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