Online Dating Diaries™: Backhanded Compliments, Ghosting, & The “Nice Guy” Fallacy

As most of us already know, navigating the waters of online dating sites is just half the battle…it’s the navigation of taking things from online to IRL that brings both the horrifying + hilarious to your particular dating town.

So for this week’s Online Dating Diaries™ column, I thought I’d switch things up from talking about profiles to talking about real live dates. Today’s story comes to us from the gorgeous and brilliant Becky, who submitted some horror stories from her + eHarmony experiences:

[Becky’s comments are in bold italics and my comments are in regular type]


We had started emailing in December, and then he was out of town for 2 weeks, and then it was the holidays, and so we didn’t meet until like the second week of January. So, that was my first lesson learned–don’t text for a month. Meet as quickly as possible.

5. I can tell you one thing, getting me down the aisle someday is going to be damn near impossible.”
It’s alway so hilarious to me when guys say stuff like this. They think they’re either giving us a warning – don’t even try to tie me down! I’m like a wild mustang, BORN FREE! – or putting up a challenge so we’ll work hard to prove to him that we’re worth marrying (I once knew a guy who stated, as a known fact amongst his brahs, that a girl who’s trying to convince a guy to marry her will shower him with BJ’s. And you know what? Thinking back on some of the girls I’ve known, that’s actually kind of true).

One of the more enjoyable things maturity and experience has given me is enough wisdom to greet these kind of statements with a yawn and an obvious glance at my iPhone. First, 99% of all men who have told me they would never get married? Have gotten married. Second, I went to college, and so I know that a plethora of scientific studies have proved that men who are married not only live longer, but experience a better quality of life. Meanwhile, we die sooner than our single lady pals, and our quality of life goes to shit the moment the ring slips on our finger. So don’t fall for this shit, ladies. Just roll your eyes and stay firm in the belief that men should be showering YOU with oral as a way to convince YOU to marry them.

4. You’re a Gemini? (he asked, I didn’t bring it up). Wow, Gemini women are notoriously difficult in general. They’re very hard to figure out, not very many people like them.”
First of all, if you know anything at all about astrology, this isn’t even true – Geminis are the twin sign, which means that they have multi-dimensional personality traits which makes it very easy for them to be liked by a wide range of people. 

Second, it’s hella to the lame to bring up your layman’s knowledge of astrology on the first date as a way to read people.

Which is why I only use it on my blog instead of real life. *flips page in magazine*

3. My ex-girlfriend caught me watching porn one time. I don’t know, maybe I like weird stuff, but it was just porn.”
So last night I posted this tweet about a similar topic:

Basically: Guys, unless you want to be perceived as a skeeve, stop bringing up sexual prowess and kinks in your online dating profile or on the first date. This is a general principle that will also keep you in good stead when it comes to dick pics, “handy” gifts for our birthdays, and asking us for full-body pics of us in our bikinis. Men tend to think that, because *you* want to know if a girl’s good in bed or likes porn or has a bikini body right off the bat, then that’s something *we* would also welcome from a perfect stranger.

Except: It’s not. It makes us feel uncomfortable, which does not make us feel hot, which makes us even less receptive to conversations about your sexual predilections. Take this from a girl who just got done talking about BJs a few paragraphs ago – even if we’re totally comfortable with our sexuality and/or lean towards blue humor, this kind of way-whoa intimate information is not something we want to be confronted with before we’ve even met you.

2. An exchange:

   Him: You’re bringing up good points, I’m kind of surprised, you’re making me think.

   Me:  You’re surprised? Why?

   Him:  Just usually someone who looks the way you do doesn’t have a whole lot to say. If I saw you from across the bar, I wouldn’t expect too much….

   Me:  (Silence)  Um…are you implying I look like a dumb blonde ditz?

   Him:  Yeah!

Can’t you just SEE him thinking that this was a compliment? Like, “I bet a lot of people think you’re really dumb, but I bet you’re really nice!”


1. (After him questioning me FOREVER about my ex, then amicably discussing religion AND politics…all no-nos…)

Me: Wow, I think we just hit the jackpot on things you’re not supposed to talk about on a first date!

Him:  Let’s face it, this isn’t the way you’re supposed to meet someone and go out.  This date shouldn’t even have happened after all the texting, I suggested we meet up just to get it over with. So talking about anything interesting has brought this “date” up from a Zero to maybe a Four.
What a charmer! C’mon, Becky – he brought your date up from a zero to a four. Does that not stand for anything? He’s only being logical, after all!

