The last time I was single, the Internet barely existed and therefore online dating didn’t exist at all. When I recently re-entered the dating twilight zone, I’ll admit the thought of online match-making freaked me out. (Enter the Heffalumps singing BEWARE, BEWARE). I was familiar with the notorious tragic stories, such as the Craigslist Killer and Christian Mingle Rapist, and as if those weren’t enough, online dating seemed a bit on the taboo side (for losers and loners living in their moms’ basements and people who just want hook-ups).
I am, however, an online college teacher who works at home, so I didn’t know where to meet men (not really into the bar scene, thankyouverymuch). But more than that I realized because of my career — I’m all about technology and a huge advocate of online education – I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t try it out. And so I did. In order to give it a fair shot, I joined several websites – eHarmony, Christian Mingle, and Match. It only took about a month before I could see where men (across all sites) go wrong. (And yes, I know women do things wrong too, but see last line at the bottom for your opportunity to chime in).
If you’re a guy and online dating, take note of what turns women off (and when I say “women,” I mean mature women who are looking for something long-term; not ones who simply want a one night stand or FWB).
(1) Annoying profile pics
Even if looks really aren’t important to a woman, it’s still the first thing she sees when scrolling through headshot adventure land. We’re not teenagers, so taking a picture of yourself with your phone in front of a mirror isn’t cool; it just makes me roll my eyes and click on the next guy. I also don’t care how buff your muscles are. Holding them up in front of a camera makes you appear like a self-absorbed unintelligent gym rat.
If your profile pic is of you lying in bed with your shirt off and your username is “Hot4uBabe,” you are that guy I use as an example to my daughter of what a multiple-baby-daddy-pervert looks like.
Pics of you with your arms around other beautiful girls is really really really wrong and makes us feel like crap about ourselves. If she’s your sister, choose a family-looking-photo or use a photo caption so it’s all clear.
When you take your profile picture, check the list of registered sex offenders. If your picture looks a lot like theirs, you might want to consider taking another one, especially when your email to a girl simply says, “You look nice.” Can you say… restraining order…
(2) Disturbing usernames, headlines, and hobbies
One person titled their email subject line, “God wants us to date.” To which I was tempted to respond with, “Really, because he didn’t tell me, so could you ask him to, and once I get that message, then you and I can go out.”
Constantly talking about how you like to drink makes you look like an alcoholic.
You love to travel, just like every single person on every single dating website, so no need to tell us you have free miles you’ve been dying to use with someone (or to include fifty pictures of the Grand Canyon from when you went).
Headlines to avoid: “HotSunDevil,” “Lookin2Marry,” “NeedaWife,” “TotalHusbandPackage,” “TakeMeHome,” “I’m2Sexy.”
(3) Inappropriate emails
When you first email a girl, your opening line should not be, “So, do you want more kids?” Try to at least first ask about the weather before jumping into the baby-making question.
When you write a girl a few times and then feel it’s appropriate to let her know you have eight kids….ummm…should’ve been a little more up front with that info in your profile; would save a lot of time for women scrolling through and trying to decide whether or not to email you. (And I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t).
Your first email should not be you inviting the woman over to your house to “hang out.” That has murderer or let’s-just-sleep-together spewing out from between the lines.
If you’re older than my dad and emailing me to tell me you’ll be “patient with me,” I’m immediately clicking the block button and praying you never get anywhere near a vulnerable woman.
(4) Self-focused emails
Most women like to talk, and generally email is how you begin communicating after you find an online profile you like. Ask questions and show an interest in getting to know the girl. Talking only about yourself or answering the questions she poses but then not asking any back is rude (and makes me question what your mother taught you about respect).
The Bright Side
As much as online dating has shocked me and made me question my sexuality (joke, people!), I have to admit I’ve met a few really cool guys who are who they say they are. I’ve made friends, learned a lot about myself, been on some fun dates, laughed a lot, and decided that if I do meet the right person, this whole thing could really work. After all, I have dozens of friends who met their spouses or significant others online. And, to be fair, even when I meet men in traditional settings, I still find a lot of these same issues.
First impressions matter, and your profile and initial emails say a lot about you, so choose wisely. (And when in doubt, ask a female friend or family member to look your profile over before you post it).
Hopefully, the right guy is out there somewhere for me, whether in a crazy online dating website, or somewhere else. In the meantime, I’m thinking that really, even though technology has changed, not much else has changed in fifteen years; men are still men, and a few women are still looking for those rare men that aren’t afraid to just be normal, and nice, and caring, and respectful, and thoughtful, and well…everything the rest aren’t.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if you’re a man, please share what you find women do wrong with online dating… This is an equal opportunity blog
My first novel, Broken Halo, just released. It’s available as an e-book on Amazon for $5.99. You can also download it to your PC if you don’t have a tablet or e-reader! If you’re interested, you can click the “Click to Look Inside” button on the page. Thank you for any support! (And I can desperately use some Amazon reviews too!)
It will be available on Barnes and Noble soon, and available in print later this year.