Advanced selling techniques

It’s been a while since I made a post. It’s also been a while since I made overzealous use of gifs. I must rectify that.

Since I saw you last, I have dipped a toe into the murky pool of online dating. Wow. It’s been… interesting. Often in ways which make me wonder whether these people have ever interacted with other humans before.

Online dating is actually quite a weird thing. Sometimes it’s horrifyingly shallow and I feel more like I’m shopping for shoes than trying to find an interesting person to talk to. It’s a useful tool to reach people you’d never normally come across, but just flicking through pictures of people like they’re products on Amazon can be a bit dehumanising sometimes.

With only a few pictures and lines of a profile to go on it can be very hard to judge who you might hit it off with and who would be a non-starter. You can only see what they’ve written or selected from a checklist. What looks in black and white like an immutable dealbreaker might in real life be entirely negotiable. There’s also the dilemma of knowing that pictures can be misleading and charisma doesn’t show in photos. At the same time, there’s little point engaging people you don’t fancy the look of in blind hope that you might change your mind. So along I’ve gone with it knowing full well that if I’d seen and talked to these people in real life my responses to them might be completely reversed, for good or for bad. But hey, you can only go on what’s in front of you.

Yeah. Sometimes what’s in front of you is… well. Writing an engaging profile and standing out from the pack is hard. I definitely sweated over mine and I’ve struck out or not been replied to enough times to know that I’m not necessarily the catch of the century either.

But if writing a profile is about selling yourself, some of these people might struggle to shift water in a desert.

(Disclaimer: This is #NotAllMen and #ProbablySomeWomenToo. I’m more than willing to bet there are women who do equivalent things, but as a heterosexual female myself I’m not going to see their profiles! As far as my own profile goes, I’m sure it could be improved but I can promise you I’ve never done any of this lot.)

Why are women all crazy?

Lots of whining about why is nobody genuine out there and how all women are so crazy and poor me wah wah wah. Loads of this around, always a winner. A sure fire way to attract a woman is to declare how awful women are – because all women are the same, y’know. We’re like the Borg that way.

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Negativity is always such an appealing quality, and feeling like you’ve been thoroughly berated before you’ve so much as touched base with this person is a good start. Well played. Can’t understand why you’re complaining you get so little response…

Billy Liar

From the lies so implausible it beggars belief to protesting so much you might as well be storming Parliament with a placard and a megaphone. Being a bad liar is another smart way to present yourself.

I mean, really? You’re 24 years old and you’ve had 4 careers which would all require extensive full time training?

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My favourite was the one who declared himself a soldier in his screen name, posted a picture of somebody in a helmet which was clearly cropped out of a movie poster or similar, and wrote nothing in his profile except that he was in the army. If I wasn’t sure what he was trying to say (my poor little brain is so ill-equipped to pick up subtle nuances) he helpfully cleared it up when he contacted me. His only sentence was “Hi I’m X and I’m in the army.”

When you’re less convincing than Castiel you’re in trouble.

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Honestly. If you’re going to lie you could at least try to make it sound plausible. (I suppose there’s always an outside chance he was in the forces. Which would make me question the psychological testing portion of their recruitment vetting.)

Apart from anything else, what do you think is going to happen when you get to a meeting and your dumb lie inevitably comes out? These aren’t tiny lies like enjoying the same band or talking up your job a bit. They’re obvious whoppers that cannot be maintained for more than five minutes, leaving you looking like a moron and/or a fraud. How’d you reckon she’ll like you then?

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Real Ladies and Girly Girls

In other words, he wants somebody submissive who’ll keep quiet, shut up and cook his dinner for him. He wants a 1950s housewife. And the poor love’s decided I was a good prospect…

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Seriously though, it’s frightening how some of these people talk. Some dress it up in nicer sounding terms but plenty of them aren’t at all veiled about it. They make it clear that they object to the woman they’re with having any kind of independence, opinions or power. They don’t want anybody who might potentially question what they say or disagree with them. And again manage to sound surprised at the lack of takers.

Be careful what you tell people about who you are… they just might believe you

It’s amazing how many people will, when trying to attract attention amongst masses of profiles on a dating website, tell you how boring they are. No interests to speak of, nothing of note about them. They tell you they don’t do much and they’re not kidding.

It’s a good thing to be honest and not misrepresent yourself as one of the many globe trotting adventurer types with eleventy billion hobbies that seem to populate these sites… but to have nothing to say for yourself? To be so completely unable to say something nice that all you can do is tell people you’re dull? You just sabotaged yourself. If you don’t think you’re interesting you’ll never convince anybody else of it.

I mean, really? Nothing at all? Not even a bean? Give me something, here.

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I got a blank space baby

Few to no pictures. Nothing written in the profile. No fields filled out.

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Well this is useful. Why exactly did you bother to pay the joining fee?

I’m not a serial killer

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People rushing to reassure you that they aren’t this or don’t do things that you never would have assumed they were/did. Until they went bizarrely out of their way to deny it.

I just discovered this PUA forum and it taught me all about talking to women

Pick up artist bullshit. Always fun to spot. I’m not arrogant enough to think that I’m immune to all psychological tricks, but if I can see them coming they get an automatic ignore. Some of those tricks are poisonous and I have nothing but side eye for those who use them. It’s not a good look.

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I had a real giggle at the guy who tried to neg me by way of my supposed overuse of the Oxford comma – though I do love me an Oxford comma I hadn’t used a single one in my profile. I’ve yet to decide whether he did that on purpose hoping I’d reply to correct him (thus giving him his desired opening) or he got hoisted by his own petard. It was certainly the most original attempt at negging I’ve seen and he accurately identified me as the kind of person who’d care about my writing… but no. My self-respect will trump my inner pedant every time.

Follow these 8374546728932 simple rules

If I want to message you I have to be this. I mustn’t say that, that’s boring. You won’t reply if I ask this. I must do this, and fill out the forms in triplicate in black ink and block capitals… yeah.

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Never fear, you don’t need to worry about me messaging you with one of those faux pas you find so irksome. Or at all.


Wow, great profile, you’re so pretty. Want to chat?

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Copy and paste is such a useful function. Allows you to send the same bog standard message to several women at a time for maximum exposure. All it takes is a bit of empty flattery. The more sophisticated bulk mailer may even copy and paste one of your interests into a generic line to make it look like he actually read your profile.

And that’s just some of the fun you can find… Sometimes when I’ve had a few in a row it’s made me despair of there being any nice normal men left in the world. Thankfully so far the cavalry has always arrived – the next one in the search list is a nice normal man with a cute or funny profile that makes me want to send him a mail. Sometimes he replies, sometimes he doesn’t, but either way my faith is restored (and after dealing with the above lot it needed it).


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