What It’s Like to Be a Woman In Online Dating

It’s an age old story.

Man goes on dating site.

Man assumes women have it easy because they get a ton of attention.

Man poses as woman on dating site to prove his point.

Man barely lasts two hours as a woman because the responses from his fellow men are so toxic.

Men scramble to approach women like rats chewing on a meaty chicken bone, and then wonder why women are so turned off by them.

Yeah, that’s about right.

Says the clueless man in question, “At first I thought it was fun, I thought it was weird but maybe I would mess with them or something and freak them out and tell them I was a guy or something, but as more and more messages came (either replies or new ones I had about 10 different guys message me within 2 hours) the nature of them continued to get more and more irritating. Guys were full-on spamming my inbox with multiple messages before I could reply to even one asking why I wasn’t responding and what was wrong. Guys would become hostile when I told them I wasn’t interested in NSA sex, or guys that had started normal and nice quickly turned the conversation into something explicitly sexual in nature. Seemingly nice dudes in quite esteemed careers asking to hook up in 24 hours and sending them naked pics of myself despite multiple times telling them that I didn’t want to.”

As a male coach for smart, strong, successful women, I apologize on behalf of all men. They’re generally not evil people. But they really don’t get what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes. I wrote about this in Finding the One Online extensively – what it’s like to be a woman dating online and how men need to up their games to connect. Hell, I just gave a TEDx talk about this very thing. Men scramble to approach women like rats chewing on a meaty chicken bone, and then wonder why women are so turned off by them. Says the original author:

“I would be lying if I said it didn’t get to me. I thought it would be some fun thing, something where I would do it and worse case scenario say “lol I was a guy I trolled you lulz”, etc. but within a 2 hour span it got me really down and I was feeling really uncomfortable with everything. I figured I would get some weird messages here and there, but what I got was an onslaught of people who were, within minutes of saying hello, saying things that made me as a dude who spends most of his time on 4chan uneasy. I ended up deleting my profile at the end of 2 hours and kind of went about the rest of my night with a very bad taste in my mouth.”

I apologize on behalf of all men. They’re generally not evil people. But they really don’t get what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes.

Well, duh. Welcome to Understanding the Opposite Sex 101, dude. It should be a required experience for men – just as approaching men and getting rejected dozens of times should be a required experience for women.

Ladies, have you ever had a similar experience to this woman? Guys, were you aware of how bad women have it?

Join our conversation (238 Comments).
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  1. 1

    I would have been interested to know, however, if any of the messages he received were from internet bots or scammers.  I’m not trying to say what he experienced isn’t true, but bots and scammers are plentiful on dating sites, to the extent that any reasonably intelligent person can smell them as fakes. 

    1. 1.1

      Speaking of scammers, be very careful of those who want to quickly send you pictures.  Pictures can be used to deliver viruses and other forums of malware.  So if your particular anti-virus doesn’t detect what they are using, you could be infecting your computer, and opening yourself up to giving a bank information and other stuff that you don’t want out there.

      1. 1.1.1
        Jim Gleeson

        Pictures can carry viruses, but only in very rare cases.  What you might be speaking of is people sending trojans that appear to a picture attachment, but are actually applications.  There are ways you can identify a file to make sure it is what it says it is.

    2. 1.2
      Tim Gordon

      Probably a fair number of them.

      Keeping in mind that I don’t even waste my time, effort, or money on bona fide dating sites in recent years, the free social networking sites that I’ve dabbled on through the years are thoroughly riddled with them. In my locale, a quick browse will turn up dozens, if not scores, of blatantly bogus profiles. The real ones are fairly easy to spot in comparison as either I recognize the people in the photographs, or else I recognize the picture background as being situated in this area. The scammer profiles with more than just one photo always manage to have pictures that weren’t taken within a thousand miles of here! Apparently they’d have me believe that they take a lot of trips to exotic places…

      On the other hand, one of the ways I spot real profiles is in how bad they are. The scammers at least TRY to make what they put up look presentable. The legitimate ones almost universally feature poorly taken pictures of people who would have MUCH better luck at the nearest dive bar or neighborhood drunkfest where no one present is in any shape to get behind the wheel. Those horrible pictures taken by/of the most unpresentable individuals the community has to offer are often accompanied by, well, nothing! They say nothing about themselves, and many times when they do post a few characters in an attempt to do so, not saying anything at all would have been the wiser choice.

      Speaking of wisdom, it’s tough to beat the old ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”. 

      1. 1.2.1

        I think the spammers and bots are purely a thing guys get. I have never encountered that as a woman and I have done a lot of online dating. I have however been asked if I was a bot or a plant or a fake profile paid by the site.

        1. cfluff

          Putting question put there ..what if anything is appealing and normal ? I .got a lot of agressive women who stopped when  I said I did not wouldn’t “hook up” …I liked the attention but when I told them honestly tgat I was selective.. I was left w out attention

        2. Jim Gleeson

          Yes, and that’s the other side of the coin.  Women are probably given the sex and other odes online all the time.  And men are being contacted by bots and scammers.  And the thing is maybe eventually he will find someone online who is real…and will not believe it.  So my advice is, if the guy doesn’t ask for naked pics, doesn’t have a personality disorder, and you like eachother…skype or facetime him otherwise he will have a healthy supply of skepticism.

  2. 2

    Yes. ‘Tis the bane of online dating. However, the sleazy ones reveal themselves quickly. If anyone outright asked me a question about sex: no response. If anyone feigns genuine interest and randomly sends election shots (text): no response. It’s the ones who say: hey what’s up? Or, write something very conversational, they tend to be more gentlemanly.

    1. 2.1

      Those election shots–you know, with the candidates and all–are really off-putting!

      1. 2.1.1

        LOL! Dang autofill

  3. 3

    Yes!  This chicken bone has done been knawed on too many times and that’s why I haven’t done online dating in a long while.  However, I’m coming to realize that if I want to meet someone (because it’s extremely hard working and trying to spend time with family & friends), it’s about the only option there seems to be.  And let’s face it, the only thing catching my eye in the produce aisle are the avocados.  

    1. 3.1
      Tim Gordon

      While I always try to look at things from both perspectives and will sometimes perform a search as a woman looking for a man to see how the male profiles are trending, I’ve never attempted to troll by posing as a woman and posting such a profile to elicit responses from men. I can certainly believe accounts of what the results are or would be, but I’ll admit I have much difficulty identifying with it. 

      Putting my own profile up, which is 100% genuine and as well executed as any that can be found on the Internet, has taught me just how deafening silence can be! 

  4. 4

    Been there, done that.  It is disheartening and overwhelming at times.  However, it’s no different than having people wolf whistle, and yell inappropriate things or make inappropriate gestures at you in real life (all of which I have experienced).

    And it’s not as bad as having people inappropriately touch you in real life like grabbing your breast, ass, or other inappropriate places, or rubbing up against on purpose when you pass them in a crowded space (all of which I have experienced).  I shudder even thinking about it.  Fortunately, I have a nice right cross, and not afraid to use it if someone purposely touches me inappropriately or purposely rubs up against me.*

    At least when you are on-line, emailing, or texting, you can just delete it, ignore it and/or block the person…though you do have to deal with that which has been seen, cannot be unseen.

    *NB:   I said purposely does these things.  Sometime accidents happen when in crowded spaces and people accidently rub up against or grab things to stop themselves from falling.  I am not referring to those accidental situations. 


    Having said that, I have continued to date.       

    1. 4.1

      OMG cat you are so right. I have experienced these types of things in public since high school.  and men wonder why pretty women are mean or look bitchy!

      1. 4.1.1

        Thanks for explaining why we look mean sometimes! I agree.

        1. Amy

          Agreed! That is why I look mean too. It works! 😉

  5. 5

    I’d be very interested to know what his profile picture, if any were used. That might explain some of it.

    1. 5.1

      No, I don’t think so. I’m an overweight grandmother and even I get that crap.

  6. 6

    My one experience with OkCupid lasted 24 hours because of this same response.  I am a 44 year old woman who put I was looking for a long-term relationship, not a hookup.  At first, I thought the requests from the 21 year old boys were cute, and I could ignore them. What sent me off the deep end and made me feel dirty was the request I got from an age appropriate man who told me he was married (at least he was honest about that) and was looking to meet during the day and during the work week for sex.  He gave the sob story about his wife being depressed and how she couldn’t be intimate with him.  I didn’t respond, but I wanted to say to him, “Oh boy.  I am getting propositioned to meet a married man during the week for sex and nothing else.  Woo Hoo!  Just what I wanted.”  NOT…He would definitely be getting the better end of the deal.   In my opinion, he should either try to work things out with his wife or get a divorce, not be trolling on internet sites looking to cheat on his wife.  I felt so dirty after this request that I deleted my profile. Now, I am on match, and not to say there aren’t perverts there too, but my profile seems to filter most of them out.  

    1. 6.1

      Hi Joy. I’m 41 and yes I get the married men too with their sob stories. If I respond I just say having an affair is not going to solve your “problem”. Good luck in your search. Then I block them

    2. 6.2

      The unsavory characters tend to hit on “fresh meat” immediately.  Once that’s done, unless you are highly desirable, and I am not, then it goes dead. 

