did your first in-person meeting last? What year was it?

            "and I met one other guy I might have gotten into a full relationship with if he hadn't ditched me after a couple of dates, and one guy I thought I might be interested in but just wasn't feeling as more than a friend after a few dates."

            As I'm looking for "led to a long term relationship", those aren't quite the same.

            "when I'd never managed to even get close to making a romantic connection with any guy I'd met in person across several years… I'd still say that's a success and a reason to think it's a viable model for at least some people."

            I see your point. That could apply for some people.

          • Well, you didn't specify you were only interested in long term relationships in your original reply to me.

            The boyfriend I met through an actual dating site… I don't remember exactly how long our first meeting was, but it was about as long as the two other first meetings that went well (but didn't result in long term relationships)–I think around three hours. The two guys I met up with but could see it wasn't going anywhere with early on, we only hung out for 1-2 hours. I'm not sure how that's relevant though–it didn't lead to a long term relationship because we had a longer first meet-up; we had a longer first meet-up because we were enjoying each other's company a lot, and that's why we got into a relationship.

            That was a little over ten years ago. I freely admit I don't have any recent experience with online dating. :)

            And yeah, I'd rather not share the name of the exact site for anonymity reasons. If you're curious about anything not too telling about it–size, format, etc.–I don't mind answering.

      • hobbesiean says:

        For you it could be a totally different ball game. If I lived in Atlanta, rather than where I am, it would even be a far different story for me.

    • OtherRoooToo says:

      Perhaps a word to those other guys, then, when you catch them at that stuff. You know – that they're ruining it for the rest of you.

      Because it's not like they're going to listen to *us* tell them how much we hate it — we're just women, what do we know?

      • In my experience, the gender of the messenger is irrelevant; these guys are equally unwilling to listen to men, too.

        For example, I've been an active participant in a niche kink community for many years. One where the topic of unwanted touching is a frequent, and hotly-debated issue. Not once, in any one of these discussions, has one of these guys ever taken a step back and said, "You know, I was wrong. Women really *do* hate having their feet tickled by random strangers in public, and I shouldn't do it. Thank you for educating me, fellow penis-haver!".

        Instead, what usually happens is we get labelled self-righteous white-knights trying to force our morality on other people. And then a week later it comes up again…

      • That still falls under the heading of "unsolicited advice" and nobody likes getting unsolicited advice, regardless of the gender of the person giving it. I really doubt it would make any difference at all.

  2. One weird thing about online dating is that it kind of shows how many poorly socially maladjusted people are there. Its not just men with really poor profiles. I've run across more than a few profiles from women that were basically begging for boyfriends or that could be summed up as channeling the spirit of Andrew Dworkin on a dating website, which isn't really a good idea for myriads of obvious reasons. Other online profiles read more like a job application rather than somebody looking for romance.

    • Oh yeah the laundry list of requirements seems to be fairly universal..

      If I listed all my preferences it would narrow down my potential dating pool just a few million people on the entire planet.. let alone having any of those people in my immediate geographic area.. I understand having preferences surely but sometimes there are Hard preferences and there are Soft preferences.. and it's important not to let the hard preferences overwhelm..

      One thing I did used to notice a lot on women's profiles that almost NEVER showed up on guys profiles under the 'what I'm looking for" is women actually outright stating "You need to make (X) much money per year or don't bother contacting me".. It's nice of them to flag themselves as being primarily interested in money.. but it's still frustrating.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Before online dating became common, I experienced the nightmare of dating services. The "dates" from those WERE more like one-shot, all-or-nothing job interviews than anything else.

      • I did the dating service thing to. Sometimes they were right on and other times they lied their heads off about the women they were setting me on dates with. Based on some reactions from the dates, I'm pretty sure they told some rather big inaccuracies about myself.

    • How dare a woman be feminist! On a dating site, of all places! The nerve!

      • I'm not saying that its bad that a women are feminists even on dating websites even. However, as DNL pointed out above its possible to do online dating wrong. Men do online dating wrong by projecting their bitterness or by sounding like a bad parody with cheesy pick-up lines or by emailing women pictures of certain parts of their anatomy. Women can do online dating wrong by either coming across pathetic, basically begging for a boyfriend just like many men do (including myself at times) or by projecting a lot of anger on their profile. The point is to attract people, not scare them away. This requires a certain type of performance.

        • Yes, that seems fair. I do think that most people online struggle with balancing the performance's need to attract people with the desire to have it be close enough to reality to attract the sort of partners who would actually be desired.

          I think obvious tips for both genders include advice like avoiding long lists of requirements that could easily be left unstated, sounding pathetic, coming across as bitter, being sexual on dating sites where that's not considered appropriate, and so on. I think there's probably also an area where someone's profile may not attract you individually – you shudder at a woman who's a little more cerebral or funny than sweet or cute and I choose to pass on the old fashioned country boy or the committed Christian or the devoted father – but that does appeal to a particular segment of the dating population. It's up to each of us to assess where we are in that spectrum and whether we should do some tweaks to our profiles (or our in person personas) to be more attractive at the risk of being less authentic or drawing the wrong crowd.

          • I like cerebral and funny but I don't think that its inconsistent with being sweet. I especially do not think that bitterness and anger are synonyms with cerebral and funny.

          • Then fill in some traits that aren't bitter and angry (always bad things in a dating partner) but also aren't sweet and cute (your preference but not everyone's). I'm sure you can think of women who might be fine dating other men but who you personally wouldn't find very appealing? That's who I'm talking about, and for them, they may do better coming across as they do now and attracting the men who would be suited to them….or, on the other hand, they may decide they want a partner who wants sweet and cute enough to learn how to represent those traits. That's more of an individual choice than just learning how to tone down universally negative characteristics, though.

      • That's not what he's saying at all. The feminist in this case is one of the worst holdovers of second-wave gender essentialism. She ranks up there with McKinnon and Solanas in terms of unfortunate implications. Kinkshaming, TERFs and denying the experiences of certain groups of women under the banner of 'internalized misogyny' is not emancipation in my book. All he said that was something like that hurts one's chances(just as gender essentialism would hurt a man's chances): it's a brilliant filter to weed out the bigots, though.

        • Dworkin's ideas can be really problematic. That being said, I'd be curious to know if that's exactly what someone has done or if it's a bit of a catchall for a variety of ways of presenting yourself that don't necessarily tie in quite so closely.

          I don't think I could really advise a straight man who was looking for dates on the internet to ask out a woman whose profile really was channeling that. (Hell, it's hard for me to imagine a woman who identifies with those specific ideas seeking dates with straight men on the internet.) One who's a feminist? That's a big difference. One who's independent? Well, that would depend on the man's tastes and how the woman expresses that. One who's angry? Of course not…though I don't necessarily know that angry women's profiles and feminists' profiles have a particularly high degree of overlap.

        • Somehow, I doubt Lee knows the differences in the more prominent feminist names. It sounds like he was just using her as an example of a feminist woman, not saying "don't be transphobic and sex-negative, because dudes don't like that."

          • Gentleman Horndog says:

            "Somehow, I doubt Lee knows the differences in the more prominent feminist names."

            Erm. Based on his post below, I'd say that's not being at all fair to Lee.

          • I apologize, Lee did not seem like someone well versed in the different waves of feminism.

        • This isn't to entirely fair to second-wave feminists. I could actually see why many second wave feminists could find it hard to reconcile their feminism with sex positivity. I obviously wasn't a participant in second-waive feminist debates but I imagine that sex was a rather tricky subject for them. On one hand, male dominated societies have sought to control women's sexuality as a means of domination. Yet, celebrating women's sexuality could have been seen as catering to men's tastes in sex. They were in a bit in a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation when it came to sex. The sex negativity of second wave feminism might have been a necessity.

          Also, a lot of the second wave feminists were in academia and academics in all philosophies tend to go a bit to wilder theories because they do not have to worry about practical implementation. Its sort of like the "anti-assimilationists" in the LBGT community like Harry Hay than the more mainstream advocates of LBGT rights like, for lack of a better example, Andrew Sullivan who penned the fist serious op-ed for same-sex marriage in 1989.

    • Did you really just misgender Andrea Dworkin as a way, to what? Imply she's mannish and ugly? That feminism is unattractive?

    • One thing I had a hell of a time with when I tried online dating was defining what I wanted in a partner. I didn't really have a list beyond happy with their life, likes animals, and I don't know not abusive or alcoholic or a drug user or a racist so I really ended up not filtering well enough. I guess what I was really looking for was someone who wasn't my ex, but couldn't define what that was in words and couldn't sense whether on not someone was a good match from writing alone.

  3. aaronhalfmaine says:

    OH GOD WHYYY WHY WOULD YOU OWN A FEDORA! Thanks doc. That sentence is Seared into my memory forever now. I've lost 5 minutes of QM lecture to the fact that somewhere, at some time, some skeevy dude has asked "What have I not done with my hat yet?".

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      1) "Stupidity is like hydrogen; it's the basic building block of the universe." — Frank Zappa

      2) "Because people are people, and the world is full of tricks and twistiness yet undreamed of." — one of The Whole Earth Catalogs

      But confessing your masturbation experience online — THAT's blackmail material right there. As well as being as clueless as (Dr Nerdlove's example) walking up to a girl in a public place with a cloth napkin in your hand and the suave and debonair pickup line "Does this smell like chloroform to you?"

    • Like all hats, fedoras should 1)complement the rest of the outfit, 2)actually fit your head and hair, 3)only be worn to appropriate occassions unless you are constantly dressed in such a manner(two-tone ska style comes to mind) 4)not be worn 24/7-optionally, put it down when indoors, same as you would a cap.

      The advantage of owning one: it works as a Super Repel on people who spend too much time on Tumblr.

  4. The Craig's List ad was over the top and possibly intended as comedy but I can sympathize with it. Its very easy to criticize people jaded about the entire dating experience if your actually somewhat to very successful at it. Most people aren't and feel that they are being made to jump through hoops by members of the gender they are attracted to. This is especially true for a lot of men. I certainly felt this way at times. If others are making demands at you, why not expect much in return?

    • Here's the thing. There was nothing unreasonable about what that guy was looking for. It is essentially A/S/L plus pic. That is all fine. It's the spelling it out like that that is so strange.

      It's perfectly okay to want to standards, preferences, etc. but there's no need to list them ALL out in your profile. Just don't respond or write to people who don't match what you are looking for. On OkC a lot of the information he wants is given through the questions. When I'm looking at a profile, I immediately go to "unacceptable answers"–they reveal a lot.

      I found his harping on location especially strange. Men write me from all over the country–I even got a message from Morocco yesterday. I just don't respond and then hit delete. It's not that big a deal.

      • What is the problem with being outright with your preferences?
        I would too be outright with my preferences, after all the women I have encountered who feel it is their right to be open with exact minimum genital measurments, exact demands on salary and so on. And you know what, I used to weight 400 pounds, be a nerdy engineering student who was told that I would have no value to society add to this women telling me that I should go back to whereever I came from. Now that I am fit, graduated and make a boatload of money, I consider it my birht right to be just as picky and arrogant as these women.

        • So you don't like the way those women behaved, but you want to behave the same way they did? Why would you want to become something you dislike? What makes you think anyone else is going to find that behavior attractive in you? It seems to be a better strategy would be… don't ask out the women you consider overly picky and arrogant, and focus on the others instead.

          Anyway, no one's saying not to mention any preferences, just that writing out a long, detailed list of all the things some random person you haven't even talked to yet can do wrong is far on the excessive side.

          • > So you don't like the way those women behaved, but you want to behave the same way they did? Why would you want to become something you dislike? What makes you think anyone else is going to find that behavior attractive in you? It seems to be a better strategy would be… don't ask out the women you consider overly picky and arrogant, and focus on the others instead.

            I don't actually care if I am found atractive. I am just recipricating some of all the hate and arrogance I was fed with when I was at the bottom of the market, I woved a long time ago that I would rather be single all my life than partner up with the people who kicked me when I was down, but come running now when I am on top.

          • But here's the thing: you're not actually scaring away the people who were unpleasant to you when you were younger. If anything, a profile for a guy who's fit and who has a good job but whose laundry list of requirements makes him sound unpleasant is going to end up attracting only shallow women who are focused purely on looks and money. Women who are actually interested in a guy's personality or character are going to think you sound like a jerk and move on.

            I guess if this actually makes you feel better, go ahead, but it seems like a poor dating strategy.

          • Dr_NerdLove says:

            You realize that nobody notices or cares, right? They're not looking at your profile and weeping and pulling their hair because they don't meet your standards, they're saying “Ok, he's an asshole, next!” and moving on without a second thought.You're welcome to your weird ideas about revenge, but you're basically the mosquito floating on his back down a river shouting “RAISE THE DRAWBRIDGE” every time you get an erection.

          • If you don't care if you're found attractive, what are you doing on a dating site in the first place? The point of a dating site is to find people who find you attractive, so you can go on dates.

            It sounds like instead you're using it as a way to spew hatred at random women who probably didn't even interact with you back when you were doing badly. What makes you think any of the women who "kicked [you] when [you were] down" are even still on the site? Taking out your anger on people who've never done anything to you is pretty malicious.

            It's really sad to me that you can remember how bad you felt about people treating you that way, and yet you don't see any problem with trying to make other people (who aren't the same people who did it to you!) feel the same way. I'd think that makes you just as bad as the people who hurt you–worse, perhaps, because they might not have realized what effect it was having, but you definitely know.

          • I'm confused, then: why are you theoretically writing an online dating profile if you don't care if you're found attractive? I don't understand your goals.

          • REVENGEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

          • Dr_NerdLove says:

            REVENGA!!

          • Like many spells in Final Fantasy, Revenga is useless. Its best to stick to the basics.

          • hobbesiean says:

            I'd kind of like to see a spell named Fizzle, it would upgrade to Fizzal, and then to Fizaga..

