The Do’s & Don’ts of Online Dating

Hey ladies, does this get your attention? Photo Courtesy: Martin Gleason
Hey ladies, does this get your attention? Photo Courtesy: Martin Gleason

By Karina Manlove

I have twenty-four unread messages after not logging in to my online dating profile since April. A few of the messages caught my eye, namely one that began with “salutations,” a word I haven’t heard or seen used since I saw the animated version of Charlotte’s Web and another that asked me whether I would rather date “a king pin mob boss or an evil genius bent on world domination.” I received a message complimenting my user picture from someone named “RamRod” (I wonder what his intent is) as well as another asking me to discover churches around town. However, I have to say the message that caught my attention was the one I got from the guy in the hot dog costume.

I wanted to ask him if he was a Ballpark hot dog or an Oscar Meyer wiener, but I decided not to because it seemed too loaded a question, and it’s much too early in our online dating relationship to ask such things.

Why does that matter? You might be asking yourself, “Of all those messages you received, and most of them were probably from average, nice guys…you skipped past those and picked Hot Dog Guy?” Yes, yes I did. I picked Hot Dog Guy because that picture set him apart from everyone else. How many times have you seen someone dressed as a hot dog? I haven’t seen anyone dressed as that, even as a Halloween costume, and I was a diehard trick-or-treater!

So, although Hot Dog Guy didn’t have an exciting first message (I can’t even remember what he asked me), I would respond to him. Most of the messages I received reiterated the same basic things: “My name is Tony and I go to school and work at McDonald’s, I like to mow and edge lawns in my spare time and I also enjoy playing frisbee golf in the park on Sunday nights with my dog and my friends. Tell me three interesting things about yourself…” Okay, maybe not all of them were like that one, but the basics are there—name, work, school, hobbies and activities, and then a question for me. So, he got the basics down that most women will want to know, but it’s boring. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the above paired with a different profile picture will definitely make more of an impression than that alone or paired with a picture similar to everyone else’s.

The best practice is to figure out what differentiates you from the thousands of other guys online. Yes, that is a cliché and everyone’s heard that a billion times, but it’s true. A few years ago, my friend went as Rick James for Halloween, and everyone remembered THAT costume, complete with the hair, leather pants, and a leopard print shirt. She (yup, she!) was asked all night if she was a guy, what her ethnic background is, and who she was supposed to be (it wasn’t that hard to figure out, because she kept yelling that eponymous catch phrase from The Chappelle Show). I’m not saying dress up in a crazy outfit and don a wig just to take your profile picture for, but I am saying do something different than Tony, who works at McDonald’s and mows lawns on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I can’t remember what his profile picture looked like because it was just “eh.” Would you rather be “eh” or “guy in a hot dog costume?? WHAT?” I guarantee you Hot Dog Guy probably gets more responses and profile views because of that stupid costume. Who will you be?