There's a special kind of person on internet dating sites who isn't just there to find love (or sex), but who wants to work out their Ann Landers fantasies on unsuspecting users. That is, instead of just sending or responding to a message, they send advice. Lots of advice, about what's wrong with your profile, about how your message was insufficient, about how your picture is bad.
Now don't get me wrong -- clearly, I enjoy criticizing online dating messages and profiles more than the average bird. I understand the impulse to respond to a person's message with an explanation of what they're doing wrong, because so many people do so many things wrong. But responding directly to a profile with unsolicited criticism (unless they've done something totally offensive, in which case, hate on haters) is just plain rude.
User: How about a date? Drink etc.
Me: Yeah, that sounds like fun. How about next week? Always enjoy meeting new people. xx
User: always enjoy meeting new people? That’s not a nice thing to say. It’s very generic. You seem to be a generic person. When you write to someone, you should explain why exactly you want to meet them. I think you should start making more of an effort with other people or you will never find anyone to settle with. You will just be going from one guy to the next like every other seedy gay. Don’t get angry and bite back. I told you something which is so true. Learn from it. Accept it. Try to alter your ways and treat guys with a bit more respect.
"When you write to someone you should explain why exactly you want to meet them" and "you should start making an effort" is excellent advice coming from a guy who's opening line was "Drink etc."
And there's this guy, who directly jumps into explaining to one girl how her politics is ruining her online dating experience:
You’re psuedo-liberal, trusting of government and into eugenics….. There’s your problem right there.
Thank you, without this totally unsolicited message, this lady -- who it should be said does not in fact list "eugenics" or anything like it in her interests -- would have had no idea what her problem was.
But that's nothing like the advice from this guy — remember, this is through an online dating service — who tells one woman:
if you don’t want to get treated like a piece of meat, don’t go out dressing like that. you’re obviously flaunting it. but if you don’t want a guy to “victimize” you and look at you like a piece of eye candy… don’t dress like that showing off everything. i’m sorry, i just don’t sympathize w/ girls who don’t want to be treated like that but then dress up like they obviously know what they have and they want guys to notice it. y’all can’t have it both ways. well, maybe there is absolutely nothing wrong w/ being sexist. maybe there’s something wrong w/ being a feminist. y’all are nuts. you can’t expect to dress like a whore and have a guy not think you are one.
Shorter version of this message: If you wear a skirt on our date, it's not my fault if I rape you. See you Friday?
Finally, some advice from a guy on how to smile correctly on Match.com:
Him: You look fake with that smile. Doesn’t look right.
Him: Just trying to help you out.
Him: The wannabe dead pic on the road…. sucks too.
Her: What is it about picking on others that you find enjoyable? If you don’t like me or my pictures, why are you messaging me. You have a strange way of using an online dating site…
Him: I am just saying… Be real, I’ve seen many people on this Earth. I know a fake smile when I see one. Not picking on you. You are probably a nice girl.(not my flavor), but nice. Drop the fake.
I was going to write you off as a psycho who messages women on Match.com simply to tell them that they aren't his "flavor," but since you pointed out that you have had the unusual experience of seeing many people on Earth, and since you are clearly a totally normal and very well-socialized human being, I will change my face so that my smile no longer displeases you. Thanks for the feedback!
If you've got your own online dating horror stories, drop them below, or submit them anonymously.
The A(n)nals of Online Dating is a weekly column about How We Date Now, from the proprietor of the website of the same name, showing the best of the worst internet dating has to offer.
Illustration by Leslie Wood