Writing In Bed

The Final Straw In Online Dating

There are plenty of reasons to feel apprehensive about online dating, and after you go into it with good faith and come out with nothing, you can only try it so many more times before you finally delete your well-crafted profile.

For me, the final straw was the realization that no matter how well I wrote up my profile information, and no matter how flattering the pictures were, the quality of the messages I received never appealed to my interests and they seemed to have nothing to do with what I was putting out there.

At first, just to mock the idea of online dating, I wrote a profile full of facetious information and jokes. It triggered a few interesting responses from men, but they didn’t go much further than a superficial reaction to my dark humor.

When I thought it over and decided to take things more seriously, I rewrote everything to reflect my truer intentions which were vastly different than my initial comments about dying alone.

I shared about what I was looking for in a man. I specified the age bracket I was willing to date, and I shared about my interests in literature, music, and books. You know, the basic stuff you’d get out of the way on a first date anyway. I shared my stance on long term relationships and how I feel about the dynamic that should be shared between a partner and myself.

I disgusted myself with all that honesty. What were these men going to do with that kind of information? What kind of men was I going to attract with my personal interests and a few of my best pictures?

In the real world, I fall pretty quickly for the scruffy, husky, mechanics who look like they wouldn’t hesitate to kill a spider or fix a leaky sink. Those are my kinda men. The ones who come home smellin’ musky after a long day of workin’ hard and they devour all the dinner I cook and ask for seconds and thirds. Yeah baby, the rough, tough fellas who teach you how to breathe when shooting a rifle.

Sometimes, however, I turn my eyes toward the leaner, quieter, soft haired gentlemen who have never changed a flat tire. Sometimes I want to go to dinner with a guy who broods over his horrible poetry that I pretend is really good, and he’ll talk about something he read in the New Yorker and I’ll nod and listen and sip my Americano and just pretend that I totally get what he is saying.

None of the men who messaged me were interested in getting to know each other a little first. They wanted a phone number and they wanted it now! And if I didn’t give it to them, then I was a jerk for writing in my profile that I was a nice girl.

I once got a long – wait, let me be clearer – I once got an epic poem of a message in which the muses were called upon to help this man explain to me why I was not being true to the description in my profile and how I was truly missing out on a great guy by not responding to his first message, the one in which he was already giving me his phone number and trying to entice me into a dinner date before I even had a chance to respond.

I hated myself for reading it as thoroughly as I did. I scoffed the whole time and asked myself, “Who does this brat think he is?” He went on and on about what a terrible person I was for not accepting his dinner offer. Then, he wrapped up his message with: “However, I will give you another chance so that you can see that I’m a great guy. Here is my number. You can prove to me that you are a nice girl.”

Since when is “nice” synonymous with “stupid?”

Messages like that just got tossed into the pile of horrors behind me along with the dinner offer from men whose profile pictures were of them wearing unbuttoned shirts. A lady can only tolerate so many orange-tan abs slick with baby oil.

There was one time, however, when I had a genuine interest in a guy with whom I had exchanged several polite and fun messages. When I offered to exchange numbers, he turned me down. What?


It got to the point where at the bottom of my profile I wrote, “You should message me if you aren’t in a rush to hear back from me.” Some only wrote to tell me they thought that was funny and others tried their luck and said they liked my pretty face.

I think what happened was that my picture was perhaps not as sexy as they hoped. Maybe all of the guys I thought I would attract just weren’t into someone like me and that gave me a lot to think about in terms of how I market myself to that demographic (the off-roader, dirt bike demographic).

This isn’t a bad thing, I mean, that’s how online dating works. You present the goods and what you attract becomes an exercise in market research. The results received by a round-faced brunette are very different than perhaps what a red head or a blonde will get. That’s how the game works when it comes to strategizing with visuals.

When all you have to work with is a set of pictures and a few sometimes poorly-written descriptions that are only the surface details about a person, the effectiveness of online dating then has more to do with taking chances on a person than just landing on the “right profile.” It’s a game of chance, mostly, though pretty often you should immediately know what a person’s deal is and if you have a strong gut response, it tends to be correct.

If a person makes it clear on their profile that they are looking for a long term relationship, and you are not, then keep looking. I never responded to the messages from men who asked me if I was willing to overlook my specified age bracket and date someone older (I was asked twice and was annoyed that they would ask me to change my mind about something I clearly posted). I also did not respond to those who wrote that they had just gotten out of nasty divorces. I don’t have the kind of heart that is willing to deal with the repercussions of someone else’s major life events.

The more aware you are of what you’re looking for and the more you stand by your choice to not compromise for what you really want, the better you might get at weeding out the ones who just aren’t right for you.

