I realize I am old, decrepit and otherwise un-hip in a plethora of ways. However I also realize that my kids were not raised to be disrespectful or to make inappropriate requests to anyone, much less someone their parents’ age or more. And my brother and I were certainly not raised like that either. So why is it that when I sign on to a seemingly innocuous site like Meet Me in a moment of boredom while waiting in line at the movies, I am suddenly hit upon by all manner of trolls? It is even worse on so called “dating” sites like Plenty of Fish. I got lucky once on that site – had a decent relationship and lots of fun until things weren’t fun anymore. Other than that one guy, trolls!
Troll Variety 1: Younger guy hitting on older woman. By this I mean much younger guy around my kids’ ages chatting up me. Flattering, sure, until it turns creepy. They start out asking about general stuff like any other contact. I ask them why they are chatting up an old broad, and the usual response is something like “I like older women. They are smarter, funnier, sexier, better in bed…” All of which are undoubtedly true. I can’t really speak to that because I have never had sex with an older woman. However, these young guys quickly progress to asking for photos. Not just a head shot, but “send me pix of you in something sexy” requests. Quickly as in a matter of a couple of days and maybe three emails. They pepper the email and the text with shirtless photos of themselves and in some cases pants-less. I just got one of a very nice looking young man in a towel. Seriously. An unsolicited towel picture to a woman old enough to be your mom. That is an instant “See ya” from this older, smarter, funnier, sexier, better in bed lady.
Troll Variety 1A: Younger and demanding guy hitting on older woman.
Similar to Troll 1 but with a twist, this young man pressures for “dates” early. And presses and presses. They don’t seem to know how to take “no thanks” or “maybe some other time” for an answer. Nor do they take “how about a nice, well lit public place frequented by cops” as an answer. I suspect these guys are trying to set people up to get mugged, raped or worse, especially when they become somewhat verbally – or text-ally – abusive when turned down. Why do they think this tactic will work, and intimidate me into meeting them in a dark alley downtown or something? I don’t care how hot their unsolicited towel pictures are, it isn’t happening. And no, they cannot buy me a drink and roofie me on a first meeting, or a second. I prefer to stay sober and in control of my faculties when scoping people out. Intoxication with others requires a certain level of trust. These fellows love love LOVE sending virtual gifts, especially the naked or near naked variety. I have a fairly good collection now of virtual breasts, butts, camel toes, vibrators and naughty French maid outfits. Also, please don’t start conversations on email or text with “Hey ya ho, how are you?” and don’t refer to women as “bitches” or “ho’s.” Bitches don’t like that.
Troll Variety 2: Inconclusive Photos.
These guys – I assume they are guys, because their profiles say they are guys – post non-identifiable photos as their only profile shots. I’ve seen college logos, race cars, motorcycles, hot rods, the Rocky Horror Picture Show lips and record cover art on profiles with absolutely no picture of a live human being. These guys contact me and start to chat me up, say they like my photo – a head shot – and ask for more pictures. Standard protocol for me is to ask for photos of them first, before I start dumping my hard drive into their email box. Besides that, very few decent and recent photos of me exist. I tend to look like I have the crazy eye in a lot of pictures, probably because I have the crazy eye. I also look fat – the camera adds way more than 10 pounds. Ice cream adds 40 or so. Anyway, few photos and most of those are with family members. When with family members I don’t wear lingerie and only lingerie, and I avoid wearing spike heels as a general rule. I might fall and break a hip. Usually my requests for real photos are ignored and met with more requests for photos of me. I may be old but I know once something is on the internet it is there forever. I happen to not enjoy the though of me with too much skin showing on the internet. In fact I find it rather nauseating. It is also not great for job seekers. So guys, no, I will not send you an identifiable photo of me wearing nothing but a smile and a pair of heels. I can send you pictures of Monica Bellucci in a corset for days, though, and that will likely make you happier anyway.
Troll Variety 3: Mid-Life Crisis Guys.
