I figure I’d kick this whole blog thing off with a topic that has been on mind (too much?) lately: online dating. What was once the purview of creeps and desperate people, is now the primary way that adults who would like to date another human go to interact with said other human beings.
There are, of course, a fair number of creeps that have remained in this sphere. Now I can only speak to the experiences of a heterosexual female, but I don’t doubt that there are creeps of all genders and sexual orientation.
Here is an overview of the experience for those who aren’t in the know:
Profiles. Most sites have users complete some form of profile with pictures and a brief summary. Other sites have users answer a series of questions to better gauge compatibility–I will write a post on the questions alone because I find them hilarious and, at times, horrifying. So now that you know that there will be a profile, how do you know what to put to attract a mate? Honestly, I don’t know (this isn’t an advice blog after all), but I can comment on some trends:
- “I never thought I’d use online dating, but here I am” I find this one endearing to a degree–a statement that the person is normal enough to dislike online dating. (I think my profile has something similar in it.) However, I’m beginning to think it could be a line that guys use to make you think they are looking for a serious relationship, which brings me to the number one problem with online dating:
- People are full of sh*t. Everyone is looking for that one true love, everyone travels to exotic locations on the weekends, we all love hiking and yoga, nieces/nephews/friend’s kids disproportionately LOVE singles who online date, men catch giant fishes like it’s NBD, and dogs. Lots of dogs. (and a few cat men… if any cat men happen to stumble upon this blog…. Hi. Message me some cat pictures. It’s like cat lady foreplay). I’m sure there is stuff on my profile that is mostly bullsh*t. Anyone who’s dating online knows that it is 90% wading through the bull sh*t, 5% hoping you didn’t just ignore your one true love because you thought he was full of sh*t, and 5% talking to people (and, yes, talking in the sense of sending electronic messages).
- Length of profiles. Profiles range from TL;DR to essentially nothing. The TL:DR guy seems a bit lost in life because he doesn’t understand that I’m not going to read a novel about a stranger… well I guess unless it’s a novel, but I digress. There will likely be a rant in the middle of the tome about how women just look at pictures so they won’t be reading this anyways. If that is what you believe, then whyyyyy are you stilllll writing. Just. Stop. On the other hand, you have the guy with essentially nothing. Yea, he’s lazy so I’m going to pass. When there are specific categories and a guy puts “Ask me” I immediately move on, even when I’m just skimming profiles anyways. You should have something in there that makes me want to ask you about something. I think the takeaway is that there is a very narrow window of acceptable profile length. Either that or there is no winning and life is not fair.
- “Everyone tells me that I look better in person than in these pictures” I don’t understand this one. Maybe you should go out and try to take some better pictures, which leads me to the next topic of no winning:
- Pictures. If your pictures are too good, I assume that you’re using fake photos from the internet or you are just too cool for me. If your pictures are bad, I may not be attracted to you. So there is essentially no way to win this one, though personally I lean towards I’d like semi-bad pictures over the professional level good ones. I’ve heard the general rule is to have approximately 5 photos–at least one that shows your face nicely, one or more with other people (to prove that you can indeed interact with other people) and another of your full body (to show you’re not completely full of sh*t when you say you’re body type is “fit”). I have noticed that the typical guy has the following pictures in his profile:
- Cropped professional photo of him in a wedding party. These are usually pretty good pictures so I understand using this one.
- One or more photos of him backpacking in an exotic locale. Because he travels every weekend. Don’t we all travel every weekend? (Who the f*!@ck has all this time to travel??!?!)
- Him with his niece/nephew/friend’s kid. ZOMG! I can totally see now that he will be a great dad!! I should immediately run out and have sex with him!!!!!
- Him with a dog or cat (or, even better in some instances, just the animal). This one can go either way, but I think it’s mostly good.
- Him at the beach with his bros. Look at those abs!! I guess all the hiking with his dog in exotic locales is really paying off! The amazing ab guy is far too cool for me. I will swipe left (i.e. reject) at first sight of this photo.
- Bad selfies. I actually see this one as a pro because I’m looking for someone who is on the same-ish level of awkward and if he’s the typical guy who can’t figure out a good selfie angle (as opposed to the model), then we’re probably heading towards a compatible match. I have noticed that guys tend to take selfies while in a car. What’s that about?
- Him with a fish or gun. I met a guy who told me that he thinks this trend is based on the evolutionary biology that men should be the hunter/provider in the relationship. I actually think that’s spot on. I have seen a lot of pictures where the fish is bigger than the guy and you know what they say about the size of the fish….
- Him with a woman and an explanatory comment that it’s his sister/aunt/mom/cousin/best friend. I think the purpose of this picture is to act like a seal of approval–if his sister likes him, he must be a good guy!
- Him in a costume. Sometimes to be funny and sometimes he’s into cosplay. Either way, I think he intends to show a playful side so this one doesn’t bother me, but I’m weird.
Messages. As a woman of average attractiveness and slightly above average dress size, you’d think I wouldn’t get very many creepy messages. Unfortunately, I get my fair share because it turns out that creeps are not very discerning. It makes me lose faith in humanity, but on the opposite spectrum, I get school girl giddy when a guy who has a nice profile sends me a thoughtful message proving that he read my profile. I may not be super into the guy, but show some thought and I’ll at least respond. I may even ignore all seemingly negative qualities and find you attractive (more posts on that habit later, I’m sure). But the real question is: can women message guys first? Seriously, I’m asking. I have with mixed success, but there are two schools of thought.
Process. How does this whole online dating thing work? Well you put up your profile, you look at others, there is typically a way to “like” someone without having to say anything to the person and you won’t know if they like you unless you like them (so this is less risk than sending a “Do you like me? Yes/No” note), you message, you read messages. This may be the end of your interaction with most people. HOWEVER, sometimes you start exchanging messages fairly regularly. You then may move to the next step: texting. Intimate, I know. I have a fair number of phone numbers (mostly blocked) with a first name and the name of the dating site as the last name for the men who have made it to the texting phase. It’s really almost the same thing as a love letter. After texting a bit, you typically set up a date. You meet in person and converse. From this point, your options are endless! Or it ends. Whatever.
Anyways, that’s the primer on online dating to set the scene. It’s a horrible, horrible place where the hopeful go to find their true love or something.