Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Word of Advice: Online-Dating Don'ts for Men

Back in college, I worked at a dating service for about two years.  No, it wasn't an escort service, but a full-out matchmaking service a-la Patti Stanger's "Millionaire Matchmaker".  As such, I would check out the competition for the dating service by looking at online sites, and I got pretty comfortable with the idea of using them as a means to meet people.

Over the past few years, I have used services like Plenty of Fish,, OkCupid and eHarmony to meet and date people.  I also have plenty of girlfriends who have done/do the same.  It used to be that meeting a person online seemed weird, creepy, and a little taboo.  Nowadays, people are much more open-minded about the idea of meeting people via dating websites.  It's an attractive option compared to the idea of meeting someone drunkenly at a bar, and is more convenient as it reduces the chance of initial rejection (because you know the people are single and looking).

That being said, I want to discuss some things I have observed over the years about what separates a desirable candidate from a guy that I would never want to talk to, like, ever.  Here are some common mistakes guys often make in creating their online dating profiles.  Take it from me, guys-- if you are looking for love (or a real date, or even to get laid), ignoring any of these things will guarantee you don't even get to first base:

1) Poor spelling/grammar
    "Always looking for some new friends around <city> to chat and hangout with... or maybe someone special. If your interested in hanging out and having a conversation and spending time doing something fun... let's get together~!" Okay, I got that from an actual profile off of a dating website (I obviously omitted the city).  Notice the errors?  That immediately makes me not want to talk to a guy.  Why?  It takes two seconds to use spell-check.  I understand one small mistake, but this many says that you obviously aren't too thoughtful!  Which means you may not be thoughtful about me, and that you may not be that serious about finding someone, or be that serious in general.  Call me a snob, but trust me: while you may not think it's important, me and my girlfriends do notice and have talked about this many times.

2) Short, nondescript profile descriptions
    "Hi" in the "Looking For" and "About Me" sections just doesn't pique my interest.  Despite what you think, your pretty face and shirtless muscle pic aren't enough to make us want you.  Sorry, guys.

3) Self-pitying
    I literally saw a headline once that said, "I'm lonely."  He might has well have written, "I'm pathetic."  Yes, you may be lonely...the truth is, most of the people on the site probably are!  However, women are not attracted to negativity in general, nor are we attracted to guys who lack confidence.  We want Christopher Robin all grown up; not Eeyore.

4) Expressing desire for a sexual partner
    Look, we know that ultimately, at some point, you want sex.  If you want a one-night stand, okay, that'll do it (though I'd be curious even to see what the response to that would be).  However, if you want something more serious, don't ask for it up front, okay?  Warning: if you're a jerk, we'll find out eventually anyway. Nothing gets past smart women.

5) Cockiness, especially in headlines
    Writing a headline such as, "Let Me Rock Your World" is SUCH a turn-off.  Immediately, I think, "tool".  If you're awesome, then you shouldn't need to prove it to anyone, it will come through in how you interact with others, and how you treat a woman.  Besides, no woman wants a guy who cares more about himself (or impressing others) more than her.  

6) Ignoring the "Looking For" section
    I have always been pretty specific about my age requirements, because a lot of older men try to contact younger women on dating sites, and I simply don't want to date a guy older than 15 years my senior.  That's a reasonable request, and one I feel should be respected.  Yet, despite this, I have gotten several older men who have sent me "interests" or messages.  I also have gotten "interests" from guys who don't read my profile to discover that I'm not interested in dating someone ultra-religious, etc. etc.  Just read, guys, and follow directions.  It's not that hard.

7) Bad Pictures, which include:
    1) The "Muscle" or "Manly" picture
         I cannot tell you what a horrible, awful, ridiculous turnoff this is.  I do not care about seeing you with your shirt off, nor do most other women.  Please tell me you have more to offer to women than just your hot bod.  Also, pics where you're flashing the "peace" sign with a smug look on your face does not turn us on, either.  Stop trying to be a bad ass, 'cause it makes you look like a dumb ass.

    2) Obscure pictures
         If we can't see your face, we can't tell if we'll be physically attracted to you or not.  Take off the stupid sunglasses so we can see your pretty eyes.  Also, please post a picture that isn't blurry, and if you're with friends, specify which one you are.  Another thing: please choose pictures where you're big enough so we can actually see you.  We don't care about seeing the Sequoia you saw in California, we care about seeing you.

    3) Smug pictures
        This kinda ties into the "manly" pic, but post pictures where you're smiling, or at least look pleasant.  Smirking makes you look like a jerk.

    4) Pictures with your car/motorcycle
        Okay, so you love your motor vehicle, that's fine, we get it.  If you want to have one of these pics, fine, but we're probably not going to be nearly as impressed by it as you are.  Just make sure you're visible, front and center, with sunglasses off next to the car if you insist on showing it.

    5) Pictures with girls
        Don't. Do. This.  Okay, if it's your sister, maybe...just specify this and don't use it as your main profile picture.

    6) The "Pouty" pic
         Again, most women aren't attracted to emo guys.  THINK positively! We don't want a guy who's in pain.  If you're the artistic, introverted type and insist on showing it, include a picture of yourself with one of your art pieces or next to a painting, full on and pleasant-looking.

8) Funny-guy profiles
    It's awesome that you can make us laugh, and that you're a bit of a clown.  Just, please add SOMETHING serious to your profile.  If there isn't one picture of you calmed down without yourself screaming or making the "who-farted-face" or planking or something, we might think you're a bit nuts.  You want something that says, "I'm funny but I'm also capable of being serious if need be".  Winner!

9) Lying about your age
    Trust me, we'll know.  You aren't foolin' anyone, buddy.

10) Being completely unrealistic in your "looking for" requests
      It's great to have an idea of what you're looking for; most women will respect that.  However, if you're only looking for "slim" or "petite" blondes with supermodel faces and you're 40 and slightly overweight, you may not be able to get exactly what you're looking for.  Moreover, you may be missing out on some pretty awesome women who could really rock your world.  So, expand your mind and enjoy the journey!

To sum up, I know that women probably make a lot of silly mistakes that deter good guys from their profiles, too, I'm not just ragging on guys...I think the most important thing in making any dating profile online is just to try to describe yourself as truthfully as possible, while playing up your good qualities in a way that does not come off as cocky, conceited, or pathetic.  It's kind of like a job interview, but a little more personal.  So: show your smiling (shirted) body and face, write a great description, and seal the deal! :)

Go get 'em, tigers!

<3, Me


  1. Love this post and all of these are so true! I know we've talked several times about the grammar issue and it's an immediate "next" in my book.

  2. I'd agree with every single one of these sentiments, if I thought that every guy in question was looking for someone like me. Bad grammer, yes, most intelligent women will pass up a guy based on that, but, I kind of think that the guy who posts his profile, bad grammar and all, doesn't care too much about finding intelligent women. Also, I think, as cad-ish as it sounds, I'd prefer that a guy state what he's looking for, even if it is a hot supermodel. Hey, a guy can dream. No messages in your inbox, buddy? Welp, you're the one with the narrow-minded criteria!
    I think you're right on the money about the pix and about actually reading a woman's profile before contacting her based on her looks, but, then again, women do have the option to ignore those contacts. Sure, it's a bummer to get all jazzed to see a new message in your inbox and have it be some old creeper looking for a good time, but at least they're not on your doorstep. That's the beauty of online dating, no? ;)

  3. Niki and Solange, glad you enjoyed it! haha. Solange, I'd prefer a guy state what he wants too, but the point of this was to give advice to guys who actually want to get dates!! haha.