My second Match date was almost as bad. We met at the MIA and it lasted exactly 39 minutes. He immediately told me, “You look great! Way better in real life than in your pictures. Which I’m honestly relieved about, because you just aren’t very photogenic.” (Dude, WTF) Well, thank you, sir. Then as we wandered around the museum, he felt the need to critique “my performance” every 5-10 minutes, telling me, “You’re doing a good job so far. Very natural.” (That is great! Hopefully he also gives this same kind constant, condescending feedback in bed, too) He started to tell me about what he “expected” from any girl he was dating–keep on top of her looks and image, flirt with him but no others, etc. I just kinda stopped and must have given him a terrible look, because he said, “So, I’m guessing you are telling me you aren’t feeling any chemistry?” (I don’t think “chemistry” is the main problem…) I said, no, I think I would like to go home, and we walked to the exit. As we are leaving, he tells me that he is going to meet some friends for dinner, and he thinks I would like one of them a lot, a lawyer from Target, as that seems to be more my type. (I really don’t know where that came from or what that meant?) And he asked if I wanted to come along and get set up. FUCK NO. If he is friends with you, I don’t trust his judgement.

The next guy ghosted me. 3 dates that he asked me out on, 3 times he kissed me afterwards, 3 times he texted me right afterwards to tell me he had a great time. AND THEN NOTHING EVER AGAIN.
Was his name Matt, by chance? Blond hair, plays in a rhythm & brass band, maybe-sort of-totally does cocaine that he masks by telling you that his “colitis is acting up” (also, ew)?

I should have quit, but I kept going. They can’t ALL be assholes, right?

Next guy, seemed a little awkward on our first date. Kinda quiet, nervous. I left feeling not into him at all because he was just too awkward and that’s not my scene. But he emailed me afterwards to say he liked me a lot and was intimidated by me and that’s why he was so quiet, and he would really like another shot. So I decided to give him another chance. We were supposed to go out on a Friday night. On Thursday morning (this was in the winter), I slipped on the ice in the parking lot at work and landed incredibly hard on one side of my body. I ended up having bruises everywhere, but that day I was just in pain and my back killed. And I was texting him and telling him about it that same day. So on Friday, when I was still dying from pain, I texted him (I acknowledge that texting is maybe not the best, but I despise talking on the phone more than anything) and asked if he was free Saturday night instead, and if we could push our plans back a night. I tried to make an actual plan, with an actual day and time, not just eternally postponing this. But he FLIPPED out on me and just kept texting me telling me what a bitchy move it was to make up an elaborate story just to get out of a date with him (Uh, don’t flatter yourself, gents – we don’t make up elaborate stories to get out of dates with you. If we don’t want to go on a date with you, the most we’ll do is tell you we’re sick, our parents are in town, or work’s crazy and we have to go out of town on business (and that last one we got from you). Otherwise we just don’t care that much.), and girls like me are all alike, and nice guys always lose (whenever a guy says this, friends, trust and believe that it means that he’s not actually a nice guy) and snobs just think they can get away with anything (Well, I mean. We can…). So I just said, great, thanks for letting me know what you’re really like so I saved myself the trouble. And then Saturday he was texting me asking what time we were meeting that night. WTF. And then proceeded to keep texting me for months afterwards, even after I told him he was an asshole, to please stop texting me, he was not getting the hint, etc. Awful. He SERIOUSLY believed I was gonna go out with him again after that. And I obviously stopped responding very quickly, and then he would just write, “Why aren’t you texting me back?” (Yeah, Becky, WHY?!!?) over and over. Serious screw loose. Learned to trust my gut on that one, should never have agreed to go out with him for the second time just cause he tried to sweet-talk me.

Fun times!

Next week we’ll be back with more profile tips, tricks, and trades, this time from the girl’s side of things! So guys, don’t be shy – feel free to send your own submissions in on best profile reads and worst dates.


If you’re feeling nostalgic and/or are new to the Online Dating Diaries™ series, head on over to the Portfolio to dig into some of the archived posts. I’m currently in the process of updating that space, so check back often for more of the Greatest Hits.

Do you have online dating horror or glory stories that you’d like to see on Online Dating Diaries? Share them by using the contact form below. Submissions are always welcome!

Wanna make sure *your* profile isn’t blast-worthy? Check out Flinguistics, Inc, à la carte editing + copywriting services for online dating!

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About Amber L.

Hi! I'm Amber. I've been telling stories with books and blogs since 2004. I also spent 10 years working as a behavior therapist, which I now put to proper use by publishing thought pieces and dissertations on '80s pop music and the defining TV shows of our current times ('The Bachelor', 'Vanderpump Rules', etc). I can also be credited with single-handedly ruining the city of Portland, OR just by moving here.

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