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W & Mourtney’s Online Dating Tips

For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention thus far, I am an Online Dating Survivor

A while back, Mourtney (another ODS) & I read an article somewhere about tips for online dating profiles. It was lame, so we came up with our own, with some general dos and don’ts thrown in as a bonus. All of this is based on our actual experiences.

  1. Don’t use a picture taken of yourself in the mirror with a cell phone. This says “I have no friends and have never had my photo taken on a trip, at a wedding, out with friends, at a sporting event…I AM A LOSER.
  2. Don’t include naked photos and/or photos of your tattoos. Tacky. Tacky, tacky, tacky. ‘Nuf said.
  3. Don’t wear a neckerchief in your picture.
  4. Shave. Your freakin’. Pornstache. I mean it.
  5. Don’t use photos that are out of focus, where you are too far away for us to tell anything other than that you are humanoid, or where you look like a serial killer. Have you considered using one where you’re actually smiling?
  6. While we’re on this subject, we don’t really need to see pics of your motorcycle, truck, boat, car, or other motor vehicles to decide if you’re datable. Your fascination with those objects, however, might deem you undatable.
  7. Use spell check. Girls are attracted to brains as well as brawn so…show us you have some. We make mistakes, too, but your profile is a fairly static document; sell yourself! Also, it’s hard to take your profile seriously when you describe yourself as an intellectual, yet misspell “intellectual”.
  8. In your profile and/or introductory email, please use complete sentences. Punctuation is your friend. Really? I need to explain this? Refer to #7.
  9. Always include a photo with your profile. Don’t give some BS about how you don’t want a girl who is vain. Show you have the balls to look at yourself in the mirror every morning by posting a pic otherwise we will assume the worst and hit delete before even reading what is surely an Oscar-winning email. And while we appreciate not judging a book by its cover, let’s be real – physical attraction is an important component of dating.
  10. Do not include comments about how you don’t want baggage or drama. DUH. No one does. Also, please don’t confuse life experience with baggage.
  11. Definitely do not include comments about how the girl must be “foxy” or worse – a weight range. How demoralizing and downright icky. If you feel these things, fine, but don’t commit to paper. Use your inside voice here – and by that I mean keep it inside your head.
  12. Try to show an interest in something other than hunting, fishing, camping, golf, “mudding” (the absolute worst!), etc. It is fine if these are your interests but don’t expect us to want to do these things with you. Remember you are looking for a girlfriend, not a buddy. I assume you would like your girlfriend to be even remotely feminine? Then chew dip on your four-wheeler with your dudes, not your girl.
  13. Walk the line when it comes to sensitivity. Number 12 cuts both ways. We are looking for a MAN, not someone to cry at sad movies with and bond over shopping and painting our nails.
  14. Don’t tell a woman you haven’t met yet that you have four cats.
  15. DO tell your date prior to dinner what your actual gender is. (I feel compelled to share that this isn’t my story; someone relayed it to me on a date. His prior date had “man hands”.)
  16. Don’t spell my name wrong. Ever. (Also, my name is not hun, sweetheart, or princess.)
  17. Don’t send a LinkedIn request to someone you had a one-night stand with several months ago.
  18. Do have some content on your profile. If you can’t be bothered to tell me anything about you, why should I bother to find out more?
  19. Do not say “tell you later” to fundamental profile questions such as whether or not you have kids or if you smoke.
  20. Don’t rant on your profile. We’ve all had bad experiences; no need to detail them here. Again, you’re selling yourself! Be positive! Fake it if you have to.

This public service announcement has been brought to you by Women for a Better Online Dating experience. You can learn more about W-BOD at http://www.nodouchebags.com. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Leave lots of DNA evidence

A Facebook friend sent this to me today. If you don’t know why it’s funny, read about four paragraphs down in this post.

AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!

Online Dating Preamble

Ok, so preamble suggests this would have come first. Oops, my bad.

