This is a terrible idea: It's basically recreating the existing bar experience - trying to flirt with someone while others also try. No thanks. The value of the date is that you're getting personal attention.


"I mean, your penis was in my vagina and then you just... what? Decide you never want to talk to me again?"
No, he decided that long before he stuck his dick in you. Obviously he was WAY ahead of you.


I would never do this. From either end. But then, I think online dating in general is silly, so I'm not the target audience.

Her letter contains a tautology she might want to pay attention to: if you don't have time to date, then you don't have time to date.


Honestly I'd consider that kind of insulting.
Like, are you interested in me or not? I'm not going to stand around with a bunch of thirsty dudes waiting for my turn to have a damn conversation with you for thirty seconds. She's really just looking to waste a bunch of dudes' time. (Not as in, leading them on; as in, having them stand around doing nothing for the vast majority of the time on a "date".)

Sounds like what she's after is the speed-dating experience. In which case, just go to one of those! That way at least there are other women for guys to talk to, so they're not sitting around with their thumbs up their asses while they're waiting to talk to you.


The LW’s suggestion had me literally shaking my head, repeating “no no no no no.” I think in addition to Dan’s standard (very good) advice about investing less time messaging online prospects before meeting them, the LW should consider using some of that time (to the extent possible) on low stakes social activity. Having a good network for friends and acquaintances increases her chances of meeting someone organically, or of giving a friend the idea to connect her with someone the friend thinks she’s compatible with.

Also, “hours” getting ready for date seems excessive. Are these red carpet affairs?


This would work better if she had a group of single like-minded women friends who would go with her--then the men had an incentive as well. Maybe make it a fun get-together so it's a good time, even if no love connections are made. But right, then it's basically just building your own singles event, which would be a ton of work and time--kind of the opposite of what she's seeking.


Sounds like a great way to start a fight between some of the potential suitors. Definitely tell them to show up drunk! Waaay more "fun" hijinks will ensue that way.


Now if only there was a reality TV show that showed us the pitfalls of this approach, and pointed out that it only works if you have a British accent or are 10 years younger, and even then it ends up as a disaster half the time.


OMG, you sound really intense about finding a partner, this might be turning off men who are ready for a long-term relationship, but don't want to feel like they just committed to get married. As for your plan, I do a lot of online dating, and I would perceive you as narcissistic if I received this e-mail. I also wouldn't think you are "taking this seriously." And from your perspective, how does this increase the likelihood that you find a suitable partner? You had 5 or 6 dates with a man (or men) and got to the point of sex with overnight visits before they decided that you weren't a good match for them. That doesn't sound like unsuccessful dating, and your mass audition isn't a screening mechanism that is likely to identify more suitable matches.

While I appreciate you have a busy schedule, for years, I practiced law in New York, and often had to work seven days per week, and leaving the office before 9 pm was early. If I could manage to date regularly under those circumstances, you can too. Want to waste less time dating? Make it clear in your profile that you want a long-term relationship, as well as any disqualifiers, like already partnered men. Stop the marathon exchange of messages, and push to meet for a quick coffee that confirms in 30 minutes or less mutual physical attraction and the absence of major deal breakers. Also, why are you writing to so many different men simultaneously that you feel like you are juggling multiple potential partners? You can set your own pace, and respond to men one at a time, and seeing whether there is any attraction before moving on to someone else.

Good luck!


Girl, do something different. Do you. Try anything. I'm sorry to tell you the truth: being a creative, motivated, interesting, achieving woman in your thirties will make you undateable because straight men are shallow and don't want a woman with her own agenda or a career that will over-shadow theirs. That's the real dating 411. Misogyny is a real factor in all ambitious women's dating, but you won't find acknowledgment of it on this site, just a lot of people claiming that you can't possibly ascribe a particular set of online behaviors to misogyny, maybe you should go back to therapy, it's your fault you're not really available, (it's you, its you, its you), build a life you can be happy with single , etc.
Do it. Because fuck them, and get yours, and all the new fangled techno-dating BS only plays more into men's fantasies that a male college drop out who sells refrigerators for a living and spent his entire 20s drinking in a buddies basement is just as smart as and equally entitled to the pay of a woman who worked her ass off for a PhD, and so while your looking for an emotional connection, he's looking for a woman who's a slim super model with an advanced degree because that's what he's entitled to, right?

