{Prehistoric Amber} “What’s your favorite position on extramarital sex?”

Tonight, as promised, we will be getting back to slaggin’ on guys’ online profiles.

We will also be going a little further into the whole online dating thing, so grab some coffee, pull up an actual work document and minimize it so you can quickly click on it when your boss comes walking by, and settle in…

First, Luke from Bottling Up The Crazy was generous enough to offer up some great tips to his fellow men concerning online profiles. His comments are in bold italics, and I offer my two cents in regular type –

1. Don’t say that you’re just “looking for friends.” It’ll just annoy women when you try to get in their pants on the first date. “
First of all, most women won’t really believe that you’re just looking for friends, anyway. Ratio of guy friends who have pushed for something more vs. me pushing for something more with my guy friends – 6:1. See? Girls aren’t stupid. We know that guys usually only put that on their profile to look “nice”, but if the girl is at least halfway decent, the code of friendship conduct will go out the window. If we pretend to believe you, just know that we don’t – we’re just hoping that you’ll at least pretend enough so we don’t have to suffer through awkward silences after you drop the “So…friends make out, right?” bomb.

2. Do include pictures with women in them, preferably a large group of them. It’ll make it appear like you don’t spend all your nights sitting in squalor with your roommates drinking Natty Ice or sitting in your parent’s basement.”
However, if all you have on your profile are group shots, please specify who you are if there’s another guy in the pic. If you don’t, we will suspect you are the ugly one and that you don’t point yourself out because you’re hoping we’ll think you’re the hot one.

3. “Look below and find the type of woman you’re hoping to attract. List these as your favorite authors and musicians: 

– Hippie Chick: Barbara Kingsolver, Bill Bryson; O.A.R, Phish (don’t put down Dave Matthews, ya Sell-Out); 

– Chick with glasses: Noam Choamsky, Neil Postman, Dave Eggers, any foreign authors; Bjork, Interpol, Van Morrison, Modest mouse. 

– Former cheerleader: David Sedaris, Dan Brown, any book authored by a famous person; Death Cab for Cutie or anyone else who’s been on the OC, Modest Mouse, Maroon 5. 

– Don’t care, you just wanna get some: Just be honest – you don’t read anything playa!; “Let’s get it on” by Marvin Gaye, “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails, whatever was playing at last week’s frat party.”

Now we’re going to get more in depth with online dating – going past the profiles and into the actual process of interacting. Here are some tips from me and Katers –

1. Chatting.
This might just be a personal thing of mine…I don’t like to chat online. As I have mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of the phone, and esp. not before I have at least exchanged a few messages with someone. Considering that online chatting can be even more stilted and awkward, it annoys me when guys try to chat online with me before they even send me a message.

Probably the biggest reason this annoys me is because I tend to think that these guys are just bored, trolling the profiles and just chatting up anyone else who’s online. It’s a little insulting. This is even more suspect when you are from Brooklyn and request a chat from someone in Montana (we will be getting to this distance thing next, also). If I wanted to just chat someone up because I was bored, I would go to the MTV message boards, because at least then I know I’ll be somewhat entertained and can use my extensive knowledge of junior high typing slang (I am fond of alternately typing these two phrases – “OMG, U R 2 kewl” / “OMG, dat sux” – over and over, no matter what the person I am chatting with asks or says).

If you like someone on the site and you prefer to get to know someone by chatting, then at least send them a message asking if they would like to chat sometime. It will at least show them that you’re interested in them enough to think ahead.

2. Messaging people who don’t live in your state.
This was a great point brought up by Katy, who was baffled by guys who live out of state but send you messages anyway.

I have to defend this a little bit, because I live in Spooner, WI, but I usually only search for men who live in Minneapolis/St. Paul. This is because I consider the Twin Cities my second home – I spend the majority of my weekends there, and so it’s the only place where I really spend any social time. (Plus, finding an attractive, non-idiot man from up here is not an easy feat – you can see this for yourself if you go to cupid.com and search for guys in the 54868 zip code.)

I know girls who have received messages from guys who live in New York but are regularly in the Twin Cities for business, and that’s fine – that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is when you receive a message from someone who lives in Florida and has no future plans whatsoever for visiting your fine state. If you are one of these people, and you are just messaging someone to tell them you liked their profile and that’s it, then that’s actually really nice and you get coolness points. However, if you expect them to keep corresponding with you, then you get dumbness points. I can’t help thinking that if you have to search five states over to find dates from online personals…then buddy, I’m sorry, but it’s not going to happen for you. This is similar to the really ugly girl in high school who claimed that she really did have a boyfriend but he lived across the country. Everyone suspected that even if he wasn’t an imaginary boyfriend, the fact that he never had to see her on a regular basis probably encouraged the boy to agree to the relationship. Or she paid him after getting idea from the movie Can’t Buy Me Love.

Basically, don’t waste people’s time. If you have absolutely no intention of ever getting together for a date, then state as much in your first message – that way, people won’t feel cheated out of credits, time, and brainpower just to entertain you because you were bored.

3. NO collect calls.
Perhaps someone can explain this to me, but why would someone think that collect calling would be a good idea?! “Oh, I’m broke, but you’re super hot, so let me spend your money just to tell you that”?!?! Why would I want to spend my money just to hear a scrub tell me that I’m hot? I can get that for free just by walking around downtown. Sorry, buddy, but if you don’t have your act together enough to respect me and yourself enough to cough up your own credits, then just spectate – don’t participate.

Which brings me to my next point –

4. Sneaking your email address into your profile.
Email addresses are not allowed in profiles because online sites are aware that there are psychos out there, and so they are outlawed to essentially protect you, not to inhibit your fun.

If you do cleverly sneak your email address into your profile without getting caught by the site moderators, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – to save the other person money. If that’s the case, then please state as much in your profile. Don’t state that you’re broke and/or don’t want to spend money for credits. This only makes you look super cheap (hi, it’s a freaking $25 dollars for 25 credits – $1 a credit isn’t too much to ask), and gives the impression that if you’re such an asshole as to ask people to go out of their way to email you at your regular address to save you money, then you’re also going to be that asshole who suggests a super-expensive restaurant on a date and then expects the girl to pay for the whole deal. Follow the same tip given to the collect callers – if you don’t want to spend the credits necessary to actually contact someone on the site, then don’t post a profile.

5. “Winking” is poor form.
I understand the people who are a little shy and thus wink at others to feel out if that person is interested or not. But here’s what I don’t understand – you already took the first step in approaching that person, so why not just write them a message?

What some don’t realize is that once you wink at us, we cannot wink back at you. Most sites won’t let us – it will only let us respond to you with a message. Perhaps this was your intention in the first place and if so, then you’re a wuss and you need to be grow some balls and write a damn message. If you didn’t realize this and you thought you were being great about initializing contact, then that’s okay, but now you know.

If you are concerned about going out of your way to contact someone because you don’t want to be rejected, then a free and easy way to find out if someone is also into you is to add them to your Hot List. If you are on each others’ Hot List, the site will contact you and let you know, plus a little heart and the word “crush!” will appear on your Hot List next to that person’s photo. However, some people don’t do Hot Lists, and so you never know…but really, if you contact them and they’re not into you, the worst that will happen is they don’t respond back.

Which again, brings me to my next point –

6. Stop harassing people who don’t respond back.
Again, I can’t speak for all girls, but there are usually a variety of factors involved if a girl doesn’t respond back to you right away – she’s busy, she’s still working on crafting her response, or she doesn’t want to appear desperate. However, if she does have some interest in you, she will usually reply back to you within 7 days at the most, providing her home wasn’t hit with a natural disaster, etc.

