Hey people, dating's hard.
You know it, I know it, your grandma knows it.
But now its not enough that we must awkwardly fumble through those first dates brought to us by chance meetings at the library or in line at Starbucks. No! We must seek out awkward interaction and rejection (oh, so much rejection) through social media and the wonderful machinations of the interwebs! Thanks Al Gore.
Online dating is more than just a thing everybody does nowadays. It's a thing that nobody is embarrassed about anymore.
But maybe your new to the online dating scene, or you are thinking about expanding, or maybe still you are a seasoned vet of Tinder and you're just here because, hey, it's not like you have anything better to do right now. Read a list!
And so, I give to you - after literally years of research - Rated Wrong's Guide to Online Dating!
How to Online Date
Before we get into what's wrong with every different online dating platform lets talk about you. Yes, you. The disgusting, useless, disappointing, troll reading this. Now, all dating sites are different with different points of emphasis but some things are pretty universal.
NOTE: I have selflessly included photos and excerpts from my own dating profiles as guidlines. Please do not send any mean emails (actually, getting an email would be so exciting I'm fine with whatever you have to say).
Guys: DON'T Be A Creepy Asshole! Stop It!
First and foremost.
This happens waaaay too much on dating apps and websites. You hear about it all the time. Guys going ape shit at ladies because they have the audacity to not want to interact with you on the internet. This is not the way to meet a girl. It's not even a way to speak to another human. As unbelievable as this might sound, most women on dating apps and websites are not looking for a hot shirtless guy to bone them. Hard to believe I know, but apparently it's the truth.
Now, I'd like to take a brief moment to speak to only guys that take even the mildest issue with what they have just read.
First off, if you are one of those guys that thinks a woman is obligated to fuck you because you made the incredibly tasking decision to message "hey, baby" to her then you need to delete your dating profile at once, pack up all your worldly possessions, go on a road trip to the Grand Canyon and really take a long hard look at your own humanity.
As for the rest of you,
Online dating is frustrating. Believe me, I know. You spend all this time reading profiles trying to find something interesting or clever to say and 19 times out of 20 you never even get a response. Then, even if they DO respond you at best have a 50/50 chance of getting a date out of it. What is up with these ladies? Don't they know that you're one of the good guys?
Hey, maybe that message you sent her was sincere, most certainly not creepy in any way, and even possibly a little funny. It's not like you said "Hey what's up, cutie?" Actual thought went into that message. Maybe she didn't see it the first time you sent it. But after she ignores it three more times you just have to accept that she's just not that into you. Seriously!? I know right? Hard to believe. Not into you! Laughable. But true all the same.
Now, you might want to lash out. Understandable, but is it really the best use of your time? And is it really her fault that she's not attacted to you? Okay, of course it is. But hey, remember when that fat ugly girl who sent you that message last week and you didn't respond? I mean, I'm sure you thought she seemed nice and all, but she's just not for you, right? Doesn't make you a bad guy. How do you think she felt about that? I know, who cares? But seriously, wasn't it nice of her not to message you three more times and then call you a "selfish, arrogant fuckhead" for ignoring her well thought out message?
Rejection sucks, and this stupid girl doesn't know what she's missing. You know what's not going to make her see the light? Calling her a "stupid, selfish whore." Not a good play. And now you just made it that much harder for any other guy out there trying to get her attention. Not a good play for anyone. Maybe you're right. Maybe she is a shitty, selfish person. What good is it for you to call her out on it? It's not going to change her mind about dating you. Wouldn't your time and energy be better spent looking for someone else? Food for thought.
Now that that's out of the way, what SHOULD you do to get people's attention...
No Magic Bullet
When it comes to online dating pretty much everyone wants to know "What am I doing wrong?" Truth is, probably a lot. But it's also possible you're doing everything right. Online dating is hard, it's a fact of life. There's no magic combination of words or photos that will get that really hot, funny, smart person you've fallen in love with on OkCupid to want to go out with you. All you can do is try to put yourself in the best possible position to get noticed (in a good way).
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
If you are really pressed for time, feel free to stop reading after this paragraph. Pictures are not only the most important feature of online dating, they're borderline the only part of your profile that matters. You could be the most brilliant, well-spoken person on earth, but if you have bad pics you won't get many suitors. It's cruel, it's unfair, it's the truth.
Now, unless you happen to know a really good plastic surgeon your face is your face and your face probably isn't as nice to look at as Brad Pitt's of Scarlett Johansson's. That's the way it. Deal with it. But there are certain things you can do (or should avoid doing) to help you attract some unwitting lonely people.
1. Have at least two pictures. This is pretty self explanatory, people want more than one chance to know what you look like.
2. Be Honest! Not much point in posting pictures if you're not going to let people know what you actually look like. Having three pictures of your dog and one of the coast of Maine might look pretty but that's not why anyone is looking at your profile.
Also, don't Catfish people (appearing to look different than you are). It's great - and important - to accentuate your best features, but don't try to trick people. Keep things well lit and try to have at least one full-body or waist-up pic.
3. Look Happy! No one wants to date a miserable bastard.
4. Careful With Group Pics - Group pics are a risky play. "Where are you?" and "Who are you?" Generally are not good games to play on dating sites. If you must use one, try not to have it as your primary pic and try to make sure that you're at least the 2nd most attractive person in the photo. Last thing you want is to disappoint someone when they find out one pic later you're not your super hot friend.
5. LADIES: No Pictures With Your Ex-Boyfriend - Generally be careful including pictures of you embracing anyone of the opposite sex, even if that person is you best gay friend. Maybe you're trying to show how desirable you are, but - a little secret - guys don't like the idea that they're constantly going to have to be competing for you. It's a bad way to meet someone.
6. MEN: Keep Your Shirts On - Hey, I get it. It's tempting to show off those awesome abs you worked so hard to get using P-90x or whatever. You just want to give the ladies what they want. But here's the thing, they don't want it. Not yet. A lot of women (rightfully) make the logical step that if you need to get her attention by taking your shirt off it's because you don't have much else to offer.
Show Don't Tell
Now on to the less important part of your profile: the profile. The best advice I can give for how to talk about yourself is the old writer's adage, "Show, don't tell." Any boring asshole can tell the world they're funny or adventurous, try telling a (SHORT) funny story about yourself or share something that shows you're adventurous. Instead of telling people you're interesting, show them.
P.S. And ladies, we know you love spending time with your family. Every woman ever loves spending time with their family. We get it.
Keep it Light, Keep it Nice
Similar to looking like a happy person in your pictures, you should sound like a happy person in your profile. Don't talk about mental illness or how your last boyfriend repeatedly cheated on you. Never forget that you're trying to sound DESIRABLE. Avoid using depressing quotes, even if you really admire the source. A good profile is one that is fun to read, easy to relate to, and clear.
Don't Be Afraid of Detail but Don't Write a Novel
If someone is actually taking the time to read your profile, they want to get to know you. At the same time, they don't want to have to read 10,000 words to do it. Don't be afraid to talk about yourself, but do it clearly and concisely. Bullet points aren't a bad idea.
So that wraps it up for making yourself presentable. Coming in part 2: Where to present yourself. Breaking down all the most popular dating sites!