      1. 6.2.1

        I agree starthrower68, and it seems to be getting worse. I’m getting many more scammers and guys who are just spamming I don’t know how many women to see if they get a rise. I’ve written to many men and haven’t even got a thanks but no thanks reply. I’m quite attractive for my age (over 50) and generally like my age group, no young kids or old men and I get heaps of mail from young guys who ‘like’ older women. Eeeeew!  
        There must be a real gem in there somewhere  …

    3. 6.3

      I have had so many married men contact me.. and I have grown weary of it. Most of them lie about it at first and just say they want a discreet relationship.  First red flag. When asked why they give the BS answer that they are private people. Now I just cut to the chase and say I know they are married. Then they give me the sob story. Then I just tell them they should be off the site and go work things out. I give them a choice. Get  rid of your profile in 24 hours or I am reporting to you to the site! Since I already have their admission in writing that they are married! I used to just block and ignore but that doesn’t help anyone out. They stay on the site and move on to the next person. I also believe that the sites need to get better at screening. And when someone is reported for being married they are PERMENENTLY blocked until they can prove they are single. This also goes for scammed. If I can spot the scammed profiles a mile away why ca’t the reviewers of the profiles for the sites do this? It’s easy on the lady’s side – they always say they are widowed, have only one picture up and it looks like it came out of a catalogue – because it did.

      1. 6.3.1

        I received a series of aggressive e-mails while I was asleep.  Starting at about 11pm and going on until the wee hours of the morning, one man sent me a string of e-mails, winks, games, etc.  The first couple were just a series spaced about an hour apart.  Eventually, he got beligerant and demanded to know why I wasn’t answering him.  (most people are sleeping at those hours)  The last e-mail was full of sexual aggression.  So I woke up to this string of increasingly beligarant e-mails.  I forwarded them to match.com and reported him for sexual harassment, and then blocked him.  A month later I saw that he was still on the site.  His e-mails were a gross violation of their policies.  I think it was grounds to be kicked off.  I haven’t gone back to match since then, I don’t feel very safe on there after that.  Not for him writing to me in that manner, but for the fact that match allowed him to stay after that.  Guess all they care about his getting paying members.
        And as for that BS about being a “private” person wanting a “discreet” relationship, you are right, that IS a red flag.  An old friend of mine just recently announced that she was “in a relationship” on FB, but when questioned about it, said she could not reveal his name, and that she had already put him “in danger” by even mentioning that she was in a relationship.  About 3 years prior, she had another secretive quasi-relationship.  I am really holding myself back to not be a “buttinski” and telling her to stop settling for these “discreet” relationships.  She deserves better than to be someone’s dirty little secret.

        1. Blondie99

          I had the same experience on match a few times and I reported it as well and they  would not remove him from the site.  It is all about getting money not people’s safety.

        2. Amy

          @Emerald, that is scary! Thank God, he was online! He sounds like he needs a life and cannot take a hint! He’s crazy.

        3. Rose

          I am over 60 and on three online dating sites and have experienced a few contacts from inappropriately aged younger men, not aggressively so …whew!  I ignore them, if you report them and are on there long enough you will see them again!  I have had a few contacts that were still married and one who said he wasn’t sure of his status as his wife wasn’t dead yet but it was sure to be soon as she was ill.  I bet he’ll be looking for a while.

    4. 6.4

      I get a few of those e-mails.  To find a smidgen of joy in it – I respond and give him the “what-for.”  what slugs.  Just tired, tired, tired of on-line dating.  Men, the kinda decent educated ones, decide that I’m not quite good enough or something like that.  The slugs are just looking for hookers.  Which means there are hookers on those sites – or at least women that do send icky photos after two minutes.  I’m ready to chuck it all in and be single forever. 

    5. 6.5

      Yes i too was also on that site and he was a good looking guy with brown hair and brown eyes…and he told me he is trying to work things out but wantsvto find someone on the side that shw wouldnt know about…he then would hide his pics at night.  i also envailed a romance scammer, who would use scripts that sounded to good to be true and wanted to me very desperately to get on yahoo messenger so the site cant track his interactions. But he wouldnt use his video chat.    Then he said he had to go out of town to china…eventually I kept doubting it all and typed his emails into google and they came up word for word…they are nigerian romance scammers and eventually would call your number and use your number internationally to text and call others…look into your apps on your phone u will be shocked at how much control they can gain and u never even know the apps are on your phone aame with your computer through messenger…that is their job…then they eventually get your bank info or ask u to send money…insane

      1. 6.5.1
        Jim Gleeson

        I am not sure that scammers can take over your phone just by knowing your number.  They may be able to do phishing scams on you if they do, but your actual number is more a gateway than anything else.  However, if you can give out evidence to the contrary, I am willing to listen.

        The way I have dealt with the scammers is just cut to the chase: ask for a Skype or facetime call or other form of video chat.  They always have an excuse, their phone is broken, their country has forbidden video, etc. They even go as far as to feign disgust thinking that the other person wants to do the whole webcam sex thing.  I don’t.  I just want verification that I am talking to who I am talking to.  I once got as far as a webcam conversation where it was dark on their end…and although they claimed it didn’t work, I could clearly hear them typing in the background.

  7. 7

    I’d occasionally get them, but mostly the responses I got were okay. Mostly form letters and one sentence emails even though I had a very thorough and well-written essay. I think the difference with me is that I’m not sexy. I am attractive, but in more of the “girl next door” kind of way. I chose not to wear anything flashy in my photos so as to avoid that kind of attention. Of course, I’ve  been online for so long now that I hardly get any attention anyway. 

  8. 8

    Mischa @ 5 brings up a very good point – what type of profile pictures were used?  

    I’m sure there are some guys who’d proposition a nun but I imagine that most guys are like me – they adjust their approach based on a variety of factors including pictures, an assessment based off of the written profile, and the correspondence.

    Some women have a profile that screams out sex – provocative clothing in every picture, comments about sex (veiled or explicit), etc.  I’ve helped some women with their profiles and it takes some effort to get the right message out.  If one is too cautious/conservative some men will not initiate contact and if one goes too far the other way there will be too much undesired attention.

    BTW, it’s not just guys who are sexually aggressive online.  I’ve had women turn the discussion to sex within the first few minutes of chatting online or ask if I’d like to see more pictures within the first few exchanges of texts. 

    Best advice I can give to women is to just block a man who moves much too quickly.  Don’t take it personally and realize these guys are taking the spammers approach… it doesn’t take much effort to send out a huge number of messages and if only one in twenty women responds then he isn’t too concerned about the 19 he annoyed or offended.


  9. 9

    Please post the link to your TedX talk! I’d love to watch it!

  10. 10

    I’m sure both genders have issues.  I have a thick skin so I guess I don’t see the big issue with just blocking all the bad messages/people.  And create a filter so you can narrow the types of people that can contact you.

    I’d think that beats having to create non-generic thoughtful messages to a 100 women.  Just to get a dozen responses.  And maybe a date or two from that.  That’s what a lot of men have to go through.  Now THAT must be exhausting as well.

    I really think, if you’re a decent man, you’re much better off learning how to talk to women in real life.  Online dating just has too many issues for both genders. 

    1. 10.1

      The problem I’ve encountered.. At least in America. Is that men do not approach women.. IRL.. So online is the only option.

      1. 10.1.1

        exactly, so very true. i never get approached even when i was size six at age nineteen

  11. 12

    My experience with online sites was informed by Evan’s advice and very useful it was indeed. The type of site I used (which was faith-based) meant that inappropriate messages of the type mentioned above were not overt and thankfully I didn’t receive such bizarre suggestions. There were definitely those who wanted to flirt and chat rather than meet- but nothing beyond friendly and these were easily bid farewell.

    Online dating is time-consuming but if you are emotionally ready to meet someone, steering clear of those who don’t seem right and meeting up with those who do is not arduous. The difficulty for me was keeping the faith that the right person would indeed show up eventually. What helped in this regard was making sure that the rest of my life – the aspects I did have influence over – were truly fulfilling so that the search online was but a detail – albeit an important one – not the only focus. 

