The Best Advice You Will Ever Read on Posting Dates & Sending Messagesby Prescott Reynolds on August 31, 2012
This is the latest post from our Colorado-based Date Reporter Prescott Reynolds. She’ll be documenting her experience learning to date in a new city — and one that’s a fraction of the size of her former home, NYC. Catch up on her story here. In this post she covers what you should really think about when posting and responding to dates.
Your profile is set. Interests are cool, yet unique, photos are accurate and attractive, your online mannequin is prepped for viewing… but how do you make the sale? Remember, the first thing other HowAboutWe members see is your date suggestion. This is your elevator pitch. It needs to be an accurate representation of who you are as a person, so no pressure or anything. This isn’t “I’m 5’6”, love ice hockey, and have ukelele skills that would make Zooey Deschanel cry.” No, no, my friend. You are saying, “this is how I’m going to force you to spend your time if you choose to date me — how do you feel about that?”
Most of the dates on HowAboutWe are formulaic: 1 part alcohol + 1 part activity + 1 part specific location. “How about we drink wine and play frisbee in the park.” “How about we drink brews at the ball game and cheer on the home team,” “How about we dress as zombies and get hammered on absinthe and jump out of the graveyard gates scaring children” (hey, some people are into some weird shit). Not all of those dates will appeal to you, and they’re not supposed to. This is the sorting mechanism on HAW, and it’s your one opportunity to use it. So use it to your advantage. Ask them to do the shit no boyfriend ever would. Because this is the one time to find the guy that’s like, “Holy shit, this girl wants to drink moonshine on a ghost tour and go cow tipping after? Dream (cow)girl!”
If some super hot bro randomly loves the movie Hocus Pocus as much as you do, but suggests drinks downtown at McFadden’s without a touch of irony, just remember that will be your life. (Though I find it doubtful anyone who has that much appreciation for pre-SATC SJP will find themselves acting a hooligan at your local franchised fake Irish pub.) Regardless, read between the lines. If you’re the kind of girl who loves fancy dinners and YSL, maybe you should think twice about the homemade picnic in the park. And if the sort of goofy-looking guy suggests going climbing at a place you’ve always wanted to try, then give it a shot. One of the coolest parts of HAW is that it’s less pressure. There’s no insane algorithm or computer matching system saying you’re meant to be — it’s just two kids saying, “How about we do something fun.”
Now that you’ve plotted the perfect date, it’s time to start interacting. Note: while there is the option to message, there is also the curious option to send the pre-formatted, “I’m intrigued!” message. This is wildly lazy. This is a Facebook Like. A YouTube Thumbs-Up. This is the online equivalent of saying, “heh.” I am saying this as the CEO and Head Angel of Bold Moves: just write a god-damned message. And remember, when someone sends you an “I’m intrigued!”, they are actually saying, “I am not going to put in the effort to write something thoughtful because I am either a) not that interested, b) terrified, or c) busy sending the same message to every girl on this site with a mouth.” Cool if you’re into that, I am but assuredly not.
Good messages to receive include the following:
- hey! saw your suggestion to fly kites in Central Park – there’s actually this great place in Dumbo with wind off the river that might be perfect. Want to try?
- Your suggestion to try the new whiskey bar sounds great, especially considering how awesome you’ll inevitably look compared to my complete lack of knowledge on the subject.
- Nice suggestion to watch an outdoor movie. You know they’re re-releasing the movie you listed in your favorites next week, right?
What’s good about these messages? The same thing that sucks about elaborate math problems: reading comprehension. Show someone that you took the time on them and they are more likely to take the time on you.
Also, on the subject of receiving messages, I respect a person’s right to write “how r u qt” but they need to respect my right to delete that shit immediately. Please, spare me the “you might be missing someone wonderful!” speech. No. I am missing someone who does not pray to the church of Journalism and read the AP Stylebook before they go to sleep. I’d like my children to know the gospel of To, Two, and Too. And what is with all guys saying girls demand quality grammar? I can guarantee you CaNdYgurl92 does not give a shit. And if she does, she’s constantly embarrassed by the fact that she created her account before she went to college.
As the local purveyor of Bold Moves, though, I’d like to encourage you to hold off on the incessant (and weirdly fun) judgment spiral and actually reach out to someone you might considering meeting in person. The novelty! This is easy. There is no shame in the online game. You can message the baddest mutha out there and be like, WHAT, because no one can see you in your jammies with a plate of Thai in your lap and your latest failed attempt at the top knot on your head, you sexy woman of intrigue.
Messaging dudes is simple. Let’s stick with some age old stereotypes for a second and pretend that girls are like cats and guys are like dogs. With a cat, you need to act a little disinterested, let it come to you, play coy. With a dog, you just have to say “hey dog” and, if you want to drive him crazy, act like you have a treat in your hand. “Your suggestion sounds fun – I’d love to check that place out sometime.” That’s you ACTING like there’s a treat in your hand. Because he still has to ask you out because you, coy little fox that you are, never said you wanted to go with him.
Message at will, my friends. Because at the end of the day, every page view, every message is just a head nod, a smile, an acknowledgement of existing in the same socially tricky landscape of online dating. And what’s the harm in sending around a little good karma?
Prescott Reynolds just traded in her big city heels for hiking boots and is learning to navigate dating in a small mountain town out west. Karaoke hustler, ad junky, and novice road biker, you can check out her other adventures at DateByNumbers.