I expected to stir up a little bit of noise with the "brutal advice" I asked men to give me as a woman online dating last week, but I didn't expect the nerve it hit to be quite so raw.
So, in the spirit of fairness, I've decided to give all the fed-up online dating women out there the ability to respond with their own brutal advice to men (that they would never have the heart to actually tell the guys to their face).
Except this time in my polling, I cast an even wider net, and, in a matter of hours, my in-box was soon overflowing with more than 200 replies decrying everything from heartbreaking shirtless bathroom selfies to well, any kind of selfie, really. I wish I could have included every single reply (shout-out to the lady who received a message from a man on OKCupid saying, "I me you marriage sexy kin do ok now please horn yes?") but the article would be a million words long.
All of these responses are anonymous, a few have been combined for the sake of readability and reducing repetition. (And I've got an LGBT writer working on an article from that perspective as well!)
Because I did receive so many wonderful responses, I've decided to give you twice the amount of replies as I did with the men's grievances, which is a total of 30 pieces of deliciously harsh advice. And, here we go!
1. Please stop with the creeper loser statements. Like:
- "I will treat you like a Woman, but I am going to Act like a Man."
- "Do you think you are interested in being friends with a professional, masculine, charming, polite, well spoken, intelligent, laid back alpha male type?"
- "Works hard. Plays harder."
2. Shut up about the cunnilingus already. "The more you blather on about your expertise, the more positive I become that you are completely sexually inadequate. As soon as I hear 'I love going down on women; it's better than sex' I know you probably can't get an erection. Please stop telling me that kissing is the second best thing you do with your tongue. Because you've 'been told by more than one woman.' All guys tell me this and we'd all rather you show us than tell us. Again, stop over-promising and under-delivering. Also, don't expect a blow job because you buried your face in my crotch."
3. Know your league. "If you want to step out of that league, do it with some game. (This sounds so shitty and shallow, but that's sort of the name of the game with online dating.) Dear not-super-hot guys, you make hot girls feel really bad when you send us messages about how we 'probably won't write you back, because of physical reasons X, Y and Z, but you thought you would try anyway.' No one is attracted to this type of self-consciousness in real life, so when you broadcast it online, it's literally all we are going to see. So you're a little pudgy or balding but you want to take me on a date? Then say something that will make me want to date you."
4. Are you kidding with these selfies? "Selfies in your bathroom scream, 'No friends.' I find it really hard to respect a man making the 'duck face' in a picture he took of himself. The MacBook selfies are the latest epidemic. Being lit by the bluish glow of your laptop in a darkened room from a slight upwards angle is not a good look. Why so many selfies while driving? Why is this even a thing? And those bathroom selfies? Totally pathetic."
5. Spare us the entitlement. "If I don't want to write you back, for whatever personal reason I have for doing so, that's okay. Swallow it! Just because you express interest in me does not mean I owe you anything in return. Cutting remarks/insults sent to someone you've never met aren't 'jokes' or 'just being playful.' But they do make you look like an insecure asshole."
6. Literacy is super hot. "Do not initially contact me with: 'hey,' 'what's up,' or 'how r u.' I don't care if you're the hottest, smartest, most successful man, I will not reply to a message that took the least amount of humanly effort possible. It screams, 'I looked through your pics, and I figured I'd contact you. I'll also be sending a similar message to 20-30 more girls within the next half hour. Fuck me anyway?'"
7. We can read between the lines.
- "Men who feel the need to explicitly describe themselves as 'nice' are not usually nice at all. If you're nice, it will be self-evident when we talk to one another. It also makes it sound like you think you're entitled to sex."
- "Saying you have 'Southern values' or bragging ON and ON about your amazing manners are red flags. Most guys that go on and on about any of these things do NONE of it in person. Or worse, they expect physical/sexual attention for every single polite or nice thing they do."
"If you have a bunch of coded stuff in your profile about how you're looking for a 'fit' woman who 'takes care of herself,' you might as well just be writing 'no fatties.' Don't talk about your preferred body type at all, actually. It's a turn-off. Just don't respond to women you aren't attracted to."
8. Are you actually trying to get blocked? "Don't call me 'babe' or 'bae' or 'sweetie' or any other such things in our first conversation. It's condescending and makes me feel like a hunk of female meat and not an individual. Also? Please don't ask women of color to 'fulfill (your) fantasy.'"
