13 Things I learned From Online Dating (and Not Getting Murdered… Yet)

According to a recent study, one-third of all marriages now start online. So you’re ready to take the plunge. Put yourself out there. Meet your eRomeo.

But where to start? Fret not, dear reader. I’ve gone on a plethora of terrible dates so you don’t have to! And now I’m here, sharing that wisdom with you, for the low low price of nothing.

(Disclaimer: This list can help you do better on dates, but not in long-term relationships. if I knew that shit I’d be married.)

1. First dates should always be non-committal, like cocktails or coffee.

Listen, I know coffee isn’t that romantic. But you know what else isn’t romantic? Realizing you are on a two-hour dinner date with someone who really, really wants to collect your hair. For their hair sculpture.

Creepy hair doll

“Oh, that’s… uh… lovely. Let me just grab this pepper spray real quick.”

Keep it simple. You don’t know this person. Cocktails are open-ended. If things are going great, have another or five! Add dinner!

If not, well… that’s why you went out for A drink, and gosh, would you look at the time, don’t you have somewhere you need to be rather suddenly?

2. Keep your profile light ‘n breezy.

Don’t overshare. Nobody needs to know your life story. You don’t need to tell everyone that you likes to be slapped hard during sex. (No, seriously, this has happened.)

I mean, everybody likes music. And going out. And staying in. And Shawshank Redemption.

Leave something to talk about on your first date. I’ve found that I did much better when I mostly turned my profile into a series of escalating jokes. People found it a refreshing change from the usual, “I don’t like talking about myself.”

Sure, if you’re only willing to marry Southern Baptists, you should probably mention that. Or, you know. Just meet someone on SouthernBaptistMingle.org or whatever.

A church.

Or, you know… church.

3. Don’t Lie About Obvious Stuff.

Seriously. Nobody is fooled by you saying you’re 6′ tall. How long, exactly, do you think that little fabrication is gong to last? What, maybe she’ll be blind? Or just not realize that you’re a full four inches shorter than you claimed as she towers over you in your heels?

Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson

What, you think you’re cooler than Harry Potter?

Or claiming you’re a successful investment banker when you work at Taco Bell and live with your parents. Or worse yet, that you’re not actually married and a total fucking scumbag. Come on. Don’t be a douche.

What, you’re going to build a relationship on a total lie and then someday, a year from now, when you’re madly in love, you think he or she is just gonna be cool that you’ve been living a lie? Yeah. That sounds super likely.

Spider Man

Don’t be Spider Man.

4. Your Pictures Should Look Like You. (Or at least the Sexiest Version of You.)

Yes, you should absolutely sell yourself. Don’t pick lousy pictures of yourself. You’re tryin’ to look good, right?

Guy with pregnant girl on Tinder

How did this not work?!

But don’t post pictures which look nothing like you. Again, you think if you show up weighing 50 lbs. more than your last picture from 3 years ago that nobody’s going to notice? People notice that.

And you think we don’t realize what’s going on when all your pictures happen to be from a higher angle looking down (possibly into your cleaveage)? We know. Oh, yes. We know.

Baby taking a selfie

… you’re all secretly babies.

5. First message should be short, witty, and not a form letter.

Resist the temptation to write a novella in your first message. Yes, you want to verify that you did, in fact, read their profile and aren’t just messaging them cause their ass looks good in yoga pants (and who isn’t looking for a guy like that?), but don’t go overboard. You don’t want to turn it into a research paper on their love of the Bachelorette.

Say hello. Introduce yourself. Make a joke about something topical in their profile. “Oh, you also like Beyonce, that’s crazy, me too!” Ask a question so they actually have something to respond to.

(Note: Would you like to see my penis is not the right question, if you were wondering. Just send it. Ladies love that shit. How are you not already married?!)

Politics and Pussy

Not sure why this didn’t work, either.

6. Values Matter.

I get it. He or she is hot. A 10 out of 10. But do you really want to date someone who will only date white Scorpios 6’2″ or taller who make six figures and vote Libertarian? Doesn’t that sound like… not you? Or at least kinda racist and shitty?

If you’re actually trying to meet someone you like, you should probably share some values. For instance, I would probably not be a very good match for a right-wing Christian. Or really anyone who regularly attends Church. Or has values at all, probably.


Theeeere we go, much better.

I mean, I love your tattoos. You look great with your two full sleeves. But chances are you’ll want to date who also has tattoos. Or at least doesn’t sob uncontrollably in the corner when exposed to needles.

(I’m kidding! Probably!)

