I understand why online dating gets a bad rap: it takes away the fun of the “meet-cute” and forces you to judge, based on very little information, whether you want to take risks with someone else’s neuroses and perversions. There have been online dates I’ve been on over the past four years, such as with the 9/11 conspiracy theorist, that I’ve hated, too.
But it’s also true that I found my boyfriend on an online dating site, too. Granted, we’ve only been an item for four months, so we’re not exactly Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson here. However, it wasn’t particularly arduous or awful finding each other and we fit pretty well. And from my last relationship to my current one, I actually dated exclusively two different guys for one month each that I met online, too. I’d like to think when it comes to this online dating thing, I’m doing something right!
Basically, I treated it like shopping. If you’re looking for a pair of black skinny jeans in a size 10, don’t go home with a denim skort. It might be sold in the same department … but it’s not really the same thing. So, for what they’re worth, here are my (obviously very heteronormative) strategies for the rest of you frustrated online daters:1. I was really, really, really specific and honest about who I am and what I’m looking for. If I had to sell myself, I knew I had to do it honestly. I know what I want and I figured that I wouldn’t waste my time or anyone elses’ time if I was straight-up about my wants and needs. That type of candor might make it sound difficult for other people, but I genuinely think it was how I found my dude. Pretty much every guy who contacted me said he appreciated my directness! For instance, my profile said that I am feminist, but I am attracted to more traditional guys. I said I was only looking for a long-term relationship. And I was also straight-up about having a spanking fetish. This might sound like overly-intimate stuff for an online dating profile — and, yeah, a number of guys seemed to think “kinky” means “easy” — but that honesty separated the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I laid all my cards out there and as a result, I didn’t waste two or three dates on duds. If saying I’m a feminist or saying I enjoy sex are dealbreakers, then I don’t want to date that person, anyway.
2. I decided what wasn’t important to me. I was lucky, in a sense, that I had firsthand experience with people having really dumb standards. Those of you who have followed the Ex-Mr. Jessica Saga know all about the letter he sent me after we broke up, in which he listed 10 reasons why he didn’t want to be together anymore. Some of the reasons were totally reasonable. But some of them were just plain stupid, like how he wanted to date someone who enjoyed playing board games. Board games! Yes, board games. Don’t even ask me to explain that one. So, anyway, when I started online dating, I had a those very specific things that I cared about — like dating a traditional guy — and then lots of other stuff that was “whatever.” As a result, I went on dates with guys from all races, income levels, political persuasions — and board game players and non-board game players alike! I’ve seen far too many profiles say “I could never date a Republican!” and I think that’s such a shame. I dated a Republican I met online for a month and though we ultimately weren’t right for each other for non-politics reasons, we had some really great conversations. It would have been a shame not to date him just because he voted for Bush (twice).
3. I posted a picture of myself not wearing any makeup. A guy once told me me — and this is true — that women tend to post the best-looking, hottest pictures of themselves on their profiles. So this guy assumed the photo where she looks least “done up” might be closest to what she looks like, say, on Saturday morning and it was the one he paid the most attention to. Armed with this information, I posted a picture of myself wearing no makeup on my profile. It’s still a cute photo: I have long brown hair, I’m smiling, and staring into the camera with my big brown eyes. Underneath it I wrote the caption, “This is what I look like without makeup.” And you know what? I still got responses.
4. I posted lots of other pictures of myself. I put a lot of thought into writing my profile and it showed. However, my general consensus of how the average dude uses an online dating site is he looks at pictures to see if he’s attracted to her and then scans the profile for red flags. As I stated before, online dating is sort of like shopping, so I made sure to sell myself as best I could. I have plenty of pics to show the full scope of how cute and awesome I am — the makeup-less pic as well as more glamorous photos.
5. I deleted without a response and/or blocked the egregious time-wasters. One of the quickest ways to get frustrated from online dating is engaging with people who don’t meet the standards of what you’re looking for. If a guy contacted me who seemed otherwise cute/smart/nice but said he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship or wasn’t kinky, I would send him a polite note back that I was flattered he wrote me but I didn’t think we would work out. Guys who were just egregiously not what I was looking for just got ignored. For example, I am 27 and my profile specifically stated that I was looking for guys under age 35. I suppose it’s possible that some 39-year-old and I could have found everlasting love, but I wanted to date someone close to my own age. That didn’t stop more than a few men in their late 30s, 40s and even 50s from contacting me. Why, I don’t know. But I just deleted or blocked them without apology. And no, I’m not sorry.
Online dating is never going to be a day at Disney World, especially after you’ve been doing it awhile. I don’t relish the thought that perhaps one day in the future, I’ll have to look for love on the Interwebs again. I feel confident, though, that if my strategies worked this time around they may work again!
Does anyone else have tips for how they found a boyfriend online dating? Let us know in the comments!
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.