Tuesday, January 2, 2018

An Open Letter To Men On Dating Sites, Part 1: Your Profile

I have a confession to make, or maybe you already know and that is what brought you here... every now and then I put myself out there on a dating site just to test the waters. Inevitably, I get overwhelmed and cancel my account within a few weeks, but I've repeated this process enough times to have learned some very valuable lessons.

As I was recounting some of my stories to a group of women at a recent ladies’ night celebration, I realized maybe you men would benefit from hearing this as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can replay this with quite the same colorful language that was pouring out of my mouth under the influence of Holy Water and Jell-o shots, but lets see if I can hit the highlights.

Now, before I cause any concern, let me say that I have met some very nice people on dating sites.  I certainly don't mean to imply this applies to every man, nor that it doesn't equally apply to women.  However, a woman's perspective is all I can offer.

In general... men, you need help. The online dating scene is grossly unbalanced and unfair for many reasons:

First, statistically speaking, there are more men on dating sites than women. That may seem like a disadvantage to you men, but I am here to tell you that is not true!  There are far more ATTRACTIVE women on dating sites than ATTRACTIVE men. If you want to understand why, just google "makeup before and after." We know how to make ourselves look good. We know how to pose for a photo to emphasize our best features.  The honest truth is, if you end up with me, you're going to wake up next to the woman on the left... even though you invested your time getting to know the woman on the right.
The second area of unfairness is that it is inherently more unsafe for a woman to meet someone she has only talked to online than it is for a man. And for this reason, men, we need you to be real about who you are and understand that we may be slow to reveal our full name or phone number.

And finally, 53% of online users lie in their online dating profile. According to one online source, the most common lies are about age, height or weight and job. In my experience, current relationship status is another common one.

So here is what I'd like you to know, based on my experience. And I do mean experience... every single example I am giving is based on actual dates I have been on.

Let's start with your profile.

1) Most of you use terrible photos. I have actually contemplated recreating some of your most common poses on my own profile purely for satire (in fact, I may ask 11 of my closest friends to partner with me on this and make a 2018 calendar). We fully appreciate that you enjoy your hobbies, but presenting us with a dead fish through your profile photo is not the way to make a good first impression. Neither is a selfie in a bathroom mirror, a topless photo of you at the gym, or group photos where we can't tell which one is you. Want to get our attention? Ask a friend to take a nice, well lit, photo of you smiling.  If we can get past this first point, I promise to do my best to spread the word to women everywhere to stop using photos of their cats.
This is my cat, Moonstone.  I know... you don't care.
2) Please stop using old photos. Yes, you were very attractive when you were younger. So were we. But I'm not going to try to impress you with bikini shots from my modeling days years ago. None of that is relevant to who we are today. The odds are, if you were attractive a few years ago, you still are now... even if you've put on a few pounds or lost a little hair. Be confident in who you are, because even an attractive man is not someone we want to meet in person if he doesn't look anything like the photos he used to represent himself.
Me, Christmas 2004 and 2017
3) If you are serious about wanting to meet someone (and not just wanting to take advantage of someone), consider using photos that also appear on your social media profiles. Google has this great image search feature that lets you see every other place where that the same photo appears on the internet. We use it... not to cyber stalk you, but to confirm you really are who you say you are so we can be OK with meeting you in person.

4) Put something in your profile about who you are, not just what you're looking for. Some of the biggest players out there use phrases like "Not looking for a hookup" because they think it will attract better quality women. We know this... seeing that on your profile tells us there is a 50% chance or greater that a hookup is exactly what you're looking for. The same goes for "No drama", "No baggage", "I'm not your ex", and similar statements... if you don't want drama or baggage, don't behave in ways that create it.

5) Actually, don't put anything in your profile that is untrue and serves no other purpose than to trick women into believing you are something you aren't, or want something you don't. Seriously, lying to or manipulating women for your own gain isn't just uncool, it is predatory. I know some of you feel that misrepresenting your age improves your odds of finding a woman you are interested in because you don't "look" or "feel" your age, but the truth is that most of us don't care about your age as much as we care about being with someone who doesn't feel the need to lie about things we consider insignificant.

6) "Self employed" is not what you do for a living. We'd like to know what you spend your days doing, not who you do it for. 20% of businesses fail in their first year and that jumps to 50% by year 5. So assuming "Self employed", "Business owner", or "Entrepreneur" means you actually do run a small business, you haven't told us much other than your long term financial risk. What we've learned, though, is that men who are unemployed and pick up any odd job for quick cash also use these same phrases to describe their employment. If you own a business, tell us what your business does. If your profession is known to be highly compensated and you don't want to be overwhelmed with requests from women who are only attracted to your pocketbook, then be vague (call yourself a healthcare worker if you're a neurosurgeon).

7) We understand that physical attraction is important. Statements like, "I workout 5 times a week, looking for someone who also takes care of herself" are fine if that is what you really mean. I worked out 4 times this week, but I am a full figured woman who wears size 16 jeans. If you're looking for someone with a perfect figure, then say so. But please, be realistic with your expectations relative to what you bring to the table. If you are incredibly muscular but 5' 2" and bald, please don't expect to meet a supermodel. I know what you're thinking... “but weight is within an individual's control, while height and hair aren't.” You're absolutely right (in most cases), but the physical characteristics that we are naturally attracted to don't change just because they are or are not under your control.

More to come...

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