The Head Betches are pretty clear where they stand on online dating. They are decidedly against it, the same way they’re against my repeated suggestions that we turn Betches Love This HQ into a “no clothes” zone. If that tells you anything, it’s that their judgement isn’t always to be trusted. But, when it comes to online dating, they’re right. For them. It’s not for everyone. For certain people, there’s no reason to even consider it. Maybe you’re in college and there are lots of boners ripe for humping, or maybe you live in Staten Island and are content dating the “nice Italian boy” you’ve known since you were in diapers. But for other people, whether you’ve just moved to a new city for a job or are looking to keep up a betchy facade while dating a guy who shares your enthusiasm for Renaissance fairs and anime porn, it’s a fine idea.
People who poo-poo online dating usually say things like “Lame. I prefer to do my dating in the real world, loser.” Then they do that thing where they form a capital “L” on their forehead with their right thumb and forefinger, or at least I assume they still do that because I haven’t been called a loser in a very long time. The thing about online dating is that it’s actually better than real life, in a way. For one thing, the dating doesn’t occur online; it’s just a conduit for meeting people. For another thing, while someone’s profile can’t tell you for certain whether they’re “the” one or even “a” one, it can sure as shit tell you if they’re not. When interacting with real people in real life, people tend to hide their crazy a little bit, and the people who cant are the ones you see on TV. But online, all bets are off. Lunatics and assholes have no problem coming off as such through a dating profile, either because they’re unable to hide it or don’t feel the need to. Misogynistic dicks don’t mind writing “I believe a woman should act like a woman and maintain the household”. Nice guys on the verge of becoming rapists will whine about girls who “always go for jerks even though I’m super nice to them, which means they should fuck me.” It’s a lot better to find these things out right away rather than three dates in when you’re chained to someone’s radiator, left to contemplate the series of decisions that led you to that moment.
If you decide it’s time for a change, there are obviously a bevy of sites to choose from. Let’s look at those and what they mean:
– OkCupid: “It’s free so if anyone asks I can tell my friends I signed up drunk”
– eHarmony: “Message me so I can tell you about my cats!”
– Match: “I have a job, so I can pay for a dating website”
– JDate, DateJYP, Christian Mingle, etc: “I have very judgy parents”
– Plenty Of Fish: “I’m into butt stuff”
If you’re just looking to try it out, I don’t see a good reason to plunk down cash for it, but keep in mind that you’ll likely get what you pay for. The free sites are loaded with freaks. The pay sites tend to have people who are a little more serious about actually meeting people, rather than using a dating site as a platform to articulate their political beliefs and cosplay fantasies. I think the pay sites usually run deals for free trials if you’re looking to have the best (worst?) of both.
There’s a metric assload of online dating advice on the internet, and 99% of it is for guys. Why? Well for one thing, guys are stupid. As I mentioned, lots of them write their profiles and/or messages as though no one will ever read them. Secondly, girls don’t really need that much guidance. Online tends to mirror real life in that guys are the ones doing most of the chasing. As a girl, you can write some words and post a few pictures and you’ll get like 50 messages per day. Still, if you want to improve the quality of the people messaging you, based on my experience I have a few tips:
– Do not message boys first. I know, feminism and equality and bla bla bla and all that other bullshit. When it comes to online dating, I don’t care. If a guy wants to talk to you, he will. You can usually see who’s clicked on your profile, so if you’ve looked and he hasn’t taken the bait, move on. Even a sincere message comes off as a little desperate for some reason. Most sites have something akin to a “poke” on facebook, which is admissible if you absolutely must get a guy’s attention.
– Don’t write a generic profile. For as much as girls like talking about themselves, they’re pretty bad at doing it in writing. Every girl’s profile is something like this:
“I love traveling and trying new foods, but more than anything I love laughing with my friends. I’m as comfortable going out on the town as I am staying in and snuggling. I love having fun and being silly, but I have a serious side too. I’m looking for a man who can make me laugh, support me when I cry, and be my partner in crime.”
OMG WE HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON!!! Fuck. That. Everyone likes/is looking for those things. In trying to be broad and all-encompassing in your description, you’ve actually managed to tell me nothing. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but put some effort into it. What inspires you? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What are your hobbies/interests? If you don’t have any, that’s why you’re single.
– Do not respond to creeps/idiots. If someone messages you, your inner Nice Girl might be tempted to respectfully decline their elegant invitation to “go to town on dat pussy.” Fight this urge. Unlike real life, you don’t owe anyone a response. Engaging the crazies is asking for trouble. Ignore them.
– Make sure your pictures look like you. Duhsies, right? You’d be surprised how many girls try to pass off pictures of themselves 20 lbs ago. If you’re a chubby betch, there are plenty of bros who are ok with that. Here’s a secret: If you lie through your pictures, I’ll know. Because I have eyes.
– Go somewhere public, and earlier rather than later. Also, don’t do dinner. Dinner means that you’ll be stuck with this person for longer than you might want, and he might go out of his way to pick up the check. In that case, he might feel/act like you “owe” him something.” First dates should be at happy hour, period. You can leave at will, and it’s usually daylight. Don’t drink too much. I went out with a girl one time who was so drunk by the time I got there that she didn't really remember the date. Open your own tab. This is not the time for any kind of “betches don’t pay for drinks” horseshit. This person is a stranger. The more in control of the situation you are, the better.
– Be strategic. Online dating is mainstream enough that there’s nothing wrong with the concept itself, but if someone views your profile and sees that you’ve been on Match for 2 fucking years, that’s embarrassing as shit. Plus, the longer you’re on, the further down the page your profile goes. Go on for a couple of months, cycle off, and then go back if you’re still looking for love.
– Have fun. Meeting a person in real life you first met online sounds fine, right up until the time it’s actually about to happen. Then you realize how fucking insane the whole concept is, because you come to terms with the fact that you are about to meet a complete stranger in public. The point is, you can’t take it too seriously. You’ll meet more duds than studs (God that sounds gay). Take it for what it is, at face value: A way to meet new people. Asking for any guarantees beyond that is asking too much.
That should cover it. If you’re someone who thinks online dating is for losers, then don’t do it. If you’re desperate, or up for something new, give it a try. If you’re doing the online thing and have horror stories or unintentional comedy, take a screenshot and send it my way. The readers of BLT will appreciate it.