About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (sort of a bad wordplay on Orwell and machismo) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear language'), the umbrella of several of my literary projects in Dutch. This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Friday, November 28, 2014

To other dudes in dating

There is always a distinct danger of preaching to the choir on blogs like this, but it never helps to spread the word, I suppose. In this particular post, I'd like to address my fellow (hetero) men who, like me, are users of online dating sites. I'm sure that we can commiserate on a few aspects that affect men the most on these sites: low response rates, lame responses in general, and people suddenly ghosting you for no real reason. It sucks and can be a blow to the morale. Online dating is not the easy way to Sexville or Lovetown that it purports to be.

With that out of the way, however, one reason why online dating can suck so much for guys, is a reason we owe wholly to ourselves: women get bombarded with messages every day. Guys seem to be locked in an invisible arms race to send out as many messages as possible, hoping something will stick. Until we break out of this pattern, that's an unfortunate fact we'll have to deal with. But it's not just the shotgun approach that hurts our chances, it's also the nature of the messages. Here's a handy list of things to keep in mind:

> If it isn't appropriate to say something to a stranger in public, it isn't going to be appropriate online, either. You don't strike up conversation with a woman you don't know at a bar by immediately asking if she's down to fuck. You don't whip out your cock. You don't start talking about a bizarre fetish.

> If you get no response to your message, leave it be. If you must, you could send a second message after some time, but after that, it's game over. Sending more is just being pushy and reeks of desperation or entitlement.

> If you get rejected, remain polite or say nothing. Guys sometimes complain that women can be very ambiguous in sending rejection signals, but that's because outright rejection turns some guys into aggressive douchebags who belittle women ("I wasn't interested in you anyway, you fat cow!") out of a sense of hurt pride. If you can't handle rejection, get your ass of the Internet and work on yourself.

I'm not a dating coach (and dating coaches are lame-ass guys who revel in intidimation, harassment and a good dose of awful gender essentialism, anyway) and I certainly wouldn't say I have a success formula down for getting awesome dates, because I'm a normal human being just like you, with assets and downsides. However, because I don't always want to couch any advice I give in negatives, here's a few positive pointers that will increase your response rates or at least set you up for a lucky strike:

> Have at least one clear picture of your face and one that more or less shows your figure. It's better to own up to who you are rather than hide your insecurities. A good picture can go a long way - don't settle for crappy bathroom selfies or photos under mega-harsh light.

> More about pictures: you don't need to showboat about the fact that you know other women, and use goofy poses or faces at your own risk. Also avoid the death stare straight in the lens. Vacation pictures and pet pictures seem to be perennial, and are rather safe, but certainly okay.

> Keep your communication short and to the point. Like I said, women have to wade through dozens of messages every day. If you write a position paper on how great of a guy you are, it's likely to go unread.

> Get a bit of a feel on the conversation to see when it's appropriate to ask her out. Some women may be willing to arrange a date after a single chat conversation or three messages back and forth, some are a bit less forthcoming.

> Don't state you are funny or intelligent: prove it. Make a good joke on your profile, or share your opinion on an amazing book you've read. Otherwise you're just filling in a D&D character sheet.

> Don't rely on stupid oneliners or template messages and indicate you've at least read her profile by referring to a common interest or something. In case the profile is bare-bones and just some data and pictures, I get that this is a lot harder, but it's worth a try.

> Keep your own profile not longer than 1.5 screen lengths. Much longer than that and you're going to come off crazy or overly convoluted. Very short may work if you're good at that. If not, about a screen length is ideal.

> Be interested and interesting. There's no harm in giving a nice and considerate compliment, and it's always good to have some interesting tidbit of knowledge or an interesting question up your sleeve.

> The point is not to pretend to be someone else, but own up to who you are and be the "best you". This isn't a job interview where you have to resort to some little white lies.