Can You Tell Someone Their Email Sucks?

Kind sir, you are a shitty emailer.

It’s never happened to me because, well, I write amazing emails. Or rather, I write one amazing email, change it a bit, then send it to a ton of different people. But apparently there is a new trend of vigilantism going on out there, a campaign of women trying to stop all the shitty email writing. How do I know? Because the men have come crying to me about it.

B–

I sent a girl this email that I send all the time, and all she wrote back was “I pity the 100 other girls you sent that message to, because it blows.” What the fuckkkkk??!!

I don’t know, I think that’s a pretty good line. She sounds like my kinda lady. But there’s a lot more where this came from.

Woman just wrote me, said I need to go back to school and learn how to write before I try and date. You ever heard that?

I have not heard that, but again, in this case, it doesn’t sound like a totally unreasonable proposition.

Mr. B. I think if a woman is allowed to write a terrible profile, then I am allowed to write her a terrible email, right? Well she doesn’t seem to agree. Because one just wrote me back right away and said “No one will ever write back to that. Do better!” But joke is on her, because ha ha, she actually did write back.

I’m not sure I’m really needed in that one. It seems like that dude is having a perfectly good time without me. But this didn’t used to happen. A year ago, two years ago, I didn’t get these emails. No guys ever wrote me to complain about the treatment they were receiving at the hands of you cruel, merciless women. In fact, all I really got back then were messages from women, decrying the wretched emails us dudes were sending. So I guess you’ve finally taken things into your hands, ladies. Good for you, I suppose? But I gotta ask…is this really necessary?

My response to your email, in photographic form.

I mean, isn’t not responding rejection enough? Do you really have to follow up with “I didn’t respond because what you wrote me was pathetic”? That would be like getting someone’s wedding invitation, then declining, and explaining exactly what you’re doing that’s more fun. “I’d love to come, but I have plans to hang out with friends I like more that weekend. Also, the font you chose for your invite sucks.” Guys notice when you don’t write back, they really do. You don’t need to rub their faces in their own mediocrity.

That’s my feeling, anyway. Because I know that if a woman took the time to point out everything lame about my (hypothetically) lame message, that I would feel like a real asshole. But then there’s the issue of temporary insanity. Couldn’t you argue, as many of my lady readers would, that if you get enough terrible messages that it could make you insane to point where you were not accountable for your actions? Because believe me, they’re going insane. How many “Hey, what up sexy?” messages does it take before you crack? 50? 75? How many times can you be told, “Yo, send me some pics of that sweet ass!” before you have to get aggressive? I don’t know. No one has ever requested some pics of my sweet ass. But I’m sure there’s a breaking point. In the case of one reader, it was this…

Honestly, use of the phrase “pro” instead of profile is enough to send me over the edge. But yes, a fine, upstanding female reader of this site got that message, and she had had enough. Not only was it obviously a form letter, but it was obnoxious. As well as somehow being simultaneously both arrogant and insecure. And did I mention he says “pro” instead of profile? So here’s her response, and I gotta say, even though I think it’s a little cruel, it’s also great.

I mean, how can you not love a girl who gets in a plug for the website?!!! Dear readers, when in doubt, just send ’em to It’s Not a Match. They might not learn anything, but hey, at least it’ll help my hit count! Now, as you might expect, the gentlemen in question responded angrily, saying it was all a joke, which doesn’t seem like much of a defense for something that is obviously not funny. He told her, in more polite words, to fuck off, and she replied with the same. And that’s when my opinion on the bad email vigilantes changed. I mean, she’s having fun. He seems to be having fun, and I sure as hell had fun reading it. Plus, I got a plug! So what’s not to like?

But what do you think? Should a person be chastised for being a bad emailer?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Advice, Horror Stories, Internet Dating is Weird, Your Awful Stories | 24 Comments

That Moment When You Find Out Your Date is Racist…

I wouldn’t say I’m pessimistic about Internet dates. I prefer…realistic. I recognize that most of them are going nowhere, so I don’t really do the whole getting-excited-about-people-I-meet thing. Anyone can look good after two drinks and a couple of their top-tier stories, but I wanna see what it’s like after we’ve had dinner a few times and all their best material is used up. Make me smile when we’re bored and then I’ll get excited. But sometimes I break my own rules…

A little while back, I went out with a doctor. A hot doctor. A hot doctor who had a good sense of humor and seemed to find my jokes unreasonably hilarious. Around the It’s Not a Match offices, that’s what we call the “mother load.” (Note: There are absolutely no It’s Not a Match offices.) So halfway through the first date, I could see my skepticism was going to be tested. To remain unimpressed in the face of intelligent beauty, well that’s some serious devotion to negativity. I mean, come on…

Is it getting hot in here, or is it just Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman?

Normally I’m up to the toughest of pessimistic tasks. But then Hot Doctor pulled out the secret weapon.

Hot Doctor: I’m kinda worried about this weekend…

Me: Why?

Hot Doctor: I’ve gotta go visit my brother. He’s been having a lot of trouble feeling depressed, he stopped eating for a while. We’re worried he might kill himself.

“Hey baby, what are you doing later?”

