Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On the Shortcomings of the Modern DIY Cupid

So, recently I’ve been doing the online dating thing. Started off with Match.com, discovered I was almost invariably interested in people who were not members, and therefore could not receive or send emails or IMs. Yeah… I’m paying y’all to show me people I’ll be interested in/compatible with, but because they haven’t paid you as well, I can’t actually connect with them? FAIL. Lesson learned, pay sites are a crock.

So now, I’ve switched over to OKCupid.com, which is free. Huzzah. I’m also getting a lot more response on OKCupid than I did on Match, so I’m happy in that regard. Still a lot of “Hey, you’re hot, hur hur” emails mostly, from guys who aren’t remotely my cuppa, but we can’t fault the service for that. The blame for that falls squarely on the men.

With that in mind, I thought I’d post a little Don’ts of Online Dating for the men folk. (Granted, I know I’m largely speaking to myself and the metaphoric walls at present, but… meh. Lemme spin my wheels a bit.)
  • When emailing a woman, DO NOT send a “Hi/Hiya/Hullo, you’re hot, how you doin’?” message. How am I supposed to answer that? “Thanks, fine, and you?” Wow, that’s spectacularly dull. Since you are the one initiating contact in this scenario, gentlemen, the onus is on you to start the conversation. “How you doin’” does not qualify as a good opening conversational gambit. Save it for your IMs. Further, if you put this little effort into your message to me, it tells me a) you’re not invested enough to dedicate a moment’s thought to this conversation, b)you couldn’t be arsed to read, or even skim, my profile to find something to talk to me about. This is not an auspicious beginning. Also, this is not MySpace. I expect this bullshit there, but not on a dedicated dating site.
  • While I understand and approve of the fact that some of you would like to attract intelligent women, some of you are going about it completely wrong. You seem to think that peppering (or rather saturating) your profile with SAT words will do the trick. Fine, it is possible that your vocabulary will impress a smart woman. Probably not, though, because for the most part, this just makes you look like a pretentious, self-aggrandizing ass. You might as well just brag to me about your SAT scores and have done with it. Triple bonus FAIL points if you don’t even do a basic proofreading/spell-check and you choose to compliment your $5 words with basic grammar errors and incoherence. (PS to the jackass who messaged me earlier today: pairing “fancy” words with loopy, indecipherable new age bullshit and faux nihilism isn’t sexy. Especially when you also BOLD all of the SAT fodder, and quote “Finding Nemo” thrice, without irony. You, my dear, misguided, and newly minted man-child, are a bit of a douche-nozzle.)
  • While we’re on the subject of your profile: don’t tell me you hate writing about yourself. Yes dear, you and everyone else. You like to laugh and have fun? Who doesn’t? This is not a unique trait, and gives me no idea of your individual identity apart from the herd. By all means, if you ARE a herd animal, proceed with the clich├ęs, but otherwise? Tell me something specific and unique about yourself.
  • Humor. Don’t tell me you’re funny. Show me. I don’t care if it’s hard. If you absolutely CANNOT find a way to inject humor into your profile, then guess what, pumpkin? You aren’t funny. Or at least, not anything out of the common way.
  • Pictures. Do you not realize how important these are? You MUST post at least 2. A good headshot and a ¾ body length shot. MUST. This is a non negotiable. For preference, if you are an aspiring actor/model/cougar slave, don’t use your professional headshots for your main profile shots. This is not an audition. Ideally, I’m going to be interacting with you in the private sphere, outside of your business. I would like to see what you look like in your day-to-day, not how purdy you can be made to look with Photoshop/airbrushing, professional lighting, and manly make-up. Don’t post pictures with your children/minor relatives/hot female friends/exes. Don’t. Further, do not take your profile pictures on a cell phone. It is simply not that hard to get your hands on a decent digital camera. Hell, even a photo booth shot would be better than a shitty, low res cell phone pic. Final point about pictures: keep your shirt on. Yes, even if you actually are a hard body. Women don’t work the same way men do (and I read women being blasted for overly revealing photos in this arena too), and posting topless shots makes you look conceited. My advice: in all of your pictures, you should look date ready, whatever that means to you. I’m not saying dress up, necessarily… just appear well groomed. In large part, your pictures are what I am basing my first impressions of you upon. Do you really want me to form my first impression of you based on that photo of you drunk and dirty at a frat party, and that one time you dicked around in a towel after a shower flexing in your bathroom mirror? If you do, cool, mission accomplished, but if not…

Well, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all bad. I had a really fun convo with a guy about pirates and Vikings, as well as a very sarcastic exchange about our incompatibilities. A funny, clever guy. But he’s 23. Why? Why can I not find an intelligent, attractive funny guy who’s older than me? Nothing is likely to come of this, because of my personal hang ups about his age, but it was fun, nonetheless. So, lala, the grand OKCupid experiment continues…