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Online dating? Why no one wants you

Even if someone deems you attractive, a travesty of a first message can ruin all chances of romance.
Even if someone deems you attractive, a travesty of a first message can ruin all chances of romance.
  • Tons of people are hooking up with future life partners via the Web
  • Don't send a really short message, or a really long one
  • Avoid gushing about favorite movies, books, etc. until later in the conversation

Editor's note: Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz are the sarcastic brains behind humor blog and book "Stuff Hipsters Hate." When they're not trolling Brooklyn for new material, Ehrlich works as a senior writer at MTV, and Bartz is a news editor at Psychology Today. Got a question about etiquette in the digital world? Contact them at

(CNN) -- If you're young, urban and didn't import a significant other from college, it's pretty likely that you're on an online dating site. Let's just admit that right now.

Online dating doesn't make you a creepy loser. Your collection of taxidermied frogs does. Moving on ...

Tons of folks are hooking up with future life partners (or dates or flings or accommodating couples) via the Web nowadays. People who aren't completely awkward, that is. And the place where that awkwardness has the most opportunity to shine is, undoubtedly, in your first message to a potential swain.

Granted, a lot of online dating is scrolling through photos, immediately weeding out "not my type," "holding a baby" and "just a torso," but even if someone deems you attractive (ironic mustache and all), a travesty of a first message can ruin all chances of romance.

Your missive doesn't have to be Pulitzer-worthy, by any means -- although spell check really doesn't hurt -- but there's a whole passel of openers that will get you deleted from a digital dater's heart.

1). The generalizer

Example: hey, wuts up?

Why no one wants you: You're probably stupid. Or possibly illiterate. What's going on with you? Something cool? OK, tell him/her about that, instead. Nothing at all? Go out and cultivate a hobby of some sort, and then get back to us.

2). The autobiographer

Example: Hi! My name is Sandi! I moved to L.A. from Oklahoma a couple of months ago and, I have to say, I'm lovin' it! I just adore walking my 6-year-old Pomeranian, Marshmallow, along Venice Beach!

Online dating tips

I'm currently working as a receptionist at a dentist's office, but when I'm not answering all those phones, I really enjoy kicking back with some Lilian Jackson Braun (that cat is SO SMART, solving all those mysteries). Oh! Did I mention I majored in Life Sciences in college and lost my virginity at age 27? Anyway, tell me about YOU!

Why no one wants you: Well, what else is there to find out? We kind of feel like we've already dated you, and we were bored the first time around.

You wouldn't sit down at a bar and tell someone your life story (that role is reserved for the old and deranged), so choose something you and the dude have in common and start with that. There's plenty of time later to run out of things to say.

3). The "eccentric"

Example: Holy Cheezburgers! You sure are a purty lady! I would love to take you down to the playground and push you on the swings! And then we can go to the zoo! Or to the ocean to build a giant sand castle by the sea!

I'll stomp on it and you'll be pissed, but you'll get over it because I'm just so gosh-darned charming. (I'll also be wearing a rather irresistible bow tie -- with a motor!) Write me back, sweet child o' mine -- that sure would be fine (that rhymed!).

Why no one wants you: We are afraid you will murder us in our sleep. Hey, it's great that you're a nonconformist who has his own trained tarantula circus, and any girl who's into well-behaved bugs is sure to dig you, but trying too hard to be interesting is just that: trying too hard.

4). The robot

Example: Hi! I came across your profile and it intrigued me. I'm looking for a smart man with passion and drive, and you seem to be it! Want to get a drink sometime?

Why no one wants you: You probably sent the same message to half of OKCupid ... and ... and eHarmony ... and JDate. Yeah, dating is a numbers game and whatnot, but no one wants to be number 1,000. Take, say, three minutes to pound out a more personal message. As we have already established (see #2), we don't need your life story.

5). The creeper

Example: I want to ****** ***** with your **** ******. And then ***** **** all night long. Oh, here's a picture of my junk.

Why no one wants you: We'll let you know after we examine that snapshot. Kidding (maybe). You know that section where the girl/guy has indicated what s/he's "looking for"? Unless "casual sex" is listed, cease and desist with the sexting.

6). The gusher

Example: Oh my, you are extremely handsome, you know that? Like, you look like a movie star! And you like all of my favorite books! "The Da Vinci Code!" It changed my LIFE! I'm sure you're WAY TOO AWESOME to ever go for a girl like me, but, wow, man, I hope you deign to answer this lowly message because your eyes are like starshine.

Why no one wants you: Kindly detach yourself from my leg. According to an OKCupid study, calling someone "sexy," "beautiful" or "hot" is a huge turnoff in a first message. If you ever want to stare into those "starshine" eyes in person, hold the compliments until you're trying to get into said person's pants.

7). The wordless wonder

Example: You have been added to PatrickBatemanIsTheMan's Favorite's List!

Why no one wants you: This is the grown-up equivalent of asking your friend's friend to ask me if I like you -- but, you know, not so grown-up. Man up and say something, while avoiding numbers 1 through 6, that is.


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