See who shows up.


Oh honey.

From the perspective of over 50 years since my first date, and over a half century of also seeing how relationships and marriages happened and worked out for friends and family, the best advice I can give you is contained in two books:

All The Rules and Not Your Mother's Rules by Ellein Fein.

When myself and others (inadvertently) followed what would later also be that advice we had good relationships (and marriages.)

Otherwise, not.

There are also good chapters for online dating -- including on not how to waste your time -- (update for new technology, such as substituting texting for their phone advice.)

It's timeless advice.

Good luck.


"so that I don’t waste my time OR SOMEONE ELSE'S with chats that go nowhere or first dates that end up being a dud"
Caps emphasis mine. This shifts the time wasting all onto them. She pictures herself getting 20 chances during the same amount of time as it usually takes for one. What's in it for them?
I'd laugh, screenshot, block, and share with friends too.


Also, this is a lie: "being a creative, motivated, interesting, achieving woman in your thirties will make you undateable because straight men are shallow and don't want a woman with her own agenda or a career that will over-shadow theirs."

The reverse is true: As I can attest from both my own experience, and that of my friends, over the last half century.


I don't think it's crazy, but what's important is YOU don't think it's crazy, so maybe you'll find someone on the same page as you this way? Ultimately though—and as exhausting as it can be—you're still going to have to go on those test drives if you're shopping for a long-term vehicle.

I don't think there's any secrets or shortcuts, I have found wonderful long-term love in the exact same way I have found heartbreaking disappointment. Just be yourself and keep gettin' out there.

And agree @13—those are all fantastic qualities that a single me or any of my good guy friends would be really into. I'm sorry you've been made to feel otherwise.


I'd be into this. I would show up with one of those Lirpas from Star Trek and challenge every other dude to combat, once I had dispatched them all I would claim her as my prize and move into her apartment and mooch off her for a few months as is my right as victor.


When anyone online pushes "don't waste my time if you're not serious", it filters out potential partners who may be open to something lasting and meaningful, but don't want pressure from someone they've never even met.


Wait, there’s someone in here pushing The Rules?

What the...


@14: “ maybe you'll find someone on the same page as you this way?”

Be careful what you wish for, it has a particularly good chance of preemptively filtering out well-adjusted people with self-esteem.


I don't like this idea because it is unromantic. I hope the letter writer will deviate from her schedule and build some time in her schedule for magic. It's inefficient, but important and lovely things often are.


@6. imaginarydana. Yes--and I've come up with an name for it--date-at-speed! Could she ditch the PhD and found a company offering this date-at-speed experience?

@12. ankyl. I agree that many guys would find it high-handed--but actually think it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to give it a shot. But it's a poor idea in being so asymmetrical; and a 'mingle' or, to coin another term, 'party' organised with friends that invites a ton of semi-strangers over could work better.

I though OMG's letter contradictory. She invests hours getting to know a date before meeting him ... then finds out that guys she dates have 15 year-old relationships and are counting on her being down with polyamory...? Well, which is it? It can't be both.... The thing to avoid is getting into @10 flounder's embittered mindset. There are compatible guys as good, as interesting, as much looking-for-essentially-the-same-things, as her out there. OMG's current methods of filtering and identification must count as bad. First, she should cut to the first date quickly, and understand this as 'the smell test' sexually--the non-rational test of interest or compatibility without which a relationship just isn't going to get off the ground. Then she should filter by clearly and pleasantly telling every guy she dates what she's looking for--something long-term and monogamous.

On the time issue, is there a reason that OMG is dating online, rather than fishing in her most available pool, which is presumably her fellow PhD students? They already share a significant interest--and if a relationship (and perhaps family) are so important to her, she will be able, inasfar as it's possible, to make the sacrifices invariably asked of an academic couple (so often compromising on location, career or tenure-track prospects and joint earning potential). If she isn't doing this for a reason (e.g. she's at a small school and all the possible prospects have already paired up), is there not some way she could leverage her friendships so she could be put onto trustworthy and potentially compatible friends-of-friends? Online search presumes no common interests, no common connections or preexisting bonds, tastes, responsibilities. It's a very naked and exposed form of individualism; and there's a genuine question of whether OMG right now has the time and reserves of emotional resilience for it.


