Thursday, September 24, 2009

Things not to say to me: Online dating mistakes

There's very little for me to do today at work, so whatever, here are some more thoughts on online dating.

1. It's actually not a compliment when you comment on my appearance.

But who doesn't like a compliment? Well, I like compliments, but having a guy tell me I'm cute isn't always one. Do I like being told that I look nice? It depends on the situation. And I can tell you right now that if the situation is that a guy IMs me on the dating site and mentions that he thinks I'm cute, then it's not a compliment.

I'm actually not very insecure about my looks. I find that the pressure to be thin has much more bearing on my life than any other look-based pressure. Is it because I'm pretty, or is it because I'm not that pretty, but I'm also not that insecure? I mean, I have nice hair that's a nice color. I've got nice eyes and I know how to use eyeliner. I've got straight teeth that are white enough considering that I'm not a celebrity. My skin, except for this summer--what the hell?!--is normally very clear. I used to be really insecure about body hair before realizing that I don't care. Weight is only a problem because it's a problem for everyone else, I've found.

So, when someone says I'm pretty or cute, my first thought is, "Yes, I know. Who the fuck cares?" I mean, it's a given that you think I'm moderately attractive because I don't think I've ever messaged a guy that I didn't think was moderately attractive. Once when I was struggling to write a first message to a guy, a friend pointed out that I shouldn't say, "I hope to hear back from you" because, well, of COURSE I hope to hear back from him, or I wouldn't message him in the first place. So, first off, if you tell me that I'm cute, that tells me that you're not that bright; you've just told me something that is already obvious.

Secondly, I hate that I'm supposed to take this as a huge compliment. Since the media is constantly telling women and girls that we're just never good enough, we're supposed to get really excited when a guy says, "You're passing excellently." I just don't see that as a compliment, especially when my body and appearance aren't things that I feel are that important in terms of accomplishments and abilities. Guys who comment on my looks, I've found, are not at all interested in where I went for my B.S., my interests, or my musical abilities. I have to pass if I don't want to endure stigma and harassment; I didn't have to work my ass off to get into a great college, graduate from said college, or become so talented at the flute.

Finally, there's male entitlement: I said you were cute, now go out with me. Yeah, no.

2. Giving me your contact information during the first couple conversations/messages, especially when we're not planning to meet up is weird.

This is a bit tricky to explain. I'm not talking about when, after a few messages back and forth, someone says, "By the way, if you ever want to talk on AIM, here is my screenname." I'm talking about when a guy sends me a first message and includes his phone number and screenname. I'm talking about when a guy gives me his info during the first IM conversation. I'm talking about when a guy gives me his phone number and tells me to call him. And I'm especially talking about when a guy does any of these things and either implicitly or explicitly lets me know that he wants me to give out my information. One common way, actually, that guys have tried to get my screenname, is by claiming that they hate using the site's instant messenger. I tell them that the reason I like the site's messenger is so I don't have to give my screenname to someone I don't know!

Why does it bother me? I consider the site a safe place to meet someone, or at least safer than going to a bar or giving someone my personal contact information. If I get to know you, and we're both interested in seeing each other, then sure, let's swap numbers so we can call each other if we're going to be late. But by giving and asking for contact information immediately, you're being presumptuous. You are basically saying to me, "I don't really care if you like me or not because I want to date you and soak up your attention." It also tells me that this guy is going to probably think that if I go out with him, I'm promising more than the date.

3. You do know that I can tell when you've read my profile, right?

Some guys like to message me without actually reading my profile. It's not exactly difficult to figure that out. A lot of guys give themselves away by IMing me, and then, when it's clear that I'm not bubbling over with conversation, try to find ways to keep the conversation alive. The best way to do that? It's to look at my profile, find a fact about me, and put that into the conversation. So, if they haven't been logged as viewing my profile before, and then they look during our conversation, I can put two and two together. And usually, it means that the guy looked at my photo only.

Sometimes, a guy does look at my profile, but just to see the other pictures I have (you know, to make sure I'm not fat, which I am, so joke's on them). I can usually tell when they have nothing else to talk about, seem to know nothing about me, and even ask questions that are answered on my profile. I also can tell when a guy hasn't read my entire profile (I can't prove they haven't read any of it, obviously) because I explicitly state, near the end, that if you're not going to at least attempt to write in proper English, you shouldn't bother. So when I get all those guys who ask, "hey how ru," I know what happened.

4. Some people ask really stupid questions.

Like, really stupid. One example that comes to mind immediately is, "So, what brings you to the site?" When I get that question now, which I do, frequently, I either respond, "That's on my profile," or "Why do you THINK I'm on this site?" One guy actually answered with a really sappy, kind of stupid response, something like, "To find that one special person, etc. etc.," and I replied, "I was going to say, to date people."

Another guy asked if I would consider dating non-Jews. That question, I think, is less stupid (especially since it's not a completely pointless question, and it demonstrates that he read my profile) than the above question, but stupid nonetheless. If I wouldn't date non-Jews, don't you think I would have said something else where I list who shouldn't message me? I was so specific there, you'd think I'd have been specific about whether or not I'd date a non-Jew. Also, I actually took a lot of offense at the question, although it's hard even now for me to explain why.

Another fun question, similar to the first one, is "So, how's this site working out for you?" Well, my profile says I'm single, so do me a favor and reconsider the question.

5. I'm not interesting in seeing your junk.

This is another reason why I don't give out my screenname immediately anymore. I'm not interested in seeing your penis. I know, it's shocking, since I'm sex-positive, which obviously means that anything goes with regards to sex (if you're not hearing the sarcasm, then you need to get more familiar with my writing). But really, I'm not interested. In fact, I consider it harassment when you send me naked photos unsolicited.

6. Like P!nk says, I'm not here for your entertainment.

It's not my job to keep you from getting bored. And it's not your job to keep me from getting bored either, but unlike you, I seem to know that!

It's happened to me and it's happened to plenty of my friends: you get an IM from someone, and after two seconds of conversation, they tell you that they're bored, or even bored and at work (and apparently instead of doing something like blogging about annoying online dating mistakes, they've chosen to make an annoying online dating mistake). And then they get annoyed when you don't put on a clown suit and hop around for their pleasure.

If you're bored, there's plenty else to do on the internet besides waste my time.

There are plenty more annoying mistakes I could put on this list, but I'm spent for the time being.


  1. Will you put a clown suit onfor my pleasure, since I'm not trying to pick you up online?