Ah, online dating. I’ve done it, twice. Successful, twice. If you’re patient and know what you want, online dating is for you. But be forewarned, it takes time and A LOT of sifting.
These days, it’s hard to date with our busy schedules. Men claim that Vancouver women are snobby and hard to approach, women say that good men in Vancouver are hard to come by. I agree with both. But then again, when has dating ever been easy? “Nice guys/girls” don’t cut it these days. I’ve seen way too many, “nice guys finish last” headlines on POF, both times I’ve been on it. Sorry guys, takes a lot more to lure a fishy than simply being “nice”. I got more than a few messages starting with, “I bet you get hundreds of emails, but I thought I’d message you anyways”. I was curious one day so I actually counted. Yes, this is true, I got over 200+ messages in a span of a few months. In real life, this would NOT happen, EVER. Unless I happen to be someone famous. So the women who are willing to venture into the online dating scene, take out your glasses, you’ve got some reading to do. Also, try not to download the app on your iPhone, it’s SO counterproductive on work days (I would know). There’s also that dilemma that’ll eventually come up if you decide to date more than one person at a time (I am not against this, but I advice you to be weary). But please, don’t sleep with more than one person at a time, unless that’s what you’re on there for. Men, I do have to warn you that the response rate is discouraging (I’ve heard from several men), but don’t give up!
So why did I do the online dating thing? People would ask me all the time, why are you single? Um, I have no idea, I would say. But then again, there was a time when I didn’t want a relationship so I made myself unavailable. I never get approached in real life. Unless I’m at a club and the guy is half drunk or I’m already in a relationship and they can smell that “she must be a relationship type” pheromones. Or my patients offer me their sons, I’m inclined to decline of course. Anyways, I know what I want, and online dating was like an online catalog. Not interested? Next one. However, the first time around I did not know this Plenty of Fish website existed, nor was I aware of online dating. A friend of mine had an account and was embarassed she had it, so I joined to support her. I had no expectations, but was open to a relationship. I had never had a boyfriend prior to this. I met several men, nothing came of it, and I was on the verge of giving up on the third or fourth month. I met my ex and fast forward 3 years, we break up. I signed up again because it worked the first time so why not? Again, fast forward 2-3 months, current boyfriend. Both times, I met some interesting people who I still speak to once in a blue moon. I am the type that knows I want to continue seeing someone after the first date.
My advice to the men? Don’t be creepy. It’s not that hard. Be sincere and look past the picture. I had a few that admitted they only looked at my picture and didn’t bother reading anything. I appreciated the honesty, but no thanks.
To the women? Also, don’t be creepy. I know that women are also very capable of being creepy stalkers.
To both, be patient, you will get hundreds of messages that vary from:
- “will you be flattered if an Asian man took you shopping?” (LOL yes this happened, more than a few messages and several attempts to IM me)
- “hi”, “hello”, “what’s up?”
- sexual encounter like messages (if you choose “Hang Out”, or “Nothing Serious”, good luck, you’ll get tons of sexual offers)
- really thoughtful, paragraph length messages that reference parts of your profile (my current bf used this one, worked on me like a charm ;). But men, just because you do this, doesn’t mean you’ll hook her. If you’re not her type, you’re not her type. I’ve sent apologetic messages to men who weren’t my type but took the time to write out long, thoughtful messages. They were appreciative.
- a comment about your appearance
- a comment about your headline ( my headlines varied from: Good hygiene is so important, Why did the hipster burn his tongue?, I can type 100wpm, Sweep me off my feet, etc.)
- a clever joke that will make you LOL, even if you’re not interested, you’ll end up messaging the other person giving them credit for the laugh.
My tips for both the men and the women?
- Be honest about what you’re looking for. If it’s a relationship or a “hook up”, say so. Some people are on that website looking for something real and they base their choices on the one or two word description of what you’re looking for. You might just miss out on a great relationship.
- Filter who can message you. You can choose to have an age range, block people who have previously asked for sexual encounters, only have individuals with pictures to message you, etc.
- Choose to have the option for the other person to see that you have viewed his/her profile. If you’re like me and suck at picking up people, it’s a good tool. The other person will see that you creeped his/her profile and will view yours. If they’re interested, hopefully they will have the balls to message you, if not, too bad. T used this tool and saw that I viewed him and he messaged me. I was too shy and had no idea what to say. So it works!
- Don’t linger around too long to meet the other person in real life. There are TONS of people on Plenty of Fish, so if you linger around too long before asking the other person out, he or she will eventually find someone else to talk to and move on.
- Have an image. Some people are still too embarassed to admit they are online dating, but everyone does it! It’s the social norm nowadays and there’s nothing to be embarassed about. Let’s face it, appearances matter (no pun intended). Yes, have an image, but don’t pucker your lips like you’ve just eaten a lemon or angle your neck like you strained it and it’s been stuck like that for days. Have a picture that actually looks like you? There’s nothing more disappointing than meeting someone in real life and having them look a lot different than you had anticipated.
- Don’t have a half naked picture. It is douchey. Man or woman, even if you have a super hot, sexay boday. You will get more than your fair share of attention, even without your half naked picture. But I guess if you want the sexual encounter offers, go for it. It doesn’t hurt to keep that image private for when you actually start dating the person, makes it that much more special.
- Think about your profile. If you’re looking for something real, then write real things about yourself. Who you are, your interests, goals. The right people will take the time to read it. It doesn’t have to be super long, just thoughtful. Just don’t be fake, it’ll catch up on you.
- First date? NOT in the movie theatres. It gives you no chance to connect. First impressions are so important, both of you don’t need to be sitting there in silence wondering if you’re having a good date or not. If you’re shy, go for coffee and a walk on the first date. It doesn’t involve constant eye contact, which I know makes many uncomfortable, just the right amount that implies you’re interested.
- Follow up. Does anyone still do the three day rule? Not to seem to eager but yet still seem interested? Skip it, if you’re interested after the first date, let them know then or the day after. Both times, I beat them to the follow up. I texted the next day and said I had a really good time and would like to see them again. If you know what you want, go for it. If you don’t get a response, their loss ;).
- It’s okay to be nervous. You both are, you can even say it, the other person will probably agree and you can both laugh it off.
- It will be frustrating. You will get a lot of the same messages and you will get frustrated no question. But again, it takes time and A LOT of sifting.
The same rules apply to online dating. Nervous about your first message? Good thing you can take days to think about it and they don’t even have to find out ;).
PS. To the women who are as naive as me and think men are okay being JUST friends, think again.
A great video that sums up my thought of 80% of the men I encountered online. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqXi8WmQ_WM
BUT, there are GREAT men online, so give it a try. Just be safe about it :).