(We don't know where we'll end up ... but we're all starting at single.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The DLS: Putting the Ass in Classless

Without much preface, Dirty Little Secret#3: I do NOT like assholes. Sure, maybe this doesn't seem like a legitimate secret, one could argue "who does?", and I would point to anyone associated with the Jersey Shore, where douche and asshole lines blur without excuse.  I have dated plenty of douches in my day, but not straight up assholes. Thanks to OKC, I recently had an up-close and personal (ok, still online...) encounter with one of the Grade A variety. 

After a LOOONNG but successful day herding cats at work I received the below:
Ok, so clearly this guy is embittered and rightly single at the ripe old age of 39. Just ignore him, right? Well, I might have agreed until The Nurse received this roughly a day later and shared it with The Window Shopper and me via group text:

"OMG!!! This is the guy who wrote me crap!" Now the old me would have completely eviscerated this chump with no compassion or remorse, but I've been growing the past few years, so I instead wrote this pointed gem:
Oh, and in case you're curious, I DID report him because, let's be honest, he deserves to be exposed for what he is: an asshole.

~The DLS

Monday, September 24, 2012

The RN: "Fascinating." - Mr. Spock

Last week I went on three first dates, two from OKC and one I met at friend's birthday party. Let me just say that week two of first dates was far better than week one. I'm not sure we've gotten to sparks yet, but at least I enjoyed spending time with these guys.

So, first one was Tuesday. I was triple booked after work and had to squeeze the date in between a chiropractic appointment and pool with a friend who moved to PA. Both of which were planned well in advance of the date. We had a great conversation, and I couldn't believe he'd actually heard of some of the bad SciFi movies I mentioned (seriously more people need to know about this movie and this movie or I'll start to think my dad was lying about movies). 

We had actually started planning this date forever ago, first he was out of town and then I was out of town. We clearly had picked a day, but we apparently never really locked down a time (yes, I went back through the messages). I had said when I could be there, but neither of us actually committed to being there at specific time. I got there at the time I suggested and sent him a text that I went inside and got a table (it was raining and I didn't want to be outside). About 30 minutes later I ordered food, even though it looked like I was being stood up; I was hungry.

Right after I ordered he texted me back saying he didn't know we had time, which he was technically right about. He said he'd be right there. Yep, another place more convenient to him than me, but at least this one was also pretty close to where I was anyway. When he got there, about 15 min later, he apologized and explained that it took him 30 minutes to see the text because his phone had been on silent. Fortunately for him the conversation was pretty awesome. Even though I didn't want to give the other late guy a chance at all, this guy was pretty cool so I was willing to let it go. He's trying to get a second and I'm probably going to let myself get talked into it.

First date number two of the week was on Thursday. I wasn't really super optimistic about this date. His profile and interactions were a lot more like the first two guys. Fortunately he totally surprised me and it was also a great evening. I don't really remember what all we talked about, but it was all nerdy. He seems to be a little obsessed with brains kind of like Zombies are, but somehow in a not totally creepy way.

The most memorable part of the evening was when I got the best compliment. In our interactions online he frequently referred to me as interesting. At one point in the evening he said, "I take it back, you aren't interesting. You are fascinating." What a lovely compliment and not one of your standard lines. Of course when I heard it, this is what immediately went through my head. Yep, I'm that kind of nerd ... sorry back now. Somehow I distracted by Star Trek videos.

Friday, I went on a first date with a guy I met at a friend's birthday party. It was a really nice date and the food was excellent. We talked about all kinds of things from why he claims you don't need a car in DC to why bartenders want to put bitters in a perfectly nice rum punch.

This round of dates has restored some of my faith in my ability to date. If these dates had gone as badly as the first round I might have to question the point of dating.

Oh Honey, No: "Recently, recently single. A little shell-shocked."

Welcome to your first installment of "Oh honey, no".

Today's inspiration was so sadly inspiring that he started this idea in just a moment. And I have more to come from the past couple of months, but this one, indeed, takes the cake. This guy "chose" me (meaning he rated me highly) and, out of curiosity, I viewed his page. And oh honeyyyy no. Just no.

May I please repeat, dearest men now in their late 20s/30s: NO WOMAN (worth having) WANTS TO BE YOUR MOTHER.

