A question for the ladies

Ladies, do those of you that do online dating ever send an unsolicited message to a man in whom you think you might be interested? And to those ladies who do not take part in online dating, do you ever initiate conversation with a guy in a bar/grocery store/coffee shop/etc.?

Here’s why I ask. It’s no secret I use the dating website OkCupid and I’ve used others as well. My relationship with OkCupid is the longest I’ve had with any dating website, though over the course of the four years I’ve used it, I’ve definitely deactivated my account and reactivated it months later a couple times. But I digress.

Anyway, in my years using OkCupid, I’ve noticed that while I’ve traded many messages with many people, the vast majority of those exchanges were initiated by me. Oh sure, I’ve had people rate my profile highly, but I’m talking about actual exchanges of messages. The vast majority of the message exchanges in which I have taken part have been initiated by me. And in talking with straight, male friends who use OkCupid, the same is true for them.

And that’s kind of frustrating. First off, sending someone an introductory message is tough. It’s never easy to figure out what to put in one. They’re like cover letters for resumes. You have to customize each one because you don’t want to be the guy who copies and pastes messages from one girl to the next. That’s a lot of pressure.

Additionally, waiting for the guy to make the first move seems counter-productive, especially if you’re on a dating website. I tend to send messages to people who I know  have visited my profile two or three times because that usually means they gave it more than a cursory glance and found something in it they liked or we had in common. And when I send those introductory messages, often I’ll get this sort of thing in their response: “I noticed [insert profile details here] when I was looking at your profile the other day and am so glad you got in touch!”

But that begs this question: Why did you wait for me to get in touch instead of sending a message yourself? If I find myself visiting a lady’s profile more than two or three times, I’ll send her a message because she’s gotten my attention. And yet for the most part, even women who have visited my profile several times seem very hesitant to send that first message.

And so, ladies, here is what I would like to know from you:

  1. Do you send unsolicited/introductory messages via dating websites?
  2. If not, why not?
  3. How can a guy increase the likelihood of you sending them an unsolicited message? Or do you just have a blanket rule that you will never send one?

Thanks, all. I’m not trying to call anyone out here. I’m genuinely curious and would love to read your comments.


UPDATE: My Twitter pal Nycole, who blogs over at Secret Lives of Chicago Singles and her own blog, the Savvy Brunette, commented on this post with a link to something she wrote about this very same topic. It doesn’t answer the question of WHY ladies often don’t make the first move (though it does ask it), but it definitely takes them to task for not making it. Click here to read it. Seriously. Read it.

UPDATE 2: Also, just for the record, I know that no real evidence exists to prove my correlation between repeated views of my profile and actual interest in me as a potential dating partner. That said, I think the idea makes a lot of sense and I can’t think of any better way to even theoretically gauge interest in me as a dating partner. So I’m going with it until some scientist comes up with a better method to gauge how interested the female population of OkCupid is in me. Any scientists reading this … make that happen!

Categories: Dating - horror or otherwise | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “A question for the ladies

  1. I wrote a blog post about this not too long ago, encouraging women to “grow some balls” and just say hi to men. I have done it and I see nothing wrong with it. I have several friends who do online dating and they act as if a hello is the end of the world. I think that is crazy, especially on paid websites. If you’re going to pay for a dating profile but just sit and wait for people to say hi to you, you are wasting your time and kinda nuts!

    I don’t think a man can do anything besides have good pictures and a nice write up that will make women say hi more. We are just like you. I think we say hi for the same reasons men do. We might be more particular to avoid rejection.

    Here is my post if you’d like to check it out – http://www.thesavvybrunette.com/2013/08/online-dating-can-women-make-moves-too.html

    • Bill M.

      I think your blog post nails it. I’m more than happy to go after a woman, court her and make some effort. But I’m going to be turned off if I’m making all the effort and getting nothing in return.

      Also, Nycole, I think your post should be required reading for women stepping into the online dating world. So thanks for sharing it.

  2. ALittleDisappointedWithOnlineDating

    Frankly, I think women are a lot more intimidated, because they have been the ones to initiate contact and their messages have seemingly fallen into the Black Hole of Calcutta. Of the times I’ve swallowed my nerves and messaged a guy first on a dating site, who I wanted to talk to, I can count on one hand how many times the guy responded to me. And it takes even less fingers than a hand to count how many times it resulted in more than just one polite response to my initial greeting, before radio silence out of him. Hell, it’s happened to me twice this week! And it’s never resulted in a date, yet, for me.

    So yeah, it definitely discourages me. He saw my profile. He read the message. According to the site we’re a 95% match. We’ve listed lots of the same interests and answered a high percentage of questions similarly. It’s not like I’m not punching my weight, according to the things that – theoretically – matter. But for whatever reason, I’m not making the cut, with him.

    And, sorry, but for a lot of guys that “whatever reason” is looks. It’s no secret that men are more visual creatures. Let’s all take our rose-colored glasses off for a moment and acknowledge reality: men have the luxury of being pretty choosy – we outnumber them! And sadly, a lot of men have adopted pretty picky attitudes in the face of having so much choice – not to mention the constant stream of unrealistic hogwash our culture spews, every day, about women and their bodies. I’ve heard men say outrageous things about women – her hips were too wide, or her chest wasn’t big enough. Who cares if she can sit and watch football with you and not ask stupid questions, or she surpasses your own propensity for dorkery when it comes to Dr. Who? She has cellulite on her thighs in that photo of her on vacation in Cabo last year.

    So men might want to stop and acknowledge how very hard it is being a woman in our culture nowadays, where a lot of us feel like we’ve been condemned to competing with impossible standards for your attention. And that maybe that’s why we stop trying, after a while, because maybe we’re tired of feeling invisible to you, wondering if it’s because despite our shared love for Indian food and being “totally willing” to meet someone off line, our butt is too big for you. Or we have long hair and you “kind of have a thing” for short-haired girls.

    I think women are a lot more forgiving with men, than men are with women, on the physical attractiveness front. It’s how shows like The King of Queens made it more than a season. (Though God only knows why.)

    Just my 2 cents, of course.

    • Bill M.

      ALittleDisappointed … Right on. You’re hardly the first woman who has told me of that kind of experience on OkCupid. So I know that’s a part of it. I can’t speak for other guys in terms of the physical aspect of it, though I’m happy to ask around. As far as me personally, yes, I do consider looks, but not to the nitpicky extent you describe. But as I said, I’m just one guy and all I can do is apologize on behalf of my gender for the assholish standards some of us adopt.

      As a side note, by the way, what you describe about exchanging a couple messages but never getting beyond a polite response to your introduction has happened to me many times as well. So it does work both ways. And I’d wager it’s equally discouraging, no matter what gender you are.

      I’m going to be doing a follow-up post to this over the next couple days based on an interesting text message exchange I had with a friend earlier today. It’s going to explore some of the ideas of how our culture and society make it VERY difficult for women to even CONSIDER the idea of sending a message first. So that’ll be interesting. Stay tuned.

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