          • Ha. My personal favorite RPG series (Dragon Quest) does have a spell called fizzle. it doesn't upgrade though- you either shut down your enemies spells or you don't.

          • Dragonquest was fun.. but haven't played any of them since they were still called Dragon Warrior I think..

          • Yeah, my fav was DW VII back on the PS. But times they are a changin' and what not.

          • I feel like the FF naming convention should be applied to everyday objects too. A spoon is just a spoon, a pretty big spoon is a spoona, and a ladle is a spoonaga.

          • hobbesiean says:

            I second this motion.

          • Thirded! :D

          • Revengence!

          • Not vengeance? The great thing about vengeance is that nobody needs to do anything bad to you before you start your quest. Revenge requires you to be wronged, however slightly, first. Vengeance is much better for the pro-active sort.

          • It's actually a reference to the AV Club reviews of a prime-time soap called Revenge. They declared from day one that you had to pronounce it that way, preferably with your fists raised, shaking at an unforgiving heavens.

        • The problem with it is that it tends to scare off a lot of people who you'd otherwise want to date. Sure, you didn't like the lists with salary demands, and I assume you didn't write to those women. Most other men don't, either, so those women are just hurting themselves.

          But you're not directly getting revenge on those women, and I doubt many of them care. You're just turning off some perfectly nice woman who liked your picture and your message, but who glanced at your profile and decided she didn't want to deal with someone so bitter.

          • >You're just turning off some perfectly nice woman who liked your picture and your message, but who glanced at your profile and decided she didn't want to deal with someone so bitter.

            Oh yeah right. All those women who were so interested when I was dirt poor and overweight, all 0 of them.
            No, what enrages me is that I am told to lower my standards, yet somehow it is a ok for women to be as shallow as they like.

          • No one's saying lower your standards, or that it's okay for these women to have laundry lists (well, actually, both you and the women can do what you want, but women who do have those lists tend to get fewer and poorer quality messages/responses from men).

            The typical strategy online is to list a few broad specifications, then do the rest by targeting your messages/responses to people who seem like they're good matches beyond that. But if it's more important to you to feel like you're getting a few punches in than to actually meet someone, then go for it.

          • There are many women here who can tell you they've also been told to lower their standards when they're having trouble dating. You really think there are many 400 pound women swimming in romantic offers?

            I recommend you stop buying into this idea that women have it so much easier than men, because not only is it inaccurate, but also rage is not a remotely attractive emotion.

          • >You really think there are many 400 pound women swimming in romantic offers?
            Given the amount of BBW porn I can find compared to the amount of BBM porn I can find, I will have to say yes to that question.

            >I recommend you stop buying into this idea that women have it so much easier than men, because not only is it inaccurate, but also rage is not a remotely attractive emotion.
            So tell me again, how many years was Ted Bundy single? Hugo Schwyzer? and so on.

          • So you don't believe even women who are far outside the traditional standards of physical attractiveness regularly struggle with dating. And you seem to think the fact that there are horrific people who are nonetheless able to get into relationships means that rage is attractive (you really think Bundy and Schwyzer were raging at the women they got together with when the women decided to get with them?).

            You clearly care more about maintaining your resentment than facts or logic or having a chance at actually finding a date. Which is up to you. I just don't know why you're bothering to comment on a site that's for helping guys become successful at dating. I'm sure there are plenty of places that will cater to your rage much better. :P

          • While it'd be ridiculous to claim that anyone (far) outside of what's considered conventionally (physically) attractive, I'd argue that with respect to this particular issue, weight, it's easier to at least see a light at the end of the tunnel, for lack of a better term.

            Anecdote Time; Some years ago, around my second year of uni I believe,I stumbled upon a forum for/about BBW/BHM/FA/FFA. In many ways it was quite the revelation for me, a guy who through all of my secondary education (using the general term here as I'm not from the US) considered himself someone that no one could be attracted to, primarily due to weight. Looking at said forum, though one thing quickly became very clear: The BBW-FA coupling was/is by far the dominant constellation, to such a degree that as good as all threads outside the dedicated BHM/FFA board (which from I what gathered had partly been made so that said people wouldn't be squicking out the rest of the forum with all their talk/pictures about/of naked fat guys), assumed said constellation as it's basis for discussionAt the other end of the spectrum FFAs was by far the most uncommon.

          • I have no doubt there are different patterns in the interest in and acceptance of different specific physical features across men and women. My comments in this thread are in response to the original commenter's suggestion that women are never told to lower their standards, and that it's reasonable for him to resent all women just because no one showed an interest in him on a dating site when he was highly overweight. I highly doubt most women as overweight as he says he was (400 pounds) get much if any more interest than he did when they post on a regular dating website. I highly doubt that if said women express the desire to date conventionally attractive men, they aren't often told they should lower their standards.

            And I've never been on a BBW/BHM/FA/FFA forum, so I don't know what the tone is, but it's also worth pointing out that being fetishized for a particular physical feature is very different from someone being interested in a full romantic relationship with you (or even a respectful collaborative sexual relationship). Knowing men exist who would be happy to look at and jerk off to pictures of your naked body doesn't help if you're still struggling to find someone who's happy to actually date you.

            (One other thought that occurs to me: I'm not sure the make up of a forum like that would reflect real life interest very well anyway. It seems men are more likely to be made fun of for being interested in overweight women than women are for being interested in overweight men–there are many overweight men held up in the media as being attractive and/or worthwhile partners and not really at all with women, as one contributing factor–so they're more likely to need to turn to internet forums to express that interest than women are. The women who are into bigger guys are probably more likely to just go out and date those guys, since they feel less pressure against doing so.)

          • I see I forgot a couple of words in the first paragraph (and other places too, I'm sure. I do that a lot). I didn't mean to imply that women have it easier, and no, at that weight women wouldn't have any significant advantage on a conventional dating site.

            The specific forum I was referring to, is very much based in the fat acceptance movement with most threads focusing more general topics related to size, with relationship and sex topics being just as varied as any other board about such things, perhaps with more topics about issues specific to how to be an understanding partner to a fat person, from how give support in face of the discrimination they (we, I guess) have to deal with without being overprotective, to how to deal with visiting friends with flimsy furniture.

            As for women dating overweight men, not as easy as you'd think (again going by the experiences the women on said board). The general theme seems to be not being taken serious, from strangers assuming you're a gold digger, to your own family being worried about you and constantly telling that you can do better (even seen stories were the boyfriends family told the women she could do better).
            And finally it seems a lot guys apparently aren't comfortable with women finding them being fat attractive, freaking out when learning that to be the case.

          • I can't speak to that specific forum, but I wonder whether the fact that there was a dedicated BHM board to avoid "squicking out" the rest of the forum might not have had more to do with resistance to naked pictures of/appreciative conversations about MEN, rather than fat men. In my personal experience, I've seen a lot of straight men uncomfortable looking at any depiction of men as sexual objects. For example, it's rare to see much controversy when a video game introduces the option for the main character to pursue a lesbian romance, but there have been several cases in the recent past (Mass Effect 3 comes to mind) where there were a lot of objections to the introduction of a gay male romantic option. There are definitely men – not all, by any means, but some – who feel that they have to assert their heterosexuality by making it clear that they are "squicked out" by male bodies. I wouldn't be surprised if a forum that included naked pictures of not-fat men and women would also be pressured to quarantine the pictures of men.

          • There's not a lot of visual porn marketed at women, period, and it's not like being fetishized as a derogatory easy lay necessarily translates into polite requests for dinner (lord knows MILF porn hasn't made it any easier for older women to find dates).

            Ted Bundy was generally pretty good at hiding his rage from those around him. Hugo Schwyzer has a shitload of problems, but I don't think rage is really at the heart of what's going on with him – and a lot of his appeal to people was based around his lie of himself as someone who'd erred and then reformed.

          • Schwyzer seems to be the academic equivalent of a con artist. He is an ordinary philanderer who happens to misuse feminism as his schtick to get with women.

          • There's more to it than philandering. When he disclosed that his medical diagnosis was bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, I wasn't especially surprised. The self-harming behavior, the push-pull stuff he does with people where he antagonizes them and then tries to get on their good side, and the compulsive attention-seeking all kind of play into that.

          • Okay, he's a con artist with mental health issues that managed to make a good run at it for a time before his breakdown.

          • Eh, it's more complicated than that. I actually think he mostly believes in a lot of the principles he spoke up on behalf of. But he can't live by them, and he did use his support of feminism to feed into his personal weaknesses.

            A stereotypical con artist is more intentional about things and doesn't feel bad about his behavior.

          • If you read the wikipedia entry about Ted Bundy, its pretty clear that he surprised and kidnapped most of his victims rather than seducing them out right. Real Ted Bundy is very different than the type imagined by Internet Nice Guys.

            Hugo Schwyzer is just an ass.

          • hobbesiean says:

            anyone who looks to ted bundy for dating tips should be beaten to death with their own shoes.. unlike that tiger which just gets taken out with a can of mace..

          • Sumiko Saulson says:

            Feel free to be as bitter as you like and have as "high" standards as you like. It's your life.

          • It could be that women weren't interested because you were dirt poor and overweight. Or it could be that they saw some of the aspects of your character that you're showing here – resentment, rage, self-involvement. I mean, it's not like you were a totally different person back then.

            These days, you might find people willing to tolerate your personality because of good looks and/or money, but yes, that means you're likely to only ever get involved with shallow people. If you don't want to be involved with shallow people, then you need to work on the things that non-shallow people care about. You might have fixed the wrong problems – though obviously I'm glad you are making money and feel good about your body these days!

          • I don't think anyone's saying women "get" to be shallow and men don't. As I read it, the message is, if you write a laundry list of "standards," it will probably turn people off, even those who'd meet your standards. It is aimed at men, (as is this site, generally), but there's nowhere that says it doesn't apply to women.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "Oh yeah right. All those women who were so interested when I was dirt poor and overweight, all 0 of them. No, what enrages me is that I am told to lower my standards, yet somehow it is a ok for women to be as shallow as they like."

            That's not really accurate, it's **attractive** women that get to be as shallow as they like. Unattractive women have it even worse than you did. They also get picked on and belittled by the super shallow super attractive women as well.

            You're not getting back at attractive women by listing out that you have a list of criteria that means that you only want the most attractive women. You're just reinforcing their ego that what they have is what everyone wants.

            If you *really* want to get back at the most attractive women, you'd write a nice profile, get the most attractive women to go out with you on a date, kiss them at the end of the date, then the next day send them a message saying you think you'd rather date this other girl you met and send a picture of a girl who's not very particularly conventionally attractive and tell them you met this other girl and really just connect with her better. Best if that girl is *actually* your girlfriend. There's *nothing* that bothers a hot shallow girl more than getting beaten romantically by a girl she thinks is less attractive than her.

            Of course there's a number of reasons why this would be difficult, but listing out a list of qualities that basically say "I'm looking for a super hot girl" just reinforces to hot shallow girls that everyone wants them.

          • As a not-so-attractive woman, I'd just like to put it out there that I'd much rather one of these revenge-minded dudes found a picture on the internet. I don't want to be anyone's getting back scheme.

          • Sounds like you have a lot of anger at women you find attractive.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            No, and you completely missed the point. It's absurd to say that you're "getting back" at the upper echolon of the most attractive women by having a long list of of criteria that says "I'll only date you if you meet conventional standards for attractiveness".

            You're validating the most conventionally attractive women, the only people who are the negatively affected at all are the unattractive women and the middling attractive women.

            It's like saying you grew up poor, and you're "getting back" at the rich people you felt always snubbed you – by only hanging out with rich people. It's just non-sensical. If your goal was really to "get back" at them for being snubbed, you'd snub the rich people and only hang out with poor or middle class people, then rub it in the rich peoples faces that they're being excluded from something they want to be a part of because they're rich.

            This is all just theoretical, I personally don't find any interest in doing any of these things.

          • Many questions here.

            1. Why are assuming the woman is shallow?

            2. If you have a girlfriend why are you trying to get dates? Unless you're in an open relationship I don't see this relationship lasting long.

            3. How does hurting this woman who did nothing to you somehow get back at the women you feel rejected you?

          • You know, your second point is something i didn't even think of. If it's best that the woman is *actually* your girlfriend, what happens when your girlfriend finds out you have an OkCupid profile that you're using to message women who are much more attractive than her?

            Seems like the only one who ends up suffering in this situation is the less attractive girlfriend, because I suspect the attractive woman will feel a momentary sting at best and then get back to choosing from among the rest of the guys who are interested in her.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "1. Why are assuming the woman is shallow?"

            Most of the most attractive people (of both genders) are pretty shallow.

            "2. If you have a girlfriend why are you trying to get dates? Unless you're in an open relationship I don't see this relationship lasting long."

            Admittedly I didn't spend a lot of time thinking through doing this is a practical manner, it was more a comment directed at the (false) idea that you're "getting back" at the most attractive people by validating them.

            "3. How does hurting this woman who did nothing to you somehow get back at the women you feel rejected you?"

            In my theoretical situation, it was more of a case of multiple dates and choosing to be exclusive with the less attractive girl after the date with the more attractive girl. Like I said, I have little interest in "getting back" at random people, it's not something I thought through thoroughly, I was more trying to make a point.

        • My money is on weight and economy having nothing to do with your problems in getting dates. Some people are jus unpleasant in any shape.

        • Sumiko Saulson says:

          Sorry you're bitter.

    • Sumiko Saulson says:

      The real problem with his list is that it is going to make him unsuccessful (if he is serious). Most people do not feel like reading an essay and then filling out a job application to get a date.

      • Sucks for him then, why care?
        My guess, it makes women feel what it is like to be at the bottom of the market for once. Not really that fun, is it?

