Ask Drew: The Dos & Don’ts of Dating in the Digital Age
So I have a profile on OKCupid. It’s 2013, and I’m neither proud nor embarrassed to admit it. My only regret is strongly campaigning against it as much as I have in the past. My entire argument was that online dating is for people who lack the genetics and social skills to find people to sleep with, and that it was interfering with natural selection. Now the guy that stares at people for a little bit too long can mate with the girl with an underbite and webbed toes. That kind of sex used to be quarantined to trailer parks and NASCAR events. Now all you have to do is plug in your ZIP code and upload a few blurry cell phone pictures from before you gained 30 pounds, and iCupid will pair you up with an equally mislead lover.
But I digress. Online dating is no more embarrassing than subjecting your friends to your coworkers’ Harlem Shake video. (It’s not funny. Stop it.) According to research that I didn’t do, 95 percent of single people in their 20s have an online dating profile. And unfortunately, the majority are absolutely horrible. As much as I’d like to complain about how disappointed I am in most of the women on OKCupid, the men are much worse. As a joke, I created a fake profile of a girl by using a college friend’s pictures, and I was stunned at the amount of revolting, morally bankrupt messages “Sally” got from guys. Still, there are a few things you can do to deter the creeps online and land yourself a decent guy.
Get Some Better Pictures
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. I hate Steve Jobs for making everybody think he or she is an artist, and I hate Mark Zuckerberg for building everyone a museum. It doesn’t matter how many filters you add to your pictures; if you take a bunch of pictures of yourself in your underwear and use them for your profile, we’re gonna think you’re easier than Sunday morning. Don’t get me wrong. I love those pictures. And by all means, keep posting them if that’s the real you. But then you can’t get frustrated when you get messages from a bunch of imbecile bros making “icky” comments. My advice: Leave those stupid Instawhatever filters off your pictures and focus on showing an accurate picture of yourself. A few shots of your pretty face, then some full body pictures so we can see that you’re not a sea monster. (Or that you are. Lots of guys are into that.)
Avoid Cliché Interests
We get it: You love to laugh, you love your friends, and your perfect night involves wine and hummus. That’s probably all true, and – as riveting as it might be – it leaves a guy with absolutely nothing to go off if he wants to send you a message. Numerous times I’ve seen a gorgeous girl whom I wanted to message, but it looked like she had the personality of a burnt match. What’s a guy supposed to write to you? “I love to laugh too! Let’s get a box of Franzia and stuff ourselves with hummus and pita bread!” Most guys aren’t gonna be clever enough to turn that into something that’s gonna make you giggle, so they’re just going to regurgitate what you said back. Give him something to work with. It can be anything so long as it’s outside the box. “I like dancing, giggling, and riding my horse! Oh, and my stepbrother and I run a meth lab out of our parents’ minivan!” If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad,” you’re in! That’s a layup!
If You’re Funny, Show It
I steer clear of a few kinds of profiles: girls with cats, girls with dudes in every picture they’re in, and girls who constantly remind you how funny they are. If you’re funny, say something funny and I’ll laugh. But I know right away that girls that constantly talk about how funny they are, are a) not funny in the slightest and b) unbearable to be around. I’m sure you think you’re a riot because your Facebook account is littered with memes and “That Awkward Moment When” status updates, but just play it safe and let us decide if we think you’re the next Tina Fey.
Send a Message
I love hearing women complain about how tough online dating is. “I get, like, dozens of messages a day! So annoying!” Yeah, try being one of those guys sending messages. You’re essentially the hiring manager, and we’re hundreds of desperate applicants without our pants on begging to work at your company. If you hate all the guys that message you so much (and I can fully understand why you would), try messaging one yourself. I know it’s the guy’s job to talk to you first, but this isn’t the same as being in a crowded bar. How’s he supposed to message you if he doesn’t see your profile? At the very least, send him a “wink.”
Think Like a Guy
If you want to attract a guy based on mutual hobbies, name a few things you like to do that typically interest guys. I know we’re not that easy, but even I make the effort! I genuinely enjoy the movie “Love Actually,” and I’ve sat through every episode of “GIRLS” so I’d have something to talk about with women (although if I see Lena Dunham naked one more time I’m done forever). As weird as it may be, nothing is sexier to me than a woman that appreciates the humor in “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or “Seinfeld.” And if you’re a Vikings fan, I’ll take you ring shopping after the game. Focus on sports teams, TV shows, favorite beers, video games, etc. If you genuinely have no interest in any of those things, it might be time to call it quits now and be the beard for a friend who’s still in the closet until his parents accept him for who he is.
Thank you for your time. My name is Drew Martin, and I’d love to work at your company. My resume is attached: www.okcupid.com/profile/drew_1986.
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Drew is a single guy living in Los Angeles. When he's not bar-hopping with a friend's golden retriever to convince women he has a soft side, he's taking them on short-lived dates. His fickle dating habits and "perspective" almost guarantee he'll die alone. All opinions are his own. Got a question for Drew? Ask away: firstname.lastname@example.org