Saturday, October 11, 2008

Online Dating Tip #5 - Dare To Be Utterly Unappealing

One of the things the DW learned right away about online dating was that the “first move” part was no different on the internets than it was in a bar. Not one woman ever contacted him first. Meanwhile, every woman he knows who has online dated has had her mailbox spilling over with 926 dudes in about 2.4 seconds.

“It’s a real pain in the a#s to sort through all those losers.”

“Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.”

“So many gross dudes!”

To these sorts of complaints, the DW, as a former online dating dude with a completely empty mailbox, says, “Boo frickin’ hoo to you and all your options.” He also suggests that you dare to make yourself utterly unappealing. Not unappealing to everyone, of course. Just to the dudes you don’t want.

Or maybe another way to put it is, don’t write your profile as if it’s for everyone. It’s not. It’s not for the local news. It’s not for an essay contest. It’s not even for your friends. The only person your profile is really for is that dude you want to meet.

Just as asking for everything in the world can be a bad idea (see Online Dating Tip #2 – The List Of Demands) presenting yourself as everything in the world can be a bad idea, too. If you say you are “Just as comfortable in hiking boots as high heels!” when, closer to the truth is something like 1) you don’t like hiking that much, but you think you want a dude who’s outdoorsy or 2) you haven’t hiked in six years, but think it’s about time you started walking more or 3) you think dudes like a woman who hikes or 4) omg! you just flat out hate hiking and have no f*cking idea why you just typed what you did, well, don’t be surprised to find yourself on a second date in a tent somewhere remote, wondering what the sweet jesus you have in common with this dude who smells like campfire that’s trying to worm his way into your sleeping bag.

Make jokes. Take stands. Be definitive. Dare to have a dude feel strongly about what you write. Do that, and some will find you utterly unappealing, it's true. But the dudes with whom you actually have a lot in common will likely find you all the more desirable.


Felinessa said...

You've got a point there, DW, but let's look at this more in-depth.

1. First of all, "gross dudes" generally don't bother reading profiles. They see the pic, they like the pic, and they fill your inbox with "hey wazzup" and "ur cute."

Then there are desperate dudes, who can't be deterred by the mere fact you stated some preferences (or who insult your intelligence by thinking you don't know what you want or what you should want). "I know I'm a bit older, but I thought I'd drop you a line anyway." That means I specified 27-35 and he's 52. A BIT older? Or "I have no idea why a sophisticated woman like you wouldn't give a more mature guy a chance." Thanks, but I have my well-thought out reasons.

I don't think there's much anyone can do to completely avoid them. When I had an ad up, my profile was very specific, and I still got "wazzup ur cute lets get 2together" emails.

2. If you look at guys' profiles, a good percentage want someone who "is just as comfortable in jeans and a ponytail as in an evening dress and high heels." Awesome.

The problem with that is that it's not as simple as it sounds. I'm sure it means different things to different people.

To some, it means you can effortlessly hop from hiking to salsa dancing. I'm sure there are people who do both and who can look the part no matter what they do. But in real life, people who don't mind getting all sweaty and dirty and who don't freak out when they find ants in their chicken aren't usually that fond of stilettos and elaborate facepaint. The opposite holds true as well.

Or, it could mean that they want someone who looks high maintenance, but isn't really high maintenance.

Women hate being perceived as too "girly" or too high maintenance. So, of course, they fill their profiles with the kind of crappola you cited because they don't want to be immediately excluded.

But here's the thing: "ponytail and stilettos" dudes are either crushing on Superwoman or haven't figured themselves out yet. Or they're keeping their options widely open. To me, none of that was terribly appealing, so I generally clicked Next.

While I agree that being true to yourself is very, very important (I think that's what DW is trying to say in a less stereotypical, less self-help-girl-power-chicken-soup way), I think there's something else that needs to be put out there.

Initiate contact.

Write a dude you like.

See? Easy. He may say no or may not reply, but who cares, your inbox is flooded anyway. And I assure you that many of them will be flattered and consider your gesture as a sign of confidence, and not of desperation. said...

