Mating and dating have been around for longer than we’ve been humans.
Since time immemorial men (for the most part) have been trying to figure out women. What do they want? How do I give it to them? Do they really mean what they say?
As men’s brains tend to be more straight-forward, the convoluted labyrinth that is the woman’s mind continues to confound us. Regardless of the technology involved, men still face the same problems.
What are some of the current issues men are dealing with online and how do we fix them?
Pain vs. Pleasure
Life is pain vs. pleasure. We, as humans, move towards whatever is pleasurable and move away from that which is painful.
It’s a normal human/animal reaction the world over. However, sometimes we need to consciously reverse that and actually move towards pain and away from pleasure.
For instance, when you work out, it is painful! Whether it’s running or lifting weights, our body is constantly complaining. But, we have mentally attached the present pain with the future pleasure of how we are going to look, how we’ll feel or how we might be perceived. That way, we can mentally justify the pain that it puts us through.
The same thing works with dating. If you go out to a party and talk to 5 women and 4 of them don’t work out and 1 does, you’ve got a 20% win ratio. The problem is that when an interaction doesn’t go the way the guy wants, he feels pain.
It might be embarrassment, shame, anger and/or frustration. So, he had to go through 4 pain points in order to get to 1 pleasure point. But, because most people don’t want to face any pain, a lot of guys turned to online dating to solve that problem.
Now he goes online and sends 100 emails. If he doesn’t get a response back, there is no pain, just a lack of emotion. But, if he gets 1 response back, he’s excited! No pain points to go through, but his win ratio is a measly 1%.
One would think that you would go with the best win ratio, but in my experience, men especially, will go to the thing that gives them the least pain.
Take risks! Remember risk vs. reward? The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Yes, use online dating as it’s a great way to meet people. But make sure you’re using it as an addition and not as a replacement to real life.
How to Present Yourself: Image & Impression
Whether you like it or not, you are a brand. You put on a forward-facing facet and present yourself to the world as “Steve” or “William.” If there is an interested female, she is going to compare you (your brand) to others and make a choice.
While you might be a fantastic guy with lots to offer, if you don’t know how to present yourself, you could accidentally self-sabotage.
As someone that works in fashion as well, I know the importance of a first impression and how image affects that impression. You need to make sure that you put your best foot forward.
First off, how do you want to be perceived? Are you the sports guy? The jack-of-all-trades? The debonair foodie? Urban hipster?
Now you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself super specifically, but you want to make sure that you are giving out an unambiguous impression.
If you like the outdoors, don’t post pictures of you in your cubicle. If you are more of an introvert, don’t talk about going out all the time or being super social. If you like animals, don’t be afraid to showcase it.
Whatever YOU are, someone will like you. The more you obfuscate, the harder it is for that person to find you.
How to Message
Ah, communication! Never the man’s strong point. And, online creates a whole new obstacle as it is using the written word as opposed to the spoken word.
If you meet someone in person, your shy, blushing uncomfortableness might be cute. That’s because they can see your body language, hear the tone of your voice and generally get a larger feel of who you are.
In the black-and-white world of the written word, so much is lost. Maybe you are great at expressing yourself in person, but never really needed to get good at writing. It is a whole different medium.
First off, pretty women get a lot of attention. Like, a LOT of attention. Sometimes over a hundred unsolicited emails a day. So you need to be able to stand out instantly.
Two things that won’t work: writing a page long email or just emailing, “sup?” As usual, a woman is wondering if you are just talking to her because she has a pretty face or are actually interested in who she is as a person.
So, don’t go messaging the ladies, “Hey, you’re hot!” It’s low-brow, unoriginal and just won’t work. Instead, mention something you read in their profile that caught your attention, show that you have something in common and ask her a quick question.
“Hi there Starfruit92, I saw you mention that you had been to Barcelona. I went there too and I loved looking at all the gorgeous architecture! What was your favorite thing about the city?
We Only Get What We Ask For
One of the unfortunate things about online dating is that we only get what we ask for. While it is nice when you’re on Match or OKCupid to narrow your search to exactly what you want, you are disqualifying a large amount of the population.
If someone asks you, “What’s your type,” you may say, “Blonde hair, blue eyes, big boobs, sporty.” But, if you look back in your own dating history, most likely, many of the ones you dated don’t fit into this definition. Why? Chemistry.
Because you met them out in the world and while maybe they didn’t fit into you “perfect woman” box, there was something about them that you found fascinating, sexy and fun. You are dating outside of your box and having a great time doing it!
When you are online, don’t totally limit your searches. Otherwise, you really narrow your options. Try and expand what you are looking for and you never know what you might come across. She doesn’t have to like sports, or earn over $70,000 or love partying at bars.
Sure, there are some great people that do, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot by excluding some phenomenal women!
Hunt Ethridge is a Hoboken-based dating consultant and a fashion writer. Currently, he is the Senior Dating Coach at New York Dating Coach (www.newyorkdatingcoach.com).