Online Dating Tips for Guys (from the girl’s perspective)

Gentlemen,

I’ve been trying the online dating thing, and I’ve come to realize that a few of you need some extra help. Here are my best thoughts, based on what I’ve encountered in my past month on Match (and my previous foray onto OkCupid):

serial killers

I’m afraid…!

Your profile photo. First of all, for the love of God, do not post profile photos that make you look like a serial killer. If I’m afraid of you, I’m not going to be thinking, Oh, here’s a guy I want to get to know better. Nope, I’m thinking, Yikes! I hope if I ignore him he’ll go away. But just in case, maybe I ought to start dating that MMA instructor/former Bama defensive tackle, from a few profiles back….

Also, do not post “car selfies” – you know, the ones where it’s like you couldn’t think of a good place to get a private pic (because maybe you have something to hide?), so you snapped a quick one in the driver’s seat before you went inside your house. Those rarely turn out looking flattering for anyone (just fyi).

Your profile photo is your first line of advertising. It’s your main marketing tool. Think of it this way: How would you go into a job interview, knowing that this is the first time your potential boss is going to see you? According to a Forbes article, people make up their minds in the first seven seconds of meeting you. They spend the rest of the time trying to justify their initial reaction. The same is true with online dating. Get your profile photo vetted by another female – preferably one who will give you honest feedback. (If you seriously don’t have a female in your life of whom you can ask this favor, send it to me – mousessoapbox@gmail.com – and I will tell you how bad it is. 😉 )

Her profile parameters (and yours). I’m tired of guys from New Jersey, Utah, Wyoming, and the Bahamas messaging me, despite the fact that I’ve set my dating range to “within 15 miles of Westminster, Colorado.” I’m also tired of chat requests from 35 and 60 year-olds, since I’ve given careful consideration to my target age-range, which is 47-53 year-olds.

I'm not into this...

I’m not into this…

I know it’s tough to match up to all of a person’s exact parameters, but if you are wildly-off from what a woman has indicated, there’s just no point. (And if you still try to date, chances are it’s going to be frustrating for at least one of you.) Similarly, when I see that a guy has checked “slender,” “athletic,” and/or “toned,”

...or this. (Clearly, they had different online profile-parameters from me.)

…or this. (Clearly, they had different online profile-parameters from me.)

as his desired female body type — and nothing else (like “curvy,” “average,” or “a few extra pounds”) — then I will immediately discount him, as I am not what he is looking for. Although I stay reasonably fit in general, I don’t see my body-type as being “slender,” “athletic,” or “toned.” So pay careful attention to both what you say you want, and what she says she wants. This will help you eliminate bad match-ups and instant shoot-downs.

Your conversational skills. The story goes like this: a guy messages me: “Hey – Nice photo.” I assume this means he’s interested. I go check out his profile. He’s cute, he matches up to a lot of my parameters – distance, age, height, pets, the fact that he’s actually single(!), etc. – so I message him back. “Thanks. You’re not so bad, yourself.” Him: “How’s your summer going?” Okay, yes, I can reasonably assume, at this point, that he’s interested.

So I tell him a bit about my summer… and ask about his.

He tells me about his summer. And that’s all he says. Okay…?

So I respond back, asking about one of the things he’s mentioned that caught my attention.

He responds back, telling me more about himself.

I ask another question about him.

He tells me even more… about himself… and that’s all he says.

Come on, throw me a bone - I've got nothing to work with, here!

Come on, throw me a bone – I’ve got nothing to work with, here!

At this point he’s ceased asking about me, and he’s giving me nothing to go on, so I assume he’s not really interested, and I stop responding. If you want to keep a conversation going, you have to be interested in the other person. A good way to find things to talk about is to come up with a list of questions — fun things you’d want to know about a woman — ahead of time. (There are loads of excellent “icebreaker” and dating questions on Google, if you need ideas.)

Guys, these are my best starter-tips to help you out in the world of online dating. There’s more – like when it comes to the actual date – but for those of you who are struggling, this is how you get past the first hurdle. I hope this helps.

Sincerely,
Mouse   xo

Life is Short

It’s been a long time since my last post. (I know, I know!) It’s not like I haven’t been writing – I’ve written a few posts. I just haven’t posted them. There hasn’t been too much to say. I haven’t been doing much. I’ve been acutely aware that “I have no life,” for the past 2 months. I had a lot going on with my kids in May, and then I just kind of got overwhelmed and disappeared into myself. For the entire month of June. It was fear-based, though, so not entirely healthy. But healing came out of it.

I went through a lot of “internal work” (that sounds so Hollywood :P). But, while reading a book my therapist loaned me, I had an epiphany, and I hit a place where I literally felt a load lift off my chest. That same day I bought a new laptop. The next day (July 4) I joined Match.com.

