Many moons ago, a few thousand of you filled out a survey about dating online. A few moons after that, we compiled all the best tips and tricks shared by folks who date men. And now here we are with advice for women, kindly suggested by the men and women who date them. Some of this advice is the same advice that people wanted to give to the men! But some of it is different. Then next week we'll share your many, many horrifying (although sometimes okay) Online Dating Stories and we'll all have a good cry, laugh or "awww" together. For now, though, here's what our respondents had to say about dating women.
Post true-to-life pictures, and be honest about your weight.
• Ladies, apparently a lot of us are posting high-school-circa pictures of ourselves on these dating sites, and we need to stop doing this. Also, no one said this explicitly, but I'm going to say it: be true to you! If you are cool with you as you are, someone else will be cool with you as you are. Don't hide behind pictures of a younger you. You are great!
Don't do duckface photos.
• I had to look up what that meant. I had just called that "looking attractive," but apparently I'm just as wrong as the rest of you, because the dudes and dudettes that are checking out our pictures see right through our faux-hollow cheeks and plumped-up lips and they are having none of it. Don't try to look sexy! Just be sexy.
Don't lie about anything except for the one thing that you've rationalized it's okay to lie about.
• "Better to be straight up front and not lie. If what you are hiding is a deal breaker, it's better to break the deal from the outset. Now, having said that, I lie about my age but most people think I am 10 years younger than I am and if I told the truth, I'd never get a date with a younger woman."
I repeat: Let your true self shine through.
In your profile, use specifics about who you are and what type of relationship you're hoping for.
• "Please do not state that you like to 'have fun,' 'just hang out,' or 'listen to music' in your online profile. This suggests that you are in fact not human, just trying to sound like one."
• "Write why you're on and what you want, rather than 'I like cycling, tea, wine, reading and cheese.'"
But if that doesn't work.
• "Have a lot of good -ooking pictures on your profile. Also, make a shit load of money."
Don't hurry love.
• "Chill out on the 'I love you' thing within, like, a month of dating. It kind of creeps most guys out to be jumping into that too soon. Especially mid-coitus!"
• "On the first date she asked, "Do you believe that you can love somebody for just one night?" As she clumsily ran her boots up and down my slacks under the table. She proceeded to tell me about her 'Before Sunrise'-esque night of passion in Kiev during a semester abroad."
Tweeting about your date is bad form.
• "I went on a date with someone who complained via Twitter about me being late before I got there."
• "Immediately after hanging out she posted on Twitter, 'Ugh, what's with all the shitty boys on [dating sites]?'"
On the first date, don't lead with all that's Debbie Downer in your life.
• "I have had SEVERAL first dates with people who spend a long time talking about dead parent(s). FYI: I empathize! Having dead parent(s) sucks! But I do not want to talk about it when we are JUST MEETING."
• "Discussing family and medical issues is not a good idea on a first date."
Unless the health problems are Relevant To Their Interests, in which case, spill.
• "Nowhere on her profile did it say anything about her being an acid casualty and ketamine dealer."
• "The problem is that, just like pre-Internet dating, it does end up taking a while to really get to know someone, and by that I mean 'realize after dating for six months that they are pretty clearly suffering from borderline personality disorder.' Unfortunately, people in general do not have a habit of making this clear when composing their profiles … so until sites start allowing you to filter profiles by DSM diagnosis code (I'm a 296.32 if that's a deal breaker, ladies), your luck as is good or bad as ever."
Beware of this in yourself and others.
• "The worst part is the general feeling of self-disgust that comes with sleeping with someone despite loathing their personality … when I find myself on a date with someone that is reasonably good looking, there is some biological fuckedupness that kicks in and says, 'sleep with this woman despite everything.""
Sometimes it's good be a quitter.
• "It's happened a couple of times to me where we've met and *instantly* known that we're not really interested in each other – and gone through with a couple of hours of date anyway. So you see something right at the beginning – this person is really unhappy, or dull, or just really doesn't like me – and you can usually pick this up in about 10 seconds – and you sit through it anyway. Mad."
• "If the convo isn't flowing, time to get going."
What's there online isn't always there in person—and that's okay.
• "I don't have any real horror stories, mostly just disappointment that there ends up being no chemistry with someone who I've so enjoyed talking to online."
Please don't use your dates as an opportunity to scout for "material." (At least openly.)
• "Going on a date with a woman who told me halfway through that she was writing a book on online dating, that's the only reason she went on the date with me."
Don't hate on online dating if you're online dating.
• "The few times that online encounters turned into dates, it seemed like both parties were slightly embarrassed for having met online. It's not the best atmosphere for trying to enter the other's pants/skirt/jeggings."
Know your audience.
• "She called "herself a 'foodie' and used the phrase 'it's whatevs' way too many times. Really, any more than two 'whatevs' in a night and a red flag goes up."
"Be honest about yourself and your reasons for dating"
• "The one thing I will say is that when I dated women of a certain age – say, early to mid-40's -there was a palpable desperation tinged with anger, as though they wanted to know by the end of the first date whether this was going to be a serious relationship or not, and I found that off-putting."
Manage expectations, and be open to deviations from your fantasy image of your date
• "Hang onto your expectations only so tightly. No one is exactly what you think they are when you first meet them, and no one can describe themselves perfectly. These are fundamentally good things to understand when dealing with people in any context."
Previously: The Complete Online Dating Advice Guide for Men
Related: My Superpower Is Being Alone Forever and Party Of One
Photo by Foxtongue, via Flickr