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Simply Solo Spotlight: Online Dating Tips For Women

November 16, 2010

Today, we have a very special honor. Raúl (remember him!?) has written a guest post for Simply Solo! Strangely enough, and because I’m a glutton for punishment (just kidding), Raúl and I have become friends since we very briefly dated. Since I consider Raúl to be a renowned expert on some of the intricacies of online dating, I asked him to write about his top tips for women when it comes to online dating. I’ve also got my fingers crossed he’ll write a post at a later time about playing games (tips for doing so, and how they work – because damn it, sometimes they do! Raúl taught me that.). So, please make Raúl feel welcome as he gives us the low down on what men look for when online dating.

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: simplysoloblog@gmail.com. 

Online Dating Tips For Women

online dating picture

Photo courtesy of schaeferdesign1

If you are like me, you are (were) somewhat wary of diving into the world of online dating. While it is not as uncommon to meet your soul mate on the Internet as it was even a few years ago, it still has a negative stigma. Our parent’s generation would never have fathomed meeting somebody this way. First piece of advice … get over it! The year is 2010 and people are busier today than they were even five years ago. The bar scene is looted with alcoholic creepers and Lord knows you don’t want to date somebody with which you work. Inevitably there will be somebody reading this who disagrees with the last statement and I know there have been plenty of long-lasting and happy relationships that developed both from a bar and at work, but let’s get real. More often than not … it won’t work. If it will bother your mother that much, concoct a lie. Say you were introduced through friends or that you met at a charity function or something. Twenty years from now your mother will be dead and 50% of relationships will have begun on the Internet or whatever we are using by then and you will be able to consider yourself a pioneer. Having said that, let’s get to the topic at hand.

I dove into the underbelly of Internet dating during the first half of this year. I was moping around my apartment feeling sorry for myself after my last relationship ended (somebody I met at work). My roommate’s girlfriend suggested a free online dating site called Plenty Of Fish. If you are a reader of this blog, you are already familiar with the aforementioned site, so I will not have to explain how both incredibly fun and how incredibly creepy it can be. Yes, I said creepy. Ladies, the creeps are not only male here. All that being said, there are some genuine people, both male and female, who are looking for a potential long-term relationship.

I have viewed countless profiles since I embarked on my quest to find love via the Internet and can unofficially say that I’m somewhat of an expert on female profiles and would like to offer some advice to the female readers of this blog who either are currently dating online, or who wish to give it a shot. I am writing this under one assumption:

You are not online simply to give yourself a quick ego boost and flirt with guys. You genuinely are ready for a relationship and not a rebound.

The first thing a man will notice is your profile picture. I know, we are all pigs and care only about sex. Well … you are not entirely wrong. We men are very visual, more so than women. Your main profile picture will determine how many men view your profile. The picture of you sky diving or rock climbing from a distance shows you have an adventurous personality and is super cool, but don’t choose that one as your profile pic. You want a nice picture of your face and smile. A seated picture that is relatively straight-on is best. You don’t need to give a whole body shot because you are not trying to attract the creepers whose opening line to you will be about all the things he wants to do to you. A little (and I mean little) cleavage is OK and preferred. Guys want the best of both worlds. They want a sexy woman who they can take out on the town but also one they can introduce to their mother. These pictures are best taken after work during a happy hour where you are relaxed and a little loose but still look professional. DO NOT have any pictures of you with ex boyfriends OR with other girlfriends. Many times I’m left wondering which woman I’m actually e-mailing (it’s usually the uglier one).

Picture of a book about how to write online dating profiles

This is the kind of book I imagine Raul writing. Photo courtesy of Sarah Houghton-Jan

After a man has viewed your pictures, at that point he will read your profile. You are trying to attract intelligent and interesting men who have their shit together so you need to be specific … but not too specific. There are exceptions to every rule, so if you set hard-line rules, then you might deter the potential man of your dreams from e-mailing you. Here are the rules you need to abide by:

  1. Never say you have a racial preference – I find it perfectly acceptable if you have one, and understand that if you prefer white men to black men that doesn’t make you a racist person, however, it makes you sound like a racist person and unless you want your date to pick you up with his confederate flag flying off his jacked up pickup, just don’t say it.
  2. No need to explain you can be a bitch sometimes – We know this already.
  3. Do not explain that you are loyal, trustworthy and caring – Listen, if all we want is loyalty and trustworthiness, we will go out and buy a dog. This might pull on the heart-strings of women, but this is not the case with men … at least not initially.
  4. Do not say, “I’m not into mind games or players” – This will not deter somebody who plays mind games or who is looking to play you. No need to say it.
  5. Do not say, “I’m just looking around” – This will deter some potentially great guys. Men want to feel as if you are only talking to them. If you are talking with five guys and seeing who pans out, just keep that to yourself.
  6. If you have children, there is no need to say they are your world and that they come first – Congrats. You are a halfway decent mother.  That’s like also saying “I pay my taxes” or “I’ve never been to prison” or “I don’t beat up old ladies.” You are simply doing something you are supposed to do. I’m not making light of it, but it is assumed that if you are a single mother that your children come first in your life … more on single mothers later.

Now that we have gone over what not to say … here’s what you should say:

  1. Your career – Briefly say what you do for a living. You are a looking for a career-oriented guy and they are attracted to career-oriented women.
  2. Your goals in life – Don’t talk about settling down and raising a family with a three bedroom rancher and a white picket fence. Are you seeking a master’s degree? Do you one day want to complete a full marathon? Are you interested in writing a book one day? Tell us about that.
  3. Typical Friday night – Where do you like to go? (Don’t give details here, you don’t want stalkers). What do you like to do? What are you not doing that you wish you were doing?

 OK, so now you know what to write about yourself. Let’s talk about setting parameters:

  1.  75 miles is best – You really don’t want to meet somebody who lives farther away than this because, well, the first meeting can get awkward. If he is committed to driving a long distance, he will want to plan a bigger event and you could potentially be roped into hanging out with somebody all day that you don’t like or are not attracted to.
  2. Set your age limit plus or minus two years – If your ideal man is between 25 and 35, say 23 – 37. The last thing you want is that incredibly awesome 36-year-old man to view your profile and not be able to say a word to you. No need to venture outside of the two-year margin … that gets creepy.
  3.  Set it so you will only be contacted by those who “have not messaged users looking for intimate encounters or sex” – Just not a bad rule to follow.

Now that you have your parameters set, it’s time to describe your first date … in which case you should not put down ANYTHING. That’s right. This section is useless. Do not write that you want to go parasailing or horseback riding as a first date. This is not “The Bachelor.” Men do not want to spend $100 or more on their first date with you. I know that sounds a little shallow but it is true. Suggesting such an elaborate date makes you look like a gold digger. Dating is expensive for single men so be mindful of that. A coffee shop or happy hour are the best first dates and make it during the work week if possible. That way you have an out (gotta get up for work tomorrow) and they can be as long or as short as you would like them to be.

Lastly, for single mothers, dating is the most difficult for you. From a guy’s perspective, you need to add the following two rules to the list:

  1. Do not make it sound like you are looking for a baby daddy – Good guys won’t be deterred by your children unless they feel like they will be a provider for your children by the time you reach the third date.
  2. Be slightly more conservative with your profile – There is a sick assumption out there that if a woman has a child, they are more likely to sleep with you. I’ve heard men describe children as “f… trophies.” Just be cautious.

Well, I hope you all found this to be helpful. If you are new to the online scene and want my input on your profile, I will funnel some inquiries through Catherine. And, I’m happy to answer any questions you have in the comments. Happy fishing!


28 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2010 11:08 am

    Love this post, Raul!! Reading over your rules, I think I’ve probably broken more than a few. Good to know should I ever get back into the online dating world.

    And by the way, I literally LOLed when you said: “Do not write that you want to go parasailing or horseback riding as a first date. This is not ‘The Bachelor.’” Damn it. Why can’t my life actually be like The Bachelor!??? 🙂

  2. Christina permalink
    November 16, 2010 2:25 pm

    Great pointers! I sorta think I need to review my Match profile now…. I may hve made some mistakes!

  3. Dana permalink
    November 16, 2010 3:58 pm

    Here’s a tip for the dudes: no shirtless pics and no visible alcohol! 😉

    • November 17, 2010 7:12 pm

      Yuck. No shirtless pics, and no pics taken by you in the bathroom mirror. Not attractive dudes. Not at all.