Hi felinessa,

Thanks for the comment. A couple quick things. Regarding your point 1.- True dat, money. There will always be dudes you can't avoid. The post perhaps should have been clearer that it was aimed at weeding out dudes who actually read the words below the picture. As for 2.- As usual, by offering tips on dudette profiles the DW is not defending dude profiles, or, really talking about them at all. Of course a lot of them are f*cked up. But all the DW, as a dude genius, can do is interpret how dudes will see the profiles you post.

And finally, as for your suggestion that women contact a dude first. Hell. Yes. It's 2008. A dude can handle it.

Felinessa said...

"As usual, by offering tips on dudette profiles the DW is not defending dude profiles, or, really talking about them at all."

Yep, I wasn't implying you were defending them. I'm guessing, though, that some chicks embellish their profiles in response to "ponytail and stilettos" requirements.

It certainly works the other way too, because I've seen guys trumpeting their love of cats, sappy movies, and shopping. Oh yes, and the ever-popular walks on the beach. At sunset. Really?

So the culprits are probably those unrealistic wish-lists which both sides seem terribly fond of. My guess is that they intimidate a lot of people into fluffing up their profiles for fear of coming across as inadequate (both men and women).

/end psychobabble

/start fun responses

DW Wife said...

Hey all, it's the DW's wife here. And yes, we met on the Internets. I had this quote from the Clash, "He who f*cks nuns will later join the church," as my profile quote. I figured it would weed out the frat boys and scare off the losers.

I also put down that all I wanted was a guy to challenge me to a game of Ms. Pac Man. Any guy who didn't mention Ms. Pac Man in his message was looked upon with suspicion. Hello? Were you even reading my profile??!

And I gotta say it worked pretty well because the DW contacted me! He got the Clash reference and he challenged me to a game of Ms. Pac Man!

Anonymous said...

Everybody has a point. I've been Internet dating for a while and it's infuriating when dude doesn't read your profile. What a waste of my time. I'm taking a break right now because of all the bulls**t that goes with it. I specified single dudes and a married dude contacted me, then got MAD at me because I wouldn't meet him. His take was that he was honest with me about being married so I should be all impressed with his up-frontness and meet him anyway for some extra-curricular boning and I was punishing for being honest. Later, loser.

If you are specific and original--like the DW's wife's quote--you will get a hell of a lot more quality replies. I've met some of the most interesting, funny, intelligent men this way. The losers are always going to plague you no matter what. That's what the delete key is for.

And a totally irrelevent shout out to the DW's wife. You're cool and it's nice to see you make the occasional apperance on your hubby's blog. I especially liked the post where you called him out for being messy. Nice! You guys sound cute together.

Ashley said...

Excellent point, DW! As a lady who's dated online-ly, I completely agree and I find that dudes are just as prone to this mistake as women. Any dude whose profile contains the quotes "I'm just an average easygoing guy," "I like going out but I also like staying in," or the dreaded "I like to watch sports but I'm not one of those crazy Red Sox/Mets/whatever fans" gets an automatic veto. None of those things are bad -- they just don't tell a potential lady friend anything useful. We're not going to read that profile and think, "An easygoing guy who likes to watch baseball and sometimes go out?! Where have you been all my life?" A dude who can't think of anything more distinctive is probably not the best candidate for online dating and might not be that interesting in person either.

J. said...

OMG! You guys met via "Death or Glory" lyrics? Sooo jealous. You two rock. I once thought I met the man of my dreams (well, sorta) online because we both love Joe Strummer. Then he tells me he has a live-in girlfriend. Then I ask him why he bothers to present himself as single online. Then he freaks out on me. NEXT!

And felinessa, you are so on the money... I may have to copy your response and send it to my fellow female online daters for a collective, knowing head-nod.

laura! said...

Hello Dude Whisperer!

Your blog is super great. And thank you for linking the blog I contribute to, Vegansaurus. You're awesome.

I couldn't agree more with this point. I met by boyfriend on the internet by posting the following extrememely unappealing post about myself. I still got a ton of responses (including the very creative, "is dick vegan?" about 20 times) but I got a couple of good ones and one great one from my now boyfriend of almost 6 months. I just feel super lucky to have met this amazing dude so I wanted to share.

Anyway, here is my pretty gross list. If I can meet a truly awesome, stable, loving, sweet, brilliant dude with a job then honestly, anybody can. I mean that, I'm not just trying to sound charitable or anything.

