The ink on the Judgement of Divorce has been dry for months now, and you have an itch (a small, nagging one) to get back out there. And, for the first time in a very LONG time, you have every other weekend free from responsibility. No kids, no curfew. The problem is, you also have no prospects.
Your best friend's sister met her boyfriend on Match.com. And your cousin is living with this guy she met on Christian Mingle. Even your hairdresser is seeing this dude he met on Grindr. Or hanging out with him on Saturday nights. Or whatever.
You are intrigued. And so you dip your toe in the water of online dating very delicately, just to check the water and see how it feels. You finally dust off the coupon and log in to meet the girl of your dreams.
What to put in that profile? What to write to make the ladies go wild for you, handsome, single, divorced dad of two?
Take your time, son. Slow your roll.
I have a few tips for you before you jump headfirst into creating that profile. These tips were gathered in the many months that I, too, spent traversing the dating websites trying to find the single man of my dreams.
I'm offering you the insider's view to online dating, Single Mama to Single Man.
Before you type ONE WORD, read THIS:
Online dating DON'TS for the Single Man
1. DON'T include a profile picture of yourself in any of the following situations: Eating a hot dog, smoking a cigar, getting married, holding a child with a face you have whited/blacked/cut out, wearing a tank top, lifting weights, eating a hot dog while smoking a cigar and lifting weights.
2. DON'T include these words and/or phrases in your ABOUT ME paragraph (or rather, to be safe -- never, ever even use these words at all. Just DON'T. Ever.)
- Thigh highs (^shudder^)
- Loves to cuddle (I just threw up in my mouth a little)
- Scally-wags (Might need a translation on this one, but it just SOUNDS lame)
- Who would have thought it would be this hard? (Dude, I don't want to know how hard it is.)
- My friend/sister/neighbor/orthodontist made me sign up.
- I have a free trial on the site and can't send emails so HMU if you want to hook up.
3. DON'T mention your car, have a profile picture of you and your car, have a profile picture of your car alone (even if it IS gleaming in the dusky sunlight). Unless your car is a Delorean. If your car is a Delorean, then HMU.
4. DON'T use ALL CAPS to make a point. For example, don't say:
I'm SICK of girls who are always complaining about their baby daddy and don't know a REAL MAN when they SEE ONE. I'm SICK of girls who eat MORE than I do on a date and don't pay attention to ME (when I talk for 45 minutes about drag racing/hockey card collecting/the MMA cage I'm building). COMMON INTERESTS ARE A MUST! I want a partner in CRIME (nothing felonious, I am still on PROBATION) and I am a GENTLEMAN who knows how to treat a LADIE right. I will PICK YOU UP in my 2008 DODGE RAM (***SEE #3 ABOVE***) and take you out for a night on the town.
5. DON'T send the following "get to know you" first messages:
- Your hot
- I know I'm 10 years younger but you can do whatever you want to me
- I know I'm 20 years older but I'm young at heart (and in the sack)
- Do you keep in shape? How recent are your pictures?
6. DON'T mention during the first telephone conversation, that "finances are a little tight," and suggest "It be your (as in MY) treat until after the new year." And it's October.
7. DON'T accidentally send me a message you meant to send to one of the other seven girls with whom you are communicating.
8. DON'T refer to your ex-wife/girlfriend as "That lazy bitch" or "The evil one" in a text. At least not before the first date. Or ever.
Online Dating DOs for the Single Man
1. DO contain your excessive fear of DRAMA, even if it is BIG CONCERN. For example, don't have your tag line be "Don't got no drama, don't want no drama," and then your job listed as "Stayin' away from DRAMA," or have a picture of you holding a faceless baby (in a tank top) with the caption "No baby mama drama."
2. DO avoid referring to yourself in in the third person. "He likes curvy girls".
3. DO have at least one picture your didn't take with your iPhone in the bathroom mirror.
4. DO at least TRY to sell yourself:
For example instead of this:
Divorced dad of five boys with little prospects and crippling child support payments seeks someone who doesn't mind dealing with my moderate obesity and chronic hyperhidrosis.
Previously married daddy to 5 cute little fellas takes care of all his obligations and seeks someone who wants a big teddy bear who has chronic hyperhidrosis. (Even an English major and optimist can't come up with something to fix excessive sweating.)
5. DO your research. To be more precise, read the profiles of the girls you are attempting to woo.
It would seem, from my own research, that most of the women interested in online dating
- "Enjoy laughing,"
- Are "looking for Mr. Right,"
- Are "living life like there is no tomorrow,"
- And "look as great in a little black dress as they do in comfy sweats."
I wish I could translate exactly what any of those things means, Mr. Single Man, but alas, I have no clue.
Listen. This sucks. It's rough out there for those of us who last dated when pagers were all the rage and Bon Jovi was uber cool.
Really, I think the best advice I can give you (and myself) is this:
1) Turn off the computer.
2) Go to the drugstore.
3) Buy two pieces of cardboard and some string.
4) List your qualities and preferences in magic marker on the cardboard. (you know, your irrational fear of drama, propensity to laugh all day in dresses or sweatsuits or whatever the hell you think is sexy, your need for someone to tolerate your profuse sweating, or teeth grinding, or bizarre and excessively mentioned life-living tendencies.)
5) Make a sandwich board.
6) Go to the nearest busy intersection.
7) Put on said sandwich board.
8) Walk up and down the street and wave. Dance. Do The Dougie. Shake hands with passersby.
I think you will find yourself a wee more successful than you would online dating. Or at least a lot less stressed out.
At least you can possibly end up on the 11:00 news.
And imagine the dating springboard that would be.