Honey, no. I hope for the sake of your balls, you learn to find them again - first figuring out how to pull yourself up off the ground. We've all been there; we don't want to be there with you. Go offline, love: Your self-respect is somewhere there.

Monday, September 17, 2012

TWS Week 4: The First Four - Part II

(continued from Part I, to ease readability)
RH date two was dinner. Without the veil of illness, I began to see he was much surer of himself than I had previously thought. I can’t decide if this is a good thing, or just cockiness – with a pinch of insecurity he attempts to hide. He is also extremely willing to talk about past relationships, which again I can’t decide if that’s a good thing, or a bright red flag. Then again, both of these were the failing of the last guy I dated, so maybe the point goes to RH. I asked him why he deleted his profile and gave me a long-winded answer I could barely follow - something about wasting time and money on dates that go nowhere. Strange timing, sir. But on the topic of long-windedness, his answers always took a while, which I warned meant I’d space out, so could he keep them succinct. He made fun of this – I think due to underlying insecurity – for a while until I said “Stop that, you’re getting on my nerves”. Guys, don’t badger a lady (especially one that is trying to help you out). Also, during the date he asked if he would get to kiss me again that night: Guys, DO NOT DO THIS either. Mk. It's awkward and uncomfortable: Instead, go all Nike on the ladies if you feel a vibe and Just Do It. Regardless, after dinner and more drinks, he walked me to my car and I let him kiss me - slightly more impassioned than I was feeling, which led me too believe he may be slightly aggressive when it comes to that stuff. (I got home he texted to thank me for coming out and that next time he wouldn’t “abuse” me – in reference to the badgering. Good idea, dude.)
As a caveat, I should probably explain that I really like kissing. I think during first dates – and perhaps subsequent second dates – a kiss makes a guy go “SCORE! I’m in.” when I’m just there going la la la. I like kissing… (similar to how I feel about spooning/sharing my bed).
Which brings us to the second second date: Dinner with MH. He decided we'd go somewhere in my neighborhood. I have no idea why he wanted to go around there: Convenience for me? Parking? He leaves work before me? He figured we'd go back to my house for the no pants dance? I’m not sure, but we had dinner down the road from my house. I had to request he pick me up instead of meeting at the restaurant. GUYS! Offer to pick a lady up. She can decline, but fucking offer. Even if you don’t have a car – offer to meet her at her house and go together…eh-hem Housewife. I know it’s online dating, but your tongue’s been in my mouth; you can come to my house.
But I digress, we went to dinner, during which time, I began to see him differently: More comfortable; less feminine. (Or maybe I was just ovulating last time and extra sensitive to effeminate gestures and Madonna praises.) After dinner – of which all dinners in dating appear to automatically include cocktails, which I like – he had to pee. We could not, for the life of us, find the bathrooms in that place even after asking staff for help – although we did find “Hipster Fight Club” (as he put it) a.k.a. 20-somethings playing ping pong in the back. I told him to give up and pee in a bush. And then I decided that's sort of rude and said he could just use my bathroom. So we headed to my house. If this was his plan all along, he is a fucking evil genius. And I should have fucked him eight times on my front porch out of sheer respect for such a masterminded plan.
Because once in my house, he broke is iPhone with a Praying Mantis. As in, he went to poke at the thing with his phone and when the bug touched him, he panicked and flung his phone on laminate. Point: Effeminate. After he failed to make it turn back on, I started to feel guilt – since I was the one curious about the Mantis – and told him I would fix it if he gave it to me. Men don’t like to be called assholes; they also don’t like to be told a woman can fix something they, themselves, cannot. I took it anyway, went upstairs and put it on my docking station. After a bit, he got bored (I assume) and came upstairs as I continued to troubleshoot. I got it working, but slightly embarrassed by the state of my room – and him checking it out – I started to pick up a bit (clothes were strewn about since I’d been busy/sick/on travel). Eventually he turned to my DVD collection and after about 10 minutes in my room, asked if we could watch Aladdin. So we did. I love a good cuddle. And then he ended up sleeping there. Did I mention I love a good cuddle?
There was spooning and kissing. And after telling him to go to sleep, and essentially giving him the ol’ blue balls shove off (okay, he likely didn’t have blue balls, but I like this term I just created), he said, “Okay. I’m patient.”
“That’s good,” I replied, wondering if he thought Aladdin would actually lead to sex – and on a second date. (Barking up the wrong easy-tree there, guy.)
Regardless of timing, that patience may come in handy, because, as it turns out, I think I’ve come to realize that these men are being vetted: Once I decided to go on dates, I wondered what I was doing since my interest in a relationship right now is minuscule to rolling over and playing dead. But, perhaps I’m looking for someone to scratch that Loop itch until Monogamist Mary pops on over to my crib again. So now I wonder, is it either of them? And do I need to tell these "relationship" "matches" that I'm Short-Term Sally at the moment? Furthermore, is it a horrible idea to date just mostly for sexy time - and spooning? I’ve been there with a crush and that's the Crashed and Burner; are pseudo-strangers are a safer bet?