So she’s smart, attractive, funny AND she comes from a difficult family background that might make her a little bit crazy?! DING DING DING we have a winner! Be still my beating and somewhat deranged heart. What can I say, I don’t mean to pick the complicated ones. I don’t start talking to a girl and hold out hope that perhaps one day she used to be a cutter. But come on, you’ve read this site, there’s something about a girl that’s just a little bit screwy that I can’t resist. My therapist is aware of the issue, I assure you. But I had only known Hot Doctor – or shall I say Hoctor? – for about an hour, and already I was feeling that thing you humans call excitement. Until, that is, she presented a level of screwy that I hadn’t yet considered.

Thing That Concerned Me #1: She had just started working at a new hospital because the patients at her previous one were all “pretty gross.” Upon further questioning, gross seemed to involve being really fat, smoking too much, and generally having a bad attitude. I don’t know, I mean I guess doctors are allowed to be annoyed with their patients, but not liking them because they’re fat seemed pretty tough. Especially for an obstetrician.

Thing That Concerned Me #2: She didn’t like Jews.

Not in her Netflix cue

Now, she didn’t say “Jews” specifically, she said Israelis. But then, in her explanation, she listed off a bunch of characteristics that are stereotypically assigned to Jewish people. And it’s not like as long as you dislike Israelis in general but not Jews specifically you’re totally in the clear. As the story went, Hoctor wasn’t getting along with a friend because the friend had recently taken on a boyfriend of Israeli decent. She said that, and then I said nothing, because what really does one say when it looks like their companion is about to get super racist? Obviously from my expression, she felt it necessary to explain. “I’m not prejudiced or anything,” she said/they always say, “I’ve just had a lot of bad interactions with Israelis.” Saying nothing had worked so far, so I decided to stick with that game plan. “They’re just always getting into arguments. This guy is really opinionated and stubborn, which is exactly how I knew he would be, and I can’t handle it.” At that point, we were at racish – not all the way racist, but pretty darn close. Then Hoctor brought it home, “plus he always argues over the bill when we get food delivered. It’s like, ‘I’m sorry, but we have to tip more than 5%.’ ” Aaaaand we’ve achieved racist!

So OK, obviously this girl was not a fan of the Jewish people. Sorry, Israeli people. But I’ve never really seen racism in action before. It didn’t seem all angry and southern and Mel Gibsony like it does in the movies. She was this cute, sweet little Asian girl who for some reason just hated the crap out of Jewish people. It was weird. She was really great, other than the arbitrary hatred of people based solely on ethnicity. When I said I liked complex women, I meant more…complex feelings about life, not complex feelings about who to root for in Mississippi Burning.

So in the end, it turned out my skepticism was well founded. Hot Doctor asked me if I’d like to go out again, but I politely declined. Perhaps we could’ve had a fine time, but what if we got overcharged on the bill? I’d ask the waiter about it and all of a sudden I’d have a burning cross on my lawn. You just can’t build a romance on that. No matter how much she reminded me of a young Jane Seymour.

Posted in Horror Stories | 27 Comments

The Worst Kinds of Dating Site Emailers

Probably not a good emailer.

Spending a lot of your time online dating doesn’t have a lot of benefits. You get good at calculating the tip on two drinks quickly. And crafting witty responses to fascinating questions like “Where did you go to college?” and “So, you’re a wine drinker, eh?” And, of course, you get really really good at deleting bad emails. But having sifted through all those bad messages, I’ve realized there’s a pattern. Specific kinds of lunacy that are repeated over and over again on Match and OkCupid. Has it helped me to avoid these cranks, being able to identify their style and see it for what it is? No, not really. But maybe it’ll help you. And if not, it’s always fun to laugh. Here are the types of emailers you encounter while Internet dating. If any of these sound like you, you might want to rethink some things. And by some things, I mean everything.

The Two Worders: “Hey you.” “What’s up?” “How’s your night going?” “You’re cute.” “Nice profile.” What do all these phrases have in common? They’ve never appeared in one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Why? Because they’re not fucking romantic. No one can feel even slightly loved, attracted, or adored when all you say to them is “What’s up?” Look, I get it. You don’t want to sit there crafting an elaborate email for someone who very likely is never gonna read it, or might disqualify you immediately for some random attribute out of your control. And to that I say, “So you’d rather have them disqualify you for writing a crappy email?” How are you supposed to respond to someone who writes nothing but “How’s it going?” No, seriously, it’s not a rhetorical question. How do you do it? Because I’ve gotten emails from very attractive or otherwise desirable women that say absolutely nothing, and I just sit there, staring at the monitor, wondering “How the hell am I going to write back to that?” And invariably, I give up, just on principle. No self-respecting person can ever be reeled in by The Two Worder. It’s just setting the bar too low. Here’s a handy test: If the email you’re writing is also appropriate for a booty call text, then it’s probably not right as an introduction to the potential love of your life.

This entire library is actually filled with one long email.

The Two-Thousand Worders: Less common but equally confounding are the people who email way too much in their first message. There’s nothing wrong with going long form once the conversation has already been started, but when you’re initially saying hello, you might want to keep it to three tight paragraphs, max. And frankly, even that might be overboard. Look, how do you know that the loon who comes up to you in street and starts babbling is actually insane? Because he won’t stop talking. First it’s the President stole his children, then it’s the CIA monitors his brain waves, then he’s all about the moon being made of his cat’s remains. On and on and on and on. If he just stuck to Obama taking his babies, quick in – quick out, he’d have a lot more credibility. Right? Sorta right? Don’t be the crazy person in the street. Keep it brief.