These are the guys who have recently gotten divorced or who are just now getting back into the dating scene. They might be between 40 and 60, and usually are pretty decent guys. They have no social skills from being married for however long, but they are happy to show you their new truck, motorcycle, hot rod or photos of them doing some extreme sport. They are also prone to talking endlessly about their kids, and asking to meet a “good hearted, honest woman who doesn’t cheat.” That statement alone tells you about all you need to know about how their last marriage ended. Hey guys, clue: Good hearted is a meaningless requirement. It is undefined. No one on the internet is going to claim to be a liar, so might as well not even ask. Just saying. Dating hint for mid-life crisis guys: Develop some friendships with women about your own age, who will give you honest feedback and with whom you do not have a “want to date/bed” relationship. Develop your social skills, like having a conversation that does not involve moving back to your mom’s basement, buying your new motorcycle, or your unnatural relationship with your pet parrot/Chihuahua/chinchilla/whatever. I love my pets and kids, too, and will talk about them, but I have other interests and can speak about those. You should, too. These guys are not so much trolls as desperately lonely souls, so I have more pity on them than most. I, too, am pitifully shy. That doesn’t seem to stop me from talking someone’s ear off once I get going.
Troll Variety 3A: Mid-Life Crisis Guys Trying to Be Playahs.
These guys fit some of the variety 3 criteria, but like to post shirtless posing pictures of themselves in their profiles. I am thrilled you still work out at this age, and yes you do have nice biceps and still have a decent chest. Hooray. Put some damn clothes on, you’re not 25 anymore! Show me a picture of your degree, or your bank account, or your house (not the bathroom). Show me a picture of you smiling and doing something fun that doesn’t involve your bro-skis and some brew-skis. Show me a picture of you and your damn Chihuahua, you in clothes and the dog NOT in clothes thank you very much. Dogs in clothes on a man’s profile are weird, unless it is joke clothes for Halloween or for Dog Shaming. Balance your profile with pictures of you in a suit, in casual clothes, in adventure or travel clothes, and maybe one swimsuit picture. And for Pete’s sake, ditch the Speedo and the thong bathing suits. No one is that hot unless they are on the Olympic swim team. I don’t need to be able to tell your religion by looking at your suit, know what I mean? These chaps send virtual “gifts” that tend to be romantic – roses, candlelit dinners, etc. – for about 2 days, then progress to “sex me up” type gifts. Delete, delete, delete. Send me a real gift, like cash or a good dinner out with good company.
Troll Variety 4: Truckers, Rednecks, Good-Ole-Boys and Hillbillies.
Something about my presence online seems to act like a magnet to stereotypical truckers, rednecks, hillbillies and good-ole-boys. I am talking about the ones with the Confederate flag as their profile background, pictures of them in the cab of their big rig. Their profiles read like a right wing militia wet dream recruit. Mine reads like an ultra liberal progressive hippie chick who is also a cop because that’s what I am. I even put things like “must be liberal and progressive and also tolerate cops” to warn off Troll Variety 4. I tried putting “no truckers, rednecks, good-ole-boys or hillbillies need apply” as the subject line one time. Didn’t work. I’ve concluded these types either cannot or do not read, only look at the photo and click “DATE ME.” They are also fond of sending virtual “gifts” that flash, glitter or otherwise annoy and have wildly inappropriate messages on them. One I got recently had a woman’s bright shiny red lips around what appeared to be a flashing banana, and the words “lick me” on it in neon Broadway bulbs. Classy.
Troll Variety 5: Hi, I’m married/it’s complicated/I’m in a relationship but wanna go have sex?
Really? How does your wife/partner/girlfriend/complicated relationship other feel about this? Might want to state up front “we are in an open relationship and looking for a third” or “we are in an open relationship, you are hot and I want to play around” or hell, just go with “I want to cheat, you look like you could do with some cheating, let’s hook up.” Some of these scenarios may be do-able, and you may be do-able, but as a rule I try not to be a home wrecker. It seems to be bad karma, as my own marital record will attest. Also, read my damn profile. It asks “what are you looking for,” and one of the options is “casual hookups.” Note I have not checked that one or added it to my profile. Their might just be a reason for that. Something to consider, gentlemen. Now, if you are single-single, hot, non-trollish, and put it right out there that you think I’m hot, here’s a pic and you are hot, and you want to casually hook up – say that and we can negotiate I guess. Maybe. Not in a dark alley downtown, though.
Unclassified Variety: Getting Hit on by Women:
I can’t really speak to this, because it hasn’t happened much other than “let’s be friends.” Friends are cool. Friends with benefits are cool. Chicks are cool. I am not opposed to any of these options in particular, I just don’t have the experience to rant about it. Maybe I will get my chance one of these years.
So, you might ask, what IS the ideal dating/meet up site profile in this woman’s opinion? And how to proceed once you have acquired a target?
1. Be honest. Just honest. If you’ve been married multiple times, say so. If you have PTSD, or only one eye, or an unnatural attachment to your Chihuahua, say so. Let me decide if I can deal with the real you before you spend any money or time on me.
2. Post real photos, preferrably ones taken in this century. Ones taken this year, at your current weight and hair style are good, too. Post a few – work attire, casual attire, dressed to the nines, goofing off. Let me see the real you shine in those pix.
3. Complete your profile. Put enough information out there for me to determine whether I even want to talk to you. If I
don’t I won’t. If you don’t have enough information to even start a conversation, I won’t even try. Make more money than me. This is really easy, because I have zero money and work really hard just to not go under water.
4. Read my profile before contacting me. If we don’t match well, move on. Just move on to the lady who wants a good ole country boy to call her own. If you can’t read, don’t join online sites that pretty much are based on …. reading.
5. In your opening salvo, start with something witty like “Hey, I read on your profile that you like going to the Parade of Homes. I LOVE going there, too, and can’t wait for the one in the spring. What do you like most about it? I’m always looking for friends to go with, because it is not everyone’s cup of tea.” Or something that relates to the profile. I put plenty of information out there to make it easy for you to find something of mutual interest to remark upon. Promise.
6. Start with non threatening emails or chats. Wait to see if there is a connection before asking for a phone number to text. Text a few days before ASKING “can I call you?” Talk on the phone a few times, maybe starting to bring up meeting in person and working on making plans. Go slower than it seems necessary – I have made this mistake, and it ruined a perfectly decent relationship by moving too fast and pushing too hard.
7. Make your offer of a first meeting something tangible, like “Hey, would you like to meet up at Sheridan’s Unforked on 119th and Metcalf on Tuesday around 7:30? I’d love to meet you in person.” As opposed to “So, can we meet sometime? What do you like? ” This implies it is all on me to set up the great ideas, and I may not have any. I can usually answer a yes or no question, and most days can even suggest an alternate if the first idea won’t work. “I can’t do Tuesday because I work, but how about Sunday instead? I love ice cream!” Understand I have zero money, so make it clear if you will be paying or not. If it’s a free thing, say “Hey, Free Admission night at the Nelson-Atkins! Let’s go!” or something. Keep paying and being obvious that is what you are asking for (“Let me take you to dinner at this fabulous tapas restaurant”) or coming up with free ideas, so I don’t feel pressured to have to cough up money I don’t have to reciprocate.
8. Try to at least appear less awkward than I am, and less shy than I am feeling. I want you to be strong and outgoing and confident to some degree, and I am lazy enough not to want to do all the talking. Have a game plan of stuff to do or talk about, a path to lead me down as it were. Long awkward pausesare long, and awkward, for both of us. I will try to do the same. Try to listen when I am talking instead of planning what you are going to say next. I’ll try to do the same. Make occasional eye contact, but don’t be all stare-y creepy. Dress appropriately to the setting. Bathe and brush your teeth – on a regular basis. Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t have previously undisclosed meth-mouth.
9. Keep it to under an hour the first time, unless things are going really really well. This is why casual is good at first – easier to escape. If you think you might want to see me again, ask if you can call me in a day or two. If you think it is not a good match for heaven’s sake say something but be nice about it. “I really enjoyed meeting you and having ice cream. You seem like a really nice person, but I just don’t feel much chemistry. I’m sorry. But I am sure you will have good luck with finding someone. Would you like to keep in touch with an occasional email to see how each of us are doing in the market?” or something is better than nothing. I tend to text after a first meeting with “thanks for the ice cream, it was nice meeting you” and leave it open. Crickets in the night as a response is tacky. If you think things went great and say so, and I think not so much, I will say “I’m sorry, I’m just not feeling the chemistry, but I really appreciate meeting you. ” I generally try not to kick you in the balls for asking me out and not being the person of my dreams.
10. Keep the PDA down until we are sure we are a “thing.” Asking “can I have a hug?” after the first – and possibly only- meeting is a bit pathetic. Diving in for tonsil wrestling is too forward. Either one will likely net you a spot on my blocked list.
11. Deal wtih my cussing by cussing -lightly. Don’t worry, we can both cuss more as we get to know each other better.
Most of all, don’t be a troll, a bully, a jerk, a play-ah, a tease or an all around asshat. I will do my best to do the same.