9. Try looking a little less serial killer if possible. "How about a natural smile? What's up with men and their angry/surly expression in EVERY pic? You look fuckin' grumpy. At least one picture, with teeth."
10. Don't try so hard. "I think men get caught up in wanting to show they're adventurous. Ski masks, sunglasses, far away hiking/climbing/surfing pics. I have no idea if these men are my type! They could be attractive but I end up having no idea. If you're wearing sunglasses in every picture, I'm going to pass."
11. I'm not a gold digger, but I'm not a sugar mama, either, dude. "I can understand not wanting a woman who wants/expects to be taken care of but at the same time I think it's as gross to say shit like you'll only date me if I make the same income bracket as you do. Maybe I live within my means and work my passion instead of seeking money and power."
12. Please be honest in your pics. "If you are 40-ish and are posting pics of you in the military from when you were fresh out of high school or several pounds ago and you've lost or gained pounds or hair since, I'll figure out the difference. This makes me wonder: If you can't post current pics, what else would you lie about?"
13. How tall are you, really? "Type your height into your profile. Now subtract two inches and type that instead. Let's have a threesome with reality. (I swear to god this is never wrong unless they're over 6'4" (actually 6'4")."
14. Put your damn shirt back on. "Details of your extreme CrossFit (Beachbody, whale bench pressing) workout/lifestyle and your protein intake are all the worst. First of all, I'd like to fantasize about the awesome bod, not know your waxing schedule. Secondly, those shakers are disgusting and hard to clean. Blegh."
15. Avoid instant turnoffs.
- "When you have 'looking for a woman who is Real' on your profile, I assume you mean 'who puts up with my baggage, but has none of her own.'"
- "Profiles that include Burning Man pics are an automatic dealbreaker, especially if one of said pics is your primary profile pic."
- "Lying about which neighborhood you live in just to make it look like you make more money is lame. East 106th Street is East Harlem, not the Upper East Side. Own it."
- "If you love your bike so much, why don't you marry it?"
16. Make an effort. Any effort. "Please don't say, 'It's so much better to talk about this in person.' I agree it's easier to talk about things in person than to write a detailed description of your personality, but this is an online dating site. You only get to the talking in person part by getting someone interested in you, which you do by writing a description. Also, make sure we are actually a match. It's super confusing why you'd take the time to write me a specific message when we're horribly matched and all of the answers to your questions make me sad."
17. Tinder is not just a hook-up app. "Male Tinder profiles with the whole 'we all know what this is for/this isn't eHarmony' bullshit is kind of enraging. You can use the app for whatever the hell you please, but generalizing the whole thing says a lot about your entitlement. Tinder is whatever the users want it to be. Stop making sexist assumptions."
18. If you're not in college anymore, act like it. "Why do you ask me 'What are you getting into tonight?' at 11:30 p.m. on a Tuesday? It is the vaguest fucking question that implies you might want to hang out, but doesn't implicitly say that. Ask a real question."
19. Stop expecting us to have it all figured out. "'What are you looking for?' is a super annoying and unanswerable question. On any given day I am looking for someone to bang, or marry, or date. Plus if I say I am only looking for something casual, and I meet you, I don't get to change my answer. And if I am looking for a relationship, what if I meet you, and you are dumb but pretty enough to bed? I don't like setting parameters on a person I haven't met yet. That's nuts. Also, if it's casual sex, I still need an almost date!"
20. Stop pimping out your child's photos. "Really I think it's abhorrent to use any photos of kids on there. It's a dating site; your children's faces should not be available for just anyone to screenshot and view. They are children, not trophies, no matter how cute and loving you think it looks. And please, talk about something besides just your kids. Please. I have kids but I have other interests, too. That's why I date."
21. Don't ask me for pictures every time we chat. "One dude I was talking to asked me for pics EVERY TIME WE TALKED. I always put a lot of pictures on my profile -- some close up and full body pics. I humored him and sent more pics the first few times. It wasn't like the guy didn't know what I looked like. Not sure if he was making up his mind about something or hoping I would sneak a nudie in? Super annoying, and I broke off the date."
22. Re-evaluate your pictures, and quite possibly, your life. "Why do guys take pictures of themselves from the vantage point of their penis? No one in the history of ever looks cute in a picture taken from below their chin. No more dead animals pictures, it's gross. Holding a dead animal you have shot and killed does not make you more of a man."
