Chat up line fail – why being yourself is better than trying to be clever

I was at a summer festival once, hanging out in the back of a marquee by myself, having just watched a band play. I sat down with my programme to look and see where I should go next when a guy approached me. I was single and the guy was fairly attractive. Had he simply sat down next to me and said “Hi” or asked if I was having a good time at the festival (or anything else within the realm of normal conversation) maybe things would have ended up differently. But he didn’t say any such thing. He said “Who are you and what do you stand for?” I looked at him incredulously. I may have even repeated what he said in that “did you really just say that?”  tone I reserve for people who deserve extra contempt. Shortly afterwards I excused myself and left. To this day, I’m kinda sad I didn’t use this opportunity to educate a guy who seemed pretty harmless on the whole and, as I said, not unattractive.

So what was so wrong with what he said? I mean, it wasn’t rude or sleazy in any way, was it? Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “what the hell is this woman on about?” So here’s the thing. Coming up to a woman and pulling out some whacky chat up line / schtick reeks of effort. Surely if this guy had any confidence in himself and his ability to communicate with people, he wouldn’t feel the need to come up with something like that. He’d simply say hello and start a conversation. The fact that he thinks he need some sort of flashy “hook” to get a girl chatting to him says to me he must not think very highly of himself at all. Maybe he thinks so little of himself and his ability to get girls he even went as far as learning some pick up “artist” tricks, thinking that would get him laid. Either way  – eeewww. Plus – what sort of stupid chat up line is that anyway?

Let this be a lesson to you. Looks have very little to do with whether women will like you or not. This guy was blonde, he had a nice face, he was tall and fairly well built. Yet I was instantly put off by his cheesy line and what it implies about his character to the point where I found him completely unattractive. I much prefer men who are confident enough in themselves to…you know, just have a conversation with me like a normal human being.

So remember: the real world is not like online dating where you need some snazzy first message to get someone’s attention enough so they click on your profile. The classics still work – say hello or give a (non-sleazy) compliment to get the conversation going and you stand a far better chance of getting a good response.

OKCupid’s “Crazy blind date”- you can say that again!

So, today OKCupid, which I generally rate as a very good (and free) site, has come up with an app called “Crazy Blind Date”. The idea is for OKCupid to basically set you up on a blind date with someone with details kept to a minimum. When I looked at this feature, I could see names and ages, but the pictures on the site have been scrambled to make the dates really blind. I also couldn’t access the full profile of any of the blind date guys in any obvious way, though looking at explanations of how this works, I gather it lets you chat to people beforehand at least.

I’m guessing someone out there came up with this idea as a way to make online dating less calculated and bring back the sense of excitement but really? The thing about real blind dates that are organised by someone who knows both of you: a well-meaning relative whose friend’s son is curiously single, a friend who works with a cool girl she thinks you’d like. You may still end up meeting some boring or weird person, but it’s not likely to be a crazy stalker or a total freak. On a free dating site I’d probably need a bit more convincing and interaction before getting my coat. And I’d want to see a picture. I know most men look better in real life than in their profile picture but I’d still want to see it. I also know that looks aren’t everything, but I’d still want to see it. The problem with online dating is not lack of information; it’s not uncertainty and a multitude of unknowns. Why on earth would anyone want to take away the little bit of information people do get online? Well, at least they got the name right. Stay safe, people. Follow the safety rules if you’re going to try a weird thing like this.

Stalker app gets withdrawn

Seriously? They couldn’t see this coming? The “Girls Around Me” app, an app that draws info from Foursquare and tells guys which girls are in their area right now, has been withdrawn after complaints. BBC news tells the story, which should really be of no surprise to anyone but the nerdiest of geeks.

To be fair, I never understood why anyone would want to check in anywhere online anyway. It’s practically doing big brother’s work for him (it? them?). Let the government (and the stalkers) work for their money if they’re so keen to know where I am. If you check in online using Facebook or Foursquare then you shouldn’t be surprised if your privacy gets invaded. After all, you’re kinda giving up on your privacy by giving everyone your private information for free. But this app…well…

When I was working for Allegran (online dating company), we got contacted by a company offering the technology to allow people to check in and find the users who were physically near them. This was before foursquare and before all the current apps. There was a debate among our directors as to whether we should use them. In the end, one of the directors simply asked us girls in the office whether we’d want to use such an app. We all said the same thing, and quickly: STALKERS!!!

The decision was made to let other companies iron out the creep outs, stalkerfests and eventual lawsuits before joining the party. The men, by the way, thought the app would be a great idea, but in online dating, nobody cares about what men think. Men wouldn’t want to join a site that only had other men dating on it, unless they were gay men and women wouldn’t join a site that got them stalked by weirdos.

So there you have it. Women may not actually like having all kinds of guys knowing where they are and popping up uninvited. Yes, I’m sure a lot of it is to do with privacy settings and can be fixed by tightening them up and only sharing your location with close friends, but privacy settings are hardly ever set to be pro-user by default, are they? Unless the user in question is an exhibitionist or his/her friends are stalkers, then we’re doing fine.