Match wound up being very similar to OkCupid, except you have to pay money. You can’t control the metric, and you get guys from New York messaging you, even though you said you only wanted guys from within 15 miles of your Colorado zip code. (And even though I’d only put up kinda-crappy pics of me. Apparently, if you’re female, it’s a dogpile on Match, same as OkCupid.) Before I’d even finished filling out my profile I had two messages, which took me a half-hour to figure out how to access, by which time I had even more messages. But I figured I was ready: I’d reached a place where I was okay with “just me,” but I wanted to see if I had to do this alone – or if I could maybe find someone to hang with on this life-journey thing.

There will be more on my internet dating insights, but that will take another post. (Free Tip #1 for Guys: Don’t post a profile pic that makes you look like a serial killer. Unless you actually are one. Then, by all means, do. Seriously more to follow. I might be in therapy, but you guys need help!)

Anyway, I chatted with a few nice guys, went out with one who turned out to be super-cool…. Then everything went upside-down.

On Sunday night, I’d just gotten my kids back for the beginning of the week, and within 20 minutes I was in the ER with my 14 y.o. who’d sliced the tip of his pinky off with a mandolin slicer, while helping me prep dinner. I held it all together, of course (and, tbh, the kid was a super-trooper, himself), but it drained me. I had all of these emotions I’d held in check, because I was being strong for him, because that’s what you do, as a parent. Then, when we finally got home, I wanted to chill for a few minutes on the patio with a glass of wine, but I had a constant influx of kids — my 9 y.o., my 11 y.o., my 14 y.o. (the ER patient), and again my 9 y.o. — who needed my attention. They got it, of course.  Because that’s what you do, as a parent. I got to bed at 10:30. Got up at 5. Monday. Went to work.

The next night, after work, it was one of those emotionally-trying days with my kids. In addition to four of them needing my attention, there was also a subtle emotional “battle” at play. I don’t think the instigator (external to my family) realized they had done anything wrong, but my 9 y.o. daughter was being affected, and I went all “mama bear” and over-reacted — to the unfortunate detriment of my 9 y.o. My wholehearted, righteous, failed/futile/misdirected(?) attempts to defend my daughter’s independent emotions sapped all I had left. And on top of it I felt guilty, because I’d hurt my baby in the process. I was a basket case. I knew then that my attempts to date were stupid and irrelevant. What business did I have investing energy into relationships when I couldn’t even keep up with my existing life?

Today I cancelled with the two guys I was supposed to meet with from Match, on the two free days I had open. What was I thinking? It was something I knew I had to do.

But it helped solidify everything when, at around 11 am, the president of my company called everyone together for an impromptu company meeting. Those of us in the office, about 20 of us — a lot of people were out, in the field — were nervous. A small handful of people were already upset, like they knew. What was this about? Then he announced that one of our office-coworkers had passed away unexpectedly last night.

It took a few minutes for it to sink in. It wasn’t someone I’d known super-well, but still. She was a coworker. And now she was… dead. As I’m typing this, it’s getting to me — the tears I couldn’t let fall in the office. I didn’t even know her that well.

I went back to my computer and worked for another hour, until lunch. Then I went out to my car and cancelled my two Match meetups for the week — and permanently. (There might be more on one of those stories. We’ll see.) Between my son’s pinky-trauma, the overload-emotion night, and now my coworker’s death… I’m just overwhelmed. I’m glad I cancelled my date for tonight, because it’s wound up that I needed tonight to cry.

But one thought has occurred to me, and it’s stuck; it has teeth.

I’ve been hurt so much. I’ve been through trauma — bad trauma. I can’t handle any more. And I don’t want to put my trauma on anyone else. I won’t. This is mine to carry. (That might be a whole, other post.) And that’s okay. Mostly. (Again, a whole, other post.) But I didn’t know my coworker who passed away that well. And today I gave serious weight to the question of what would happen if I died. Would my coworkers mourn? Would they go on with work, like I did? Like most of us did? Would I be okay with that?

I decided the answer was no.

I want my coworkers to be upset — so much so that many of them have to take the rest of the day off. I want my friends, with whom I’ve been awful at connecting, to be devastated. I don’t want to fade into the woodwork, like I’ve been doing for the past 2 months. I want to live. I want to live so much that I matter. To a lot of people — I want to create a large “family.” I want to make an impression, I want to leave a mark, and I want it to be on people’s hearts. I want to connect with people in a true and lasting way. I want the people I come in contact with to know — really know — that they genuinely mattered to me. That I valued each and every person who came across my path as a unique individual.

Because I do.

YOU matter to me.

And I want to matter to you. I want you to be affected when I die. Because we will have had a real and true human connection. Because you are super-cool, just because you are you, and I knew that.

And I know it now. You RAWK. 🙂