And if I go through with scratching the itch, it leads to even more questions because you (well, I) can’t sleep with more than one person at a time so: 1. How do you decide? and, 2. How do you tell the other perfectly suitable person to shove off?

Friday, September 14, 2012

The DLS: Secrets, Secrets...

I have to admit, I quite like the idea of revealing "secrets" as my posts. We'll have to see as I continue how feasible (hello, engineer here, people) it is. 

As I admitted in my introduction, I'm inconsistent with, well, a lot of things, but in this case posts, thus, why it's been three weeks (whoops!). So bear with me if this is overly long. Dirty Little Secret #2: I believe in chances, often giving too many. Just ask me about My Ex - interestingly enough, he came back to me three weeks ago spouting some craziness to get...well :cough cough: ahem - but if you want to see me stay smiling vs. developing a perplexed/annoyed look, don't. Let the dead horse just stay unkicked, but broken, bloodied and...still dead.

Four weekends ago, a lot of the gang on here and I went on a trip to Dewey Beach, DE, full of typical DB goodness: sun & fun, orange/grapefruit crushes, Grotto Pizza, swasteyfaced time, and random people. Particular emphasis on  random people for me this time.

After a last-minute bar change decision, we went to go meet up with another close friend who had not come with us. This bit of randomness was enough to change my chances :wink, wink: for the night.  Upon getting to the bar, my red-headed bestie immediately got picked off for a free drink (yay!) and I went to find our group only to get nailed in the arm/boob by some guy who offered to buy me an apology drink (bigger yay!). This guy was not the winner for the night, though, next thing I know I'm getting passed off to another good-looking guy, a DE native, we'll call him: Viener (sic) Schnitzel a.k.a. VS to appease The Window Shopper.

Fast forward past lots of talking and a VERY interesting dance floor experience, VS wanted me to come back to his condo and tried to bribe me with waffles. Yeaaahhh no, our hotel was RIGHT. THERE. So I brought him back (nookie-free, as I'm a lady), I NEVER do this, thus Chance #1.

He gets my number in the morning and actually texts almost immediately. I had fully expected to close the hotel room door and never say a word after, so after a recovery brunch TWS, my red-headed bestie and I went to meet up with VS and his friend: Chance #2. By the end of the day, I didn't want to leave, I was probably already a little twitterpated then.

VS texts me for two weeks straight until we have a minor tiff over a not-funny joke - oh boy, don't get me started on textual relationship difficulties. We talked it over but things had shifted, making me unhappy/uneasy. After a draining weekend with my family back home, I had had enough of feeling like I did with the Dreaded Ex. I said "this isn't going to work...," I need more. The next day I realized I'm probably taking out some of my familial frustrations on him and apologize: Chance #3.

Days pass and he keeps blowing off texting, calling and planning to visit, like he'd offered multiple times. RED FLAGS EVERYWHERE(!) I finally get fed up and said the invitation was going to be rescinded in 24 hours. VS leaves me hanging until the next morning when he drops his TIGTW bomb: it's the distance. My jaw and stomach drop to the floor and I respond, quite articulately at that, he says he wants to talk that night. Another call I had no idea if I would receive: he texted AND called. How should respond? My first thought was "eff off for messing with me," but he opens with this heart-felt story and it changes my track. We trade off discussing wants/needs/concerns, I basically say "I can't promise you a 'real' relationship (read: easy/in-the-same-city)...but I can promise to try." I tell him to sleep on it and take as much time as he needs to process: Chance #4. The next day he asked for my address...