I deleted my profile months ago haven’t fussed with the idea since then. I might eventually give it a try the old-fashioned way: get set up with friends of friends and run my background checks by speaking with our mutual acquaintances. When you have friends in common, they can’t keep any secrets from you (such as kids or spouses).

Featured Image via Shuttershock

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=537654288 Karlee Cake

    The OKCupid blog has some amazing (and counter-intuitive) stats.
    They playfully analyse their statistics using Real Maths and Statistics.
    (for example, which profile pics tend to be the most successful. Spoiler: it’s not the ‘sexy’ shots). It’s well worth a read, even if you have never online dated and don’t ever plan to (like me).

    • Marianna

      I would love to read that. They do some VERY interesting research!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506585130 Colleen Sweeney

    I did the whole OkCupid thing, and I had the same issues as you did.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=840393 Dana Maria

    Marianna, thank you so much for writing this. Your experience is almost identical to mine. I too deleted my profile recently as a result. I’m glad that I’m able to say that I’ve tried it, discovered it’s not for me, and can now move on (and stop putting so much pressure on myself!).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14227530 Chelsea Corbett

    I have had many friends with similar horror stories about online dating and feel very strongly that anyone can find what they are looking for on there if you have the guts and patience. I met my current boyfriend of 7 months online and surprisingly enough messaged him first. In the early stages of joining OKC i too had similar messages and had to sort through the ridiculousness to find the acceptable guys to respond to, but I honestly feel like more women should not just wait around for someone to message you and take that first step. It worked for me!

    • Marianna

      Absolutely. I think that’s at least the fun part of online dating. Taking a chance and testing the waters is generally safe and fun and if you don’t take it TOO seriously, then the bad messages aren’t so difficult to toss away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612295965 Jen Myers-Carlson

    THANK YOU FOR THIS! I’ve had some pretty interesting debates about online dating lately. I live solidly in the AGAINST camp and am happy as hell to stay away from it from here on out. Maybe it works for some but not for me…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=633747455 Rachael Berkey

    This is great. I have tried the online dating thing and it never rings true. Or I meet guys who are witty and funny, and when we meet in person, they can’t make eye contact. I get shyness and all, but YOU ALREADY KNOW ME PRETTY WELL if we’re talking on the internet regularly. Ug. Online dating is the worst.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=680115156 Heather Deacon

      So true, I find most of the guys I’ve met to be socially awkward or really creepy. I had one start threatening people who were on a pub crawl because they kept bumping into him. Crazy! It’s so much easier to be patient and do it the old fashioned way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=52205211 Jamie Wiesner

    I had such a hideous experience with online dating that I started a blog and post all the creepy messages I receive every week.


    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=185000598 Jen Georgeff

      My best friend and I have had so many hilarious trials and tribulations online dating that we are in the process of starting our own blog. Helps us approach it with good humor :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=76200829 Jessica Jeffers

    I was on OKCupid for a little more than a year before I met someone great. There were a lot of bad dates and a lot of horrifying messages, asking me for threesomes, aggressively assuming I must be a bitch if I’m not interested in them, or blatantly ignoring the information written in my profile. But I don’t think it’s all that different from regular dating. Going to a bar or getting set up by friends, you’re going to meet a lot of turds and dudes that just want to get laid. As an introvert, I preferred online dating because it removes some of the pressure of face-to-face interactions with strangers and gives you an opportunity to see what you have in common with someone before approaching them. But, to each her own!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1048530068 Lauren Ledesma


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1048530068 Lauren Ledesma

    I couldn’t help but go down memory lane as I read this> who hasn’t got the long email from the guy so deeply offended that you ignored his first message. The request for pics or a phone number after just a hello. Or the older men who SERIOUSLY think that a 23 yr old has no better options than his wrinkly butt.
    I gave up three times but finally struck gold! I stopped only looking at the guys who showed an interest in me or were online at the time and dug deeper into the depths of OK Cupid…until I found the most sarcastic, ridiculous profile of someone who seemed like they had written it to dissuade women not intrigue them. We messaged, texted, and the day before our first date (my birthday) he had a Christopher Walken impersonator call to wish me a happy birthday. It was love. It has been EXACTLY six months since that day and I am glad I changed my tactics and found someone as silly and sarcastic as I am. HOWEVER, it took ALOT of weirdos, strange messages, and awkward dates to get there. Online dating is not for the faint of heart or easily offended and DEFINITELY not for the inexperienced.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=76200829 Jessica Jeffers

      Right! The best OKC dates I had were the guys with whom I’d initiated the first contact. And I refused to use the instant messaging, because that’s just asking for trouble.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001995974249 Moe Greene