The Ghost: Mostly found on OkCupid, The Ghost is vibrant and involved for one or two message, then totally disappears. Sometimes they stop responding, other times they leave the site altogether. There aren’t a lot of feelings more enriching as an Internet dater than going to click on someone’s profile you’ve been talking to and seeing “This User Has Deleted Their Account.” Not only were they not interested in you, but you’ve chased them off the platform altogether! That’s like going to your friend’s house and finding out they’ve moved. To another country. I think emailers go Ghost because they were never really interested in the first place, but the really skilled perpetrators never let on until they’re already gone. Oh, and from what I understand, Ghosts are mostly men. Nice work, guys. Thanks for keeping up the cred.

An Internet dater’s best friend.

The Copy and Paster: If you repeatedly refer to me as “friend,” “pal,” “guy,” or in a woman’s case, “beautiful,” I’m probably gonna realize you’re cutting and pasting your message. Also, if you talk about how “so many things in my profile made me smile” but never actually say what those things are, we’re gonna know the message was just a CNTRL V. And finally, if you accidentally post the message a second time below your initial message, saying the exact same totally personal and individually crafted words all over again – well, then, I really don’t know what to tell you. Except that you might not be cut out for computers. I’m alright with Internet dating form letters, but there’s an art to the deception.

The Did You Get My Email Yeters: Really? Are you really going to write me and ask if I read the last thing that you wrote me? Is there a universe where people wait to read a message until them person emails them a second time and asks if they’ve gotten to read it yet? “Oh, I did get, but I was saving until you made your follow-up request, just so I knew it was really important.” Or are you really wondering if I “got” it? Like, you sent it, and maybe it just disappeared into the night like Batman. Or did I get, as in understand, the heavy vibes you were laying down. I feel for the Yeters, because we all know what it’s like to check your email box, waiting for a message from that special someone and just see that obnoxious phrase, 0 New Messages, staring you back in the face. I hate you, 0 New Messages. But you can’t write to check in, Yeters, because they got your message and they’re deciding whether or not they’re going to respond. And believe me, following up doesn’t help the cause.

Posted in Internet Dating is Weird | 10 Comments

Men: Don’t Talk About Sex in Your Emails

The Emmy we’ll receive next year, when they include a category for a dating blogs.

Surely you’ve read last week’s groundbreaking post about people who discuss sex in their dating profiles. I’ve been contacted by some very important and people, and talk is we’re up for a Peabody. (Disclaimer: May not be true.) But I’ve gotten a few emails from women saying they felt unduly singled out, that really I was just telling females not to talk about sex and that men were going unpunished. So this week, it’s time to balance the scales.

I don’t know if men talk excessively about sex in their profiles, I don’t really look at guy’s profiles. But they probably do, I mean, they talk excessively about sex pretty much everywhere else. But one place I know men misbehave to a comical amount is in their emails, and the texts resulting from those emails. I can’t tell you how many women have forwarded me horrendous messages from men asking them to perform sexual acts that I didn’t even know where physically possible. Offering to wear ladies’ asses as a hat has become surprisingly popular, even though it must be fairly uncomfortable for the woman and absolute murder on the guy’s back. But still the image endures. I don’t post any of these, because once you start documenting the lasciviousness of mankind, where are exactly are you supposed to stop? But in response to last week’s column I got a letter from a reader that encapsulates male behavior perfectly. We’ll call Kate B. Look at what poor Kate had to endure.

I have to share this OkCupid experience that has left my mind blown and grossed out. This seemingly nice, super normal, stable, good-looking guy made me chuckle a few times in our messages, then asked me out for beers that Friday after work.  I oblige and we have a very nice two hour/three beer meeting and agreed we should definitely go out again.  He texts me within a few hours and we exchange texts all weekend, nice pleasantries, nothing too serious.  Monday happens, and I get a message in my okc mailbox from him.  Here is what the message says:

A friend comforts Kate after receiving the email.

“Hey, I know this isn’t the message you are looking for. But I met up with my ex this weekend and we are going to try things out again.  I’m so sorry to do this to you.”  

I’m like, bummer! This guy was nice, but I’m not heartbroken.  We had like 2 hours of nice conversation and half a dozen texts, I’ll survive.  So I send a nice reply “No worries, these things happen, it was nice to meet you.  Good luck!” Because I’m a nice, sweet girl, and I do really wish the best for this guy. Heck, we are all just looking for that special someone so I can wish him no harm.

Cut to Tuesday morning.  A new message in my inbox:

“HEY! False Alarm, not getting back together with my ex. Dinner this week?”

UMMM….. now that I know that you aren’t over an ex girlfriend?? No thanks.  So I block him and move on.

Almost 8 months later I receive a text from a random number.

Random Number: “Heyyyy how you doin?”

Me: “Umm… fine. Who is this?”

Random Number: “Haha yeah you probably wouldn’t have this number. It’s Calvin, ya know [whatever his okc name is]”

Me: “Sorry, I really need more to go off of…”

Random Number: “We went for beers a while back but the timing wasn’t right.”

