How to impress a girl on a dating website

So yeah, I am trying online dating again. And I am astounded at how crap so many guys are at it. I live in a city where there are many more women than men, so perhaps the boys don’t feel they have to make much effort.

But for you lads who want to stand out from the crowd and really impress a girl, here are my tips:

1. Don’t include the following in your username: 69, sexy, hot, naughty (or worse, norty), stud, etc. etc. Minus 1,000 points.

2. Put a shirt on when you’re taking your profile picture. Score 100 points.

3. Do not use a selfie (you have no friends?), bathroom mirror shot (you have no friends and you’re vain?), or – worst – a webcam photo as your profile picture. Minus 500 points.

4. Find a photo just of you to use. Using one where you’ve cropped out your ex-girlfriend/wife/kids is a no-no. Minus 100 points.

5. If you must use a photo of you in a tux/wedding outfit, please explain the context in your profile. Otherwise we’ll think it was taken at your wedding, and wonder WTF?! Minus 50 points.

6. For heaven’s sake, spend 10 minutes coming up with an interesting summary line. Score 50 points.

7. If you really don’t know how to sell yourself, find talking yourself up difficult, battle to think of enough to say to fill up the ‘About me’ section, WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON A DATING SITE? Saying that on your profile will just have us girls skipping on to the next guy. It makes you sound insecure, lazy, not taking the whole thing very seriously. You want us to think any of those? Minus 850 points.

8. For the love of all things good, USE A SPELLCHECK. Type up your stuff in Word, run the spelling and grammar check, cut and paste it into the dating site’s field. I’m sure there must be girls out there who are impressed by how ‘intellegant’ you are, but I don’t know any of them. Minus 850 points.

9. Give us something to work with in your profile. If I had a cent for every guy I’ve seen who loves long walks on the beach, a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace, enjoys going out as much as staying at home, and loves to laugh, I’d be richer than Bill Gates. Maybe I’m demanding, but I’d really like someone who is NOT ‘your average guy’ or ‘the boy next door’. Life is too short for mediocrity and clichés, right? Pop something interesting in your profile and it will pique our interest and give us something to talk to you about. Minus 750 points.

10. And when you drop us a line, please say more than ‘Hi’/’Hello’/’Hi sexy’/’How r u’. We can also spot boilerplate text that you cut and paste in mass mailings to all the girls in your Matches list. How about mentioning something that interested you in my profile? Show that you have specifically contacted me, that you are interested in ME, and why. Minus 5,000 points.

BONUS TIP: Ask us about ourselves. I’ve been chatting for about a week with a guy who looks cute and sounds interesting, but I’ve lost interest. Why? Because in the 5 or 6 messages he’s sent me, he’s talked about himself the entire time. He’s asked me ONE question (‘What do you do?’) – and didn’t even bother commenting on my answer. If you’re interested in someone – really interested in what they are all about, not just in getting them into bed – ask them about themselves, as well as volunteering info about yourself. Score 1,000,000 points.

The bottom line is we all want to be made to feel special. We want to find someone who is interested in who we are, what we think, how our day was, etc. etc. I’ve written this from the perspective of a 40-something hetero female, but would love to hear from others whether these tips would impress them too… or if you have any others to add!

On turning 40 and still being single

When you’re younger, the phrase ‘midlife crisis’ conjures up mental images of paunchy men in convertible sports cars with Barbie-like twenty-somethings at their sides.

Funny how it’s men who we imagine having midlife crises – maybe because paunches and bald spots are less common in forty-something women… or because women are less likely to buy a fast car / take a toyboy than men do.

But a midlife crisis is no laughing matter when it hits you hard. About a month before I turned 40, mine walloped me out of nowhere.

The big question it asked me was “What have you done with the last 4o years?!”

I’m not married. I don’t have kids. I do own my own home and am happily self-employed. But in the eyes of traditional society, I must look like a failure. Or that’s how I felt anyway.

I didn’t go out and buy a car. And I’m still looking for a nice young toyboy 😉 What I did do though is take time to reflect on what I HAVE actually achieved in my life so far. And when I listed it all, it was actually pretty impressive. I haven’t been sitting around on my butt for 40 years.

They say it’s pointless to have regrets, but I do have some. I regret that I wasn’t braver. That I didn’t take as many risks as, in retrospect, I should have. I wish that I’d opened my heart more and told people how I felt. That I over-thought some situations and procrastinated so much that I didn’t take some amazing opportunities.

But there’s no point beating myself up about it. What I’ve learnt from this is that I need to make sure those same regrets are not in my journal when I turn 50. This decade I will be braver, more adventurous, more vulnerable, and a little more hedonistic. I’m going to do the things I dream about… travel, study, explore… because before I know it, another 40 years will have gone by.

I’m designing my next decade, and it’s pretty exciting.