Idiots will tell you that internet dating is the quickest way to meet your murderer, but the truth is Peter Tobin didn’t have social networks and he got on just fine.
The real problem is that, unless you’re a shut-in like me and you’ve basically grown up on the internet, the average person probably isn’t used to communicating online; not in a way that seems normal, anyway. While all your stupid friends on Facebook are happy to feign amusement when you post a five year old meme of a cat with poor grammar, strangers are going to judge you far more harshly, and find you wanting.
With that in mind, I came up with these easy steps to help you find your soul mate or, at the very least, someone who doesn’t find your company entirely unbearable, and isn’t that what we all want, really?
If you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it online.
I know that sounds like a cyber-bullying slogan, or a great way to avoid future employers seeing photos of you putting your dick in the cat, but for the purposes of this article I am referring purely to the slew of hackneyed cliche bullshit you will be tempted to fill your dating profile with; in lieu of advertising any sort of personality, possibly because you don’t have one.
QED: I have been on Plenty of Fish for a total of about five years now –sad trumpet wah’s– and in that time I have seen approximately five thousand women use the line ‘Looking for Mr Right; Not Mr Right Now!’
I know you think it’s a cute throwaway line you and your gal pals can chuckle about while you’re gathered around the water cooler pretending to be Ally McBeal (see what I mean about keeping up to date?) but to the modern world this is the quickest possible way to show you are an impossible dullard who can’t be bothered to put any personal touch into your profile.
Ladies, let’s real talk for a second: how many times has a man tried one of those ‘did it hurt….when you fell from Heaven?’ lines on you? Assuming the answer is more than zero, presumably because you live in some sort of parallel universe where the 80’s never ended, how many times did you jump into his arms/bed? Unless he was also built like Hollywood’s Hunky Ryan Reynolds, then chances are you did a smile-frown and walked away.
The point of that long-winded aside was to point out that, every time you use a line like that, you sound exactly like one of those men. Nobody wants to be those guys. Not even them, that’s why they have to re-gurgitate their dad’s chat-up lines. Granted, if you’re good-looking enough then you can say any old shit and there will still be some palooka who it works on, but working on the assumption that you’re looking for something deeper than a man who will tell you everything is brilliant while he is dying inside, allow me to help.
The Solution: If you really can’t think of anything original to say, then just put a twist on one of the ‘classics’. For example, my personal chat-up line is ‘That’s a lovely dress, I’ve got one just like it.’* Obviously that one won’t work for you ladies, unless you’re chatting up other ladies in which case it will just come across as weirdly sincere, so just bear with me, for a second.
Okay, top of my head… ‘Looking for Mr Right; Not Mr Right Now. Will probably settle for Mr Right About Everything.’ Okay, it still sounds awful, but by God it’s a start.
*The original end to that was ‘That’s a nice dress, the last girl I killed was wearing one just like it’ but the police really only find that funny the first time.**
**They totally didn’t find it funny the first time, either. Pepper spray hurts, you guys.
Nobody Wants Your Life Story, It Kind of Defeats the Purpose of Dating
The only thing worse than someone who can’t think of an original thing to say is the person that decides to say all the things, ever. A lot of people treat their dating profile like a job interview or an episode of This is Your Life and slam down a giant, impenetrable wall of text. Some even have the gall to say, ‘don’t bother messaging me if you haven’t read my profile’ as though it’s some sort of rite of passage.
The purpose of your profile is supposed to be to generate interest and make people want to know more about you, not to make them feel like they’re brushing up for their finals or getting ready to go on Mastermind where their chosen subject is ‘some self-important dick on the internet’. General rule of thumb: if it takes longer to read your profile than it does to think up and write an original message to you, then your profile is too damn long.
Oh, and speaking of messages: despite general consensus being that ‘hi how are you?’ is the ice-breaking equivalent of going to the shops in your pyjamas, it’s still preferable to sending someone a 10,000 word dissertation; evaluating the recipient and how compatible you are as a couple. And yes, people do do this and yes, it’s creepy as fuck.
Since I’m the kind of person who just likes to help, here’s a great ice-breaker for PoF and any other website largely populated by terrifying perverts: ‘What’s the weirdest message you’ve had on here, so far?’
It’s a great way to start a conversation, because it shows you have common ground (in this case, both being besieged by sexual terrorists online,) and I have heard some legitimately hilarious stories as a result of asking this question. Also one pretty terrifying one about a guy offering a girl money to do stuff to his dog…
Okay, I feel sad now, I’m going to cheer up and then we’ll move on.
A picture speaks a thousand words. Try and make sure none of them are ‘Slut’ or ‘Mental’.