After some of the reactions to last weekend’s post, I feel like I need to back up and defend online dating as not being only for suckers (and freaks and douchebags). I truly believe it’s a legitimate vehicle to meet people. I do know people who have met if not their soul mates online, some good, worthwhile, highly datable people that they’ve had significant relationships with. It’s just so much more concentrated than the rest of the world that you encounter a denser pool of freaks. Pun intended with “denser”. 🙂

Dating is a total crapshoot, no matter the method. Most of us spend a lot of time looking for the right partner, online, offline, whatever. Online dating just magnifies it all, good, bad, and crazy. Did I get approached by a lot of nut jobs? Yes. Did I, through the very act of creating profiles, put myself in a position to get approached by a lot of nut jobs? Yes.

In some ways, online dating simplifies everything, and takes away some of that possible sting of rejection, in that we’re all there for the same reason: to meet someone. Theoretically, that should make it easier to strike up a conversation with someone you might be interested in. In a bar, I might be looking to meet someone, but I might be playing wingman for my girlfriend, or I might be there to listen to the band, or I might just be there to have a drink. I might be there for a ton of reasons. Dating website = clear cut. And theoretically you can cut through all the bullshit: I’m looking for a long-term relationship. I’m looking for something casual. I’m creepy and I just want sex.  If you have rigid rules, you can eliminate everyone who smokes, or has blue eyes, or doesn’t want kids.

The problem is people think it’s a silver bullet. There is no secret stable filled with mythical creatures such as unicorns and single, age-appropriate men who are charming and funny and intelligent and have good grammar and are also looking for us. It’s just like the rest of the world, with a bajillion people who are all-wrong for you or might make good friends, and maybe, hopefully, one who you dig and who digs you back. Just like the real world, but within the confines of a dating microcosm. EVERYTHING is magnified, hence the feeling that it’s overrun with crazies.  It’s like setting yourself up on blind dates: chances are, it’s just going to be a good story for your friends, but you never know. 

Online dating does require a lot of time and attention if you’re really in the game. It’s exhausting, which is one reason I took a break. You definitely have to have the right attitude about it: it’s for fun, one vehicle among many in the world, and definitely not magical. 

Not to worry, I’m going to keep on sharing the funny stuff.  But I wanted to make it clear that I think online dating is totally legitimate, safe (if you use common sense), and possibly something I’ll return to someday.  And then will immediately question why. I kid! If you’re participating in the online scene right now, good on ya; you have my empathy. 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled crazy.

The end of an era….or maybe just intermission…

Recently I hid my last remaining “active” online dating profile, marking the end of not quite three years of what can only be described as hilarity (among other things). In fact, there was so much material gathered that I can’t possibly contain it to one post. Additional stories await you.  [Note: I am completely inept, because I continue to get notifications from that last site. I can NOT figure out how to disable/hide/delete my account. WTF?]

I dabbled with four different sites, two free (Plenty of Fish, OKCupid), two pay (Match, Zoosk – which is quasi free). Plenty of Fish was first, so I began referring to all “suitors” as fish. (You’ll see.) I realized the time had come to take a break because I had developed a very bad attitude about the whole thing. I was most successful when I viewed it as a lark. Keep in mind, “success” can only be defined here as loading up on lots and lots and lots (and lots and lots and lots) of ridiculous, crazy, unbelievable, stories for my friends. One pal I think is still mad at me for no longer having absurd adventures to share over lunches. Another told me no one will believe my stories were true. This I promise you: I’m not making any of this up. Everything in this and any future posts happened to me or someone I know. Mostly me. Unless it makes me sound bad. And every grammatically incorrect or incoherent message is verbatim. Believe me, it hurts me more than it hurts you.

Three years, four websites, 192 million emails received, 92 million emails responded to, 86 million emails of my own sent, eleventeen bajillion first dates, and maybe 4 second dates. Two people I might sort of refer to as friends and/or be willing to have a conversation with today. (No offense, fish who might be reading this.) Mostly what I have is a collection of people whose real names I can’t even remember. Fortunately, we have nicknames! When you’re playing the game, you interact with a lot of people, so you have to give them monikers to help keep them straight. Nicknames including, but not limited to:

  •  Fish Tacos
  •  Tad (whose real name I could never remember, and I actually called him this to his face)
  •  Nickelodeon
  •  The Happy Camper (ooh, wait, I didn’t meet him online….)
  •  The Bad Speller
  •  Captain Pea Hater, Esquire
  •  Applebeef
  •  Johio
  •  Dave the Racist (The only person I’ve ever blocked on a dating site or Facebook.)

