My Guide to Internet Dating

I like to think I was an early pioneer of internet dating. At uni aged 18 I joined OkCupid when the site was in its infancy. I met a handful of bizarre men, and one keeper who is still a friend. I was in my element, flirting with strangers in my pjs, dishing out tidbits of information alongside bucket loads of intrigue. I thrived on the pre-first date butterflies; no matter how much you’ve spoken, you can never predict the live event.

Age 22 I was living in London and looking for love of the Jewish variety on Jdate. There’s a decent crop on Jdate, and the 5th guy I met ended up being my boyfriend of 2+ years.

Now 30, single and living in New York, I’m back in the online dating game in a big way (along with every other single person in the city). I like to think I’m honing my craft, getting better by the day at identifying true potential, and wasting less time on dead ends.

Here are my top 8 tips for internet dating:

1. CAREFUL PHOTO EXAMINATION

Don’t interpret arty, angled, from-a-distance, ‘I can’t tell what you look like’ pictures as creative, mysterious or unique. This includes: cropped facial features, mid-sports playing, isolated limbs, side profiles, pets, group shots, back of the head. A faceless snap, such as my blog profile picture (for anonymity reasons only!), would definitely get the alarm bells ringing. There’s a very good reason why someone hasn’t posted at least one head on, hat off, non blurry, smiling picture of themselves. The more ‘I can’t really tell what you look like’ pics there are, the more they probably have to hide.

2. STALK, STALK AND STALK SOME MORE

Why wouldn’t you want to know everything possible about this complete stranger to weigh up if it’s worth spending a few precious hours of your life with them? All you need is a first name as well as the company they work for, and within 10 minutes of focused LinkedIn stalking you can usually find them. Now you know their first and last name, you can go in search of their Facebook profile.

If you can’t find out their company name, be resourceful. I’ve stalked guys online via a play they were once in, a Rolex forum discussion, a product they invented… What I find doesn’t tend to put me off, but it helps me feel more comfortable.

cell phone lit up in the dark

3. PICK UP THE PHONE

When I’m not 100% sure I want to meet them, I pick up the phone and call. Organizing the first date is a good excuse for this. It’s amazing how much you can tell about a person from a phone conversation. I have eliminated many, many men through this reliable technique, including guys who were: too marriage and relationship focused from the get go, arrogant and don’t ask you one question, perverts who try to bed you at hello, bores with no chat, and avid Trump supporters. If a guy isn’t up for a quick call, he probably isn’t worth your while. Keep the conversation short; you want plenty to talk about on the first date.

4. MEET SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

I’ve made this mistake more than once. It only results in one thing: a build up followed by disappointment when they don’t match the perfect image you’ve conjured up over months of intimate conversations and phone sex. Before you know it you’ve invested hours building a relationship with someone who doesn’t oodle your noodle in person. Message anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks max.

5. MAKE THE MOVE

If you like someone who hasn’t asked you out yet, ask them. This isn’t Victorian England, where we stand patiently and graciously on the sidelines waiting to be courted. Chances are they are rammed at work and juggling 10 other online conversations. Bite the bullet and suggest drinks. You have nothing to lose. Everyone I’ve asked out online has said yes; the feedback I received was that they found my forwardness refreshing.

6. DRINKS ONLY

Never agree to dinner for the first date. Make it drinks or coffee only so that, worse case scenario, you stay a polite 30 minutes then make excuses and leave. If the drinks are going well, you can always move onto a restaurant.

two drinks at a bar

7. FAIR REJECTION

One of the hardest, most draining parts of internet dating is rejecting people. if you rock up to a first date looking like your pictures, hold a relatively engaging conversation, don’t offend them, and flirt a little, they will want to see you again. Once this happens a few times it’s an immense confidence boost. This is why you are going to have to do most of the ‘letting down’. My cousin, who met her Jewish surgeon husband online, once told me the best possible way is to tell them you had a great time and how lovely they are, but that you just ‘didn’t feel a spark’. No one can argue with no spark, but at the same time it’s not too ego-crushing.

