*or the dating platform of your choice.
We all know, by now, that our profile picture shouldn’t be a picture of our genitals. (We do, right? Please, God, tell me everyone knows this by now.) But what about the less obvious but equally offputting things people do that sabotage their chances on dating sites?
I’m a woman on the internet. I get a lot – a LOT – of unsolicited contact on OKCupid and the other dating sites I’ve used over the years. Aside from dick pics, there are a number of things which will immediately turn me off somebody’s profile. And n, it’s not just me: dozens of the other women I’ve spoken to agree with me.
So what should you avoid?
“I dunno, if you want to know just ask me.”
This is the most boring cop-out of an “About Me” section possible. You might as well have written “there is nothing interesting about me whatsoever.” The “About Me” is the first bit of your profile someone will read, so you need to grab their attention and make them want to read on. You don’t need to tell your life story, but a few carefully chosen tidbits that will intrigue a potential match and make them want to know more. “If you want to know, just ask me” sidesteps the process of putting any actual effort in and expects that your theoretical reader will be so blown away by the desire to get into your pants that they’ll put all the work in. Spoiler: they won’t.
“I’m just a normal guy/girl.
“What the fuck does this even mean!? There are seven billion people on this planet, what on earth is “normal?” Again, you might as well have written “I’m really boring and can’t think of a single thing that makes me unique or interesting.” You are NOT “just a normal guy/girl.” You’re YOU. Tell me about YOU rather than lumping yourself in with some nebulous category that you somehow think defines your entire gender
“I’m really good at eating pussy.”
Want to know a secret? Of all the guys I’ve dated, the ones who bragged about their superior cunnilingus skills were always, without exception, the ones who left me cold. That’s because every vulva is different and there simply is no such thing as being universally good at eating pussy. That thing that had your past girlfriend moaning in orgasmic bliss that one time in 2004 is not necessarily going to do anything for the rest of the women you will fuck throughout your lifetime. I don’t want a guy who is “good at eating pussy.” I want a guy who is an enthusiastic, curious and attentive lover and who will pay attention to what *I *like, not what they think “girls like.” Bragging about your skills makes you look clueless at best and rammed with toxic masculinity at worst. Don’t.
“I don’t read.”
That section where you list your favourite films, TV, books etc? Nothing will put me off faster than “I don’t read” or “I haven’t read a book since high school.” You don’t have to be a classic literature aficionado, but come on, you must have read SOMETHING!? Even if fiction leaves you totally cold and you’re a complete computer geek and all you read is technical manuals, say that! It gives me an insight into your interests, which is no bad thing, and it doesn’t leave me going “…what, AT ALL!? How can someone not read AT ALL!?”
“I’m looking for a real man/real woman.”
Again, what does this even mean? What’s the alternative, a ‘fake’ man or woman? It reeks of toxic gender roles – the implication, of course, is that a “real woman” is demure and submissive and wears skirts, heels and makeup, and that a “real man” is a football-loving, beer-guzzling, lawn-mowing, domineering Manly Dudebro. Come on, people, we’ve moved on a little since then. There are but two among a universe of valid gender expressions. (Also, if you’re using “real” to mean “cis,” fuck off forever please and thank you.)
Disregarding someone’s stated preferences.
If she says she’s a lesbian, you are NOT the exception. When her stated upper age limit is 30 and you’re 50, move along. If she says she wants local and you’re in another country, don’t waste your time or hers. When she says she only dates older men and you’re barely out of high school, DO NOT MESSAGE THAT GIRL. There is a certain degree of common sense at play here – if her stated upper age limit is 45 and you’re 46 but you’re a 99% match with loads in common, it’s probably worth a respectful first message as long as you’re willing to accept a no (and no reply IS a no) with grace.
Are you twelve? No. There’s no excuse. Type in full words that form actual sentences, and use punctuation. Grammatical perfection is not necessary but making an effort is. Srsly m8. K?
“We’re a really low match but hey opposites attract!”
No, that’s not how this works. The match percentages on OKCupid or (insert the algorithm on your dating site of choice) are actually really good if you use the site properly. Mr CK and The Artist are both 99% matched to me and Evil Genius is 80-something percent. If we’re a ~20% match and/or have a high enemy rating, that implies we have hardly anything in common and probably at least a few fundamental differences.
Asking to meet right off the bat.
I get the desire to see if there’s chemistry in real life before you invest too much energy in someone online. I really do, and I share that desire. But – and this applies especially if you’re a woman or read as female – meeting someone from the internet in real life can be a risky endeavour. At best, you’re risking an awkward coffee date that neither of you feels able to extricate yourself from, and at worst you’re risking meeting someone genuinely dangerous and having a real problem on your hands. Get to know each other at least a little bit first. Exchange a few messages. Don’t say “hey want to meet for a drink?” in the first message. And if you’re in the more powerful/taking-less-risk position of the two of you, respect that they may want to move at a slower pace than you’d ideally prefer.
Mentioning sex immediately.
Nothing tells me “this person doesn’t care about me as a human being” more than them asking about my fetishes, telling me about theirs, asking me to fulfil theirs, asking me to hook up, or even (ew!) sending me explicit sexual fantasies in the first message. Approach someone as a human being. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t say it to someone you were interested in getting to know at a party, then don’t say it online. Would I throw my drink in your face if you walked up to me at a bar and said this thing? Then don’t drop it in my inbox.
What have I missed folks? What else makes you go, “ugh, NO” and click that little X in the corner of an OKCupid profile?