I received a marriage proposal.
“Dear God-loving Michelle. Please will you marry me?
I am a responsible man, loving and family oriented. I am single, never been married and i am a top professional with the state of Illinois… i wish you can favorably consider me as the man in your life towards building a great future together fulfilling our dreams in holy matrimony…i can’t wait to read your response to me dear pretty woman..please respond”
I did NOT respond. Bad grammar aside, I don’t see myself agreeing to marry someone who I didn’t know existed prior to the proposal. That’s right – this was a FIRST message.
Moment of transparency – I didn’t date all that much when I was single the first time, and it has gotten WAY more complicated! Dating as an adult is largely based on online dating. I know some great success stories for online dating, and some great failures. All in all, it is a huge learning process.
Between myself and a few of my friends, the online dating disasters are piling up. So, let’s talk about first impressions today.
There’s the obvious issue that people outright lie on their profiles. And since I live in the Bible-belt, everyone whose mom took them to church once writes that they are a born-again Christian on their profile. Sure, they haven’t been to church since 2005 and they are more familiar with where the town bars are than where their Bible is, but man are they excited to find a good, God-fearing woman! I have an added complication when I look at profiles. I’m an English professor. I get paid to judge people’s writing, grammar, and spelling. A few typos aren’t going to bother me – we all have them. But there is no excuse for a grown man to not capitalize “I” or to leave out ALL punctuation. And then, there are the profile pictures. Shirtless in front of a mirror is NOT a good first impression, I don’t care how often you hit the gym. And while I will forever laugh about nipple-ring guy, he didn’t get a response either.
Profiles aren’t the only problematic first impressions. The first message reveals a lot. So, guys, please listen to me – Don’t call a girl you don’t know “baby,” “honey,” “sweetie,” “hottie,” or any similar names. It is not as endearing as you think it is. It screams “lazy”, because you clearly didn’t even take the time to look at the name on my profile, and it’s superficial, replacing actual conversation with artificial affection.
Also, Christian Mingle has this thing where you can send people smiles. What do I do with that? I keep looking for the option to send an awkward wave to the weirdo smiling at me from across the state, but I can’t seem to find it. Seriously, I’m not really sure what the next move there is. If you are on a dating site, shouldn’t you at least be confident enough to form a few words into a greeting?
I received a message from a man is his 50s saying he knew he was out of the age range I set (I am still closer to 30 than 40), but he thought we would be a good match because he’s more comfortable around people in their 30s than people his age. How do I respond to that? “Awesome! I’ve always dreamed of dating someone significantly immature for his age. Thank you for reaching out to me.”
The problem is that somewhere, these guys are getting encouragement that these are perfectly acceptable ways to interact with women. Ladies, I beg of you, keep the standards high! For all our sakes!
I get that dating in general is awkward. I know I am super awkward myself. (Hopefully, the right guy will think it’s endearing). I’ve never been great at the small talk thing, and I tend to either say too little or too much. I don’t really handle those pauses in conversation all that well, and normally end up saying something super nerdy or corny. (Again, the right guy will find that charming…I hope). But maybe, just maybe, putting some effort into making a good first impression will ease some of that awkwardness.