So, I’ve signed up to another dating website, even though every time I do (I’ve joined four different ones over the course of the last few years), I get severe buyer’s remorse afterwards. Its probably because, of all the things that you can buy that promise a better life (a new dress, a gym membership, whitening toothpaste), internet dating seems to offer the most. True love! Soulmates! Happily Ever Afters! So, if (when) you fail to find said true love/soul mate/happily ever after, its all the more frustrating and disappointing when you think of how much money you’ve wasted.
Also, I think the whole internet dating thing offends my default romance setting. The initial set-up, with profiles and pictures and endless lists of things you like and don’t like seems to me to be essentially shopping for a boyfriend. ‘Oh, well, yes, I like this model, but I wonder if I could get him with blue eyes rather than green?’ And then when (if ) you get to the first date its often more like a job interview than a date. ‘Yes, I am very close with my family and feel that family life is important. I spend every Christmas with them and speak to my father weekly, which I believe shows my stable and well-adjusted nature, perfect for a long-term relationship and potential marriage.’ On some deep level, my brain still believes that the only way you can meet your one true love is when you both reach for the same, red hard-cover, gold-embossed copy of ‘Anna Karenina’ at the second-hand bookshop. Or, when you happen to sit next to each other at a friend’s wedding. Or, when his best friend lets the largest country house in the vicinity and you meet at a dance and he insults you because of your low-class, so then you decide you hate him, but then he falls in love with you because you don’t care and he proposes and you refuse and insult him and so then he mends his ways and becomes awesome and you decide you made a mistake, but aren’t sure if he still loves you and then his crazy aunt comes and tells you you’re not allowed to marry him and then he proposes and you say yes and you have a joint wedding with your sister who happens to marrying your husband’s best friend.
Oh. Sorry. Got a bit carried away there.
I also feel there’s a bit of a stigma still around internet dating. Like, that it’s for old, divorced people or socially stunted people. The amount of men that have said to me, ‘So, what’s a nice/pretty/confident/outgoing girl like you doing on an internet dating website?’ as their first message is too numerous to mention. I know its meant to be a compliment, but it just ends up making me feel even more romantically incompetent. Read in another way the comment could be: ‘You look reasonably nice and pretty! And you still couldn’t manage to find someone? So, what’s wrong with you?’
But, still, I have several good friends who are currently in long-term, happy and stable relationships through their participation in this modern-day form of torture/humiliation that we call internet dating, so I’m once again giving it a go. I figure that, at the very least, I can start to meet some London people and they can take me out to awesome London places and I’ll start to get a sense of the city. And that has to be good, right?
However, there are several things that annoy me about the gentlemen I meet online. So, at the risk of sounding like a know-it-all dick (hi there anonymous internet trolls! I look forward to your abuse!) or someone who writes books with annoyingly smug titles (‘he’s just not that into you’ nyah nyah nyah), I wrote a list of the things that are most likely to make me lose interest in a man on an internet dating website (if any of the gentleman online wish to write a similar list about the women online, I’d be glad to read it. I honestly have no idea how best to advertise myself on these websites. Ugh. Just describing the process as ‘advertising myself’ makes me feel sick to my stomach, but it is sort of true).
1) Photo. If you don’t have a photo, I ain’t interested. Don’t take it personally, boys, I’m the same with recipe books. If a recipe doesn’t have an accompanying photo, I’m completely at sea when attempting to choose something to make for dinner. It is the same with your profiles. Its not that I’m superficial and only want to date men with six-packs and jaws you could cut diamonds on, but simply that, as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. A photo will give a better sense of who you are. Especially when it seems most people these days ‘like movies, live music, keeping fit and traveling’. And, in that spirit, be very careful about which photos you chose as your main profile photo. Don’t choose a photo in which you are scowling. You might think girls like dark and brooding, but, there’s a fine line between Heathcliffe and deranged axe-murdering stalker. Best to urge on the side of caution and choose a photo that shows you looking reasonably happy, confident and comfortable. I know its a tall ask. I know some people don’t feel comfortable with a camera stuck in their face. Maybe try to get a friend to take a photo when you’re not expecting it. “In the moment”, as they say. Give them a camera and have them jump out at you when you’re in the midst of laughing at a hilarious joke your friend just told you. Also, unless it’s a photo of you at the beach, please no topless photos. I don’t care if you have six-pack. Well, I do care, but its not going to make me want to date you more than somebody else who doesn’t have a six-pack. And if you care that much about your six-pack that you need to show it to me before I even know your name, then chances are my desire to date you will dip into the negative digits. Also, you may think that Zoolander-style photos are hilarious, but so do about a thousand other men and, believe me, after a while, the joke gets old. Oh, and, one last thing. Drunk photos? Seriously? Especially drunk photos where you are flanked by scantily-clad, buxom, bronzed women? Are you still drunk when you’re choosing them? No-one looks like a good prospect when drunk in the Playboy Mansion. NO-ONE. Not even Hugh Hefner.