I instantly remember who he is. So I don’t respond, obviously. Three hours later:

Random Number: [NAKED CELLPHONE MIRROR PIC]

Random Number: “Remember this? ;)”

So now I’m scarred. Even the nice, funny, normal ones can pull this kind of stuff.  It’s a tough world out there! 

So thanks, naked cellphone picture guys, for getting all us normal dudes folded into the blame from your pants-less universe. It’s like a guy though, isn’t it, to say “Remember This?!” before sending a naked picture of himself to a woman who’s never actually seen him naked. Either he’s too dumb to remember, or is just certain that the lady will be so delighted by his johnson that she won’t care that she’s never seen it before.

I’ve never sent a naked picture of myself to anyone. In fact, if my doctor called me and said, “I need to run a very important test – it’s life or death. Can you please send me a naked picture of your body immediately!” my response would be “Uh…are you sure?” “Can you prove that you’re my doctor?” Unless she’s seen your dick in real life, don’t send her a picture of it, guys. And even then, only if it’s specifically requested. And never, under any circumstances, should you talk about, or show examples of, your whole weird sexual universe to an Internet date. It will only confirm their worst suspicions about you, and in some general way, me. So please, for my sake, keep the naked to yourself.

Next time, send this.

Posted in Advice, Horror Stories | 6 Comments

Don’t Talk About Sex in Your Profile

Even drunk Dr. Ruth wants you to chill with all the sex talk.

“I like to sleep naked.”

“I’m looking for a guy who knows how to play rough.”

“My nipples are really sensitive.”

“I’m not all about sex, but I can’t usually sleep unless I’ve had it.”

“Tell me what turns you on.”

These are all lines I’ve read in Internet dating profiles. And not the super weird profiles where the woman has posted pictures of her wearing nothing but a pink Cherokee headdress, or holding a dagger in her mouth, or says that she’s a Republican – no, I’m talking about totally normal humans. She tells you what she does for a living, how much she likes laughter and friends, then interjects innocently that she likes it when you play with her nipples. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for playing with nipples. I’m an activist for the cause. If Playing with Nipples was running for President, it would most certainly be getting my vote. But it’s not something you want to bring up on Match. Not unless your idea of the perfect man is one who writes “Yo, I’ll play those NIPS like Beethoven!!” in the subject line of his email. Because you’ll have plenty of those to choose from.

The height of male flirtation.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: treat your dating profile like an all-male prison. Don’t say anything on OKCupid that you wouldn’t march into the cafeteria at San Quentin and yell at the top of your lungs. If it’s not safe to whisper into the ear of guy who hasn’t seen a women in five years, then you probably shouldn’t write it online, because let’s be honest, there are plenty of dudes who haven’t seen a woman in a while there too. Guys who are dating online are hungry. Hungry for sex, obviously, because we’re alive and awake and on the computer, but hungry to move past the emailing. Hungry to get beyond the courting and the flirting and the blahblahblahing, and just figure out whether we actually like each other. We don’t really understand courtship. The best guys can really muster is copying the vague tone of something we saw in a Meg Ryan movie, then showing you our boner. That’s as flirty and romantic as we get. So if you start talking about sex right out of the gate, that’s an indication to us that we can skip the Sleepless in Seattle and go right to Bonertown. And we love Bonertown, believe me. We know exactly what to do there. So a woman talking sex before we even know them is just giving us exactly what we want. And trust me, you don’t want to give us what we want. We’re animals.

She can’t stop drinking!

I was out with a friend once who confessed that she was giving up Internet dating forever. “All the responses I get are totally juvenile. They’re just obsessed with one part of my profile, and never talk about anything else.” She was being vague, so I tossed some vague right back at her. “Yeah, Match can totally suck sometimes.” But she kept bringing it up, so eventually I asked. The problem, you see, is that all the emails she was getting talked about sex. I was fascinated, because I’ve probably written a thousand dating emails and never once did I even briefly consider bringing up sex. Was I doing something wrong? I mean, obviously I was doing something wrong, I had written a thousand dating emails — but was not talking about sex that specific something? “The problem is,” she eventually explained, “I really can’t climax without a little spanking. So I say in my profile – strictly for informational purposes – that I need my mate to be genuinely interested in spanking. And now that’s all these guys want to talk about!” You mean a bunch of single dudes didn’t accept the unspoken disclaimer that your declared love of spanking was strictly for informational purposes?! That’s a shocker. I mean, my friend was genuinely surprised and disappointed that men would stoop so low. I was genuinely surprised and disappointed that I had somehow acquired such a stupid friend. Talking about your spanking fetish on Match and expecting men to email you about ANYTHING ELSE is like a being in a desert and saying “You know what I’ve got a ton of? Water. But I don’t want to talk about that. Let’s talk about House Hunters!” What do you want them to ask about instead, your declared love of Radiohead? Erotic profile chatter not only suggests that sex is a big priority for you, but also that you have kinda poor judgement – as you’re revealing personal details long before it’s actually appropriate. And sleazy guys, they can smell a girl who’s into sex and has poor judgement coming from a while away.

It’s a little unfair, I guess. Men love women who are sexually progressive, but then when a lady declares herself as such online, they reward her by seeing her as nothing more than sex. But hey, when in Rome, expect to be hit on by Romans. There’s nothing wrong with a little randy conversation, just do it offline. Otherwise, you’re gonna end up buying an unwitting ticket to Bonertown, and trust me, it’s not too pleasant there this time of year.

