On-line Dating Gating Factors: Fess Up. You Know You’ve Got ‘Em

As most of you know, I’m signed up to meet people through on-line dating. Every so often I get random emails from people and, more often than not, I have no idea why in the hell they thought we’d be a good match. And I’m not even referring to the offers I’ve gotten from men in Namibia, Malaysia, the Phillipines, and Fort Collins, Colorado to be my boy toy. Oh, and there’s the one from an American in the Middle East whose wife recently dumped him and wanted to know if I wanted to retire with him to his finca in Argentina. Seriously. Without even talking to me.

On one hand, I guess I’ve been surprised just how many decent people are out there but it’s also unsurprising just how few of them I feel interested in. Unsurprising not because the world is stacked with idiots–no comment–but because apparently, according to some dear friends, I can be rather picky. (I’m sure I have no idea what they are talking about. 🙂 Also, there’s the fact that I live in Colorado and have no interest in the Av’s or backcountry skiing and I am not an exercise fanatic. So that wipes me off the list of about 2/3 of the guys right there.

Everybody has their filtering factors and I am no exception. I know a bunch of you out there are internet daters or at least dating site lurkers, so feel free to add yours to this list or post to links to winner profile writers …

Turn ons (aside from common interests) …
* Sarcasm
* Shows he can walk the fine line of being humorously self-depricating without begging for reassurance
* Unselfconscious, rambling descriptives
* Use of unusual words

Turn offs …
* Any reference to the term “low maintenance” in his description of what he wants. This terms is totally vague and tells me nothing other than, “My last girlfriend scared the hell out of me and you better not be anything like her.”
* Shirtless or doesn’t smile in his picture.
* Includes anyone under the age of 27 in his matching criteria. (Nothing against you 20-somethings, but if he is anywhere close to my age and is still looking for someone that much younger, then he is not someone I’m interested in.)
* Multiple spelling errors
* Any indication that his sense of identity revolves around something less than being fully human (i.e., overidentifies with his job, his kids, his hobbies).
* I could go either way or this one, but I’m suspicious of any use of the term “lady” (as in “I will treat you like a ….”). I like my femininity to be honored, for sure, but when it comes right down to it, I’m not as polite, proper, patient, or passive as I would imagine one might expect of a true lady.


7 thoughts on “On-line Dating Gating Factors: Fess Up. You Know You’ve Got ‘Em

  1. Dude

    1. pictures of him with women
    2. pictures of him with women
    3. pictures of him with women
    4. bad spelling and grammar
    5. pictures that don’t show the entire face, which is out of an attempt to be “sexy” but really makes them look like murderers.
    6. Guys who say “no games” or “no drama”
    7. generic emails

  2. Date Gating

    I’m open to ages 24-74 under the correct circumstances.
    I do look for:
    *a degree of intelligence and sophistication
    *a quirky sense of humor
    *a novel way of perceiving
    *playfulness, subtlety, nuance

    I have made a concious effort to be tolerant of spelling and minor grammatical errors as long as the ideas expressed are organized and insightful. I’ve known many people who were brilliant but couldn’t spell or had a few semantic idiosyncracies.

    I’m generally turned off by:
    *smoking. even “socially”
    *otaku (fans of anime)
    *interest in horror movies and/or books
    *aggressive sexual stuff: constantly turning the conversation to sex or volunteering graphic sexual information such as “I like my asshole licked”. Sexual double-entendre is welcome. When asked, “What are you like down there?” I’m inclined to answer, “You mean Argentina? Never been.” If he can run with that, great. Also, if he brings up sex but is easily distracted with literature, politics, current events, word games, etc., that’s acceptable.

    I look for common activity level. If a man indicates he spends every weekend running triathlons or with season tickets to the Broncos, I don’t think he’s going to like curling up with me in front of a fireplace, reading aloud to each other and eating popcorn. Strong indication that clubbing, BDSM, or video games are a cultural identity for the person also indicates that we’re not going to enjoy spending time together.

    Since I am a folk-rock singer/songwriter, an interest in folk-rock/world music is a good sign.

    In a sweeping display of hypocrisy, I am turned off by any profile that lists turn-offs, on the theory that anybody who has a preconceived notion of what is unacceptable is not open to some incredible experience with a woman who happens to own a dog, or have a little facial hair, or occasionally speak a little baby talk (as I do, among a plethora of other dialects and personae).

    Similarly, any profile that rales about how terrible his last wife/girlfriend was is pretty much an instant out. Experience shows that whoever he gets involved with will wind up being the next slutty, irrational ex in his life, sooner or later.

    And in a display of religious prejudice of which I’m not proud, I tend to rule out anyone who lists Christian music or Christianity on a profile. I’ve had too many experiences where a man either tried to save me from my sinful pagan ways; decided I, being pagan, was the right vehicle for him to act out his twisted ideas of what lurid sexuality was supposed to be; or eventually dumped me because my simple approach to spirituality made sense and was, therefore, a danger to his immortal soul. Agnostic, atheist, Jewish, Taoist, Buddhist, Pagan, or “other” is still worth exploring.

    Black, white, and Indian (dots, not feathers) suit me just fine. Mexican, Native American, and Middle Eastern men I’m a little leary of based on previous experience. I’m not talking about skin color; I couldn’t care less about phenotype. I’m talking culture. I’m a strong woman with strong opinions, and anybody whose cultural upbringing and family create pressure to punish me for either of those is not somebody with whom I can have a deep relationship.