  12. 13

    Evan, I know your material caters fairly exclusively to women (hey, that’s your audience, right?), and I don’t doubt these things happen but I did want to inform the ladies here of one significant issue (besides the oh-so-common “catalog shopping” mode that appears to be an overwhelming favorite .. <sigh>) that I (and probably others) have faced with online dating (I’m speaking of Match only; from what I can see, POF and OKC are primarily just hook-up sites). The issue is this: many profiles (I est. ~5-10%) are those of part- or full-time escorts (OK, let’s just call them prostitutes, yes?). Kinda makes good business sense when you think about it, right? Focus on target-rich environments! I discovered this on a number of occasions via message exchanges and within the second or third message, she’ll start inserting snippets into the conversation like  “Are you open to ..”, “Let’s meet anytime!”, “Donations appreciated!” and “Girlfriend Experience”. And it’s especially frustrating (and a little awkward) when I’m the one who initiated contact! Granted, I don’t think it happens at the same rate as those messages you mentioned, but it does happen enough to give me extra pause when evaluating profiles and communicating with women. This world is so different than what I was raised in and grew up in .. 🙁 

  13. 14

    I fully believe that these things happen.  You have men who have never been with a woman, even at 40 or 50 years old.  They are and were social rejects, and so now, no matter what stage they are in life, they figure they have nothing to lose.  It’s anonymous, so the worst that can happen is that they have to create a new email address and then a new account, when their account is banned.
    Then you have the men who are trapped in sexless marriages.  Same for them.  What’s to lose?  There is nothing to lose.  It’s anonymous.
    Then you have the guys whose wives completely let themselves go, so he is simply not sexually attracted anymore.  So same here.  It’s anonymous, so they figure that if they spam the site, they may get a nibble.
    All of these guys are looking for anything they an get.  Porn is only good in a pinch, when the wife is gone for two weeks.  Or used in conjunction with a healthy marriage/sex life, but where the wife has a lower sex drive.  At some point, you want human interaction.  Something is missing without it.  So they are happy if they can get some cybersex, or an in person hook-up.
    The real problem lies with the fact that all men are held responsible for their actions.  I mean seriously, even you Evan.   As a male coach for smart, strong, successful women, I apologize on behalf of all men. They’re generally not evil people. But they really don’t get what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes.
    Uhm…WOW.  I am not sure where to start with this.  First, you don’t have to apologize for me, because like the many good men that are also on those sites, I don’t spam their in-box. I don’t even suggest NSA sex, so I certainly don’t get mad about it.  I don’t ask them to take their top off.  I don’t ask what color panties they are wearing.  I don’t ask for naked pictures.  I don’t ask for pictures period.  The ones they post on the site are enough.
    Then the condescending, “They’re generally not evil people. But they really don’t get what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes.”  We that is true, but they don’t get what it’s like to walk a mile in our shoes.  I’ll spare the details, but it’s no cakewalk for us either.

    1. 14.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Rusty, I presumed you were too bright to say something this stupid: “The real problem lies with the fact that all men are held responsible for their actions.”

      Um…WOW. It’s a problem when people are held responsible for their actions? Actually the problem is that men are NOT held responsible for their actions. I would hope that dating sites would BAN men who send dick pics, who write 50 emails an hour, who curse at women who reject them, who can’t take no for an answer. But they don’t.

      I honestly think I gave you too much credit. You sound EXACTLY like the women who complain about men on this blog – especially when you take advice for men and say, “BUT WOMEN…!” Cry me a river, dude. If my advice to other men doesn’t apply to you, then just let it go.

      1. 14.1.1

        I think Rusty must’ve been deeply hurt and betrayed by his ex and extending grace is difficult. And of course because we are human it is difficult to forgive. Sometimes we believe forgiving the person who has hurt us the most is the same as letting him/her off the hook. But it actually frees us instead of them. 🙂

      2. 14.1.2

        You misunderstand, but I take the blame because my sentence is worded poorly.
        The real problem lies with the fact that all men are held responsible for the actions of some men.
        And, it isn’t just here.  In society, in general, this happens.  We men are even trained this way.  We play team sports and are taught that we are only as strong as the weakest link.  We often pay for the mistake of one man.  In the military, this is again true.   One person screws up, we all pay.
        The men that do those things in online dating sites will never stop so long as the site itself allows them to get away with it.  The ability is there to limit you to one initial email until the person responds, and or OKs you for unlimited contact.  Why don’t the dating sites do this?
        Online dating should be treated like regular dating, but even women here admit that they don’t do that.  I have read here and other places where women say that because of scammers, they won’t respond unless the man writes a long detailed message the first time.  That’s ridiculous.  Why would you put that kind of effort into somebody you don’t know, and in fact, we men also deal with the scammers.  I could write a long detailed email, copy it to Word, and just roll it out every time I contact somebody.  In fact, I am pretty sure many men who send long emails the first time do just that.  Why send long personal emails when it may be a scammer, or the woman may in fact delete it before reading it because she is getting 50 emails a day.
        If you met somebody at a party, would you walk up and just rattle off your life history and personal details before allowing the other person to respond?  Of course not.  So why expect that online?  At the same time, you aren’t going to meet at a singles party, or speed dating event and after the initial greeting, decide to leave the premises to go someplace more private.  That may happen, but not usually right after the greeting.  Scammers want to get you off site as fast as possible so that their actions can’t be witnessed by the dating site.
        So here is how online dating should go.
        A reads B’s profile, looks at pictures, and is interested.
        A sends B a flirt, wink, “interest” or a short email simply saying “Hi, nice profile.”
        B receives the notification of interest, or email, then goes to A’s profile to see if the interest is reciprocated.
        B then has a choice to send a notification of interest or an email, short or long.  Since A started the ball rolling, B has the right to insist they write the first real conversational email.  Frankly it is better if things are kept short, but shouldn’t be a requirement.  We don’t need to write life history emails.  Little details here and there are fine.  Scammers aren’t going to do that.  They want to get down to business very fast.  It’s a business to them, and so they become predictable.  I’m actually amazed at how quickly they will admit that their details aren’t accurate, or they have some sad excuse for not being where they said they are in their profile.
        Also, if the person is worth getting to know, expect that you are not the only person they are talking to.  Unless you have talked for a few months, it’s ridiculous to expect them to delete an account they likely paid money for.
        Profiles should also include some deatials that separate you from other people.  For instance, are you a physically affectionate person?  Not all people are, so this is something a physically affectionate person needs to know.  Are you a party animal?  A party animal needs to know this.  People try to be generic to appeal to a broad audience which is the opposite of what you want to do.  If she is getting 50 emails a day, it is her fault for not being specific as to what she is looking for, and by that I don’t mean looking for a Ph.D.  I mean, what will make a person’s personality mesh with yours.  Can you deal with somebody who has a totally different world view/political stance?  Instead we get, “sometimes I like to go out, and sometimes I like to say in.”.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Rusty @ 14.1.2 said “I have read here and other places where women say that because of scammers, they won’t respond unless the man writes a long detailed message the first time. “
          I’ve been on this blog a long time and I have never seen anyone say that. And I have been on other forums and have never seen that.  I have seen complaints about the generic form letters, the “You’re Hot” and the winks.   But I have never seen anyone on this or any other  blog insist on a long detailed first e-mail.  I have seen being cautioned about making that first letter TOO long and TOO detailed, but I have NEVER seen anyone say they won’t respond unless the letter is long and detailed.
          There is a very balanced middle ground between “You’re Hot” and a ten thousand word essay story of your life.  A nice 4 or 5 line, non generic intro letter, that makes a brief reference that shows he read the profile is fine.  And if you can get some humor in there, that’s a nice plus (but not mandatory) 
          One thing that I did like on match, that I thought was a nice alternative to winks, was the ability to comment on someone’s photos.   (But not a “your gorgeous” comment, but perhaps commenting on a photo of someone participating in one of their hobbies) 
          So whoever said (if anyone did say it) that you have to send a loooooooong detailed intro letter, don’t listen to them.  If you’re still doing the OLD thing, just send out some thoughtful 4 or 5 liners that show you read the profile.  No need to spill our your entire life story in one e-mail.  I have gotten those novels in the past, and it was a turn off.
          And yes, I know that men have to send out tons of letters to get just a handful of responses.  Another reason to keep it brief, but thoughtful.

      3. 14.1.3

        I think perhaps when Rusty said “The real problem lies with the fact that all men are held responsible for their actions.” 
        that he meant  all men (even the good ones) are blamed for the actions of the bad ones. IOW, the entire male gender takes the blames for the bad ones in the bunch.    If that what he means, it is a bit ironic tho, because he does like to blame the entire female population of America for the bad behavior of some the bad ones. 

        1. Karmic Equation

          Rusty is a “Do as I say, not as I do” kind of guy. He lacks self-awareness. He occasionally makes a few good points,. but his “anger” at American women is apparent. I suspect because he’s been rejected by them more often than not. Choosing to approach women out of his league. Maybe have some success, then his lack of self-awareness causes foot in mouth disease and the American women jump ship. Whereas foreign women may not have the same awareness of his foot-in-mouth disease due English not being their first language, so he gets away with saying stuff that wouldn’t fly with American women.

        2. The Worst

          I actually want to reply to Karmic Equation but for some reason can’t. I think it is really sad that you can literally go to sites like this dedicated to women, and other sites dedicated to men, and scroll through the comment section to see a lot of people talking past each other. You seemed pretty judgmental about what he was trying to tell you and I wonder why. Of course he gets rejected all the time, that’s the name of the game if you are a man. That is almost word for word the biggest complaint of men who have a hard time with dating. Now before you spread a few pearls of wisdom before this swine think about what I’m getting at. Often times people have problems that seem nonsensical to others. the man who has a hard time finding a date (from social anxiety, not general odiousness) asks for advice and is met at every turn with “just go ask someone out.” That would be like telling an anorexic to “just eat.” Look at the theme of this article, and the responses. A few down a woman says “I felt like a piece of meat” after getting 100 responses, she doesn’t give a time frame but from what everyone seems to say that could be anywhere from 1 to 7 days. What I see most men say after several months”I felt like a piece of sh*t,” I’m not really one for the oppression Olympics, but which would you rather feel like?

