Kelle Sparta offers 14 tips to help show the world the best parts of yourself – instead of the worst.
If you’ve been trying to find a relationship online and you’re not getting the results you want, read on, dear fellow. Perhaps you’re making social faux pas without even knowing it.
Let’s start with the fact that your profile looks more like a laundry list than an essay. You’ve listed facts and given me nothing emotional or even personal to hang my hat on. I want to know who you are, not just what you do for work and that you enjoy going out to dinner and long walks on the beach. (And please avoid this cliché! If you haven’t been for a long walk on the beach in the last month, you don’t love it.) Give me something real. Give me an idea of how you would make me feel if we were on a date together. Paint a picture of who you are with your friends and family. Let me get to know you. And write twice as much as you think you need to. We want more information, not less.
I want to see a picture of you—up close—without your sunglasses on. I want to see your eyes—they are the most important thing about you because they tell me if you are kind and strong. I want to see a full body picture of you. And please, pretty please, with sugar on top—smile! Now let’s talk about what you’re wearing in these pictures. I don’t want to see an “I’m With Stupid” or “Female Body Inspector” shirt. It shows a lack of respect and I don’t want that lack of respect applied to me. I don’t want to see you with a bevy of hot girls around you (who wants to compete with that?) I don’t want a picture of you and your ex—even if she is still your friend. If it’s your sister, you’d better say as much in the caption or else you look like a player. If there is a beer in your hand in every photo, I assume you’re a drunk. If you’re in a costume in every photo, I assume you’re a child. And if you’re alone in every photo, I assume you have no friends. Your photos are a pictorial of your life. Choose wisely, young Jedi.
Ever wonder why you don’t get women contacting you? Right or wrong, many women feel like it isn’t our job to make the first contact. Don’t get me wrong, we’re likely cruising your profile too, but we might not drop the first “hello.” We’re more likely to do is to rate you highly or wink. Or we might see that you’re online and come back to your profile again so that you see us arrive. It’s the cyber equivalent of a glance and a smile from across the room—it’s the invitation to engage.
Opening Lines – “You’re Hot” – And Other Indicators That You Didn’t Read My Profile
I went to a lot of trouble to create an attractive profile. I looked at not only the words I chose but the subtle nuances of how those words played off one another. I spoke from the heart about what was important to me. I told you about my likes and dislikes. I agonized over which photos to include and what they said about me. I said “great kisser” when I meant “great in bed” hoping that you would understand what I meant but not take it as an invitation to talk about sex. I said “open minded” rather than “kinky” because God forbid I should be able to admit to being sexual without that admission meaning that I was no longer to be respected. I wrote, rewrote, published, edited, solicited feedback from friends, edited again and am still not fully satisfied that my 1000 word essay encompasses the lush complexity of me. And after all of that effort, you open a conversation with “Hey sexy”?
I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. In that one sentence, you’ve said “Hey, I didn’t bother to read that thing that you slaved over to give me a sense of the essence of you—I’m only interested in what you look like and I like what I see.” You gave no effort to get to know me. You made very little effort in contacting me. You expressed interest in the shallowest part of my being and somehow you’re surprised when I don’t bother with a response? You insulted me out of the gate. I don’t waste time on men who will never respect me.
Want To Get Me To Engage?
Read my profile. Comment on something that I said there. Reveal yourself a bit in your answer (“yeah, I really enjoy that too”, or “funny story about that…”). And then ask me a question—preferably not a “yes” or “no” answer one so that I know what to say in my response to you. A good conversationalist always leaves a door open to more conversation. Don’t shut me down. If I like something that you don’t, fine. Just say, “oh, interesting” and then move on to the next subject. I’ll follow along. If you say “I don’t know anything about that” or “I hate that”, then you’ve just sucked all the wind out of the sails of the conversation boat. You want to keep that boat moving because it’s what takes you to Date Land.
Chatting and Pet Names
If you do catch my attention enough to get me on chat, be kind, be respectful, be interested in something other than sex or my big tits or even my eyes. I am someone on the inside. Get to know her. And flirt with me—but be smart about it. Don’t suggest that you’re going to spank me for being a bad girl. Even if that is my thing, you haven’t earned the right to say it yet. And for the love of all that is holy, please do not call me by a pet name before we meet. Calling me sweetie, honey, love, cutie, etc. is a way of assuming a level of intimacy that does not yet exist. It makes me shrink back. It’s like a woman saying “I love you” on the first date. Right? There’s a scrotum-shrinker. Same thing here, guys. It makes you come off creepy. Leave the pet names for after the first meeting.
