As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty happy being single. I got divorced more than 3 years ago and haven’t really dated other than a few disasters – I’ve learned that it’s just not worth the hassle. That said, every now and then I like to check out the online dating world just to make sure Bradley Cooper’s twin hasn’t moved into a neighboring town.
I don’t know why I’m drawn to online dating sites, because I never walk away feeling better about my life. Yet every 6 months or so, like clockwork, I find myself digging my login information out of the email account I use for junk mail and signing in to see what’s changed (hint: nothing) since the last time I looked.
Friday night I decided to reactivate my account on Plenty of Fish, which I’ve decided is pretty much the dark alley of online dating. For POF, I use a random profile picture that I found via Google Image Search – you can never see anything on these sites without setting up a stupid profile, and I’ll be darned if the creepers on there are going to see my real picture. I don’t really feel bad about that since I don’t contact anyone; it’s not like I’m actually using the account to find dates.
Anyway, I activated the account, laughed at a few of the more hilarious “matches” I got, and called it a night. Then on Saturday I decided to look again. My fake persona had 219 unread messages. In less than 24 hours.
Here’s the thing. While my pseudo POF account has some accurate info (my age, height, location, etc.), the profile itself is completely empty except for a message that states,
Obviously none of you actually read these things, because otherwise you’d see that I haven’t filled out my profile beyond what POF absolutely requires. I only set up this account to look around and I’m not interested in talking to anyone or going on actual dates.
I feel like that’s written in plain English. Yet I received 219 messages. Why did this happen? Because when it comes to online dating, guys don’t look at a single thing beyond the profile picture. I guess my mistake was choosing a picture of a girl that men would find attractive. And let me just say that the messages – yes, I read them all – were great indicators of the high quality men available in my area. (In case you didn’t know, that was sarcasm.)
A special shout out to the clueless, annoying, and sometimes frightening men who inspired this unsent letter.
Dear Men Who Use Online Dating Sites,
Hi! My name is Andrea. I’m 30 years old, self employed, reasonably intelligent, and free of major physical deformities. However, you wouldn’t know that because you don’t take the time to read anything on any woman’s profile. Oh, and there’s the part where I don’t post my real picture because all of you are disturbing and scary and I don’t want to be brutally murdered.
There appears to be some confusion regarding what is and isn’t okay when you’re communicating with someone online. I thought I’d put together some tips that will not only help you, but women everywhere who are exhausted from the effort of looking for something that doesn’t seem to exist.
To the men who message women saying things like “sup?” or “hey there” - Is that how you introduce yourself to a woman in real life? You can’t muster enough energy for complete sentences or ANYTHING about yourself? If you’re wondering why you’re still single, this might be a good starting point.
To the men who cannot spell or punctuate - An online dating profile is like a resume. As such, I ignore messages from men who can’t be bothered to run spellcheck because it shows me that you don’t care enough to make an effort. Then again, I applaud you for letting me know upfront that you’re not the kind of guy I’d want to hang out with or date.
To the men who use stupid pictures - Women do not want to see you without a shirt. Women also do not want to see what your bathroom looks like. Further, we do not want to see you throwing gang signs, posing all emo with hair in your face, holding a guitar or puppy, hugging some other girl, or sitting atop an ATV/monster truck/speed boat/motorcycle. Is it unreasonable to think you should ask someone to take a photo of you that is well lit, normal, and shows us what you actually look like? (Sidebar: I know some women use stupid pictures, too. But that doesn’t mean you have to stoop to their level unless they’re the type of woman you’re after.)
To the men who say, “Want to know more? Just ask!” - Obviously we want to know more or we wouldn’t be looking at your profile. To me, that’s a cop-out. “Oh, I know, I’ll just let the women do all the work! That way they’ll see what life with me would be like.”
To the men who say disgusting things - If the first thing you say to a woman involves her boobs, her level of “hotness,” or your desire to sleep with her, you’re doing it wrong. That is all.
To the men who aren’t idiots and don’t do any of these things - I’ve heard you exist but I have no proof. Please send evidence – just look for the girl on POF with a super fake-looking profile picture. ;) (Sidebar: I realize that sounds hypocritical. That’s the joke.)