First Five: First Contact

** As I began formulating these, I wondered from which angle I should approach them; speaking to men, women or both; online, in person or both. So I guess I’ll try to tackle it from both perspectives as best I can. Considering most of my readers are female and my experiences are generally online, that will probably be the focus most of the time. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know. **

First Contact is that initial communication you use to reach out and elicit a response from someone you are interested in meeting.

It used to be that opening line (a.k.a. pick-up line) you would use to try to strike up a conversation with someone at a bar, dance club, laundromat, grocery store or wherever you met potential partners.

You’d see someone who physically got your attention, fueling that desire to want to meet them. Experienced pick-up artists would always have a good opening line that would spark a woman’s interest, while so many others would use some cheesy pick-up line, comment on her eyes or smile, only just say “Hi” hoping she would just open up to him, or heaven forbid some would even be crude or just mean (thinking any type of conversation would lead to an opportunity to build rapport with her.

Not much has changed in the online world.

So many of the same mistakes are being made by guys on Match, eHarmony, PlentyofFish, Tinder, Zoosk, FarmersOnly, you name it. I have lots of women (whether exes, past dates, or just friends) sharing their experiences with me, and guys don’t seem to have changed much. Some think that a simple “Hi” will open the gates to Heaven, while others fall back to the standard comments about eyes or smiles, some still try cheesy lines like “Did it hurt falling from Heaven?”, or worse yet, are perverted, crash or vulgar.

And I have to compete with these idiots on a daily basis! No wonder it is so hard to break through with a woman when she’s bombarded with these kinds of guys every time she opens up her dating site.

Look, let’s be honest here, there are a lot more men online looking for women than the other way around. Dating sites all “report” the ratio is anywhere from 60/40 to 50/50. But once you remove the fake, spam, and illegitimate profiles, the true statistics report that women are outnumbered anywhere from 10-1 to 100-1 depending on the site and metrics (age range, population size, etc).

And yes, dating sites intentionally publish fake female sites in order to even out the numbers to keep the men around. Otherwise the men would see how truly imbalanced it is and just not even bother wasting their money. Hence the fake and spam profiles which pollute the dating pool. It’s something women really don’t have to deal with.

OK, let’s get back on track.

Here are a few DO’s and DON’T’s when reaching out to the potential Mrs. Joe Singleguy.

DON’T:

  • Just say “Hi” or “Hey”. The ladies don’t like that and won’t respond to it. Trust me.
  • Comment on her smile or eyes in the first message. And please, I beg you, don’t use a line like “I like big butts and I cannot lie,” or even worse “Wow! I would love to motorboat those.” These are all verified comments made to women I know. So …
  • Use a cheesy pick-up line like “Someone had better call the cops because you just stole my heart.”
  • Try to infer her real name from her profile name. Even if you think you know it, don’t try. Women find that annoying. Let her tell you on her terms.
  • Comment on her kids if they are in her pictures. Do you want to advertise that you have a Blue Dot over your house? Now, she shouldn’t really have pictures of her kids on there anyway, but stay away from commenting on them just yet.

Now for a few things to actually DO:

  • Actually read her profile! I can’t stress how important this is. You’d be surprised how many guys just peruse the pictures and have no idea what’s in her profile. It’s a dating site not Playboy.
  • Pick something from her profile that really intrigued you and comment or ask her about that.
  • Take it a step further and pick something from near the end of her profile to comment or ask about to show you actually read her profile completely.
  • Be witty (if you can, I understand some guys think they’re funny but really aren’t). Try to work something about her profile into a witty comment that will make her chuckle. Believe it or else, women really do want a guy to make them laugh. That is the biggest hook for most women, and thank goodness I’m funny.
  • Keep it short! Don’t write a book the first time. Pick out one or two things (max) to comment on. You’re just trying to open the door here to get your foot in the door with her, not fit your moving truck with all your baggage in it. Maybe you’ll get that far if you’re lucky. But not this time.
  • Try to avoid saying “If you like my profile maybe we can talk sometime.” Grow some balls, show some confidence and say “I look forward to hearing from you soon.” What do you have to lose? Nothing. This is ground Zero. If you think you’re embarrassing yourself with her, who cares. Better than showing her you’re a sniveling weakling begging for her attention. Act like you deserve her attention.

