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Well, I'm entertained. I appreciate deep, thoughtful observations. As a teacher, I don't experience that as often as I'd like :)

I joined POF for a week and a half. However, I found it to be such a creepy experience, that I permanently deleted my profile.

Keep your thoughts and observations coming! :)

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I have used almost all of the major dating sites, and POF is the creepiest. It's free, so there are too many people who have such bad money habits they can't get a debit card.
Match has the best quality people around...most with a good education, and money stability, but you still might get some unwanted attention. eHarmony does not allow everyone to see your profile, only those who they deem matches, so your selection is limited but it limits unwanted conversations.
Remember, it's all anonymous, so you don't have to reply to every "hey babe" that comes your way online. ;-)

Edited by OKCPirate

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Thanks for the tips! I'm going to get this surgery over with and focus on getting healthy for a while. I don't think I have the emotional energy for dating at the moment :) but I definitely agree with your point about daily showers...for both genders!

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I am in a bind because I live off the beaten path. All of the bigger cities are along the interstate. I am an hour and a half from the interstate. All of the coastal towns are about an hour apart. The town I live in is the largest town on the coast, population about 20,000 It's pretty much going to be a long distance relationship because the locals for the most part are nit wits.

All the sites seem to have the same people on them. POF, OK cupid, and Match. Match is bad becasue you can read their profile, and message them, but then they have to pay to answer, and there is no way to tell who is a paid member. I can usually find them on OK or POF though. Then there is senior people meet who is also connected to our time. So if you're a paid member on Our Time, you profile appears on Senior Peoplemeet. So if I message someone at Ourtime, they can acutally be a member of Senior People, so they can't answer.

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I think that there is alot of variation depending on where you live, your age, what you seek etc. Here are my personal experiences...

for me the problem is never things like single guys not having good grooming. I am a successful career woman and so far have managed to only meet guys that have at least some basic levels of grooming and socially acceptable behavior etc. The problem is that I am picky. I only want to date men who I find attractive, have chemistry, have a compatible lifestyle and who "interest me" in terms of conversation, hanging out and enjoying their company. It really helps if they are both outdoorsy (hunters, hikers etc) AND have an interest in ubran things too. Here is the kicker - add in a level of fitness and activity that I seek (but not necessarily the triatheletes crowd) AND a bit of city tastes too. Turns out that is not to easy to find!

I think my biggest obstacle is frankly my age. I have a youngish looking face/body but I am 51 and guys always want younger women so I struggle with the fitness/activity level of men in the 55-60 range which is my realistic "target market"...haha

I dated someone for 4 months who was 5 years my junior and that was a good fit activity etc wise. I saw someone awhile ago who is in his early 40s - it was never serious and he eventually moved to another city. He called me a few months back to tell me that he had dated 3 other women since we had seen each other... and that he realized he really missed out by not pursuing something more serious with me while he lived here. He brought up the age thing and stongly communicated that he knew he would be better off with someone in his same "life phase" etc. and since he is also pursuing early retirement felt he and I were more on track with each other than the younger women he had dated.

anyway, none of that helps me ...haha... because men STILL prefer women 10 plus years younger and if they have the looks, fitness and income they have no problem (apparently) finding that. I am not depressed or discouraged, but it is a reality for me.

My Profile:

So, as far as profiles go - I have experimented with different approaches and I feel like I have struck the magical combination. I keep it light, lots of very flattering RECENT pictures that show me in all walks of fun and life (good face closeups, good full body pictures, pictures of me windblown on the beach and mountains, cocktail dress, cowgirl dancing etc... I get lots of compliments on my photos because they are diverse and show me enjoying life. What surprised me is that I get very positive feedback on photos that are not necessarily what I consider the "best" - like all made up and pretty. It seems like the ones that grab people's attention are me on top of a mountain, with frizzy hair blowing in the wind more than all dolled up. Even the close up one - i have a selfie that isn't really my favorite because I think I look goofy, but I have a huge smile and that one gets alot of compliments - my smile has been called megawatt more than once. Interesting. I think the point is to be honest and yet positive and upbeat - look like someone who is fun to hang out with.

For the write up, I don't get too detailed, I avoid negativity, I keep it light and yet give strong indication of me and what I considered compatible traits.

I also very much believe in "picking who you desire, rather than waiting to be picked" - you get a better quality pool of potential dates that way. I know that men want to pursue, but sending a brief, sweet but not too pushy or flirty intro email seems to not violate that "rule". Guys don't always respond, but many do and they are the ones I am interested in of course!

I have matured in my approach to dating and I don't know if it is my new attitude, but I am beating them off with a stick right now...haha... it is easy to let someone pursue you, let them know you have some interest but let them do the chasing when you have many potential suitors. in fact, I have to regulate just how many I can be in conversation with otherwise it burns me out and makes me jaded - so I have to carefully manage my approach so my energy and vibes stay strong, optimistic, confident and all those things that people find attractive.

Attributes of men's profiles that send me running the other direction:

-whining about how awful women are

-whining about how frustrating online dating is

-whining about how many fat women, liars, cheaters (or fill in the blanks) they have encountered in online dating

-whining in general

-too many detailed criteria/checklist of what they are looking for. Even if I think I meet the criteria, there is a point at which I think... "this guy has a vision in his head that no mortal can live up to" (note that even though I am picky, I do not put the checklist in my profile because I want to keep an open mind). Also, the most picky ones often strike me as not having that much to offer - I mean they don't have a compelling message of why I should be interested, but they give alot of details on who they don't ever want to hear from!

-photos that appear way old

-profiles that read like they are describing someone they want to be, not who they are

-anything that sets off that feeling of desperation or dejection

-small signs of being married, cheater etc. I have my things I look for, but this is tricky and is probably more intuition - so who knows if I am on target.

I don't worry too much if they aren't the smoothest writers, the man I dated for 4 months is highly intelligent and successful but due to his dyslexia, his profile was not the wittiest, cleverest or best written..

My experiences on the folllowing websites:

match - by far the worst - only tried it at the beginning of my dating experience. This is where I found the most players, liars (mostly about age) and otherwise sleasy dudes who LOOK like they are normal and respectible. Match has way more women then men so they get away with it there???

OkCUpid - I think in many ways this is the best site, but it lacks a "Hide your profile" option for free members. I also have a problem of getting wrapped up in the questions and forget to really focus on the guy...lol.

What I like the most is that the way the (optional) profile is guided really divides things into catagories. Example, under "what are the things you are really good at" - I list a few typical things then just for grins I thew in "can back up a trailer". I have received at least 10 messages from guys who say "you had me at backing a trailer and then when you mention you like going on the wine tours - you sound perfect"... that kind of deal. It is a quirky, silly thing to mention, but it gets alot of attention. Under "who should contact me" I mention about someone seeking a real relationship, but more importantly that it is someone who is less focused on the goal and more interested in the journey. I said this because I had personal experience of someone who was adament he wanted a permanent relationship/marriage potential but I sensed he was't ready and he indeed had a bit of a meltdown when things started becoming more serious. So, just like people who claim to insist on "low dram women" are almost always "high drama men" and I avoid them! I am just suspicious of anyone who is so dogmatically set on something like that, often points to their own insecurities or emotional discomfort on a subject.

POF - well, I have actually had the most success on POF but there is a basic trick that I must use and I suspect most women should use. Hide your profile. That means you don't get all the scammer, creepy, completely inappropriate type contacts. Those contacts make me jaded and I don't want that negative energy in my dating mentality. The way it works is the only men who can see your profile are the ones you contact first.

I have some thoughts about the email messages too... but this post is already long enough!

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  • @@OKCPirate is so, so right! Online dating is a numbers game! Ladies, if you're in it for the first time, learn to "date like a man". Meet as many people as you can and try not to take it too seriously in the beginning. First "dates" are interviews. Protect your personal information. Once they have your phone number, they can find the rest easily, so save that for someone you want to see regularly. I had probably 25 first date rejects for every second date. Mostly it was by my or mutual choice, but occasionally by his. Try not to let it sting when that happens. It's just feedback. It was exhausting. And fun! An a huge confidence builder! It took 9 months and probably 50 meets before embarking on my first long term relationship since my divorce. So go out. A lot! Be careful and enjoy the ride!

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Sheryl, You can hide your profile on ok cupid! It's not called hidden. I believe it's called disabled. You have to go to settings. Look under their help menu for hide profile.

I keep mine hidden because I am seeing Bill right now, but it saves you having to answer all the questions again. They save everything for you. You can open and close it 10x a day if you want!

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Right...but when its disabled in okcupid the people have contacted see it as disabled. pof is better because when you email someone they"see" you like normal.

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  • bikrchk, thanks, and it's possible to get a Google phone number. It's what my family uses when we sell stuff on Craig's List. It protects you until you actually meet. You might also want to create a dating email address too. One that is not linked to any of your social media profiles. I think 99% of the guys on online dating sites give the rest of us a bad name sometimes ;-).

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Almost 20 years ago I met and married a man I met on match.com.

It was probably blind, dumb luck that we met each other that way, but it certainly gave me a strong impression of what works and what doesn't -- at least about what works for me.

The thing that impressed me about this stranger's (now my husband's) initial contact was that he was very courteous. His initial email couldn't have been more than 100 words. He gave me his real name and real contact info right off the bat. That translated as: "I have nothing to hide, and I don't have any weird agendas."

In online dating, all you're trying to do initially is to get a conversation started. The conversation you start (if you can get it started) will soon reveal whether there's anything worth talking about. You're not trying to close anything early on. Besides, no matter how many keystrokes you type in your profile you won't get to know the person until you've started a two-way dialogue -- whether it's online or on the phone or in person.

My big advice: Don't overwhelm people with too much information up front. Be concise. Be honest. Be polite.

BTW, my husband is absolutely perfect for me. It turned out that we are immensely different in style, but incredibly alike in our basic values. Both our differences and our similarities have made us a very successful couple. As Rocky said, "... we fill gaps!" He is also the very best person I know.

OKC, I'm sure you're a nice guy. But I'd not have a positive response to your approach to attracting women online. Which just goes to show that it takes all kinds, and no one approach works for everyone.

And for the record, I think that Gary Halbert's profile made him sound like the most self-absorbed man in the world. He might have been successful in other arenas, but I'm betting the dude never found a mate.

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When I found someone on OK cupid that I wanted to contact, I told them I was going to hide my profile and gave them an email address to contact me. I do have one that I use for dating and it does not have any connection to me. Sometimes I would leave it open for a few hours and would tell them I would hide it again that evening, if they wanted to read my answers to the questions.

You can make ok cupid work for you, although I agree with CGJane that POF makes it much easier to hide your profile and send messages .

VSGAnn, that's so great you met your husband on Match. My friend met her husband there too. I wish I lived closer to the freeway. I would have way more opportunities.

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  • VSGAnn2014, I didn't know Gary, but everyone I know who knew him would echo your impression of him and would add other less than flattering remarks about his lifestyle, but many respected his marketing talents which were extraordinary. I love the example as a very good template of what seems to work.

Very good points about getting the conversation going. I find it interesting that sometimes a short email gets the conversation started and sometimes a longer introductory email works. I have tried both with equal success. As always it depends on the recipient.

But the main thing is to get the conversation going. I am experimenting with sending long (1000 characters), if no response waiting two weeks and trying short (less than 200). I'll post if I come to any clear conclusions. One thing I do know guys - "hey babe" does NOT work as an opening email.

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@@OKCPirate ... yes, "hey, babe" doesn't work. ;)

@@Oregondaisy ... actually, hubby and I lived 700 miles apart when we started chatting online, then talking on the phone, and eventually met each other. As I said, I think it was blind, dumb luck that we met online. We doubt we'd have ever struck up a conversation in real life. On first blush, we just weren't well matched. It was a very long-distance conversation that lasted several months before we met. By sharing so much information (about general topics, not just ourselves) we found out how much we had in common.

And can I just get an amen when I say how unreliable first impressions can be in the romance department? Not to mention, in the marriage department!

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As a recipient of opening emails from guys I think that super short does NOT work. Here is the classic dead end message.

"Hi - you are beautiful (or sometimes a less gentlemanly adjective us used)"

Let's imagine I actually want to reply to this message... what do I say? i have even tried actually starting a conversation from this kind of opening and then I get a reply like:

"Hi - are you having much luck fishing?" like seriously... you want to talk about THAT? About my dating?

I then come to the conclusion that I am going to have to do way too much work to ever get anywhere... so forget it.

I have received really really long intro messages too. they can go either way. One was very successful and was probably the most interesting email i have ever received. I in fact decided to meet him even though he didn't meet some of my ideal criteria (location for example). However, most of them are not that great and give too much detail too soon.

I think a more tried and true way to message is something in the medium range. It is really cool if there is some hint they read and understood what you were trying to communicate in your profile. It is nice to be complimented on looks too, but I like it when I feel there is a connection beyond appearance. Telling a bit about the self, and asking or commenting one one or two things that give me content to work with for a reply is even better. I will say that my current go around on OKCUPID is generating much more interesting contacts. The filtering is putting the weird stuff in the spam folder so all in all it is going well.

I like a little humor/ wit but that has to come naturally to a person otherwise it can come across wrong.

I also don't like anything that can be construed as negatively. Example, I have no idea why a guy would think I am flattered by comments about how many boyfriends or dates i must have. There are a number of other remarks that I don't find particularly flattering and I can only assume it is just that people struggle with what to say.

I am one of those that does NOT like endless emails. I decide pretty fast if I want to talk to and potentially meet a person so for me, it is really just those first few messages that determine if I meet a person.

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I was the same way too. I quickly learned that telephone conversations were a waste of time. Emails going back and forth for too long are not going to work for me either.

I agree. i want to meet as soon as I have decided I was interested. Now I'm back in a relationship and I am glad I don't have to do that anymore. Not for awhile, anyway!

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