As much as some of us hate to admit it, online dating is here to stay. Many companies have great success rates for relationships and marriage, and I'm glad technology has the ability to aid some of us in finding true love.
Yet true love also still eludes many of us involved in online dating.
One of the biggest advantages these sites supposedly offer is volume. You can sort through five or more supposedly "highly qualified leads" -- in some cases daily. The question is, whose definition of highly qualified are we talking about?
Certainly not mine, and according to the women in my circles, not theirs either.
It's not so much that the gentlemen themselves aren't high quality (though some aren't) -- it's the marketing. Bad pictures, poorly written profiles, and misleading information make it frustrating or annoying to sort effectively. For example, the guy who "wants a relationship" but by all other factors in his profile is clearly looking for a hookup. That's fine, but own it! Don't say you want a relationship if you don't.
If you want to be a man in your online dating profile and truly use the site(s) to attract the woman of your dreams, here are some suggestions. Actually, even if you're on the site just to date, trust me, gentlemen, you'll have better results if you make these few minor adjustments:
1. Stop taking half-naked photos of yourself in the bathroom mirror.
Half the time, the flash blocks the picture. And seeing a toilet, dirty shower, and you standing in a 4' x 6' box is mos def not a turn on.
Now, if you're laid out in a hot tub in a beautiful bathroom with a view of the ocean behind it, that's a different story. Look, we do want to see your hot bod, but get a friend to take a few pix at the gym or a sporting event. Stay out of the bathroom! We really don't want to think about what went on in there before or after you took the picture.
2. Write more than a paragraph if you actually want a date.
Two sentences is fine for a booty call. But if you check the box "wants a relationship" and then don't take the time and effort to write a decent profile, the message we receive is: "I'm looking for a hookup" and "I use love to get sex."
Actually, that last part is giving you too much credit -- it would require self-awareness.
3. Open with more than, "Hi" when you send an email.
For goodness sake, what kind of lazy introduction is that? Sure, it works at a party; we're face-to-face, making eye contact. We can feel or not feel the chemistry, and usually go right into a conversation about what's happening where we are.
But online, all I have is your profile. With just "Hi," I have to assume you're disinterested, bored, or simply inarticulate. No matter what your excuse is for not writing more, it's lame and a turn off. I can't tell you how many women just don't respond to guys who just write one word.
4. No photos with shades.
You are not famous.
There are no paparazzi.
Take off your sunglasses and let us see the real you.
5. Stop tipping a 40 to your homies!
Taking pix of yourself on the way to being drunk off your ass is not inspiring. We're not in college anymore and this isn't a frat. Which leads right into:
6. Stop putting up pix of you with the gaggle of girls you were hanging out with during your drunken escapades.
I'm not interested in how you are with all women. I'm interested in how you interact with me. You might be God's gift to the party girl, but how are you with a real woman, outside the bar? Other women in profile pix = no-no. Do you really want to see all the men I've been with before?
Didn't think so.
7. Your profile should not have a disclaimer about what you don't want.
If you find yourself listing the faults of all your exes, get counseling or coaching. You aren't over them. And chances are, you've been the source of all that drama you claim you don't want.
Hey, let's face it: You're the consistent factor in all your relationships. So it can't be all "her" fault.
8. Please have photos that were taken at least within the past year or two.
There's nothing worse than showing up and discovering that I can't even recognize you in the restaurant. You look nothing like your online photo because... it was taken in 1997.
9. You try to be flirty, but it's actually crass.
Like, "Your a beautiful woman Ivy. I can't wait to meet you and suck those big a-- tit-s you got."
ICK! Yes, some idiot actually sent that to me as a text. In his defense, I think he was under 30.
That's actually no excuse. Never mind.
10. Fricking ask for my number.
Don't give me yours. It feels weak. If we were out in the real world, you'd ask (I hope). Just because we're online doesn't mean the rules are different.
You are the boy; I am the girl. Boy asks girl for her number.
11. If you ask for my number, make the call and ASK ME OUT.
I'm on the site to date and/or presumably to find a mate. Aren't you? I don't want a pen pal or phone sex buddy. And we're not teenagers who need to hide behind texting until we "feel comfortable" enough to talk. We're grown-ass adults.
Lead, goddammit! Lead!
12. Don't "favorite me," "want to meet me," or "like" my profile.
This is not Facebook, and it's not junior high. Just because sites have those options doesn't mean you have to use them. Man up and make contact. Tell me you liked what you saw and read, and make a connection.
I am not going back to look at the 100 men who claim they "want to meet me." I will respond to men who actually take the time to write more than "Hi," and introduce themselves as possible suitors.
As a coach, I encourage women to "know their brand" of femininity. If you don't like to cook, the pictures on your profile shouldn't show you in an apron, holding up an apple pie. And if you want a relationship, you shouldn't put your pole-dancing pictures up. Not because women who pole dance aren't marriage-minded, but because like it or not, we all have some social norms and stereotypes to which we ascribe. (Like the fact that most men probably don't want to marry a woman whose pole-dancing pix are all over Zoosk).
The same goes for men. I'm going to make assumptions about your manhood (so to speak) from everything you do (or don't) do online. If you:
Put up recent pictures up that show your eyes (and not your lavatory);
Put thought into your profile;
Message me directly with something thoughtful;
Get my number, and
Ask me out
...then you're proving you're not afraid to take the lead. You're demonstrating that you know how to do this whole taking-care-of-a-woman thing from the start.
You're showing me you're not a manchild. You're a MAN.
And that's what I really want.