A Hipster’s Guide to Online Dating or Why Online Dating Blows

24 Oct

I am writing this because a friend expressed to me that he wished there was a Consumer Report for dating websites.  I’ll do the best that I can since I’ve had some experience with a few sites and know others that have traded notes with me.

Online dating is becoming more and more popular in modern day culture for those people that are emotionally available, but don’t really have a venue for meeting people outside of friends, friends of friends, or the bars.  I finally relented and started a match.com profile about two years ago when I recognized that I am awful with meeting/talking to women.  This is three years after my friend Slippy created an eHarmony account for me one day when I was at class in college after whining too much; I was listed as an alcoholic hang-glider that was obsessed with “The Jungle Book”….and I deserved it.

My friends, who are actually a pretty good-looking group of dudes (and chicas), are all mediocre to terrible with women.  Dry holes.  My friends’ girlfriends all fall under the category of girls who have only guys for friends.  I always shy away from dating a co-worker because of the whole “don’t shit where you eat” mentality even though I both eat and crap at my current apartment.

Here is my breakdown of some of the sites:

eHarmony.com – bitches is lookin’ to settle down ($)

match.com – more casual than e-harmony, but still largely geared towards long-term dating…it ain’t free either

okcupid.com – long-term dating, short-term dating, hook-ups, you sort of dictate your intentions…oh, and a ton of bisexuals

plentyoffish.com – subscribers akin to okcupid, minus the bi-bi’s, minus the profile detail

Until I see more success, I wouldn’t recommend any of them.  If you’re interested, try one of the free sites first and see what happens…

The guide.  For those that may be interested.

The most important thing about online dating is learning how to read between the lines on profiles.  In actuality, creating a stellar profile for yourself is the most important thing, but I can’t speak intelligently on the subject.

There are three different kinds of profiles:

1) A girl who makes a profile that assumes what guys like.

2)  A girl who whines about how no guys like her over a few glasses of wine and her friend/cousin talks her into joining and writes their profile for them.

3) A girl makes a somewhat interesting profile.

Examples of bios:

1) “First of all, I love my family and my friends more than anything.  I’m the type of girl who could throw on a pair of sweats and watch a football game with the guys or stay home and cuddle with a glass of wine and a movie =)  I like being outside.  I like puppies.  I like cooking.  Some of the food I make is really good.  I like music, especially bands that are good. I read sometimes.  I like being liked.  I like doing fun things.  I especially like doing fun things with good people I like that are fun.  I like to travel and I hope to go somewhere nice and fun soon.  I am looking for a guy that will like me.  A sense of humor is a must cuz I like jokes and laughing at funny things, lolz =)”

Ok, what have I learned from this?  Glad you love your family.  Why do you do like being outside?  Hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, tossing the frisbee, waiting outside the local elementary school playground in a trench coat?  Be specific.  What are some of your favorite bands or movies?  What is your favorite dish to cook?  I would say that more than 50% of bios are like this.  I got a bit hyperbolic towards the end, but believe me, it’s not that far off.

2)  “I am a confident young woman who is very happy and looking to meet somebody that is as successful and driven as I am.  People say that the first thing that they notice about me is my smile.  I exercise constantly.  I’m the type of girl that can make dinner and then watch the World Series.  My friends all describe me as outgoing.  I’m a good girl waiting for a great guy.”

These profiles are typically short and sweet because the sister that was filling it out wanted to make sure that they finished the entire profile before they finished the bottle of Riesling (spelling errors or mistakenly listing their sister’s height as 6’4″ instead of 5’4″ aside).  I find that these profiles are often linked to girls that have body types that are “Average” or the more honest “Curvy” (more on that later). The rest of the profiles are sparse and vague.

3) “Under ‘Animals that I like,’ why didn’t it list rodents?  I have a hampster named Philip.  My favorite movie is “Point Break.”  My life has a constant soundtrack of anything from folk to dance music.  I’m really into science fiction movies and books.  I’ll eat anything if there is cheese on it. Sometimes I eat Lumberjack Breakfasts because I need it.”


There is actually a 4th, but that is the self-deprecating types.  If you can’t get through a profile without crying or reaching for a knife, you shouldn’t be dating.

Now, there are a bunch of red flags to look out for.  We’ll start with the physical details and photographs.  This is the part of the article where I’m going to sound like a total dick (if I haven’t already).  Relationships are founded on a number of different things; intellectual compatibility, emotional compatibility, shared interests.  And sexual attraction.  Here’s where I’m going with this: girls never lie about their height unless they’re tall, but body type is always, always suspect.  I’ll explain with a key of sorts.

“Skinny” can mean three things: average, skinny or anorexic.  Be careful.

“Athletic and Toned” means she does exercise regularly, but her shoulders are broader than yours and although her thigh muscles are jacked, they’re buried

“Average” means fat.

“Curvy” means fat with big boobs, sort of like a stacked manatee.

“Full-figured” means zeppelin.

Next: photographs.  Prepare yourself for the most MySpace-y shots since, well, since MySpace was popular.  The shot-in-a-mirror bird’s eye view (between 45 and 75 degrees north) of a girl’s face obscured by bangs with a cheap low contrast effect that eradicates complexion flaws.  At that point, aesthetics and geometry have both been skewed and one has to assume that it’s for a reason.  Take every photograph posted with a cube of halite.  After all, these girls are choosing them as their most attractive pictures.  If you look at a picture thinking, “She’s got a pretty face, but I’m wondering why I’m offered an aerial view…” it’s because your date-to-be is shaped like an apple…with a pretty face.

Also, pay attention to third parties in photos.  Channel your inner Facebook stalker.  Shut up, you’ve done it.  If a girl is always with a group of girls that looks lame, that’s because she’s with her friends, and you’re going to have to hang out with said lame-ass girls.  If she’s with guys, good luck.

The rest of the details are pretty cut and dry.

Do you smoke? – non-smokers will immediately check “Never,” whereas smokers will check “Yes,” “Occasionally,” or more likely, “Never.”

How often do you drink? – if a girl says “Never,” guh!  “Socially” to “Regularly” runs the gamut from drinking normalcy to hot mess-dom.

Religion? – I’m not even going to go there.  But, pay careful attention so you don’t get into an argument about the Earth being formed only 10,000 years ago.

Do you have children? – “No” usually means no.  If the question is unanswered, it means “yes.”  Evaluate your baggage boundaries.

Income. – if a girl lists what she’s making that means that she’s assuming any interested parties are of the same income bracket if not wealthier than you are and they are likely looking for marriage.  Immediate distaste.  “I wine ’em and dine ’em, but I don’t let them tell me what to do…I don’t…let them…tell me…what to do.” – George Sr.

I know that I took a totally one-sided view of online dating and I’m sorry; that’s all I know about.  I would have to assume that it’s much different and/or harder for women.  They can be both selective because they are going to get “approached” (messaged, winked at) more than any man, but they have to try to weed through the obvious douchebags to try and find the appropriate suitors.  My heart is with you girls.

All in all, online dating has it’s perks…

Although I’ve been afforded dates/conversations with around 20 girls in the past six months, I still feel like online dating blows harder than an asthmatic during a peek flow exam.

10 Responses to “A Hipster’s Guide to Online Dating or Why Online Dating Blows”

  1. marenamitchell October 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I get that this is meant to be humorous, and I’ve never delved into the world of online dating, but for sake of argument, I have a few points to make.

    As a taller woman, I have never lied about my height in any context. In fact, I flaunt it and I even wish I was taller at times. And as for the whole body type thing, yes it does happen. But what do you expect women to do? It sucks, but do you think a woman will feel comfortable stating what her body actually is like when there’s so much pressure to NOT be the way you are? I could get into a whole huge discussion about societal pressures and the advertising industry and blah blah blah, but you probably am gathering my point from what I’ve already written.

    The way you can tell a woman is confident with her body is if she’s actually showing it in her photographs. In a perfect world there wouldn’t be an option to “pick” your body type, and in all honesty, most women just themselves too harshly, so if she puts “Average” she’s probably actually a perfectly normal body type. I don’t know what the options are for men, if there are any (buff, fit, scrawny, lanky, beer belly, the list goes on…) but I think you guys can probably be judged the same way, even though it’s not really fair for either sex. People are totally subjective to what “average”, “curvy”, and “skinny” mean, and everyone judges himself or herself differently.

    I think there’s huge flaw in online dating in that it forces you to base your attraction solely off of a probably false profile, misleading pictures because people are too unconfident to be themselves, and off of assumptions that you as the viewer are making. Seeing someone in person is a totally different thing, I’m a huge believer in things like pheromones; there are some people I’ve only been attracted to once I was standing next to them. I’m all for the old-school method of handling things.

    And for the record, equating a woman to a manatee probably isn’t helping our cause for positive body image.
    Quit bein’ a drunk and maybe you’ll be able to talk to someone.

    • the self-hating hipster October 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      Point well taken. I am in no way surprised by my lack of attention for reasons aforementioned.

      For the record, men are asked to click a radio button to assign a body type for themselves. Our options are something like: “skinny/slender,” “athletic,” “average,” “a few extra pounds,” and “heavy.” I have been made aware by female friends of mine that men are wont to do the same exact thing that women do in the way of “stretching” the reality of their appearance if not flat out lying about it.