Following these steps won’t guarantee she’ll respond but it definitely will increase your chances and set you apart from all of the “other guys” out there.

And if all goes well and she does respond, then start peeling back the onion of your life. Take it easy and follow her lead.  Don’t ask too many deeply personal questions right away. Don’t ask for her kids’ names and stuff like that. She’ll share that stuff when she’s ready.

And whatever you do, don’t – and I repeat DO NOT – send her inappropriate pictures of your “junk”, and definitely DO NOT ask her to send you inappropriate pictures of her. Don’t be a classless douche.

There is so much more to cover between here and getting to the First Date. But we can’t cover that all here. But if you have questions, feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to help.

In the next installment, I’ll talk about the First Date. I’ll briefly discuss getting the First Date, but mainly focus on the DO’s and DON’Ts of what to do on the first date (if you really are interested in a relationship).

So please check back for more, or you can click the “Follow” button on the right to subscribe to the blog, or follow me on Twitter to get all of the latest updates and more.

And as always, Thank You for reading!

 

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Dating Profiles: Up, down, on, off, what do you do?

So, you’re dating someone, it’s early on still – no serious commitment level. Maybe you haven’t even had sex yet.

But once you started dating, you had the conversation about your dating profiles. They tell you that they took hers down or hid it because they wanted to focus on getting to know you. So you do the same thing, maybe because you have no problem doing it and think it’s the right thing, maybe you don’t have anything else going on in the dating world so you have nothing to lose for the moment, or maybe you just do it out of respect for them doing it.

So now you both have your profiles hidden.

But after a while, it comes out that your date has been talking to another person and has another date coming up.

That in itself is not the issue, nor something to get all whacked out and crazy about. The issue is what do you do with your profile?

The premise of turning off or hiding your profile was to “focus on getting to know” each other, their words not yours. But they have other people on the line and other dates scheduled.

So what do you do? Do you keep the profile hidden, because you had the conversation and said you would hide it. Or do you open it back up, because they whole “focus” thing isn’t applicable anymore (you didn’t void it, they did), you don’t know if you’re wasting your time with this person now, plus they are talking with other people – so why can’t you? OR do you have another conversation about the status of your profiles, even though they still have theirs hidden but are talking with other people, to gauge their response and get their opinion.

Now, in that last option, I would expect the “fair” answer to be a dominant response. They are going to probably tell you that “it’s fair for you to open up your profile again because they are talking with other people.” Now, they might actually be OK with that, or – if they like you – they’re probably just trying to say the right thing even though they don’t want you to be “back on the market.”

But, honestly, if it was me and I broached the subject, I would ask the question and say I don’t want to hear the “fair” answer, I want to hear their honest answer. Their true gut feeling answer. It’s kind of test, if you will. If they honestly tell you they think it’s ok to do it, that’s not a good sign. But if they tell you they would prefer if you didn’t open it back up, then that would generally be seen as a sign that they are actually interested in you and in pursuing something with you.

Again, I understand people start dating multiple people at a time, it’s totally normal. That’s not the issue. Once you’ve had the “profiles” conversation, and they are still talking to someone they met at about the same time they me you, what do you do?

Let me hear what you’ve got to say on this.

NSA, FWB, NSFW, This is gonna be interesting (pt 1)

OK, just remember, you asked!

I told you earlier this week that we were taking this dating thing in a whole new different direction. Well, it doesn’t get much “different” than this. OK, I’m sure it could, but I like to keep things reasonable.

