“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”.
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.”
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.”
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 idea. You 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?”
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?