Two days post-talk he shocked me by thanking me for "reigniting a spark" with my refreshingly, atypical female response. It's nearly impossible not to like someone who likes you for your personality enough to say so and reminds you that he's thinking of you even when he can't be there.

Maybe online dating isn't my thing, then again, maybe I should get back to it to hedge my bets - hint: I lose A LOT. Maybe, I finally got a chance...

~The DLS

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The RN: Two First Dates

I went on my first two first-dates this week. I can't say that I was impressed by either date. I told The Peach a few weeks ago that I wasn't any good at dating. She assured me that I was full of crap, but I'm not sure. After talking about my dates with The Window Shopper, she said she wasn't sure how I ended up going on two dates and neither of them had any real spark.

The first first-date I went on was on Wednesday. He was actually really nice, but there was definitely no spark. I don't think I'm super picky, but his teeth didn't touch each other on the top row. I just kept wondering all night "Why does he still have baby teeth?". I couldn't get past the teeth; they were a little distracting.

We a had a nice dinner and then walked to get ice cream afterwards. I felt a lot of the conversation was forced and the topics seemed odd. He's a photographer and I'm an engineer; maybe we just don't talk about the same things. I'm still not sure how we got on the topic of exes on a first date; that seems like the last thing we should have been talking about. Needless to say, I was not really comfortable with the conversation, but I wasn't sure how to change the topic without being awkward. Oddly, somehow I think that was still the better date - at least he paid for dinner.

The second-first date was on Friday. I'd been advised I shouldn't be going on first dates on Fridays, but with only being home for four days between trips, there weren't a lot of options. First, it was near his place, so I had to rush to get there after work. Second, I had to drive on 66 and then, since I HATE driving in the city, I had to take the Metro. Third, I somehow still beat him to the restaurant. And, to top it all off, he expressed surprise that I showed up on time. Really? Just because I'm a girl, I'm supposed to be late? I must have missed the memo (eye rolling). Then he wasn't sure if we should eat dinner or not. Um, it's 6:30pm and I've just rushed from work to meet you. Yes, I would like some food; it's dinner time.

The place we went was packed, which didn't really bother me ... until he said, "I've never seen it this busy before." Wait, have you not been here on Friday night before? You picked the place. It's Friday and we're near a college: Of course it's busy! At least the conversation was far less forced. We talked about nerd stuff most of the night and he understood what I was talking about. Then, near the end of the evening, when the check came, I offered to help pay - my mom taught me that it was polite to always offer - and he took me up on it. It's not like I care that much about the cost (dinner and dessert was only $26 with tip - yeah, it was that nice of a place), but if you ask me out shouldn't you pay? The Window Shopper said I shouldn't have even offered, but I usually do since that's what my mom taught me.

Not that it has been that long, but neither of them have messaged or texted since. I'm pretty much okay with that. With the awkwardness and the no spark, I'm not interested in really seeing either of them again. 

Maybe I am bad at this whole dating thing.

Friday, September 7, 2012

TWS Week 4: The First Four - Part I

Four weeks; four dates.

