Joe's 10 Handy Helpful Hints for On-line Dating!

Most of you who know me, know that I am an online dater, and that I've met a few people on line, a couple of whom I've dated for awhile.  It's worked for me.  And yet, if I'm honest with myself, it's with a touch of shame that I admit this in a public forum, because there's still the stigma that those who are attractive and worthy do not have to resort to this way of meeting men.

For those few of you who are still afraid to do this, let me dispel your fears (let me also clarify that this post is geared primarily toward gay men.  I think women should open their minds to on-line dating as well, but there is admittedly a whole side of that experience that I wouldn't even pretend to know about).

You know that as a gay man it's not that easy to meet people out in the world, because you can't assume the man looking at you for a prolonged amount of time at the Half Priced Book Store is gay.  And should you make the guess that he might be, there is a shitload of risk in that guess.  Maybe lots of other gays are out there meeting each other in the grocery store, the book store, at the taco stand...not me.  I've met a few at the gay bars, I WILL say that there's nothing more exciting than spotting someone adorable in public, striking up a conversation with them, and feeling the jolt as the two of you inch closer and closer, getting high off of each other's body heat, and then you feel his  hand casually graze your arm a couple of times.  I'm not saying don't keep putting yourself out there in the social world, but I am saying it wouldn't hurt to broaden your online horizons.  And besides...  

Everybody's doing it.  It's very prominent, and not just for quick hook-ups.  I know at least ten guys off the top of my head who are online, and most of them are wonderful, charming, very attractive guys.  This is a technological world we live in, this is the wave of the future.  If it helps you to think of it as for sex and relationships, do it.  And once you've decided to do it, you can follow these helpful handy tips!  Get ready for them...

               My Helpful Handy Tips for Successful On-line Dating

1.  Take the time to create a full profile, and do yourself the favor of having a friend that you trust check it out.  They might have thoughts about you that will help sell you as the unique and delightful soul that you are, they'll keep you honest, and keep you from embarrassing yourself. 

2.  Once that's done, stay active on the site.  Do this consistently.  It will keep you visible, and visibility is key.  Visit lots of profiles, rate profiles, message folks, take the silly personality quizzes, update your profile frequently (even subtle changes) and do it regularly, at least once a week.  Get your face out there.  You'll be surprised how shy even the cutest people can be, and if you take the initiative you'll be pleased by how many opportunities you'll get.  In online dating, as in life, you get out what you put in. 

3.  Answer lots of the "preference questions" and be honest.  It's the only way to keep your match percentage accurate.  You want to be open, but not too open.  And if the way your mate answers the question is important, admit that.  For example, if someone thinks being overweight is a deal breaker for them?  Then that's a deal breaker for me.  I have too many insecurities over that shit myself to have their possible acceptance of my weight on my mind.  And who wants to date a fattist anyway?

4.  Post lots of pictures.  And date them.  The main reason people won't contact you is because they worry that when they meet you, you will not measure up to your photos.  Nip that shit in the bud by putting up lots of different photos of yourself, photos notated with the dates taken so they won't have to wonder if that cute little pic of you is from 1998.  This picture things is my biggest worry.  I've got lots of pictures up of me, but they're cute ones and my biggest fear is that I'm projecting a false image.  I mean you don't want to put up unattractive photos of yourself, but neither do you want every shot to be "print worthy".  It's about balance. 

5.  Be positive in your profile.  Everyone hates writing those fucking profiles, and everyone also hates READING about how you hate writing those things.  Neither do we want to see a long list of things you are not looking for in a mate.  That will be apparent in the other parts of your profile, and the last thing someone needs is a reason not to message you.  You should be putting out reasons they should.  Now let's say you are really not into short guys and are determined to put that out there, at least frame it in a positive way (but be aware that that really cute, mildly insecure about his height 5'10 guy might not message you). 

6.  Be honest.  It would really suck if you created a self profile that you think is going to appeal to everyone and don't allow the guy looking exactly for who you are to find you.  Let your freak flag fly bitches!  I used to lie about my age, shave off five years, and no one knew.  But it eventually had to come out anyway, and aside from that it made me feel bad to be doing it.  Plus, I may have gotten more people to visit and message me, but they weren't likely the people who were going to be happy with me in the long run. 

7.  Keep an open mind.  Not everyone photographs well.  Some older guys are still fit and eligible, some younger ones are independent and mature.  Look outside of your list of must haves.  I've met some people who I thought were really hot and low and behold they were, but ten minutes with them felt like an eternity.  Equally, there was a guy that messaged me who I thought would be gangly and awkward and he turned out to be charming, romantic and beyond cute.

8.  If someone messages you, and you are interested, respond with a question pulled from the info you gather from their profile.  "Hey, how's your week been going?" is not in the least bit enticing.  Give them a reason to write back, take some of the pressure off, and let them know that you cared enough to find out about them, which encourages them to do the same for you. 

9.  For your first date, meet in a coffee shop, or a bar with food.  This way you can start with drinks and if it's going well you can extend it by making it dinner or lunch. 

10.  Don't sleep with them on the first date.  If you want anything that has a hope of lasting, do not do it.  I wouldn't even have them back to your place or head over to theirs.  And no, lengthy phone conversations do not add up to date one.  Ever.  I would highly recommend saving these kinds of visits for date four, when you know each other, like each other, and have spent some time exploring each other's mental and emotional lives.  Because once you start exploring the physical, it's easy to stop exploring everything else.   
Joe Hartman