Photo by Don Hankins

Candice Walsh checks out the world of online dating, and comes back with advice on what NOT to do if you want it to be a success.

I’ve tried Internet dating a few times. The experience is always amusing. I’m often ashamed to admit this; most people just don’t understand. Even I can’t help but judge myself. But when I’m already spending 30+ hours working at a computer per week, it just seems logical. Kinda like inter-office dating, but on the web.

Unfortunately, the local prospects are less than promising in my city, where girls outnumber boys 4:1. The men rarely set up accounts. Last year I met a great guy from PlentyofFish named Gerard. We went out for a beer and had a fine evening, but there was just no physical attraction. I gave him a second chance and we went out for more drinks, whereby he became so intoxicated on rum, he puked all over me. After that, I shut down my account.

But to research this article I created a new profile on PlentyOfFish and on several other sites, including OKCupid, and yes, SugarDaddie.com. (For the record, SugarDaddie.com was the only site where the majority of men had brains.)

The verdict? Some people just don’t have good online dating sense. Here’s how NOT to do it.

Don’t Be a Dull Danny

Photo by scragz

Have some freaking personality, both while chatting and sending private messages. If your profile says something like, “Hey, I’m a dude who likes to watch football,” and nothing more, how am I supposed to know if you’re worth my time?

Admittedly, sometimes the mega-weird personalities have the best profile. This one was a real treat:

I’m a 23 year old male that is in pretty good shape. I’m not much for conversation and I’ll probably never want to go out with or marry you. I have no diseases, I’m not a drug user, smoker, or drinker. I’m a rationalist and therefore an atheist. I’m horrible at most things.

The same goes when you strike up a chat with someone. Introduce some color into my dreary world, please. Don’t tell me what you had for supper, tell me about the time you traveled throughout Russia and were hijacked by an angry mob. If your life isn’t that interesting, tell me what you’d like to do.

Don’t Talk to Someone Without Actually Reading Their Profile

My tag line is “I judge people with poor grammar.” It’s a tongue-in-cheek thing, not really meant to be taken seriously, but men still message me to say, “hi howru lol.” I’m always impressed when someone pays attention, like this dude who IMed me:

Photo by Mattastic!

“I judge people based on their music. Listening to pop, for instance, is a sign that you value popularity over all else, and you believe this ultimate goal has to be obtained through money. It also means you probably employ the use of poor grammar.

So from that scientifically accurate gross generalization, I presume you do not like the rap music. This is good.”

This guy will always have a special place in my heart.

Don’t Be Cheesy

Some people like cheese. I am not one of those people.

I’m not a huge romantic, and I don’t really like sap. So when you’re talking to me and we’re having a pretty good conversation but I keep steering the topic away from romantic gestures, take the hint. I don’t feel like cyber cuddling.

Compliments and flattery are always welcome, just don’t go over the top. Your object of affection may grow wary when you tell them a dozen times they’re the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen. What I’m really hearing is, “I wanna get in your pants.”

Don’t Assume Someone Wants to See Your Genitals, Unless They Ask

It’s surprising how often people don’t take this rule seriously. I mean sure, if that’s what you’re using the site for, then go for it. But if someone has a profile saying he/she is looking for dating and not random hook-ups, they probably won’t want a picture of your wang.

Photo by tapper22

This happened to me. I started chatting with a great dude, added him to my instant messenger, and we talked one day on my lunch break. Then he said, “I have a picture to send you.” But the preview showed a giant penis, despite the dude knowing I was at work, and despite my having said earlier, “Ha-ha, no nudes!” Block and delete.

Don’t Ask Where I Live

I will not tell you which area of the city I live in, lest I find myself answering the front door one evening to come face to face with a serial killer. Also, do not ask for my instant messaging info, but wait for it to be offered.

Choose Your Screen Name and Display Picture Wisely

If you’re actually looking to date someone, a username like SuperPerv with a display picture showing only a shirtless torso might not cut it. Admittedly, it drew me to his profile, where he described his profession as “Spaceman” and his idea of a first date as, “Talk a bit. Have sex. Talk a bit more. Go home.” OK I admit it, I’m intrigued.

But thankfully, there is a bright side to all this: if your online dating experience tanks horribly, at least you’ll have had your share of laughs.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Have you tried online dating? How did it go? Share your successes, failures, and tips in the comments below.