Handy dating tips for the IQ impaired

By Mir
May 10, 2006

Or, I’ve just about had it.

Or, Google will not keep your secrets.

Or, Men are from Mars, if by “Mars” you mean “Idiotworld.”

Or, And you thought these stories were weird.

Wow. I could really just write titles for this baby all night long, and never even get to the post. You do realize that it’s a very fine line that separates the absurd from the depressing, right? Picture me up high in the air, on the tightrope. I might even be wearing a tutu.

So, uh, it’s come to my attention that some men are in desperate need of a bit of coaching, when it comes to meeting ladies online. I live to serve, so who better to enlighten those poor souls? NO ONE, says I. I’m in a unique position to assist the misguided, because I
1) have a blog
2) am the only one who could stop laughing long enough to help.

All of the following is based on actual recent experience, so help me God. (And God? I AM NOT AMUSED.)

Are you male? Are you doing the online dating thing? Listen closely.

* * * * * * *

Your Appearance

If you share a picture, share a decent picture. Try one where you’re smiling. Photos wherein you resemble a serial killer are not likely to garner much interest. Likewise, unflattering angles (I’m sure you’re lovely and all, but I don’t want to see the inside of ANYONE’s nostrils) are a no-no. It should go without saying that I am not interested in a picture of your dick. (Seriously, dude: Normal woman are horrified, and women who might want that sort of thing? Are going to assume that a penis-only shot could be ANYONE. Just don’t do it.)

Pictures where your last wife/girlfriend/fuckbuddy are blurred out are ikky. Do you not have a single picture of yourself without someone in need of blurring in it? That’s sad.

Pictures featuring babies or small children come off as cheap and staged, particularly if the kids aren’t yours. If you feel the need to soften your image, you’re better off donning a pink shirt in a field of puppies. If you’re posed with someone else’s kid, I suspect you’re using them as a prop, hoping to evoke an ovarian response from a potential date. If you’re posed with your own kid, I wonder if you have any concerns about THEIR privacy at all. Don’t do it.

Bonus guidance: If you have two or more chins in your photo, do not list your body type as “Fit.” If you need to lose 50 pounds, do not list your body type as “Average.” Worst case, you’re a liar; best case, you’re delusional. Either way, the evidence is right there, so you may as well just be truthful.

My Appearance

I obviously cannot speak for all women. I can’t even speak for all smart women, but that won’t stop me from trying. I will say it once, and if nothing else, know this:

Most women I know will not answer an ad wherein a man asks for a woman of a certain physicality.

Don’t ask for pretty. Don’t ask for a certain hair color, or “someone who takes care of herself and always wears make-up,” and FOR CRYING OUT LOUD don’t ask for someone thin. The reality is that we all have SOME preferences about these things; I understand that. But as soon as you put it out there, first thing, I know it’s overly important to you. And—surprise!—I know you’re shallow.

News flash: I’m thin and I never ever EVER answer an ad when a man asks for thin. EVAH. I may be thin, but you’re obnoxious. Next!

Bonus guidance: You also want to avoid “appearance is unimportant to me!” or some variety of the same sentiment. If it’s unimportant to you, don’t mention it. As soon as you bring it up, I know that it’s too important to you or you’re either ugly or indiscriminate. None of these things are attractive in a potential mate.

Be Discreet

Guess what I’m going to do after you email me? If you guessed “sit around drawing little hearts with your name inside them,” you’re a moron. I’m going to do what any modern woman does.

I’m going to Google you.

If there’s something out there you’d rather not have potential dates seeing, you may want to consider 1) withholding your last name, and/or 2) using a designated email address only for dating and NOTHING ELSE.

Sound extreme? Let’s review two handy examples!

Example 1: Man expresses his interest in me, shares much of his background, including his close relationship with his kid. A quick Google search turns up court transcripts from a heated custody battle–which mention said kid, as well as THREE OTHER CHILDREN. Oops! Must have just slipped his mind! (It’s not like I care how many kids you have… but lying about it—even by omission—isn’t cool.)

Example 2: Man expresses his interest in me, and a Google search links his email address to fifty gazillion spam investment postings across the ‘net, inviting everyone to join him in his COMPLETELY LEGITIMATE Ponzi scheme. When I made a joke about how perhaps his email had been hijacked when that happened and he should feel free to clarify, he answered my email but completely ignored that part. UH. Well, hey! Good luck in your search, and might I suggest that in the future, you use separate Gmail accounts for your scamming and your dating!

Bonus guidance: Also use a different email for any posting you’re doing on forums of an “adult” nature. ‘Nuff said.