Yet there are some guys who seem to think that if they wink at a girl 3 times, that will somehow change her mind about them. I only need one message or wink to know if I’m interested in you or not. Two winks is not going to change my mind – what it will do is annoy me. I don’t know if some girls wait until they get at least two messages or winks to respond back, but I know I don’t, and by the third wink, I’m ready to inform the site that I have a stalker.

Now, if you’re lucky to get a response, here are some tips to ensure that you will keep getting responses –

7. Keep it in your pants.
Guys, please have some patience. Most of the people who post a profile do so because they are too busy to troll for dates in random bars or because they like to take things slow and get to know a person before venturing out on a date. Basically, they like to take it slow. Again, I can’t speak for everyone, but I am a little put off by guys who, in their first message, ask to meet that weekend or who want to talk on the phone right away – sometimes I’m even a little put off by guys who want me to email them at their regular address right away. If I already know I’m interested in someone (i.e., they’re already on my Hot List or I’ve noticed and liked their profile before they contacted me), then I’m fine with emailing them at their regular address; but otherwise it’s usually just a good idea to exchange at least two messages through the site before moving onto other forms of communication. I always appreciate it when a guy offers his regular email address in his first message with a disclaimer that if I’m uncomfortable e-mailing off the site, then he understands and is okay with keeping things on-site.

Stalkers are a reality, as are annoying people. Girls are instantly reminded of these individuals when you come on too heavy, too fast, and giving out their regular email address is a great way to give a potential psycho a lead for finding out personal information about them.

I have heard of girls who won’t waste their time with someone who isn’t willing to meet in-person within a week, and if that’s the case, then great – follow her lead. But if that’s not the case, then please give her plenty of time to get comfortable with you. If you’re not willing to wait, then be upfront about that and be prepared if she’s not willing to adhere to your timeline.

8. Remember who you send messages to.
While it is flattering to receive messages – even from those I am not interested in – that flattered feeling vanishes when you send me another message in which it is obvious that you have forgotten who I am. Unlike you, I remember who you are, and thus you do not need to introduce yourself again. When you send me three messages similar to your first one and I have not updated or changed my profile in any way, I start to wonder if you have amnesia or short-term memory loss.

9. Keep it in your pants x 2
Every once in a while, a girl receives a message from which she has to wonder, sometimes out loud, if you actually read the profiles or if you just look at the pictures.

For instance, if I do not list “Play” as part of what I am looking for, I am not going to be impressed by your message asking me if I want to hook up. Furthermore, if you did actually read my profile, you would have noted that I require a dinner at Red Lobster in exchange for details about the contents of my bedroom, which should have further cemented in your brain that I won’t dig messages that proposition me for nights of what one male messenger coined as “mutual pleasure.”

Other examples include asking a 25-year-old if she has trouble relating to other people her age since she doesn’t seem like the “average teenager of today.” (Again, all true stories, people – I can’t make this kind of shit up)

So please, regularly reference the other person’s profile when writing your message to them. They write stuff in there for a reason.

And now it’s time for the Online Profile Awards Of The Day. Both award winners are from male online profiles –

Tagline Award of the Day

“If you don’t view this profile, the terrorists win.”

Well, At Least You’re Honest Award

What I’m Looking For: “Someone who will take care of me and pay my way.”

And on that note kids, I’m out. I will be back on Monday with more tips for progressing past the profiles into actual regular communication and possible dating. I would include all of it tonight, but I have already stayed up WAY past my bedtime to post this…because I love you. And I want you to visit my blog more than Luke’s so I win the coolness contest, but really it’s because I love you…did I also mention that I’m still super sick with Strep and am compromising my health to entertain you? Yes, that’s right – you should visit my blog an extra 3 times a day. And send me flowers. Preferably chocolate flowers, but not the Fannie Mae kind – I only eat the good shit, like Godiva.

So have a great weekend, and I’ll see you all again on Monday!

Written and published November 5, 2004

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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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