I know I wrote a while back stating that I was going to get to telling you about my first date…and then I didn’t. So now you get my first four. Or rather, my two first and two second dates. I’m fairly certain I can barely juggle one guy, but here are two: Both vying for my affections, and by affections, I mean sex. I’m pretty sure that’s how that works. Granted, I’ve been out of the sexy loop for a little while, but I believe that's still how it works.
I suppose I should take a moment to explain my absence from the Loop’o’Sex. First and foremost, I am picky – and I have to be comfortable with someone before I can sleep with them (one night stands need not apply…anymore). Secondly, STDs scare the crap out of me (not literally…that would be gross). Thirdly, babies should not have babies (…and I’m 28 going on 20 for a little while longer). After The Ex, I started seeing sleeping with this guy and we did that for a while; so after that crashed and burned last year, I put myself on one year of self-imposed sex-sabbatical, which lasted 362 days. Why not the full 365, you ask: A couple of months after I met the last guy I dated, my loins were burning holes in all of my underwear and it was just getting too panty-expensive to go without on those last three days. That was in January: That’s the last time I got laid. By choice, of course; I’ve had many-a-man sleep in my bed since then - one of which is called Pierre, because he peed in my garbage can. I later learned he was a lawyer, turned lobbyist on the Hill and I briefly entertained the idea of going out with him more than just the second time AFTER the pee incident, until he acted like an asshole, I told him so, and, as it turns out, men don’t like to be called assholes. This is the crop I have to choose from? I’d rather be Chaste Charlie. (Or Vestal Vicky.)
Alright. So that’s where we are on the sexy-time front. And then we added online dating to the mix. Since I never planned to actually go out with any of the guys from OkC, I set up my account and answered my 200+ questions with the honesty and mindset of my typical dating style: Dating for a life partner. At heart, I’m a serial monogamist; right now, I feel anything but. So now I’m getting matched up with guys that probably want more than "anything but a serious relationship" and my mom thinks I’m going to “break someone’s heart”, but I don’t want to re-answer the questions and get a bunch of skanky dudes with STDs and huge egos thinking they can come in my bed…and then in me. (See: Explanation for absence from Loop’o’Sex.) Plus, it's never a completely closed off idea, the universe will have you know.

So, here I am going out with two guys with fairly high “match” percentages. Read: Not just in it for the booty, I assume. Or are all guys just in it for the booty? 

Anyway, back to the dates. The first date was the Housewife, or RH, for short. I nickname everyone. Deal with it.
The first date was cute: We met outside my metro and then went to a book store that’s also a bar/restaurant and shared apps and had cocktails – hot toddies for me since I went full-on half dead with illness the rest of the week.  He asked me lots of questions about myself and, generally, I like to talk about myself, so I found this most pleasing. I also began to wonder if he was actually interested, strictly interviewing, or just really good at first dates. Afterwards, he said “I’m going to take you on a walk”. So we walked a few blocks then sat down on the stairs of some German Bank building to watch a YouTube clip he had told me about over drinks, and then chatted more. On the steps he touched me – a lot. In the most random of ways: An arm here, a shoulder there; hair…every dating book ever says: Interested. Not too long after sitting down, I realized I needed to leave to catch my train. He held my hand as we walked to the metro and got on topic of my cultural foods and stated which restaurant he would take me too next time. “Okay,” I said. Before I walked to my side of the platform we said goodbyes, ending with a kiss. A good one: Brief, honest, nice. We would continue to chat/text almost daily and eventually squeeze date two into my schedule – nearly two weeks after the first one.  
My second first date was with Mini-Horse, or MH, for short. We met up at a bar/restaurant. There was barely anyone else there and the music was weird. Very 80s. At one point Madonna came on and he expressed his love for her. I questioned his sexuality aloud. He took it in stride, but he came off very feminine to me that night and a little bored; he talked about his job a lot. In stark contrast to RH, didn’t ask many questions about me. I began assuming he wasn’t interested, but then after that place, he wanted to go to another place around the block (that we had talked about). Maybe I was wrong…and maybe he’s not gay, I thought. We went; we laughed. I hadn’t eaten dinner, since it wasn’t specified and I didn’t want to be the only one eating, so by night’s end, I was a little toasted; as was he. He offered to have a cab take me (out of his way) to my house before he took it to his. Pleasant surprise: Points for MH. He asked me if he should walk me to my door, to which I lushly exclaimed “OF COURSE!”, and there we shared a drunken, yet pleasant, kiss. He texted me when he got home and asked if the following day was too soon to see me again. (Don’t worry, after the vodka wore off, he rescinded it by saying he had to work late the next day.) I don’t think I need a dating book to hear the scream: Interested.

Okay. So good. I'm good at vetting people online. I'm good at interviews first dates. Solid. Point: Window Shopper.

EDIT: I made this into a two-parter after getting some guff about the length. Please click here to continue.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Introducing: The Playstation

Well, hello there. I'm "The Playstation." Apparently, I'm every guy's dream. There's a twist though: I'm kind of your typical nerd to babe story.