The Truth is Your Friend

I despise liars. DESPISE. If I catch someone in a pattern of untruthfulness—even if it’s about little stuff… wait, perhaps PARTICULARLY if it’s about little stuff—I’m going to say goodbye. Refer to the above; either you’re dishonest or delusional, and neither of those is what a woman wants (though at times I’d be hard-pressed to tell you which is worse). Tell the truth or don’t bother.

Bonus guidance: When caught, own up. Anything else makes it worse.

Desperation is Not Attractive

Everyone likes lots of attention. Everyone likes to feel special.

Most people also like you to have a life. And a job. And some friends. And a bit of confidence.

Having me as your first priority when we’ve barely begun dating is nice for about fifteen seconds. Charming can become cloying in the blink of an eye. I admit this one can be difficult to navigate, and I’m not advocating “playing it cool” or other head games. I’m just saying that the stink of desperation cannot be covered with cheap cologne.

Constantly commenting that someone is going to dump you often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m about as self-deprecating as they come, and even I know not to go that route. If you keep saying it, I’m going to wonder why. I’m going to figure that you know something I don’t know. (And once I figure it out, boy will I feel dumb. But that’s another post.)

Bonus guidance: Have a little dignity. When a woman says “it’s over,” that does NOT mean “please keep looking for a way to get my attention” or “now you should hang around playing wounded puppy until I give in and scratch your belly.” Chances are that’s the sort of behavior that got you dumped in the first place.

* * * * * * *

I hope that this has shed some light on some of the more elusive facets of dating etiquette. If you need me, I’ll be in my cave.


  1. Leanne

    Jeez, Mir, do you have to be so… picky? I mean really, you’re asking an awful lot of the opposite sex, you know? They have a hard enough time tying their shoes, and remembering to put the seat down.

    Maybe you need to lower your expectations?


  2. DebR

    Another one that always makes me shake my head when I read personals ads (yes, I’m married, but I love reading the personals) is when a man says he’s 50(ish) years old and looking for a woman between 18 – 35. I’m not saying a big age gap is always or inherently bad, but a guy who isn’t interested at all in women his own age, but would be thrilled to hook up with someone young enough to be his daughter? ICK.

    Sorry to hear that this stuff is based on personal experience, Mir. :-/

  3. ben

    *knock knock*

    Hi, um, is this where I’m supposed to deliver the “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” speech?


    Alrighty then, I’ll just be moving on. I just got an e-mail about this killer investment scheme (but apparently they only want thin people to join, go figure)

    Love ya Mir!

  4. GraceD

    One of my girlfriends who signed up for Match.com received a photo from a prospective Romeo who was smiling at the camera from a buffet table line. Romeo was spooning a chunk off a Jello fruit mold. If this is modern romance, please, dollin’ Mir, stay in that cave.

  5. lastewie

    Hey, how do you like the cave? Haven’t I made it nice and cozy?


  6. Theresa

    Should my marriage ever fail, I think I’ll join a convent. Really.

  7. chris

    This post alone has made me want to stay married. Good Lord, if I had to deal with that I’d be up in a clock tower.

    But I am so with you on the honesty. There is nothing that turns me off of any relationship/friendship than someone who lies.

  8. Em

    I’m with Deb, I like to read the personals too (men and women) for the entertainment value and I have something to add – being photographed with alcohol, also sends out a certain vibe. Why is EVERYONE (myspace included – hey I never joined, I just browse the weirdo ones) holding a beer bottle or a glass with fruit in it?

    I have to agree with the serial killer stare. I *think* they are trying to come off as sexy but it literally sends a shiver down my spine and I click away as fast as possible.

  9. alyson

    Unfortunately 50lbs over weight is average. I do however hope that none of these guys get your help. It will make it easier for the women looking to spot them if they don’t change their tactics.

  10. Ei

    As someone just re-entering the world of single women, please save a cave in the neighborhood for me.


  11. Steff

    Stay in the cave!

  12. Irony Queen

    I heart you, Mir. I want to print this out, carry around extra copies and hand them out to people who ask about my love life. This — THIS — is why I’m married to my job!!! And happy about it!

  13. Snow

    Oh, I’d like to add another caveat to your list of things they should know:

    If I have told you that I’m flattered by the attention, but not really interested in pursuing a relationship at this time, for God’s sake don’t start threatening to find me and make me sorry for rejecting you. It only makes me call the police to report you, even as I’m relieved that I was extremely cautious about the information I gave you. (Shiver. Why am I such a weirdo magnet, Mir?)

