Thursday, September 04, 2014

How NOT to Internet Date...

...part 45 of 1,000,000 I guess. 

Twin got a message on OkCupid the other night, the first she'd gotten from this particular guy.

"What's your availability tomorrow night?"

This has been bothering me ever since she told me and I've been trying to figure out why. It's not obscene or rude and on top of that, it's not even my message! So why has it been silently pissing me off?

My first thought was that I disliked his abrupt introduction. Or rather, a lack of introduction and jumping right into the next phase. This guy skipped a greeting, a half-hearted compliment, a common interest, and a witty remark that you're wrong in your opinion of the best Back to the Future. He went all in. You busy tomorrow? He wants to do all that Dating 101 stuff in person. Screw typing. 

It's true that I find his approach to be a bit clumsy. It lacks finesse. This is not a guy with a lot of game. And it's sketchy. A lot of my friends are nervous about internet dating because the person you meet could be anybody at all. (And all of my female friends are nervous that your internet stranger might kill you. Yup.) He could be exactly who he says he is. Or the complete opposite. Or some great combination of lies and creep. It's a gamble! The first conversation(s) at least start the elimination process. My girls will still likely meet internet dates in a public place and have friends on standby ready to break you out of a terrible date. But at least they know that person made it through round one of cuts. 

I brought this up to some guys at the bar, a couple guys I've met before and a random guy I've never met and hopefully can avoid for the rest of my days--who invited himself into the conversation. They didn't see a problem with asking someone to meet up before you really chat. They made a decent point.

But I was STILL bothered by this guy--until today, when I realized why I hated his message so much. He does it all wrong. Sure, you know why he's asking if you're available, but he's also making it really hard for you to say no. (Or so he might think.) He asks about your availability tomorrow and you say yeah, I've got no plans. Then he asks if you want to get a drink. Well now you're screwed. You've painted yourself into a corner. If you don't want to see this guy, it just became really tricky. No thanks, you tell him. Well you just said you were free tomorrow! Why don't you want to see him?!** Because it must be him. You said you didn't have plans. What, did you make plans in the last 30 seconds??

Public Service Announcement for anyone throwing out date invites: We don't WANT to hurt your feelings, you know. Not all the time. We might like to give you an out! GIVE US A CHANCE TO REJECT YOU GENTLY. This guy took away any possibility of a graceful exit strategy.

Sure, I might turn a guy down because he's a disgusting ass. But I also might turn down a guy who seems perfectly nice but isn't a guy I want to date. Maybe he misread the situation and thought I was interested. In these cases, I'm not looking to be a bitch. 

Here's my tip for the day: if you're going to ask someone out, don't trick them into saying yes. "Do you want to get a drink tomorrow?" is perfectly acceptable. It leaves the other person a lot of options. They can say yes, or I would love that but tomorrow doesn't work, or no thanks I'm not interested, or no thanks I'm really busy, or fuck off you're a weirdo, or hey I'm in a relationship but thanks for asking, or any number of other responses. And they have the option of letting you down gently--and you'll both feel less awkward. "Are you available tomorrow?" should only be used as a follow-up question. 

I know you don't usually take my advice but please, try and remember this bit. Try really hard. 

**This might seem harsh but I had a guy demand why I didn't want to go out with him one time. Um, maybs because you're super aggressive and childish about rejection??

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