        • No, that's not really the reaction I had. I don't think this guy has much of a chance of attracting the 18-year-old of his dreams, nor would I want to convince him to be open to dating someone like me. He'll likely end up attracting no one, or only people who want to argue with him and the usual sex workers and video sites that respond to all Craigslist ads. It's just a good example of how not to write an ad. (And, yes, there are plenty of examples of women being equally ridiculous.)

        • Why care? Er, because this is a blog offering dating advice to men, and it's being offered as an example of what not to do. So the fact that it's likely to make him unsuccessful is pretty relevant.

        • Sumiko Saulson says:

          It's an example of what not to do… notice I said "most people" not "most women"? I think most men, if they were honest, would have to admit that they were disinclined to answer a dating ad that was that anal, nitpicky, and control freaky from someone they never met, who doesn't even post a photo.

        • CaseyXavier says:

          Maybe you wish it made women feel like they were at the bottom of the market upon reading that. Issues much? But mostly it just makes women AND MEN snort with raucous laughter and pass it around for other people to share in their mirth. :) Come on, who reads that and thinks, yeah that puts them snotty bitches in their place!

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Your posts are amusingly self-contradictory.

            "Maybe you wish it made women feel like they were at the bottom of the market upon reading that. Issues much?"

            In other words – It's bad to make fun of people.

            "But mostly it just makes women AND MEN snort with raucous laughter and pass it around for other people to share in their mirth. :)"

            In other words – it's awesome to make fun of people.

            "Come on, who reads that and thinks, yeah that puts them snotty bitches in their place!"

            In other words – it's bad to make fun of people if they're women.

            I see now why you got so upset at my other post – you *are* doing what I was trying to point out. Make fun of men? – Hilarious, everyone should do it, including other men. Make fun of women? – there must be something wrong with you to want to do that.

            I suspect you thought the "Nice Guys of OkCupid" tumblr was hilarious, but an equivalent "Girls with sky high expectations" tumblr would be offensive somehow, yes?

          • You make that tumblr. I will visit and I will laugh.

          • I am going to confess that I would too. I'd visit both because people's variety in wants, needs, presentation, verbal style, etc. fascinate me. I think I'd laugh more at the high maintenance/demands women, though, because I am a woman and know more like that than NiceGuys

          • What I took from CaseyXavier's post is that they're making fun of Anonymous for making fun of people—badly. (As in, lacking skill)

          • SpiltCoffee5 says:

            Your "In other words" are not in other words.

    • The problem with the Craigslist ad wasn't that the guy requested a/s/l before responding to women. It was that he wasn't even willing to reveal his age beyond "30s" until meeting in person, but insisted that women responding to him guarantee ahead of time that they were 18-27 and was intending to check their driver's licenses when they did meet. He's not being reciprocal.

      Throw in the elaborate justifications for 18-year-olds dating older men, the odd concern about his dates having curfews, the rants about women who argue, the refusal to talk about his interests or provide any details about himself beyond the fact that he's financially successful while still being wary of gold-diggers, and it comes across as someone who's setting up a bunch of hurdles to jump over without being willing to explain wny someone should be interested.

      • I should have read that ad a bit more thoroughly the first time. Its really ridiculous. I really can't understand why a lot of men my age think that women much younger than them would want to date them. May-December romances aren't exactly common in real life. I can't really understand the appeal of dating somebody who was a kid when you were teen or an adult. You'll have practically nothing in common in terms of your experience growing up.

      • And lets not forget how he harps on women being 'worthy and deserving' and how older men should date younger women because they have the resources to 'care' for them and that women mature emotionally faster.

        So yeah major red flags there IMO.

    • -Totally understandable for people to become jaded. It still generally makes you less attractive to let that show in your initial interactions with someone (including profile). The article isn't saying there's something wrong with having those feelings, only that it's a bad idea to let them out so indiscriminately and blatantly.

      -If people are making demands at you that you don't like, you don't have to message them. I'm sure there are plenty of women who don't have long lists of demands in their profiles, and that plenty of the women who do miss out on guys who'd otherwise be interested but are turned off by that. As I suggested to Anonymos, responding to something that bothers you by doing the same thing yourself makes pretty much no sense at all.

      • Its getting increasingly harder not to be bitter and jaded because of my repeated experience. When I first started it was easier because just getting a first date was enough. Now I feel stuck.

        When I say that I feel that people are making me jump through hoops, I don't mean that they list a bunch of requirements on their profile. What I meant is that they seem to have a lot that they are expecting in order to progress beyond a first date.

        • Lee, I said right in the first sentence of my comment that it's understandable for people to become jaded. I'm not sure why you're still trying to justify this? Are you saying that you can't be expected to have the self control not to let it come out in your profile? Because that's all that the article was advising against.

          And the article also didn't say you couldn't have lots of expectations of the people you go out with, only that it's a bad idea to list those in detail in your profile/early messages. So again, I'm really not sure what you're arguing against here.

          • I'm just having one of those moments where everybody I know is happily coupled up or enjoying their single life much more than I am. Right now, I have this nightmare running through my head where I'm not going to meet somebody until she is in the middle of a fertility crisis and I'm going to have a lot of very serious decision to make in a short amount of time. I feel like the ants in the fable about the grasshopper and the ants, the version where the ants decide to save the grasshopper's life.

            Yes, I know that other people feel the same.

          • You seem to have been having that moment for months now. I get that you're frustrated, but it gets confusing when you're commenting on a post that has nothing to do with that as if it does. It comes across as if you don't care what problems anyone else might be having, you think the only problems that matter are your own.

            And from what I've seen, when people try to give you advice on this problem–even when it's only loosely or not at all related to the post's topic–you mostly either tell them whatever they're saying is wrong and/or complain about the idea of having to do more work. So why do you keep commenting about it over and over? What do you want from people here?

          • I'm having that moment for months because its been the same thing for months and there is no evidence that its going to change anytime soon. I've been following people's advise, believe it or not, and it hasn't been working. Do this, do that and still no chemistry.

          • So… you've been working on reducing your resentment toward people in relationships and toward women for not wanting second dates with you and/or potentially wanting more from you than they're willing to give in return? On becoming more emotionally expressive, particularly in your voice? Because those are the two main points people have repeatedly raised as the most likely and biggest problem areas in the last few months, and you've repeatedly told us that you don't think the former is really a problem and that you're unwilling to do more work on the latter. And given that your comments here are still often full of resentment and worries about women making unfair demands on you, I find it hard to believe you've secretly been doing much work on that factor.

            It's also been repeatedly suggested that you share your dating profile in the forums so people can tell you if it's presenting you as differently than you may be coming off in person (i.e., the kind of women who your profile appeals to are then not finding you appealing in person, hence the diminishing of interest after the first meeting). I know you haven't done that.

            And it's been repeatedly suggested that you try to find more avenues of meeting women in person, rather than relying strictly on the internet, since that way you can be reasonably sure that if she agrees to a first date, she's into your in-person presentation. You've repeatedly claimed this is all but impossible. Have you actually been trying to do this?

            The only advice I've seen you mention having tried out is going on a date somewhere more interesting than a coffee shop or bar, which is great, but a relatively superficial aspect of the date. If the above issues are getting in your way, changing up date locations and the like isn't going to overcome them.

    • A little while back I came across this letter that Osama Bin Laden wrote shortly after 9/11. It was a list of demands for the US, and reading it was a strangely similar experience to reading that guy's post. Both lists varied wildly between "reasonable" (US needs to stop its military intervention in the Middle East/don't be an asshole) to "batshit insane" (US must enforce Sharia law/you have to read this entire post before messaging me).

      That said, while it's totally okay to have standards (heck, it's encouraged) listing them on your dating post will only hurt your chances.

  5. Long Time Reader, first time commentator.

    My current issue with Online Dating is that I can't seem to find a good way to message someone without sounding like a boring person or a robot. Quite a few women have visited my OKC profile and I'm too afraid of getting rejected.

    • Just keep it short and straight-forward. Mention something in their profile that caught your interest, give a quick detail about how you related to it, and ask a not-too-personal question about it. (E.g., "I'm a big fan of BAND too–caught their concert last year. Have you ever seen them live?") With a first message, it's your profile that'll be doing most of the work; the message is just a statement of interest and a way of indicating you did actually read their profile.

      As far as rejection goes, you just have to accept that it's par for the course. It's not a statement about your worth as an individual, just a natural consequence of lots of people messaging lots of strangers about whom they know relatively little. People will not respond for all sorts of reasons that don't mean you made a mistake or weren't "good" enough, just that they noticed an incompatibility you couldn't have known or whatever.

    • I recommend that you treat your first message as an old-fashioned letter. You read the profile very carefully and find something that you could write about. Make this the basis of your first message.

      • Nothing wrong with that advice, per se, but it's kind of a recipe for burnout to carefully craft paragraphs and paragraphs to a stranger when there's a high likelihood you'll be ignored.

        Mel's advice strikes the right balance – "Hey, I also like BAND; ever seen them live?" Something short 'n sweet to start a conversation, provoke their interest, prove you've read their profile, and shoot the conversational volleyball on their side of court. If they lob it back – awesome, keep going. If no, then whatever – next.

    • Paul Rivers says:

      "My current issue with Online Dating is that I can't seem to find a good way to message someone without sounding like a boring person or a robot."

      It's really one of the more difficult things, one of the areas where I feel like women often don't realize what a foreign skill this is for most guys. It's like finding a girl who's good at Halo. Do they exist? Sure they do! As do guys who can write interesting emails. But for a lot of guys it's a skill they have no practice or skill using outside of dating. Guys will sit around with their guy buddies playing Halo, like girls will sit around texting their girlfriends. Most guys don't text their guy friends in the same way that they would write a message to a girl, and most girls (though not all) don't sit around with their girlfriends playing Halo. It's tough…

      I think Mel's suggestion is probably the best advice that I've seen be successful when I was doing the personals.

      • I don't know, Paul; I think this makes the skill of writing messages on a dating website sound both more and less narrow than it actually is. :)

        To my mind, it's mostly an extension of being good at communicating in writing, full stop. Sure, there are a lot of people who just don't use or encounter the written word much in their everyday lives (they don't work in a field that requires it, they don't read for fun), but it seems like many geeks do. Even if a guy doesn't communicate with his friends in writing that much (and many do, even if it's just something like joking with each other on Facebook), does he have experience writing job applications? Emails to prospective clients? Posting on a blog, or on a discussion forum like this one? Those are all areas that help you practice expressing yourself in text that shows at least a little bit of your personality.

        You might say that none of those is exactly like messaging someone on a dating site, and you'd be right – but neither is texting your established friends exactly like that. I communicate with my good friends through emails and Facebook a lot, but I still had to learn how to approach men on a dating site (I'm a woman). If anything, I think that experience applying for jobs taught me more about how to come up with initial messages than writing to my friends did, because it taught me how to look at what the details I used, and my tone, said about me. That's not something most people are policing in messages to their existing friends.

        tl;dr version: I think that men and women are probably closer in terms of skill at this than you suggest. Both are likely to have at least some kind of experience they can translate into messages to new dates, but both are also likely to need to learn some things from scratch.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          "You might say that none of those is exactly like messaging someone on a dating site"

          Ha, you're right, that's exactly what I was going to say. :D

          "I communicate with my good friends through emails and Facebook a lot, but I still had to learn how to approach men on a dating site (I'm a woman)."

          This is exactly what I mean, though – it's a skill you've already halfways developped. Social communication through emails/facebook.

          For most guys (though not all), they do not send regular emails or texts to their guys friends. Definitely not "let's discuss social and emotional topics" kind of stuff. Do some men do this? Yes, absolutely. But I think most do not, on any remotely regular basis.

          What you're saying that you had to learn is like saying that a guy who played a ton of Call of Duty would have to "learn" how to use a real gun, and fight in a real situation. Sure, he definitely would. But his learning curve is far, far lower than that of a girl who never played video games or handled a gun in her life before would. Or like someone who ridden in cars all their life but never driven one would have also have to learn to actually drive a car – but it's totally different than someone who had never even been inside a car before having to learn one.

          I think you hit it on the head here –
          "Those are all areas that help you practice expressing yourself in text that shows at least a little bit of your personality."

          We don't write text (that much) where our goal is to describe our personality. As a guy, I do not approach writing a job application, emails to prospective clients, or even blogging as a means to "express my personality". My goal is to discuss a topic, or discuss my technical skills, or a job.

          Expressing my personality in person is something that I have practice with. But over email? Nearly never. But you – like a lot of women – practice it all the time with your friends. It's just different.

          • WordyLibrarian says:

            It's really not. Sure, I text my friends, both male and female. I generally communicate with these friends in similar ways. These are people who know me. They know my personality. They know my default attitudes. They know my general tone of voice and the way I use certain phrases. They know my quirks. They know my pet peeves. They know my interests, likes, and dislikes. They have buckets of context and background for any message I send them. The fact that I'm used to texting, "what are you up to, hookerpants?" really doesn't provide me with any detectable advantage when trying to write appealing messages to strangers. I'll happily text my girlfriends, "omg I just started my period, bled all over the damn bed, and I'm out of laundry detergent. I hate my life. Everyone sucks. I want to tear out my uterus." I'm reasonably certain that such a message would send most potential partners running for the hills. I've SAID it, and if a potential partner sent me that, I would run for the hills.

            The thing is, online dating messaging skills are about expressing your personality to a stranger in its best possible light. Messaging your friends is about expressing your thoughts to people who are already intimately familiar with your personality and will give you the benefit of the doubt if something stupid flies out of your mouth/fingers. It can sort of provide practice for communicating via the written word, but almost any form of writing provides better practice. In fact, if anything, I would suggest that so much friend texting could instill lazy communication habits that are likely to be problematic when messaging complete strangers.

            I will grant that women, as a very fuzzy and general rule of thumb, tend to have more practice with reading social cues in general, whether in person or in writing. We have more practice with the thought process of, "is what I'm trying to say going to be what this other person hears?" We have more practice with the thought process of, "will what I'm saying make me sound like a bitch/slut/moron?" After all, we're conditioned pretty heavily to be friendly, polite, and pleasant. We're also conditioned to worry about what other people think – about the impression we are sending to people who do not know us at all. That requires at least some awareness of the impression you're sending.

            Also, I will flat out say that women, as a group, have a GIGANTIC advantage over men, as a group, in one online area. We're so conditioned to be aware of our physical appearance that we're more likely to have some idea of the difference between good pictures and bad pictures. It's certainly not universal, but it is a very noticeable trend. Taking a picture of yourself from a lower angle directly in front of you is not flattering for anyone ever. If you're a bigger guy, a picture of you from the hips up leaning back in a computer chair is NOT flattering. Lighting can make an incredible difference. Basically, get comfortable with the selfie. Take an obnoxious amount of pictures, adjusting things like angle and face expression, and pick the best one. If your only picture is from half a football field away, I'm going to assume there's a good chance that you're not particularly attractive and that you're really self-conscious about it.

            Of course, even the apparent advantages women may seem to have are a very mixed blessing. It just means our competition is tougher. Dr. Nerdlove is absolutely correct that it is SO easy to stand out from the crowd as a guy, at this point. I just sent another message in an exchange with a guy who has yet to squick me out at all after about 20 messages total. That is so mind-bogglingly nearly too good to be true that if there is ANY spark when we meet it will take a large portion of my self control not to tear his pants right off of him. He only looks better and better when his competition is repeatedly calling me, "my fair lady," or introducing himself by asking me to roleplay luring him into a green-glowstick kryptonite sex trap.

            When I first made my OKC profile I hadn't been on there 15 minutes when I received a message from pussylover something or other saying "want a dicking?" His profile picture was a cockshot. I had uploaded all of one picture and had yet to fill out ANY text. The bar is not being set very high by your fellow men. If you can be non-squicky and even mildly interesting, you are better off than you realize, I promise.

  6. You would THINK that these social guidelines would be a given.

    Men aside, girls on OKCUPID aren’t much better. It’s so crazy how picky women are for being on there in the first place. Its called knowing your demographic.

    • Downvote for dichotomizing men and girls. But I'm sure there are women who are shooting themselves in the foot as well, but they've got a lot more cultural messages telling them to settle.

      • This might be because I'm not a woman, but do women really get a lot of cultural messages telling them to settle? As far as I can tell, a lot of media aimed at women tell them that they shouldn't settle for anything less than Mr. Right, Prince Charming, or the Bad Boy of their dreams. A lot of the romances where a woman ends up with somebody who is less than perfect tend to be aimed at men; the movies that tell boys and men not to settle for anybody less than their desires. Maybe outside of media women are getting messages to settle but I really can't thing of any examples in media specifically aimed at women rather than men.

        • Yes, we do. Obviously romantic comedies and romance novels don't stress this, as they're escapism for women, but I think it's worth considering that movies with a male gaze include a lot of movies that are marketed equally to and watched equally by both men and women. Beyond that, outside fiction, women get very strong messages that it's wrong of them to expect anything more than commitment and financial solvency from their partners. Among women who reject the idea of the male breadwinner, there's sometimes kind of a thread that it's wrong of them to expect anything of all from their partners other than a lack of abuse.

          • I guess why I find this puzzling is that I'm failing to understand exactly is meant by settling. When I hear the word settle, I interpret it as having realistic standards, meaning that I'm probably not going to meet a hot and sexy buxom French redhead whose smart and has a personality thats perfect for me. When I hear women saying they feel pressured to settle, it seems that they mean something more than having realistic standards.I don't think that there is really anything wrong in saying to people that you should have realistic standards rather than ridiculous standards.

          • Dating someone you don't like very much. Dating someone you don't like sleeping with. Dating someone who you only feel like sleeping with when you're drunk. Dating someone 20 years older when 20 years older isn't really your thing. Dating someone you don't share enough common interests to have much to talk about besides the basic events of the day. Dating someone who you don't respect and who you'd never want to be like. Dating someone who doesn't outright abuse you, but who you feel treats you poorly and who doesn't give you the sort of relationship you'd want.

            And, yes, most women I know who are single past 25 or so have at some time another felt pressured to date someone who falls into one of those categories. There's not expecting the world, and then there's settling. Not expecting the world means you can find someone who you mostly like being in a relationship with but who's not perfect. Settling never really provides much besides having a relationship for the sake of having a relationship.

          • This might be a generational and a socio-economic thing but I literally know nobody whose been told this by their parents or anybody else. I'm not privy to every conversation and all their intimate secrets but I would be really surprised if any woman that I know well heard this. My mom, born in 1946, definitely never heard this from her parents. All of these things seem decidedly pre-feminist* and from a more socio-economic perspective, something that girls and women from lower-middle class and working class families would hear more than in the middle and upper-middle class circles I tend to run in. In my social circles, being unmarried in your early thirties or just married is the norm.

            *A lot of this actually sounds so un-modern that it sounds old-fashioned and out of place before feminism. It just doesn't jibe with what Americans expected from relationships for most of the 20th century. The closest I could thing of to the above where being with a loser or jerk of a man was considered better than being an unmarried mother.

          • Or perhaps it's a gender thing and your female friends aren't talking about this with you. I assure you that upper middle class women in New York still get these messages, because I was one when I was in my late 20s. The tone is a bit different than the settling pressure I get now, but it's still settling pressure.

            The upper middle class version hits a few years later than 25 in the biggest cities, but it still hits. The song and dance goes that you're aging, and if you want to have babies or even just get a second glance from a man who's within a decade of your age, you should mostly look at whether the man is on an okay enough career track and not care so much if you find him sexually appealing or enjoy his company or like the way he treats you. The "or else" attached isn't that you'll be poor and unable to support yourself, but that you'll be unable to have children or be consigned to the 40+ dating pool where the only interested men will be even older and less appealing than the ones who don't currently interest you.

          • TheWanderingDude says:

            From what I hear from my female friends and from what i've witnessed myself. It seems to be done in a very passive aggressive way.
            It can come from family or friends making casual comments obviously aimed at someone. Or asking questions in a way that would make someone feel bad.
            But yeah, it exists.
            Me and my current girlfriend are both 33 without children. We both had to deal with that pressure before meeting each other. But I think it was worse for her than for me.

          • I have had people passive aggressively hint that I "settled" when they hear what my boyfriend's job is because it required less education than my job. Oddly enough, I get it from both men and women, which kind of surprised me. I thought it was more of a woman-woman thing to get judgy on this topic, but men seem to give me raised eyebrows in equal measure. It isn't due to income either, because with OT he and I are probably close most of the time.

            People are weird.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            "…or be consigned to the 40+ dating pool where the only interested men will be even older and less appealing than the ones who don't currently interest you."

            I guess that makes me an "or else" these days.

          • It's something that gets held over the heads of women who are old enough that other people think they should settle down but not old enough to have practical experience with that dating group.

            And, let's be real here for a little bit: the further you go up in age in the dating pool, higher percentages of the available men are looking for younger partners, higher percentages are looking for significantly younger partners, and higher percentages are only open to dating younger partners. A lot of the men I know who are in their 40s mostly look to date women in their 30s, and more than a few of them would prefer to date women in their later 20s. It seems that the preference gap gets even bigger for men in their 50s.

            That's not to say it's hopeless or anywhere near as bad as people make it out to be or that women over 40 can't find great relationships with guys over 40, but the dynamics of age and dating can be leveled against women in a pretty scary way even if they aren't interested in having children. Run them through the minds of people who'd like some grandchildren or who want women they know to feel bad about their prospects or who want to pressure their friend into dating their annoying cousin, and it gets pretty ugly. It's nothing to do with you, or anyone else, specifically. It's a scare tactic.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            Having tried to date past 40, I think one of the reasons people (not just men, mind you) my age often try to date younger is that it feels like the dating pool around our age has dried up to the point that there's nothing left but brine shrimp eggs. These days, if I see a woman not wearing a ring, I can pretty safely assume that she's too young to be interested in me.

          • I can understand that's a concern as well, especially in smaller communities.

            The ones I hear more often are from women in that position, and a lot of them tend to complain that men in their own age groups are there and are aware they're single/divorced, but are mostly looking for younger women for various reasons – they still want to have biological children and want a partner who can have them, they want a partner who doesn't have children or too many responsibilities (whether or not they themselves have kids and responsibilities), they simply find younger women more attractive, and so on. Or at least it's kind of a problem in our little geeky circle, where we have sort of a daisy chain of people who have friend zoned each other.

            Regardless, this is more about rhetoric than reality. I don't think guys get exposed to this sort of browbeating very often, but it is out there and I think a lot of women have had to deal with it.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            Oh, I'm sure women have to deal with this. I'm just a bit cranky about being turned into a bugaboo.

            FWIW, a lot of the complaints from older single women about their male counterparts might just as easily come from older single men about their female counterparts: "they still want to have biological children and want a partner who [wants to] have them, they want a partner who doesn't have children or too many responsibilities (whether or not they themselves have kids and responsibilities)"

          • You're not really the bugaboo, though, since you're only in your early 40s yourself if I recall correctly and that's the age group that most 40 women want to date in and would also be the age (at least) that any husband they settled for would be if they waited for 10 or 15 years to pass and were in their 40s themselves. Basically, the bugaboo is the guy who's kind of like your father.

            I think the biological children thing does tend to fizzle out a little bit earlier for women than for men. Women who are 43 or 44 generally accept that there aren't going to be biological kids in their futures, while it seems like there's a small but contentious group of guys who continue to try to date younger women with the intention of having kids into their 50s or so.

            I don't think I've ever met a woman with children who wasn't open to dating men with children, though I suppose I only interact with the opposite version of that because being childfree attracts people with that set of rules and that childfree men have probably run into them. As for childfree folks finding each other, yes, we do gum up the works a bit for people we run into. But it's also tough for us to find each other, so there's at least a little black comfort in the stress being shared all around.

          • It doesn't sound like you're the bugaboo unless you only hit on women 20 years your junior, but maybe I'm not understanding the nuances of the idea.

          • For most people under 30, yes, someone over 40 is often an 'or 'else,' because most people want to date someone roughly within their age group. For people of a similar age, not so much.

            Almost everyone is an "or else" to some people.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            I was reading it as, "settle down while you're young, because if you don't, you'll have to settle down when you're old, and the selection of older singles is awful."

          • Yeah, that's not really what I meant, or at least not what I felt I was hearing from other people. The message I got was more 1) settle down while you're young if you want any hope of biological children and 2) settle down while you're young even if you don't want children, because pretty soon, you'll reach a point where the only interested men are older retired guys who are looking for younger women to keep house for them.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            I wonder whether I'd get any mileage out of a caveat in my profile that I'm perfectly capable of cooking and cleaning for myself, thank you very much.

          • Just to be clear here, I'm thinking more of women in their late 40s pairing up with 60-something widowers, not 40-something divorcees.

            That being said, while I suspect a flat disclaimer would come across as defensive, I think women of all ages appreciate it when a man drops a subtle reference to knowing how to cook. It's a sign of lots of good things – maturity and self-sufficiency (good in all age groups, and essential for a lot of women past young adulthood), willingness to share household burdens, reasonably progressive views on gender. Cleaning's a tougher one to mention, since unlike cooking, it doesn't double as an interest.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            My first Thanksgiving home from college was shortly after my parents broke up. Dad had figured out how to use the dryer, but he was unaware of the existence of the lint trap; I pulled out two months' worth of accumulated felt. I'm not surprised that he ended up remarrying.

          • Oh dear. Though, you know, I don't think my father would be a lot more competent at laundry and I know he just eats fast food all the time when my mother's away. I have no clue what he'd do if she died or they broke up.

            Thankfully, I think most guys I've met who are under 50 or so aren't quite that helpless, whether or not they've been married. Still doesn't hurt to work it in if you have some domestic skills, though. I think it was kleenestar who mentioned on the forums in a different context that a lot of women fear getting saddled with a guy who's sort of a drain on both the financial and domestic fronts. Obviously, you're fine on the first count, but I think it can help to drop some hints that you don't have a problem handling the domestic stuff either.

          • OldBrownSquirrel says:

            My mom made a point of making sure I could function independently before I left for college, and that included how to do laundry, cook, simple home maintenance and repair, etc. I'm not sure Dad ever got such lessons.

          • Your mom sounds like a smart lady.

            I agree with what others said, that mentioning cooking = good idea, mentioning cleaning = kinda weird, mentioning a disinterest in cohabitation (if you have one) = good idea.

          • WordyLibrarian says:

            Plus, if a guy mentions being able to cook, I assume that probably means they know how to clean up their own mess. A) They'd have to unless they're practicing their cooking skills in a disaster zone.
            B) Cooking is one of those domestic tasks that seems to get lumped in with cleaning, laundry, and other self-sufficient stuff.

          • I do think it wouldn't hurt for you to follow Eselle's advice, OBS. I know a few women in their early 40s who are divorced with grown kids (18+) and are having trouble finding men who are 40+ who don't want their own kids and aren't looking for a housekeeper. One of the ways they screen in online dating is to look for men who cook and indicate that they are not wanting to cohabitate any time soon (if ever).

          • 40+ men are not usually an "or else" for 40+ women. They *are* usually an "or else" for women half their age. You keep getting hung up on the idea that you're too old to date, and that's not true at all. The point Eselle is making is not that middle-aged people are universally unappealing as dating prospects (they aren't) but that women being told to settle are not infrequently told they should be perfectly fine with settling for someone not even in the neighborhood of their own age demographic.

          • I started getting this when I graduated college. I know many, many women who had a similar experience, though for most it kicked in if they weren't married / on the road to marriage by twenty-five instead of twenty-one.

          • Ugh, so early! My parents still side-eye the idea of grand children in the near future.

          • IDontBelieveWe'veMet says:

            Long time reader, first time caller, too. :) Lee, I was told by my mother, during the dissolution of my marriage, "Honey, do you want to be right, or do you want to be married?".

            This woman was a first wave feminist, one of her few peers who worked in the 60s and 70s, and this was her advice. Basically, it boiled down to "suck it up, honey, because your biggest asset is your husband."

            (Turns out, I wanted to be right, more than married. Who knew? ;) )

            Mette

          • I definitely don't know any women who felt pressured into dating somebody who was twenty years older than them. I know women in relationships with significant age differences but that was a willing choice. I'm sorry, the above paragraph is just alien in my social circles. I can't relate to it all.

          • Well, then don't relate to it. I experienced it when I was working as a lawyer and living in the same city that you do now, when I was told by a number of people that it was unrealistic for a rather plain woman approaching 30 to expect to find a youngish man with anything to offer who was interested, and that if I really wanted to be smart about things, I'd look for men over 45.

          • Perhaps, one of my fears is that I'm the type of man that women settle for rather than somebody that they really want. If like were a movie, I'd be cast as the Romantic Runner Up in Tv Tropes terms. My impression from most of my dates is that they didn't hate me or anything but they saw me as okay, unless they were all acting many of them did seem to have at least something of a good time, but deficient in something or other that would make me boyfriend material or even give him another try material. I've seen the female glaze and how women look at men they are really interested in and nobody has ever given me that look. I might end up as the boyfriend you don't need to be a girlfriend to.

            As a result, I'm afraid that I'm going to have a choice between being perpetually single or being in a type of relationship that I don't want with a woman that I'm not really attracted to. On this site, I'm constantly reminded that the type of woman I like is a popular type with a lot of options, which is an indirect way of saying that I should settle.

          • Rarely do women settle that way, where they would prefer choice A (an actual, identifiable human) but are going with choice B (another actual, identifiable human, but not as great). That's Rom-com right there. Not saying that women don't pine or have unrequited crushes, but people generally don't date one person when they really would rather be dating a different person once they leave high school.

            What people will do, however, is have an idealized person in their head that they would rather be dating and compare all living breathing humans to that Platonic GF/BF (ha, the most confusing use of the word "Platonic" ever?) Sometimes, that Platonic ideal takes the vague form of a living breathing human, but it's never really about that person qua person, but about the mental image of that person.

            "Good" settling is realizing that no one is perfect. "Good" settling is realizing that someone who makes you feel incredibly happy but isn't your preferred body type might be worth a shot. (I never did understand the obsession with looks- that shit goes away, personality sticks.) Another "good" settling is realizing exactly what you said in your last paragraph- the other person is also a person with, in your case, her own wants, needs, desires, and hang-ups. Women and men both have to reach these conclusions, if they want to get out of the high school phase of dating and have actual adult relationships. The reason women sometimes feel like they're being told to settle in a bad way is that we also have this dang "biological clock" business and are subject to constant insinuation that other achievements notwithstanding, their primary goal is to be a mother. And like it or not, that has a time line. So at certain periods of women's lives, the message is any XY without glaring defaults should be good enough.

            There's actually a reason that Rom-coms have that runner-up trope. From what I've seen of how this actually plays out, in real life, the Runner-up is the guy your mom's best friend knows and is desperately trying to set you up with and the fantasy part is that Mr. Perfect from your head arrives just in time to shut down the Baby Greek Chorus.

            And I say this as an actual female, actually 25, and actually partnered, the reality is more that love doesn't even match what we think it should be in our own heads and is an elusive and surprising beast.

            Also, in the physical looks department… this is where you can and maybe should settle. Here's why: sexual chemistry is very important, but it's more that just a cursory glance determination. A lot of chemistry builds over time, a slow burn versus a flashover. Also, physical attraction is no guarantee of sexual chemistry. (I'm straight but I can say that Megan Fox is physically ideal, but lord she looks like she has the personality of toast, for example.) And, physical looks fade over time. Thus is the nature of the beast. If the only thing a woman thinks she has that interested you is her looks, she's gonna tread carefully. Pop culture is also full of what happens to the pretty young things who ain't so pretty no more. Personally, I was insulted when men insinuated that I was hot and nothing else (and not just because I'm not exactly an HB10).

          • I agree with all of this. Any regular reader on this site should know that the idea instantaneous chemistry is a big pet peeve of mine. Physical looks are an area where I'm very willing to settle on. I know they fade with time, at least at current levels of medical technology. I'd take intelligence and somebody to talk to over conventional attractiveness anyday.

            Likewise, I know that any woman that I end up with is going to have her own wants, needs, desires, and hang-ups and part of being a good boyfriend/husband is fulfilling those needs to the best of my ability. My concern is that a lot of people seem to still be at the high school level and I'm the one who has to be at least somewhat more mature about. As a result my wants, needs, desires, and hang-ups are basicalyl irrelevant.

          • You keep making claims like that the women you go on dates with are concerned with superficialities ("at the high school level") and see your wants and needs as irrelevant. You've only gone on one date with these people. You really don't know why they aren't interested enough to want to go on a second date. Many/most/all of them may very well be making that decision from a perfectly mature standpoint of having been in other relationships and seeing things in you that they know would make you incompatible in one way or another, and you have no reason to assume this isn't the case. Nor do you have any reason to assume they'd consider your wants and needs irrelevant if they did actually decide to get into a relationship with you. The whole point of the initial dates is to decide whether you're into the person enough that you care about meeting their wants and needs! If a person's not into you… then yeah, it doesn't really matter what you want out of a relationship, because they don't want any relationship with you. It's not like they're belittling your desires in some way, they just don't return them.

            Letting yourself believe that these women are all just immature and selfish is one more way of deflecting the problem off you and encouraging yourself to resent them, which is only going to make your situation worse.

          • Your right, I have no idea why the women I go out on dates with are rejecting me but neither do you. All I can do is judge from external appearances since I can't read minds. I know I've been on dates where the woman was visibly not having a good time and knew that trying to get a second date would be useless. However, I've also been on dates where they seemed to be having a lot of fun and dates lasted a long time and still didn't get a second date. They might have rejected me for mature reasons or not. I don't know.

          • Then why not assume they rejected you for perfectly reasonable reasons, rather than that they were being superficial or immature? I'm assuming you wouldn't have asked to meet them or asked for a second date if they'd appeared to be overly superficial or immature in other ways.

          • Its a bit of psychic wage situation. I'm at the point where the entire process of looking for people to date and than going on dates with them is becoming less and less fun. I hate the chase and suck at it. At the same time, I do not want to be perpetually single so I feel that I have no choice but to continue. I'm bound by the courtship rules set up by society. Repeated rejection is no fun and imagining the worse allows some solace.

          • But it's solace at the expense of embitterment and dislike of the people you're trying to convince to like you–i.e. not helping.

          • You talk regularly about wanting to have the kind of relationship that recalls certain sorts of high school or college dating. Some of what goes with that is people making quick judgments based on instant compatibility and physical attraction, being a little self-centered, and a tendency to look at things in terms of short term benefits versus long term practicality.

            Rather than fighting against concepts like chemistry, I think you'd do a lot better to anticipate the kinds of things women seeking short term relationships would want and demonstrate you can provide them. Traits like responsibility, professional success, caution, and diligence aren't so much desired in those sorts of relationships. Being able to be fun and spontaneous, romantic, physical, and a little bit of a risk tends to do much better. Alternately, if the sorts of things I described sound unappealing and you'd rather have a partner who can take a more mature view of the world, then it may be time to seek out other models of romance (there are ones out there besides splendor in the grass and marriage with children) and instead work on showing more mature, patient women that you have the capacity to be good at those forms of dating.

          • The thing is this, I'm really not sure what people mean by fun, spontaneous, romantic, physical, and risk taking. Generally I consider my self a fun person in that I'm willing to try out new things. Since I dance, I know how to be physical when its appropriate to touch somebody and often at least try some physical contact on a date; so I consider myself a physical person. I'm not touch adverse. As to spontaneous, I'm flexible and try not to be to wielded to a specific schedule or get to out of whack when plans change suddenly. As to risk taking, I'm up for anything that isn't likely to result in physical harm to myself or others.

            I don't see myself as devil may care but I'm not a stuffed shirt either. My self-perception is somebody thats fun, spontaneous, and romantic but tempered a bit by prudence.

          • This is why I've suggested on a few different occasions that you look around for examples of men who have the sorts of relationships that appeal to you with the sort of women who you want. A lot of this is seeing it in motion.

            There may be a considerable difference between your self-perception (or even the deep, true reality of you) and the self that you're portraying to others in initial meetings. I would particularly point out that in talking about fun and spontaneity and risk taking, you're sounding a bit reactive – like someone who'd be fine tagging along with someone who suggested adventures within your limits, but not necessarily as if you incorporate these things into your daily life or would even be the one suggesting them to a partner. I suspect you'd do better if you seemed like someone who initiated these things, since it's hard to show you're a willing go along in a short period of time, and that's not as positive of a trait in many cases anyway.

            Basically, what you should think about trying to get across is why a woman who's shopping for just the kind of relationship you want should decide that you're just the guy for it, not the other dozen guys who just messaged her who might also be up for tagging along.

          • A lot of the guys that get me somewhat to very envious come across as incredibly cocky and unreflective. They exude a type of brash self-confiedence that states that they are hot stuff. To use a contemporary musical example, they can sing Blurred Lines without irony. There is nothing subtle about them. Its a sort of confidence born out of many successes.

            I really don't know if I could pull this off. I'm confident but its a much more subtle type of confidence that isn't flashy. Its an understated confidence based around simply doing something than boasting about it and showing off. The problem is that I don't know what type of relationship is good for somebody with this sort of personality.

          • Are those actually the guys who are dating the female friends who you'd like to date yourself? If so, are they all of the guys who are dating women you'd find desirable? It sounds like you know a large number of women and find many of them appealing. Of my female friends, there are some trends, but there isn't one universal type that's preferred and certainly not such a negative one.

            If this isn't actually who your friends prefer, then I'd forget about those particular examples and focus on the ones being set by guys who attract the women you know. If all of your friends really are dating Robin Thicke types…well…then I think it might be time for a little soul searching about what you really want in a partner and whether you might be suited to a different sort of woman who's both more like you and more likely to appreciate a guy like you.

          • No, its not who all of my female friends are in relationship with but the ones who aren't like that seemed basically to end up by sheer dumb luck. I can't identify with any of the people they date though.

          • Sounds like your perception is being biased by your preconceived ideas of the type of man who "gets" all the women.

          • Really? I think it might be worth spending some time thinking about why that is, and whether there aren't any elements of how they portray themselves that you might be able to incorporate into your persona while still keeping other elements of your current one. And, no, you shouldn't assume the non-Robin Thicke sorts are dumb luck.

          • By dumb luck, I meant that a disproportionate number of my couple friends met during college. They tended not to marry till about ten years after graduation but they met their spouses fairly early.

            In the dance community, I've noticed that the cocky type tends to be at least somewhat popular but I think that goes. Other friends that are more successful tend to be better at the chase and get more pleasure out of it.

          • Those are still the men they chose to be with. I really think doing some observation and imitation might help.

          • Also, "enjoying the chase" doesn't sound quite as far as "able to unironically sing about date rape" to me.

          • When I ask for a second date, I usually always suggest some sort of activity. I've done this on first dates but it tends to backfire. A recent example is this, a woman on OkCupid contacted me a few weeks ago about dancing. We exchanged a few messages and I asked her if she would like to join me for a dance lesson. She said yes and I gave a few times where i could arrange it. The woman said she could really only do it on Sunday. The problem is that Sundays are dead days for studios. We ended up meeting for dinner and it was still the most expensive date of my life. I asked her out again but haven't heard anything.

            Its not finding something to do or suggesting an activity thats hard, its suggesting something thats happening within another person's schedule. This is why I feel that I'm being made to jump through hoops at times. Its not very spontaneous if you have to have a bunch of different activities that could fall within a person's available free time. I need a little flexibility in that regard.

          • This doesn't have to relate to your activities on your dates. You can tell stories about times you were spontaneous and did fun spur of the moment things. This is the crafting a narrative about yourself bit that you need to splice into your questions about your date.

          • This woman (probably) wasn't being busy *at* you. The fact that other people have commitments isn't a hoop that you're being made to jump through, and I'm a little disturbed that you appear to see it that way.

          • "On this site, I'm constantly reminded that the type of woman I like is a popular type with a lot of options, which is an indirect way of saying that I should settle."

            No, it's giving you a reality check about the lives and options of the women you describe. If you are going after women with lots of dating options, then you're only going to get dates if you stand out from the pack in some way. You can react to that by finding ways to stand out or by "settling" or by lots of things in between.

          • I'm one of the people who occasionally reminds you of that, and no, it's not an indirect way of saying that you should settle. It's a response to your questions about why the women you go out with have high expectations of first dates and aren't necessarily willing to give men extended periods of time to prove themselves. The women you're going out with (not all women, just these women) have a lot to offer themselves and the reality of their dating lives looks different than yours. Understanding that makes a lot of things about dating make more sense.

            There are a few different ways of dealing with that. One of them is settling and seeking out women who have difficulty finding second dates themselves and who'd be excited to be asked on one, but I think I've always mentioned that settling isn't a very appealing option. Another is doing what you're doing now but more patiently, with the understanding that it might take awhile to meet a woman who's both your type and either quickly drawn to you or willing to suspend her opinion until she's been on a few dates. The last would be to improve your ability to portray yourself as a romantic, passionate, fun, spontaneous person who'd be a good candidate for the sort of short term relationship you desire. It seems you've learned to be a pleasant, polite first date, but that's not really the skill set that's desired in the sort of short term affair you're seeking.

          • Completely agree here. Pleasant, polite, and a good conversationalist are traits that are good for long-term relationship-seekers who are looking for general compatibility.