Whether you are online or offline dating, you run all of these same risks with potential partners. It's not built into the ONLINE experience, it's just built into the human experience.

I agree with Dan; you're assuming everyone is only going to waste your time just because it hasn't worked yet, and you HAVE none to waste. If casual, NSA fun isn't for you, maybe you should wait until you have more time to invest, or maybe spend more time just messaging, talking and getting to know them before you have sex. That way, if they're in it just for the fun, you'll (likely) have a better idea of it because they'll (likely) jump ship much sooner. Good luck!


Im imagining a Disney ball, or arrow shooting contest, or whatever. And trying to imagine that in real life, except in a coffee shop. not seeing it. But I do think the advice about just having a (one on one) quick meet and greet, instead of extended email, is a great recommendation. Every time you send an email (or the other person emails you), you talk about what youd like to be, and leave out the parts you dont like so much. The more you email, the more both of you are going to be disappointed. It much more efficient to meet face to face.


This is a terrible idea that I would definitely participate in because I am into women who come up with wonkish, socially awkward solutions to their problems.


I just googled on "Toronto speed dating events." There were several. It's basically your same idea of getting the guy to show up, giving you both a chance to look each other over, and doing so while only getting dressed up for that initial date once.

Don't want to pay that initial fee? Could you organize a singles event yourself or with the help of a civic organization? Many men meet many women all at once. More efficient that way.

Think of online dating as the equivalent of a giant bar with lots of people. Some people you look at across the room and smile at. Some people you chat with for a moment before deciding if you want to have a drink together. Then of that subset you drink with, only some of those will you get together with later. Except that with online dating, the smile, chat, and drink steps are all collapsed into the chat functions on the phone. So there are going to be a lot of people you chat with and never connect with later.


@18 You're not wrong, but I'm a firm believer of showing your cards.


Speed dating is already a thing. You don't have to make the gender balance a perfect 50/50, but at least include 5 or 6 other friends who are interested in an LTR, might interest the same people who'd potentially be interested in you, and vice versa. Or ask each of your potential dates to also invite another date, for a flash-speed-date-mob.


There you go LW, drjones @15, nice to see you back, will turn up with his mighty sword to slay the others and the other michael caine @24 is a goer for it.
Is there a problem with TheRules, undead @17? nice to see you too.


So this person who has all these “nightmarish” dating experiences decides the solution is a cattle call of suitors where she holds court and says “dazzle me!” like some Reality TV audition?

Gee. I’m shocked why shit hasn’t worked out for you, LR.

Here is some very unoriginal advice that everyone should know before they are 18 years old: When you have consistently shitty relationship experiences the first thing you need to understand is that the central connective commonality is YOU.

Stop trying life hack how you find the right person and make yourself a person someone wants to find. Because. Maybe you attract assholes because you’re an asshole.


It’s a man’s world honey, but it would be nothing, nothing, without a woman or a girl.


Simple, offer to pay for their coffee and cake and for sure they’ll all turn up.


Why not follow 2CV @ 23 advice and meet 2-3 men on a given night?
If I ever got an email like that my initial reaction could have been somewhat positive, appreciating the other person’s confidence and creativity, yet waiting a bit before responding. After few hours I would assume the sender to be a fairly flaky person, way too full of themselves, and awfully impractical.

Flounder28 @ 10
Coffee date with Sporty?


My tactic is to invite a guy to do something I would do anyway, so then if it’s a dud, I won’t have wasted any time. This usually involves a walk around Green Lake or Magnuson Park, or Sunday morning coffee, or a free classical music concert at UW. Don’t want to make the effort? Fine. If we don’t click? Fine, I haven’t gone out of my way.
Don’t make online dating any harder than it needs to be.


3 jobs and a PhD? Are these jobs like “movie theater box office assistant” or “house sitter”?


As a veteran of online dating who found a couple women who are still friends even though we weren’t long term matches and my current SO of 9 going on ten years (in about a year and a half of serious looking following my divorce) your idea sounds narcissistic and a total waste of a guy’s time. Speaking as a man, we already have to deal with the reality that women on dating sites are flooded with replies so the idea of attending a cattle call for one woman to sift through a sea of swinging dicks and MAYBE deign to talk to you for a bit between suitors sounds repugnant and demeaning. It speaks volumes about your view of “dating” as “something to suffer through” and smacks of entitlement... “C’mon, all you guys, line up and impress me!” Your letter also shows a disturbing pattern of choosing poorly. In my experience it wasn’t THAT hard to sort through the hoi polloi and recognize the few that were intelligent, humorous and had similar goals and interests to me. Frankly, the majority of profiles were a morass of unoriginal sameness. The ones that stood out were easy to spot and quickly confirmed or eliminated upon a no-pressure meet and greet at a spot where it was easy to hear each other talk but had something interesting going on to share and stimulate conversation like an art fair or a museum. Even if the “date” didn’t work out it wasn’t all wasted time,I still got to do something I enjoyed.


More efficient for you = less efficient for them. How's your perspective-taking?

But yeah, the big thing jumping out of this is, what are you envisioning as a relationship that is compatible with your super-busy life? Do you have time to spend with a partner?

(The read I'm getting is that you do literally have the time, you just can't stand low return on investment. Is that going to play out within a relationship too?)


Someone did a version of this...


LW, relationships are not something one can order up, and there are no guarantees any will be life long and stay monogamous. Is this your body clock talking.. are you wanting babies?
I do agree with others here, this is not a good idea.


As someone who is not on dating apps, I can only say that the trick seems to be people matching who actually want a monogamous relationship amidst a sea of people who just want to hook up. And it seems like most people just want to hook up.

Nobody is going to respond to her strategy except the people who are just totally curious about a potential shitshow. I think she needs to follow the advice given to the London woman a few weeks back: meet up groups, hang out with friends in mixed-sex spaces, maybe study in cafes, start a reading group at a local bar, and see if any of this puts you in contact with other people in person where they might feel some responsibility to not act like a jerk.


So, her solution to people wasting her time, is for her to waste other people's time? No thank you. I paraphrase the infamous quote by composer Max Reger: "I am in the smallest room in the house. Your letter is before me. Soon it will be behind me."

As others have pointed out: does she have the time and energy to devote to someone else at this stage in her life? For that matter, has she yet figured out what she wants as an end result of dating? LTR? Marriage? Babies? This is clear as mud.

It may be time for her to prioritize. What is more important to her right now, the PhD and three jobs, or a social life and possible future with a mate? Does she want serial monogamy, or a husband and children? Or some other scenario? Etc.

There is no right or wrong answer, but she may not have yet realized that there is more than one possible answer. She may still be formulating the questions, which may be part of the reason why things are not going anywhere with men.


LW, I suggest you stop with the dating sites and with what little spare time you have go join a group for an activity you enjoy.
Humans can’t be put in cost efficient columns, in relation to our intimate relationships. It’s enough business operates like that. There is something a little off in your attitudes.
Meet people first, form a friendship and let things develop organically.


Dan is right: "I would suggest setting one lunch break aside a week for a quick meet up with an individual—just one—match from a dating app"

Think about the one-on-one time you'll want to spend with your partner after you have one. Will that be Wednesday dinner dates? Long lunches & afternoon delight on Thursdays? Late night drinking on Fridays? Then carve that time out now to see a prospective partner each week. If they can't make the time you find convenient, then they're not the right person for you.

Generally, online dating offers people too many choices. Restrict your options in some arbitrary way (like only seeing one person a week) and you'll be able to focus better on whether or not you could settle down with this person.


OMG, for whatever it's worth, the nightmares you experienced happened before the internet was there to facilitate them. Also for whatever it's worth, how can you be doing a PhD and working three jobs and have any time for dates!?

