Monday, November 8, 2010

How Not to Sell Yourself on an Online Dating Site

After failed attempts on JDate,, EHarmony and Salon Personals, a few years ago I decided internet dating simply wasn’t for me. Yes, there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who have found the love of their lives online. But I don't think I'm going to be one of those lucky many.

The first of my issues was a little something I like to call "False advertising."

Seriously, what’s with so many people using photos taken a decade ago as their profile picture? Do these guys really think I’m not going to notice they’ve lost their hair and gained 20 pounds in the time it took them to leave the comfort of their computers and meet me for coffee? Don’t they realize, once the "New You" is revealed, it’s going to be a disappointment? If everyone were honest from the beginning, there could either be acceptance and preparation for whomever you’d meet face to face, or we could all cut our losses early and skipped the endless IM chatter. Like so many things in life, online dating is all about managing expectations. I automatically assume the photos shown online are 10-25% more attractive than the person will actually be, but you’re destined for a dumping if the photo you use is the best picture you’ve ever taken. If it’s too good, you’re never going to live up to the fantasies that one shot inspired.

Not that I’m guiltless. One gentleman I met for a gourmet hot dog and coke float at The Stand in Westwood looked downright crestfallen when he saw me in the flesh. No matter how attractive I tried to be while scarfing down my sauerkraut and spicy mustard-topped dog, his disappointed was palpable. I’ve never seen a man so hell-bent on averting his eyes from a woman inserting a phallic object into her mouth.

But let’s say the photo is a pretty accurate representation. You’re pleasantly surprised at first sight and you settle in for the Getting to Know You portion of the date when…Oh God. Do you smell that? It’s…(sniff)…(sniff)…pathetic, needy desperation. Charming. The faintest whiff of that is about as sexy as a pre-date bath in Drakkar Noir. An instant no-fly zone has just been created. Wait, is that stench coming from them or me? I could never really be sure. I’m not saying everyone online is desperate, but there is a certain panic I noticed on all the dates I went on with the men I met that way. The air was filled with "Eau d’Please God, Like Me or I Don’t Know What I’m Going to Do With Myself" by Designer Imposters Body Sprays. It sent me running for the hills every time.

Maybe it’s just that there’s something too contrived for me about meeting a man knowing their intention is to find a mate. Yeah, I want to meet someone too but the bluntness in that kind of hunt has the appeal of the banana you find at the bottom of your purse three days after forgetting you’d thrown it in there. There’s no tango, no flirty glances over the copy machine that lead to drinks, no underlying tension spent wondering “What’s this going to be?” “Does he like me?” Lacking the foreplay of dating cultivated in a more organic environment, I kept feeling like I was on a job interview rather than in the middle of a courtship. We both might as well have clipboards and number two pencils so we can tick off items on a list entitled “Does this person have the qualifications I’m seeking in order to fill my open position?”

As much as I’d love to be with a guy who has a wonderful, winning personality and makes me laugh, the truth is, in the beginning, I’m not laughing at your jokes unless I want to sleep with you. Some people say it takes a woman one hour to decide if she wants to go on a second date with a man. Others contend it takes 30 seconds to decide if there will ever be a physical relationship. I need about five seconds and some good lighting. After that, if the answer is no, we’re both wasting our time and the obligatory internet coffee date becomes an exercise in torture.

Sorry, buddy, before we sat down I knew if you were ever getting in my pants and all those reasons that we were perfect on paper don’t matter anymore because the animal attraction isn’t there. It’s just like two dogs sniffing butts. If you don’t dig what’s going on back there, then why prolong the inevitable? To be polite? Is it polite to lead someone on? If I’m not attracted to you, I don’t care how many siblings you have, where you went to junior high or about the life philosophy you developed after reading The Prophet, The Secret or The Alchemist. We’re done here. And, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t know if the kind of man I want to be with would ever allow himself to be found on an internet dating site. In my mind’s eye, he’s too sexy, confident, successful, driven and well-rounded to need any kind of cyber help.

Having said all that, this week I signed up for OK Cupid, or, as my friend Rachel likes to say despondently, "(sigh) Ohh-kay, Cupid."

So far I've only gone on one date, which was enjoyable, though firework-less, and been propositioned by a man whose profile offered this little gem when prompted to offer his favorite types of music:


I don't know if that's a typo or a warning, and I'm not willing to stick around to find out.

What's funny is, the moment I waded back into the treacherous waters of internet dating, the flood gates of men in real life opened, including a little drunken smooching with a super stud muffin TV actor in a $2000 Hugo Boss suit, including a tie clip and cufflinks (ZZ Top didn't lie; every girl is crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man), on Friday night. "November Rain" is now our song.

What the future holds, I can't be sure. All I know is, the idea of sorting through the online realm of single men who listen to rape (probably the last word anyone should ever use on a dating site), is intensely unappealing. But, then again, so is the idea of sitting home alone on a Saturday night.

1 comment:

  1. If you are ever in Florida and your still looking for Mr. Right let me know and I would be happy to take you out on a date!!!