Dearest Sophia and Gula,
I’m writing because I just don’t get online dating. Friends keep telling me to try the OkCupid thing, and from what they show me there are lots of people on there that pique my interest, but I don’t really understand how to reach out to them, or even what to do on dates. How would you two suggest I get my start in the cyber dating world?
Lonely in Stumptown
Lonely in Stumptown,
Oh, the delightful world of online dating. It can be your best friend or your worst ex partner. One of the basic human impulses is to develop a romantic relationship — and maybe even fall in love.
There are so many online dating sites that it can be difficult to choose which one to sign up with. The one that seems to be the most queer/LGBTQI-friendly is OkCupid. Though they do not have specific gender or orientation selections other than the “usual ones” (lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual), there is a search bar where you can type in terms to search for.
Honestly, I think the easiest way to get started in online dating is just going for it. The first thing you will do is develop your bio and profile. This is the hardest yet one of the most important parts of your online attractiveness. Let your inner qualities shine through in the words you type. If you are goofy, silly, sensual, artsy, or analytical make that known in the way you phrase things. This is what will bring out potential dates and make them want to message you. Next are your photo selections. This is another important piece to catching a date. Making sure you put your best face forward is key. Always try to let your personality show through. Between your bio and photos, that’s 80 percent of what’s going to hook that lucky person in to checking out your profile. The other 20 percent comes from the tests that you take to determine your personal likes and the actual conversation you have with that person. Keep in mind most of the questions you are asked are user-developed, meaning the questions come from the people who sign up to use the service.
There are a few things to take into consideration when developing your profile page. First, don’t lie. They will find out, they always do. So be honest and up-sell your strong features; don’t complain about what you don’t like about yourself. People want to read the positive. Once you have your profile set and ready, set up your custom search for the specific details. This is where you get to ‘build’ your perfect date. Imagine if you could construct your date, this is how you do it. Once that is complete you are pretty much ready to go. Don’t be scared to get out there and do some searches yourself. As time goes on and you read other profiles, you’ll get a sense of what you are after. Just go with the flow, but stay alert. Stay safe when connecting with people online. Attacks seem to rarely happen these days, but you can never be too safe. One thing that seems to be a turn off is the constant messages without any plans to meet face to face. Meet in a public space first. Usually a quiet lounge or bookstore is a good place to meet and talk. Most dating websites show the last time you logged in and many use that as criteria for searching. Try to log in at least once a week at the minimum. Most of all, know yourself well enough to make that shine online. Good luck!
Sophia St. James has been an erotic entertainer since 1996. She has traveled performing and educating the public on self confidence, self worth, and the art of sensuality no matter their outer appearance. Working as a sex and sensuality educator, sex toy/product reviewer, adult film director/producer, model, and erotic visual performer, Sophia is a well rounded woman with drive and determination. Sophia is also a mother and healthcare professional who takes pride in being a body positive and sex positive fierce femme.
I miss the good old days of clubbing your future lover over the head then dragging them to your cave — so easy and honest. Finding our life partner has always been a bit rocky. What about your father selling you to the highest bidder to further your family’s name? Or my favorite: you wake up to your first period and BAM! You’re a sister wife.
But now we have the internet to pimp ourselves out to find a mate. We can choose a flattering photo (when we were younger or chin up with a duck face) and let your new suitor know every perfect detail about all your favorite things to do … like hiking … EVERYONE SEEMS TO LOVE IT. I should get out there on those trails cuz it seems to be full of singles! I’ll bring my club.
But seriously, Lonely, if you feel like you wanna try internet dating, I say “Jump in! You should try everything once or twice if it doesn’t make you bleed or cry!”
Some of the stigmas (“you’re online just for sex”) are dropping from dating sites. Maybe it’s cuz there are other sites and apps out there that are designed for the quick hook-ups and those peeps are filtering out of the “looking for love” sites.
Here are a few rules Gula wants you to follow:
- Put up a normal, nice photo of you large enough to see what you really look like. I hate when the thumbnail is small, they are wearing a hat and sunnies, and the photo looks like it went through the wash.
- Be honest about you. Let people know positive things about you. They will find the bad stuff out later, but by then they have paid for a few dinners.
- Look fierce.
- Don’t go to the movies on the first date. You are just sitting in a dark room with a stranger. Think about it — it’s creepy. You should be getting to know each other. After dinner take a walk. There are better chances of someone liking you if you get their heart rate up; when they think of you, subconsciously their heart will race and let off endorphins. Thanks magic science.
- DON’T GET DRUNK. Embarrassing.
- DON’T GIVE IT UP ON THE FIRST DATE — unless it’s like an ‘80s movie and you stay up all night having crazy adventures like running from the cops and gang members, crashing a car in a pool at a huge house party, taking down the popular kids, and the whole time learning to love and trust each other. Then DO IT!
Gula Delgatto’s life began in a small rural farming town in Romaina. She was scouted singing in a rocky field picking potatoes by a producer of a “Mickey Mouse Club” type ensemble. While touring the Americas the group fell apart due to jealousies and drugs. She later transitioned from Vaudeville to starring on the big screen to woman’s prison, and eventually advised the Dali Lama on fashion n-stuff. Currently she’s taking her life knowledge and giving back in an advice column for PQ.
Need some advice from Sophia and Gula? Send your query — with “Whiskey & Sympathy” in the subject line — to firstname.lastname@example.org.