I never really dated in high school, nor did I care to. I didn't like any of the guys in my class and I wasn’t all that confident in myself either. Granted, there were only about sixty guys to choose from and while all of them were expectantly very immature, I was wise beyond my years. My longest relationship back then was three dull months with the drum major of the marching band, (in which I was the token female tuba player). He was three years older than me - pretty scandalous back then. He broke up with me (via a note handed to me by a friend) because I seemed "uninterested." Thinking back I'm surprised it took him that long to realize. I never really did like him. I thought that having a boyfriend would pay off - maybe make me a little more 'normal' as everybody in high school is striving to be -  but the novelty quickly faded. He wasn't interesting enough. Could there ever be anyone that was interesting enough? And the tone of my dating history is set...

Fast forward about four years. College started and, of course, my thoughts about dating were: "There are so many people here! And they're all probably really, really intriguing/eccentric/not completely boring/etc.!" So, I ended up dating a hippie for a bit. Interesting indeed... Luckily, a day after we had broken up I met another guy. The first guy I would ever be truly in love with. He was happy with life, hilarious, sociable, intrigued by everything, adventurous, and fun. Bad news was that he went to a different college. A different college that was about two hours away by car. Eight hours by bus (which I endured one too many times). Nevertheless, we were loopy for each other and we both agreed to make things work. They did for nearly two years, but we eventually fell apart. At some point the romance had stopped and we had started to become best friends rather than significant others.

So, now, for the first time in my college career, I am single. What on Earth do I do?! Fortunately, I figured that out pretty fast: Locate good looking male. Drink. Flirt. Drink. Dance. Flirt. Drink. Flirt. Drink. Exchange numbers. Hang out. Flirt. Drink. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand (potentially) sex.


Yeah. You heardme. I like sex. A lot. There. That's that and that's it. There is absolutely nothing more to it, just like it says in the description of my OKC test result. I'm more like a guy than most girls when it comes to this...which I think is kind of strange, honestly, but I suppose it's a part of what makes me awesome. Or so says OKC. Now, don't get me wrong, I AM a hopeless romantic too. I want to get married and have babies and live in cottage in the English countryside. So it is kind of hard to differentiate between a quality guy and, well, just another opportunity. And I do think about it. I think about it really hard before coming to a conclusion. However, the reality of the situation is that I am in college and (most) of the guys I meet are in college too: All the good looking, worthwhile guys are taken and everyone else is just looking for a hookup. If he isn't and he's genuinely interested in me, that’s awesome. But I haven't met a guy like that yet. (I blame my curves, red hair, charming smile, cute giggle, winning personality...and my strong sense of self.)

I have had a few guys in my life since my ex. Some of them I met online, others I did not. The ages range from nineteen to twenty-eight and the time I spent with each of them (and only them) from a few weeks to a few months. So, I'm not a serial seducer. I do attach to men. Just not that easily. I have to find them intriguing. They have to be willing to show me their eccentric side. (At this time I’d like to make an announcement: Robert Downey, Jr. is my dream guy because he is such a weirdo. Moving on…) I am very easily bored by people, life, etc. It's probably a diagnosable psychiatric problem. Whatever the case, I've taken to this online gig just to have another venue for dating opps.

Sigh. So, no, it's not a confidence problem. I'm incredibly happy with myself. It's not daddy issues either. I love my dadders! He's a great dude. And no, I'm not trying to make up for all of my nerdy years in high school. If I had been into any of the guys I went to school with, believe me, I would have done something about it. Plus…I’m still a big ‘ol nerd.

But what do I have to explain myself to you for? ;)

Stories to come.

Playstation, OUT.


Ladies: Do you wonder why you get so many crappy messages?

 As one of the few veterans of our 'book club', I figure I'm the person best-equipped to provide a response to this question for all the (hetero) ladies who ask it. And as a hetero Gentleman, I can explain how online dating plays out from a man's POV.

First off, take heart: I can assure you there are far more normal, interesting, and attractive dudes out there than you might think. So why aren't you hearing from more of the good ones?  The answer is simple: because when we write to you, we rarely get any response at all.  There are two major reasons for this.

It's not entirely your fault, ladies.  There's a built-in lack of incentive for you to even be in a position to respond to our messages. This is particularly true when a dating site is free.

