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{Dear Book Dr.} Online Dating Sucks. Please help?

Mermaid Coffee Bandit

Today’s letter enters another realm… the realm of love, people. When I was in Hawaii with my fiancee, who was then my boyfriend, we passed by the mural pictured above. Given the fact that I have wanted to be a mermaid since I was about 7 and used to leave my See-wee mermaids in the sink, chanting incantations over them hoping I’d wake up to find them alive, I was excited to see a mermaid. But when I looked to the right and saw that her partner was a cropped pant-wearing coffee drinking man with some facial scruff and incredibly turned-out feet, I began to wonder if someone had been spying on us.

Either way, this mural seemed to be confirmation that we were meant to be. We got engaged less than a month later.

I might be the most hopeless case in finding love that anyone has ever met. Perhaps one day I will tell you more. However, when it comes to helping people find their match online, I am a natural.

Two people whose dating profiles I have written have found fiancees less than a year later- one less than six months from the time I wrote the profile! I know I sound like a sales machine, but this is something I am so proud of.

I guess my reputation has been getting around, given today’s letter. I’m including the subject line for this letter, because it made me laugh. Here we go:

subject: Online Dating Sucks Donkey B_lls

Hi Book Dr.

I can’t help but notice that your love life rocks. You are a lucky, lucky woman.

I’ve not been so lucky, thus far – and I’m not a woman – but that’s beside the point. I’ve tried online dating & it’s just not worked for me. All the women I’ve dated in my life, I’d known for some time before starting a relationship. Just jumping right into a relationship, or trying to, feels awkward. It’s not that the women I’ve met via dating sites are all duds, it’s just that none have been “wow!”

Any suggestions for books that would either improve my outlook on online dating or help me write the right profile to help me find a dynamite lady?


Looking for a Dare-to-be-great situation

Dear Lloyd,

Can I call you Lloyd? Anyone who references Lloyd Dobbler in a letter gets top marks from me.

First off, I’m sorry to hear that you are hating online dating. I hated it too, until it worked out. I won’t tell you about how to meet people or how to go looking for them, but I will tell you that in my experience, it’s a numbers game. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to find one you think is sexy and awesome. The odds are in your favor. Are there stories of people who were just flung together and fell in love in some amazing situation? Of course. But those usually happen in your 20s, when you’re in college or out doing wild things. If you happen to be over 30 or 35, I think it’s necessary to take the dating process in your own hands.

And that means going online.

So… what’s a guy to do?

I know I’m breaking script by giving actual advice as well as book recommendations, but here’s where I will start.

You have to write to them. I know this is draining. I know this is unfair and sexist. But if you wait for women to write to you, you are not in control of the dating.  Whether or not it’s fair, women have been told (me included) that men will pursue you if they’re serious. So if you are serious, you’ll have to go for it.

On many dating sites- my most recent one was OK Cupid- there is a feature where you can “like” a profile, or star it or otherwise indicate you like the person. Look for ladies who have liked you, and write to them.

Also, read what they’ve written and respond to something about who they are that you connected to.

And have good books listed in your profile. If you don’t believe me on that one, check out this NY Times article on love and books. What you read matters. If you read a lot (and you must if you’re here) show it off and list your favorite books on your profile. It can only help you stand out. The ladies like smart guys.

And what do I recommend in terms of reading?

The thesaurus. Yep- don’t go for the giant dollar words, but it is necessary to sound a little different than all the other dudes online. So be sure you are saying exactly what you mean. Dig into a thesaurus and see if there’s another way to talk about your ideal vacation, date, life.

And for god’s sake NO SHIRTLESS SELFIES. Women do not go for them. Women who do go for them are not the women you want.

Good. Glad we got that out of the way.

In terms of a book that will help you survive the rigors of online dating? I’ve got tons for women I can recommend that I’ve read personally, but the guide for men that seems the most legit is Did She Reply Yet? The Gentleman’s Guide to Owning Online Dating. The best tip I am seeing from this one is to avoid writing a generic profile and putting yourself out there as you actually are so that the right match responds.

If you don’t tell the real story about yourself, I think the blah dates are going to keep coming. Ladies love to see someone who shares their weird hobby, speaks the same language, or reads the same author no one has heard of. I’ll let you read the book, but start thinking about appealing to the one woman who is right for you, not everyone. That should cut the unsuitable matches quickly.

I hope this helps!

Please let us know how things are coming along, Lloyd. I think greatness is on its way…

hugs and happy reading,

the book dr.

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