Online dating has its own set of rules and etiquette. Here’s one pet peeve I have with a common male behaviour on dating sites.
I’m on a bunch of dating websites. In a town like mine, it ends up being a little bit redundant (I see a lot of the same faces on OKC, PoF and Tinder), but still, I like to cast a wide net, and see what I can catch.
Now, I’ve been doing online dating since, literally, 2001. I have lots of experience, and coming back after 9 years in a monogamous relationship, it wasn’t much different.
Women still write detailed profiles with plenty of information about their lives, their goals, their needs. Men sometimes do that, but most often are a lot more thrifty with words. A list of hobbies, maybe a mention of their job, and a few characteristics of what they’re looking for. There’s a lot of “fun-loving, down-to-earth, love the outdoors” kinda stuff. Which is fine, if generally unhelpful.
But that’s not the worst.
The worst is someone starting a conversation with you by sharing the usual pleasantries, and then you say: “So, what interested you in me? Your profile isn’t very helpful.” And then you get a few “Oh, I like that you seem so smart and mature and you like sci-fi and your pics are great. Ask me anything! I’m an open book.”
Ask Me Anything!
Dude, you’re not the latest featured AMA on Reddit. You’re probably not that famous. When I read a profile, I like to have a general sense of whether or not we’ll get along, so we don’t have to both waste our time if we don’t fit.
“Ask me anything” is putting the labour on MY shoulders to find out whether we’re compatible. You’re just sitting there, waiting for the questions to come in. You’re not trying to determine if we’re actually a match; you’re just trying to get me to talk to you enough so I can agree to a coffee.
“Ask me anything” is lazy. Aside from dick pics (ugh), it must be my biggest online dating pet peeve. No, I don’t want to ask you anything. I want to have a conversation about whatever we have in common, which hopefully you have highlighted in your first message.
No, I don’t want to ask you anything. I want to know if you can banter, if you can follow my quick brain, if you can make me laugh. Telling me to ask you anything is like going to a restaurant, requesting a menu, and then being told, “oh, you can have anything you want.” But what does the chef know best? What ingredients do you actually have on hand?
How can I know what to ask if your profile is basically “I have a job, I have hobbies and I like to go outside”?
It’s more emotional labour
As with most of what happens in heterosexual, monogamous relationships, the emotional labour is on women’s shoulders. Recently, feminist writers have highlighted women’s emotional labour, or the time and energy women spend taking care of men, catering to their emotional needs, placating their potentially aggressive behaviours when we turn them down, and much, much more.
Telling me to “ask you anything” when my profile makes it very clear what I’m interested in, my personality, and what I’m looking for, is emotional labour. It’s assuming that I somehow want to get to know you because you think I’m cute.
Now, sure, sometimes when the profile is better than the average, I can find something to ask you about. But since you’re the one who approached me, you’re the one who should convince me that spending my energy having a conversation with you is worth it.
Hint hint: we don’t exist for you
I’m not here to stroke your ego by “asking you anything”. I have desires and goals of my own, and asking you anything just takes too much energy when I could be doing a million other things.
Why should I ask you anything? What do you bring to the table? Why are you a potentially interesting match for me?
The best conversations I’ve had when it comes to online dating is when a guy approaches me with interesting questions stemming from my profile (which is very complete and very detailed). What’s the best book I’ve read lately? What do I think of DC’s failure at superhero movies? How do I fit Zen Buddhism in my daily life? What makes me want to go back to school at 33?
If you’re interested in getting to know me, then get to know me. Don’t expect that simply because you’ve sent a lazy “hi, how are you?” my way that I’ll want to get to know you. This isn’t “elevator at the office on Monday morning.” This is online dating, and you can get to learn a lot about me without even talking to me. Please return the favour by having a profile that’s just as detailed and complete as mine, and don’t rely on lazy “ask me anything” lines when I don’t respond the way you want.
Honestly, dude, you’re probably not that interesting anyway.