Bring Your Online A-Game

As a brazen cheerleader for dating website OkCupid, there’s a lot I can tell you about why your messages may or may not be attracting bees to your honey. It’s easy to throw the rules of conventional dating to the wind when you’re hiding behind a computer screen, but there’s one universal law you must remember when it comes to dating; both online and off– some people got it, and some people don’t.

OkCupid analyzed half a million first attempts at getting busy via their site. Their logarithm robotic dating magical tool considered keywords, match percentages, the user’s stats (i.e. height, religion, etc.) and even the contents of that fateful first message. I find that awkward, by the way. What if, somewhere down the line, you meet and fall in love with some OkCupid staff member who “knows you from somewhere,” and you two can’t figure it out, until halfway through your blossoming relationship when he wakes up in a cold sweat one night and shrieks, “YOU! You were the girl that used the wrong form of their/there/they’re in your first message to that guy that worked at Sotheby’s. I’m disgusted by you and your disregard for grammar. We’re done.” That seems extremely unfair. That’s like Googling someone before a date when you yourself have an extremely common name (or no accomplishments) and are impossible to look up. Some things are better left for when you’re married and already hate each other.

The results, for all of you who struggle to find love and sex (hint: Craig’s List. Much Easier) online, are below:

1. Stop typing like a fucking moron: Just as in real life, intelligence and faking intelligence go a long way. It doesn’t matter what school you went to, or what job you have– the use of “ur,” “ya,” “luv,” etc. is not acceptable. Type your first message as though your career is riding on it. Use spell check if you have to. E-mail it to your mom and have her proofread it, I don’t fucking care. Poor grammar doesn’t just say, “I’m dumb,” it also says that you’re lazy, you’ve got no one to impress, and essentially… that you’re a loser. There are enough losers to choose from offline. If you manage to come off as a loser online, don’t expect anyone to give you the time of day.

2. Physical compliments are creepy: Save words like sexy, beautiful, gorgeous, etc. for pillow talk, gun-jumper. Physical compliments are the simplest way to make someone feel extremely uncomfortable with very little effort. In a relationship formed offline, they’re acceptable; but when you’re attempting to talk to someone for the first time on a dating website and you’re dropping lines like, “Your eyes are so sexy 😛,” you come off as a blip on a neighborhood’s convicted sexual offender map. Lose that tongue face, too, while you’re at it. Words like awesome or  fascinating fend much better in the online dating arena (that doesn’t mean it’s okay to say, “Your tits are fascinating.” Never okay. Try talking about the person’s personality. If they don’t have one, keep it moving).

Drinking & Messaging is also a big NO.

Drinking & Messaging is also a big NO.

3. Saying “hi”= Cheesy: Using Hi, Hello, and Hey as a greeting is boring. Informal greetings like “What’s up,” “How’s it going,” and even “Howdy” (gag) garner more responses. But the salutation that fares best? None at all. Just get to the point. Save the coy greeting for when you meet in person.

4. Play indoors: Wanna e-mail? Use the site’s messaging service. Feel like chatting? You can do that via OkCupid (and other dating sites) as well. Asking for someones personal account is a turn off, and giving up that information puts you at risk: you could be giving a certain anonymous someone way too much access to the minutiae of your life. Someone that may or may not go away when you decide you’re not interested anymore. GChat is for friends and colleagues, not friends and colleagues and an OkStalker.

Beware of swingers. They don't let their prey escape easily.

Beware of swingers. They don't let their prey escape easily.

5. Mention something the person is interested in: No brainer. It shows interest and it gives you window to show that the two of you have something in common besides a penchant for browsing through nameless potential mates. Even if you’re just pretending to be interested in contents of their profile, it’s better than being like, “Hey. I work here, I like this, I’ve traveled here, I think it’s normal to send a perfect stranger a list of my accomplishments, hopes, and dreams, because I have nothing better to talk about than myself.” Thanks, dude. Let me know when you complete your autobiography so that I can not read it.

6. Be lame (for males only): I disagree with this one, but roboscience does not lie– chicks dig it when men are like “Ooh sorry, I’m so awkward. I apologize for intruding into your inbox. I just kinda thought you were fascinating.” As a smart woman once said (Ashley, my roommate): Men are either dicks or pussies (Sidenote: Why don’t they just fuck themselves then?!). Apparently, Alpha Males fare well in offline settings where cocky and aggressive men can be misconstrued as men who won’t hatefuck you and make you cry on Christmas; but it’s better to be a bit of an unobtrusive, indifferent pussy when you’re trying to score a chick online.

Hey there! Sorry I'm so awkward. It's part of my charm! HEE-YUK!

Hey there! Sorry I'm so awkward. It's part of my charm! HEE-YUK!

7. Don’t be religious. Seriously: While I’m sorta, kinda, anti-religion; #7 is not a thinly veiled attempt to widen my OkCupid dating pool. While mentioning any religion increases your rate of return, you’re likely to only receive responses from people of your religion. UNLESS, of course, you ignore or denounce religion openly. People who mention they’re atheist in their first message get the most responses. As OkCupid puts it, “…ideally you should just disbelieve the whole thing [religion]. It can help your love life, and, besides, if there really was a god, wouldn’t first messages always get a reply?”

Also, it helps if you’re hot.

stephaniehope1@gmail.com'
a born-and-bred Brooklyn brunette prone to excessive alliteration. Follow her on Twitter @omgstephlol. Read more here.