DO’s and Don’ts of Online Dating

Sound advice for those trolling the internet for the ladies.
Sound advice for those trolling the internet for the ladies.

By Karina Manlove

Last week I created an online dating profile. I’ve had many in the past, but I always deleted them after I started seeing someone. This one, however, I started purely for investigative purposes. Would things be different this time? Would I still encounter the same kinds of men? How long would it take before I got my first strange message?

Disclaimer: I used my own personal photo on my profile, but I did not use my true age. This was done so anyone who searched for me could not eliminate thousands of profiles by selecting criteria to narrow down the results to find my profile.

DO: Send a message introducing yourself
This time around, I did get a few messages that did not include introductions. The best way to get a woman to respond to you? “Hi, how are you? My name is Joe Schmo. I saw you like [mutual interests], things we have in common. What’s your name?” Not, “I would love to go down on you for hours,” “I have a house in Vegas, a ranch in Napa Valley, and a yurt in Colorado,” or “I’ve been told I have one of the best looking (euphemism for male genitalia). I kind of do.”

It’s like a business transaction. Be polite, honest, and to the point. Also, a sense of humor will get you much further than sexual innuendo alone. Simply saying hello, asking how the person is, and giving your name is more inviting and will most likely elicit a faster response. This is an easy approach that erases doubt like “Was that the right thing to say?”

Please use your real name, not the name you gave your car, dog, or what your mom or your friends call you. Adding in whatever mutual interests you have also is helpful as doing so shows you actually read the person’s profile. The days of AOL chat rooms are over, so use the profile to your advantage and send a message introducing yourself and what interests or hobbies you share with the person you are messaging. I swear this is the most effective means to woo someone on any dating site.

DON’T: Send strange introductory messages
One opening sentence I received: “I am a lusty adventurous man who is morally imperative (sic). I am a final year grad student who is getting [screwed] mindlessly.”

“Lusty adventurous man”? That could mean a number of things. One, he is so adventurous he loves excitement and variety in life, so much so he longs for it. Two, he’s full of energy and likes to try new things. Three, in the sexual sense, he’s adventurous in the bedroom.

There is little in the sentence to provide clues as to which of these three is closest to his meaning, and there was nothing else in the rest of his message to hint at anything beyond my three possibilities. The rest of his opening sentence also is confusing. What does it mean if someone calls himself “morally imperative”? Additionally, as his sentence needed either a conjunction or a semicolon to separate two separate clauses, I determined he most likely is not studying literature or creative writing.

His inclusion of the latter part of his second clause had me laughing because I couldn’t figure out if he meant being a final year graduate student means he’s so swamped with work he can barely function, or if he is gallivanting naked around the bedroom so often he can’t think straight. This is a great example of why and how overdone introductions can work  against you instead of for you. The first time I read this I could barely comprehend it, and I am still clouded to his  original meaning after rereading it multiple times. I considered perhaps this message was supposed to be read with a sarcastic tone, but this is the Internet and it’s difficult to be certain. Keep your initial messages succinct and free of weird tripe and you won’t scare off potential dates, and save the sarcasm for after you establish that you and your potential date share a love for Daria.

In a week, I received 12 messages and had 147 profile views. I only uploaded one picture, which was just of my face. I did not include decolletage, cleavage, swimsuit, or full body shots. I can only wonder what kinds of messages (and how many) I would have received had I uploaded more pictures, especially ones of my face and other things. My biggest  takeaway thus far was that it doesn’t matter if I just post one picture – and of my face – I’m still going to get bizarre  messages. Who knows what one more week will bring.