Swirling Singles

Leona’s Love Quest Part XIX- Daters or Haters? Looking for Red Flags in Online Profiles



Happy 2013 Everyone! I didn’t make any resolutions for the New Year because I’m still working on the ones I made last year, but I am feeling a renewed energy for my love quest. I even decided to go to a Meetup party this New Year’s Eve and I had my eye on this tall, Morris Chestnut-looking brother I thought for sure would be there, but he never showed.  So, although my NYE didn’t turn out like the ending of When Harry Met Sally, I still had a pretty good time.

In case you haven’t heard, AfroRomance.com granted me a free 6-month membership after my rant about being single during the holidays, and I opened it with a more positive, less clichéd profile. I thought most of the advice I received about my profile was great, but for some reason I didn’t get a single wink or email message for several days after I made the revision. Maybe it was just a slow week online because usually even the slightest change to my profile generates at least a few new winks or messages. Even so, I felt the new profile could still be a little less generic and do a better job of representing of my sparkling personality, so I made a few more changes and now I’m getting about the same number of hits as I was before.

When I was conducting a bit of research to see what some of the relationship experts had to say about writing an online profile, I came across an interesting set of companion articles on Match.com’s Happen Magazine, “The Words That Turn Men Off Online” and “The Words That Turn Women Off Online” written by Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.  According to the first article, it sounds like a few bad experiences have caused men to overanalyze every word in a woman’s profile.  Some men told Dr. Carle that they look for indications that a woman is lying or exaggerating about their virtues, especially if they try to attest to their attractiveness, honesty, or fidelity. They find that women typically use euphemisms to describe their less than appealing attributes; i.e., curvy = fat, quirky = weird and average=worse.  Apparently, some men will even pass by your profile if you proclaim to enjoy fine dining or shopping because that could indicate that you only want to spend his money. And even if work the night shift, don’t send him a message at 3am or he’ll assume you’re a desperate, man-hungry loser with no life of your own.  In other words, what men are looking for online are women with a couple of interesting, low-cost hobbies and some really flattering photos.

According to the second article, it sounds like most men don’t even bother with the pretense of hiding their flaws when they probably should. Most women pass by profiles belonging to men who boast about their Peter Pan syndrome and those who fancy themselves a ladies’ man by using corny pick-up lines and words that objectify women. Most women won’t respond to men who repeatedly send emails about why they are such a good catch, and those who send insults when she doesn’t write back clearly need to deal with their anger issues. Men who choose to date multiple women but can’t keep their details straight (like her name) don’t get very far, and neither does any man who immediately questions why she is still single or has no children.  In other words, what women are looking for online are men who don’t sound like a douche and subsequent evidence to prove it.

I usually find that men are pretty upfront in their profiles if they interested in casual sex or simple online flirtations, but those who are looking for cybersex are usually a little more subtle in their approach.  In fact, right before I made the changes to my profile, I was contacted by a really adorable Spanish guy who lives in Boston. He was a little younger than I prefer, and of course I wish he lived a lot closer, but his profile reflected an intelligent man with a creative mind and I thought he’d be someone I’d really like to meet. Initially, his flattery was appealing and we had a few great conversations on Skype before crossed the line to freaky from flirtatious. I told him I didn’t do cybersex with men I’ve never met in person and asked him politely to rein it in. We continued to chat for about a month and discussed normal things like our family lives, our favorite TV shows, and possibly meeting after the holidays, but he never seemed capable of controlling himself very long. During our last chat on Skype I challenged him on the kind of relationship he was really looking for and he replied, “I don’t want to talk seriously right now, I’m masturbating.”

I guess I got my answer.

If a guy isn’t willing to work within the accepted parameters of online dating, then he probably shouldn’t be doing it. I won’t contact any guy whose profile begins with “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” or tries to cop out of writing a profile by saying “I don’t like talking about myself, so if you have a question, just ask,” and of course no pictures is a total deal-breaker. My biggest pet peeve is the overuse of the word “laidback.” When I asked one guy to explain what he meant by “EXTREMELY laidback,” he then described himself as very introverted. I assume most men use it to mean “easygoing,” but I always interpret it as boring or nonchalant. The phrase “God-fearing” is another turn off for me, especially when he spells it with a capital G-O-D.  It just smacks of fire and brimstone and right-wing, extremist nut jobs. I usually reply, “The God I believe in is kind and only wants the best for me, so I have no reason to fear.”

In the words of the sexy soul singer Nikka Costa, “Everybody’s got Their Something.” What kind of red flags do you look out for in a potential date? Did you ever miss one and live to regret it later?


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