Free dating sites sound great in theory. Open up your pool of eligible singles, all at only a cost of your time!  But there's a hidden cost (no matter what articles the free sites have cooked up to argue otherwise): free sites provide little motivation for people to put in real effort to keep their profiles current.

(Sidebar: that article I linked to above is no longer available on Okcupid's site.  It was removed after Match.com bought Okcupid...probably because it didn't make much sense for Match to allow a subsidiary to argue that people should never pay for online dating.)

Think about it: if you're not paying, how much sleep will you lose if your profile isn't accurate?  I know the answer to this question already, because I'm among the guilty.  Since joining Okcupid a few years ago, I've been in 3 relationships ranging from 8 months to over a year in length.  Only once did I bother to change my status to 'seeing someone'. During the other relationships, I simply stopped logging into the site. When I used a paid site, I didn't let this happen.

The biggest problem with pay sites back in the day was they would leave inactive accounts up to boost their numbers. I have no idea whether or not this remains a major issue. But I do know women with abandoned OKC profiles who are living with long-term boyfriends. One of these women appeared in my Quiver.

In any case, there's a far more fundamental issue at play. As Okcupid has indicated, men who send out initial messages to female matches  only get responses about 30% of the time. (Race plays a role in response rates as well, but that's a subject for another post.) By contrast, women are inundated with messages (generally speaking).  Using both xperience and informal polling as a guide, 30% is too optimistic: for every 10 contacts a guy initiates, he's lucky if he gets even one message back.  He's even luckier if he can convert her response into a date.

This leads many men to choose quantity over quality when initiating contact. Naturally, this leads to poorer messages, which leads men to get even fewer responses. Okcupid called this the 'desperation feedback loop.'  To top it off, many women treat initial messages like resumes: every aspect of both your profile and your message might be used to eliminate you from consideration, including spelling and grammar.  Which makes sense in a vacuum where men are only writing to one woman at a time...but why would they be? Hence those short and/or generic initial messages so many women find frustrating.

So ladies, put yourselves in our shoes: If you were an enterprising, non-desperate man possessing both a life and a developed sense of dignity, how many times would you play this game when so many aspects of it work against you? How often would you put in the time and effort to write a thoughtful, clever opener when you consistently end up without a response either way?

Faced with this stark reality, some men employ my alternate strategy. I can't control the average response rate I get, but I *can* control how I present myself.  So I put a lot of effort into making my profile interesting and engaging. Then I wait for women to make the first online move.  I've found that when women initiate contact with me, it leads to a date about 50% of the time (assuming I want it to). This shouldn't be surprising: if a woman manages to wade through the typical flood of male online attention to send me a message, she's probably interested in meeting me in person. In fact, it's possible that NONE of my OKC dates have resulted from me initiating contact.

My M.O. probably results in far fewer dates for me than the men who send out lots of messages to lots of women get.  But it also means I'm wasting far less time communicating wth uninterested and/or unavailable women. (I don't write back to every woman who initiates contact; I apply my standards just like everyone else does.  I've found many women are just as guilty of the crappy opening message as many men seem to be.)

Men of quality do indeed await you on the interwebs.  They are smart enough not to degrade their efforts (or degrade you) by making this a pure numbers game. They can't invest massive amounts of time and energy into dozens of witty, clever, and ultimately unanswered messages.  But to find us, you might have to turn the traditional model of straight male/straight female relations on its head. If you see a guy you like, express interest by sending him a message or rating him highly.  You may learn that he's been waiting to hear from someone just like you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The RN: Posing a Picture

Here's the thing, when I first put up my profile (even though I wasn't sure if I was going to actually take this online dating seriously) the first thing I did was post pictures. Why? For two reasons, 1) a picture is worth a thousand words, and 2) everything else was an essay and I hate essays (worst way to get me fill out a form: put "I'm an empty essay, fill me out" as the default text).

So, why when you are trying to sell yourself ... as date-able, get your mind out of the gutter, would you leave off the picture? Regardless, how can anyone think that looks don't matter? I know the guys are judging me on my looks. It's cool; if you don't think I'm cute, then I don't want to date you anyway :)

First things first: pictures! I raided my Facebook profile and found some recent pictures that I liked and I was off and running. I really like my FB profile picture, so I used it again as my OKC profile picture. Yeah, I'm double dipping, I don't care. Then I found another three pictures I liked from the last few months with my friends and me. Yep, I shamelessly used my friends faces in my pictures, the pictures are already on FB so it's not like I'm posting pictures they don't know exist. Plus, my friends are a big part of my life. That's who I am, why would try to hide that on my profile? Or try to "protect" them by blurring or blocking out their faces? That's just craziness. And it ruins the pictures.

About week later The Boy Next Door suggested that I add a picture of me more dressed up. So, I added a fourth picture; it also happens to be the only picture on my profile where I am wearing make-up (ssshhh, don't tell The Window Shopper). But, this is the real me. I go all kinds of places without makeup, that's who I am and I'm not trying to hide it.

Sum up: I put actual thought into the pictures I put up on my profile.

That being said, I must admit that pictures are the third thing I look at when deciding if I will message a guy. Yeah, I know everybody keeps telling me to look at the pictures first, but that's not how I roll. So, how do you get me to talk you? Here is my current process:

  1. The first thing I look at is your message to me; I admit that I only talk to you if you message me (remember how I'm not taking this seriously? Good :) So, first you must message me. Your message should be 1) funny, 2) intriguing, or 3) at least indicate that you have read my profile. I don't think I'm being too picky here. If you have any interest in me as a person, you should read my profile. End of story!
  2. I read your profile. Yes, the whole thing, even when it takes me five tries because it's so long and boring (not kidding, I've seen more interesting engineering specifications). The first thing I do is skim your info box: are you looking for the same things as me? For me this revolves mostly around if you want kids or are looking for only long-term dating - I am not ready for that, sorry we aren't compatible. This step also usually involves skimming through your personality and questions to see if there are any other deal breakers (deal breakers include: you believing birth control is morally wrong, and you thinking it's disgusting for LGBTQ couples to adopt children). Again, sorry we aren't compatible.
  3. Then I look at your pictures. Ah, finally we reach the point that started this whole blog. Let's dig into the pictures then. Your pictures, yes plural, should exist. Some tips on your pictures:
    • If you are wearing a hat in all your pictures, I assume that you are bald. That might not be fair, but it is what happens (the The Window Shopper has mentioned this repeatedly).
    • The Superman Pose, you are not The Man of Steel don't stand like him. I want to see the real you; I am showing you the real me.
    • The Man in Mirror, please you must have at least one friend who can take a picture for you. I guarantee this isn't how it works.
    • This is what I want to see, you and your friends doing whatever you usually do. Even it's ridiculous, in fact ridiculous is better.

Contributions: The Playstation

Today I have an announcement. Today we are adding a ginger-haired gem to our coterie. She is relative and fellow "intimating" female of The Window Shopper (hi there.).

This tall beauty will be adding a new dimension to the blog in that she is 1. Still in college and 2. Out northwest in Minneapolis. Her input should should give us a little more perspective on online dating outside of the District (and inside of college).

Without further adue, allow me to introduce you to our first contributor:

The Playstation: (Female, 21, Pre-med student - experienced online dater)

Easy to turn on. Hard to beat. You are The Playstation.  
You’re a nice girl, and you have lots of sex. It’s therefore highly likely that you’re attractive, and you’re certainly outgoing & friendly. Plus, this healthy physical attitude of yours indicates deeper emotional well-being and stability. Unheard of. When guys dare to dream, they dream of you.

You don’t get attached too easily, and, to wit, you’re not necessarily looking for something long-term right now. That’s a bigger asset than you know. Though, physically speaking, you’re open to anything, you’re keeping your emotional side well-protected. This means there won’t be a lot of wreckage to clean up whenever you decide to settle down.

In the meantime, the men you share yourself with actually respect you. Like them, you enjoy sex for its own sake and don’t need any other validation for pleasure than pleasure itself. Hopefully, you have the good sense to blow off anyone who thinks less of you for that. Usually, this is the part of the description where we offer some life-correcting advice, but honestly, we can’t think of anything about you we’d change. Keep on fucking, partner.