*Because I only have experience dating straight men — however these tips might well apply more broadly.
Well, I’ve been back in the dating world for a few months now, and I’ve been learning a few things. For example, some things never change. On the other hand, I think I’ve changed quite a bit from when I was dating as a teen and a young adult – but I think I’ve covered that already. Having learned some things, it occurs to me that I could provide a valuable service here by listing some do’s and don’t’s for online dating later in life.
1. Have pictures on your online profile. Current pictures. Not your high school picture. I know you’re a middle-aged (or older) man already. You aren’t fooling me with that photo from 1978. I know you don’t look like that anymore, and, really, I don’t want to be dating someone who looks like my son, anyway. I don’t look like I did in high school anymore, either. Embrace your current self.
2. I know I just said have pictures. They shouldn’t all be selfies. If you have 12 pictures of yourself and they’re all selfies, all I can think of is, “Wow, doesn’t this guy have a single friend who could take a picture of him?” Or, worse, it makes me think that you’re just completely self-absorbed.
3. If all your pictures are of your fabulous summer house in the south of France/South America/Tuscany, I think you’re looking on the wrong website. You’re probably wanting one of those “buy your young foreign bride here” websites. I’m not interested in trading up for your stuff. If you have all that stuff – hey – that’s great. If we really hit it off, maybe you’ll take me there later. But I’m not buying property. I’m looking for someone to start a relationship with.
4. Don’t give a laundry list of all the things you absolutely don’t want in a partner. I get that you might have a few all-stops – I have them, too. A few. Even if I keep reading to the end of your list, and even if I meet all your criteria, you’ve told me quite a lot about yourself by doing this. I just don’t want to be with someone who’s that judgmental and who’s likely to criticize me at every turn. I won’t be contacting you.
5. If we have made contact, pay attention to what we’ve already said in conversation. Don’t hit me up for sex in an online conversation. Really. Just don’t.
6. Don’t trash your ex in your profile. I don’t care if your ex is in prison now because she tried to hire a hit-man to kill you. Don’t trash her in your profile. That’s a great story that you can save for maybe our third date. We’ll laugh. We’ll cry. But if you trash her on your profile (or on our first date, for that matter), there won’t be a first date (or a second date).
7. Do remember my name. I mean, if we’ve been communicating online, and then we set up a first date, when you meet me, remember my name. If this is something you have trouble with, write my name down. Because if you get to the date and the first thing you say to me is something along the lines of, “Hi, I know we have a date, but I can’t remember your name.” we won’t be having another date. Seriously – we’ve been talking online for how long?
8. Dress to impress. That doesn’t mean that you have to go to a custom tailor and get a suit made. But dress appropriately for the date. If you come dressed like you just came from spreading manure on a farm, and you don’t have a funny story about how you were just spreading manure on a farm and then a weird thing happened and you couldn’t get home to shower and change, I will think that you are thinking of me as a pile of manure. This will not make me feel special. I like to feel special on a date.
9. I don’t mind splitting the check, especially on the first date – but for me, it does go a long way if you treat. I don’t always expect the gentleman to treat. But it’s nice.
10. Be yourself! Be honest. Don’t say that you love chamber music if you hate chamber music, and then we go to a chamber music concert and you sit there looking bored the whole time (yes, this actually happened to me – back in the 1980’s – when I was with a pre-online dating service). We don’t have to like all of the same things, but if we don’t like any of the same things, we’re not likely to be a good match. Go find someone who is interested in the things you’re interested in. This also goes for being honest on your profile. If you’re not a university professor, don’t say that you’re a university professor on your profile. It’s just going to make me think you’re a liar.
11. Want to have another date with me? Say something nice to me. You don’t have to tell me I’m pretty, although that’s nice. But do say something nice. Be engaged during our date. Leave your cell-phone in your pocket. Take your time and get to know me. I’ll do the same.
So these are my tips. I hope you find them useful. Or at least amusing. This adventure has certainly been amusing at times for me.
That’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.