            It basically comes down to what people have been saying on this forum for a while: you send out a very mixed signal, in that you come across like a guy looking for long-term compatibility and yet desire short-term fun and fancy frolicking. Just like it's incredibly difficult to attract an Olympic athlete if you're a couch potato, you have to BE the thing you seek…. in this case, that means irreverent, spontaneous and fun.

          • At this point, I've kind of settled into the second option by default even though it isn't really that enjoyable. Its like repeatedly falling off a horse and getting back on while you attempt to learn to ride.

            Its not that I'm looking for a short-term relationship per se. What I'm looking for is a relationship where the end goal isn't marriage from the get go or as you put it, a marriage-track relationship. If I end up married or in a long-term relationship so be it but what I don't want is a sense that a person is going through the motions or is giving off a been there, done that vibe.

          • You might want to consider dating slightly younger women, say expand your age range from 27-34 to 24-34. Younger women may be less interested in a long term relationship right off the bat. Not saying this would fix everything, but it would give you a wider dating pool and possibly include more women OK with more casual dating

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "I definitely don't know any women who felt pressured into dating somebody who was twenty years older than them. I know women in relationships with significant age differences but that was a willing choice. I'm sorry, the above paragraph is just alien in my social circles. I can't relate to it all."

            Yeah, I can't relate either. I have heard of advice to settle, but it's never been that extreme. Certainly not saying it doesn't happen, but I'm sure I'd hear complaints about it from many of the people I know if the advice was that extreme.

            Plus, I'm not sure I find it quite as dramatic as it sounds to say that someone received advice to do something. I've received advice not to go to college from my own dad – I didn't take it. It was heavily outweighed by the onslaught of "go to college" advice I received in general as well. I'm not sure isolating just the "settle" advice from the onslaught of "you should never have to settle" advice really makes sense…

            As I said elsewhere, I think it's a cultural thing that applies to guys regarding girls looks. When was the last time you ever saw a movie or tv show where the guy has an option between 2 women, and he ends up with the "attractive but less attractive than the other girl" girl and it turns out well? (If he goes for the less attractive girl something bad usually happens – she betrays him, it doesn't work out, etc and he ends up with the more attractive girl anyways.)

          • Just because you've never heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Do single women in their 30's talk to you about their arguments with their parents much?

          • Paul Rivers says:

            I dunno, when I was 25 other 25 year olds definitly did. I had a little to much of a knack for being the guy women talked to.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          "but do women really get a lot of cultural messages telling them to settle?"

          Yeah, I get the impression that they get a never ending stream of messages never to settle, and that if they're important they should have sky high expectations. Then eventually they start getting some messages to settle.

          Having been told 8 bazillion different ways that they should never settle, and they should realistically expect everything they ever desired, when they start getting a few messages saying they should lower their expectations, those really stand out as being odd.

          I think this is one of the reasons why people often have a lot more trouble getting into a successful long term relationship after their freshman year in college – at a certain point the list of expectations is just to huge.

          P.S. To be fair, I don't think it's really any different for guys except that what the expectations are and how they're communicated are different. There was a cracked(com) article a while back that talked about how guys come to expect attractive women because the good guy *always* gets the good looking girl. In the last decade, if there's a less attractive girl with romantic/sexual tension, she always ends up turning out "bad" or something like that. (Like when I saw the last Batman movie, and Bruce Wayne sleep with the less-attractive girl, I was sure she would turn out to be evil or betray him in some way – and sure enough she did.)

          • hobbesiean says:

            wait.. what's wrong with Maria Cotilliard?

          • Paul Rivers says:

            That's an odd response…wait, is this one of those things were the comment system messed up who you were replying to?

          • hobbesiean says:

            ". (Like when I saw the last Batman movie, and Bruce Wayne sleep with the less-attractive girl, I was sure she would turn out to be evil or betray him in some way – and sure enough she did.) " The woman who played the part you are referring too, the only person that Wayne slept with was Maria Cotillard.

            I'm asking what makes her less attractive than uhh.. crap i can't even think of the other woman's name who played cat woman.. I mean okay personal preference aside to me they look pretty much the same to me at least..

          • Paul Rivers says:

            Dude, it was this – http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/

            V.s. this – http://cdn.crushable.com/files/2012/10/anne-hatha

            I mean the movie was deliberately *trying* to make her "attractive, but not as attractive as Anne Hathaway" – http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/08/05/article

            Aribitrary standards are arbitrary, and you can certainly have a different opinion. But I felt that that the movie was making a deliberate choice to make Maria Cotilliard the "attractive, but not as attractive as Anne Hathaway" character. Less makeup, dressing her up in less attractive clothing, less attractive expressions on her face, etc etc. So when I was pretty sure that when she slept with Bruce Wayne, following the trope of "the less visually attractive women is never a better choice" that later she was going to betray him or turn out to be evil or something. I really should have realized that she was the main villian, because by this standard she actually had to one-up Anne Hathaways egregious betrayal, and this was one of the only ways to do it.

          • "I think this is one of the reasons why people often have a lot more trouble getting into a successful long term relationship after their freshman year in college – at a certain point the list of expectations is just to huge. "

            Couldn't possibly have to do with the completely different social climates people are in after college, could it? It's going to be a lot easier to date when you're in a closed environment with a bunch of people your age and social class, who often are preselected by college choice to have other similarities to you, and where you know no one, eliminating barriers to relationships such as past history, entanglements with friends, etc.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            I agree with you, but that's why I said "one of the reaons".

  7. There's a reason I don't do OKC anymore.

    The guys on there are horrible. And then they complain that nobody wants them and that everyone is shallow and OH GOD WHY WON'T ANYONE GIVE ME A CHAAAANCE? I've told guys time and again: scan the girl's profile, find a conversation starter ("Oh, you like Harry Potter too!") and go from there. You're still throwing stuff at the void, but you're also more likely to get a response.

    The girls aren't much better, though. I used a friend's OKC pic and tried to see if I could get him dates. The women are incredibly picky, often extremely rude, their profiles tend to have a long list of "musts", and feels more like a job interview than… well, anything resembling romance. I mean, given that I know where they're coming from, I sort of know where some of that is coming from, but a lot of the behavior on there is just really bad on both sides.

    • Paul Rivers says:

      Yeah, unfortunately, it's a bit of a self-sustaining ecosystem. :-( Well meaning people do sign up, but for both genders what you wrote above is true. There's lots of people on the site (of both genders) who are just jerks. The other thing is mostly that the jerks are the loudest – one guy who sends out mass nasty emails, or one girl who's cute but a complete flake gives everyone the feeling that the whole thing is a bit untenable.

  8. Sumiko Saulson says:

    When I was single, I really couldn't connect through OK Cupid – the problem with it is, everyone I know seems to be on there, and was getting too much (unwanted and disturbing) information about people I already knew. Fortunately, none of them confessed to jacking off in a fedora.

  9. I wish I'd get responses to 20% of messages that I send. Currently it's solidly at zero, and my profile/messages have none of the problems discussed. I am surprised (not really, actually) that such things aren't self-evident to people:

    1) bitterness? Well, here's a hint: no one gives a crap how bad you feel, and listening about it is no one's favourite pastime.

    2) a list of requirements and nit-picks? Surprise, you're coming off as an annoying infantile prat, who expects the world to revolve around them (oh, yes, women are so guilty of this, too), while they get to submerge themselves in complacency.

    3) genitals in names and initial messages? You don't show as cool, or subversive, or edgy, or (whoops!) original when you use these. You show as someone who's been wanking not leaving their room for decades, because the contexts, where huge-todger usernames and 'I wanna carrot your cornhole' messages are not cool, or edgy, or subversive, or (no, they're never original), are ample, and you don't have to be dealing with the opposite sex (or anyone beyond your immediate family actually) to know that.

    • My username referenced a line from Boondock Saints about rope (Charlie Bronson's always got rope, and he always ends up using it), and I was going to be all "you would not believe how many people wrote an initial note asking about tying me up" but I actually bet you wouldn't be surprised at all :)

  10. On the body part in the user name point, names aren't the only area where this can be a problem. "The most private thing I'm willing to admit" and "I'm really good at" sections should not be used to talk about how good you are in bed, how great you are at giving oral sex, how much you like to cuddle, or how large various parts of your body are. That's true even if you're looking mostly for sex partners.

    It comes across as inappropriate and a sign that you have lousy boundaries, and I doubt it helps much, as even readers who would consider that information valuable and attractive have no way of verifying it's true.

    • My private thing was that I once dug a grave. This was a great opening line for people to write me with; a ton of people asked me about it.

      (FYI, yes, it was for a person. I worked for a the city parks dept in college; they couldn't get the backhoe between some of the cemetary trees/graves so four of us did it by hand).

      • Dr_NerdLove says:

        But were you making snarky jokes about the decomposition rate of the various cadavers and the way peasants and nobility kark it exactly the same?

  11. Sounds to me like online dating isn’t worth the trouble, unfortunately.

    Truthfully, my biggest fear when it comes to online dating, though, is getting catfished.

    • Of all the fears, that's one of the ones that's the easiest to prevent from happening. All that's needed is to suggest meeting relatively early on (probably within a couple weeks of exchanging the first message), to not get overly attached to someone you haven't met yet, and to recognize and respond to a handful of pretty obvious red flags.

      You'll still run into some people who present themselves dishonestly. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it will be people who have lied about one or two things rather than making up an entirely different persona. It sucks when that happens, but if you're not unrealistically invested in the idea of someone, it's easy enough to excuse yourself when you catch them in a lie or they confess to one.

      • hobbesiean says:

        I think just using dishonest photos is a much bigger concern, something even I was accused of.. from some angles i can be very "Masculine" looking, and from other angles I can be much less so, and I actually got accused of using dishonest photos when I met one woman who complained "I thought you'd be bigger"… i never lied about my height.. she just assumed I'd be built bigger than i really am because of some of my photos.. afterwards i was always careful to use a mixture of photos. I'm very average when it comes to height hitting right inside of the mean on the bellcurve.. but weight and muscle wise even at my BIGGEST i never weighed more than 160lbs.. so not even everyone does it intentionally..

        I'm just just as much happens deliberately though..

        • Picture issues are generally unintentional, in my experience. People aren't always self-aware about aging, weight gain, and the difference between how they usually look and their best angles. Also, sometimes the fault is on the other side, with someone extrapolating a bit and getting an unrealistic picture in their heads.

          However, even that's generally possible to correct for by meeting fairly early on. Granted, if you have to drive a few hours to meet someone it's a much bigger issue, but if you're in the same city and the person who shows up for the date doesn't do it for you at all, it's easy enough to get through 20 minutes of coffee and small talk and then head home (now, with people who intentionally lie about something, I'll leave immediately because I don't think that deserves any tolerance at all).

      • Getting catfished AND killed by some looney (althought highly unlikely and one of those irrational fears) is one of my fears, I forgot to add that last bit in there. :P I think Skype video call is also a viable option if you're not quite ready for meeting face-to-face quite yet. Or heck, even FaceTime may work too.

        I'll keep this short and say I'm a *real* stickler for honesty. I've been lied to too much for me not to ask for a little bit of honesty, you don't have to tell me anything you're not comfortable with, just don't lie about it.

  12. Paul Rivers says:

    This is what's amusing about this. These kind of articles often follow the same pattern –

    1. Find someone that women do. Often something that they're proud of, sometimes something that they're defense about that they "have" to do it or they "deserve" to act that way.

    2. Post that guys are jerks for not accepting or understanding or whatever that girls do this.

    3. Change the story to be about men. Find someone who has a similar complaint except against a guy, or just replace all references to a girl or woman with a guy. Change any gender-specific topics to the other gender, but leave them being the same basic thing.

    4. Post a story saying men shouldn't or couldn't do this. Watch a bunch of commenters agree that it's a really bad way to behave.

    You have a list of demands? A long list of dealbreakers? Lol, yeah…heard that one before…

    I mean I think one of the letters is a joke because it sounds like like someone took a girl's profile and rewrote it as a guy –

    "You should not message me if:
    - The best thing you have to say to me for the first letter or response is "So how's the site treating you?". It immediately gives me the impression that you're not taking it seriously or that you have nothing interesting to ask me."

    Later in the letter "he" writes that it's a dealbreaker if she can't cook – basically the equivalent of "need to have a job and money".

    Both of the letters mentioned seem like someone took a lot of what women write online a lot, replaced it with guy stuff, put it all into one letter and posted it.

    • CaseyXavier says:

      How is this primarily something that women do if there are plenty of examples of men doing it? This is a clear case of projection on your part, friend. You've got it stuck in your head that this is "something women do" so that when you see men doing it, you recast it as a parody of women's behaviour so that you don't have to challenge your bitter beliefs about women. People agree that this behaviour is stupid, in part because they themselves (or they know women who) have been DELUGED with messages from idiots like the examples posted. They don't need to twist themselves into some sort of mental pretzel to justify their agreement, because they have personal experience with this nonsense in spades.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        That's not exactly what I said. What I said was that it was something "many" women do. I did not say that men do or do not do it. I avoided this because frankly, I don't know that much about what other men do on the personals, because I only interact with women there.

        One example is the very common comment from women that they're looking for someone who knows the difference between "there", "their", and "they're". In the comments on the previous article there was a woman proudly repeating how she doesn't feel special and won't respond unless a guy writes her more than a conversation starter, includes a very personalized message, and she hates winks, short openers, etc and men who use those aren't worth starting a conversation with. In fairness, a couple of posters here said they didn't mind the wink at all, they'd just wink back, and then they expected more which is far more reasonable. But it's not like anyone but me was saying to this girl that that seemed unreasonable in any way.

        Despite your desire to turn this into a whole thing about "women's behavior", I didn't say anything about that in the above post. All I actually wrote (somewhat sarcastically, to be fair), was that one can mostly expect that a woman writing a long list of criteria and hoops to jump through (he can't wink, or sent a short email, the email has to be personalized to me, and be interesting, and then we need to exchange emails for a while, then we'll skype, then we'll talk on the phone, then maybe we'll meet in person…) usually it gets a lot of positive responses. Most examples above are just guys doing the same thing, the difference in level of critism it receives is different based on the person writing it.