I agree that her idea is crazy. She's not a job fair. Why doesn't she either sign up to an actual matchmaking service or go to speed dating events, which is what it sounds like she's describing only with her as the only woman there, meaning 19 of the 20 men would go home disappointed. Maybe look around and see if there's anyone worth dating at any of her three jobs (which I presume are very part-time, ie little risk of financial ruin if dating a colleague goes wrong) or at her university? Or indeed, just put dating on the back burner until she has more time. Because if she doesn't have time for dates, how can she have time for a relationship? With her schedule, being a secondary is probably the most she can offer, and perhaps that's why so many of these dates are going nowhere.


Beeteedee @5: Yes, that slipped past once I got to the ridiculousness of the suggestion. Why is she spending "hours" getting ready for a first date? Where is he taking her, the Met Gala? The first date should be a non-committal coffee. Brush your hair, throw on some lipstick, you're ready for the date.

Sublime @9, good advice.

Flouder @10, bitter, are you?

zzbb @16, exactly. "Looking for a long-term relationship" is better phrasing.

Harriet @20, it can be both, because there have been a variety of men with whom she's tried a variety of approaches. And yes, men are very capable of carrying on detailed conversations for weeks or months while conveniently forgetting to mention their long-term partners.

PollyC @21: She should also stop thinking of these dates that go nowhere as "wasted time." Did she enjoy the date, the food, the conversation? Even the sex? Did she learn more about who is and isn't compatible with her as a partner? Did she learn that perhaps she needs to say up front, "I'm only looking for monogamy"? Then the time was not wasted. It was part of living her life.

Lava @28: The Rules is basically a handbook on how to manipulate men into relationships with someone you are not. So, big problem with it!

CMD @32: Ha! They do seem perfectly matched.

Escapee @33, that's a great idea.

Misanthrope @34, probably. So? They still take up her time. Are you suggesting she could date while on the job?

Music @40, great post. What are her life goals and where does a partner fit into these? Does she want a partner just for the sake of having one? Has she been equally inconsiderate of the needs of the people she's dating as she is of these online potentials? Aside from her age and intelligence, what is SHE offering? If I were monogamously inclined, I'd be likely to bail in the early stages on someone with no free time, too.


Actually, Misanthrope @34, since she's a PhD student it's extremely likely one of her jobs is teaching. Sorry if that makes you feel emasculated.


@34. TheMisanthrope. Yes--but they are still jobs. If she's in the cinema box office, say, someone will come along and she has to put down her book. Or she can't write at work, only pick at her reading. And the need to earn money, however she does it, creates anxiety. She can't help comparing herself, and her prospects, to those of fellow students who have a financial cushion.

I can't but think there's a lack of trust--and a lack of self-belief--in OMG's not being 'out' to fellow students and close coworkers about wanting to find her nesting partner. (Maybe she is--but I had the sense she was embarrassed to be in her position and retained a reserve with classmates--talking more about school or her subject). When I was in my early to mid-thirties, my assumption (unless obviously contradicted) was that everyone single wanted a relationship, some form of fundamental life-partnership. The people not confessing it, not making it some part of their persona with real friends, struck me as aloof, evasive, in denial, inauthentic. (And this was with gays, as well as straights). How would OMG think she comes over? People are not judgmental. They broadly have sympathy and compassion for anyone in a tight spot in life. Someone thinking e.g. 'she chooses men badly' is not marking down her moral character in any comprehensive or irrevocable or damning way. The idea is not likely to be disconnected from anything else they think about her (e.g. 'she's a conscientious scholar', 'she has a quite proper sense of pride and demands real engagement from people').


@44. Bi. Of course they are--but fewer are able to lie when the question is put to them directly, 'are you single?'. I think OMG has been having long online conversations with these guys about stuff other than what she really wants.

I would disagree with pollyc @21 in that many guys who just want a hookup or fling are quite capable of long timesink exchanges. Some have nothing else to do; some find it hard to get any female attention and have adapted to a more 'female-friendly' manner of interaction; some may get it into their heads that they want the 'conquest'. No--better quickly to meet, greet, eat (or drink coffee), gauge sexual compatibility and explore common interests, bid goodbye.


