Winks Are For Wusses

Fuck you.

Last week, I got this email from a reader.

Dear B,

I would like to get your expert opinion, as my girlfriends may not be the best advice for this. If I find a guy who I think is just swell….do I wink or send an email?

I’m new at all this, and I’m also kind of old fashioned in that I appreciate being pursued, so I feel kind of awkward emailing a guy. But I’ve noticed that the guys I do wink at don’t even look at my profile to check me out. And I’m a cute girl! Do guys just not like winks?

Thanks so much
– J

Thanks for the email, J. No, it’s not that guys don’t like winks, it’s that nobody likes winks. Every site has a wink equivalent – either it’s a wink, or a smiley face, or a star, or on the sites for the older ladies, a picture of Ernest Borgnine. It’s a one-click expression of interest: you see someone you like, you send them a wink, and immediately they know you’re interested. Sort of interested, anyway. Basically, winks say “I like you. Not take-two-minutes-to-string-some-words-together-and-write-you-a-sentence like you, but like you nonetheless. I will do as little work as humanly possible to express this like, then move on to the next person. Hope to hear from you!” Yes, they are efficient, but efficient is not the biggest of turn-ons.

Is this the sort of company you want to keep?

When you wink or smile, you’re putting all the work in the recipient’s hands. It’s not really a wink, it’s more of a quick message that reads “How about you write the introductory email for me?” And hey, I get the appeal. It’s easier not to craft an irresistible and hilarious first email (even though I’ve told you exactly how to do it!). But the point of Internet dating is to meet as many people as possible, and do you think you’re more likely to meet someone if you make their life easy by sending them a quick message that they can respond to in the flow of conversation, or by sending them a picture of a facial expression?

Now let’s stop and think a minute about winkers. In real life, winking is totally unacceptable. If you were at the end of the bar and a stranger leaned in, caught your eye, then winked at you – you’d call the cops. Normal people don’t wink. Cowboys do, and people in old movies, and terrible terrible politicians. A head nod, fine. A smile, acceptable. But a wink? A wink is what a guy does before he shows what’s hiding inside his raincoat. Thanks, but no thanks.

Look, I have gotten winks before and responded with messages, and admit that once or twice – in my darkest hour of need – I too may have even sent or wink or two. But both cases were rare and I don’t recommend it. J, your justification of being old-fashioned and preferring a man to contact you makes complete sense. I never thought about it that way, and if you want to stick to your guns I don’t blame you one bit. I guess you just have to decide what’s more important – the old-fashioned charm, or getting a lot of responses? Because hey, I love it when people contact me first too – but when I get tired of not getting any emails I revise my preferences pretty darn quick. Plus, we’re dating on the Internet, we passed old-fashioned charm a loooong way back.

If you have a question for an idiot who’s been out on an embarrassing number of dates, email me here.

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15 Responses to Winks Are For Wusses

  1. Denise says:

    Yea, I don’t really respond to winks so I can understand why someone else wouldn’t either. Those are also a free feature form the site… so you’re likely to get them from people not willing to pay for your email.

    • drew says:

      Then you are only responding to guys who have a lot of time on their hands. All dating sites have a huge % of inactive profiles. No successful guy has time to write personal email after personal email. So quit complaining.

  2. JW says:

    Remember how you felt when someone poked you on facebook? Winks are the equivalent. Someone, somewhere had little desire to do anything more than click an icon by your name. This does not a match make.

    • B says:

      Stern but fair.

      • Molly Brown says:

        Except at least a “poke” calls it like it is. Whether you poke or wink or whatever, aren’t you basically intimating that you find the person attractive, on some level? And that you might, at some point, want to actually poke them?

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  4. cara says:

    I don’t wink or write an email per-say, but I like/comment on a picture I find interesting.

