Getting Back Into the Pool: Online Dating – A User’s Perspective, Part I

Part One: “The Basics”   Fellas, can I speak to you a second?


This online dating thing….we’re trying it out and hoping to meet someone we really like. You are too, right? It has its ups and downs and can be tricky. Yeah, some folks lie about how they look, and I know some of those profiles just aren’t real. Some of them are foreign men trolling for gullible Americans they can separate from their hard-earned money. I’ve seen my share of them too. I know you have to be careful. But for once, think about us girls. How does it work for us?

Folks looking to date online are not necessarily desperate. Most of us are really busy and work hard — and going out to meet people is not always an option. Meeting men in bars is not the best way for a lot of us. I don’t think I need to go into that. You know why.

We spend a lot of time online so it’s easier to meet folks there. We try to look for that special picture that we hope will catch your eye, and we also try to be honest about ourselves and how we look. It doesn’t make much sense to lie if you hope to meet the guy anyway, does it? Yeah, there are some women who just want to play games and I am sorry if you have run into a few of those. We’re not all like that. Some of us are real, honest, loving, caring women who are just trying to make it in life and want to find a man to be there with us.

But ok, you see our picture and you decide you want to get to know us and you send an email and hope that we will respond. If we see something in your picture that we like, we usually will. If you aren’t what we are looking for, we won’t. No harm, no foul.

Now, let’s discuss this picture deal. You see our picture on our profile, but you don’t bother to put YOUR picture on your profile. What’s up with that? Why not? Why not give us the same advantage you had? I’ve had guys tell me they didn’t know how to post a picture. Huh? This isn’t really that hard, fellas. Really. That alone says something about you that won’t get you a response. Ask your niece or nephew or the nearest 6th grader to help you post a picture if it’s that hard for you.

Other men have told me they don’t want to be judged by looks. But it’s ok for you to judge us by how we look, right? It doesn’t work that way, dude. What’s good for you is good for us too. I don’t respond if you don’t have a picture on your profile. I bet a lot of other women feel the same way.

And why post a picture of your dog? Or a picture of you on the back of a truck or one where we cannot see your eyes? I’m glad you’re off somewhere having fun, but if you are going to post a picture, please use one where we can see your face clearly without squinting or trying to enlarge the picture and getting a fuzzy mess. Get someone to take a picture of you.

And it doesn’t help if I see your phone in front of you. I don’t want to see the back of your iPhone. I want to see your eyes, your smile, your face! You want to impress me, right? So why do I see a picture of you with a ripped up shirt, unshaven, your hair standing on end and your belly hanging out of that hole in your shirt? Is that the best you can do? Really?

Another puzzle. I like to date interracially. I always say in my message about myself that I prefer to date white guys. But it never fails that each day, I will get emails and messages from black men who apparently did not read my profile and don’t know or don’t care what I want or what I like. I’ve had to argue with them in the past about my preference. I don’t now. I just don’t even answer. But what really gets me is if my profile is on a site specifically for interracial dating, why would a black man want to send me a message when it’s quite clear I am not looking for him? Why??

I think I know why. Men go through the sites just looking at the pictures. They don’t read the profiles. What the woman wants is HIM and he knows it even if he hasn’t read that she has 3 kids, 4 dogs and two jobs. Think of the time we would save if men read the profiles and realized right away that the woman they are looking at is just not the one for them?

I sometimes search for guys myself, going through profiles looking for the right one. I can’t say what he looks like, but I am looking for that gleam in his eyes, that smile, something to tell me he’s engaging, he’s funny, he’s sexy and he’s fun. I’ll send a note or a flirt if I see it. I expect fellas do the same thing. But if he says he likes blondes or tall women or women with children or women younger than I am, I don’t flirt with him. I know I’m not what he’s looking for and though I may like his eyes, I pass him by. And guess what, fellas? It doesn’t hurt.

Guys, let’s say you see a pretty girl and you want to get to know her. You send her a message and she responds. You chat for a few days and somewhere along the line, you ask her what her favorite sexual position is. WHAT?  Hit the brakes!

Trust me, when we see that, especially from someone we have only gotten two or three emails from, we are stunned. You jumped the shark! It wasn’t time for that kind of discussion! We don’t know you yet. What would make you think that’s what we wanted right away? Yeah, some girls are looking for fun and fun only. But most of us aren’t. We’re looking for someone we can trust and love and have fun with. Sex is a part of it, but not right away! Slow down!

Look, if all you want is to get your freak on, there are websites just for that. Please go there and look for your fellow freak. But on a dating site, it’s just inappropriate. A woman will give you signals and let you know what she wants and what she likes. If she doesn’t protest when you send her that message, she might be ok with it. But if you don’t hear from her again, well, you asked for it. And if that’s all you want, say so from the beginning and give us the option of passing you by and looking for the man who just might be a boyfriend instead of a one night stand.


Editor’s note: We thought that with so many people using multiple means to expand their social and dating options, in keeping with our “borderless” theme it makes sense to include the views of those who include online dating as an integral part of their lifestyle. Stay tuned for Part 2!


Brenda Joyce Thompson is a Chicago-based writer and educator who lives a full life penning fiction and promoting the written and musical work of various artists. A walking library of rock music, Brenda is a peace-loving not-so-reformed hippie who misbehaves every chance she gets.