Let Me Tell You About Online Dating

I often like to imagine saying things in the same way some movie dialog happened. That way I can convey the same humor or effect the movie was trying to have. So with that, if you recall the scene from Office Space where Peter Gibbons is a having his meeting with the consultants, he says, “let me tell you about TPS reports…”

Well, “let me tell you about online dating…”

I found a website a while ago called Dr. Nerd Love. Initially I was intrigued by the site. It seemed to have realistic advice about dating, relationships and related material in a way that appealed not just to “nerds” but to anyone who might have struggled with that stuff. So I read a bunch of the articles, and eventually came to realize it was just pickup artist tricks with a nicer spin. To be clear, he offers some good advice. If you read the material with that in mind, you might be able to get something out of it.

But there was one article that I felt was so disconnected from reality I feel like I just have to take it apart piece by piece. It was an article about online dating. Each point he made seemed painfully obvious to me, and also wrong. The title of the article was “Why Women Don’t Respond“.


it’s a zombie profile

For those who don’t know, a zombie profile is one where the person hasn’t been online for a long time, and probably won’t ever be coming back. Naturally, messages sent there don’t stand much chance at getting a response. The solution? Don’t message zombie profiles. Who does this anyway? Most online dating sites I’ve seen show you when the person last signed on. If it hasn’t been in the past week, just don’t bother. I find this advice silly because is there anyone out there who really thinks dead profile #238 will somehow see the notification of your beautiful message and sign back in? This advice isn’t helpful. I’ve never written to a zombie profile and my response rate is still depressingly awful.


you were lost in the churn

There is some truth to this on I think. Yes, cute girls probably get lots of messages, and even average girls are probably inundated as well. That said a good, normal, reasonable conversation-starter message should be seen by her no problem. It’s pretty easy to scan through an inbox and see which messages are of the douchebag “hey q t, wanna bump uglies?” type. And even if you got lost in the churn a couple times…every time? I’m just not buying it. For me personally, I know I wasn’t lost when the message recipient clearly views my profile after I messaged her. Clearly she got the message, read it, checked me out, and decided not to reply. Wow, that makes me feel great.


you sent generic message #14

I have never sent a form letter copy to any girl ever. If you’re doing that, you deserve silence in response. Writing 10 to 20 words with a cheeky intro and conversation starter takes minimal effort. Reading her profile and coming up with that opener takes little effort. If you’re not willing to make that little effort then why are you bothering? You don’t have to write a novel each time. With practice you’ll get better at seeing hooks in their profile and making a good introduction out of it. Despite never sending a generic message though, my response rate is still horrible, and the number of reads and profile views without a response is just as horrible. Horrible and so depressing. Not sending generic messages doesn’t get you much farther in my experience.


U t4lk lik thz

Yeah, uhh, I’ve never done this. In fact, if you’re old enough to be online dating, chances are you aren’t either. This isn’t 1998. So I’d say that not doing this doesn’t make too much difference. Granted, I write a lot, so I’ll concede that maybe writing notes and messages isn’t as easy for everyone. But if you’re an adult, writing messages like that, I’m curious how you’re holding down any kind of job. Don’t you write emails for work? This is just such useless advice. No one is doing this, and if they are…well, I’m willing to be they have many other much more obvious shortcomings that need to be addressed first. Such as being 16.


You Sound Desperate

Semi decent advice? Kinda. I even get what he’s talking about here. The line between self-deprecating humor and desperation is about as fine as expensive wines from France. If you’re not completely positive you know how to walk it, don’t. It’s that simple. You will cross it, and you will come off sounding desperate and killing any chance you may have had. But if you’re just trying to sound desperate to sound desperate? You get what you get. It’s not attractive and it never will be. Again, this is something I never do. I’ve not found it improves much.


You Were Insulting And/Or Creepy

Ok, come on. We’re all big boys (and girls) here. You know what’s creepy and insulting. Don’t do it. Not that’ll make too much difference.


Your Profile Sucks

One good piece of advice?! Yes…and no, well, sort of. This is the part that no one can really tell you how to do, because it’s supposed to represent you. It’s tricky. But you have to figure out how you want it to be, and there are lots of options. Let it reflect you. Are you funny? Show it. Are you deep? Show it. This is the one thing that I think might be causing problems for me, but I’ve done many drastic profile changes over the months, and none seem to really change response too much. It’s a subjective thing. You can’t make someone else like what they read and see.