  14. susan

    Mir, good advice and here is why the men won’t listen and, in fact, why they don’t have to listen: Scott Peterson had several proposals before the ink was dry on his conviction. There are tons and tons of women who will date those same men you just rejected. Sad but true.
    Which is not to say you should date them. Stick to you guns, there’s a good one out there somewhere.

  15. Cele

    Great list Mir. I’ve got another one to add.

    Do Not liken me to your mother. The last thing I want to know is that I remind you of her. The second thing I don’t want is her spaghetti recipe, maybe after months of dating, but not during discovery.

  16. meg

    I did the online thing for a few months a few years ago. I spent most of that time laughing hysterically at some of the posts. I still vividly remember a picture of this italian guy who was orange. Spray on tan? Even better, his id had something to do with a mercedes. Ha.

    Another bit of advice – if I’ve already written you back and stated that I am not interested: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, write me again a week later as if you’ve never written me before. It tells me two things. 1) You’re writing emails to every single female you find online at that moment without reading the profiles, and/or 2) you are desperate!

  17. Beverlee

    Wow! I am not in that internet dating space but it sounds tough. Sounds like you’ve got it down though. Good for you for staying true to yourself …

  18. dorothy

    This is awesome. I’m totally sending this link to all my friends now.

  19. dorothy

    This is awesome. I’m totally sending this link to all my friends now.

  20. ishouldbeworking

    From my cave to yours…
    I’m with ya! I do not like liars – it’s one of the reasons I am divorced. Also, now that I am done putting up with one man’s b.s., I do NOT want to get mixed up with another one and all his b.s.

  21. jes

    Yes, yes, and yes. All true. And well said.

    Incidentally you should email this entry to all major internet dating sites, and request they post it as a guideline for men.

    In fact, all men applying for membership to such dating service should be required to check a small “I agree to these terms” box.

  22. Katie

    You nailed it! I joined match.com a few years ago in an attempt to meet Mr. Right. Eventually it happened but not before I had dated the “guy who wanted to “bend me over his knee and spank me with a wooden spoon”, the ex Army ranger who spoke in military terms “I’ll pick you up at 08:00 hours”, the “triathlon guy who didn’t have enough balls to tell me he wasn’t interested so he gave my name and number to one of his buddies who was interested in me after meeting me at a bbq” and the rich business owner who was more interested in his dog and what tricks he could do. It took me wading through a million of guys to find the good one. But one of the most memorable profiles was of a guy who used the ENTIRE space to describe himself, to defend his story on whether or not he is the father of an unborn baby to a woman he had a one week relationship with. Now really, who would be impressed by that??

  23. Amy-GO

    Thank God I’m married. Because I’m very, very straight and this post is enough to make someone swear off men forever! *Pat pat pat*

  24. Belinda

    You have done a public service, I think.

  25. Steph

    I’m doing the whole online dating thing right now and you’ve absolutely nailed this one. Bravo.

  26. Shiz

    Perfect. Also: You should not be the size of a wee pin in your photo. And do not list ONLY typical things about yourself: Let me guess, you like roller-bladeing. You like Sunsets. You like wine. We’ve read that a thousand times. Write that you like a nice French White, you like camping with a big group of friends, and you like experimenting with Indian cooking. Or something. And on the Christian sites, if your favourite book is “the Bible”, you are OUT because THAT means, “I’m boring as hell. And also a crackhead fundamentalist.”

  27. the Mater

    “I’m just saying that the stink of desperation cannot be covered with cheap cologne.”

    Brilliant! I can’t stop LOL. You go, girl!!

    Best advice I ever heard came from a close friend. Her philosophy: if a man tells you that he’s not good enough for you, BELIEVE HIM!

  28. Jenn

    Hey Mir… keep the faith, I actually met my husband on match.com and he is WONDERFUL!!!! Good luck to you and all the single chicks out there.

  29. church

    I have a suggestion for a man *after* you meet him, having *met* him on an online dating site (will I ever learn?)

    Note to man: On your second date, when I make the mistake of letting you drive me over to see where your new house is being built, don’t make the mistake of *completely* freaking me out and saying the following:

    “Hey, can I ask you a favor?”
    “Uh, yeah, sure”
    “Would you mind giving me a hand job?”
    “ummmmmmmm” as I look out the window, estimate we’re going 40 mph and there’s a shoulder and wondering how much of my top layer of skin I’ll take off if I jump out of the moving car right *now*!

    Yeah, that’s a good one to tell at cocktail parties.


    Hang in there.

  30. Dawn

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! I’m laughing hysterically because you’ve just described my walk through the deranged world of on-line dating. The only good thing is that the loons tend to reveal themselves fairly early on. Hang in there, Mir!

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest