dating again

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2012 was a rough year.  my divorce was finalized last august and for the most part i’ve been avoiding dating ever since.  i was only married for two years, but it’s hard to say goodbye to anyone you’ve been with no matter the circumstances.

if you’ve ever been single during the holidays, then you know how lonely it can be.  in december, a good girl friend of mine said, “why don’t you just sign up for match and get it over with.”  this felt like a dare, so i did it, and what a long, strange trip it’s been.

the whole concept of internet dating is weird to me.  it’s like fishing for people where you’re the angler and the bait at the same time.  you fill out a profile, put up a couple of pictures, pay some money, and wait for the line to start moving.  you just hope you have the right bait.

it starts with a good profile.  guys, if you’re thinking about signing up for match, spend some time on your profile.  women read every single piece of information on the screen.  i’m not kidding.  they’re actually interested in what you’re interested in and want to see if you’re compatible (shocking i know).  another tip: don’t choose a user name referencing the size of your package or what sports you play.  keep it simple by using half of your name or initials and some random numbers.  “billyluvsgolf” makes you sound like a tool.

here are a few other things you can do to stand out:

1) before they start reading your profile, they will see your subject line.  this is where you grab their attention.  don’t use cheeseball song lyrics.  try to think of something witty and if you can’t, then steal a line from a movie that you know girls like.  i used a quote from sixteen candles.  i realize it’s a little cheesy, but i received several emails finishing the scene.  bottom line is that it worked.

2) don’t say, “i can’t believe i’m doing this.”  it sounds offensive like you’re too good to be dating online.  i’m sure we all feel too cool to be dating online, but we’re on there nonetheless.  you’re just going to have to deal with it.

3) don’t just list things you’re interested in.  it’s boring and everyone lists the same things.  “i like to laugh.  i like music.  i like to travel.  i like having friends.” major fail.  instead, tell a story that makes them want to email you with questions.  i used my profile space to talk about an embarrassing networking event where i asked a guy if he liked music.  his response, “who doesn’t like music?”  point taken.  i received 2-5 emails a day with some jokester saying, “i hate music.  lol.”  hey, it got a response and that’s the name of the game.

4) post at least 4 or 5 current pictures.  i hate pictures of myself, so this was rather painful.  the worst internet dating mistake you can make is to show up to your date and look nothing like the pictures.  also, keep your shirt on and hide your automatic weapons.  bros, girls are only impressed by your abs in person and never impressed by your handguns.  true story.  one other thing: don’t post pictures of you with girls in them.  you don’t want potential dates to think you’re a pimp or you’re with your ex-girlfriend or ex-wife.

now that your profile is live, you can start fishing.  match is like facebook without having to look at other guys and babies and all the other s**t you hate about facebook.  you can scan any profile in your search parameter.  i almost guarantee you that you will have seen every profile in a 50 mile radius of your city in the first 5 days.  it’s addictive – especially if you download the mobile app.

once you find a girl that you want to contact, you need to email her.  don’t wink – it’s apparently creepy.  i learned the hard way.  i got a little tipsy one night and winked at 10+ girls.  i received 0 winks back.  i then noticed that several girls had said, “please don’t wink at me.  it’s creepy” in their profiles.  lesson learned.  instead, read their profile, pick out one thing, and reference that in a short – notice i said short – email.  there’s no reason to write a long-ass paragraph detailing why you think you would be compatible.  if she’s interested, she’ll email you back.  if you don’t hear back, don’t email her a second time.  move on.  you don’t want to look desperate and/or pathetic.  rejection sucks, but you can handle it.  i promise.

the next part is setting up the first date.  you’ll most likely email 4 times back and forth before one of you says, “we should meet.”  success.  here’s where things can get a bit tricky.  dinner should never be an option, so don’t suggest it.  some girls will say drinks, but don’t push those either.  i would recommend a middle of the day or after work coffee date.  plan on meeting her there.  it’s completely nonthreatening and the sun should still be out.  if things go well, you can transition into drinks and/or dinner.  if it’s a miserable date, then you can bounce early.  no harm, no foul.

if you’re not interested in someone and they keep emailing you, there’s nothing wrong with letting them know in a polite way even if you have to lie.  “i really appreciate your email, but there’s someone i’m talking to that i’m really interested in.  if anything changes, i’ll let you know.”  there were a few girls that i flat out did not email back and they kept on emailing me.  you know what that tells me?  they’re both desperate and crazy.  don’t be desperate and crazy.

at the end of my month on match, i neglected to renew my membership.  i went out on 10 dates with 2 second dates and 1 third.  i met some great girls that i’m sure will make some dudes really happy, but to be honest online dating is not for me.  i had trouble juggling the amount of work that goes into managing your match account.  it’s like a second job.  i’m not saying you shouldn’t give it a shot if you’re thinking about it.  i think everyone needs to try it at some point even if it’s just an experiment.  at least you’ll have some good stories to tell your friends.  i have plenty, but i’ll save them for the next time we grab a beer.

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  1. So sorry to hear about the divorce. I have been following your post off an on for a while, and really enjoy your subjects and writing style. As a person that tried Match.com in the past, I couldn’t agree more with your post. It is was definitely an interesting experience, but not one that I would like to renew either. Yes, you are absolutely right, the stories are better told over beers.

      • cooper
      • February 18th, 2013

      thanks for the kind words. it means a lot. this was a hard post to write.

  2. It’s so refreshing to see a man write about this stuff! Now if only men who were online dating could read this too haha. Very good advice. Especially 2 & 4. Shirtless pictures are very annoying and are a turn off.

    • Shane
    • February 22nd, 2013

    hey man, sorry to hear about everything. i’ve been a regular reader and i’ve always enjoyed your stuff. my girlfriend of two years and i split around christmas and 2013 has been a nightmare, but reading this post has helped. keep up the great work. and who knows, this could be a time that you look back on very fondly…

      • cooper
      • February 24th, 2013

      thanks, shane. i’m sorry to hear about your split as well. i hope things are getting better.

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