Monday, April 19, 2010

Modern Day Dating Rituals Part III: Online Dating

I've been avoiding writing this post, because I had ideas in my head, but wasn't quite sure how to translate them to text. Then I decided the best way to go about it is to just start writing. So that's what I'm doing.

Today: Modern Day Dating Rituals - Online Dating

Need to catch up?
Read Modern Day Mating Rituals Part I: Introduction
Modern Day Mating Rituals Part II: The Bar Scene

So, between the end of my relationship with my long-term ex and meeting/becoming infatuated with R, I tried out the whole "online dating" scene. I joined and put together a profile.

Girls, if you decide to join an online dating site, you probably don't even have to worry about the content of your profile. If you have a picture, the responses will pretty much just roll in. 99% of the unsolicited responses you get will be a no-go. It may be that the guy just physically isn't your type, or you don't think you have much in common, but more likely it will be due to a massive Online Dating Fail.

What is an Online Dating Fail? Well, it can encompass many things from the initial email through the first several dates... but for now we'll focus on the introductory email. The guys guilty of the Online Dating Fail are the ones that send awkward, uncomfortable, creepy or scary emails and should be avoided at all costs. Lucky for you, I've provided a guide below.

Online Dating Fail: Avoid These Guys

The Date Rapist
This guy has probably made a guest appearance on "To Catch a Predator" and has stock in Rohypnol. His initial email is really skeevy, overtly sexual, and overall just yucky. Words suck as "lick" and "suck" should not be included in a first email unless you are talking about taking me out for ice cream.

The Desperate Guy
He emails you once. Twice. Three times. He asks you out for dinner. Coffee. Movies. Drinks. You have never even responded to his first email, but the emails keep rolling in. "I think I may have clicked the wrong button the last time I tried to email you, so I'll try this again!" Um. You didn't. And please don't.

The Intense Guy
He wants a commitment. And he wants it yesterday. You may just be his last hope for love! Respond right away and we can begin naming our unborn children!

Finally, the most common offender: The Guy Who Doesn't Read Your Profile. At all. Be prepared to answer questions or reiterate your dating specifications repeatedly, or just do what I did. Don't even respond. How do you spot this guy? 5 easy signs will tip you off to his wily ways.

Five Signs He Didn't Read Your Profile:

5. The email reads like a form letter. 

It's usually over the top with lavish yet meaningless compliments: something that is completely generic and can be applied to anyone. Usually, this suitor tries to impress you with lame metaphors and promises of 'things chicks like' such as: foot rubs, long walks on the beach, bubble baths, visiting orphanages.... whatever. You can also identify these emails by the excessive use of one or more of the following lame emoticons/ascii pictures:

  • Winky face - ;-)
  • Smoochy face - :-*
  • Tongue out face - :-P
  • Heart - <3
  • Rose - @---}----

It might read something like the following:

"Dear female, Your blue/green/brown eyes (circle one) are so beautiful. They remind me of the ocean/a soccer field/the fur of a bison. Your hair is a lovely color and/or texture, and I'd like to spend hours braiding it while sitting under an old oak tree while we nosh on our picnic of exotic cheese and fine wine. I love to give women foot massages and I only worry about pleasing a woman in bed. If you are interested in eating cheese and getting a foot massage while I gaze into your blue/green/brown eyes, please email me back. @--}--- A rose for milady. I eagerly await your reply.

<3 Your Romeo"

4. He asks you questions easily answered by reading your profile. 

Mentions specifically to your lifestyle, background, likes/dislikes, interests, or hobbies go unnoticed and his email is chock full of questions about these things.


Your profile reads: "I come from a big family - I have 7 brothers and sisters. Having so many siblings really worked out for my parents, as we all joined the circus. My mom was the bearded lady, my brother Judd was the dog-boy and I was a tightrope walker. Random facts about me: I'm allergic to all things red and I hate scary movies."

His email reads: "Hello! I find you very intriguing. So, do you have any brothers or sisters? I'd really like to take you out sometime. We can go see the latest installment of the SAW movies (so you can cuddle up real close during the scary parts) and we can share some yummy movie candies - do you like Hot Tamales or Swedish Fish better?"

3. You have posted a specific age range, and he's not in it.

He's out of your target age range, and not by a year or 2. Try 20+. You post an age range of men 23-30, I betcha that over half of your emails are from men over 50. Hey, look, there are 20-somethings that are really into older men, but I'm not one of them. If you could be one of my dad's cohorts, my vagina probably sealed itself up out of pure disgust.

