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Behind the Scenes of A Professional Dater’s Decision Making

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Ahhh, OkCupid. It had been a hot minute since I tap-danced with dating due to ever-increasing rivulets of work, life and running (yay running!). Yesterday, I put my dancing shoes on and started warming up. Though my interaction with online dating has been scarce in the past few days, a few messages awaited attention, and a host of visitors had passed through my profile. My warm-up quickly became full-on stretching of the OKC muscle.

There were rock-bottom, mediocre and command-performance messages awaiting.

Let’s look at a few and discuss how to write a message that will get a potential date to respond–and how to avoid writing a message that will get instantly deleted (though even that task will feel like it gave you too much time of day).


I was genuinely shocked to see the following in my inbox:

Hello, I happened to peruse your profile and liked what I saw. Take a look at my profile and if it piques your interest message me. Hope to hear from you soon!


Lets [sic] go out next week.

Where the authors went wrong: well, everywhere. Neither expresses interest in me, or even interest in himself. Online dating is a little bit about marketing yourself and letting the you shine through your written correspondence. From fellow one, all I see is cornflakes. Bland, salt-free, never-going-to-ask-a-question-or-incite-discussion cornflakes. Fellow two actually has salt based on his lack of punctuation/grammar because at least I’m made somewhat aware of his style.

Curious about the men behind these lackluster messages, I poked around in their profiles hoping for more revealing answers. Both appeared to be college graduates and had no visible deal-breakers (like a crack pipe) in their photos. But their profiles were as generic as their messages. I couldn’t help but wonder if they had luck with this sort of thing.


Responding to my question about a word he learned recently (his profile noted he subscribed to a Word of the Day) I got this:

Today’s word of the day is “integument”. It has two definitions: 1. A natural covering, as a skin, shell, or rind. 2. Any covering, coating, enclosure, etc.  There really was not one particular thing that prompted the desire to beef up my lexicon. I have had a thirst for knowledge since I was a little kid. I enjoy learning for learnings’ sake. Honing the mind and body are two of my most desired traits/aspirations – not to say that I’m the best at either but I enjoy the constant challenge and pursuit. Needless to say – I enjoy finding others that share a liking to my pursuit of knowledge.

Better, right? He went on to ask me some questions and I wrote back with some answers. What didn’t really hold a poker to my fingers to write was…well, it’s hard to say. I guess for better or for worse, I didn’t feel connected to the man based on his style and based on how he wrote. Which is an unfair way to judge someone, hence why he got a response.

Command Performance

It shocked even me that this was my favorite of the messages, since typically I don’t really like being asked out off the bat (personal flaw of mine that I do try to overlook):

So I know I’m a little on the young end of what you’re looking for, but:
(a) You win the game of having good photos (in both a complimentary and a general aesthetic sense)
(b) I don’t spend nearly enough time in {the area where you live}, and I really should
(c) Your profile honestly makes you sound like you and I would get along like a house on fire. Whether said house is on fire romantically on platonically doesn’t even matter that much to me.
Any interest in meeting up some time?

Look at what he does right. Flattery not just on appearance but on aesthetics – a subtle nod that he’s paying attention to such things in life. Though he lives a little far away, has already ensured he’s willing to come out to meet me. And then, he adds to all this by releasing the pressure and noting we might just wind up being friends (which incidentally gets him off the hook in case he’s not into me).

This guy is #winning. Wrongly or rightly? Guess we’ll find out.

One Response so far.

  1. Eleanor says:

    Great assessment. And those are three quintessential examples of pathetic / mediocre / excellent dude responses on dating websites, with which I am mildly familiar, myself. Ahh, brings me back…

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