People had lots of opinions when I ventured into online dating; the most memorable advice I got was from a friend who urged me to “make him kill me in the parking lot”. Um….what now? He elaborated further: if a dude ended up being crazy, do not get in a car and think I could ride around and talk said crazy dude out of harming me – make him kill me right there, in the parking lot. I got it. I prefer not to be murdered, but so noted. I did enjoy this follow up tidbit: leave lots of DNA evidence. Touch things. Maybe lick them. (Don’t be perverted, I’m talking about things like tables in restaurants and windows of cars.) Of course, this did cross my mind when I was on a date with a fish who kept making jokes about where he would hide my body. Cuz that’s funny to joke about with a woman you just met online. He was a real catch, anyway; he said awesome things like, “That’s a big word for a girl to use.”  Go fish.

You would think common sense would take a front seat in this crazy online scene, that perhaps men would go out of their way to make women feel safe and comfortable, given the sometimes scary world we live in. Thus I was astonished to encounter not just one, but two separate fellas who got angry with me because I wouldn’t go to their respective homes for a first meeting. They each assured me they were completely trustworthy. Um. Pass.

Of course, a certain amount of trust and honesty has to play into this. You can be anyone you want to be on the internet, but if the intention is truly to develop a relationship, it’s gotta be real at some point. Hence, I will never understand why people lie in their profiles. The most pervasive distortion of the truth that I found among men’s profiles? Their freakin’ height. As if I won’t notice that I’m actually taller than you are when I meet you? I don’t care how tall you are nearly as much as I care that you’re either lying or delusional. For future reference, any man under 6’ tall is actually 2” shorter than he says he is. At least 2”.

And then there’s the flip side of honesty: Over sharing. Now, I get it, when IS the right time to tell someone you have a foot fetish? Maybe putting it in your profile is appropriate, if you include other worthwhile information about yourself. But I guarantee you, this is not a strong opening email:

“hi, you’re very hot!
do you like your feet massaged and kissed? what size are your feet?
i have a foot fetish. i hope thats ok. Lol”

(LOL. LOL seems to be the thing guys say in an email to make whatever jackass thing they just said, what….a joke in case it’s inappropriate or stupid? If you feel the need to do that, you probably shouldn’t have said it.)

This brings us to a story about my favorite over-sharer, a guy named Jarrod from South Bend. (Amazingly, I remember his actual name, as well as several other players in this story.) We had been emailing back and forth a little, talking about benign topics like music and movies and books. He was engaging and articulate, but something was a little curious. He kept making reference to his “situation” and his “current circumstances”.  Finally I asked what exactly that meant. I got back a very long missive with many details about the prior two years of his life, surrounding a chick he’d met on MySpace named Tonya, a guy she met named Thomas, time spent crashing on his ex-wife Kim’s couch, and on and on, culminating with the revelation that his “current circumstances” were that he was living in a homeless shelter.  A HOMELESS SHELTER. A. Homeless. Shelter. Now, I have to give the guy snaps for having the balls to pursue women given his “situation”. But dude. Perhaps there are more pressing matters to tend to than dating. Bye-bye, Jarrod.

All right, this is starting to feel like The Modern Girl’s Guide to Internet Dating, so we should get into the really crazy. I dug through emails I kept to and from my girlies. Are you ready? Remember, it’s all true.

File under Boys Are Stupid
Email from me to H about a fish I’d been texting with and was considering meeting:
“Seriously…is it too much to ask to meet someone who is sort of normal and sort of attractive and has some personality? Oh yeah, and would also maybe take me to dinner before sending me pictures of his dick? AKA Monday. “

I mean – what? Who thinks it’s a good idea to do that? Send a picture of THAT before we’ve even met? Maybe he should’ve said “LOL” in that message.

File under You Can’t Make This Shit Up
Message from me to H: “I don’t know what on earth caused me to write him back – I think because I am fascinated by glass blowing [which he had listed as his occupation]. Plus, he openly says he does drugs – who says that? So I wrote back and asked him to tell me more about the glass blowing. Here’s his response:”

“I make pipes and sex toys. Please dont judge. It pays well.”

Never Gonna Happen:
“I went to Meijer earlier and ran into a guy I went out with one time last summer. He might be the world’s worst kisser. Of course I crossed paths with him 4 or 5 times while I was in the store. He suggested I call him sometime. Um, yeah. The reason I still have his number in my phone is so I know not to answer if HE ever calls ME.”

Now I’ve Heard Everything

“I’m debbie my S.O. are looking for a friend! someone to fill our lives with. please read the profile. and you like what you read then send a message!if ther are no hang ups about it. let us know if you like to chat. and by your pic i see you have a dog like we do a shellty”

Now I’ve Really Heard Everything
“Dude emailed me on OKCupid. Says he has aspergers, has never had a date, and that there is a form of therapy that would let me get paid for him to feel me up.”
I wish I could find the picture this was in response to
Message from a A-Yo:  “Sha. Zam. Wish I was single. Dude has some nice taste in shoes tho. And, uh, bedding.”
No need to see the actual picture
Um, hi, the KISS tribute band called, they want their singer back.
An example of a thoroughly typical introductory email

“whats up hun how r u today”

Hun, Princess, Dear – these are not appropriate ways to address a woman you have never met and are attempting to woo. Stop it.
The Creepiest Opening Email Ever
I got an email from someone I hadn’t had any communication with previously – no winking, messaging, IMing, etc – first contact:

“Hi,
Were you are at Baan Thai on Friday :)?”

Why yes….I had been at Baan Thai on Friday. I had NEVER interacted with this fish before. How the hell did he know who I was? Gah! Creeper!!! And after I told him yes and asked how/why/what the hell, he said he’d recognized me, and that was the end – never heard from him again – wha???

Honorable Mention, Most Persistent and/or Clueless
Dear Brian6345,
You have now emailed me on two, possibly three or four, different dating websites. Multiple times on most of them. Sometimes twice within the same day. I have never responded, not once. I give you snaps for persistence, but sometimes I question whether you realize you’ve emailed me so many times before.
Please stop or I will be forced to actually send you this. (It bothers me that I split my infinitive there, but seeing as you don’t use punctuation, I doubt you’ll notice.)
Always read the profile closely before responding
I had been emailing with a fish, casually, but he seemed ok. I was in one of my feisty phases, so I asked him if he was a douchebag (I mean, why waste my time?), after which he just stopped writing back. Whatever. So a little over a month later, I got another message from him. I responded, then went back to his profile to refresh my memory.  OMG. It said something that definitely hadn’t been there before. Kind of wish I’d seen it before I wrote him back:

“I have an epic girlfriend, ChestieLaRoux, with whom I am madly in love. She is teaching me the ways of polyamory. She is, in everyway, my match.”

The Wink Phenomenon
On most (maybe all) sites you can “wink” at someone. It’s a semi-lame way to let someone know you’re interested, without putting out too much (or any) effort. Of course, if the person responds by winking, then what? At some point someone has to strike up an actual conversation. Occasionally someone would wink who maybe had potential, and I would respond with a friendly email. I was amazed how many times someone would wink at me and then not respond to my message. After a while, I got a little pissy about it, causing me to draft this message which I never sent to anyone other than Mourtney, my most faithful partner in online dating crime:

Dear Douchebags,
When you wink at me and I follow up by sending you an email, why the fuck don’t you respond? I don’t even really care because I’m sure you’re a douchebag anyway (this just confirms it), but I truly don’t understand. Couldn’t you at least send a quick note saying, “Now that I see you’re intelligent and witty, I can tell you’re way out of my league”?
Must Love….Goats???
Excerpt from a guy I emailed with briefly on Match…..he was articulate, used punctuation, all kinds of good stuff. But um….well, see for yourself. Here’s an excerpt from one of our final messages.

“…on top of THAT, my renter brought her goat over and made the mistake of letting her in the house, now she only wants to be there…not smart on my part but i’m a sucker for animals!!”

I love animals, too. But goat? In house? Dude.
There’s more. Believe me, plenty more. But I’m tired, so let’s take a break for now. 🙂
ps….oh holy crap….spell-check is having a field day with all the horrific fish emails pasted above….

pps….Apparently I say “douchebag” a lot.  Pretty sure I didn’t say it at all before online dating.