Posted in Advice | 6 Comments

How To Find the Ideal Internet Date Bar

Not the perfect date bar.

Before I left New York, it had gotten to the point where there were many bars I simply couldn’t go in anymore. In some cases, it was court sanctioned. I’m prohibited from getting into details, but I will say that the law takes a far dimmer view of the wet willy than you might imagine. For the most part however, I’d simply worn the bars out. When I find a place that fits my dating criteria, I tend to hit it up fairly often. And by fairly often, I mean constantly. Which can get awkward. The last time I went to my regular place here in LA, they asked if I could grab the garbage on my way out. Didn’t seem right, you know? Buuuuut seriously people, the perfect Internet date bar can be hard to find, and if you make a mistake and pick the wrong spot, you can ruin an evening before it even starts. Here’s what you’re looking for.

1) No Live Music

Run!

Do you really want to say the words “…so, you grew up Harrisburg?” while some dick airs out his soulful acoustic cover of “Pumped Up Kicks” in the corner? No, you do not. Live music is loud, distracting, and frequently terrible, so avoid band bars at all costs. The same goes for intrusive jukeboxes. I went on a date once where their music rotation seemed stuck on “Jammin” by Bob Marley at a near-deafening volume. The resulting evening, I assure you, was far from jammin.

Do I have to say no karaoke? We’re all adults here. We know there’s no karaoke, right?!

2) Reasonable Prices

And now is the moment when every woman in the world sighs and gives me the “see, THIS is why you are single” look. But when I was going on several dates a week, always obeying my two drink rule, I often found myself dropping over $100 a week on drinks. I always pay on the first date, unless things go preposterously badly (like, say, she’s a big fan of Bob Marley’s “Jammin”), and that can get pricey fast. A place with a happy hour or great draft beers is a good choice, or somewhere that makes it illegal for people to order top shelf Long Island Iced Teas. Yes, that happened. Do you still need to ask?

3) Easily Accessible

Wait, maybe this is the moment where you look at me and say this is why I am single? Look, the vast majority of Internet dates stink. Would you rather end one and say, “well, at least I’ll be home in 20 minutes,” or do you prefer “I transferred to three different trains for that bullshit?” You tell me. And if you live in a city where people drive, don’t schedule a date during rush hour. The person will hate you before they even meet you. And that’s fast, even for me.

4) Unattractive Staff

You want gin and tonic?

One of my favorite NYC bars had weirdly hot waitresses. Not at all my type, but each one seemed to be skinnier, bustier, and with more died Russian blonde hair than the next. They looked like the sort of women that would be freed from the back of a shipping container in the first five minutes of Law & Order. But talking/relating/thinking did not seem to be their strong suit, so they did little for me.

I noticed after a while however that most of my dates remarked snidely on their appearance. “Right, like those are real” was common, as was a “I think she’s high” now and again. And frankly, I don’t blame my dates one bit. Men who are handsome in a clichéd way annoy me too (eat it, Brad Pitt!), but I found over time that my dates seemed to be judging me for picking a place with such a staff. Apparently you can’t really go to a bar with exclusively hot waitresses and not have your date eventually wonder if you’re just there for the eye candy. And saying “no, I’m here because it’s close to the subway!” isn’t much of a defense.

4) The Bar Does Not Have a Day of the Week in its Name

Ruby Tuesday’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, Throw Up All Over the Place Wednesday’s – none of these establishments are acceptable. In fact, if the bar is a member of a chain or serves anything in mudslide form – I’d look elsewhere.

5) Forgetful Staff

Here’s what you don’t want to happen: a waiter walks up and asks what your date would like to drink. She orders a glass of wine, and before you can speak he says, “Oh, don’t worry. I got you.” Then he turns to your date and says, “He’s here all the time.” It’s tough to explain that one, even though being really motivated to find a great girl is entirely justifiable in my book. If you date often, you are a cad.

Nor do you particularly want that same waiter to walk up to you later, while your date is in the bathroom, and say “so, what do you think of this one? Is she a keeper?” Even if you are not, plainly, an aforementioned cad, you’re going to feel like one. It’s just kinda embarrassing. Being remembered at your neighborhood spot is great, at your go-to date bar is not.

Posted in Advice | 2 Comments

How is This My Match: Terrifying Clown Edition

When I was young, I was obsessed with Stephen King. Every time I went to the library I would scurry past the books I was supposed to read, spine-tingling page-turners like “The Boy who Solved The Mystery of The Missing Baseball,” and head right for The Shining. I read everything I could get my hands on: Christine, Salem’s Lot, Carrie, Firestarter, Misery, Pet Cemetery — all the classics. That was until I discovered It. Stephen King’s It, you see, was really fucking long. I wanted to read it, but my love of horror was butting up against my love of laziness, and 1,000 pages felt like a lot to get involved in. Yes, even then, I had commitment issues. As fortune would have it, there was a TV movie of It being shown at the time, so I decided that I’d watch it, and if I was still intrigued I would go back and read the novel. That’s…when this happened.

