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No matter which online dating platform you’re using (or all of them!), most of us have a list of green lights, as well as some deal breakers.
I’ve been dipping my foot into the online dating pool since the months shortly following my divorce. For me, green lights, red lights, and even yields can come at any point in the process, from the first glance at the profile to the pick-up message or even the first phone call.
Green lights? Clever profile demonstrating wit and intelligence. Inviting smile. Over 5’11.” I am attracted to guys who share similar interests like food, the arts, exercise, politics and lifestyle. Since I’m not a huge outdoor adventure enthusiast, a guy looking for a girl who likes to go deep sea fishing or parasail probably isn’t a match.
Red lights? Misspelled words, grammatically incorrect constructs. They’re vs Their; Too, Two, or To. A man “that.” To a writer, that’s like showing up in a stained tee shirt. A profile filled with complaints about women. Lying about age. Someone who sends me a message who clearly hasn’t read my profile in a game of “let’s see if we throw hundreds of messages against the wall and see what sticks.” Anyone who straight out says he’s looking to get married and willing to relocate. Shouldn’t we meet first?
Other deal breakers for me are any mention of the term polyamorous, dom and sub, or anything suggesting a personal remake of “Fifty Shades!”
An L.A. yoga teacher says, “If they SHOW me they have a sense of humor rather than write it, that speaks volumes. Also, if they’re 45, unmarried, and have a cat, total deal breaker! Generally, if they’re over 40 and haven’t been married, my red flag automatically goes off. Also, bad grammar and punctuation are always a deal breaker. A certain joie de vivre will turn me on. I don’t need to see copious photos of the food they cook or eat but I can pretty much sense whether or not they’re a foodie.”
A Southern California writer and professor prefers a mix of humor and seriousness, as well as specific detail. “I look to see if a profile is filled out; not just ‘I like to read.’ But ‘My favorite books are X, Y, and Z.’ I also like photos that show the entire face and body. If the age range he’s looking for cuts off at my exact year, that worries me. I like an openness to life. He’s not demanding some woman who is only athletic and adventurous. He’s open to normal women. Turn offs include bathroom, hunting, and dirt bike pics; ugly pet pics; a list of must-have’s (women who are in shape only; must go to gym; women who aren’t addicted to their jobs). Just chill out! Any dude who talks about what a great and attentive lover he is… deal breaker!”
Advice to men looking to capture at least a message return or date? Entice with a witty message that shows you read her profile. Don’t show that chip on your shoulder your ex-wife left. A bitter ex-husband who mentions his post-divorce penury isn’t really a turn-on. We aren’t looking for your money but a positive attitude goes a long way! Don’t worry so much about fitting into someone’s age search that you lie about your age. Lose the group shots or pictures where you’re using the kids to entice.
Share your authentic self and not some sanitized marketing piece you think will attract legions of women – or just the right one. Be yourself.
And please, don’t offer us a consolation prize if we agree to meet you! I had one guy offer me three pairs of designer jeans if I’d meet him for coffee!
What are your green lights and red lights?
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