It’s Friday night. You’re sitting alone in your room watching the same episode of Criminal Minds you’ve seen four times this week. Your dinner consists of a can of tuna and an entire bag of Tostitos, and you’re lonely. Your three queer roommates are out for the night, drinking and dancing and having fun, and you only wish you were as cool as them. No, not really. You just wish you had someone to share your Tostitos with.
In a moment of self-perceived shame, you open up your laptop and log in.
HEY! Yah, you, QTButch83! YOU HAVE THREE NEW QUIVER MATCHES!!
(First of all, can we just take a minute and ask what the hell a quiver match is anyway? Seriously, I think it has something to do with a bow and cupid and all that, but I just don’t know…)
You also have 47 messages from girls who 1. tell you about their pet worm collection, 2. ask you if it hurt falling from heaven, or 3. want you to join her and her husband in the bedroom for his fiftieth birthday present.
So how do you weed through all the crazy (and downright creepy) out there in OkCupid (or any other online dating site) Land, to find whatever it is you’re looking for?
I’m not an expert. But I did manage to meet my girlfriend on OkCupid over a year ago, and we’ve been happily together ever since. I’m also told I got lucky, only going out with one other girl before Jess, and only talking to a handful of…colorful characters. But the dating world is daunting, to say the least. Especially if you’re queer. And unless you’re one of those who feels okay going to your local Dyke Night and offering to buy that hottie a drink, there aren’t a whole lot of other outlets. Online dating can be fantastic. And the stigma behind it seems to dwindling as it becomes more and more common for couples of all types to meet through dating sites. But there are ways to up your chances of success.
- Know what you’re looking for!- So maybe you aren’t looking to meet your future wife. Maybe you’re just looking to get some. And that’s okay too! Whether you’re searching for a one night romp, or the great love of your life, or something somewhere in the middle, the important thing is that you’re up front about it. Before I met my girlfriend, I went on a date with a girl I met on OKCupid who sounded pretty neat. She seemed smart, funny, and relatively attractive, and after a few OKC messages, we started texting, and eventually met up. Right away she was all up on me, flirting and touching and doting. Also, she was drunk. We’ll get to why all of these things were a recipe for disaster. But for this point, I’ll say that it wasn’t until things got physical that she up and bounced, and I realized that she wasn’t looking for more than a hookup. I, on the other hand, was looking for more, and by the time we’d crossed that line, I actually liked this girl. Shame on her for not being up front with me about what she wanted right off the bat. But more shame on me for not asking. Whatever you want, just be straight up with it. Either the girl will be on the same page with it, or she won’t. That way, no one gets hurt.
- Don’t be a Prick- This one seems pretty obvious. Right? But how many online dating profiles do you see that could have easily been written by the Biebs on an ego-fueled bender? Do you really want to go out with someone who’s What I’m Doing on a Friday Night section says “banging bitches, drinking 40s”? You aren’t being funny. You’re just being gross. And no self-respecting girl is going to respond to that (also, don’t answer your Most Private Thing I’m Willing to Admit section with anything along the lines of “I look great naked.”). There’s a fine line between bragging about your sick motocross skills, and talking about yourself like you’re the second coming of Shane McCutcheon. The same applies to messaging. This is sooooo important. I learned this the hard way, in the post-messaging phase of my relationship with my girlfriend, when I made sure to tell her I was a great kisser. I think she probably barfed all over her phone. She told me later that she felt weird, because we hadn’t even met yet, and she wasn’t even sure she WANTED to kiss me. Which brings me to my next point.
- Flirt With Caution! – Congratulations. You’ve figured out what you want in a girl, and what you are able to give to someone else (because we all know that’s the most important part, right ladies?). You’ve made yourself a great profile with a few interesting facts and some pictures that look reasonably like you (if you turn off the lights and squint real hard). And hey, you’ve even found a nice, cute girl who responded to your message. She says you’re funny. She says she likes your tie in your profile picture. And she says she loves craft beer too, and it might be fun to get one together sometime. And then, she drops you her digits…”hey, texting is way easier. You should hit me up ;).” Go ahead, Casanova. Do it up. Text that girl. But please, for the love of the L Word, keep it clean! I think my point above is a pretty good example of how easy it can be to alienate a great woman with a few bad pickup lines. Now, I was toning it way back with Jess, because I sensed she was a lady, and not one to let anyone in her pants after a few dates. It was one of the things I loved about her. It’s fine to drop the occasional “you look beautiful in that picture,” but stay away from anything resembling a come-on or a sexual advance. Seriously. Just trust me. She will find out on her own that you’re a rock star kisser. And you will have plenty of time to tell her she looks smokin hot in that dress. All in good time, grasshopper. For now, stick with getting to know her, and keep the (blatant) flirting to a minimum. Remember, you don’t know this person yet!
- Give Love a Chance! (But Not Too Much of a Chance)- Look, I’m not saying love should be based on physical attraction. But let’s all just take a minute and be honest with ourselves here. When we’re cruising our Quick Matches, we aren’t looking for someone who also loves Golden Retrievers and baseball. At least not right off the bat (no pun intended). The first thing we’re going to see is someone’s photo. I’m certainly not suggesting you dismiss all other factors and go out with someone because she looks like Jennifer Lawerence pre-haircut (*sigh*). Of course not. But there’s that old saying, looks will get you there, personality will keep you there. And that’s truth, folks. Straight up truth. But what about that 99.99999% match who isn’t quite your female archtype? I say, go for it. TO AN EXTENT (and I say that with caution!), attraction can bloom over time. This girl, who may not strike you as someone you’d necessarily be attracted to, could turn out to be someone you really click with. That being said, I don’t really believe that attraction can be forced. Either you’re going to be attracted to her, or you aren’t. Don’t waste your time, or her time, messaging, texting, or especially going out with someone you know it’s just never going to happen with. We’ve all been there. Probably multiple times. It’s Friday night. You’re eating those Tostitos again. You’re lonely. So you pick up your phone and text that girl whose number is listed under “Jen OKC” and ask her for a drink. Don’t. Just don’t. Unless you’re a heartless bastard who doesn’t mind crushing people. You never know. Jen OKC might really be into you. And you might break her heart. Yes, give love a chance. Don’t shut the door on someone because she couldn’t necessarily be Beyonce’s sister. But don’t be a negligent dick either.
- Don’t Give Up!- All too often I hear friends say “I’m done with online dating.” And they walk away. For about a month, until they come back and re-activate their account. Online dating can be a great tool! But, as with anything out there, you have to wait! Not every date is going to be the girl of your dreams. You’ll probably have to sit through some awkward conversation, some sparkless first kisses, and some painful rejections. But with some patience, some hard work, and, let’s face it, a little bit of luck, you’ll find her. I did. And if I got that chance… any of you guys can.