Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Posts tagged “how to date

The Simple Science of Online Dating – My Perspective & Process

ONLINE DATING LAW: If she/he doesn’t say, “What’s next,” then they aren’t that interested. Move along.

First dates via online dating are not my favorite activity. BUT, you can’t get where you want to be without starting out on the journey, so off we go to Match.com, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, etc. And it truly is a jungle out there. Photoshopped glamour shots. Ages that can’t possibly be honest, when you meet the person in person. “You’re HOW OLD?” I wanted to ask her. And “How long ago was that photo taken?” Often it’s several lifetimes ago, when they were feeling pretty and youthful, regardless of how they are feeling or looking now. And I’ve heard these shenanigans happen on men’s profiles as well.

So that’s a problem. Cutting through the fake and beautified to see the real person. It’s a hard nut to crack. Here’s why.

Either the photos are

  1. Too beautiful (if you look like that why would you possibly be online looking for a date?)
  2. Too plain (good lord, did you even try to look pretty or interested or interesting?)
  3. The near miss (she’s got a great smile, but there’s something not quite right)
  4. Edgy to the max (if your tattoo or ability to hold a mixed drink is a highlight, we probably don’t need to meet)
  5. The just plain sad (girl, your bathroom mirror pic is just sad, even your bathroom is sad, go outside, get a friend to take a picture, please)

It’s clear we all have different methods for PRESENTING ourselves. Some people need glamour shots, some people want wrong-side-off-the-tracks bad girl vibes, and some just don’t care, they’re just putting it out there to see what happens. (Well, good luck with that last approach. In marketing, packaging does account for a lot)

Last week, a very interesting first date asked a very interesting question. She was clearly a research-oriented searcher.

“So what was it about my profile that caused you to call me?” she asked. She was new to the online dating process and wanted direct feedback on her photos and what she said about herself. I tried to give her an honest answer. Here’s what I came up with.

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1. Is there an instant appeal? (Like looking for a house, when there are 1,000 listings, you skip right to the ones that have instant curb appeal. That say, “I could live there.”)

2. Does their body type fall within my range of desire? (I think mine is pretty broad, but I certainly have some limits.)

3. Am I within their desired age range? (Age is a funny thing. I suppose it’s the grand filter on dating, but it’s not really a very good indicator of compatibility. I’ll come back to this in a second.)

4. Do I send a message? (Mostly this is the ice breaker. Show interest. Write a short blurb about what in their profile you were interested in knowing more about. Make a casual offer for a meeting.)

From there, I really believe it’s a numbers game. Plant a lot of seeds and see if you get ANY that sprout. So in my process, I don’t spend a ton of time on the profile until I get a ping-back from my first email contact. For me it’s these three things. 1. Can I imagine her smiling across the table from me? 2. Does her body fall within my acceptable range? 3. Am I within her acceptable age range? 4. Put out a lot of feelers.

Spending too much time on any given profile or potential date is like reading pornography. If she’s that fantastic she’s probably flooded with messages from guys, and guys more qualified and charming than you.

Seasoned Online Dater Tip: When you are searching, orient your searches towards “Who’s New” because their in boxes will be a little less overwhelmed and you have a better shot at cutting through the noise and getting your message to her.

That’s it. You put out a lot of first-glance-she-looks-good hello messages and wait to see if ANY come back.

Of course this is from a Man’s perspective. Women’s experience of online dating is very different, but I thought this might be helpful to know what we’re looking at and what we’re looking for. (Me, anyway.)

In asking a number of women, what online dating is for them, they are often overwhelmed by the responses in their inbox. And of course the bad eggs are trying to send them pictures of their junk, but mostly for them it’s weeding through all the introductions and offers, much like it is for us MEN just looking through the potentials. But even if they have more “hello” openings, it does not mean it’s easier for women.

I would guess the games are very heavy coming from the MEN. And I’ve heard some funny horror stories from some of my “dates.”