The post: (Or something like it. I can't find the actual post to save my life but this was the one saved in my gmail)

Let me start this out by saying two things.

1) I plan on writing a series of books. The first one will be called, "Things all Straight Men love that Make me Want to Puke." Chapter one titled, "On Joanna Newsom and Camping". The second book will be called, "Things that Repulse all Straight Men." Chapter one titled, "On Single Mothers and Being Me". I haven't figured out the rest of the series but if you steal these ideas, I will end your life and then come after grandma.

B) Here is why I am basically undateable:

1) I am vegan.
2) I am a vegan who only wants to date other vegans or GOD AT THE VERY FUCKING LEAST vegetarians.
3) I am an asshole about my beliefs. please see #2. I am also an asshole about pretty much everything else.
4) I am vegan but don't fit a lot of the normal vegan stereotypes*. I'm not a hippie, I am deeply scared of co-operative living, I shower, I shop at Target. Basically, I am a greedy, consumer whore (and how!). I mean, I try to keep my earth killing foot print very small but I'm not perfect and again, I live for Liz Lange Maternity at Target which brings me to:
5) I wear Maternity Clothes by choice and not out of pregnant necessity. Okay, full disclosure, sometimes I am pregnant and wearing the clothes but that's quickly taken care of with a visit to PP.
6) I live in SF where there is an abundance of adorably cool females and about three cute, cool straight men. Two of them are in relationships and one of them is gay.
7) I am fat and this ain't the heartland, you dig? the only thing worse you can be in the dating scene in SF is um, nothing.
8) I must be the star of the relationship. There is room for only one Justin Timberlake in this relationship and that Justin Timberlake is me.
9) I cannot be the smarter one. I am incredibly fucking smart. You do the math.
10) I would prefer to make more money so that I can lord it over the other person and determine their allowance and how they spend it.
11) No racists, homophobes, furries, republicans, or greens. of course, a racist green or a furrie republican will be considered.
12) nobody under 27 or over 34. this is a new rule for me. i am testing it out because i don't want to feed and change anyone but FUCKING NOBODY.
13) No more gay dudes. I know, I'm sorry too.
14) I have kind of a forceful personality and keep odd hours.
15) Obviously we have to hang out with my friends exclusively because they are way more fun/better looking than your friends NO I DO NOT WANT TO HANG OUT WITH YOUR LOSER FRIENDS AND I SUGGEST YOU DO THE SAME.
16) I have a pit bull and she will always be more important to me than you are.
17) Like Humpty, I have a large nose.
18) I Jazzercise. Fit is IT, motherfuckers.
19) I withhold sex for any one of 2,000 reasons but usually a combination of three.
20) I am clingy.
21) I like to be left alone.
21a) You have to volunteer and donate a decent amount of time and money to a worthwhile cause (or seven) because I hold myself to incredibly high standards and you to even higher ones. please see: my rejection of Ghandi.
21b) I cannot date anyone who has respect for Dave Eggers as a writer.
21c) No white dudes who do Yoga.
21d) No white dudes with dreads.
21e) You must be head over heels for Bruce Vilanch and know that aprox. 60% of my conversations will include mention of him.
21f) You must be blown away by my Bob Cat Goldwaith impersonation. It's good so that won't be hard.
21g) actually, I just have a hard time with white dudes in general, particularly the lily livered, overly sensitive, faux liberal, has respect for your experience as a WOMYN, SF type who take spiritual journeys or read books about taking spiritual journeys, worship french pressed coffee & date the same boring, skinny white bitch even though they think they are different. Newsflash, guys, you're just as bad as the frat boys but in a more contrived way.

But I guess this doesn't really concern me anyway.

22) I talk in my sleep and am sometimes violent/strike out/strangle.
23) nobody's heard from my last two boyfriends again which leads me to point
25) I wrote this fucking super crazy list.
26) I swear in a quantity and way that is not cute to even guys who think women swearing is cute (see: Sarah Silverman)
28) God, reading this list, I am quite an unsavory character. I will stop now so I can go CSS (Cry Self to Sleep) which I guess is so repulsive, it could easily be #29

And I rest my case.

*Granted, a lot of vegans don't fit the normal vegan stereotypes but let's be real, YOU TOTALLY DO.