7. If you’re a dude, you’re paying for the first date. Period.

Hey, I consider myself a feminist. I am looking for an equal partner in crime, not a dependent to take care of. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that virtually all women want the guy to pay on the first date. Some women won’t care, but the vast majority do.

Note: This is based anecdotally on me asking my female Facebook friends what they thought about splitting the check and the overwhelming (~95%) response being “Guy pays on first date.” Not science, but. Still.

Suck it up, buddy. You make more for doing the same job. The entire world is your oyster. So grab the check when it comes and don’t fall for the “let me pay half” bullshit. Unless you really never want to see her again. In which case, go ahead. Hell, have her pay the whole thing.

Rich Ladies

Fuck it, you can pay.

What’s the worst that could happen? You look like a cheap asshole on OnLulu.com? You probably already do.

8. No response is all the response you need.

Please. Just stop. If they don’t respond, they aren’t interested. Don’t freak out. It’s okay. There are plenty of other fish in the sea.

Don’t be one of those douchebags who sends a follow-up message with something like, “Not sure if you got my first message, but… ”

No response

Hmmm, maybe if you send a few more compliments…

And I swear, if you ever go ahead and send a message cursing someone out for not responding to you, you can fuck right off. You deserve your bitter loneliness. Nobody owes you anything, no matter how many geek comedies you’ve seen where the nerd gets the hot girl.

You aren’t Seth Rogen and this isn’t a movie. Stop being an asshole.

Keep it classy.

Ah, yes, a real charmer.

On the flipside, if you aren’t interested, you might consider replying politely, but sometimes that just encourages people to freak out. A lot of the time, it’s just simpler and easier to not respond.

9. There’s no accounting for chemistry.

People are not a list of features. Maybe you’re smart and beautiful and funny. And yet for some reason, there’s no real connection there. You check everything off on the list and yet…

There’s just no substituting chemistry. That feeling you get when someone smiles at you and it just feels like it fits. You can’t fake the funk.


Messages are great and all, but you’ll never really know until you meet. Don’t waste weeks and weeks “getting to know” someone. The only way to really know someone is to meet them. And hopefully make out with them.

Making out

Oh man, all this chemistry is makin’ it hot in hurr.

10. Not being the right fit for someone is not a judgment on you as a person.

We all get rejected from time to time. It happens. Even to me! Shocking, I know. But it happens.

It is not a reflection of your worth as a human being. Sometimes, it’s just not the right fit. Or the chemistry is off. Or you remind them of their father when you take your glasses off. (Creepy.)

It’s hard not to take rejection personally, but sometimes you’re just not the right person for someone even though you’re totally awesome. Besides, if they’re rejecting you, they’re probably brain damaged or something, and you don’t want to date someone with brain damage, do you?

Brain damage

Or maybe that vacant look in their eyes does it for you… ?

11. Don’t pay Match or eHarmony. You can fuck up dating on your own without paying someone else.

Seriously. Just sign up for OKCupid. Or maybe Plenty of Fish if you really enjoy shitty, badly designed interfaces. Hey, whatever freaky shit you’re into. But it’s not worth paying. You can find and fuck up dates all on your own without writing a check. The world is mostly full of morons. Paying for match.com isn’t going to fix that.

Besides, the CEO of eHarmony is a dickbag who had to be sued into letting same-sex couples use their services, so fuck that shit.

12. Be attractive.

Women are probably less shallow than men. But they are shallow. Trust me. I’ve dated online both as a fat guy and as a regular guy. I promise you, you get more responses when you’re fit. A lot more responses.

Obviously, you can’t necessarily make yourself look like Tom Brady. But if you’re having problems, you might find that you have very high expectations. And that while we’d all love to date a 10, if you’re more of a 7, well… you might try to go for a 7.

(Not that I subscribe to the notion that people can be broken down into numerical ratings, but come on, dude, you’re totally a 7.)

Adam Levine

This guy probably gets more responses than you do. Sorry.

13. Just date this guy.

Best OKCupid Profile Ever.

Because you really can’t do any better than that.


  2. I online dated with great success and agree with most everything you wrote. I was amused at and horrified by the stories from women who’ve experienced all the things you talked about. I liken it to road rage. There’s no face to face interaction to make you behave like a human being. I was hugely successful on eharmony (I didn’t know about the bs). I’m married to the woman I met there. That’s where I’ll differ a bit from your recommendations. I say use paid services. I found it goes a long way to finding a different segment of the population than what was on the free sites. Without disparaging the socioeconomically depressed, it simply weeded out a population that wasn’t a good fit for me. Overall, well said, Loop.

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