By Reluctant Roberta
Three months ago, I ventured into the world of online dating for the first time. I’d sworn to myself I would never do it — I was just fine being single, after all, and I’d much rather meet someone organically than try to force anything. But after hearing from numerous friends, family members, and random strangers at parties who’d not only met that someone special online but even ended up marrying them, I began to question whether my notions about online dating were somewhat outdated. Why not? I asked myself. Creating a profile and getting taken out for drinks and dinner a few times couldn’t hurt.
So here I am, three months later, no closer to falling in love (as far as I can tell) and still feeling reluctant as ever about this new way to meet people. But even though I haven’t met anyone I’d even close to consider setting down with yet, I certainly have had some fun, hilarious, and even downright weird experiences that I wouldn’t undo in a second. Over the past few months, I’ve often thought to myself that Match.com, OK Cupid, and eHarmony would all be apt spaces for studies in human psychology — not just the psychology of attraction, but the psychology of self, identity, and interpersonal relations. People reveal so much about the way their mind works in their online profiles, and often the greatest insights are not things they’ve explicitly said about themselves in their bio. For example, I can usually ID an ego-maniac just by his profile pictures, and I can pick out a man desperate for a woman to “complete him” within the first paragraph of his profile. So when the opportunity came to write about my experiences with online dating on Intent Blog, I couldn’t resist.
So in the coming days, weeks, and maybe even months I’ll be chronicling my reflections on the world of online dating — sharing funny stories, silly tips, and outlandish insights I’ve gathered from this dis-embodied meeting of minds. Until I get tired of it and cancel my membership, anyway. To start, I’d like to do a service to men trying to find love online by sharing a little mental checklist I’ve developed when perusing messages from strangers online. Guys, this is what NOT to do.
Five Reasons Women Don’t Respond to Messages on Dating Sites:
1. You’re pointing at the camera in your profile picture. What are you tryin’ to do, recruit me for the army? There’s something about a picture of a guy sticking his finger at me that reminds me of the scene in Karate Kid when Dutch goes, “HEY! I’m talkin’ to you, punk.” It just freaks me out a little bit.
2. You called me “cutie” or “honey” in your first email. Come on now. No pet names ’til at least two weeks, okay muffin?
3. Your first emails is composed of one word. “Heeeeeeeyyyyyy” might work for you in a bar, but it’s not the best ice-breaker online. Try skimming my profile (even if I’ve written a novel) and finding a conversation starter there. Ask a question. Share something we have in common. Give me something to respond to other than “wazzup?!”
4. Somewhere in your profile there’s a picture of yourself standing in front of a mirror, cell phone in hand, without a shirt on. Come on now. I’m sure you have pretty pecs, but at least get someone else to take the picture.
5. You failed to write a profile description that could pass a 2nd grade grammar test. Let’s review: There = a place. They’re = They are. Their = Belonging to them. And please, apostrophes are never used to denote a plural word.
Tales from Online Dating is a new series at Intent Blog featuring thoughts and reflections about dating and relationships in the 21st century. Are you on an online dating site? Do you have a funny, awkward, or scary story to share about your foray into virtual romance? Let us know in the comments section below, and we may choose you as a guest contributor for a future Tales from Online Dating post.