Holy fucking shit. After that, I would never read Stephen King again. Or go to a circus. Or close my eyes. I mean, look at that guy! To this day, I don’t understand why Pennywise the Clown, It‘s horrifying monster, was allowed on regular television. Honestly, just searching for that image made me kinda nervous. Now, as a grown man, I’m not afraid of clowns, but I am still afraid of Pennywise – so anything that vaguely resembles him freaks me out. It’s problematic around Halloween, or at children’s birthday parties, but hasn’t really been an issue with Internet dating.

Until now.

I mean, come on, How Is This My Match?!

87 year-old woman

seeking men 65-80

There is a woman dressed in a clown suit and she is going to murder me and eat my face!!! And, wait a second, what’s this…she’s 87 years old? I guess you don’t really notice a person’s age when they’re dressed like your worst nightmare. Interesting technique, OKCupid, and I would applaud your ingenuity if I weren’t too busy loading a shotgun and pointing it under my bed. Where Pennywise is known to live. Along with his Mom, this crazy lady.

Seriously though, I don’t mean to be making fun of what seems to be a very nice woman, whose profile talks about singing in church and loving the musical theater, but how is this an appropriate match for me exactly? She’s 87 years old. Did our answers about lifestyle, morality, and…dare I say…sexual interests really coincide? If they did, I gotta make an appointment with my doctor. I mean, are 87 year-olds permitted by medicine, or God, or Wilford Brimley to be having sex at all? You know what, don’t answer that question. I don’t want to know.

It crossed my mind that the profile may be fake. OKCupid is known to have plenty of users who post phony pages, just for the sake of, I don’t know, wasting their lives? But she has several other photos that are totally normal, and it seems the clown get-up was just to add a little flair. Terrifying, terrifying flair. She looks great for her age, truly, but that’s going to be of little comfort when I wake up screaming in the middle of the night, every night, for the rest of my life. Why do the white gloves make it so much creepier?! I can’t stop looking at them! Well, I hope the children’s party she was going to was a success, or at the very least, they all have really short memories.

It’s not your fault, sweet scary clown lady. It’s Stephen King’s fault. And OKCupid’s. Because I know if it were up to you, you would totally join me in saying…

How is This My Match?!

Posted in How is This My Match? | 6 Comments

When You Don’t Want To Admit You Met Online…

The last living person who is weirded out by Internet dates.

“But where will I tell people we met?” I get that one all the time, from friends, from dates, from you guys. For some reason it’s everyone’s biggest concern: if I find some great while online dating, how will I admit to the people in my life that I met them there? To which I respond, “are the people in your life from 1982?” Who still feels weird about Internet dating? If everyone you hang out with is 90 years-old, then I totally understand your reluctance to come out as a Match.com’er. But otherwise, I’d be proud of your story. Honestly, meeting the love of your life on a website is pretty damn romantic. That union had a lot to overcome: a sea of crappy emails that were mostly cut and pasted, countless weird winks from people who look like sex offenders, profiles that don’t even make sense to the people who wrote them, and date after tedious date with people who were so much funnier on email. If you can wade through all that nonsense and find someone you truly care, then I think you should tell everyone you meet. Even ones who don’t even ask. “We’ll take two grande hazelnut lattes, and…I’d like you to know we met on OKCupid. Yeah, that’s right, the place with all the lunatics.”

But apparently my little motivational speech hasn’t been working, because people still want answers. So I’ve put together a list. Here are some options of what to say when you’re asked where you met your Internet lover. (Note: never ever use the phrase “Internet lover.”)

1. We Met in a Bar. You can use this one, it’s totally standard and unless one of you is alcoholic or agoraphobic, it’s entirely credible. But here’s the problem: it requires a lot of backstory. As an example, just imagine your most annoying Aunt saying the following:

“Oh, you met in a bar. That’s nice! Did you come right up and talk to her? Were your nervous? What did you say? Did you buy her a drink? She likes to drink. Too much, I say. What did she have? Did you hit it off right away, or was it tense at first? I love it when it starts out tense. Like ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ Have you seen ‘You Got Mail’? How long did you talk? Was it love at first sight? Did you go home together? Naughty! When was your first real date? Have you been back to the bar? That would be romantic. I think men should be more romantic…”

Eat it, Aunt!

And then two hours later, after you’ve screwed up your fake story 25 times and are so bored you want the world to end, your only choice is killing the annoying Aunt to keep your secret safe. You don’t want to have to kill your Aunt, do you? Then come up with a better lie. The bar story leaves too many loose ends.

2. We Met in Line at Prison. A joke, obviously, and a joke just weird enough that no one will ask a follow-up question. Trust me.

3. I walked into a costume party and realized that he and I were the only two people dressed like Snow White. Hitler always said it was the biggest lie that was most likely to be believed. Psychologically, when we hear a big lie, we think, “oh, that’s so crazy, there’s no way they would ever make up something like that!” And whenever I need dating advice, I think to myself, “What would Adolf Hitler do?” Seriously though, if your story has conviction, a few details, and a little oddity it’ll be impossible for people not to believe. And in my experience, cross dressing – in the safe confines of Halloween exploration – checks all those boxes. Go for it.

4. We Met at Church. No one would lie about something that happened in a house of worship and devotion, right? And that’s exactly what makes it such an incredible lie! The only drawback is that if hell exists, you’re probably going there. And, I guess, so am I. See you soon!