  5. Krissy Fit says:

    I disagree, I think if you wink at a person, it just puts forward that you were interested. Sometimes people will not respond to your emails and sometimes they will, and same with winks. I hate match.coms thanks but no thanks app. Its rude, snotty and impersonal, I would rather the person not respond, epspecially if it is just a wink, when a woman sends winks, it is probabably to many other people as well and the person probably does not remember, so it is not like the winker is waiting endessly for him to respond. Many times when I send an email, I either get that automatic thanks but no thanks or a nasty, rude not interested email, which is why, as a woman, I feel winking is appropriate. Men get man more matchs than woman do and there are far more men than woman on these sites, so you cannot compare a woman to a man. So you could wink and 100 people and only a few will reply. If you get an email from somebody that does not meet your criteria, you do not have to respond; or you could talk to the person a little and see if you like him. The person you are writing to is probably writing to a lot of people and does not even remember each person, or maybe he or she does. I

  6. Krissy Fit says:

    I mean to say there are far more woman then men on these sites.

  7. Krissy Fit says:

    Also gentleman, keep in mind that woman get a lot less matches then men, due to the ration of men to woman, so when a woman winks, it often means she just wants to be a lady and politely show she is out there, as apposed to writing an email, in which case, she might write to many men whome are either reject her or do not respond. Another words, men get more matches then woman, so perhaps when they wink, it is because they are not sure yet out of all the choices who to choose (just speculating due to the responses I have seem on here from men) so they want to let the pretty woman know they are out there and might get back to them later, whereas woman wink because out of all the men on the site, only a handful are going to respond or be interested, so they want to let as many reasonable matches know they are out there, so if the man is interested, he could feel free to write to her and see where it leads, and if he is not interested, he could just quetly ignore the wink. This will eliminate the thanks but no thanks emails, although surprisingly some men do respond with those rejetion emails for a wink, and for us woman, who only get a handful of men who are interested, some of which are just not suitable matches, will let as many men who seem reasonable know we are intersted, so when the right man does come along, he will write to us and we could see if we click. The problem is, men think woman are like them, but we are not, and we do not want to be treated like a man, either. We are woman and we want to be categorized like woman, generally, I think. Additionally, I think if you really do spark a man’s interest, he will write you.

  8. mashermac says:

    Not everyone can spend endless hours searching Matchworld for their dream date, and when you do see someone you think is interesting you don’t always have the time to craft that perfect intro note on the spot. Maybe that’s why people send winks, but it’s still a bad idea. Reminds me of the old “Mr. Microphone” commercial from the 80’s (Youtube it) w/ the four douchebags in the car heckling girls in the street with cries of “Hey, good lookin’- we’ll be back to pick YOU up later!” – 25 years later and those guys *still* ain’t gettin’ any. If I run across someone I think might be interesting but don’t have the time to compose an impromptu Shakespearean sonnet – I don’t wink – and i don’t hit the “like” button – and i certainly don’t “Favorite” them, b/c those all make it seem like we’re back in 5th grade and we’re sending a note that says “I think you’re cute – do you think I’m cute, too? check box yes or check box no”. Instead I hit the e-mail her now button; I type in one word “Later” and then I click “save draft” — now I got a week to channel Shakespeare. (Works for me)

    And yes, I hate the robot “no thanks” too. Incidentally, I once got one 28 days!! after I sent the unanswered note. It seemed like she was thinking, “Whoa! – we’re almost at the 30 day auto-delete mark, I better tell this guy to bleep-off while I still have the chance.” I honestly had no idea who she was at first and for a minute I was thinking “What? – has Match introduced a new “You Suck” button where you can search for people who don’t appeal to you and then just randomly inform them of your opinion?” Like the old Jimmy Buffet song, “If the Phone Don’t Ring It’s Me” – if you’re not interested, your silence is the only message I need to hear – I suppose it’s tougher for women b/c some guys are apparently too dense to get it and keep pestering , but my rule is I never send a second note if i didn’t get an answer to my first

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  10. drew says:

    If you think successful men have time to write one personal email after another considering all dating sites have huge % of inactive profiles, then you will just be responding to guys with a lot of time on their hands.

  11. Kris says:

    Women and their expectations ! Why would i write a charming email if you are going to look at it after several days or even look at it and never get back for whatever reason ? its worthless, I wink, you wink and I email, that’s the way to go. If you are complaining about the fact that you dont like winks then get out and move.

  12. Pingback: Winks Are For Wusses | Thought Catalog

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