What’s the deal with online dating?

‘The eternal question is whether online dating is shameful”

Cartoon: Stella Ktenas

Online dating doesn’t mean you’re necessarily creepy, but it does greatly increase the chances that you are. My original motivation for joining OkCupid was a mixture of curiosity and a measured earnestness, the interesting things interesting people said to me – which ultimately validated my existence – made it a fun exercise in misery. Here are my tips.

First Impressions. Pick an acceptable photo. This especially applies for sexy pictures. Temporarily disregarding the mixture of disgust and fascination provoked by the unsolicited dick-pics I received, the common thread was the lack of attention paid to mise-en-scéne. I’m not advocating the use of soft focus in your lascivious pictures, but rest assured, that random pair of socks you probably wank with in the background will make women drier than the Sahara.

Introductions. Your message doesn’t have to be Man Booker Prize-worthy, but the generic “hi, what’s up?” opener doesn’t warrant a response because it’s uninteresting and shows that you didn’t read the recipient’s profile. Statistically speaking, sending that message to hundreds of people might get you a response, but it also tells the recipient that you have astronomical cornball levels. Similarly, women are not expecting to be swept off their feet Karate Kid-style, but telling a woman that you would like to do dirty things to her genitals isn’t flattering. Someone has to tell Leisure Suit Larry that it still gives off the “every time that man invites a woman home, he gains a new lampshade” vibe online. I’m also in a constant state of dismay at the number of men who continue to employ pick-up artistry. I think the best tactic for getting laid is being hot and DTF, but that’s decidedly out of the realm of many pick-up artists.

Don't be this guy
Don’t be this guy

Rejections. Should you let someone down by actually telling them so or by your lack of response? While it seems harsh that you’re giving someone a non-existent glimmer of hope by leaving the message unread, a civil rejection message won’t make it easier for the sender. There are well-adjusted folks who will take it in stride, but the majority will respond to your “I’m not interested” message with unwarranted levels of vitriol. Rejection isn’t fun, but get used to it. If someone’s going to be crying ensure that it’s not you, so be harsh if need be. These days, it’s no skin off my back to reject someone with the line “my sexual orientation is ‘not you.’”

Reflections. The eternal question is whether online dating is shameful. It is the natural successor to the cultural shifts created by the contraceptive pill, lower rates of marriage and women in the workforce. OkCupid still requires a balancing act of showcasing the best aspects of your personality while the stench of deceit hangs in the air (tell me more about your sense of humour and your favourite Ingmar Bergman film), but with a level of convenience and choice provided by fancy mathematical algorithms that allows you to discern a potential partner’s compatibility as if you were picking out a dress to wear.

Cartoon: Stella Ktenas
Cartoon: Stella Ktenas
Filed under: