When is a message more than just a message? Quite possibly when the entire fate of your future love life depends on it. Or perhaps it’s that critical situation when you need to send a dire communication about the fact your Aunt Sally’s dentist twice removed just married the caterer in-training on the set of The Bachelor, where he just heard – and I quote – “the roses are fake… maybe”.
For the sake of this column, we will further explore the earlier prospect since it should prove more insightful with the Los Angeles and world-wide online dating community. Also, it’s pretty common knowledge the roses on The Bachelor are genuine seeing as the network needed a technical reason to proudly advertise it as a ‘reality’ show under a court of law.
Except for one major exception – that I will mention later should I even remember – trying to break the ice with someone online is almost an identically grueling experience to that of approaching someone in any normal non-electronic situation such as a bar, club, supermarket, library, or women’s restroom. I’m clearly joking as who honestly even goes to a library anymore? Alas, no matter the local, the classic courting process usually unfolds the same way:
1) Boy prepares and memorizes pre-written statement
2) Boy approaches girl
3) Boy screws up pre-written statement
4) Girl laughs, then replies she is married
5) Boy asks where her ring is
6) Girl replies it’s too expensive to wear in public, in private, or anytime he might see her in the future
7) Boy doesn’t care
8) Boy repeats step 3
9) Girl threatens to call the cops
10) Boy decides to exit women’s restroom
11) Boy decides he will try again in 5 minutes
Initially introducing oneself to someone online plays out much the same way as it does in the face-to-face approach, however the benefit – at least for women – is that there are considerably fewer steps:
1) Boy prepares and emails a pre-written statement
2) Girl ignores message
3) Boy emails same pre-written statement (after waiting a full 3 minutes without a reply)
4) Girl deletes message, deletes account and changes her legal name
Based on the second scenario above, you (a.k.a. the XY chromosome half of the species) can see the importance of making a non-vomit inducing impression the first time around. As just noted, this information is being directed at the male contingent seeing as the traditional dynamics of “man makes first move” courting process has, for the most part, carried over to online dating.
How do I know this? Well on the rare occasion I get a response from a young lady online that doesn’t state, “Sorry, but best of luck on your search (you’re going to need it)”; I pretty much ask women I break the seal with online how many emails they receive on a somewhat regular basis. A typical answer I usually hear is, “Within the first day or so, I got about 47,578 messages, but it’s slowed down a bit and I only get about 400 emails per day now. I might have to try another site.” Predictably, she throws the same inquiry back at me, to which I genuinely reply, “Guys can get messages on here?”
Gentlemen, the above exchange only further stresses how essential it is to make your first outgoing communication stand out from the pack. While pointing out someone has a nice rack is very sweet and shows your attention to a few important details, your success rate will unfortunately hover around a number closer to the reported IQ of Paris Hilton. Mind you, that is a generously conservative estimate.
Given the grave importance of this topic, (almost rivaling that of what embryonic womb Lady Gaga will pop out of next) I felt it essential to devote a separate column to the steps one should take and avoid when attempting to contact someone for the first time online. I also ran out of room. In fear of over using the sequel analogy from past columns, you can simply view this as a prequel to the more enlightening segment of the subject matter to be revealed in my very next column.
What’s certain is unless executives decide to recast this writer with a much younger and better looking version of myself (good luck with that!), I absolutely won’t refer to this as a reboot. ‘Reboot’ being the new buzz word Hollywood overuses more than the idea of another ‘reality’ series where a bunch of absurdly attractive women try to dismember each other with curling irons in order to marry a modelesque not-really-a-millionaire they will divorce 30 minutes after the finale.
Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh; I forgot they do score a couple of roses, some of which might very well be real.
Hayden Gilbert has been a member (on and off) of the online dating community for over the past 10 years. He offers an everyman’s perspective along with humorous insight into online relationships, etiquette, and technology’s growing role in human relationships. He is currently writing a book on his online dating experiences and can be contacted directly at [email protected]