Somewhere out there someone must have written a book about online dating; “Online Dating For Dummies”. And in that book, I suspect they suggest the following: “Write to someone as if you were in conversation with them. Greet them as you might do if you met them at a bar, or coffee shop, or the party of a mutual friend.” And so they open their correspondance with a 😉
Well, I am here to set the record straight.
I find there are a few typical types of first messages I receive. The following are all real life emails I have received (complete with original punctuation), from both men and women.
TYPE ONE: The Bar Wink. Downright wierd and creepy, imo.
“you are a hottie”
“How are you?”
“here kitty kitty”
TYPE TWO: The Chat Up Line. An attempt to make a connection, however the message either gives you little to respond to and/or little information about the person:
“your profile is inspiring”
“Hi how you doing? I just wanted to say Hi and ask if you would like to grab a drink sometimes?”
“Wow you have the highest match percentage of anyone on here for me. I couldn’t help but say hi and see if you were curious to learn more.” (73% match?!?)
“you are amazing. I’d love to know you in person.”
“You, seem awesome.”
TYPE THREE: The Sexual Pass. And then, there are those that hit so far off the mark….
“I find myself interested and intregued with you openness and honesty in what you are looking for. Must say pretty refreshing. Im also looking for someone who enjoys sex or love making to the universe as much as i do. I love to fully satisfy a woman both mentally and physically. I thrive on pleasure and teasing giving you multiple after multiple orgasms thru deep slow sensual penetration. Im a very sensual and erotic person. Amazing at oral and i have incredible stamina. Im well hung/ thick clean and healthy. Interested? Want to play”
“Very intriguing profile and sexy!!! We should try and chat soon. Add me on Skype or Yahoo. Nick is [abcxyz] there. Looking forward to chatting with you soon sweets! Cheers, P.S – You seem like you have a delicious body by the way :-p”
“Mmm…I’d love to slam you down on a piece of toast and devour you like the tasty morsel you are! Hi. Nice to meet you. It’s a pleasure! “
“I am a slave and wish to serve you I am experienced and very obedient let me know when you have some time to discuss thanks. slave” (would have been fine on fetlife maybe, but okcupid???)
And this one, my all time fave:
“Listen up… I am not going to play around with you when it comes to trying to woo you over with some silly special pick-up lines. It’s not my thing and I find it very immature, boring, and annoying. I am only messaging you because I am interested in you because I would like to have sex with you. Do not expect me to jump on you and slam bam thank you ma’am. I am going to take my time and make love to you. If you like the night of sex we share together then maybe we will have many more nights to explore each other more deeply. As a massage therapist I like to incorporate sensual massage into our sex with one another. If you want a fast sex session, forget it… don’t even bother. If I can’t take my time to enjoy all of you, and I mean ALL of you, then it’s pointless in us even meeting. I have a serious foot fetish so if you have nasty ass feet (bunions and or out of control callouses) forget it, you and I won’t work out. I want to suck on your toes and nibble the arch of your foot before during and even after sex intermittently.”(this is just one sixth of his message… and yeah, it gets worse after that)
SO How do you create and sculpt an effective, polite, and welcoming first message?
Rule 1: Do not objectify the other person. No one likes to be objectified. You have to come from a place of genuine interest.
Rule 2: Don’t suggest an immediate meeting. That’s something you can save for a second message.
Rule 3: Know your reasons for writing to this person. Is what you are looking for compatible with what they are looking for? Do you have a high match percentage? Do you love the fact she knows how to sword fight and wonder if she’d like to take a workshop with you?
Rule 4: Be genuine and authentic.
Crafting Your First Message:
In elementary school I was taught that a good message (be it email or letter) is like a sandwich. The top piece of bread is your greeting, then you have all the many delicious fillings, and then another piece of bread as your sign off that leaves you hoping you get to eat another sandwich like that again soon.
Greeting: Try to avoid the cheese (see examples above). Some people will be overly polite- which can work, if its in your character.
Filling: There’s lots that can go in here. You can compliment them on their profile. Pin point a few things in their profile that have grabbed your attention, even if it’s something small, just a tiny mention. Let your enthusiasm and zest for life shine through without being over zealous.
Open to a Conversation: Rather than a full closure, you want to leave the message with some reason (and a subject!) to write back to you about. It could be a question or two. “Have you ever heard of The Wet Spots?” you might ask someone who lists comedy music as an interest. Or, you might want to end with a statement that highlights what you are looking for and asking that they will write back to you!
I have learned that not a lot of women are proactive in initiating the messaging on online dating. I guess I am an exception to the rule. I just went through my OkCupid messages to try and find a good example to share with you, and so here are a few real-life examples of good messages I’ve either received, or sent out myself:
If I recall correctly, we corresponded ever-so-briefly when I had a profile here during the Summer. Now I’m on-again, after being off for a while, and OKC, in its infinite wisdom, just sent me one of those “she’s checking you out” messages.
Truth is, I’ve been meaning to contact you anyway, just haven’t had time to do justice to the missive. So I’ll take advantage of this moment. As you might expect if you read my profile, I really like yours. I appreciate what you’re looking for in relationships and in life, your vegetarianness, and your tastes in general. I’d love to reaad your blog; when I encountered your profile last time, being very happy to discover the word pronoia. Plus, you’ve very pretty.
I’d love to get to know you better, so if you feel at all similarly inclined, let’s figure out a way to make that happen.
Oh gosh, I love your words. Love is the very fabric of the universe? Yes! And you’ve mentioned pronoia which is another lovely concept. What about compersion as well?
I’m super curious about you now. I think I’ll go back and read your profile AGAIN and then come up with more to say.
What’s your experience, by the way, connecting with people here? I find others to be quite shy to respond.
Welcome to the city. I enjoyed reading your profile.
A few things about me:
In a few weeks I will be older than your preferred age range.
I am married.
Still Reading? OK. I am not pitching a threeway or a triad. My wife and I date other people quite separately from one another, and we are both open to whatever these separate relationships may blossom into.
I, too, am looking to meet like-minded people without any preconceptions of what the relationship might look like – friends, lovers etc. If you feel like meeting up for tea or coffee sometime, drop me a line.
[this message edited for privacy]
Ok, you are seriously cute, and I love how honest and forthright yet playful you are in your profile.
I’m also originally from [abc], though most people are really surprised when I tell them this as I’ve done a fairly good job of disguising my accent.
You seem really cool, and I would love to know more about you.
So go forth and send someone a message on OkCupid- or any other dating site for that matter. See how it goes! Have fun with it. Don’t panic if no one writes you back- people (and poly people especially it seems) are often busy, and it can take a few days to reply to a first communication. Most of all, be your genuine happy shining self!
Read on with Part 3, How To Date Someone You Met Online, where I will examine the Date Zero, and a very important topic- how to say No politely and respectfully.