Okay, I’m going to qualify this statement as fast as I possibly can before the lynchings start. When a girl wants to wear a short skirt or what I like to refer to as a ‘tit-top’ that’s fine. As someone who spent the majority of his early twenties wearing jeans so tight that I needn’t have bothered wearing any at all, I’m in no position to judge people for wearing revealing clothing; that’s absolutely not what I’m talking about here.
It’s a well documented fact that 90% of men on the internet think timeless romance is showing a girl their cock and asking if they’re ‘DtF*?’. I’m not in favour of unsolicited dick pics, whatsoever, and I’ve received a few myself (despite making it clear I’m straight, as far as I know) so I know how shitty and off-putting it is.
Here’s the thing though, and this only refers to a small percentage of women on PoF, but I feel the need to clarify anyway: If you ever say anything on your profile about not wanting to see dick pics and half of your own pictures are you either in your underwear or doing that fucking horrible thing where you put your tongue between two of your fingers, well…you clearly give as good as you get; you’ve no one to blame but yourself.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are a few more general things to avoid when it comes to uploading photos:
-Only having one photo is way more suspicious than having none at all. Having no photos can sound alarm bells, but so long as you mention that it’s for privacy on your profile and you have other ways you can prove you’re genuine it’s fine. If you only have one photo, on the other hand, it suggests that you just Googled ‘plain-looking women’ and stole the first image you found. (Protip: Google reverse image search can quickly confirm this.)
-If, for whatever reason, you only want to upload photos of you with other people then, for god’s sake, make clear which one you are. I’m a busy man, and when I’m combing through hundreds of profiles while feverishly mashing the refresh button on my inbox, I don’t have time to divine who you are by working out who is the only girl in every photo.
-No photos of you with a bottle of Buckfast. I don’t care if it’s ironic, it makes you look like the kind of woman who would swing for a bouncer.
-Don’t upload photos of your face, and nothing else. Best case scenario: you’re fat. Worst case scenario: severed head in a jar. Either way, if you can’t be honest about it now, don’t be surprised when your date turns up, sees you, and, depending on gentleman levels, has one drink and makes his excuses to leave or sprints in the opposite direction screaming ‘HELLLLLL NOOOOOO’. This actually leads me to my final point…
*In case my Mum reads this, ‘DtF’ stands for ‘Dancing to Feeder’. They’re a band Mum. No, wait! NO DON’T GO ON THEIR WEBSITE.
Just, fucking, be honest.
Look, some people aren’t going to want to date you if they think you’re fat. That’s judgemental, and it sucks, but it’s a fact. Anyone who says looks don’t matter on a dating website is lying out their god damn arse. Looks do matter, because physical attraction is like 50% of dating, but that doesn’t mean to say we all need to look like Hollywood’s Hunky Ryan Reynolds.
It’s true what they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and just like I can’t understand why any casting director in their right mind would give flat-faced Shitty LaBeouf lead in a film, I don’t always agree with other people about who is and is not attractive. Or let’s simplify this: The ginger one from Girls Aloud is my favourite.
Just like with looks, certain character aspects will instantly put people off. I swear to god I have seen people, in 2014, who won’t date you if you’re a Catholic, black, an anime dork or any number of other things. Some of those people are arseholes, and some of those people just have different tastes, but either way there’s no use in getting wound up if they won’t talk to you, because there are literally thousands of people who will.
If you really need me to put it as crudely as I possibly can: There will always be someone as desperate as you are horny, and vice versa. If you’d like the Disney version: There’s someone for everyone out there and chances are if you dick around on the internet long enough you’ll find someone that you have enough in common with and whom you find mutually attractive that you can start dating.
But that’s never gonna happen if your photos don’t show what you actually look like, and it’s never going to happen if you fill your profile with shit like ‘I like going out, but I like staying in’ (wow, so you enjoying existing. Colossal job, Wordsworth.) If you insist on bullshitting then, just like real-world dating, the best you’re going to get is a quick jump then a taxi fare back to Lonely Town.
Maybe at this point you’re saying to yourself, ‘well, Rob, if you’re so fucking clever why don’t you show us all how it’s done?’
I was just getting to that. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, my super-awesome dating profile:
That profile, which I wrote entirely by myself, has got me more messages than I can count, and only a few of them were to tell me I’m a freak. Even though my personality usually ruins any chances of an actual date the point I’m trying to make is that by being original (i.e. talking like I actually talk in real life) and not resorting to the same boring shit everyone else writes down, thinking no one will actually bother to read it, I set myself apart from the crowd and it genuinely works.
Now, the only problem is that 90% of the messages I get just say ‘you’re so funny’ or ‘really original profile’.
…Maybe I should have just taken my shirt off instead. God dammit.
Disclaimer: I realise that this post possibly came across as the most misogynistic thing you’ve read so far today. Therefore, in the interest of redressing the balance, please check out Plenty of Fish Fails to see that the men on PoF are every bit as awful as the women.