Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Advertise Your Manliness

Sometimes guys are more comfortable with pixelated women than the real thing. This doesn't mean you guys don't want the real thing, just that your only doses of female charms come from the internet, and the only games that women play with you are ones imported from another country (ok, so dating-sims are better than actually dealing with women sometimes, but they're not warm and squishy like we are).

No women coming your way? Trying to find a bunch of them, in an effort that one of many may fall victim to your charms? Try the internet.

I'm here to help.

Actually, I'm here to snark. I do this in a hope that I'll eventually adopt a didactic tone and you, or others of your species, can learn from the mistakes so many of you have made in your efforts to woo me. This series can be looked at as a 'what not to do' in the world of online dating.

First, we have the issue of where you're going to go for this fabulous experience. There are several websites open to you, and they vary from free to pay. I personally stay away from the pay sites, as I find the free ones quite useful, and my wallet quite empty. Two of the major players in the free category are OkCupid and Plenty of Fish. These two sites are completely on the house, and also have a variety of forums and features that make it easier to connect with like-minded people.

The best way to find people on these sites is to limit your search to the most eligible candidates based on filters the site allows you to set up. On OKCupid you have the ability to answer a bunch of quiz-style questions and rate the importance of those answers from your ideal match. This is a pretty interesting system, but it takes up a lot of time to get accurate results. You need to answer upwards of 100 questions in order for the results to begin working for you, but once they’re operational the people you are paired with will (in theory) have similar values to you. This site also has profiles that are separated into different sections, making writing about yourself a little more directed, and a little easier.

The issue I have with OkCupid is that it seems more like a game than a dating website. I didn't find much that fit what I was looking for in terms of men on the site, but some of my friends have had more luck finding women.

Plenty of Fish has a filtering system that works based on age, location, whether or not the person smokes, has children, and whether they're looking for an 'Activity Partner' or a 'Long Term Relationship,' etc. Their filtering even goes so far as race, height, and more. The risk of being too specific is that you won't manage to find anyone. Don't use these features to make a shopping list, use them to get a general idea. That means being careful not to over limit your choices, but don't leave yourself wide open with too many people to wade through.

Ok, so you've used both these sites, and you've managed to write up a profile based on OkCupid's directed approach, or Plenty of Fish's free-reign one, what do you do now?

A picture. Pics or it didn't happen, as so often said on the internet. In a perfect world everyone would base relationships on emotional connection and intelligence. This is not a perfect world (as the current economic situation will clearly illustrate). Make sure you put up a few good pictures of yourself. One is ok, but aim for three. You can add shots of your washboard abs and tattoos and car later. Make sure one is a clearer-than-a-myspace-webcam shot of your face.

Your response rate is based on your pictures, your profile, and your messages, and typically in that order. Occasionally the last two will switch around, and rarely overtake the prime placement of the picture, but your appearance will be a deciding factor.

Do not post the following:
  • A picture of just your car.
  • A picture of you with other women (unless you're helping the elderly).
  • A picture of you shitfaced with your friends.
  • A picture of you in your messy room with all of your anime figures/comic book collection/Warcraft miniatures (not that this isn't cool, just that you want your nerdocity to be a cute quirk to the norms, and not your defining feature).

So maybe you're not Brad Pitt. Some of us have to accept that. What can you do to make up for your perceived shortcomings? Try choosing interesting pictures that show something about you, or show you interacting with someone, like a friend (not your hot friend), or your faithful pet. Because you have a clear picture up of your face, there won't be any confusion of who you are in your friend (or fido) picture, and it's possible that might show your interested party that you're fun, social, and maybe even capable of taking care of another living being. Failing all that, showing yourself doing the dishes or cooking? Hit. Don’t worry, I’m summing up below.

Do post:
  • You smiling. Not creepy, not high, not flirty.
  • You with a pet. Chicks dig pets.
  • You in the kitchen, doing something productive.

With the right medium, a targeted search, a good profile, and some flattering pictures, you should be well on your way to upping your hit stats on your chosen targets.

Now you simply need to avoid the pitfalls of most messages and profiles and put yourself above your blundering competitors.

Stay tuned, I’ve got your cheat codes.

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