Sunday, November 10, 2013

Yet more thoughts on online dating

I caved, and I put my profile back up on OkCupid.  It's just too entertaining to see who clicks on me, who contacts me.  It's slightly addictive, and while I'm not sure that's a good thing, I guess I'll own it.  It's fun to feel popular, and getting the notes "so and so has marked you as a favorite" and seeing messages come in, well, it's good for a girl's ego, and hugely amusing. 

Amusing?  Yes. 

For Halloween this year I went as Wonder Woman - I've long considered her my alter ego.  I love saving the world, I fought as hard as any superhero to fight cancer, and I try hard to keep a backbone filled with integrity and I love the lasso of truth.  What's more, she's an Amazonian warrior, and it is rumored that Amazonian women often had mastectomies to make it easier to draw back their bows.

Hey, I take comfort where I can find it.

Anyway, I finally, after years of thinking about it, bought a Wonder Woman costume and wore it to an annual Halloween party that I attend.  The online reviews (I couldn't find one in a store) were good, and one said, "It was a bit more modest than I'd hoped - I wanted to be sassy but the skirt hit my knees!" and I thought "Perfect!" because it's a family party.  However, that person, as well as the model depicted in the costume, must have been six inches shorter than I am, because on me it was shortshortshort.  I had to wear running shorts under it, because if I simply leaned over, my backside was exposed.

I posted a picture of myself as Wonder Woman - in the hands on hips, legs slightly apart, bold pose that she's famous for - as my primary photo on OkCupid.

Oh dear.  Not a good judgement call.  Good for the ego, perhaps, but it sent a message that I did not intend.  One message read "Halloween?  I was hoping that was a bedroom costume!" and that summarized pretty well what the rest of them implied.  Clearly, the gents were looking at one picture and contacting me, ignoring pretty much the entire rest of the profile.  Often, the match percentage was well below 60% (OkCupid sends the warning "Y'all got issues").

Getting a dozen or more messages per day does not help one to find a romantic partner if those messages are from people that I really do not have any desire to meet.  It is actually helpful that a 22 year old thinks that I'm hot?  Or that a married guy who is looking for a friend with benefits (hey, at least he's honest, but YUCK) finds me exciting?  What about the guy who asked me if I really enjoyed my plain?  (Not my typo, his.  Being a smart aleck, I couldn't help but respond that I preferred mountains to plains.  He said, "No, your invisible plain!" and I let it drop.  I don't want to be mean, and I shouldn't have written back in the first place.)

I changed back to a "regular" photo, a headshot, with no costume in sight.  I'm sure that the number of messages that I receive will fall, and I'm okay with that.  I kept the Wonder Woman photo, but now someone would have to scroll down to find it, so we'll see if that helps.  I like my Wonder Woman side, sassy and strong, a little sexy, but it's not the only part of me, and to find that picture they'll have to see me in a running outfit, in a little black dress, on a hiking trail.

It may be a numbers game, and more interest is better....except that it's not.  I want to find one man worthy of my attention, not dozens of men who are poor matches.


I did some web surfing to find out what men think of online dating, and I found some pretty entertaining responses.  There are entire chat forums dedicated to teaching men how to get laid through online dating.  What I thought was super interesting is that these guys are paying attention: there were those who advised "if a chick says that her life is great, lots of friends, and she has a zillion interests, don't even bother writing her" and "go for the girls who say they're bored" and "look for the boob shot selfies".

My profile doesn't draw too many of those guys, and I'm glad.  I am anything but bored (bored? who has time to be bored?) and I don't come across as a pushover.  (I'm Wonder Woman, remember?)

I do draw a fair number of Nice Guys.  A note for Nice Guys: never, ever, ever write a message to a woman saying "You probably get too many messages to even notice me..." Confidence is attractive, and if you think that you're not worthy of notice, why would I want to notice you?  Please also do not use bland terms like "I'm a nice guy."  I don't want a "nice guy" because I want someone who is on fire with loving life.  Show me you've got some character!  Show me that you know who you are.  We're in our forties, and we know what we want.  Right?

And if you read about how I love swimming in alpine lakes on long hikes, and how I enjoy camping, and your idea of nature is a walk in Central Park before lunch....then why are you contacting me?  Conversely, if your idea of dressing up is putting on the jeans with no holes in them, do you really think that a girl who shows pictures of herself dressed for the theater will find you a good match?  Please, own who you are, and accept who I am.  Do you really want me on your case saying, "PLEASE come hiking with me!" or "You're not going to wear that downtown, are you?"  No.  And I don't ever want to say those words.  We're not a fit, and that's okay.

Speaking of which, if you are old enough to be my son, or my father, I'm not going to write you back.  Do you really want to be a story I tell my girlfriends about your utter unsuitability?  I don't care if you're a gazillionaire, or if you are super hot, I'm not going to write you back.

I have learned to sort through the dealbreakers quickly, too.  If you sound like Mr.Perfect, but you want to start a family, I'm not your lady.  If you look fantastic, but live 100 miles away, I'm not going to get started.  If you're not-quite-divorced, I'm going to let you work through all of that before I'm willing to meet you.  (Call me in a year.)

And I'm sorry, but chemistry matters.  A lot.  If I'm not attracted to you for one reason or another, I'm just not.  I am sorry for that....but I'm not sorry, too.  I do not expect everyone to be attracted to me, but when you write me I know that you're drawn to how fit I am, to the fact that I look younger than I am, to the fact that I smile a lot.  It's not shallow, it's just the reality, and the gentlemen writing me feel the same way, whether they admit it or not.  It amuses me to no end when an overweight man contacts me and only mentions my looks: if you place such a high emphasis on looks, then why aren't you taking care of yourself?

Another note for the gents:  Smile.  Seriously.  If you have five pictures, and not one of them is smiling, you look humorless, bleak, and pessimistic.  Is that really how you are?


I am online, and I have a profile.  But I'm not initiating messages, and I'm not accepting many dates.  I say "no thank you" a lot, and I'm okay with that.  I'd rather be by myself than with the wrong person, and I've gotten better at identifying the wrong people before we even meet.  It saves everyone a lot of time in the end.  :-)

I'm not better, or worse, than the men who are contacting me.  I am not here to judge whether they are good people, whether they are worthy of love (we all are).  I only know what I want, and what is a good match for me.  I think if we were all honest about what we wanted, we'd have a better time finding it.

I am glad to receive some attention online - I'm human, and it's nice to be flattered.  But I'm also glad that I'm okay being alone, because it looks like it could stay that way for a while.


Ladies, what are your online dating experiences?  Advice for others?

Gents, what about you?  How is your online dating?  Advice for others?  Feedback?


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