“What? Yeah, no, I’m totally still listening…”

5. It’s kind of a long story, do you have a few minutes…? There is no better way to get someone to stop paying attention to a long story than to announce, in advance, that they’re about to listen to a long story. You do that and you can tell ’em you met online, you met on Mars, you met online on Mars — you’re audience isn’t gonna hear a word of it. They’ll be nodding and laughing, but really just thinking about how to make their exit.

6. Actually, she rear-ended me at a stop light. Seriously, if you want real advice, and I imagine you probably do — just go with this one. Everybody loves a meet cute. Especially ol’ Aunty You’ve Got Mail back there. A funny little chance encounter that seems like the least the romantic thing in the world, but then spirals out into a bantery little tete a tete. It’s everyone’s dream come true. So, if you’re going to make up a story, why give people what they want to hear? You stopped short at a red light, and this crazy lady behind you banged into your bumper. You got out to argue, but then realized she was awfully cute, and no matter how angry you wanted to be, you just couldn’t resist her. You got her phone number for insurance purposes, but used it that night to call her and ask if she’d like to meet for a drink. “I’ll drive,” you said, “because I hear you’re a bit of a terror behind the wheel.” Come on, this shit writes itself. Go with a meet cute, and no one will ever dream you met somewhere as wildly uncute as Match.com.

Posted in Advice | 9 Comments

What Not to Say in Your Dating Profile, Revisited

Not a great profile writer.

After all the emails and comments I got about last week’s post, What Not to Say in Your Dating Profile, it seems I touched a nerve. So here’s an earlier piece about the art of profile construction. I believe many of your grievances are discussed. Enjoy…

There’s really only one rule to follow when you’re creating a profile for a online dating: Be Different. OK…wait, no, there’s two rules. Be Different, and Avoid Hardcore Racial Slurs. Alright three rules. Just three. Be Different, Avoid Hardcore Racial Slurs, and Try To Abstain From The Phrase “Sweet Ass Titties.” I’ve learned that one the hard way.

Seriously though, being different is the only important thing. There are so many profiles on each site, and so many of them are earth-shatteringly boring – you need to make setting yourself apart the goal. Here’s a profile the other day that caught my eye…

“Secretive conservative sensory quiet mastered the art of listening without the words.”

That’s it. That’s the whole profile. Maybe she was crazy, or really super foreign, or just operating on a different plane than you and I – but either way, I remembered her. No way in hell I’m sending her an email, but two days later she’s still occupying some space in my mind – and that’s what we’re looking for. Jump out to your reader, wake them up, make them the forget the 10 ridiculously lame profiles they just skipped past to get to yours. The best way to do this? Avoid every lame ass Internet dating cliche out there. In case you’re new to the online romance game, I’ll do my best to collect these banalities for you here, in one easy-to-read locale. So here then is a summary of Every Internet Dating Profile Ever Written.

First, the obligatory picture from too far away to actually be useful…

then…

ABOUT ME

Gosh, what do I say in these things? [Anything really, just try to avoid cliches.] LOL! [Too late.] I totally never thought I’d be Internet dating, but I know a bunch of people who’ve had good luck on here, so I figured, why not give it a shot? [You mean, other than price, time, unlimited potential for failure, and the requirement to write an appealing and attention grabbing profile? Other than that, yeah, why not enter into things flippantly?] Hey, if we hit off, we can just tell our friends we met in a bar! [Exclamation point!]

OK, sorry, I got off track there, I’m just not great at talking about myself. [Oh, I have a hard time believing that.] But…if you asked my friends and family they’d probably say I’m loyal, hard working, but still totally laid back. [Your friends and family think you’re a St. Bernard?] I love to laugh and have a good time [Everyone does. That’s why it’s called a good time.], and I’m just as comfortable in a cocktail dress as I am in a pair of blue jeans. [What a relief. One time I dated a girl who was uncomfortable in blue jeans. Can you say, “disaster??!!!??“]

I love to travel, either to the beach, or somewhere exotic and off the beaten path. [Again, we all do. Those are called “vacations.”] But if I stay in the city, on the weekends you can usually find me either dancing the night away in a club downtown  [it is wildly unlikely that I would find you in any such place], or on my couch watching a DVD. [Wearing either…a cocktail dress OR blue jeans!]

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR

I am looking for someone who knows what he wants. [I want to click on the next profile.] Someone who likes to work hard and play hard as well. [In – God knows – how many different kinds of dresses or pants.] Sense of humor is a must for me! [I can see that.] I need someone who can make me laugh, whether it’s after a hard day of work or out people watching after brunch. LOL! [It seems to me you’ll laugh at anything. You just laughed at a sentence that you yourself wrote that doesn’t even have any jokes in it.]

I want someone I love spending time with, but who also understands that sometimes I just need to hang out with my girls, and he can have a night with the boys. [I believe Turtle from Entourage is available.] Oh, and I know it’s cheesy…[Never stopped you before], but he MUST love dogs. Basically I’m looking for a partner in crime [Come on. What does that even mean?] who is always honest [the last guy cheated, didn’t he?], and can always cheer me up when I’m having a bad day. [LOL? No LOL? I thought that one had LOL written all over it.]

