The other morning a woman who follows me on Medium.com asked me why, if I were that wise and self-assured, I would have bothered with Match.com. This is a question I’ve gotten often, and it comes from folks who have, like me, had some pretty negative experiences on the site. However, that’s true of all dating experiences. Match.com, Tinder, Plenty of Fish and all the other sites are nothing more than gatherings of people, within which there are honest as well as deeply dishonest folks, no more and no less than a bar full of people desperate for a hookup. I’m not sure people are more sober on those sites- one has to wonder at times- but I can guarantee you that at least there is genuine interest in connection.
She mentioned (not without humor, which I share) that the results of her initial foray into the Match.com community was met with some 24 photos of men in duck-billed hats, often accompanied by dead fish (or a dead bear or a dead deer or whatever they were killing that day). Such photos amuse the crap out of me, as though these men were demonstrating their manly-man capability to score meat for dinner. Unfortunately, for those of us perusing these photos, it comes across more as “Date my dead fish, not me.” Most of my girlfriends aren’t much interested in dead animals. That is, unless they also engage in the sport.
However, a photo of a lugnut with a hat that obscures his head, sunglasses that obscure his face shoving a dead animal at the camera….well, let’s be frank. Those same men want photos of us which show him what’s going to show up at Starbucks. Gentlemen, it goes both ways. Pinterest has some great examples of what I’ve seen out there: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/573997914979659666/
Posting a photo of yourself with the claim “I am not a molester” is not likely to garner you a thousand followers. Just saying.
The same thing goes for men who post photos of their muscle cars (this is 2018 guys, not 1965), their gun collection (honestly, REALLY?), their motorcycles…you get the picture. Date my toys, not me. We’re not going to sleep with your motorcycle (well, at least most of us won’t, there may be a few exceptions), nor will we kiss the grill of your 1965 Mustang convertible. We want to know who you are, what you think, what you care about, what you look like. And we want fair warning of what’s going to waddle in the door when we meet. For suggestions, please see https://www.match.com/magazine/article/12501/Cringe-Worthy-Photo-Mistakes/.
During the times that my current BF and I were “off” which happened periodically while he traveled extensively for nearly a decade, I found myself eyeballing endless photos just like this. Men snarling into the camera, shooting the bird, flexing their tattoos. Men sticking out their tongues as though this was what was going to get them a hot date. Or, even more amusing, photos of them as teenagers, babies, college students, still with hair and six pack, photos that curled at the edges with age.
Men rightfully complain about women who post photos of their kittens, teacup Chihuahuas, kissy faces, endless photos that revealed nothing of how they looked. Kindly, most of us are visual. Carefully-retouched glamour photos are baldfaced lies. Men hate them. But by the same token, I wish I had a nickel for every numbnut who showed up for coffee forty pounds heavier and two decades older- and vastly more bald- than his photos.
My correspondent also complained about mind-numbing profile copy. As a writer, I have no interest in someone whose grammar is execrable. That telegraphs their education level, whether they read,and also their willingness to double check what they write before it gets posted. Bad grammar and lousy spelling equals lazy. You don’t care enough. You wanna hurry up and get laid. Well, look, join the club. You’re not willing to put at least a modicum of effort into your profile, and that says exactly how much work you’re willing to put into a relationship.
A few keys to writing a good profile:
- Can the characteristics, folks. Stop claiming that you’re kind, funny, sweet, blah blah blah. Talk about what you do. What interests you. Tell a story. A true story from your life using lots of specifics tells the reader a lot more than your (likely false) claims of being Mr. or Ms. Wonderful. Let’s be very clear here: there are days you’re a POS. We ALL have those days. You’re a lot more authentic if you make fun of yourself, and share a vignette which allows your reader to experience you in all your humanness. The profile copy that got me the most reads was an account of having to pee from a tree in the flooded Amazon forest. I had photos. That story got tons of reactions because it’s a lot more evocative than “I like to travel” or “I’m funny.” Prove it, folks.
- DON’T SAY YOU LOVE TO LAUGH.This has got to be about the stupidest thing I read, and I swear it’s got to be on 95% of the men’s profiles I’ve seen. For crying out loud. Who doesn’t? What else are you going to say, I enjoy a good bowel movement? Look, so do I, but can we please read something of your own here? PUH-LEEZE be original, folks. You attract people by offering up what makes you different.
- Post recent, honest photos. A distant shot of you in a heavy down coat, big hat and sunglasses standing on a rock in the Rockies doesn’t show me shit. By the same token, an up close and personal photo of your ball sac isn’t likely to get me to fire off an excited email either (it’s happened, let me count the ways) unless it’s to get you kicked off the system. Then again, there’s this from OKCupid:
4. Athletic and Toned? Kindly, prove it. This has to be most seriously abused self-description on dating sites. I’ll tell you what athletic and toned is, folks, and it’s not an extra thirty or forty pounds of flab hanging over your belt. Getting out and walking around the block is not “athletic.” It may be for you, but for those of us who slam our sports, that’s not an honest description. This is where being brutally honest about who you are and your lifestyle — and garnering feedback from friends- can help a great deal. While I’m no elite athlete, I engage in a very broad range of sports and activities, and tons of photos show it. Playing golf once a year doesn’t make you a golfer. How do you really spend your time? Not the life you hope to live, but the one you actually do live.
I met my guy on Match in 2008. I was whipping through photos and saw a pair of massive legs-as a lifelong bodybuilder I’m a leg girl- and backpedaled swiftly. This man had tree trunks. He was also sweet and funny and handsome and self-effacing (he had a “farty little dog). My profile discussed diving with Great Whites, skydiving and other endeavors that intrigued him. I complimented him on his legs. Both of us had photos which were recent and accurate. The nearly 17-year difference in our ages (I was 55, he was 38 at the time) didn’t phase him one bit. The profile copy got his full attention, as did the photos. When we had dinner at Outback, we met in the foyer. Sparks flew then and they still do. Big time. Up-front honesty goes a very long way.
We’ve had our issues, as people always do. But after eleven years he moved in last May, at least temporarily. There are no guarantees.
Will you get lucky? Who knows? Will the BF and I make it for the long run? Who knows? We both prefer living solo, but by the same token, we are happier together than not. What that looks like long term is anyone’s guess, as are all relationships. It’s a minute-to-minute proposition.
However if you’re going to give online dating a shot, and I believe it’s worth it, do the work to garner the kind of attention you want. Be willing to have a good laugh at what’s out there, at yourself, and at dating in general. Folks, it’s all just life. It’s just life.
The more you live, the more interesting you are to others. Give it your best shot. At the very least you will come away with great stories. We always do. Happy hunting!