One of the pitfalls of working in the fashion industry, like I said before, is the heartbreaking shortage of straight men. It’s a dire, dire world out there, where queens reign and models thrive. So besides asking my loyal friends to set me up, I’ve resigned to on-line dating. Last year I would’ve died if anyone found out I was on one of those sites, but now it’s just like any other distracting hobby. I find it extremely entertaining. The profile photos are great fun – every man seems to ski, snowboard, love boats and do extreme sports on a regular basis – and it’s always a joy to see a new “wink” in my mailbox. But it’s not all fun and games. On-line dating is serious business these days and can be a brutal awakening. Here’s a few things I have learned:
1. Beware of guys who take “selfies”. This means they either have no friends, no family, no life, or no camera. If there isn’t a single soul in their close vicinity who could take a photo of them, not even the local butcher or worse, their own mother, you might have a social pariah on your hands and you must not even consider feeling sorry for them. It’s just plain wrong.
2. Beware of guys in their late 40s who have never been married, without kids. Think about it: how is it that a guy, at his age, with a good job, a sensible set of teeth and, according to his profile, a “generous, fun, easy-going, adventurous” life style, has never been able to sway a woman to marry him? Does he work such long hours he’s too exhausted to get it up? Is he a controlling maniac? Does he have a debilitating shoe fetish? Either way, it’s not kosher. In my opinion you’re better off with a divorced guy with kids. He’s probably made some mistakes but at least he tried.
3. Be gentle with guys who have unrealistic expectations. I sometimes sit and scream at my computer screen, wrecked by disbelief, when yet another delusional man contacts me: “What on earth are you thinking????” (I’m talking guys with ankle bracelets and neck tattoos, 27-year old kids who live with their mother, and men in Stetson cowboy hats…) I recommend either ignoring the request, or simply answering: “Sir, please ask yourself. If we were at a bar, would you come up to me and ask me out? If the answer is no, then you should not believe you have special powers just because we are in cyber space.”
4. Make sure you cross-reference their public age with the wrinkles in their profile photos. There’s a lot of older guys who change their age for fear of being inundated with messages from 50-year old housewives. I’ve heard it many times and some even warn you: if you are a 50-year old housewife, don’t contact me. Truth!
5. One of the games I play when I look at people’s profiles is to picture myself inside their photos. If you can’t imagine yourself hanging out with their friends at an open-air Beer Garden in Hoboken, or sprawled on a vinyl, flesh-colored couch next to their poodle, I would say, don’t force it. It’s bad enough you’ll come across a photo of your future mother-in-law one day and actually have to deal with it.
6. When a man writes to you and you have no interest in meeting, you are faced with an excruciating dilemma: do I write back and politely explain why I am not keen on joining him for a ride on his moped? Or do I simply ignore him and pretend I missed the message? In the former case you take a huge risk. He might not take no for an answer and become defensive. And trust me, there’s nothing worse than being put in your place by a shot-down man. So I recommend the latter.
7. Beware of the man who thinks that posting photos of himself surrounded by beautiful, scantily-dressed women is a blessing. I had an interaction with one such delightful man a few months ago. I warned him that no woman, especially not me, would take him seriously if he insisted on intimidating her with photos of girls in bikinis and thongs. I was genuinely worried for his future and told him he’d never find the woman “who likes to cook and learn new things”. He didn’t quite get that though and answered: “I just got laid last night, so I think I’m doing alright.”