OkCupid University: Etiquette 0500

Welcome to another installment of OkCupid University!  In case you missed it, you can find my intro to OkC post here.

Many of the most common question I get asked about online dating revolve around etiquette.  A lot of myths still abound about male/female interaction, and since the majority of my friends are heterosexual, that’s what I hear the most about.  I hate to be heteronormative, but a lot of this post is going to deal with being a woman looking to date a man, because that’s what I have personal experience with.  If you don’t fall into that category, I would love to hear from you about how your experiences differed from mine, if at all.

My Least Favorite Myth: Women shouldn’t send the first message.

I can’t believe I’m even addressing this in 2013, but since I’ve been asked more than once, it seems I have to: Go ahead and send a damn message.  Someone has to make the first move, and if you noticed him first, why shouldn’t you?  There exists this stereotype about girls who “chase” boys, girls who are needy and pathetic, and I know a lot of smart women who are afraid to make a move because of that.  Fuck that shit.  Say hi, mention something specific from their profile that drew you in, and close with a question related to another area of their profile that caught your eye.  Easy peasy, and nothing “crazy” about it.  Women who message men aren’t crazy or needy, they just don’t subscribe to bullshit theories perpetuated by the patriarchal media.

Real Faux-PasThe double message.

You know who really is crazy? The person who sends a follow-up message, when the first one did not receive a response. Especially a follow-up message like this:

“Guess you didn’t like what you see.  Sigh.

No matter what you want to say to that psycho, just don’t do it. Don’t tell them off, don’t buy into it, and most of all, don’t apologize. This is not someone you want to get involved with. They’re either emotionally manipulative, or they’re a child, and either way they are not fit for a healthy adult relationship.

There is one exception to this rule: If you have been messaging someone and you were setting plans with them but they disappeared, it is perfectly fine to send a follow-up 3 or more days later. Something like, “Hey, still interested in getting together?” Short, sweet, nothing emotional. It’s possible that they forgot to press send on their last message, but it’s also possible that they changed their minds. I won’t lie to you – it happens. All you can do is be an adult and hope they behave the same way.

Call Me, MaybeWhen to give out your number.

In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving out your number. I usually did it when we’d talked for a bit via OkC messenger, mostly to make my life easier. It’s much simpler to text someone about plans than to rely on them checking their account. Use common sense: Don’t give out your number in a first message, and don’t put it in your profile. I gave my number to at least 15 guys during the course of my OkC experience, and not a single one ever harassed me. Some people think it’s forward for a woman to give a man her number before he asks for it.  I guess those people really get a kick out of wasting time.

Set a DateAsking, accepting, and declining.

Do I really need to tell you that it’s totally ok for a woman to ask a man out on a date?  Really?  Because it’s totally ok for a woman to ask a man out on a date.  “Would you like to get coffee sometime?”  Any well-adjusted person would be happy to hear (or read) those words!  If you want to go on a date, there is absolutely no shame in asking.  Because guess what?  If he says yes, he wanted to go out with you.  End of story.

Now, what if someone asks you on a date.  Do you want to go?  Did you check out their profile, and make sure they didn’t answer any questions in a worrisome fashion?  Then accept!  Obviously.  Do you think it would be a total train wreck, ending with a thrown drink or you falling asleep in your chair?  Politely decline.  “I’m sorry, I’m flattered, but I don’t think we’d make a good match.  Good luck, and I do appreciate the invitation.”  Maybe I’m a little formal, whatevs, you can adjust it.  I’m not your damn secretary.

Show Me the MoneyWho pays?

This is a highly personal aspect of dating, and it’s something that gets many people’s undies in a twist.  To be safe, assume you’re going to split it down the middle. Don’t be a dickwad and order anything you wouldn’t want to pay for. I’m personally ok with letting someone else cover the check if that’s what they want to do. I think it’s polite to ask, “Are you sure? I don’t mind splitting,” but if they press I will let them pay. I might get flack for that, and I understand why, but it’s how I’ve always handled dates. If you hate to let anyone pay for you, that is certainly your prerogative, and I do understand the reasoning behind it.

Next up at OkC U: Playing the Field – Dating More than One Person at a Time

OkCupid University: OKC 101

Welcome to OkCupid University.

For my first course, let’s just take a look at the basics, shall we?  If you’re unfamiliar with the site entirely, know that it’s a free service and can be relatively private if you’re smart about it.  Mostly, it’s successful for college and grad students, and working kids in their 20s.


1.  Free sites are only good for hook-ups.  If people want relationships, they’re willing to pay.  False!  If you’re a student (undergrad or graduate) or you’re in your 20s, you probably don’t have that much disposable income.  You probably also feel like you’re not “old enough” for something like Match.com or eHarmony.  You can use OkCupid for random casual hookups, but there are people actually looking for relationships too.  We’ll touch on the beauty of signaling later.

2. Anyone can find you, so you shouldn’t show your face.  Ever.  At least on OkCupid, there is an option that allows you to be invisible to non-members.  The way I see it, if someone is a member and sees you on there, you’ve reached an impasse.  You could be outed, but they’ll realize you’d out them, too.  You absolutely should include pictures of your face – otherwise you look like a crazy person and no one will want to meet up with you.  Should you include your face, your home address, and your job title/company?  Um, no, do you want to be stalked?  Obviously, keep basic internet privacy and safety rules in mind.

3. It’s weird.  You’re weird.  Sure, there are some weird people on OkCupid, but there are weird people at your campus bars too.  Learn how to spot red flags, and you won’t have to worry.  (Also, carry pepper spray.)


1. Include at least one photo focusing on your face.  Maybe it’s a picture from a vacation, a cute shot of you and your dog/cat/rabbit, or a halfway decent self-taken photo that is not a mirror pic.

2. Include one fully body shot that’s flattering, but not obvious.  Again, vacation photos are great for this.  No judgment if you want to go for a bikini pic, but I would recommend it be cute and not too ~sexy~ unless you want to wade through creepy messages.

            A. Example: I included a pic of me in a bikini at the beach, holding my dog.

            B. Pictures from a hike, a 5k, etc. are also great, as they show some personality.

3. Include a silly photo that showcases a bit of your personality.  Maybe you play the ukulele, because you’re secretly Zooey Deschanel.  Or if you play D&D and you’re looking to snag a fellow player, post a picture of you on D&D night.  Whatever.  Don’t be afraid to show an interest of yours that’s a little less common – it gives someone who’s interested but shy something to comment on so you can begin a conversation in a way that’s not awkward.

Your “About Me”

1. I’m hoping everyone’s gotten over this internet phase, but just in case you haven’t, you are not random.  I repeat: you are not random.  Don’t you dare put “I’m really random lol” in your About Me.  You are not 14 and this is not 2002.

2.  Brevity is the soul of wit.  A short, well-written description is worth more than all the words you know thrown together in an attempt to sound interesting.  I recommend one to two short paragraphs.

3.  No one wants to hear you put yourself down or make self-deprecating jokes.  This is the time to focus on your good qualities, because trust me, they’re there.  If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?

Your “Looking For”

Really, this is a simple one.  Be honest about what you’re looking for!  During my last stint on OkCupid, when I met my boyfriend, I had checked only “new friends” and “long-term dating”, because I didn’t want to be casually dating a number of people.  You don’t have to check “short-term dating” if you’re not looking for that.  I think a lot of people make the mistake of checking “short-term dating” when they’re looking for long-term dating because they don’t want to appear too needy.  Forget about that for now.

Congratulations!  You’re now ready to move onto the next installment of OkCupid University.

I Dunno, Cupid…

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Hi pretties!

It’s been a very long time since I posted about this, but it’s exciting so I feel like broaching it again: online dating.  I don’t think I’ve ever addressed here, properly, why I like it and why I don’t think it’s just for crazy cat ladies.

I’ve actually met some nice, normal guys online.  Specifically, on OKCupid.  It’s free, and there are a lot of students – both undergrad and graduate – in my area.  Perfect, really, for casually dating or looking for something more serious.  I swear!  It’s true!  Guys who have respected me, had life goals, and carried on great conversations!  They just weren’t the guys for me – and that’s okay.

If you have the chance to check out someone’s profile before you go out, you can tell at least a couple of things about them.  In my experience, people’s pictures are pretty accurate.  I’ve never met up with someone and thought, “Wait, that’s him?”  Usually, people at least try to give you a decent idea of who they are.  You can find out if you have a couple of surface-level commonalities to at least get the conversation ball rolling, and it’s usually decently simple to weed out the guys looking for just sex and find guys actually looking for a date.  (I know!  I know!  Dates!)

I’ve heard this little pearl of wisdom more times than I can count: “Friends first.”  Here’s the thing about dating your friends: you can’t go out on a date – usually – and just take things back to normal if things don’t go well.  You actually stand a chance of losing a friend if you try and fail to date them.  Sometimes, this works out awesomely and you get to be best friends with benefits and commitment so like, you can cook dinner and then when you get food poisoning and can’t have sex later, you’re ok saying, “Hey, babe, I just vommed.  Maybe tomorrow.”  With a new dude, that’s intimidating.  So yes, sometimes this works very well.  But often, you lose friends.  It’s also confusing for people like me who like to know where things stand.  Does he have feelings for you?  Does he want to take it further?  Do you?  What does it all mean?

If you start on a dating site, you have at least a decent idea of what the other person wants.  They either want sex, a date, or a relationship.  They may not know which of those three they want, but they probably don’t want to just be friends.  So, if you go out once and you’re like, “Nah, dog,” it’s okay.  You don’t have to see him again if you don’t want to!  You can just keep going on dates with new dudes and practice your rad date skills ’til you meet a dude you want to go on a date #2, 3, 4, 5, and sex with! It’s grand!  Trust me!

Ok, fine, I admit – there’s a dark side to online dating.  Some people are weird.  Really weird.  If you’re curious, I actually once posted about my very first OKCupid date, which was not so nice.  But I promise you, if you do some decent messaging back and forth and listen to your gut, you will run into one, maybe two total weirdos.  And you will meet some decent people, even if you don’t end up with them.  I firmly believe it was a great experience for me to learn to casually go on dates and enjoy myself with new people.

I’m really sorry if this post was horribly disorganized!  It was a very long day.  I had an intermediate microeconomics exam this morning, wherein my brain decided it hated algebra and screw that, it wasn’t doin’ it.

Have you ever tried online dating?  What did you think?  Are you skeptical?

Safe & sexy,