My bottom line awareness: As a man, I am going to have to do the work to say “hello” in a fun and charming way. And I need to do that A LOT if I’m hoping to get 1% response to my “marketing campaign.” If a woman reaches out to me, WOW, let’s check that out and see if she’s within my spectrum of desire. (90% of the “hello” messages I’ve gotten in my 1.25 years in online dating are from women who look and feel much more like my mom than my potential date. I know I’m young for my age, but goodness, the emails are almost depressing.)

A thought about age: You are as old as you seem. Too much pontification on how old you are, how old you look, or how much “energy” you have will really not serve you well. If someone is very focused on their AGE RANGE why try to penetrate their prejudice. What I believe is, age is amazingly relative. I’ve met older women who ran circles around me. I’ve met women my age (50) who seemed like they were closer to retirement than going out to see live music on a Saturday night. And I’ve met younger women who were charming, intelligent and not afraid of my “experience.”

Unfortunately, at this point the three main points AND chemistry have not fallen in place for me. YET. But I’m hopeful when I open up OK Cupid. (I’ve killed my Match.com account and I tried eHarmony once, but hated their selection of women they thought would be good for me. Let me browse.) I am hopeful that my next relationship is out there.

And it’s important that I don’t thrash or work too hard to make it happen. I believe, when it happens, my concepts, even my method will prove to be useless. That’s what I hope for, anyway. A connection that says, “YES.” And a first date who asks, “S0 what’s next?”

That energy you would spend trying to woo or convince her that you are awesome, is better spent making yourself more awesome (eating better, exercising, reading, expanding your horizons).

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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Online Dating: Setting Your Sights for WOW and Browsing the Herd

How to use online dating sites

Forgive the animal metaphor, but online dating is a bit like a cattle call. A stream of faces and mythical ratings to entice and enchant you. As the fantasy goes, “I’m single again, let’s take advantage of this new world, sew some seeds, have some fun.”

The reality is much more time consuming, mundane, and potentially expensive.

Filling out your online dating profile even if you have no intention of “working” the system, is one of the real benefits of giving it a go. Here’s why.

ABOUT YOU

  • Describing what you are like
  • Sharing things you like to do with others
  • Remembering what’s romantic, even if it’s been a long time
  • Outlining a bit about who you want to meet
  • Defining what you are looking for (a relationship, a fling, a bootie call)

ABOUT THEM

  • Seeking out and finding the traits you want in your next relationship
  • Noticing what “types” turn you on, and what things immediately turn you off
  • Seeing the wide variety of smiles and styles out there, theoretically dating
  • Do you have any deal breakers (smoking, drugs, too religious, not religious enough)
  • Exploring deeper aspects of a woman’s personality by reading her profile and looking at her answers

Overall, the process should bring several things to light.

  • Are you ready to be in a relationship?
  • Are you ready to shine up and show up?
  • How much are you willing to learn about the new dance of dating?

Here’s what I think I learned about myself, thus far.

  • I like dark hair more than lighter shades
  • I prefer small breasted women
  • If there is not something simply amazing about the person (that I can see in their profile) there probably will not be something amazing about them in person
  • I don’t really like dating, I want to be in-relationship and not paying for wine bars
  • Intelligence is more important than waistline, but… There is a limit
  • I’m craving something more than just a relationship, I want the BUZZ
  • The buzz has led me astray before, I have to keep refining my two core needs, in spite of the buzz
  • Physical touch and closeness is very important, and it can be over done
  • Emotional depth and ease of expression is something I’m good at, and I require that in my partner as well

All this to say, I have built a roadmap for finding the next love of my life. (Sounds corny.) But I’m not looking to shop the herd, or play the field. I’m looking to find the next person “to come home to.” (An OKCupid catch phrase.)

So in this year or so, that I’ve been playing on OKCupid I have had three relationships. One long one. (Current “girlfriend” is going on three months.) But I’ve only met ONE woman who embodied for me the IT GIRL. As I was walking away from this two-hour chat I was thinking, “If she’ll date, I’ll take down my profile tomorrow.”

She didn’t. And thus I’m about to hang my flag back up on OKCupid.

But I think I need to talk to the “girlfriend” and be honest about what’s going on. It’s part of the new year. Not to live with “almost” and to open up the pain of “alone” to make room for “wow.”

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

PS. What does “spiritual but not religious” mean? I think I know, do you?

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