Please Put a Shirt On–A Woman’s (Mis)Adventures in Online Dating

A year after my divorce was final, and two years after my now-ex had left me, I decided it was time to “get back out there”. Generally speaking I am an independent person; I have no trouble going out to dinner or to a movie by myself. However, I also know that having someone to kiss and laugh with would not exactly suck.

Working in a school where the dominant population is married, middle aged, and female, the odds were stacked against me. Let’s just say that most of the single men my age, in my social circles, are single for a reason. So it is that I ventured to join an online dating service. I figured it was better than waiting for Mr. Wonderful to knock at my door.

A few months and 2000+ removed profiles later--yes, that figure is accurate--I am doubting the likelihood of finding my match via a website. Someone recently asked me why I had removed so many potential dates, and with that question in mind, I came up with a list of flagrant fouls men need to avoid when creating an online dating profile:

1) Gratuitous shirtless pics: It's one thing if you have a great shot of you snorkeling in Cancun, another if you are posing (and worse, flexing) in front of the bathroom mirror taking a picture of yourself! On that note, any picture of you in front of the mirror holding the camera is a turnoff. I would hope you have at least one friend, relative, or coworker who could take three seconds of his time to take a picture for you. In a room without a toilet.

2) No pictures: If you can see me and I can't see you, then no deal! I mean, I know we are an evolved society and we are supposed to be beyond surface judgments. But let’s be honest, even with a winning personality, we prefer to at least feel a twinge of physical attraction when we see you. Which means, we need to SEE you.

3) Terrible spelling and grammar: I have said it before, I am a renowned Grammar Grouch. If you cannot put a sentence together, let alone a quick paragraph highlighting your best attributes, I am not going to relate well! And that goes for writing your profile in text-speak, too (I wuz lookin 4 a grl 2 hang wit).   Not a fan.

4) Profiles that reflect a lack of growth/healing: What do I mean by this? Profiles that contain phrases like, "I have no time for cheaters/game players and just want to find a faithful woman, that shouldn't be so hard." Or “I don’t want any drama so if you are into messing with people don’t bother with me”. Yes, I did pull these from actual profiles. Although I agree with the general feeling of your comments, when you come across that way it tells me you still have some emotional healing to do before you go out and date someone new.

5) Hookup hunters: I am not ready to be in a serious relationship again. Meaning, I am not ready to get married and I do not believe in living together before marriage. Besides I have 2 little people at home and I would not bring someone into their lives until there is a serious connection, anyway. However I don't want one night stands, either! That means you guys who are looking for 'adult fun' or a 'girl who likes to play', etc. are getting deleted! Double that for those of you who say you are ‘looking for discreet, open-minded individuals’. Why don’t you just say, “I am looking for an affair partner” and be honest about it!

Bottom line, men: Put a shirt on, learn to make friends with Spell Checker, find a buddy to take your picture, and show a little class. The ladies out there would really appreciate that…