My boss found his wife on an online dating service. A friend recommended one of the free sites, saying that it was worth checking out, and that it could be kind of fun.
That was enough to get me to create an account and fill out the profile, do some soul searching to answer questions that no human being would ever really ask me, and find a photograph of myself that I was happy with, which is no small accomplishment.
I spent quite a bit of time lurking, afraid that women wouldn’t want me to bother them, or hit on them. It actually took quite awhile for the light bulb to appear above my head… IT’S A DATING SITE. THEY’RE HERE TO MEET GUYS. With that in mind, I starting trying to communicate with what was essentially a name, photo, and a few paragraphs of self identification.
Online dating sites are strange. I don’t know how it works, but odd things happen, at least, I find them odd.
I struck up a conversation with a couple of women who were lots of fun to talk to. One wasn’t shy about letting me know she’d like to get together, I was happier, in this particular case to stick to chatting. Nice lady, but not really my type, ’nuff said.
I wrote a women who, after receiving my message, declined any more communication and closed her account. This wasn’t a real confidence builder. I mean, I didn’t make any lewd suggestions, or even inferences, I was about as generic as I could get. Then, someone sent me one of those cute little pre-written generic messages…. “Just wanted to say hi…” and I responded, saying Hi… She also declined any further contact and closed her account. Sigh.
I also had my share of sending messages that weren’t returned, which is fine, that’s par for the course. I found someone who was really appealing, who answered my message, constructed full sentences, and lived 6 hours away. I’m thinking that starting a relationship that is a long distance romance is like starting a roadtrip with a flat tire. It’s really not going to progress very far.
These sites tell you when someone visits your profile. I have trouble with that. Carol visited your profile yesterday. Ok, Carol, you visited, but you didn’t send a message. Is that because you’re shy, or I’m a troll? I have no idea. There’s no way to know. Last thing you want to do is write to someone who thins you’re a troll, or an orc, or any other loathsome fictional creature that can describe someone you wouldn’t be seen with even after a pub crawl.
So, much like the social networking sites, I’m pretty worn out on the dating sites. I find that I’m not logging on as often, and doing other things with my time. If I could just convert those “other things” into cleaning, laundry, yard work, and such… well, my house would be more livable.
I do have some recommendations, more of a rant really, but if you’re going to do the dating site thing, here’s some tips, from a dateless dating site veteran. Hopefully this comes through with the intended humor;
* Post a picture. If you’re serious about having someone be interested in you, post a picture.
* If you post the aforementioned picture, try finding one in focus, that is lit well enough to actually see whatever is actually IN the picture.
* Don’t post a lousy picture of yourself and caption it, “This is the only picture I have”. It’s NOT!!! You have a camera, it’s likely that your PHONE has a camera in it. You don’t have to drive down to Walgreens and get the film developed. If you’re one of the few people in America that really doesn’t have a digital camera, ask a friend, ask your kids, ask your kids friends. Someone you know has a camera and can take a picture of you and email it to you.
* Don’t post a picture of yourself next to your much cuter friend. I’m not sure why people do this, but there are a LOT of them, and let me tell you… it’s always a let down. “Oh, she’s cute… Oh wait… it’s the other one” Don’t be the “other” one. If you don’t have a picture of yourself alone, see above.
* Post a picture where you’re having fun, or smiling, or at least not scowling. Fake it if you have to, but don’t post an angry picture. We don’t want a reminder of what the last time we tried this.
* Don’t post a picture of you with your ex, or hugging some guy (or girl, if you are a guy). I mean, you DO realize why you’re going through this whole exercise, don’t you?
* Fudge a little, but seriously… keep it in the realm of reality.
* When you’re writing what you’re looking for in a match, keep that in the realm of reality as well. We KNOW you’re looking for a fun-loving, honest, guy who will respect and appreciate you, who is athletic, can construct a full paragraph, who enjoys cooking, and has a great sense of humor, but knows when to be serious. Oh, and likes cats.
I occasionally like to think I’m an average guy, and I come nowhere near being this guy. Besides the “Old Spice Guy” I don’t think this guy exists.
* Don’t start a conversation if you already know you don’t want to talk to that person. I know it’s the internet, and it’s all fun and games, but… well, that’s just not nice.
* Put SOMETHING in your profile. Really…
* The pre-fab messages are boring, and if you’re over 25, well…. read them! Write a message, unless you can’t spell.
* Don’t write to trolls, they’re going to answer, and probably not in the way you’d prefer.
* Finally… write to me!!! unless YOU’RE a troll… then, well, don’t.