Online Dating Tips for Women (By Men)

They set the rules. They just seem to have a hard time following them

Ever read a men’s health magazine full of helpful tips for women out in the dating world? Ever notice that their actions seem to contradict their own guidelines?

As a woman who’s been online dating for years. . .I have.

Don’t hide in your photos. Be proud of your appearance, your face, your body. Confidence is sexy.

This guy’s a mystery. His profile is sparse, except that he attends Pitt and likes going out. All his pictures show young men standing on a beach, sitting around a campfire, or scaling a rock wall. Which one is he? The beanpole in the Hawaiian print swim trunks with the floppy blonde hair or the guy with the unkempt beard and Sailor Moon T-shirt? Are you willing to roll the dice?

A girl you worked with once was, and she ended up sitting through a two-hour meal with a man three times her age, a relic from the seventies wearing a half-unbuttoned silk shirt and Jeffrey Dahmer glasses. She thought she had been meeting his grandson. At the end of the night, he asked her over to his house for a drink. She had to decline, because she had a class the next morning, and was also three months shy of turning twenty-one.

Show an interest in their hobbies. Don’t bogart the conversation. Ask a lot of questions and really get to know the other person. The attentiveness will be reciprocated.

A true renaissance man, his interests include wine-tasting, DJing, and cancer research. You ask about a picture of him snuggling up to a cat. Her name is Ophelia, for one of Uranus’s rings. He likes astronomy and genetics and biochemistry. He loves Anthony Bourdain and was greatly affected by his death, so much so that he put up a photo of Bourdain on his profile that wasn’t there a day before the man’s death. He tells a story about shotgunning a beer with him. He ends his pages-long sermon with, “hbu?”

You know that nothing’s going to happen with this guy, but you’re interested to see how far you can push him. You continue asking questions, carefully crafting them so that you can get the most long-winded responses possible. It’s fun at first, showing the messages to your friends and laughing at his unapologetic conceit. Then the boredom sets in, and the loneliness you’ve been keeping at bay creeps back in. You stop responding to his messages and move on.

Don’t try and change a man. Be open to new mindsets and celebrate each other’s differences.

You mentioned on your profile that you’re looking for a serious relationship, but you don’t want children. This next guy is also looking to settle down and makes no mention of kids. You hit it off. Halfway through a decent conversation, his questions change. You really never want kids, he asks. Why? Bad childhood? Do you think you’ll ever change your mind? What if your husband wants them? I’m sorry, I’ve just never met a woman who doesn’t want kids. Exasperated, you ask if he wants to have a baby with you right now. He stops responding after that.

Focus on what you want in your profile, not on what you don’t want.

He’s been jilted in the past and knows exactly the type of girl to look out for. His profile reads like a want ad for everyone who need not apply. No trashy makeup, no tattoos, no heavy perfume, no high heels. His closing line is not passive-aggressive at all: “Looking for a real, honest woman.”

But who hasn’t been unlucky in love? Who hasn’t fallen victim to bitterness because of heartbreak? He’s cute and likes to bake, according to his profile picture. You’ll wear long sleeves to cover up your tattoos. You don’t like getting up early to do your makeup anyway.

The pair of you meet up at Elephant and Castle. The small talk is innocent enough, but it quickly segues into a multifaceted conversation about his ex, Sarah. She’s a student at Pitt, a pretty brunette, vain, shallow. She dumped him for a baseball player. She blocked him on social media. She won’t return his calls. Is he going to start crying?

After pounding three pomegranate wine coolers later that night, you find Sarah on Facebook. You send her a message about what a piece of work her ex is, desperate to connect with someone in your drunken stupor. The next morning, you’re too embarrassed to check if she wrote back.

Some of the best guys in the world get nervous when talking to women. Don’t blow off the shy guys! They can surprise you.

He gives a lot of one-word answers and seems hesitant to engage in conversation, but he’s nice enough. He likes to read, and he’s written some poetry. You meet up at a coffee shop and he’s even quieter in person. Barely any eye contact, fingers drumming on your Styrofoam cup. You end the suffering after an hour with the excuse that you have to pick up your brother from soccer practice. You part with an awkward wave. He messages you that night asking to go out again. Is he serious? You apologize, tell him he seems like a nice guy, but you’re not interested in a second date. Finally, he comes to life, blasting off messages in short spurts:

bitch

y cant u appreciate good guys

y r women so obsessed with assholes who treat them like shit

u whore

i bet ur brother doesnt even play soccer

lying bitch

ur not even that pretty

He’ll make a post on Facebook the next day, lamenting that he has so much to offer and he just keeps getting hurt. Isn’t he worthy of love?

A surprise indeed.

Emojis can be helpful in clearly conveying the meaning behind a conversation, so don’t be afraid to use them.

His first message to you is three eggplant emojis. You send back a needle squirting blood and block him.

Figure out what matters most to you in life, then find someone with matching priorities.

He’s perfect. His profile is funny in a sarcastic way. He loves to read and his favorite book is Norwegian Wood. He likes to cook, he’s a cat person, and he listens to Queen and Norah Jones. He’s a film student who loves sci-fi and horror; Bride of Chucky is listed as one of his favorite movies. One of his profile pictures is him decked out in wizard’s robes with too-small glasses barely containing his eyes and a smudged lightning bolt drawn on his forehead.

You swipe right immediately.

He doesn’t.

Remember, Tinder is an app used by an estimated 50 million people across 40 different countries. Around 12 million matches are made per day. With numbers like those, it would be pretty difficult not to find someone compatible with you. Draw people in with an interesting profile, remain open-minded and don’t lose hope.

You update your profile daily. That line’s too sarcastic, they don’t know your sense of humor yet, better take it out. You don’t need to spend that much time talking about your cats, they’ll think you’re a crazy cat lady. Maybe that picture of you at a protest last year is too political too soon. They don’t need to know your leanings just yet, save it for the third, fourth, or fifth date. How can you make your objectively boring hobbies sound interesting enough that you stand out?

You swipe. You match. You chat. You repeat ad nauseam.

Storyteller. Lover of cats. Holding a BA in English/Creative Writing from Point Park University. She/her.

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