December 11, 2012
COCO LA CRÈME, Sex Educator
I’m a straight, 28 year old woman with gainful employment, awesome friends and a fun-loving attitude. While I’m not a Hollywood-style genetic marvel, I’ve been told I’m fairly attractive and I believe I’m at least averagely pretty. Given all this I cannot figure out why I have been single for…
Nearly. Five. Years.
It feels like I’m living under some sort of curse. Lately, I’ve been considering entering the online dating world but I don’t know how to do it. Any advice for me?
Sorry to hear that the single life is bumming you out. I’ve had some pretty long solo stretches myself so I can definitely relate. I too, decided to explore the world of online dating, in fact, I met my husband in the ether. Do I think this is the ultimate answer to your dating dilemma? Not necessarily, but it is an interesting way of meeting new people and it would be silly not to take advantage of it from time to time. Here are some tips to help you navigate the virtual dating scene with minimal fallout.
Think about what you want. It’s all well and good to say that you just want “a relationship” but do you really? Have you had opportunities to couple off in the past with prospects you found less than suitable? Girl, maybe you’re single because you have standards. Be glad you’re not at the point where you’ll just accept any human possessed of a dick. People who know what they are looking for are more likely to find what they seek. Do you want someone active? Someone political? Someone who feels comfortable in a fancy restaurant? Someone who hates fancy restaurants? Think about it, be reasonable, and keep your dealbreakers foremost in your mind during all your online activities.
Take your profile seriously. Be positive and don’t allow all that low self-esteem nonsense to creep in. Focus on the things you like to do and the ideals you believe in rather than listing accomplishments or rating your looks. Be specific so that your personality comes across. For example, instead of listing that you enjoy “music” say instead that you like to dress up and go to the opera; drink beers and pogo at a punk show; or dance like an idiot at an after-hours party. Show off your sense of humour (you’ve got one right?) – a profile that makes someone laugh is always more interesting. And for God’s sake use a current and flattering photo. Take one special if you have to. Post it on your profile or keep it hidden and send it out after a couple of messages, it’s up to you. Just remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You’d be surprised how little conventional “attractiveness” has to do with real-life connection.
Reference their profile. If you decide to message someone then be sure to include points from their profile that you relate to or are interested in. Crack a joke that only someone who geeks out about your mutual interest would get. People are inherently more comfortable with people they think they have something in common with. Keep in mind that you’re essentially looking for someone you should already be hanging out with but just haven’t met yet. DO NOT message people back who make no attempt to relate to anything in your profile. It does not matter how cute they are, it is a waste of your time.
Keep it casual. Do not enter into long correspondences with people. Message someone just enough to determine your relative interest and then move things to the phone (get their number and block yours). If you can have an awkward but successful 10-minute conversation then you can ask them out for coffee or tea. First meetings should be afternoon dates only with a set time limit. For example, “I’m pretty busy this week but I can usually snag a spare hour around four ‘o’clock. Do you want to meet up so we can check each other out in person?” Choose a place you don’t often go to and make sure it has personality. Don’t go to Starbucks, no one is comfortable there and everything will suck right away. If the short date goes well then plan a real date. Call someone and let them know where you’re going and with whom. Just in case.
One step at a time. Internet dating is just a different way of meeting people. There are no guarantees. Do not start imagining your future married bliss with someone based on their dreamy profile and a few promising messages. That person could suddenly stop writing to you for reasons you’ll never know. They could stand you up for a date and waste your time. They could also turn out to be the absolute worst person you’ve ever met. (Yes, this all happened to me). All of this collective bullshit is known as “dating”.
If you take dating for what it is, even when the internet lets you down you'll still have fun.
Dating is fun if you take it for what it is. You meet new people, go out and do stuff, and develop an endless well of hilarious stories. Dating is not just a necessary evil on the path to a relationship; it’s an activity in and of itself. It can be rewarding but it can also be frustrating and time-consuming. You should only date when you feel like you have enough time and energy to enjoy the experience.
Get laid every now and then. Dating online is a great way to meet fuckable people who are nowhere near boyfriend material. This is definitely one of the perks! Have fun and be safe.