    While I am looking for a primary relationship, I’m not closed to ethical polyamory. A fascinating and gentle man who is in love with and dedicated to his wife/primary AND wants, with her clear approval, to meet other interesting women, is fine with me. Any indication of secrecy (I’m suspicious of the word “discrete”) and I’m outta there like snow in July. Rather than take a man’s word, I insist on communicating with the wife/primary and verifying that she’s in the loop. If she and I can’t get along, there’s no point in even sounding out a relationship with the man. I don’t compete, and I’m not part of a collection. Full stop. Polyamory should indicate an increased capacity for commitment; not an avoidance of it.

    I’m not interested in dating bisexual men. I could do a self-critique on that, but it’s another subject. For friends; gay, bi, trans, male, female, whatever. But for dating, I’m looking for a heterosexual male. Sorry; it’s what puts a nickel in my jukebox and that’s that.

  3. In a random wandering by way of friend of a friend of a friend…….. (you know the type) I came across this, and you made me laugh. I too am subjected to this stuff – but that’s cos I’ve subjected myself in an attempt to find a person to hang out with / get to know / hug / and or more !

    I’ve had a few successes but the fact that I am sitting alone on New Year’s day will maybe tell you how successful I’ve been!

    I share many of the things on your lists and like the 1st reply says too “him with another woman in his profile picture!” BUT worse than that is Him with another woman, with her face half blocked out because he has doesn’t have a recent picture without the current g /f or wife! (I’ve had that.)

    Actually the last time it happened to me, I took his picture, air brushed her out properly, gave him another arm (she had been in the way of one of them) also ‘removed’ his wedding ring. Then I sent it back to him and said, if you’re going to cheat, at least have a decent photo to do it with! We’ve been friends ever since and he hasn’t cheated! (at least not with me!!)

    Hope your year provides more useful contacts!

    • hi from colorado

      Woo-hoo! A new face. I love your story about the photo. Clever girl. 🙂 I know who to call if I ever need a good touch up job.

      Happy New Year, single sistah. Nice to meet ya.

      • hi from the Other side of the Pond

        *holds out right hand to shake*

        I now can’t get “who you gonna call???? Ghost busters” out my head !!

        Pleased to meetcha also single sister !

  4. Such a guy

    Sometimes I’m just such a guy. This is shown by my basic filters:
    A) Are they female?
    B) Did they answer the email?
    C) Are they really female?
    D) Am I attracted to them (do I find their countenance pleasing)?
    E) Is she breathing?

    Compatibility discernment generally happens further on in the process. Here are the more specific guidelines that are more relevant in person:
    1. When I ask the question: “how was your divorce/last breakup”? If the exposition takes more than 5 minutes, they are not over it or really, really, nervous. Them really getting into anything new may be difficult. If you like rebounding: go for it. I don’t. (I make no claim to this question as my own.)
    2. Can I see them getting along with my family? (I get along with my family. If you don’t, your mileage with this criteria may vary.)
    3. Ditto, my friends. (I get along with my friends. If you don’t, you are a bit odd, aren’t you?)
    4. Are they nice and polite to the waiter? To the apparently homeless person that asked for change?
    5. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.
    6. There is no rule 6.
    7. No pooftas.

    All of which can be replaced with the single question, really: do I like them and thoroughly enjoy my time with them?

    About the “lady” thing: most men want to be Prince Charming. Therefore their love must be a princess: a lady. Generally this involves a pedestal in some way, shape, or form. As you likely know, pedestals are darn uncomfortable and generally a bit unstable. The difference between pedestal elevation and the perfection bestowed by new relationship energy (NRE) is sometimes hard to determine.

  5. FIRST OF ALL, OMIGOD I JUST READ AND ABSORBED WHERE YOU GET YOUR LJNAME… YAYYAYYAYYAY! I am a huge CH/Neil Finn junkie and am just tickled to death to finally get it (and embarassed I didn’t before.)

    Ok, filters… I like:
    – My kind of funny in the profile
    – More than 1 pic, and at least one you didn’t take by yourself for the purposes of getting women
    – Honesty in the profile (inspired by Surprise Open Marriage Douchebag)
    – Good grammar & spelling, even a few big words
    – I hate to admit it, but I like to see something equal to or higher than me in the income section
    – Something surprising, unusual. Something that tells me he’s not just one of the masses.
    – Someone who sounds like he has a full life he’s happy with, friends, good family relationships, non-crazy ex-girlfriends, and is open about what brought him to internet dating
    – Mention of an appreciation for some kind of art
    – An affinity for leisure
    – Someone with a job he likes that is in some way interesting to him (and to me)

    I don’t like:
    – Someone who’s politically conservative
    – Someone who doesn’t like cats
    – Someone who has ‘erotica’ listed in his ‘turn-ons’, or talks more than a little bit about sex
    – Someone who looks pissed/unhappy in his pics
    – Someone who posts a picof his naked ass (inspired by true events)
    – Someone who is, oh, I dunno, MARRIED!?! (see above)
    – Divorcees or fathers (exceptions have been made)
    – Long hair
    – Sports junkies
    – Someone who says he spends his free time ‘hangin’ out’. That means nothing to me.
    – Someone who says virtually nothing about himself.
    – Generic emails
    – Someone who contacts me without reading my profile
    – Someone who rants about what he doesn’t like 🙂

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