2) Proper grammar and spelling in your profile. I may be in the minority here, but if you misuse ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ or mix-up ‘their’ and ‘there’ and ‘they’re’, it will equal an instant rejection from me. if you don’t use caps locks, i will start to wonder what’s wrong with the left little finger that it cannot stretch to the caps locks or shift keys. If you end every sentence with! I will not think you are enthusiastic! Or, I will think you enthusiastic in the way that my gym instructor is enthusiastic! In my head all your sentences will end on an upward inflection! And this will annoy me! And then I will think you are annoying! And I will not contact you! Similarly… if you use… all the way… through your profile… I will not… think you are thoughtful… I will think… you have written… your profile stoned… and cannot remember your…. words. But the worst thing of all, the absolute worst, is text speak. Dudes, seriously. If you use ‘lol’ at all, at any point in your profile or messages to me, my instant reaction will be to compare you to a 16 year old girl. I will imagine you flicking your long, blonde hair out or your baby blues and, like, sucking on a strawberry lollipop and, like, checking your glittery nail polish and whilst that probably does it for some people, I promise you, for me it DOES NOT. You may use text speak ironically, in which case, I will smile ruefully to myself, but the danger is, will I know you are using it ironically? Best to avoid it entirely.
|‘LOL! This is definitely my best angle! The girls won’t be able to resist me.’ Found at: http://menknowpause.fooyoh.com/menknowpause_lifestyle_living/5209717|
3) Don’t start your profile with, ‘Not sure what to write!’ Don’t start it with, ‘I don’t really feel comfortable writing about myself like this…’ Don’t start it with, ‘Never done this internet dating thing before! Thought I’d give it a go…’ Don’t start it with ‘Smart, handsome, friendly (and humble) guy…’ Yes, we realise it’s uncomfortable and awkward. Chances are, the girls looking at your profile also felt very uncomfortable and awkward when writing about themselves. I promise you, absolutely everyone is uncomfortable and awkward. Pointing it out does not help. Its like the person who says, ‘Well! This is awkward!’ after an awkward pause. There is no response to this. Its not funny. Its not original. Its just… awkward.
4) So, on match.com, you can ‘wink’ at people to show that you’re interested. If, gentlemen, you have ‘winked’ at me and I haven’t responded, chances are I have read your profile and am not interested in you. I know its a bit rude not to respond, but I actually have a life outside of internet dating and don’t really have time to message everyone who has winked at me, so sometimes I don’t reply. I apologise. If you wink a second time, or a third time, or a fourth time, I guarantee I have already looked at your profile and am not interested. Look, if you imagine it in a real-life scenario, at a pub or something and you wink at a girl across the bar and she doesn’t respond, you take that at face-value. She’s not interested. No amount of winking will change her mind. And, I mean, really, after a while its just blinking not winking and that’s not alluring that’s just confusing.
5) If you have sent a ‘wink’ and I ‘wink’ back, don’t make your first message to me, ‘you’re cute’ and nothing else. I will go from thinking you are a potentially fascinating individual who I may have an interesting conversation with to thinking you are a sleaze and most likely masturbating over the pictures and profiles you have open on the dating website. I’m not joking. That’s the image my brain immediately jumps to. I won’t respond.
6) If you are living in Morocco, I’m sorry, but I’m not interested. Not even if you tell me I’m beautiful and you want to marry me. Actually, especially if you tell me that. Men living in Thailand, Italy, Cyprus and any other country apart from the one I’m living in, please also consider this post relevant to yourselves. I think we should all agree that long-distance is a bitch even in this wondrous modern-age of the internet and Skype and jet-planes. Plus, I don’t have UK passport, so there’s no point in marrying for that.
7) If you have sent a ‘wink’ and I ‘wink’ back, don’t make your first message to me be self-pitying, defeatist and pessimistic. For example, heading a message with ‘…not the greatest match…’ Dude, if I’ve winked at you, I’ve found something in your profile interesting (even if it is simply your correct use of grammar), so just trust that and run with it. I will either think that you are less than enthusiastic about talking to me (oh, well, no-one else has replied to me, so I suppose I’ll have to just talk to this one), or that there is some problem with you. Or, even if there is nothing wrong with you, the fact that you think there is something wrong with you will fill with me dread as I imagine long dates in which I attempt to convince you that you are worthwhile human being (I’ve got my hands full convincing myself of my own worth as a human being, which is a full-time job, so really, dude, you’re on your own).
8) If we have used the vile instant messenger for the swapping of 4 or 5 lines of conversation (‘hi’ ‘how are you’ ‘what are you up to’), do not then expect me to give your phone number so we can ‘text’. I wouldn’t have thought this needed explanation, but some gentlemen have been insulted at my lack of enthusiasm for this idea. Sorry, dudes, its called, ‘Not-wanting-to-open-myself-up-to-a-stalking-situation’. Conservative, I know, but after many years of having the fear of God put into me regarding strange men and the things they might do to young ladies if they got the chance, its hard to break some habits. But, if we turn it around, exactly why do you need my number so soon, anyway? And, if we’re already arguing 5 lines of text into our relationship, is this something that either of us want to pursue, anyway? I thought not. Good day, sir.
9) If I have agreed to go on a date with you, do not text to ask me how big my boobs are.
Do I really need to go through an explanation for that?
10) If we have messaged for a bit and, then, for some reason, I have decided that I’m not interested in you, do not want to go on a date with you and have stated why, you need to respect this. No amount of texts and emails are going to change my mind. It shouldn’t take me giving my phone to a male friend to answer for you to leave me the hell alone (oh, and for gentlemen who were confused by my refusal to give out my mobile number in point 8, take this as the reason why).
But, hey, really, guys, I’m just a down-to-earth, easy-going girl, looking for someone to share some laughs with.