For years I’ve heard guys complain that women take forever to meet you. And for years I’ve agreed that it’s better to meet quickly to find out if there is chemistry before wasting a lot of time online. But here’s the rub. In recent years, this policy has come back to bite me in the butt. If I don’t require that a man at least exchange 8-10 emails with me, then there is a really good chance that on that first date, he will stand me up. So don’t be surprised if other women have had that same experience and insist on spending a little more time getting to know you before agreeing to meet.
Now For What Should Be Obvious But Clearly Isn’t
I’ve been on the online dating sites for a while now and let me say this—as a woman, it’s pretty scary out there. If you have written a good profile and have a decent picture of yourself looking relatively good, you’ll get somewhere around 3-5 emails a week. If you’re hot, make that 8-10 per day. Fully one quarter of those emails will be from men offering nothing more than a “hey, you’re hot” or the ever popular “wanna hook up?” I even had a conversation once with a 20 year old (I’m 43) that went like this:
Him – “milf” [Yes, this was his first comment and it was one word.]
Me – “I’m not a mother” [What can I say? I like a little subtle humor.]
Him – “cougar” [Clearly he missed the subtlety.]
Me: “You’re not very good at this are you?”
Him – “Wanna fuck?” [At which point I lost interest in my entertainment with the conversation and hit the “block” button]
Okay guys, I know that there is this heady kind of thrill to being behind a computer. I know that the fact that the woman isn’t in front of you makes you bolder than you would normally be. But here’s the thing—there’s a reason you’re not that bold in person. We’d slap you. Or throw a drink in your face. Or call you mother and tell on you.
Sadly, I often find myself in a position of wishing there were an app that requires a man’s mother to watch the conversation. It might actually cause them to behave like respectful human beings once in a while.
Penis Pics – Seriously?!!? Come on.
You can’t walk around with nothing but an overcoat on and flash any pretty woman you see. You’d be arrested. So what makes you think that I want to see your dick in my email box? And yes, that’s true even if you are terribly well-endowed. There are very few women I know (and I talk to a lot of women about sex) who would rule out a man or choose one for the size and/or shape of his penis. Truth be told, in my experience, and according to those I’ve asked, men with larger penises are sometimes worse in bed than those with average or smaller penises—because they figured their natural size was sufficient and they never learned any of the other skills. Regardless, your dick is not a selling point for most women.
If I’m on a regular dating site, it’s likely NOT because I want to sext with you. There are places for that—try AdultFriendfinder or Fetlife. I’m just a nice girl looking for a nice guy to date. I’m not your personal porn star designed to play out your fantasies on command—much as you’d like to believe that was true. As a woman, I am not going to talk to you about sex until I am considering having it with you. Until then, it’s none of your business.
Dating Is About Connecting
It’s that simple. Your job as a man is to connect with me on some level—intellectual, emotional, and, yes, eventually sexual. But the key word in that sentence is “eventually”. Most women don’t think about having sex every few minutes. You’re lucky if I think about it even five times a day. What I DO think about is kissing you. I think about your strong arms holding me. I think about how it would feel to have your breath on my neck, your lips nibbling my ears, whispering softly to me how much you want me… mmm… sorry, I went to my happy place. This is what turns me on: the suggestion of those acts and the implied (NOT explicit) promise of more to come.
Why You Turn Women Off
I WANT you to turn me on. Really, I do. And I want to talk to you about sex—eventually. But you have to wait to be invited. Asking sexual questions without waiting for me to open the subject (which I am unlikely to do until after at least one, if not more dates) is like walking up to me in a bar and groping me. I feel violated. I feel invaded. At best, you’ve disrespected me and I pull back. At worst you’ve done emotional violence and I block you. Is this really the approach that you think is going to get you anywhere?
Invite Me To Connect
I want to be invited in. I want to be left the space to invite you back. The movie Hitch wasn’t wrong. It’s your job to lean in 90% of the way and then wait for me to cover that final distance. If you don’t, I don’t feel like I have any choice in the matter, I feel trapped, and even if I did want to connect with, kiss, or have sex with you before, I’m left feeling like I’m not so sure now—because you didn’t leave me a choice and having that choice taken away makes me feel somehow vulnerable and frightened.
Stop Skipping The Good Stuff
The most magical time in a relationship is at the beginning. That first glance, that first touch, the exchange of names and the thrill of the possibility. If you go straight into sexual conversation online, you’ve skipped over all this other amazing stuff. If you strip me bare before we’ve ever met, what more is there left to entice you with? When you walk down the path of sex-before-meeting, you cheat me out of being the seductress and you out of being seduced, and the entire world is worse off for it.
Photo: Flickr/Jo Amelia Finlay