Sorry, I’m totally rambling now. [Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve been rambling since the beginning.] If you’ve gotten this far, you should totally send me an email! I don’t bite, I promise! LOL! [I knew it. LOL!]

OK, admittedly, my treatment there was fairly obnoxious. But trust me, if you’re dropping any of those hackneyed profile tropes on your reader, they’re thinking the exact same thing. Be original, be creative, and try as hard as you can to really be funny. Pull even just one of those off, and I promise you’ll be remembered. With or without the hardcore racial slurs.

Posted in Advice | 10 Comments

What Not To Say in Your Dating Profile

An intellectual’s profile picture.

I’ve always been reluctant to advise people on how to construct their dating profile, because there’s really only rule: be yourself. If you’re funny, lean on humor. If you’re an intellectual, don’t be afraid to talk about books, or politics, or…pipe smoking. Whatever it is intellectuals talk about. And if you’re looking for something real and substantial, a genuine connection with someone you could be with for a long time – say that too. There’s no point in beating around the bush or soft-selling your wants from the dating world. If you were putting up an ad looking to buy a piano, you’d say exactly what kind of piano you want and what you were planning to do with it, right? Well why do anything different if your ad is looking for a mate? Or, you know, a mate who happens to be a piano. Just make sure your profile sounds like you, gives the reader a good idea of who you are and what you’re looking for, and you’ll be fine. The only thing you can do wrong is, well, everything else.

There are two mistakes bad profiles make:

1) Saying the same bullshit everyone else says.

2) Saying new bullshit that no one else is crazy enough to say.

The first one is more common, but the second one is so much more fun. I will try to catalogue some examples I’ve encountered of each, to serve as a handy example of what not to do in your profile. As I only look at female profiles a lot of these will be lady-centric, but I’m sure men are just as unoriginal/insane – so women, please feel free to post your least-favorite profile moves in the comments below.

So, here we go. Under no circumstances should any of the following appear in your profile…

1) “Looking for a partner in crime.” The only crime we’re going to be partners in is your eventual murder if I have to read this on Match one more time. I know you’re trying to be cute and spunky, but it’s reading more “kooky aunt who never updates her material” than “flirty soulmate.”

This is what you are missing without TV!

2) “I don’t own a TV.” You might as well say, “I send bombs through the mail.” Look, it’s totally fine not to be into TV. You wouldn’t be a good match for me, but hey, thank your lucky stars on that one. Why you don’t own a TV is beyond me, I mean, don’t you want to watch the news? Like if something breaking or major happens. Or what about “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?” Don’t you want to watch “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?” But saying in your dating profile that you refuse the presence of a TV makes it sound like you’re trying to make a point out of it, and, well, that’s a really annoying point. And a little creepy. Unless you’re specifically eager to eschew the attention of modern media fans, just leave this one out.

3) “I probably shouldn’t say this, but…” Nope. No matter what follows the beginning of this sentence, it isn’t a good idea. You know why you think you probably shouldn’t say it? Because you probably shouldn’t say it. The pages of Match.com are not the place for frank personal confessions — save it for the third date. I know I encouraged you to be honest earlier, but if you overshare in your profile, the reader is only gonna think, “And this is what she’s admitting to online. Imagine how much worse it is in reality!” The other day I read a profile that said “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I have a little problem with shopping. Nothing too serious, though!!!!” And even with the four exclamation points, I wasn’t convinced.

4) “I love to laugh.” Everyone loves to laugh, that’s why it’s laughter.

5) “I love listening to music.” Oh, well then do we having something in common!

6) “My friend is filling this out for me.” Have you ever gotten one of these? Where the girl is unsure about Internet dating so her friend filled out her profile and will screen all the message before passing the best ones on to her? Yeah, that sounds like something I want to get involved in, an Internet dating version of telephone. And let me ask you this, if she’s uncomfortable filling out a profile, how is it gonna go when we have to actually go on a date? I have two guesses: bad and also bad.

“Hey baby, you feelin’ generous tonight?”

7) “Looking for a generous man.” I know that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a hooker, but it kinda makes it sound like you’re a hooker.

8) “I need a guy who’s cool with my birds.” He doesn’t exist. Might as well take down the profile, because nobody – guy or girl – is gonna be cool with your birds.

9) “Know the difference between you’re/your and they’re/their/there.” I get it, grammatical error are annoying, but what does this line accomplish? Is anyone reading your profile, saying to themselves, “Well, I really don’t know the difference between you’re and your,” and deciding not to write? No. So say this instead: “I find intelligence in a man to be really sexy.” Some message, better delivery, and hey, I’d totally respond to that. So, you know, you’ve been warned.

10) “I’m a total (insert sign of the Zodiac).”  It’s probably not fair, but in my book, Astrology = Crackpot. Anytime a girl gets into the whole “I’m, like totally an Aries, and I’ve found I get along great with Capricorns!” business, my eyes just start to glaze over. If you really, truly, deeply need a guy to be a specific sign, find a subtle way to ask when his birthday is via email. Then…get your head examined.

I could go on and on, but then I’d be guilty of the deadliest profile sin – boring the crap out of my reader. So please, if any of these adorn your page, scrub asap. And if there’s any I’ve forgotten, post them below.

Posted in Advice | 37 Comments