A little bit over eight months ago, I was twirling around the city thinking I had a grip on being single. Answering my friends, who would ask the same question as my mom, since you're like perpetually, always, really single, have you thought about trying online dating?
It was one of those quick no's that are rare exceptions to our usually indecisive and over analytic minds. Kind of like when Time Warner asks you if you're okay with them transferring you to someone else, which will mean you'll have to be placed on hold, again, for 45 minutes.
No. No. No.
Okay, fine. I thought about it. But I wasn't convinced that I should set up a profile and write some witty jargon to try to sell myself to a pool of guys over the Internet. It would be like creating an advertisement for a billboard in Times Square, except instead of a million tourists gawking at it, strange men would be. But, I was having a hard time meeting people the other way, partially because I spent too much time working and partially because I had grown hostile to meeting guys at bars who were three tequila shots in and slurring their words while petting my hair.
A month later, I had a profile up on JDate.
Online dating wouldn't be so bad if people just spoke to each other like humans. As if they were meeting in person for the first time. If I was at a bookstore and a guy wanted to approach me to say hello or get my attention, if he said something like, "Sup Cutie. You fine," and followed it up with a wink face, I'd be confused, embarrassed, and ultimately walk away. If he said something simple, something that's not forced or creepy, something as blasé as, "Hey, what book are you reading?" he'd get my attention and along with that, my response.
But instead, guys are sending messages like this one that I received a week ago:
I think it's only fair that I give you full disclosure... I'm an asshole 0=)
That's what this guy by the username The Goblin sent me as a first message, as if that even warrants a response. Was he thinking I'd reply back with a "PLEASE take me out. You sound like a lovely, respectable human being"?
Or one that I received last night:
You're 5"6 too tall for me, sorry.
If you want to be a successful online dater, stop with these kinds of messages:
1. One Word To Rule It All
Sample messages: "Hey," "Yo," "Sup."
They looked at your profile. Not really. They looked at your gallery of photos, liked what they saw, didn't have enough time, or energy, or a need to read anything about you so they just send you one word.
2. I Hope Your Looks Don't Lie
Sample messages: "Yo. You're hot. That really you in those pics? Hope you not Catfishin' me."'; "If you can talk as good as you look, I may be in love."
3. Misused Punctuation
Sample messages: ";)" ":-@"
When's the last time you actually winked at a real, live, girl? I hope the answer is never.
Sample message: "Hey, Marissa. A little about me: I'm from Long Island and I used to play football. I like to go out with friends on weekends, but I also don't mind staying home and watching a good movie, with some good company. You look like someone I'd like to get to know better. Do you agree?"
If you're lucky, like I always am, they will even forget to change the name on the message and you'll receive one written to a Marissa or a Francesca when your name is Jen.
5. Misery Looking For Company
Sample message: "I'm not a fan of online dating, but I figure I'd give it a try." "How's JDate working out for you? I don't want to do this but my mom paid for my account and pesters me every day about it to make sure she's getting her money's worth."
6. What Did You Just Ask Me?
Sample messages: "Other than your looks, what are three things you've got going for you?" "If you were on Jeopardy, what would be your 30 second speech when Alex Trebek interviews you?"
Keep it simple, short.