  14. 15

    Morris, I’d advise you that if you’ve tried online dating (OLD) and gotten dismal results, then delete your profile. If you’re hell-bent on online dating, make sure you’re one of the 5 % of top ranked males who can capture the attention of cute girls. Pictures (Physical attractiveness) are the most important thing online (and offline). If you have great pictures, the rest of your profile can be in Swahili and it won’t matter.
    Many time ago when online dating first started and Match.com was the only game in town, I told guys already that online dating is a complete waste of time and energy. Same with speed dating in any form (which also gained popularity around that time) or any quirky dating events that is design to get people together. My reasoning back then in 1995 is the same reason I’ll share today:
    People (especially men) come to online dating as a final front tier, almost as a last resort. The truth is that if you’re not a handsome hunk, you’re going to be likely rebuffed by the vast majority of women.
    Online dating is for people who haven’t had much success out in the real world….a “I guess I have nothing to lose” mentality. Now, generally speaking if someone doesn’t have success in real life (mainly men: since the distribution of male reproductive success -likelihood of pairing with females – is more variable and skewed than for the female reproductive success -greater mating variance in men than women-
    So all online dating does is delay the inevitable; even if you could buy a little time, all the stuff that you haven’t worked on, that forced you into online dating in the first place, will still come back to bite you.

    1. 15.1

      I would assume that this would apply to women, too? That online dating sites are a last resort and those that use it are delaying the inevitable?

      1. 15.1.1

        To a large extent that seems to be true. I’ve found that an enormously high proportion of women online are what I would have to characterize as, shall we say, “extremely troubled” or worse. If you can find a site where 20% of the women seem halfway normal, then you’re doing really well.

        Most women I talk to seem to feel that the proportions for males are about the same.

    2. 15.2

      I disagree about needing to have a hot photo; it just has to be better in comparison to the thousands of selfies taken in a mirror or the ones where the camera is so close to their face that you can see every imperfection. Cell phone photos make most people look worse than they actually do.
      As a research project, do a search for people of your gender.  You’ll see what I mean.  You don’t have to do much to exceed that.

  15. 16

    You may get 100 emails and you rule out 95.  Then you end up with 5 men who happen to be reasonable choices for 50 to 100 women.  So the end result is that you feel like a piece of meat with a ton of competition. 

  16. 17

    As someone who dated online on and off for about 4 years (with a 2 year break in between) its really not that bad. I’ve luckily never received a dick pic (though some guys just put them in their profile, I would always flag it and block them) I ignored the duds and the dudes looking for hookups and concentrated on the men I was interested in. Maybe I have a thick skin because I’m pretty used to men yelling vile things at me IRL. If its on a screen I can just delete it and if its particularly egregious, or a man contacts me several times, I would block them. I managed to date close to 50 men in a course of 20 months, had 2 starter relationships and met my lovely, live in boyfriend finally at the beginning of this year.

    A good profile, good photos and some flirtatious correspondence can take you from 1 date a month land to 2 dates a week in no time. Evan has some fine products for people who need help writing a profile, you can even hire a professional photographer. I’d recommend it anyone who wants to find themselves in a relationship.

    1. 17.1

      2 dates a week?   I had tons of dick pics and could go on a date every day of the month if I wanted to, but they were all bad dates.  It is about finding quality men not quantity.  I must be doing something wrong.    All the first dates wanted second many of them to the point that I had to block them from my phone because they would not take no for an answer.

    2. 17.2

      I absolutely agree. I just found a keeper after a breakup almost six months ago. I endured the “pups” trying to bed a cougar on okcupid (evidently there isn’t a way to filter these annoying boys on that site), got some really uncouth characters blocked on both okcupid and POF, fell for a married man (who was lying, of course) briefly from ourtime, but now found myself a wonderful, smart, funny, sexy man who is retired. I used the search criteria on POF quite extensively for education level as I really want someone who challenges me mentally.

      I would NEVER have found him in “real life.” I work in an office with one other woman. I had been sitting on those sites getting lots of messages but I changed my approach. I saw the research that okcupid did that showed that women will find a higher quality man if the woman sends out messages (women get a higher response rate than men do). So that’s what I did, and I ended up with SIX high-quality men to meet and get to know. My response rate was quite high.  (All were smart, educated, interesting, accomplished, and were my peers with owning their own homes, having jobs, having a retirement. I don’t need a man to support me, but I want a man who can take care of himself financially, and I make that clear on my profile.)  Out of those six, this man has fallen hard and fast.  He fell in love with me and asked me to be in an exclusive relationship before we had sex. (And it was all so easy and natural, I didn’t have to try to manipulate him.)  And I trust it. He is 61 and understands he’s lucky to have found someone so compatible.  This has happened to me twice in the past six years, and the first time was definitely true love, and he would have married me, except as time went on, I saw reasons that it wouldn’t work for me for the rest of my life.

      And oh, I did discover a technique that I think weeded out the men that I didn’t want:  on the phone before the meet ‘n’ greet, I mentioned that I had been “pawed” on the meet’n’greet by other men recently, and I said that men who do that “don’t get a girl like me.” It made my expectation very clear, and my guy wasn’t looking for a one-night stand anyway.

      So is it easy to find someone online? No, but Evan’s resources are invaluable.

      And, Singleton, I did end up with a handsome man, but beyond the criteria of wanting a man in decent physical shape who takes care of his body, as I do, looks were not the most important thing for me. The man I ended up with had posted, among other photos, pics of him at the gym that I found attractive. (I post a gym photo as well.)

      Online dating is an excellent resource for those of us who do not meet appropriate members of the opposite sex in real life. I think it’s unnecessary to paint people who are dating online as losers who can’t meet people in real life, as a previous post indicated. This is a site for people who are positive, and learning, and want to make this work, using Evan’s excellent advice.

      1. 17.2.1

        Haha, Lily. Good description. I’ll start calling them pups from now on. I asked one of them why he was messaging a woman old enough to be his mother. He said he liked older women and found me attractive. I sent him on his way. I think they’ve watched too many episodes of Cougar Town.

  17. 18

    I’ve done online dating on and off for years, with some temporary success but I am single now. I am only on Match because I paid for a year and am too frugal to quit! When you’re busy and have kids, like me, online dating CAN be a good option that connects you with men you wouldn’t meet elsewhere. But its strength–access to many men–is also its weakness. There’s almost too much choice for most people! As someone once said to me, it’s a buffet of dating. Unless they are creeps from the get go, I give most men three dates. I know well that not everyone clicks instantly on the first meeting.

    Still, because there is so much choice, I think many men (and women) go back online pretty quickly if they don’t hook up on the first date. If you ask enough times, there will always be someone willing to hook up. Online dating creates that access much easier. In fact, because men are willing to sleep with any woman, as long as she has a pulse, and there are women desperate enough to do them thinking they will do it well enough to get a commitment, online dating will be more advantageous for men than it will be for women. 

    Unless the site is specific to one category of people, based on faith etc, you will get emails from just about every kind of man out there, most of whom you’d never date in the offline world. I think, too, the weirdos outnumber the nice ones or the weirdos are just more aggressive.

    But I’ve experienced repulsive behaviour from the “good” ones, too. It’s like online dating and the impersonal nature of it gives men the leeway, even the permission, to behave badly. As someone mentioned earlier, the number of married men online is atrocious. And they all have the same excuses: my wife is boring, let herself go, doesn’t put out. Because I live in a relatively small city, I see men I know on there, MARRIED or coupled men, looking for women, some clearly lying about their status and even where they live. 

    All of these gets quite frustrating for women and you need to just quit once in awhile and be single. While I still believe there are good men out there, online and offline, once my membership is done, I won’t be investing in online dating again and will join a gym or get a hobby instead. In some ways, dating in my 40s is far more foolish than it was in my 20s.

    1. 18.1

      Everything you said is so right on, I could not have said it any better myself .  I am dating men in their 40s-50s and the atrocious behavior and false claims on profiles is staggering.   I could care less if a man is not happy in is marriage or wants to cheat, not my problem, he picked her.  What is so disturbing is that these men have no problem wasting a single woman`s time who is seeking  bona fide LTR.  And of course they will not advertise on an intimate encounter or NSA site, they would prefer to lie to a woman who would never knowingly have anything to do with them. 

      1. 18.1.1

        You have to love, too, the married men who, when you turn them down, even nicely, get mad and aggressive and call you a bitch, as if somehow you owe them sex because they aren’t getting it at home.

        1. Mona

          Ohhh yes, Taylor! My God! I Feel like stating (though I try to keep a somewhat positive/neutral profile up) on my profile that “If I DID want to ruin my karma and go against my own morals and sleep with another womans man, my profile would have STATED THIS”. But it doesnt matter. If youre reasonably pretty no one reads your profile anyway; its just about the pics, for them.  I also have to assume that the same jerks are sending the same jerky messages to the every unsuspecting woman within a 500 mile radius. Its not me; its them. I also want to tell married men that if I can get great SINGLE men then why would I want YOU? To hear about your problems of marriage that a single FREE girl never has to worry about. Ever?  That usually shuts them up LOL.  *shrugs*

    2. 18.2

      I guess I don’t see how this is really any different for men or women.

      Of the messages I get online (both responses and those initiated by women) well over 90% are phonies of some kind. Either prostitutes, con artists, scammers, sex-site operators, married women looking to cheat, teenage boys posing as women, spammers trolling for addresses, female prisoners, gold diggers, freaks, psychos, jailbait, catfishers, exhibitionists, drug pushers, and lots of just horribly damaged women of one sort or another.

      Yes, most of it is disgusting and repulsive, but that’s what the “delete’ key is for.