2. You live in L.A. and have specified a dating radius of 25-50 miles. He lives in Lebanon.

Some people are into the idea of a long-distance relationship for the right person. But unless you have specifically specified as such, why is he wasting your time? Oh right, because he didn't read your profile.

1. Your profile mentions that you are a lesbian/republican/Orthodox Greek Christian. You are only interested in other women/like minded republicans/other Orthodox Greeks. He's none. He emails you anyway.

Let's say you are a lesbian. Always have been. Always will be. You have no interest in the peen, and you've made this well known. He emails you anyway which could mean that he didn't read your profile or he has no regard for your lifestyle choices. Additionally, he's probably a creep that has a fetish about bedding a lesbian. No dice, dude.

Now this one never happened to me, because I'm not a lesbian, but I bet it's happened sometime, somewhere, to someone. But the same principal applies to: your religious beliefs, your view on having kids, your political stance etc.

Of course, once in a while you will be get that rare email from a dude who seems normal enough and asks you relevant questions related to the content of your profile. These are the ones worth exploring. When you do, follow these simple rules:

Rules for your First Date with your Cyber-mate

1. Plan to meet in a neutral place

Um, I can't stress this enough. Almost every guy I ever met from was non-stalkerish, but I did have one experience that made me thank my lucky stars that I met my date at the restaurant and not at my home.

2. Plan a short date

Dinner, drinks, coffee - whatever, but set a time limit on it. If you commit yourself to pre-dinner drinks, followed by dinner, followed by a movie, followed by ice cream? Well, you'll have a tough time extracting yourself mid-date if the guy is a creep. If things go well, you can always tack on another activity on the fly.

3. Avoid sports related or physically challenging dates

If you are cool meeting up with your new potential soul mate in gym shorts and a t-shirt, more power to you. But if you are like me, you try to dress to impress for a first date. Therein lies the problem. Going bowling? Great, but don't bother wearing your cute strappy sandals, because you're gonna have to stick your feet into recently deodorized rental shoes. You might also want to take a pass on your sexy low rise jeans. Unless you want to show your date your 7-10 split.

4. Don't get sloppy

Keep your wits about you when it comes to the drinking. I've made this mistake more than once. You will either end up leaving yourself vulnerable or you will end up doing something assy and embarrassing.

5. Last but not least, play it cool 

Say the first date went really well and now you are a smitten kitten. You may have jokingly discussed the "big spoon, little spoon" dynamics of canoodling before bed time, but a small bit of advice? The moment he drives off is NOT the time to text him: "You can be my big spoon anytime. ;)" This may or may not have been based in reality and I may or may not know the culprit of this egregious mistake on a very personal level. In fact, this person may or may not be me. I'll never tell.

I honestly think every girl should read The Rules. On first read, it seems outdated and old fashioned. I definitely balked at the idea of playing "hard to get," and enticing a man in a game of chase. Refusing to take last minute dates (ie: booty calls), keeping phone calls short and sweet to leave him wanting more... I thought it was kinda BS, and I'm not into mind games. But then I realized it's not so much about mind games or playing hard to get, it's about having respect for yourself and demanding that respect from the men pursuing your attention. It's about having a life of your own and not putting everything on hold while you wait with baited breath for that phone call. If he's waiting until the last minute to ask you out, he's not spontaneous, he just didn't have anything better to do. If he really wants that time with you, he's gonna lock it down ASAP.

Plus, dudes like girls to have their own lives. Just sayin'

So, is online dating worth it? Not totally sure, I guess it varies for each person - I never met my soul mate, or even anyone close to it from, but I did meet some cool people. Conversely, I also met some total creeps that luckily provide me enough fodder for an entire post dedicated to weirdos I've gone out with.

You'll just have to wait for that. Next time is Part IV: Social Networking


Anonymous said...

This is definitely a solid list, and you're right - even though I'm not a fan of games...not calling/texting right away is the right move.

Also, for date night - choose a weekday night. That way you have an excuse to leave early if the date is bad, and if it's good you have a built in stopping point to leave both of you wanting more.

Nashe^ said...

Ughh. I've had a few intense guys before.

Also, "...He lives in Lebanon." made me LOL.

steff said...

this is awesome and spot-ON. makes me kind of glad to not be single. i was never very good at the whole dating thing anyway.
thanx 4 commenting on my site as well! (meandthebee)

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