Written by: Chesty LaRue
It's a Tuesday night and you're starving. There's stuff you could make yourself in the fridge, but it's not what you're in the mood for. So, you pull up some website with a collection of restaurants delivering in your area and you spend the next two hours incapable of deciding precisely what it is you want before begrudgingly making yourself a sandwich or something because you're now too hungry to wait the 30-60 minutes for delivery.
Be honest, how many times has the above, or some variation of it, happened to you? If you're anything like me, that answer is “a lot”. Tragically, the above also happens for me a lot with online dating and specifically with dating apps.
I'll be feeling flirty, so I open an app and start swiping but there's a lot of matches and do I really want to commit to messaging one? What's my schedule like in the next week, are they even really my type? Oh, this one seems pretty cool. I'll message them. Oh! Somebody messaged me...annnnnnnnnnd it's a really graphic proposal that I am just BEYOND not into.
*cue The Sound of Silence*
Hello Hitachi my old friend,
I’ve come to plug you in again,
Because the fuck-boys, they are still here,
I haven’t had sex in over a year,
And the way folks act
On these apps, it breaks my brain,
Are they insane?
I do not waaaaaaaaaaaaaaant
a dick pic.
Novels have been written about digital dating, the way in which it messes with our minds, the way people use it, and the questions it raises about dating culture in general, but I'm not going to get into any of that because A) It's fucking depressing and B) I'm not here to lecture you, I'm here to help.
Whether you’re using a dating app to get physical or to find a relationship, there are a few fundamental truths to getting what you want and to just not being an asshole in general. Below is the holy trinity of App etiquette, 3 simple rules to get what you want and to avoid wasting your time.
If you want to be my lover, you don’t have to get with my friends (in fact, I’d rather you didn’t) but you do have to be honest with me. Honesty is hard, I know that, but if we aren’t honest with one another about what we want HOW THE FUCK ARE WE SUPPOSED TO GET WHAT WE WANT?
That being said, maybe don’t open with straight up objectification. You can’t know that someone is going to appreciate a really lurid suggestion or a picture of your downstairs playtime zone until you get to know them. To just go ahead and send something like that is both an invitation to be dragged on the internet and an asshole move.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being told on occasion that someone wants to fuck me through the floor, but I do NOT like being told that by total strangers. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer my blunt sexual propositions to come from folks I’ve known for some amount of time and those I’m relatively sure won’t assault/murder me.
I’m not saying don’t be upfront about what you want, I’m just saying try to be the least bit charming about it. You probably don’t want to put a laundry list of what you want in your profile, but it’s not a bad idea to put a cheeky line about what you want or don’t want. For example:
“I’m too busy to be anything but monogamous”
“Let’s see other people, together”
“I like long walks in the moonlight and the occasional spanking”
If you’re not comfortable being that up front with your preferences, that’s ok but you do have to make sure that you let the person you’re messaging know and ideally know before the first date/hookup. Honesty is an important part of consent and for those still unsure in 2017 (I’m looking at you, Harvey Weinstein and friends) CONSENT IS MANDATORY.
Honesty also helps assure you’re not wasting your time or someone else’s, which leads me to my next point.
2) TIME IS MONEY, MONEY IS POWER, POWER IS PIZZA
You’re a busy person, you’ve got a life with responsibilities and necessary tasks just like anyone else. So, maybe you put yourself on more than one dating app to hurry the process along and what could it hurt to open up the possibility of dating in multiple groups?
Well, that’s fine but make sure you’re not on fifty apps at once. Sometimes you might not get as many matches as other times but if you find yourself matching with a BUNCH of different folks you’re interested in, you’re in danger of becoming a television TV trope from the 90s and frankly, you’re better than that.
Try to limit the dating apps you use to one or two because realistically, you probably can’t keep track of more than that while remaining employed. Think about how much time you actually have to spend. Time, like money, is a finite resource. Dating (or even just hooking up) can be a time consuming process and do you really want to miss someone great because you were juggling three people you weren’t even that interested in?
Speaking of time, try to meet your matches quickly. This is in your and your matches’ best interest. People are not the same online as they are in person. I know this will come as a shock given how obviously wise and witty I am, but in person I’m not as outgoing and confident as I might seem. If you only chat via the app, you aren’t really getting to know the whole person you’re speaking with and even if you’re only interested in filling a hole *WINK* there’s still usually a level of chemistry needed.
And now for the last and arguably most important part:
3) TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE
Don’t try to mold yourself or your profile into what you think will attract what it is you think you want because here’s the truth: No one really knows what they want.
You could put thirty people in a room and get them to describe their ideal match and then go get one person who fits each description perfectly and I guarantee you that if the two groups met they would not pair off as expected.
Sometimes you don’t know what you want until you’re presented with it, so if you’re trying to make yourself attractive to a particular kind of person, you might be denying them the opportunity of being attracted to the real you.
I mean, I don’t know you, but I’m pretty confident the real you is better than some digital low-res copy.
I can’t promise you that following the above rules will guarantee you the match you’re looking for but at the very least, it will increase the chance of getting you what you want even if you don’t really know just what that is.
Best of luck out there folks and happy swiping.
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