8. DEDICATION

Lastly, you’re not going to float from one sensational date to the next if you don’t invest time. Friends at work constantly comment about how fun my dates sound, while complaining that they haven’t met anyone online. When I ask how much time they spend on their apps, they usually tell me they logged on for 5 minutes 3 weeks ago. The truth is, it’s a numbers game.

Here’s the math:

  • You swipe right (aka ‘yes please’) on 50 men
  • 20 will swipe right on you thus ‘matching’
  • 5 you’ll message but they won’t respond
  • 5 you’ll message and they will respond but you won’t like their chat
  • 5 will message you but you won’t respond because you realized you didn’t look at their pictures properly or you stalked their Insta and found their wife and kids
  • This leaves 5 you can have a decent online conversation with
  • 2 or 3 will materialize into a date
  • 1 of which you will actually like, or at least go to bed with, because all this damn app stuff has made you super fucking horny…

Happy dating 🙂

13 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    January 26, 2017 / 7:48 pm

    Love this!

    • shemadethemove
      February 28, 2017 / 6:05 pm

      Thank you anonymous!

  2. January 27, 2017 / 10:16 am

    This should be standard reading with the app itself!

    • shemadethemove
      February 28, 2017 / 6:04 pm

      Wouldn’t that be perfect 😉

  3. Catherine
    February 25, 2017 / 8:53 am

    Totally a numbers game! Great tips!

    • shemadethemove
      February 28, 2017 / 6:04 pm

      That’s the honest secret.. numbers numbers numbers.. online dating is a part time job!

  4. Rom
    March 21, 2017 / 11:34 pm

    I did read it and here’s my analysis:

    1. There should be a requirement on every dating app that at least one photo is passport style. Also, beware of people with only professionally taken photographs.
    2. Pretend the person is a suspect in a crime and you need to find as much information as possible to solve the case. Then get to work.
    3. If you can charm someone over the phone, then chances are you are a solid conversationalist. Although I think a lot of non-verbal communication goes out the window over the phone (How else could I have you ignore the stupid thing I just said by flashing my smile).
    4. I’m a big fan of spontaneous same day drinks.
    5. Confidence. Sexy.
    6. A drink or two are great in curbing the jitters.
    7. Honesty and respect, always.
    8. I sometimes swipe in my sleep. Or while in conversation as if I were squeezing a stress ball.

    Spot on. Great list!

    • shemadethemove
      March 23, 2017 / 5:37 pm

      Haha Rom I love your summary – it perfectly captures the essence of the post. Looks like we’re on the same page with online dating! Do you write as well?

      • Romulo
        March 24, 2017 / 4:43 am

        I CAN write I suppose. But all I can show for it are a stack of incomplete screenplays and well crafted sexts.

  5. Anonymous
    March 22, 2017 / 4:14 am

    Hi I got here via the NY Mag SDiaries thing. Good job. Also thought you might get a laugh out of the fact I’m a 57 year old mom (mum?) and still found the tips useful. Also read other posts, you’ve got the writing thing. I’m a journalism school grad and picky about writing. You’re doing well. For what it’s worth I married for the first time at 34 and had my kids at 36 and 39. Yeah divorced at 45 but that’s life. Best wishes and keep writing

    • shemadethemove
      March 23, 2017 / 5:46 pm

      Hi Anonymous. Not laughing one bit – thrilled to hear you found the tips useful. I’m hoping they’re age agnostic! I think having kids mid / late thirties is ideal…sounds like you’re doing it all right 😉 Wonder what’s next to come? Thank you so much for the kind words – definitely plan to keep writing. If you haven’t already, subscribe via email or follow my facebook page so you don’t miss a post! (www.facebook.com/shemadethemove/) xoxo

  6. Anonymous
    April 9, 2017 / 5:19 am

    This is the best dating advice, everything makes so much sense and no bullshit !

    • shemadethemove
      April 9, 2017 / 7:23 pm

      Thanks anonymous! ‘No bullshit’ is my middle name 🙂

Leave a reply