Take your pride and bury it. Trust me, you don’t need it as much as you think you do. Online dating is an alternative universe with no correlation to the real world. What you want is a full inbox of prospective mates. Actually filtering through the men is up to you, but I can help you with the all that come beforehand.
Sign up. You have now entered the matrix of internet romance, where fantasy reigns.
Be original with your self description – within reason. Understand there are key words men like to hear: Spontaneous, independent and active. You might be rolling your eyes but think about it from a man’s perspective. They are terrified of meeting a dependapotamos who expects to be taken care of. You’re just worried about meeting a serial killer. The words ‘active and spontaneous’ give the impression you have the resources and the independence to leave your house every now and again. If you really are a hermit, be funny about it. I once read a woman’s profile where she said, “I hate hiking. I don’t even like going outside.” She won points for humour.
Describe your interests. Men are scanning your photos first but they do actually read the profile. This is where you talk about the things you are interested in. If it is rock climbing – explain why. What is it about hanging off a boulder you like so much? I’m actually interested in this answer because it looks like such a weird way to get from A to B, but that’s just me. Explain the attraction to it. This also gives the impression you have other passions, aside from nabbing a boyfriend. If you write a profile which reads like a resume, it is hard for people to tailor a message about you. Men love romantic comedies almost as much as women and they are hoping to be delighted, so swallow your pride and do your best Zooey Deschanel.
Keep it short. Especially if you think you are really good at this kind of thing. Well-written, short descriptions get the most replies and we are now using algorithms and advanced math to get you a boyfriend. Don’t be afraid to tell a little story, but make it a vignette. No one actually reads short stories.
Before you upload your profile, take out the description of yourself as someone who loves to laugh. Be funny, instead. Dry, sardonic, self-deprecating. Scan your profile like you are writing for Seinfeld and make a funny. Even if it falls flat, the attempt will be appreciated. Even if it’s not funny, a joke is the online equivalent of signaling it is safe to approach you. If we were chimpanzees, you would bend forward and expose your genitals. There are online dating sites devoted to this kind of thing, but don’t do it on Match.com or RSVP.
Work out what you are looking for. Some people get stuck here for years. Don’t mention your list of must-haves in a partner or even the deal-breakers. In fact, take out anything negative. Touch on a few qualities you are looking for, but the list of a 101 must-haves is best kept in your hope chest (yes, the one you haven’t used yet).
Fill out the questionnaire. Be honest with yourself. The questionnaire is where you mention if you want to get married and have children or not. Read their answers and see how you feel about them. Their answers will let you know where they sit on the kinky sex spectrum and who knows, you might have just found your Dominant Daddy.
Text or call before you meet. This is important in case they are a troll who lives under a bridge. Some people Skype before they meet. Skyping really depends on how you come off on camera, it can be kind of unforgiving. Also, prepping the backdrop so you look breezy and sophisticated can’t hurt. Remember: everyone is lying through their teeth and they always have in the game of love and romance. If you do Skype, try not to stare at your own image during the entire conversation. They can see that.
Write to people. Try to be less generic than, “Hi”. Some of these people will not write back to you. A handsome man told me women write to him all the time and say, “You’re the first person I have ever messaged!” When he doesn’t write back, he notices their profiles have been deleted a week later. Don’t delete your profile out of shock. If it is any consolation – you were getting rejected all the time in real life, it just wasn’t so blatant. The hotties are getting 20 messages or more a day. They might be seeing someone but kept their profile up as a vanity project. If you’re the one being bombarded with too many messages then forget everything I just said.
Be very specific about what you are looking for. Let the men eliminate themselves. You are looking for someone who shares your core values. What are core values? That’s another question which takes years to answer, but for a quick preview: Look at what you spend your money on and time thinking about.
Go on the date, anyway. Listen. Ask questions. Do the bravest thing of all and just sit there with nothing to say. That is usually when the most surprising thing happens. Don’t check your phone. Look at their lips and wonder what it is like to kiss them. Don’t visibly recoil if you are not attracted to them. Try not to mentally check out either because they know and it is unkind. Forgive them if they lied about their height, their weight or their income. Online dating is an alternative universe. The only thing truthful is what happens when you both sit down to talk and all the misrepresentations start tumbling out. The gap between who we want you to think we are and who we really are is where the whole of humanity lives.
By Vivienne Walshe