  18. 19

    While I received plenty of the standard solicitations for NSA/hookups, one of the biggest shocks for me while I was in the OLD World (Match.com & EHarmony) were the number of men who kept things “normal” during online conversations and then immediately suggested coming home with them on the conclusion of the first or second date- & were genuinely upset when I declined. 

    Nevertheless,  I’d like to encourage those guys on here who feel like OLD is only for the elite 5% of gorgeous/successful/etc. men… my sweet fiance and I met on EHarmony a little over 19 months ago. He’s a decent looking guy (I think he’s gorgeous,  but objectively,  he’s about average) & has a fairly low-profile but stable career & is in his mid thirties (I’m 28, in a stable career,  & girl next door pretty- ie. Not model gorgeous).  I loved what he wrote in his first message and on his profile,  we had a fantastic first date and 19 months later (5 days ago) he proposed.

    All I suppose I’m saying is– I think the right place/right time factor comes into play in relationships formed both of and on the Web. There’s plenty of unpleasant people online,  but every once in a while,  if you keep looking,  you may stumble upon a gem.  

    Just my .02 cents- but I think “average joes” are the best 🙂  

  19. 20

    “Maybe I have a thick skin because I’m pretty used to men yelling vile things at me IRL. If its on a screen I can just delete it and if its particularly egregious, or a man contacts me several times, I would block them.”
    Well, they key is that some males are more likely to use sexually coercive messages if they are disadvantaged in gaining access to desirable mates, a male frustration with sending emails to women who never respond or have a decent courtesy of sending an email back stating they are not interested but continues to ignore. Women should understand that this subset of rude or sexually explicit messages can be portrayed as the consequence of the frustration due to getting  low response rates. Because being shot down online is only painful in its cumulative effect.

    1. 20.1

      “a male frustration with sending emails to women who never respond or have a decent courtesy of sending an email back stating they are not interested but continues to ignore.”

      So I think there is a misconception among some male (and maybe female daters) that you are owed a “not interested” message. Its a strange belief to be held, really no one owes you anything. When I was looking for a job I would send resumes and individually tailored cover letters to several employers a day. Despite my efforts, I never heard back from 90% of them. Sure, it would be nice for them to let me know I wasn’t the right candidate but their silence was enough to let me know as much. Likewise, I’ve sent many silly/funny/flirty messages to men when I was dating online and heard nothing, again their silence spoke. Why can’t people just understand that just because they sent someone a message they aren’t owed a response, a response is sort of a nice surprise.

      Ultimately, if you send enough individualized, flirty messages you will get a bite. If you send out a copy and paste forms, a was up? message or worse, then don’t be surprised if you don’t get any bites. Read Evan’s Finding the One Online if you think it will help craft a better profile and better messages.

      1. 20.1.1

        why waste the time, in a cut and paste world with a 95 percent fail rate, even with his advice it would be foolish. simple economics, low success rate equals low effort. Dic pics and all the things woman complain about of online dating goes with the concept “you are owed nothing”, not even a response or a proper introduction. in other words it works both ways. humanity is earned not given.

        1. Maria Almudena

          Douglas: Sending unsolicited dick pics and insulting women on dating sites is NOWHERE NEAR the same universe as failing to reply to someone you’re not interested in.

          Julia is correct that no reply IS a reply in itself, and people of normal intelligence understands this. People of normal intelligence also understand that a woman needs to be interested in YOU first before they are anywhere ready to begin thinking about your dick. And insulting people for not being interested in you does not align with the concept of “you are owed nothing”, it aligns more with “you deserve abuse for not doing what I want you to do”.

          Your “both ways” thing doesn’t convince me. We are talking about ways that don’t equate at all.

          One of the reasons we women don’t send “thanks but not interested’ replies is defensive: because many men take even the politest of rejections as their cue to challenge us as to why/why not, to try to entice us with aforementioned dick pics  or to verbally abuse us.

    2. 20.2

      I’ve gone back and forth on weather or not I should send a “No thanks” e-mail or not.  I read a survey where men were asked if they wanted a “Thanks but no thanks” response and it was split about 50/50.
      If there was a “non offensive” reason such as distance, smoking or age, I might send back a a short note along the lines of   “Thanks for reaching out to me, but I am looking for someone local” to the out of staters.  Which I think was pretty generous of me, since I EXPLICITLY state that I am looking for someone within 50 miles of me.  (Zip codes show on match.com), so if someone from thousands of miles away reaches out to me, they should be able to figure from my silence, that I really meant it when I set a 50 mile limit. 
      I stopped sending out the courtesy notes tho, because I started getting arguments in return.  (at which point I blocked them)
      Seriously, a total stranger on the internet doesn’t owe you a response.  The silence says it.
      Many men (not all) as evidenced by the number of letters to this blog and other dating services think it’s OK to disappear without a trace or an explanation after sex.  I wonder if these same men think they are owed an explanation after a cut and paste e-mail to a stranger on an online dating site ?
      I got off of OKC because I was getting nasty grams from men along the lines of  “Why didn’t you write back to me” when they e-mailed me less than 24 hours ago. 
      And then there was the guy on match.com who kept sending me a wink, like, game, e-mail message every hour from 11PM at night until the wee hours of the morning.  I woke up and there were all his messages lined up.  Towards the end his letters got nasty and demanding, wanting to know why I hadn’t responded.  His final e-mail to me was a crude sexual remark.
      I reported and blocked him.   Match.com acknowledged receipt of my complaint.  A month later he was still on the site.
      The only reason now I could see to send a “Thanks but no thanks” letter on match.com is if you are trying to score an extra 6 month membership.  If you keep your profile active the entire 6 months and send out e-mails to at least 6 new people a month you (theoretically) can get another 6 months for free. So if you haven’t found 6 people to respond to affirmatively, I suppose you could make up the difference with a “Thanks but no thanks note”.  But otherwise, I see no point.

      1. 20.2.1

        Unfortunately as the culture continues to coarsen, it will get worse before it ever gets better.

      2. 20.2.2

          This is true, Emerald.  This is why (to the men writing a response complaining about the women) it doesn’t compare to being the woman on the site.  

      3. 20.2.3

        Same here. I too started out sending the no thanks emails, but most of the men would want to engage in arguments with me, get even meaner or ask me why I did not like them.   It’s like a stalker if you show them any sort of attention even a not thanks attention it feeds their interest. It is better to just ignore them.

      4. 20.2.4

        You owe no one a response. I found responding only encouraged them.

  20. 21

    It’s totally that bad, if not worse. They have no respect, decorum, manners or even anything interesting to say. It’s bad. I’m disgusted by how many of them talk about sex within the first couple of interaction.

    1. 21.1

      The “even anything interesting to say” makes online dating/communicating even more difficult.  I find the messages I receive include one of only four things:

      1. A comment on how I look in my photo (That’s nice, but did you read the profile? Saying “You’re very attractive” won’t automatically get you a date with me. I know you have eyes. I know you can use them.)
      2. A request to meet immediately — sometimes in the first or second message.
      3. Zero questions about me/my hobbies/my interests/what they read in the profile that would  spark a conversation
      4. A sexually graphic or curious question or observation

      They’re not engaging in a conversation. They’re not asking open ended questions. They want to meet immediately (as in, within 2-3 hours). They speak or ask about something sexual much too soon.

      1. 21.1.1


        What you say certainly makes sense. I’ve heard the same from many other women, complaining about the abrupt, crude, illiterate, or distasteful messages they receive.

        And yet – hearing this makes think that one would welcome a nice, polite, well-worded and interesting inquiry. Based on the number of complaints that I’ve heard, I would have thought that something like that would stand out like a sore thumb, and get a MUCH better rate of replies.

        But it doesn’t. Sending a nice, well-crafted letter that is thoughtful, interesting and makes it clear that the man has read what you had to say and is genuinely interested in you, gets no more interest than a generic “What’s up”, or a mechanical copy-and-paste job does.

        I really don’t understand why. If you really want a decent, interesting & interested man, then why ignore him when he DOES come along? Particularly given that women seem to think that such a guy is so rare.

        1. Kate

          I make a point of responding to anyone who has obviously taken the time to read my profile and writes a thought out, well pucuated, respectfuly response, whether I am interested or not.  If I’m not I thank him for his kind response but I just don’t think we are a good match but I wish him all the best on his search.  I have yet to have anyone respond poorly to that.


          If all I get is “ur hot” or “so sexi” then I don’t respond at all.  I think men who put the time into a thoughtful response will not be offended or angry because they are well adjusted, intelligent men. Men who cant take the time to spell out “you are” aren’t worth my time in general.

      2. 21.1.2

        I get a lot of comments on appearance too, but I am a female and if I like a guy I am the person asking to meet up on the first or second email. Here is why, 70% of those people are lying.  They post old pictures are five inches shorter, etc. You cannot find that out just talking to them.    I stopped wasting my time on that. You waste a month talking to someone only to find out they are liars. Plus chemistry is only felt in person.

  21. 22

    You grow up, and you have some kind of space in society and you know basically where you are and you know who would date you and who would not date you, who is kind of outside of your league, in general terms, and you know where you fit in the social hierarchy. 
    In my expe­ri­ences in the real world off-line, I’m able to attract some women who are of a middle level attrac­tiveness, even a few women moderately attractive. And I know where I am in the sociosexual hierarchy off-line.
    I have joined quite a lot of dating sites and you know, but I only get replies from unattractive/fat girls online (usually older than me),  all of a sudden I started wondering about where do I fall now in the social hierarchy?  I was trying to think about,  do I fall in the same place?  I’m kind of the same person online, but I look much less attractive in photo.  Right?  And would the women who would date me before in the real world would keep on dating me now on-line? I did not know why my success rate was far higher in the real world than it is online.
    And I found out, while average women can be collecting over 25 messages a day in online dating, for the men, data suggests that you’re screwed if you’re not above a high threshold of aesthetic desirability. Female daters are not aware that even moderately-attractive guys are getting insanely poor outcomes, both in appearance quality and quantity of girls interested. It seems that only very good-looking guys (on the 5 quintile of attractiveness spectrum) are who can capture widespread female interest. So we can infer in a rather cynical and sorely manner, that unless your profile photos are at the top of attractiveness spectrum, most girls won’t be paying attention on a dating site.
    Yes, it’s women, not men, who have unrealistic standards for the “average” member of the opposite sex. I mean there are few extremely attractive guys out there. The main idea as relevant to OLD is that when you take a populational cross-section of a continuous variable, such as beauty, you tend to find that “most people” fall somewhere in the middle, duh, with a decreasing proportion of the population as you approach either extreme. but women rate 80-90% of men as sub-par!.

    1. 22.1

      Have you seen the dating analysis reports that OKC publishes? Evan might frown on me putting the link here so I won’t, but it’s fairly easy to find with a web search. They have an extensive database of profile and interaction data patterns and have produced numerous analytical reports of what people write in their profiles, who they initiate or respond to (and who they don’t) all broken down by various demographic metrics and pivot points (interestingly, Asian and Black men get beat up pretty hard by women in general; a bit of a surprise to me). And most all of what you said is easily validated by this data. BTW, their report did include an interesting snippet “As a whole, women considered greater than 80% of the men ‘undateable'”. While I would agree that, for the most part, men flub at dating and most just dont take care of themselves. However, it also says about the general shallowness of women online and their tendency to treat online dating as “catalog shopping” (i.e. – “there’s always (or might be) someone better out there”).
      Personally, I have experienced the same issues you described. In real life, I regularly get extended looks (oddly, even from allot of men; and yes, I’m fairly certain most all of them are straight) and friendly, receptive smiles through the day and have little problem sustaining the positive attention of most all woman I give attention to. And yes, I do sense all the staring just like women do but I’m probably not as well practiced as most women at internally ignoring it. I figure my ‘close rate’ (securing a number and/or date) is at or better than 50% average. Now that may seem awful to some, but most single guys would say that’s good. And keep in mind that often times I will discover the woman I am ‘hitting on’ or flirting with has a SO (boyfriend, husband) sometimes even a girlfriend; hey, I’ll admit that my ‘gaydar’ is not perfect, I’m just not well-practiced with that. 
      I just turned 49 and I’m 6′-2″ w/ athletic build, no kids, excellent mid 6-figure career, well-versed in numerous subject areas, and communicate a dominate/masculine presence (most all men defer to me in public and even today I still feel a little awkward inside when this happens). Based on my experiences, I would estimate that I’m a solid 7 but when I get dressed up to go out (and I do dress well, thank you), I might easily pass for an 8 or better. I never say I look younger than my age, but I do know I’m considered more attractive than most all others guys in my +/-5 age range. However, online? … crickets .. Not a big deal really. I used online sites simply as a supplemental contact generator to reach those I would not normally encounter, as my life can be rather busy at times. I advise all men who will listen (those below the 90 percentile, anyways) not to expect much when using online dating. Instead, work to maximize your personal appeal, get out and talk to women, smile allot, act generous and kind, and look at rejection as your friend (it frees up time to focus on those women who are receptive to you!) and treat each rejection as a learning lesson that helps you get better at your approach game! For the guys, I will tell you this: always remember, women CRAVE attention! And thanks to third-wave feminism (and other reasons), there are a TON of bored and lonely (and lovely) women just waiting to bask in the undivided attention of a masculine and confident man! Go get you some! 

      1. 22.1.1

        Yes I’m aware of a bunch of studies based on dataset obtained from a OLD sites. Having said that, I think talking to women in-person is a far more efficient use of our time. Consider this. I was on OLD for about 4 months or so. I easily sent several hundred messages, and got a whopping <5% response rate. This means: only 1 out of 20 girls even RESPONDED to my message occasionally and seemed interested at first. Moreover once I reply back to them, they quite often stop replying. So I finally only could get a few real contacts from overweight & unattractive females  (often older than me). In the end, I was contacting  somen  I’d never speak with in real life (other than drunk at 5:00 a.m in a bar.) All of them were too far away from I can consider as potential mate, at least a long term partner.

        Honesly I came to OLD because off-line I face with a limited set of romantic options. I could not meet physically attractive enough women interested towards me. What is the pool of eligible mates for an average-Joe? i don’t know but anyway offline I have be able to date some girl within a subset of decent-looking women.
        However on dating sites I didn’t get replies or got replies from unattractive girls. So Increasing frequency of OLD effort and translated into an acceptance rate lower than offline world. And of course this receptive subset of girls will be likely in the bottom half of the beauty distribution. Really is it worth?

         Another question kept popping into my head: What kind of person succeeds in the world of online dating? Is it different from actual dating? Can you get away with more? Or less? Essentially, what do girls look for in a virtual partner? I tried to find out.

        To help figure this out, I made two fakes male profiles using photos of real guys I know. I took this photos from his real facebooks. Dudes who are 5-6s but both of them are dating two cute girlfriends (about 7-8s). I sent messages from this fake profiles, to countless female users, but the response rate were extremely low. Women who replied them were women below average and far away from the physical attractiveness of their real girlfriends. Really is it worth or online dating is futile?

        It seems as if  online women fantasizes about being swept off her feet by a Prince Charming. The inflated self-perceived sexual value these women develop spills out into the real world, making it more difficult to get replies back. Women on dating sites have astronomically high standards and they are fixated on the top %10-20 of the most handsome males. And  for the 80-90% rest of male population OLD is futile.

        1. Paula

          If you google stats on online dating, the odds for a man to hear back from a woman is like 1 in 20 or 1 in 25 (can’t remember). For women, it’s 1 in 5. So your odds are on par. Last time I did the online dating thing and sent out 10 emails and got back zero responses and these were men I thought were in my league. There’s no point in sulking about not hearing from women because it happens to women too.

        2. Al

          You keep mentioning that you can’t find “Attractive” enough women for your tastes. You have certain standard that you feel entitled to and only got replies from women you’d “never speak with in real life (other than drunk at 5:00 a.m in a bar.)”  Nice.

          Has it ever occurred to you that to those “cute” women YOU might be the loser no one would talk to in real life?  Just saying. 

          A lot of men seem to think that they have better chances with a woman online than they would in real life. Men hit on women on Match that they would never DARE try to approach in a bar. The sad truth is that your chances with that hot babe are not better online. In fact, there is as much, if not MORE competition for that same hottie online. 

        3. JennLee

          She’s right Steve.  The same way you look at those of us that don’t meet your approval, that is the same way the women you want are looking at you, and thinking yuck.”  Face it Steve, you aren’t going to get one of those top 20%.  If you were, you would already be getting them.  You have two options.  #1 which is the easiest and most realistic option is that you take a reality check.  Realize that you are never going to get one of the hotties, or even the almost hotties.  Then, you can start to go on dates with the women who actually will date you.
          #2 You can do a total make-over.  Maybe even get plastic surgery.  Get into a class at the local college.  Something that makes you interesting to talk to.  If you smoke, stop.  If your hair is not a professioonal style, as what you might where as a lawyer, get a new cut and style.  Find a few women you know that are friends or relatives, and are late 20a to early 40s.  Have them go with you to buy new clothes.  Tell them you want a style makeover.  Look in some of the magazines for inspiration, such as Vogue, Cosmo, Esquire, Details, Maxim and GQ.  The first two I read, and the other my boyfriend reads.  We never shop for clothes for him without looking through those issues to see what is in them.  We don’t pay attention to the obviously artsy pictures, the edgy pictures with high fashion models.  We look at the ones where it looks like normal people in a normal everyday picture.  If we were to see a certain type of shirt in several pictures in multiple magazines, we know to look for that.  It will also help with color selection and patterns.
          Get rid of anything edgy, like a nose ring or hipster beard.  You can maybe add it back in once you are in a solid relationship.  Clean cut sells to a wider audience.

      2. 22.1.2

        always remember, women CRAVE attention!” 

         No, we don’t. Some of us crave intelligent, thoughtful conversations about science, humanities, politics, or philosophy. Most of us definitely do not “CRAVE attention!” from a man who nourishes the fantasy that third-wave feminism creates “bored and lonely” women who desire a “masculine and confident man” to entertain them — (because, y’know, we’re incapable of hanging out with friends, participating in the arts, or finding other cool, exciting things to do on our non-work time). Yet you accuse us of being “shallow” and catalog-shopping — but when you do it, it’s a “supplemental contact generator” where you can conveniently ignore the women who don’t respond to you. Rest assured, we’re not craving attention from someone who thinks like you. 

      3. 22.1.3

        I’m a female in my mid 30s and I agree with you. I get close to 100 emails a week, I may respond to one.

