Online dating. Everyone’s doing it. Much like any kind of dating, there are pitfalls, but in general, it’s been pretty good to me. It’s the usual bell curve of total duds, mediocre nice-enoughs, and actual sparks, plus a handful of real connections. But before you get to the date, you have to get through the profile and there are about a thousand reasons to pass. Many, like an inability to utilize the English language (non-native speakers exempt!) require actual reading of a profile, but there are a few completely instantaneous factors within the first glance or contact that guarantee a Liz-shaped hole in the metaphorical walls of OkCupid.
Your Stupid Username
Like Greek and Latin roots, there are parts of a screen name that can be translated to learn about the person in question. Some are more meaningful than others. Mine, for example, translates to mean that I will make dated and semi-esoteric references to a cheesy anime I was obsessed with in my early teens, and that my favorite number is 28. Others are far more telling. Let me list a few key phrases and their translations.
If your username includes:
- “Nice Guy” – You have a chip on your shoulder about being a doormat.
- 69 – Virgin.
- “Username##”/”Screenname##” – You’re embarrassed to be on a dating site and hope that your wry sideswipe at the convention of creating a handle will cover your aching vulnerability.
- xxx – You drink jagermeister.
- ForYou/4You/ForU – For me? Really?! Gee whiz.
- Cunnilingus reference – You learned everything you know about sex from American Pie.
- “Lonely” – You will use guilt as a seduction technique.
- “Looking” – Your twitter feed would be insufferably boring.
Lack of a Profile Photo
This seems pretty obvious, but I don’t count this as an instantaneous dealbreaker because of attractiveness (although, yes, let’s be realistic, this is important). I don’t assume you’re ugly if you don’t have a profile photo–I assume you’re trying to cheat on someone. In an era where you have to actually go out of your way to buy a phone without a camera, not having a digital photo seems awfully calculated. It seems less about keeping potential love interests from seeing you and more about keeping someone you know in real life from realizing you’re on a dating site. Don’t be shady.
Mentioning My Unmentionables Too Soon
I don’t mean underwear, but “unmentionables” has a better ring to it than “tits,” and in extrapolating this to an audience wider than myself, I really mean “sexual attribute or desired sexual activity.” Now, I’m not naive. I have gotten the memo that dudes love boobs and sex. Hey! I love my boobs and also sex, so maybe this war of the sexes has some common ground after all. But if you can’t get through one measly email without referencing breasts or blow jobs, I probably don’t have time for you. My boobs will, presumably, be there for a good long time and I need to know we’re capably of talking about something else.
Did I miss something? Are there a different set of dealbreakers for dudes? Lesbians? Weigh in, please.