        • You're missing a big difference. Women here aren't soliciting dates from the men reading their comments. This is a discussion forum, which is a different genre than a dating profile. I can't imagine anyone advising a woman to write a lengthy complaint about how she doesn't want to receive "hi" messages, winks, form letters, or invitations to meet the same day. For starters, it comes off as unhappy and negative, and beyond that, it's a screening process that can be easily applied without announcing it beforehand.

          Men who have long laundry lists can easily do the same. Not into women who are overweight? Don't message them or respond to them. Don't like boring people or being lectured? Press delete when you get a message like that. Not open to dating a vegetarian? Check the little side panel and ignore anyone who says she is one. It's easy, and you can take care of a bunch of your dating desires by doing this and save your dealbreakers list for a handful of things that really matter to you.

          One benefit of this, for both men and women, is that you have plausible deniability when the "hi" message comes from a really cute guy with a good profile or the woman who's a vegetarian otherwise seems perfect for you.

        • There's a difference between having criteria and putting them as a list on their profile. I think it's pretty safe to assume that few people would respond to a mass email or a boring message, and many people have a preferred progression of interaction. But a woman who had this list on her profile:

          -no winks
          -no short messages
          -message must be personalized
          -if you're not going to write an interesting message, don't bother
          -our interactions would go as follows: exchange emails for a while, then we will Skype, then talk on the phone. Maybe after that we'll meet in person.

          would come across as demanding and controlling. Having particular standards or requirements is reasonable (though, if they're very exacting, the person may have a hard time finding someone who meets them), but the general expectation is that a lot of them are things that it's better to read-and-weed for to your own taste, rtaher than than to list on your profile, especially if they are largely negative requirements.

    • In addition to what Casey said, I am very confused. The "something that women do" you're talking about in point 1 is… what exactly? Making bitter statements about how difficult online dating is in their profile? Making crude usernames? Having long detailed lists of demands and/or dealbreakers in their profiles? Propositioning people immediately?

      Because those are the behaviors DNL talks about in this article, and I don't see anywhere that it's following your point 2, saying that guys are jerks for not understanding when women do this. I don't see the article talking about women doing this at all.*

      So right off the bat, this pattern you claim "these kind of articles" follow… this article isn't following it at all.

      And you clearly haven't bothered to read the comments here either, because I see plenty of people saying they don't think it's a good idea for women to do these things either.

      Do you bother to pay attention to what's going on on this blog at all before you post, or do you just jump on the first negative thing you can find to say without bothering to check whether it actually makes sense in context? Because you're certainly doing a good job of making it look like the latter.

      *Nor is it saying women simply don't do this; it's not discussing the problematic things women do on dating sites at all, presumably because this is a blog aimed at men and so this article is aimed at men and talking about what men can do differently just like most of the others.

      • Dr_NerdLove says:

        Paul has a weird knee-jerk reaction to anythingI post. If I wrote “duck season”, I'm fairly certain he'd come along and insist that no, it is, in fact, rabbitseason.

        • The Simple Man says:

          Heh. Paul does always seem to shot himself in the face and never learn. Never thought about it that way.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          Actually, I was critizing the framing as something "guys" do (but implying not women), but I wasn't critizing the ideas in the article. They're right on. That doesn't work particularly well for anyone.

          But when I talk to women about online dating, whether online or in real life, they all often seem to have been told that a lot of these things are good things. Particularly, they seem to feel that "You Have A List Of Demands" and "You Have A Long List of Deal-Breakers" is something that somehow makes them more awesome and totally more attractive and important. How many times have I seen a profile proudly declare that they won't date someone who doesn't know the difference between "their", "there", and "they're"?

          But rereading my post, I can see how it sounds like I was critisizing the article above. I was thinking of a different article entirely when I wrote it, and it's my mistake in writing it that way when I hadn't meant to critisize the particular article above.

          • Everyone here acknowledges that women do this too. As people have mentioned to you many times in the past, the articles here are written for the male audience. Most people using online dating sites have no trouble avoiding other people's unattractive profiles – the struggle is in making their own appealing enough to attract the more likable people on the site.

          • Paul Rivers says:

            "Everyone here acknowledges that women do this too."

            How would one get to Everyone?

            Look at Melissa's post above. She says "The guys on there are horrible…The girls aren't much better, though…" She's immediately massively downranked. LeeEsq mentions many of things that aren't effectively and immediately gets posts saying he's wrong (though not everyone single one of them).

            How would you interpret that as "Everyone here acknowledges that women do this too"? Some people, ok, but it's not even close to everyone.

            "As people have mentioned to you many times in the past, the articles here are written for the male audience."

            I'm not sure how that applies. Aren't these kind of articles written for men who are trying to date women? Are those men not reading women's profiles? There also seems to be more female commenters in the comments section than male…

            "Most people using online dating sites have no trouble avoiding other people's unattractive profiles – the struggle is in making their own appealing enough to attract the more likable people on the site."

            I agree that that's a problem, but disagree that that's the main problem. I think the main problem for both genders who are looking for a long term relationship is finding filtering criteria, as well as "how things should go" advice that actually leads to a long term relationship.

            I hear a lot more stories like "I signed up for online dating, then actually started dating someone I met in person (not through any online site)!" stories, or "we met started dating / sleeping together, then quickly broke up" than I hear stories of people who actually started dating via online.

            I think there are equally as many men and women on the personals who are being jerks. They do it in different ways, but it seems like it's about an equal number.

            If you think that yes, women will do the same things in writing their profiles and it doesn't work either, then we're kind of going back and forth about something that we're not to far off on. I was saying that it seems like a lot of advice that women receive actually encourages them to do the above things, and frames it as something positive and something that will get them better results, not worse.

          • Melissa seemingly got downranked for the men/girls pairing and for the implication that people on online dating sites were losers who couldn't afford to be picky. Go read everyone else's responses, and you'll see no one arguing that women sometimes also use laundry lists. Lee has a completely different, fairly off topic gripe about dating, and to the extent his first comment was on topic, he admitted that his initial judgment that the Craigslist ad wasn't that bad was based on too quick of a reading of it.

            The reason women's laundry lists aren't included in the discussion up above is that the article is pointed at men, including both mistakes that men make but that women also make (laundry lists) and mistakes that are mostly made by men (body part references). If the Doctor wants to write another article suggesting how women can improve their dating profiles, I suspect a lot of people around here would welcome it. But if men are getting all the advice, there's not a lot of reason to include a gripe session about how awful all those women online are. The point of the article's advice is to improve your own profile so that you won't have to resort to writing to the less appealing women online.

          • "I'm not sure how that applies. Aren't these kind of articles written for men who are trying to date women? Are those men not reading women's profiles? There also seems to be more female commenters in the comments section than male.."

            How would talking about the mistakes women make in their profiles help the male audience be more successful in online dating? Presumably a guy can tell for himself whether a woman's profile turns him off. What he can't tell is how women might feel about any given aspect of his own profile, which is where the advice comes in.

            You might as well complain about the fact that the articles about clothes and grooming rarely mention the ways women can dress and groom themselves badly, even though men are looking at women all the time. But I don't see you complaining about that. Presumably because at least some of the time you understand that a male-oriented blog is going to focus its advice on what men can/should do?

            As for the number of commenters, many of the female commenters have suggested multiple times that DNL include more female-aimed advice in the blog because there's a substantial female readership. But it's up to DNL whether he feels comfortable doing so. Notice the tagline of the blog is still about "Helping the nerd get the girl", which is about as guy-aimed as you can get.

            "I was saying that it seems like a lot of advice that women receive actually encourages them to do the above things, and frames it as something positive and something that will get them better results, not worse."

            Can you point to even one article that literally tells women that posting a long detailed list of their demands/dealbreakers in an online dating profile is a good idea? Because when I've seen that sort of advice given, it's more along the lines of that it's good to have some standards and an idea of what you need in a relationship and not compromise too much–in general, for your own understanding, not in detail in a public profile. And, surprise surprise, guys get that advice too, including right here on this site: http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2013/06/find-girl-d

          • The thing is, it's not really fair to complain on this site as though anyone here has any impact on the advise that's given to women in other places, however much you may dislike it.

      • Paul Rivers says:

        My point was the difference in reaction depending on the gender of the writer.

        "Making bitter statements about how difficult online dating is in their profile?"

        Women do this and most responses are "Oh, that's so terrible! Who do these men think they are that do horrible things like writing 'hey, what's up?'?.

        Men complain about not getting responses and there's a lot of "You have no right to even be annoyed at that" kind of responses.

        "Making crude usernames?"

        This is more equivalent to women signing up for a profile and writing "I'm just here to look around!" – but then expecting people to contact them. I'm not talking about the women who actually just sign up to look around – those girls don't put the time into uploading a profile pic. I'm talking about the ones who upload 5 pics, spend days writing their profile, then act dissapointed guys aren't emailing them.

        But anyways, again, most of the responses if it's a guy are "oh, don't do that! that's horrible!". Most of the responses for girls are "they have every right to do that and how dare anyone critisize them for it!".

        "Having long detailed lists of demands and/or dealbreakers in their profiles?"

        I don't read that many guys profiles, so I cannot say how many guys do this or not.

        I can say that this is definitely something many women feel is some sort of important thing to do in their profile. I used the example before, but for a while it must have been every 4th girl's profile who declared that they were looking for someone who knew the difference between "their", "there", and "they're". It's definitely something that women do a lot in their profiles.

        "Propositioning people immediately?

        I see this as the equivalent to how many women vehently belittle anyone who uses a wink or short message to see if a girl on the profiles is actually interested in chatting (you know, she could go look at his pics and profile and wink or send an equally short message back?). To be fair, I know *everyone* doesn't feel this way – but most guys do not proposition sex right away either (imo, like I said since I don't get messages from guys I wouldn't know for sure). They write at length about how guys must read the whole profile, come up with an interesting message that reflects that they read the profile, and send it – without even knowing if the girl is even responding to anyone.

        I'm just saying I think it's basically equivalent.

        "*Nor is it saying women simply don't do this; it's not discussing the problematic things women do on dating sites at all,"

        Per my other comment, I hadn't meant to imply that *this* article said that they did, just that the general theme is often about that.

        "So right off the bat, this pattern you claim "these kind of articles" follow… this article isn't following it at all."

        The pattern I was attempting to refer to was that the reactions you get to the same manner of writing a profile are very different based on whether the writer is a man or a woman. I think the points in the above article are equally applicable to either gender.

        "And you clearly haven't bothered to read the comments here either, because I see plenty of people saying they don't think it's a good idea for women to do these things either."

        I don't see that at all. LeeEsq wrote something and was downranked and critisized. melissa wrote something is was downranked. There's exactly 1 comment from Aegyuptus that says that isn't downranked and have negative replies. You're saying 1 comment is "plenty of people"?

        "Do you bother to pay attention to what's going on on this blog at all before you post, or do you just jump on the first negative thing you can find to say without bothering to check whether it actually makes sense in context? Because you're certainly doing a good job of making it look like the latter."

        I read the entire article first. As I mentioned, it was a mistake in my writing that made it sound like what I was writing critisized this specific article when that wasn't what I had meant to write.

        As I said in this comment, it seems like you're doing the same thing. You're taking exactly 1 positive comment and saying that "plenty of people" saying it's not a good idea for women to do this either. Not sure how you get from 1 person to "plenty" of people.

        • Paul Rivers says:

          P.S. Though in some ways, this is all rather beside the point. If you agree that this is generally a bad thing for either gender to do, then we're…kind of not really disagreeing to much on the point I was trying to make. I was pointing out that the reaction you get from the above list is different depending on whether the writer is a woman or man, but I think the above examples are bad advice for either gender.

        • As mentioned above, there's a difference between blowing off steam on an online forum where dating is discussed and presenting yourself well in your actual dating profile.

          As mentioned above, this article isn't offering advice to women. Most articles here do offer advice. If you want a place that focuses more on complaining about bad things women do in dating, there are plenty of them on the internet. It doesn't seem that the site's proprietor is very interested in pursuing that vision.

          As mentioned above, Lee's and melissa's posts were downvoted for different reasons. If you go into the interior of the threads, you'll see almost everyone here, including female posters, explicitly say that women make laundry lists too and that they believe this is unattractive.

          Not mentioned above, but I think your comment about "I'm just looking around!" is misplaced. For starters, it's not a female-specific behavior that's the equivalent of making gross body part references. It's something guys do too. I also don't think that in the unlikely event we got an article on women's dating profiles, anyone would promote that as being a good way of expressing yourself or letting your personality come across. There's a long thread on the forums where people critique each other's profiles, and women with bland lines get it pointed out to them.

        • Paul, if you want concrete data, in the thread starting with Lee talking about the Craigslist ad, myself, eselle, and Sumiko all specifically stated that we don't think it's a good idea for women to write detailed lists either, and that men are justified in avoiding women who do, and those specific comments got 10, 10, and 9 upvotes respectively. Not to mention, it's pretty obvious that both Melissa and Lee's comments had more to them than just saying "women do this too", and that they were downvoted for those reasons. Which you can see if you bother to read the responses rather than just looking at the votes. If people actually disagreed that women do these things, and that's a mistake, why hasn't a single one of the many vocal commenters here outright said so, in response to them or us?

          Second, you've repeatedly posted here complaining about what commenters supposedly say on other sites in other places. I really don't think that's fair. We are not responsible for what some commenters might say on some other dating advice site. We can't do anything about what some other commenters have said. If you have a problem not with anything anyone's saying here, but with some other posts and commenters, wouldn't it make a lot more sense to go and complain to the people who are actually doing the things you don't like?