        1. Christine

          Wow, if I may ask, how do you sort through 100 emails?! How do you decide who to write back to?  I guess you must be super hot to get that many.  I didn’t get nearly as much, probably because I’m more of a “girl next door” than a super hot Victoria’s Secret type.  I’m sure you’ll find your match.  If a regular woman like me can get a boyfriend through online dating, I imagine hotter ones definitely could.


        2. Blondie99

          Hi Christine this is to you but I cannot reply to you direct for some reason.  See that’s the problem you cannot possibly sort through all those emails in an effective manner.  I go with pictures just because it is quickest and the truth is that is a very bad method because I overlook a lot of guys that probably just do not photograph well and if I met them in person would be really great guys!  Most of the guys I met and dated were ones I personally messaged.   I can’t find a boyfriend online for this reason.    That’s why I wish men that email women would do so only if they met my criteria. Most of the emails are from men 15 years older or 10 years younger, who smoke who live across the country.  So yes I receive quantity but most is not quality.   Yes I guess I am hot but I don’t like to say that.  I am very petite 5’1 in good shape, DD natural breasts, with long blond hair.  I am also a lawyer and I have no children and have never been married.  Who knows. I actually stopped doing it because it was ineffective.  Too much work.    I could have had a date every night of the week, some weeks I did, but no quality and lots of liars.  I cannot imagine what women in their 20s must get!

        3. Christine

          I sympathize because I went through something similar–I didn’t have 100 emails, but also got regularly contacted by men nowhere near my preferences.  My memory’s rusty so I forget exactly what this is called, but I remember match.com had some mechanism where they filter emails for you, and stick those outside your preferences to some separate folder so that they’re not in your inbox. I actually found out about this by chance.  One day, some administrator suddenly emailed me, saying they noticed I was getting emails outside my preferences and asking if I wanted to set this filtering service up.

          I have stopped online dating after meeting my boyfriend, so I don’t know if they still have that (or if whatever site you’re on has that).  However, it’s just an idea–maybe you can ask the site administrator if they could do a thing like that for you.  If you could set something like that up, it would make your inbox more manageable.  Yes, you’d get less overall quantity, but I’m sure you’d rather get a few people who could possibly be right, than a ton of people who definitely aren’t.  Quality over quantity!  Good luck!

        4. The Worst

          Total lawyer move. Deflect the accusation of hotness then go on to describe a huge percent of men’s literal dreams both physically and mentally. Do you have a hard time with men finding you intimidating? of course i ask in an ironically flirty way because of the content of this article, but I mean it in all seriousness. I imagine you are stuck in a weird place where the men older than you are set into a bygone paradigm of socioeconomic operation, and younger men grew up in an era of tinder and dropbox.  A strange dichotomy to be sure, but one I imagine that poses unique dating challenges.

  22. 23

    I realize looks are important and both genders are guilty of going for the most attractive of men and women online. I have great pics, professionally taken, but in casual settings and I have all of my clothes on. 

    But it’s not about looks; it’s about polish. I no longer answer emails from men with no photos; a good number of them are married. But if you have photos, please let it be decent. No selfies in the bathroom without your shirt on. No photos of you taken from half a mile away. No photos of you with other women, even if they are friends/relatives (we don’t know that).

    Put on a decent shirt, shave and at least make an attempt at a good impression. I have met men online whose photos did them no justice and they were very good looking in person. I’ve also dated men who weren’t terribly attractive but hilarious and nice.  So I don’t always take the photo for what it’s worth.

    But all of these men had POLISH. They put some effort into their appearance. 

    I won’t respond to men who don’t even try and have shots of themselves in beer shirts and looking like they’ve not showered for days. With online dating, women have to take into account their own safety. We are essentially taking a shot on strange men we’ve met on the Internet. This is kind of crazy if you really think about it.

    If you look dangerous, we (well, some women) won’t put ourselves out there for men who  look sketchy. 

    Clean up, boys. 

  23. 24

    I do not understand why people think they must get a rejection note from somebody who is not interested. I myself am not comfortable sending them. I also really don’t care to receive them. I agree with the person above who said silence is enough. Does it really make you feel good to see a letter stating that they are not interested? Is there really a way to say that that does not sting even just a little bit? If you send out 10 messages on a day off, and then over the next few days you get 10 “no thank you” emails, is that going to make you feel better? Time is money. I don’t need to open up messages, hoping to get a nice replay, only to see it is a rejection message. Actually, I think getting a rejection note is worse, because you go to your inbox and see that you have a message from the person, and you start to get a little excited, then open it and get crushed. One isn’t going to be too bad, especially when you get one that is interested in getting to know you…but imagine having a bad week or two and you get nothing but rejection messages. It’s not going to make you feel better.

    I think online sites should change. Many of the dating services didn’t allow any communication until both parties agreed they were interested in meeting. Maybe online dating sites should have a “show interest” button to click, such as some of the Cupid sites do, but until the other person also clicks on “show interest” on your profile, you can’t send messages. It would also help cut down on the scams.

    Also, I do not understand men thinking it is OK to send nasty emails. Dating sites need to do a better job of policing that. Once can be excused, and given a warning. Second offense should get a temporary ban, maybe a week, or month, and then a 3rd offense should get a permanent ban. 3 strikes and you are out. If the person is not interested, then what good does it do to vent at them about it? It does no good at all.

    1. 24.1

      OLD sites don’t care about making the experience good for their users, or whether anyone actually succeeds in meeting someone worthwhile, they just want the money.

      This is why bad behaviour on OLD sites is generally not policed, unless of course, it’s one of those evil menz who sent a woman a pic she thought was offensive (even if it wasn’t offensive at all).

  24. 25

    Hi Evan
    Can you please post the link of the TED talk you gave? It sounds like it will be interesting:)
    Thanks in advance!

  25. 26
    Dina Strange

    You know what i encountered in my online dating experience. And i sort of want to make a statement about it. As a female who is 36 years old, and weights 115lbs…it’s incredibly hard for me to find a man in his 30’s who is not already fat. Something happens to men after 30 years old, where they completely let themselves go. I mean, i see a lot of men who let themselves go, gained weight, and just don’t look healthy.

    Guys, please – we women are as visual as you are. You expect a woman who takes care of herself, so why you let themselves go. I mean going to the gym 3 times a week, and eating somewhat good food and shaving and wearing clean clothing, it’s not that hard is it? 

    1. 26.1

      A lot of the men and women who get married really young let themselves go. I find men in their 40s who were married before look  much, much older than men the same age who’ve never been married. I get emails from men in their 50s who look as old as my grandfather.

      Marriage, for either gender, is not an excuse to stop taking care of yourself.  

    2. 26.2

      I’m 33, male, 6’1″, 180lbs (I just had to go back to a 32″ pants because I lost some weight). I have long well kept hair, and look a bit like Fabio. I own a house, 2 cars, no debt and have an upper 5 figure income running my own business.
      I’ve never had sex to completion (the two times I attempted, I really wasn’t into either of them, and gave up after a minute), and the longest relationship I’ve had was a 3 year on and off thing. When I was in my 20’s, I think I was a bit too needy and women sensed it. Now in my 30’s, I don’t care a whole lot, and hit on about one woman a month. Heck, I don’t even ask for their number. I talk to them for a few minutes and hand them my card. And no, I don’t play the “Baller” card, sure I’m worth $250,000, but the last thing I need is a gold digger.

      1. 26.2.1

        Women like men that make money. That doesn’t mean she is a gold-digger. Men pick women they are very attracted to – doesn’t mean that all he wants from her is her body. A woman may like that you make money – but don’t act like you don’t pick women for equally shallow reasons. 

      2. 26.2.2

        You sound pretty much like some I would message on OKcupid or POF (I am 32, 5’8, make 50k a month). Heck I message people with much lower incomes.  Anything over 25 k will do. Not because I am a gold digger, but because I am tired of dating men who tell me “Babe, I am broke, can you lend me $300 till my next pay cheque?” Usually I do not get responses from men I send messages to though.

        Guys that message me are usually freshmen from India that can barely speak English (and are a bit too young for me), unkempt men in their 40s (most of them in really poor shape) inviting me over for Netflix and chill, and bitter gentlemen  with obvious self-esteem issues.  Yes, I usually do not reply to those, because I feel I can do better.  I guess that makes makes me a shallow person.

    3. 26.3

      No doubt! I see this all the time too. So many men (supposedly) my age look older than my DAD. What’s up with that? And they all want young, hot women who “take care of themselves” too. Wow. Talk about hypocrisy!

      If you expect someone who takes care of herself to consider you then you need to take care of yourself first buddy.

      1. 26.3.1

        And the age appropriate men that DO look good and take care of themselves, have their act together etc. want the 23 year old Barbies! I am 41 and tend to either get the 25 year old kids wanting a “cougar” or the 58 year old men who want a younger pretty woman (but one who is free to travel and without kids!!) Finding a good looking, funny, smart 45 year old man is like finding a unicorn, and when you do find one, he is chasing the fairies!!