      What exactly is the problem you have with much older men dating 23 year old women? It’s not like you are 15. You might just have a blast with someone who may be more self assured, experienced, and easygoing than your age bracket. But maybe you are too uptight and judgemental?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000711759899 Frances Esparza

    Your article made me feel much better. I recently decided to give up on online dating after a hilarious 3 months of dating mishaps. It just made me feel like: 1. Something must be wrong with me 2. I’m meant to be alone 3. All guys are the same. Which in my heart I know those things aren’t true. My inner monologues said “You’re awesome and don’t you ever forget it!” Its reassuring to know that other awesome girls aren’t having an easier time than we should finding a compatible mate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=661879128 Evie Totty

    LOL! I currently have an OKC profile. The vast majority of the messages I’ve received were from 20-somethings looking for a sexually free MILF

    • Marianna

      LOL!!! Don’t do it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620147458 Laura Bryant Alexander

    I met the love of my life online, although not on a dating site. What I found on dating sites were a few good dates and a lot of ignorable nonsense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1072236804 Elizabeth Oberle

    not to be an ass, most of the people that I’ve met online have turned out to just as pushy as the guys you seem to be finding, but technically “nice” has always meant stupid. The origin of the word was an insult, and in a way the idea that nice is connected to being foolish is still inherent in experience of the word nice…that does not excuse the behavior, but perhaps you should better outline your expectations and not rely on a word like “nice” to weed out behaviors you find unsavory.

    • Marianna

      That’s an interesting point. I have certainly tried different variations of how to fill out a profile to see if there were indeed any differences in the results one gets, but I honestly saw no difference. I would see how many men viewed my profile and often I only heard from the most ineligible bachelors.
      What’s weirder is that I started to learn how to tell which ones were already seeing someone! Yet there they were.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503189488 Jessica Horton

    I am a serial online dater. I met pretty much all (bar one and he turned out to be a COMPLETE PSYCHO) of my ex-boyfriends via the wonders of the Internet. My current boyfriend is actually thanks to OKCupid too.

    But, for every good guy I’ve met (including guys I’ve just ended up friends with), there is ALWAYS 10-15 really creepy dudes who will just harass you. I think the worst ones for me were the guy who sent me a photo of his unmentionables and the 42 year old guy trying to be my sugar daddy (I was 19 at the time). The block button is DEFINITELY there for a reason.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000309694846 Shaun Hensley

    “None of the men who messaged me were interested in getting to know each other a little first. They wanted a phone number and they wanted it now! And if I didn’t give it to them, then I was a jerk for writing in my profile that I was a nice girl.”

    While I wouldn’t call someone names, I certainly would cut off communication with someone who insisted on keeping it at the message level past a couple of back and forth texts. I’m uncomfortable with text communication and do not like the type and wait aspect of it, the inability to read voice inflections… etc. I ALWAYS move straight to asking for a phone number or a mid day low pressure meetup in order to better judge the person with whom I’m dealing.

    All that said, I also make it a habit to NOT message women first, that’s a dead end.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000309694846 Shaun Hensley

    And I don’t really care too much about the profiles, I pay much more attention to the questions and how they are answered. So naturally, I don’t put much effort into selling myself via a profile. Just not my thing, and the type of person who I’d really appreciate would understand that and agree.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=139700192 Marianna Tabares

      Thanks for that input! I try not to put too much stock into what’s in a profile because realistically, no one is defined by a few questions they answer online. At best it’s more of an ice breaker to see if there are a few things worth discussing that the two might have in common.
      What irked me was that sometimes I would just receive a generic message in which the guy would also give me his phone number. The way it was written, it was clear he was also using that on other women, which I guess is fine, maybe it works, but it wasn’t for me.
      I would also become uncomfortable when there would be a blatant sexual innuendo when nothing even hinted that it was okay to talk that way.
      Hit or miss. I guess that’s one thing I like about online dating, that you’re really not obligated to talk to that person, and they have the ability to move on and try with someone else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=623484202 Christopher Parker

    It’s been a little while now since I’ve been dating anyone new, online or offline, but what I recall from my experience is a disconnect between people’s presentation in words and in person.

    If I were to do it again, I too would want to get on the phone as fast as possible. I just think it’s vastly better communication than through text.

    It’s not that a person’s written words aren’t true, but they are often not at all how they relate in person.

    Until you actually speak to someone on the phone and meet them in person, you don’t really know them at all, I think. The only purpose sending text messages has is for some basic screening to be sure you aren’t wasting your time (or worse). After that, I think they serve no purpose. In addition, I think the longer you wait to meet after the initial contact, the less momentum you have and therefor the less successful your connection will be.

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