So there it is. After all that though, I’m going to negate everything I said. No, it’s not untrue. It’s 100% true, but you have to understand that people in general are fickle, mysterious, irrational and yes, sometimes even just douchy. You could do everything completely right, follow every piece of advice from everywhere, and still come up with nothing. Hell, look at me! What can possibly be my rationalization after all my failed efforts? I don’t know. That’s it, I just don’t know. Maybe she thought I looked too Polish. Maybe she hates people who use ellipses. Maybe she just cannot stand when a nice, normal guy sends a nice normal message. Who the hell knows! You’ll never know. So in a way the whole thing is moot. You never know that you’ll be messaging a rational person. That’s the true issue.

Virginity: The World Series of Double Standards

I can’t actually remember, but I’m sure I’ve mentioned here in other places about my utter disdain for double standards. They are so antithetical to how I view the world. I try to imagine things in absolutes. In their purest forms. That’s kind of like a sith lord I suppose. Well, minus the evil and light saber battles.

If you’ve seen any other posts here, I’m sure there are some that mention how sexually inexperienced I am. Pretty much completely. I hate to use the metaphor, but I’m still looking for the baseball park. It bothers me. To varying degrees, and for various reasons, at various times. I won’t pretend that it doesn’t. A lot of people like to chime in how mid 20s and older really isn’t that late, but I’m a math guy, and it is. Sure, everyone is different, but like so many things in this world, it’s still a nice bell curve. And 25+ is on the ass end of it. Those are the facts. All the rainbows and puppy farts in the world won’t change the facts.

Before I go any further, I’m (most likely) a heterosexual an asexual guy, so anything I say really comes from that perspective. I try my best to keep things as general as possible, because I know what it feels like to be left out of discussions on things, and I really do think this stuff applies to everyone.

Being as sexually inexperienced as I am at my age is difficult. Aside from the obvious bit where it just feels like I’m behind, it’s difficult because I have a hard time finding resources that seem like they apply to me. I’m just a regular dude. Not religious. Not “saving myself”. Relatively average looking, nothing special. A bit shy I suppose. Other than my inexperience, I feel pretty average. So it’s hard when so many people in a similar position have conflating factors. They’re religious. They have body issues. They once weighed as much as a small dump truck, but have gotten in better shape. I’m none of those things.

I really think society could do a much better job being more inclusive of people like me. It’s hard enough being in the situation without things like The 40 Year Old Virgin. I mean, I saw it. It was actually reasonably open-minded I suppose. But why are all those movies about guys? Like there’s something wrong with you that needs to be fixed if you’re a guy virgin. It’s funny. It’s a little pathetic. I’m sorry, but I would find it extremely difficult to believe that the genders in a movie like that could be swapped and still be a comedy people would laugh at.

The flip side isn’t much better. Characterizing a woman virgin as “pure” or “innocent” or “fragile” isn’t great either. That’s a mildly positive stereotype at best. It’s the 21st century. There’s a damn good chance she’s none of those things, and that’s totally fine! But would anyone really laugh at her? See her as a pathetic loser? I seriously doubt it. And that’s the problem. She could be just like me, so why the double standard?

I know society in general is pretty shitty about showing a positive attitude about basically anything different from the norm. Being that this is America, where we’d sooner show you “splosions” and plenty of ultra-violence than talk openly and honestly about sexual issues, I know I’m asking a lot here. But with roughly 19-20 million people in the 25-29 age group1 if even just 1% of them are still sexually inexperienced that’s almost 2 million people. That’s about as many people in Rhode Island and New Hampshire combined. That’s a hell of a lot of people to shut out.

In a way, I think most people just don’t understand it. There must be something “wrong” with you. It wasn’t a problem for them. It just happened. And you know, maybe there is. It might not be wrong per se, but maybe you’re shy, or you have a hard time with social situations, or you just never clicked with anyone. Why would anyone think it’s ok to laugh at you or treat you like some delicate flower because of that? To quote the great Mitch Hedberg, “that’d be like getting mad at your friend for having lupus.”

I’m not sure what I’m asking for here. Maybe I’m not asking for anything. In all likelihood I’ll read this later when I’m in one of my depressed moods about it and think, “wow, how did I get all the mud off myself after putting that much lipstick on a pig?”. There’s some truth to that. Too often people try to sugar coat things and “look on the bright side”, but sometimes there isn’t a bright side. Sometimes things just suck, and the sooner you admit that, the sooner you can move on to making them suck less.

  1. http://www.censusscope.org/us/chart_age.html