23. Be real -- like, really real. "Hat in every picture? Homie either bald, got a bald spot, or hairline so recessed he should just be bald already. If you're a bigger guy and you've got a little (or a lot) of extra padding around the middle, that's fine. Really it is. But don't say your body type is average. As a fat chick, I wouldn't be able to pull that shit, the fact that you think you can puts me right off."
24. Dress decently. "If I'm expected to look like some kind of hot trophy MILF then you better not be wearing old jeans and a Metallica shirt. You can be casual and still look put together. Dress decently. I don't care if you play in the NFL, but showing up in gym wear is ridiculous."
25. Think about how you come across. "Immediate blocks include..."
- "If you have the number 69 in your username and you are not 45."
- "Saying you don't want any 'drama.'"
- "Complaining about online dating and how no one wants to meet."
- "Bad spelling and grammar -- if they preface it by saying that they have a learning disability and they sound intelligent I'll give them a pass."
- "Focusing on looks, theirs or who they're looking for."
26. Photos, photos, and really, let's talk about those photos.
- "Sunglasses? You're probably not hot without them. Sunglasses in every pic? Confirmed uggo."
- "If you only show your body, I'm worried 'bout that face."
- "Post a pic that actually looks like you. I know if Ima hit that within about 5 seconds. Spare us both the awkwardness of me thinking you were a yes, when you are clearly a no, but now we still have to have a whole conversation because you lied."
- "If I request a photo, don't respond with multiple statements like: 'I guarantee, you will NOT be disappointed!!' ONLY I GET TO DECIDE."
- "No pictures from the '80s or '90s. We deserve to know what you look like right now. If you're that nervous about your looks then consider investing in yourself first before investing in a relationship."
27. Stop being fake. "If I see one more profile that says the guy likes the 'finer things in life and romantic dinners' I will vomit."
28. Fill out your whole stinking profile. "Also, don't send one-line emails and expect me to do a lot of work on my end, like answer that message. If you don't mention something specific in my profile, like, 'I saw you like this band. I saw them in concert last summer…' then I'll assume that you just saw my photos and wanted to get laid. NOT INTERESTED. And if you say you're interested in a relationship in your profile, you BETTER BE INTERESTED IN A RELATIONSHIP. Otherwise you are a dick and are wasting my time. If I don’t message you back, then I probably never will. Do not send me a third and fourth message. It makes you look like needy crybaby psycho, and no one wants one of those."
29. Don't only see the physical. "Please don’t make references to how 'sexy' or 'hot' I am in your first message to me. I know. I have a mirror. Don't ask for naked pictures. Stop sending pictures of your penis. I repeat: STOP SENDING PICTURES OF YOUR PENIS. I've seen more bits of men in the last few years from men on these sites than I have in my entire life."
30. Make a move already -- er, as long as you're not a psycho. "When you ask me how my day is going, it makes me want to punch you in the face. Man up and talk to me like an interesting human being. Actually read my profile, and yes I can tell. Cut and paste messages are obvious. Don't expect me to give you my phone number or meet you right away. Conversely, please don't exchange messages with me, then texts, then a phone call, some email, for days (or weeks!) on end without, you know, asking me out. I'm not online dating to find pen pals. Then again, please don't contact me if you are crazy. Here is my favorite message I've gotten of all time. As SNL's Stefon says, it's got it all: Apologies, weird sexual put-downs, and is just plain gross."
Hi, I'll be honest here, I'm sitting here, masturbating to your pictures because you are relatively attractive and watching porn is so boring. I know how it seems and it's probably creepy to you. It's more of a compliment than anything else. Everybody does it and I just think you should know, I have nothing to hide. It would be quite the courtesy if you would want to watch me on Skype but I know that's not for everyone. No need to get naked or anything, I just get lonely and it's nice having another person around. I'm sorry, Steven
Now, please, please tell me what is enraging or brilliant on this list. What did I miss? What did I not have enough of or totally fail to address? (For instance, I had so many conflicting answers regarding admitting to meeting on the sites ranging from "Don't say we met on here" to "Why are you embarrassed that we met on here?" that I just avoided that topic entirely.) Did you also find it fascinating that the hugest difference between men's advice for women and women's advice for men was the raging debate about whether Tinder is just a hookup app or not?
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.