      The same goes for both men and women. Online dating is a different dating beast. I agree with you that meeting somebody in person (smelling his/her musk) is a much better way to do things, but the people that are on these websites are there because they have had trouble in that arena. Online dating is geared more towards disclosure prior to meeting. For that reason, I just think honesty is the most important thing. Very few people are comfortable with their body, myself included, but I feel as though I would be doing myself a disservice by posting close-ups of my face and telling girls that I make a lot of money in my profile. I want the girl to have a vague idea of the piece of shit she’s going to meet. If she’s still interested, God help her.

      Furthermore, I am more sympathetic with women on these websites than guys who can’t get dates. Most girls sign up for these things genuinely hoping to find somebody. A large portion of the male subscribers are just lecherous creepers that draft emails like, “Yo, you lookin’ good…just sayin'” thinking that that is going to work.

      So, yes, I was harsh and myopic in my approach, but please take the bitter rantings of an asshole knowing that he has this on the brain as well.

  2. marenamitchell October 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    I agree with you 100%. I think it’s really awful that there is a lot of pressure for either sex to be something that they’re not, and it’s really unfortunate that those pressures are so strong that most people feel like they need to lie in order to be accepted by some faceless public that exists in the digital world.

    Honesty is obviously the best way to handle something like online dating, but as you’ve made clear, that rarely happens. And as you’ve stated with some of your examples, even when people are honest it sometimes doesn’t work either. I guess I was just trying to question why people feel like they need to lie. Men are stereotypically pressured to be successful (whatever the heck that means), and both genders have their own pressures to look and act a certain way. This of course is excluding personal preference, which can’t be determined on a large scale– like I said I’m just addressing the general masses. But just for argument’s sake, I could care less about how much money someone makes, or if his body is ”imperfect”.

    I know I turned this into something it was probably not intended to be, my apologies. I just had to get that little rant out, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on issues with gender and cultural influences and whatnot so it’s been at the front of my brain lately. I’d just like to think that women with big boobs aren’t feeing bad about themselves because they’re being equated to sea cows. And men who aren’t making a butt-ton of money shouldn’t get a bad rep either.

  3. Andee October 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    I don’t…let them..tell me…what TO DO.

  4. bobdoesthings October 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Marena.. you should start online dating and write a bitching (no pun intended) rant from the female perspective about how shitty most guys are. I’d love to read this exact post rewritten from the female perspective.

    • marenamitchell October 26, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      Rob, I think that is a challenge I’m willing to accept.

  5. mcm March 27, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    I tried online dating because I am a serious introvert and I was feeling extremely lonely. I thought maybe I could gain some new friends outside my city, maybe a soulmate. I talked to my therapist about it (I have clinical depression, because of genetics, all under control now) and he said to go for it. It sucks, it made me sadder, I didn’t gain any friends, nor prospects. Yes, it is very hard to deal with all the douchebags. I consider myself very very pretty, and very curvy (curvy, not fat, not fat at all), I thought everyone was honest and serious about this. I just got every type of sexual offers, and no one decent to have a deep conversation with. I tried to message a few guys who looked like good down to earth people, but know I think I get why they didn’t answer, they probably thought I was lying. Do you know/recommend a site where people only look to conversate in a non sexual way? I’m just socially awkward, and find very hard making friends. I’m so lonely, and i finally decided to be up front about it, instead of hiding it. Anything you can help me out with? Thank you.

    • the self-hating hipster March 28, 2014 at 12:16 am #

      I don’t have a definitive answer for you. The fact that you are honest is a major plus. The fact that you haven’t had dudes come onto you if you are a nice and truthful girl is beyond me. Then again, I am a dude, and I can be a total idiot. At this point I wouldn’t recommend dating websites. You have to put yourself out there if and when you are aggressively looking for a soulmate, a friend, a hook-up, etc… You may not meet guys at the bar, but you may meet someone one the board of a local NFP, or at the gym, or at the grocery store. If your MO is to settle down permanently, I would try match.com. I’m not saying that you can or cannot trust third parties, but it is a site geared toward more serious relationships. If you are just looking to meet people, try one of the free sites like okcupid. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? My best advice is to be picky. As a girl you are going to get all sorts of “interest.” Cull that list down and only invite those people into your life that you deem worthy. I know this sounds very generic, but I hope that it helps.

    • Arianna Higgins June 30, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

      I’ll be your friend!! Also lonely, pretty (hetero) female here looking for friends!


  1. You Were Right, SHH. Online Dating Does Suck. « the self-hating hipster - October 27, 2012

    […] those people are chumps, I can totally do that. Some people have said online dating sucks (see here or here).  I didn’t believe them either. Then I tried online dating; it […]

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