As I was debating how dating would change once my son returned home and school started, I kind of did a mental checklist of what my options were. I don’t have the standard every-other-weekend visitation schedule with my ex-wife, my son is with me about 90% of the time, I don’t have ready babysitting options (i.e. family or friends) nearby who could watch him, I have an unpredictable schedule of availability, and I don’t like mixing my children and dates too soon, especially not having them spend the night with my son here. That has made traditional dating pretty tough so far. My largest chunk of free time is during the weekdays when my son is at school because I have a few days free when I am not taking classes myself.

Kicking these things around, an ex of mine joked around that I should “whore (my)self out to the older housewives” in our area, which is rather affluent, as a way to meet my “needs”, make some money and please some local housewives. As interesting as that sounds, I don’t feel like going to jail – ever. So that’s out. Sorry to disappoint all of you that thought that was my big news.

Although my inner Deuce Bigelow was disappointed, it got me to thinking. Maybe there was something, more legal, I could do to address my “dating” needs that would fit my criteria. And let’s be honest, the chances of me meeting, dating and nurturing that special kind of woman on my schedule is about as likely as a teenager working at McDonalds affording the payments on a 2013 Chevy Corvette convertible.

So accepting that, yet not resigning myself to a life of solitude and abstinence, I thought, “where can you find older women, who have time during the day, that are just looking to have fun and not get serious?” Hello, Ashley Madison!

I’m not going to give a full-fledged review of Ashley Madison, yet. I can do that at another time. But it is a little expensive to get access to paid member services. It is pointless to really try any sort of “dating” site for free. So I did the minimum just to give it a try. And so far, in one week I’ve had as much, if not more, success than I did with eHarmony in 6 months.

A girl contacted me early on – OK, lots of girls contacted me initially, but this was the only real, legitimate girl – and we started talking. Things started off real well. She’s a stay-at-home mom that works as an in-home nurse during the week, which means she makes her own hours and schedule. She has an open relationship with her husband who has a regular girlfriend, plus others on the side, and she just wants somebody to have fun with. A FWB (friends with benefits) relationship where she can have fun, but isn’t looking for a man to replace her husband. It’s also a NSA (no, not THAT NSA, a no strings attached) arrangement, which means I would be open to explore other options with other women if the opportunities arise. Like I said earlier, knowing my luck, this is when that Real Special Lady will show herself. Go figure. So stay tuned for that mess.

So Krystal decided to meet me for coffee this afternoon. When we got together, she was cute dressed up in her scrubs, as she was in between seeing patients, and very nervous. It took a while to get her comfortable, normally I’m the shy, nervous one. We talked about her relationship with her husband, his girlfriends, how bored she is at home, and that she had already told him about me. That was a little awkward, but I took it in stride. She generally has a constant “boyfriend” on the side, just as her husband has his steady girlfriend.  So it’s not like this is anything new to them.

Things went really well. It was so much more fun without all the normal pressures you feel during a regular date. OK, that’s just coming from a guy’s perspective. I can only imagine what pressures girls deal with on first dates, so I can only guess. We also agreed to see each other again and go out tomorrow night.

Let’s just say things get a lot more weird and interesting from there. But we will include that when I update you all on that date later. I have to save something interesting to keep coming back for more.

Until then … Thank you for reading and stay tuned for all of the fun (or at least I hope it’s fun).

Beatrice: Cute Southern drawl, but wasn’t what I ordered (Rewind)

Background: Beatrice was one of my first real communications on eHarmony. There had been Smiles (eHarmony’s version of the Wink) exchanged with other members and I had managed to make it through some levels of the 5-step gauntlet eHarmony uses before you get to actually emailing each other. But Beatrice was the first (I think) that managed to make it through the gauntlet and we actually started exchanging emails. From there we followed the script of exchanging numbers, texting and then started talking on the phone.

We found lots of things to talk about and the connection developing (via email, text and phone calls) was getting better with each passing day. And once we started talking on the phone, that’s all I wanted to do because she had the sexiest Southern drawl that I just ate up.