    • OtherRoooToo says:

      "Both of the letters mentioned seem like someone took a lot of what women write online a lot, replaced it with guy stuff, put it all into one letter and posted it. "

      You … don't read many of the profiles of your same-gender competition, do you?

  13. The biggest problem I seem to have in my attempts at online dating is that it gives me an excuse to become extra picky and I end up not messaging ANYONE (Hey, look at all this information! Oh, look, you disagree with me on that point. Oh well, probably wouldn't have worked out anyway, next person!). The logical part of my brain knows I'm doing it because I'm afraid to put myself out there, but that knowledge doesn't seem to help me get over it.

  14. All I know is I do my best to do all the right things these articles say to do for online dating, including the (no brainer) advice in this article and still get zero responses.

    • You might consider sharing your profile on the forums–there are lots of people happy to give specific feedback to help improve it. :)

    • The downside is that it’s easy to tell you how not to suck. Going from sucky to good, that’s trickier. Only three pointers I can think of are:

      -Show, don’t tell. Anyone can say things, and you’re probably biased about yourself. You want to display traits so that other people can see them.

      -Sell the date, not the relationship. Lots of people seem to get this wrong, but you’re it’s a lot of pressure thinking of this other profile as your potential lifemate. Someone to catch Shakespeare in the Park with, now that’s an easier sell. Between you and me, most of the people who do wind up being potential partners start as just people to shoot the shit with.

      -Target yourself. If you’re like most people, you’d rather one person you get along with brilliantly than a bunch of dates that are okay. (And if you’re not into that monogamy thing, you’re a niche product and best off targeting too.) Don’t have an extensive list of dealbreakers and don’t put anything obviously stupid out there, but also don’t be afraid to mention niche interests over mass-market appeal.

    • You can do everything right and still fair miserably or you can be a complete wreck of human and have a great love life despite the fact that you really shouldn't. These are things that increase your chances rather than guarantee success.

  15. First, I’m surprised no Weird Science references. Too many profiles do seem to assume that you put in a list of traits, and this wonderful computer machine will spawn your ideal mate for you.

    Second, can’t say I’m a fan of the “here’s how not to be a complete and utter failure at online dating” stories. The problem with them is that they imply that the average dude on those services is a complete choad, and you can stand out from the pack just by not being one. When in reality, there’s a small vocal minority of choads, and a silent majority of boring guys who don’t think they need any outstanding traits beyond not being a choad. When the reality is that most people want someone interesting and exciting, not someone who’s only virtue is a lack of glaring flaws.

    • I agree with this but I'd suggest using the word average rather than boring. Average is a more value-neutral and less judgmental term than boring. A lot of this is gender neutral. I've come across many profiles from women where the basic virtue was a lack of glaring flaws or that were filled with flaws that they mistook as virtues. I think a problem is that
      when most people want interesting and exciting, they have a very stereotypical definition of it and everybody is going after the same thing.

    • The point of emphasizing the awful is to show that women particularly are inundated with awful and tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to any of the above traits. If it sounds like there's a vocal minority, that's because there is. You want to be heard over that minority, because I guarantee you, they are undermining your chances.

      • Gentleman Horndog says:

        nonA has a point, though. "Here's Why I Don't Suck And Am Not An Obvious Waste Of Time" is an important first step, but that's all it is — a first step. Expecting an ad to be appealing because you're not obviously an embittered, entitled dipshit isn't that far off from expecting women to throw themselves at you for being a baseline decent human being.

        The Doc HAS written articles on making an ad that's actually appealing. Kinda wish this one had explicitly mentioned them as a crucial next step.

        • I think this is one of those Basic Level Articles, meant to offset the Intermediate Level ones that some people find too overwhelming. But, yeah, a reference to the next step of Managing To Stand Out Among The Other Dudes Who Don't Suck may have helped.

        • I dare to say that if someone is repeatedly told that all they have to do to stand out is not be a horrible, virulent human being, then it’s not hard to understand that they get upset when this thing they’re told they should do isn’t working. I wonder how much of this powers Nice Guyism and similar maladies.

          Granted there’s a certain human tendency to stereotype others as a way to make oneself look better, but there’s something to be said for sharing the good information and correcting well-intentioned misinformation where it’s found.

  16. I've actually had better luck on Craigslist. OkCupid is useful, but I almost think it offers too much information about someone. Instead of giving me just enough information to make me want to send a message and learn more, I'm presented with a thorough rundown of everything from food preferences to how they spend their weekends. I find myself becoming overly picky in an attempt to deal with all of the information.

  17. Gentleman Horndog says:

    I feel like a list of potential dealbreakers can actually be a very valuable thing provided you keep it brief and can refrain from sounding like a bitter asshole.

    I'm poly, and do not want children. Women looking for some combination of a monogamous partner and (if they're thinking long term) potential baby-daddy shouldn't write me — and don't. This is to the benefit of all involved. I present these as simple facts and, where possible, an ADVANTAGE of dating me. ("Hey, you're not interested in monogamy? Me neither!") I trust that the women who might be thinking of writing to me are capable of basic reading comprehension and, if there's an obvious intractable incompatibility, won't write.

    Hell, in a certain light, just listing that I'm straight could be viewed as a "dealbreaker" bullet point. Oddly enough, people seem to process information like that just fine without needing some sort of "OMG dudes do NOT message me!!!" rant.

    If your "dealbreakers" consist almost entirely of petty bullshit, it tells people that you spend a hell of a lot of time obsessing over petty bullshit. So … actually, leave 'em in there. I'm sure visitors appreciate the warning.

    • I'd agree with that. The things you list are basic, easy to determine, and are going to end up being crucial for the future of any relationship you have. Might as well list them, and it doesn't necessarily hurt to double down even if they're referenced in the Relationship Status or Offspring categories.

      I'm personally happy to avoid guys whose dating age range is 25-29 or who are only interested in blondes born outside the United States who work in creative professions, love dogs, know how to cook, and dislike watching sports as well, but I do think there are some clueless people whose dating lives would improve if they stopped and considered which of those things are crucial to them and which are going to scare away that person who interests them who's 24 or who meets all of the requirements but one.

    • OldBrownSquirrel says:

      Several other dealbreakers are entirely reasonable, and it makes a lot of sense to bring them up early. If you have kids or pets, a potential partner needs to be cool with them; if they're not, that's a dealbreaker. Conversely, if you're allergic to animal dander, then pets might be a dealbreaker. It's nothing personal, and it doesn't make anyone sound insanely picky.

      • Yes, those are reasonable. I expect people to mention they have pets and especially kids (people who lie about kids and then try to persuade others that they have minimal responsibilities actually kind of scare me, because what sort of person wants to saddle his or her children with a wicked step-parent type who wasn't open to dating someone with kids).

        I don't think I've run into the animal allergies one before, but that's also perfectly reasonable, and I suspect most pet owners would appreciate the heads up ahead of time. Other things, like strong dietary or religious preferences should probably be mentioned early too.

        But are those really what people think of when the "laundry list" term comes to mind? I think of the things that you and GH are discussing as disclosures or big picture compatibility issues, while laundry lists make me think more of a large number individual preferences that many other people wouldn't share or even find all that reasonable.

        • OldBrownSquirrel says:

          I think the point is to clarify that not every up-front dealbreaker is a "laundry list." I don't see there being any real disagreement among those in this thread.

    • You’re talking about listing things other people might think are dealbreakers. That’s generally good. Most discussions on this talk about people listing things they consider dealbreakers, usually in the form of a long Do Not Message Me list. That’s generally not so good.

      • The other thing about the good old Do Not Message Me list is that it really doesn't work as a way to deter people you find undesirable from writing to you. There's always going to be a set of people who don't read profiles or who rationalize exceptions for themselves, and there will generally be some others writing to change your mind or tell you you're horrible for wanting something.

        I think dealbreakers (both disclosing your own and maybe mentioning one or two big ones) work best if they're approached from a perspective of "Hey, let's get this out of the way upfront so that neither of us ends up wasting our time," rather than, "Ugh, stop messaging me you annoying people!"

  18. I just finished reading the CL ad… oh man I don't think that guy understands how to use quotes.

    • oh "man" I don't "think" that guy "understands" how to use "quotes." <– corrected that for you.

    • I think my favourite is where he says he doesn't want a relationship that requires an "airplane" to travel between their two cities. These kids and their new-fangled, so-called "airplanes"!

  19. "Back in my single days, there was a point where I was using OKCupid like a sex ATM."

    Why would you brag about that? That's so creepy.

    • GernBlanston says:

      Because he's a PUA. Of course it's creepy.

      • Ah, yes. The refrain of “creepy”. Because it’s totally cool telling someone that they’re responsible for a total stranger’s emotional state.

        • Talk to me about your dislike of this term. I'm a little disturbed by its dismissal.

          • Two reasons. Two and a half, really.

            First reason is that the word is horribly defined, and yet we’re supposed to treat every claim of it as an objective fact that must be stopped immediately. If you can’t see how this is wide open to abuse, I don’t know what to tell you.

            Second, “creepsters” tend to fall into three broad camps. Those who utterly lack social skills, those who are so self-involved as to not care, and those who actively enjoy making others uncomfortable. The first is better served by giving them skilling resources*, the second is unlikely to respond to feedback, and the third are bullies and should be treated as such.

            *(Too much of the anti-creep discussion basically tells them to GTFO until they stop being creepy. I’ll let you figure how telling someone to avoid skilling situations until their skills improve is counterproductive.)

            The half reason is, sure we stop people who set out to deliberately make others uncomfortable. Short of that, how much obligation do people have to cater to those who are made uncomfortable by their actions or very presence?

          • My problem with giving the socially inept skilling resources is that almost always means that it's the responsibility of the women who are feeling uncomfortable to both provide the education and then make themselves available as practice targets. When men recommend this sort of "we" approach, it generally ends up meaning "you women." At some point, I think the community has a greater responsibility to the uncomfortable people than it does to educate a group of people who have managed to make it into adulthood without absorbing countless social messages about not mistreating others.

            Beyond that, the self-involved and those who enjoy making others uncomfortable do and have for years managed to hide amid the socially awkward and be continually excused for bad behavior, even when there's all kinds of evidence that they're perfectly capable of socializing with people who are more important than they are or with their wives or girlfriends and that the creep only comes out around people seen as vulnerable.

          • There's also the fact that a lot of people who use 'socially awkward' as an excuse actually respond very poorly to any attempts to help them change behaviors that might be coming off as creepy, even if they've requested help. That's something I've seen several times here.

        • Gentleman Horndog says:

          I'm no fan of Gern's substance-free snarking, but I'm quite wary of dissing the word "creepy" out of hand. Saying that nobody should bear any responsibility for the emotional states of strangers lends itself to justifying some really odious behavior.

      • Gentleman Horndog says:

        Welcome back, Gern! So, bring any critiques of substance with you, or are we still sticking with the snippy pot-shots?

    • Not creepier than the anecdotes on XoJane.com ?

  20. All right, I’m COMPLETELY certain I know the fedora masturbator TMI machine.

  21. These rules are for men who want to try online dating. Men have to be extra careful and follow dos and donts to have a chance at it. Which is fine..I can accept that. Life isnt fair.

    Pretty much every folly listed in this article is committed by most women on dating sites. They seem to be doing ok.

    It just shows us how women have the leverage in online dating scene and are just sitting back and enjoying the show.

    • Johmichaels says:

      Yes, women are all enjoying the online dati scene, which is why many women leave it so quickly. Apparently they just can't handle all the guys asking for bj's.

      There are things women do wrong on online dating that men can get away with, and things men have trouble with that women will also have trouble. I think your problem is you are defining "doing okay" as "getting a lot of messages" whereas women may define it as "getting nice messages from nice people"

      For example, a cleavage shot will get a lot of messages, none necessarily nice for a woman while is unlikely to get any negative response for a male (no response > negative response)
      Another example, leaving a profile blank for men will not lead to much attention, but leaving it blank for a woman is more likely to give her negative attention.

    • WordyLibrarian says:

      I suggest you make an online profile pretending to be a woman, just as an experiment. We may get plenty of messages, but a LOT of them cause my vagina to dry out in horror and I have to take breaks to remind myself that I MIGHT want sex again after I scrub the terror out of my brain.

      Seriously. You do not understand the complete death of sexual interest that occurs while wading through the disgusting shit that's sent to us. When I see I have a new message I cringe. If it's not revolting I get noticeably excited, regardless of ANY OTHER DETAILS. That doesn't guarantee that I'll respond, but it guarantees I'll check out your profile. That's because the tsunamis of gross outnumber decent messages BY FAR.

      We are not sitting back and enjoying the show. We are scanning the crowd while many people in the crowd are endlessly throwing feces at us and we're desperately trying to dodge, as well as tell the potential shit-launchers from the decent human beings.

  22. This article is only full of the wrongs. There are a lot of us who might be doing something wrong who want to know what to do instead. Post up some 'rights' as alternatives. It's like the douchebag in the office you points out the flaws in everything but not once offers a solution.

    • Johmichaels says:

      Take a look around this site. There are plenty of dating 101 tips. Just because this article is about what people do wrong, doesn't mean you can't look at what you can do right in another article. And actually, the article does have some positive ideas mixed in with the negative (photos for one)

      Or try the forums, or even the comments here.

      Things that leap up as easy ideas:
      Read the woman's profile, and show you've read it in your message (what works best is being able to talk about her interests in a way that shows your own)
      Make sure your message heading is a bit more interesting than "hey" if you are using a site where only the heading will be shown before opening.
      Accept if someone isn't interested and move on.
      Be aware of what you want, and aim for that (as in, if you want a partner, contact girls you'd like to meet with, rather than aim for everyone in the hope someone is interested in something. Having standards is good)

  23. WordyLibrarian says:

    Dr. Nerdlove, would you object if someone were to send a link to this article in response to the gross, sucky messages before blocking their senders?

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