  26. 27

    So I was thinking of another type of guy that ends up on online dating sites, they are not sleazy, perhaps they should be called: “The Lonely Guys.” Now I have been guilty of attaching too early to men out of loneliness, but I’m not a creeper. The advances of The Lonely Guy get creepy, it’s almost as if it’s a Twilight movie and they have imprinted on you like the werewolves.  For example, one guy lived in a town a couple hours north of me, and he was insisting on taking me out on this amazing dinner and wining and dining me. The way he was talking to me, it was like we were already together. I ended up saying I wasn’t interested before he made the trek south, and he told me I was “cruel.” I believe another guy drove 2 and half hours from Chicago to my neighborhood. I had told him which neighborhood I lived in and he was familiar. He was trying to pressure me into getting together that day, and I had other obligations. I was really wondering if he had driven all the way up to where I lived! Then just recently I could see this guy attaching to me, because I responded to his texts (all day). I broke it off out of consideration to him, as I didn’t want it to advance any further, and he said that I had “played him for a fool.” We hadn’t known each other barely 2 weeks, had one brief date. To his credit, he wasn’t creepy. Beware the Lonely Guy, they think you are together simply because you talk to them a few times!

    1. 27.1

      When I was on match, I kept meeting “lonely guy’s” second cousin, and that is “friendless guy”.   I mean guys with ZERO friends.  Not even casual guys that they hang out and watch sports with.  ZIP.  Often times, family live elsewhere also.  As a result, they have NO SOCIAL skills.  (or perhaps they have no social skills and that’s why they are friendless)  Having “no friends” was never consciously on my check list (which is very short BTW) but I’m beginning to think it should be.  These zero friends guy always seem to end up being a bad relationship bet. 

    2. 27.2

      Let’s not forget the stalkers. They ask for a date instantly. The date is almost like an interview; all the questions are about you only, he’s compare’s you to the other women of the month….. you can barely ask any about him. After the date, the calls, text messages and emails begin… and he is begging……you disappear from the dating site. Six months later you return …. He appears again…. He waited for you!

    3. 27.3

      Sadly, there are far too many of these guys around. There was one who actually got angry with me for not shutting my profile down after merely exchanging a few short messages with him over just TWO DAYS. He thought that, once HE’D decided I was the one (prior to even meeting in person mind you), I should fall right into line and stop speaking to anyone else. Crazy. 

      I also hate the ones who pressure you to instantly meet up or give them your phone number right away and then imply you’re being overly cautious when you don’t comply. Women are not stupid for being cautious. We’ve seen what the internet has to offer. If you can’t be bothered to exchange a few messages prior to meeting and start employing coercive tactics you’re blocked. 

  27. 28

    Oh…and the “Send Me a Picture Guy,” (not the dirty kind). Why make demands so early? Sure, it’s endearing that you want a picture of me on your phone, but really? This one guy I thought was really cute wanted me to go and take a picture he hadn’t already seen. Feeling lazy, I asked him if he didn’t trust me or something. He said: “I just want to see a pic I haven’t seen.” OK….this tells me he hasn’t been doing online dating for very long, and honestly I felt a little objectified. I was so annoyed I had to go do something special for someone I never met, I instantly put him into the ‘self-centered’ category. I never sent a pic and he hasn’t talked to me since. LOL

    1. 28.1
      Karmic Equation

      I just tell men the truth. “I hate having my picture taken. I only took mine as a necessity for online dating.”
      To the men that I find very attractive, and have had a few text convos with, I’ll send them the best pic I have (which is already in my online profiles) – but which is very PG…of my very toned and tanned leg — and they NEVER complain. It’s very sexy but not remotely sexual.
      To men that I find only marginally attractive who ask, I usually just disappear on them.

    2. 28.2

      I also don’t think I’ve interacted with a send me a pic guy either, maybe after 1-2 messages but I would just ignore.

    3. 28.3

      To be fair, a lot of people (M & F) doing OLD use old pics, which may or may not be an accurate representation of the way they look today.  You’ve all heard of (or seen yourself) guys with pics from the 80s.  I went out with a woman once who looked in her 20s in her pic but looked about 15 years older when we met in person, and in fact looked almost nothing like she did in her pic.

      If someone asks you to send them a pic they haven’t seen before, it could be just trying to avoid a bait and switch. 

    4. 28.4

      Actually this makes sense. If I’m planning to meet a guy and something feels off to me I may ask him to send me a selfie doing something very specific (like putting a finger on his nose) so it can’t be an old picture he had saved from years ago. I got tricked one too many times by guys posting pictures from like the 80s on their profiles. They’ve even sent me selfies that were supposedly just taken that turned out to be 50 lbs and 15 years ago, hence the specific pose I ask for. In fact, ALL of the ones I did this with looked very different in the photos they sent me, probably because my spidey senses were picking up on something dishonest about them already. I didn’t end up meeting them. Its a way to weed out the dishonest ones. If a man refused to send me a current selfie I’d assume he had something to hide and wouldn’t talk to him again either. 

  28. 29

    I am going to layout a general timeline it takes to see what kind of person you are dealing with:
    Sleazebags/Casual Sex Seekers: Right away or within 2 or 3 email/texting (NOT sexting) sessions, they bring up their genitals, send you a picture of it, and ask for a shot of yours.
    The Lonely Guy: several interactions, it builds up
    Send Me A Picture Guy (not sleazy, mostly harmless): happens right away
    I Will Never Ask You To Get Together I Will Only Email/Instant Message Guy: Several emails will reveal this kind of guy, and they continue to say hi for weeks after you stopped talking to them. 🙁 (I feel bad for them)
    The Insecure Narcissist Asshole: 1st date, sometimes interactions leading up to the 1st date, in which case I recommend just not dealing with them at all.
    Normal Guys: Pretty instantly, don’t do anything weird, the 1st date is casual, pressure free.  
    Then of course there is when the relationship/personalities reveal themselves over time, that’s a different story.

    1. 29.1

      @GL: Yup, met all those losers. I really can’t stand the “I will never date you, just want you as a texting/email buddy”. Sorry, I have a life and time is precious to me. I can sniff out these guys very quickly and I block. Glad I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

  29. 30

    I am a fifty something distance runner, tallish, with a wiry, muscular build. My profile pics clearly show who I am and run the gamut from being dressed to
    the nines to running a trail marathon, liberally
    splattered with mud wearing a 2014 race number. No

    deception. I am up ffront about profession, education level, politics, that I live at elevation, that I am also a farmer. Communicating with me will reveal I teach
    medical subjects and have been the sole caretaker
    of a parent suffering from the long term effects of
    alcoholism and obesity. It seems as though guys deliberately self sabotage by holding the women
    they desire to a standard far above the one they themselves live by and by blatant lying.
    Maybe these dudes are desperate and are grasping at anyone and everyone.
    We all need to be the person we want to attract.  If
    you want a chick who is in shape, presents herself well, can afford to drive long distances for dates, go
    out to good restaurants/events, keeps a nice, well maintained home, is caring/polite/articulate/kind/well read, YOU
    too must be these things. If a woman drives 100 miles to meet you, you’d better have some resemblance to
    your photos, if you proposed a hike for a first meeting, you’d better be in shape to actually do so.
    Making racist/anti higher ed remarks to a female proff of color ain’t a good idea, just sayin. Having opinions is fine but know your audience. Older dudes with huge
    bellies, poor hygiene, no/under employment think they are somehow entitled to the best chick they can find. Turn em down and you’re a snob/entitled/elitist [email protected]#$%. Never mind that the rship would have zero chance of success. I have, for now, given up on
    on line after being on a number of sites. Cannot afford the time/huge amount of driving just to meet guys who are dishonest about who they are. Focussing my energies on visitors to the region that may be interested in living here.
    I really wasn’t being rejected, I was being constantly contacted by folk who obviously failed to read my profile. Pro-actively looking to see what men existed in my age range (50-75) revealed very few that seemed a good match. They weren’t contacting me cause they
    ain’t there, period. Very few on line guys are bad (those you report, then block), more like somewhat unrealistic. I too get really riled by dudes saying they want a LTR as do I, but really want a shag.
    Men do this and I’ve become really good at sussing this out. If I am not interested, nope, I do not reply. No response is considered OK, and I don’t wanna hurt some poor dudes feelings. I kept expectations low, did not emotionally invest too soon so no matter.
    I think on line works best for conventionally attractive mainstream folk and that’s it. Good looking, living in a city/suburb, average education level/lifestyle/goals and unfortunately, White. We older chix are not out to slam men; however, at this point in life, we know what does and does not work for us and nope, we do not wanna waste time/money meeting someone in a situation doomed to fail. Evan has stated that we all generally do best with equals, not carbon copies of one but someone who shares core values/lifestyle. Motorcycle lovers do best with chix who love to ride. Folks who are sedentary want someone on the couch next to them. Family oriented folk do best with family-orienteds. Active folks do best with active partners. It’s all good.

    1. 30.1
      Dina Strange

      You should NOT be driving to meet a guy. He should be driving to meet you.

      1. 30.1.1

        You’re right Dina, but when we are talking 100 miles one way, it’s fair to meet em half way the first time round. Also, since as a triracial, I am easily recognizable and it’s a small town, AND I live in a weird looking house high on a hill, it is waaay to easy for a problem child to find where I live, work, etc. Had a creepy feeling about one dude last year, was glad we met far from my home. Another drove here, asked the waitperson about me and got excellent directions to my house before even meeting me. 
        Good thing to be on the safe side at first. Was cyber stalked by a dude I never communicated with on two dating sites and he easily found out where I worked, then my work email and phone from our website. Creepy.

      2. 30.1.2


    2. 30.2

      Wanting an LTR, and wanting a shag are not mutually exclusive.

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