The Do’s and Don’ts of Online Dating
I was dumped the day after Christmas.
I’m over 40 and don’t do the bar scene. I didn’t do it when I was in my 20s or 30s, either. I have two daughters at home, and don’t have the time, energy or money to cruise for a new guy at a bar. Besides, I’m pretty sure Prince Charming won’t to be hanging out there.
So, I went back to where I found my last boyfriend–an on-line dating website.
After reading dozens of profiles and receiving tons of messages from guys, I’ve come up with a few requirements that can make or break a date for me:
Have a Clear, Focused Profile Pic: I should be able to see your face clearly-no blurry business, please. I don’t care if you have to crop someone out of the picture. I’ll just assume she’s your sister. I don’t need to see pictures of your dogs, or your Harley any more than you want to see pictures of my paintings. I get that you love your Harley and your dog. Great. But, I’m not interested in dating either of them.
Be Original. Everyone is looking for “friends first and we’ll see if something more develops”, wants to avoid “drama and head games” and is “laid back and easy going”. Oh, and you want “dinner or drinks and nice conversation.” Please. Tell me what you want, don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. I don’t want someone who will blow sunshine up my skirt.
Be Honest. If you’re not looking for a relationship, don’t say you are. If you’re just looking for someone to date casually date, or even just a hook up (and yes, there is that option) then say that. Sure you may not get as many replies, but at least you won’t be called an ass for being misleading.
Ok, you’ve seen my pictures, read my profile, and want to know more about me. You want to send me a message. Here’s a few pointers on that:
Make An Effort. If all your message says is “Hi! How you doin’?” I’m going to delete it without even looking at your profile. Let me know in some way that you actually looked beyond the pictures to the person and want to know me. One time I got a message from a guy that said “I read your profile. Yes. Just yes. Except for the NASCAR.” I replied with “No. Just flat out No. With no exceptions.” Seriously people? Effort.
Sign Your Name. This goes back to introducing yourself. If you tell me your name (just your first name, or your initials if that’s what you go by, or even a nickname as long as it’s not Bruiser, or Spike) you have a better chance of getting a response from me. If I make initial contact with a guy, I always sign it “Good luck on your search. Hope to hear from you. Becky.” Give me a name, makes you a real person I want to get to know.
Have a Sense of Humor. Online dating has a stigma about it and we both know it. But if you have a sense of humor about the whole thing, I’m more likely to respond to you. I once met a guy for drinks just a few short hours after our initial contact, based on his sense of humor. He turned out to be a douchenozzle, but the sense of humor? Got me out the door to meet him. In my book, funny can sometimes trump gorgeous.
Great. So, you have an interesting profile with great pictures. You have a sense of humor and it appears that you have a clue. We’ve exchanged a few emails, and now you want to meet for a drink. Guess what? Got a few expectations for that too.
Have a plan. If you’re going to ask me to meet you for drinks, please have a specific place in mind before you do. Don’t expect me to brainstorm with you to find a place to meet. Make a decision, pick a place, and suggest it. If it doesn’t work for me, I will suggest some other place but usually, I’ll go with your place as long as it’s a public, not shady, well known, place.
Keep it casual. First meetings are awkward enough as it is, without having to be locked into dinner which could seem like a lifetime if things aren’t clicking. Meet for drinks, and if things click, great, we can stay at the bar or go to dinner. If not? There’s an easy out. For both of us.
Dress Nicely. First impressions and all. Don’t show up in shorts and flip flops for our first meeting. Torn jeans and boots? Not cool. A nice pair of jeans or khakis and a nice shirt works. I don’t expect a tie, but just a little effort. After all, I will undoubtedly be in a skirt, and will have shaved my legs. Yes, even for just drinks. I’m awesome like that.
Put Down the Phone. Please, the world will not come to a crashing halt if you don’t answer your phone or text messages for an hour. If you have children, I’ll make the exception. But texting other people while on a date with me is crazy rude.
Pay the Tab. Or at least your portion of it. Look, I still like to think that if a guy asks me out he should pay. But I am also confident and secure enough to realize that some guys think women should pick up our portion, especially if it’s just drinks. Fine. I can deal with that. I met a guy for drinks one night, and apparently he didn’t think things were going very well. Out of the blue he stood up, threw down $4 to cover his beer, said “Good luck on your drive home.” and walked out leaving me to settle with the bartender, including tip.
Don’t Be An Idiot. This is stating the obvious, but apparently it needs to be said. If things did not work out when we met for drinks, don’t send me a text the next morning saying “While it’s clear we would never date, would you be interested in a sexual encounter? It would be just for the hell of it.” True story. The answer to that is “No. Just no.” No exceptions.
Becky is a single mom trying to raise two drama tweens to be responsible adults and find time to date. She’s having better luck with the drama tweens. She blogs over at Welcome to My Life where she writes about her dating adventures and life with two wanna be Divas Extraordinaire.
Images: Google; technobuzz.net