  4. Millie Turner (Mom) permalink
    November 16, 2010 7:01 pm

    Thanks for the 20 year life span that I have left …

    • November 17, 2010 7:12 pm

      Aww, hopefully you don’t divorce Kevin and end up on Plenty Of Fish. Maybe then you can start a blog about your divorce?? I’ll comment EVERY day!! haha 🙂

      • November 21, 2010 10:25 pm

        Now I get this from the post (and you explaining it). I think you have longer than 20 years — damn, I hope!! haha 🙂 ly mom.

  5. November 16, 2010 8:09 pm

    Definitely like the tips and pointers. Currently dating at the moment, but I do remember not long ago what it was like putting my profile together. I can definitely vouch for a lot of these being very helpful. Yet admittedly it still feels weird telling people that I met my guy online prior to getting to know him better. I don’t mind, but I know my parents will flip out lol. It is what it is.

    • November 17, 2010 7:11 pm

      OneFoot: I totally want to hear the story when you tell your parents that you met a guy from online. LOL. I think putting a profile together is incredibly intimidating, myself! I think I broke at least 2 of Raul’s rules… oh well. If I get back out there, I think I have some editing to do to my profile.

  6. November 16, 2010 8:59 pm

    Ahh, Plenty Of Fish. Plenty of wasted time spent dangling your proverbial hook in the water and hoping for a bite is more like it (at least based on my experience). But hey, it’s free! I’d rank it about midway between match.com (good) and OK Cupid (do not even bother unless you’re on the hunt for a psycho). This is good advice, though – thanks for sharing!

    • November 17, 2010 7:10 pm

      Hmm, Mark. The girls seem to disagree with you and like the OKCupid 🙂 And none of them are psychos (I don’t think! haha). Maybe you should give it another shot? 🙂

      • November 18, 2010 7:31 pm

        Maybe it’s changed in the last 4 years! Sure, I’d give it another chance, but my girlfriend might not approve. Maybe I can tell her it’s strictly for research purposes only?

        • November 21, 2010 10:16 pm

          Haha, yes research only. I’m not sure I would test those waters… haha

  7. Claudia permalink
    November 16, 2010 11:19 pm

    I prefer OK Cupid, because the matches are far more reliable for me. But whatever….

    Think you missed 1 key point that works for both sexes: be honest. Not necessarily blatantly honest, but don’t flat out lie. A nice (clothed) head shot for a profile picture, but not one taken 10 years and 50lbs ago.

    If you lie (or even embellish too much), you come off as insecure. The only people who want to date insecure people, are the kinds you don’t want to be dating.

    • November 17, 2010 1:30 pm

      One more vote for OKCupid here! Plenty of Fish has been a nightmare, but I’ve met some great guys and had some great dates and a nice boyfriend from OKCupid.

      • November 17, 2010 7:08 pm

        Hmm. I was too lazy to complete my OKCupid profile. Duly noted. 🙂

    • November 17, 2010 7:09 pm

      Claudia: I think “be honest” is an awesome point. And not just for online dating… wish everyone could be more honest in general!!

  8. Chad permalink
    November 17, 2010 2:40 pm

    Now can we get one of those for the men?

  9. November 17, 2010 5:01 pm

    I can never hear enough tips since obviously what I’m doing isn’t working for me! As piggish as it sounds – I also heard from men to use at least one full body shot. If you only use head shots they assume you don’t have a nice figure. Oink.

    • November 17, 2010 7:08 pm

      I’ve heard the same thing about the full body shot! That’s what someone said when I met them – wow, your body is nicer than I thought it’d be, because you only had head shots. WHAT??!!

  10. November 17, 2010 8:08 pm

    LOVE this! I’m tweaking the profile 🙂 Great things to remember for us all! Yes, definitely get one for men! Geez, some of them are…well….:)

  11. November 18, 2010 8:00 pm

    Wow! Single moms are seen as fuck trophies? Allow this single mom to set their asses straight!

  12. Tom permalink
    December 27, 2010 4:44 am

    The whole easy mom thing is new to me,unless it goes together with the baby daddy thing. I’ve found single women and divorced or separated but dad has the kids much more likely to jump in the sack after a couple of dates than a mom with kids at home. Moms always seemed more picky to me.

    • December 29, 2010 11:56 pm

      Hmm, interesting. I would think that if I were a mom, I’d definitely be more picky. I’m not just holding my future in my hands, I’m holding my kid’s future in my hands. Makes choosing a partner much more serious, I think!

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