Simply Solo Spotlight: Online Dating and Don’t-ing
Happy Simply Solo Spotlight Tuesday! This week’s guest post is written by Darcy from Darcy Dates. This girl has some serious experience (and some great stories) online dating, so it seemed only natural to ask her to share her online dating tips for men. Do you have any tips to add? Be sure to share them in the comments. And stop by her blog, her stories are hilariously cringe-worthy and a great read.
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: email@example.com.
Online Dating and Don’t-ing
It’s almost New Years. Time to make your resolutions. This year, if you are single, why not make a resolution to be a better online dater? For those of you who follow my blog, I have written a bunch of posts about Online Dating, or Online D(egr)ating as I have lovingly referred to it. The truth is, while it takes some work to navigate, in 2010 (going on 2011!) it is an excellent way to meet someone. People do everything from order groceries to order books online. Ordering love online seems like the obvious next step right?
They say you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince. If that’s the case, I have made out with the entire friggin’ pond. I have had some mishaps, and I have had incredible success. You can’t reap the benefits without taking the risk. I am no expert, but I have learned a few things along the way. Do with my words as you wish. I am just a regular person like you. I am Darcy. These are my experiences.
Be honest about your age.
This is something I never got. If you are 39, don’t write: “I am 39, but list my age as 35 for search purposes.” If I wanted to search for a 39-year-old I would. I wouldn’t search for a 39-year-old masquerading as a 35-year-old. It’s that simple.
While we are on the topic of masquerading … I love a gay man as much as the next person, if not more, but please. Please don’t be a gay man masquerading as a straight man. My best friend Max is gay, and I love going out with him. As a friend. But if you want to be play for my team, you need to wear the uniform. A uniform that doesn’t involve a beard of any kind! But, I digress.
Respect other people’s age limits. But when setting yours, be realistic. If you are a 45-year-old man, asking for women that are 23-31, I will assume you are either shallow or you aren’t seriously looking for someone you are compatible with. Most likely, it’s both.
Also, regarding age and any other specifications you may have: take that list and chuck it. I am guilty of having a list of deal breakers. We all are. But you just may be surprised when you step outside your box. I did. I stepped outside my box that didn’t involve crossing a bridge or a tunnel of any kind and who did I fall for? The guy that lives in Brooklyn. (See: Deal Breakers). Take a chance. You never know.
Be honest about your height.
In my experience, I have found the height field on profiles to be a creative, Mad-Lib type answer. A ballpark, if you will, of 3 to 4 inches. If you are honest, at least I know what to expect. Set expectations low to realistic. That way, we can only go up from there.
Post realistic, recent pictures.
Pictures. Ah, the pictures. An entry unto itself really. What have I learned? If people only post one picture…you have to wonder. Was that picture taken on a day when someone looked so perfect, the light was just right, the angle was just so and hours of Photoshop made that picture so ideal no other picture could compare? Folks, post a few pictures of yourself doing things that show you from different angles. Do not post random picture of mountains, monkeys, or your cat. I, personally, find it creepy. I am looking to date you. I’m not looking for a random travelogue on Flickr.
I subscribe to the “show me, don’t tell me” philosophy. But not when it comes to shirtless pictures of yourself you take in the bathroom mirror. In the case of your pecks, just tell me. In a subtle way. “I exercise regularly” will suffice and it will prevent your online dating profile from looking like amateur porn. Ah! Speaking of amateur porn! If you get your date’s phone number and or e-mail address, do not send her pictures of your penis (yes, it has happened to me not once, but twice! See: Real Texts From Real Men) and or invitations to a late night rendezvous of any kind. Do not constantly make sexual innuendos in effort to get her to respond in kind. Men: we can see right through this. We know a booty call when we see one.
Just an observation: judging by online dating profiles, 4 out of 5 men have been a pimp for Halloween. If you were a pimp for Halloween, or at any other point in your life, please don’t post a picture of it on your online dating profile.
On an aside, if you wear a Bluetooth at any time (See: Can You Hear Me Now), not only do I not want to know, but I certainly don’t want to see a picture of you wearing it on your dating profile. It is the same thing as man jewelry as far as I am concerned. But worse.
My favorite: “I don’t have pictures, because my job is important but if you give me your e-mail address, I will send them to you.” This would imply that you think my job is not important. Next.
On Travel & Leisure.
What is the story with online dating profiles, and travel? I like to travel and I travel a lot. However, I live in New York City, which is where our presumable date would take place. I write about things I like to do in the city. Maybe my favorite neighborhood to hang out in, my favorite type of restaurant I like to frequent. A local venue I like to attend. Do I really need to write a paragraph about my love of Italy and France and that my perfect date would be at a bistro in Brussels sharing a steaming bowl of moules frittes? Sure. That would be great. If I lived in a bizarro land where first dates meant flying to other countries with strangers.
Then there are the over-the-top mountain men who describe their ideal date as an ascent from base camp. One man wrote to me once, after describing his ideal woman as someone who could go camping and not need a tent or food or water or any other accouterments to sustain life in 10 degrees below zero on a snowy mountain top somewhere. “I just don’t see myself carrying your equipment up Everest without a Sherpa. I’m just being honest,” I wrote back. At least I was direct.
Reach out once. Anything more than that, is well … annoying.
The thing with most online dating sites is you can actually see if your messages have been read. If your message was read and you get no response, please take that as your answer. Do not write: “Can you just write back and say if you aren’t interested?” No. “I know you aren’t interested but I figured I’d be persistent.” Unless your goal is to be persistently creepy, leave it alone. Anything more than that is just … well … annoying. DO NOT take it personally if someone doesn’t write you back. Maybe you are super fit and sexy and they are looking for someone out of shape and frumpy? Did you ever look at it that way? Their loss. Next!
Do not send Winks or Flirts.
Don’t “wink” at me. Here’s why: Would you actually wink at a girl you saw across a room in real life? My guess is no. So why fake wink to a stranger on the Internet when you can just say “Hi. I am John. You sound like an interesting person and it seems like we have a lot in common. If you agree, drop me a line.” Done and done.
Also, regarding those canned flirt messages you can send someone, i.e.: “FedEx called, they said that you were the perfect package.” My advice, before sending such a thing, is stop, take a step back and think: “Would I actually say this to someone in real life? If the answer no, which I am guessing it is, then you shouldn’t send it. Trust me.
Bottom line: Just like anything else, be yourself. Post real pictures, your real age, your real height, write about your flaws (no one is perfect and I always find this endearing. I actually wrote in my profile that I was incredibly disorganized. Perfect, by the way, is boring and unrealistic.) and open your mind a bit. Write a simple “Hi” and something personal. Do not copy and paste a manifesto you send to 20 women a day. We will know.
Make it snappy!
One last thing, before I forget! Here is a quick important bit of advice for your first meeting: Make it snappy!
You will most likely know within the first two minutes of meeting someone if you have even a hint of chemistry. For that reason, make your first date brief. Meet for a quick drink, which by the way, does not mean ordering a bottle of wine. Unless it is a mutual decision. Do not hold your date hostage! I once stepped into the bathroom to plot my escape from a “quick drink” date, only to return to the table and find that my date had ordered a 7 course Mexican meal replete with a mariachi band! I tried to roll myself up in a tortilla and slither out the door, but nothing was working!
Anyway, with that advice … go get ‘em! Oh! And let me know how it works out. I love a good love story, and don’t mind a bad date story either. We have all been there!