She was also absolutely adorable (from what I saw from her pictures). Cute as a button would have been a term I would’ve used. She had amazing blue eyes, full lips and the most gorgeous head of naturally curly bright blonde hair. She was a professional chef who worked from home quite a bit, which was interesting. We were always talking about food and cooking. Things were definitely looking up!

We tried for a few days to get together for a date before finally settling for an evening date on a night when I just got back into town from a work trip.

The Date: We decided to do the classic dinner and movie thing, except this time we were going to one of the theaters which serves food at the movies. Since she was coming from another town just to the South of me, and would pass right by my house on the way to the theater anyway, we decided she would just stop at my house and park her car and we would drive together. But on the way she texted me, with what seemed like an innocent enough message, but should have been something I really needed to take to heart. She texted me that she “felt bloated, and like a whale.”

That all became too clear when she showed up at my door. She was clearly at least, at LEAST, 25 pounds heavier than any of the pictures in her profile. Sorry, but that’s not bloated. “Bloated” does not affect your legs, face or arms. As I’ve stated before, one thing I really can’t stand is when people “lie” by posting inaccurate pictures of themselves on their profiles. After the date, I looked back at her profile and there was nothing to even remotely indicate she was heavy. Nothing! 

But, given how good our connection and conversations had been to this point, I was willing to overlook her size because she was still rather cute – but not what was I was expecting. I hadn’t totally shut down the date mentally yet. I was going to give it a chance.

On the way to the theater, and when we first arrived at the theater, the conversation was good and we were both laughing and having a good time. We even had a good chuckle when I pointed out to her that one picture she had posted on her profile showed a little bit of areola around her nipple. She didn’t believe me, so I had to show her. It was pretty funny. We got to the theater early enough that we decided to eat dinner out in the bar area outside the theaters. But that’s where things really turned south.

For some unknown reason, she kept giving our server a hard time. She would make rude comments if the server didn’t answer her questions as she was expecting, or if she thought she was taking too long, or for any number of reasons. I finally got to the point where I asked if she was OK and what that was all about. She tried to explain that she thought the service was bad, but there was nothing worth commenting on, as far as I was concerned. I thought everything was just fine.

That is what stuck under my skin for the rest of the night – how rude she was to people. She made a few other comments to other people that I thought were very unjustified, unnecessary and rude.

During the movie, we didn’t cuddle or hold hands or anything like I had originally hoped. And after the movie we had some basic conversation about the movie on the way back to my place. Once back to my place, we talked for a few minutes and even exchanged a goodnight kiss. The bittersweet part, was that the kiss was actually pretty good, but I was just too turned off at that point to let it be any sort of deciding factor as to whether I wanted to pursue anything with her.

Post date: We continued to talk for a few days after that, but I just couldn’t get the rudeness out of my head, on top of the fact that I was still a bit irked that she misled me about her photos. She knew she was doing it, otherwise why would she make the “bloated” comment right before I was to see her for the first time in person. So we never did get to a second date. But I learned a harsh reality about online dating – some people are dishonest on their profiles because they don’t think people might be interested in them otherwise. I can’t say whether or not I would’ve gone out with her if she would have posted honest pictures of herself, but being dishonest about it doesn’t make me the bad person because she was a little heavier than she let on.

In part because of this date, and a few others (including Daphne), I have come up with a little online dating theory; find the worst picture someone has posted on their profile, and that will most likely be the best representation of what they look like in person. I work with Photoshop every day at work, so I can tell when pictures are touched up, and I’ve seen a whole bunch of altered pictures on dating sites. It’s kind of disheartening.

Grade: C

Side bar: This was the only date I managed to get from eHarmony in the six months I was a paying member. I had maybe a handful of serious conversations, a couple dozen solid interactions. I am not counting every smile I received, only the ones that were reciprocated. So I wasn’t that impressed with it, especially considering the price versus Match, which is probably still my favorite and Chemistry.