Online dating works for me. I met my wife online, and over the years I've met plenty of awesome partners through online sites.

But online dating, done well, takes just as much time as in-person dating. Either you vet people through extended chats, or you meet potential partners in person. There's no shortcut.


Shouldn't the LW put in her dating profile that she's looking for a monagamous, long term relationship? If she's concerned about efficiency, that would have the potential of efficiently filtering out most of the dead wood on those dating sites.


Harriet @46: "I can't but think there's a lack of trust--and a lack of self-belief--in OMG's not being 'out' to fellow students and close coworkers about wanting to find her nesting partner." I think you're overthinking again. Maybe she just has a firm "don't shit where you eat" rule, or maybe she her mind just naturally compartmentalises people into "colleagues" versus "potential dates." Or perhaps there's just no one she's attracted to amongst this cohort. I do agree that, since these are people she's already spending time around and therefore won't need to make time to get to know, she could look around her instead of just online for potential partners. In my experience, people in my workplaces who are single don't go around moaning about it to colleagues. It's assumed that people who are single are capable of doing whatever they want to do about it. So I don't see any red flags there.

Harriet @47, if someone is on a dating site, one does not think one needs to ask, "are you single?" It's on the non-single person to disclose that fact. And I don't think it's appropriate to have "so where do you see this relationship going" type conversations with someone you haven't met in person. She did nothing wrong to find herself on a date with someone who left it too long to disclose his partnered status.

Juan @49, you underestimate some men's -- some people's -- willingness to overlook mismatches and dealbreakers in order to get laid. Putting "looking for long-term monogamous relationship" on her profile will deter the ethically non-monogamous or those not currently looking to settle down, but not the unethically non-monogamous or players. Also, two people both looking for long-term monogamous relationships are not necessarily compatible; it will take a few dates to figure that out.


I sympathize with the LW but I agree with other posters that this mass date is not likely to be effective for her goal. On the other hand, it did work reasonably well for me once, years ago, when I was looking for men to be involved in a group scene. In that case, about 8 guys said they would come to the bar to meet me, and 3 showed up. 2 of those later participated in the planned scene. In that case, I was looking for several men for a one-off occasion, and needed to judge their willingness and comfort levels not just with me but with each other too. If LW was looking for a stable of reliable guys to rotate through and cooperate with each other, this might be a good method. But for a monogamous, long-term thing? Not recommended.


I came here to suggest something similar to what Juan@49 is saying. BiDan@50 is certainly correct that men will do pretty much anything inethical to get laid, but perhaps part of the answer is to cast a smaller net, not a wider one. Instead of putting out a brief profile saying age and looking for a monogamous relationship, get specific. Mention interests, goals. Be a good writer and use examples and detail. When the guys who answer every female answer, insist on MORE pre-meet chat, not less. See what he has to say. If you say you like late 19th century Russian literature, let him do more than just look up Tolstoy when he answers. See if that's something he likes too. Let him show that he's responding to what you've said. Be choosy about who you meet. Have an implied "only the best need apply" in your initial ad. It's worth a shot.


The throwback mention of The Rules is funny, because its advice is basically, don’t be too available. And even with a PhD and 3 jobs she is making herself too available by her own metrics—spending time she doesn’t have. She can choose to spend less! No hours getting ready for a date, no endless text threads... and Dan’s advice about one lunch per week. I have to laugh that Dan and The Rules are dovetailing.


I am genuinely curious if the LW received a message like this from a guy she swiped right on, if she'd go to his "meat up" (not a typo.)


OMG others are busy too. You want to make a date to meet 100 guys at once? This totally disrespects their time.

But maybe the perfect match for OMG is a guy who is happy with shitty treatment.

That said, OMG, if they don't genuinely dig it (if they are only putting up with it because they're broken) that doesn't make it OK to treat them shitty.


"Siri, please find me a SL letter that combines the Raylan Givens Rule, grandiosity, and a self-fulfilling prophecy?"
My stars.
Stand with a bunch of other dudes, waiting to get a quick once-over from some chick I haven't previously met? Maybe in a bomb shelter with nuclear winter raging outside, or in one of those parts of Alaska where it's either the one woman you run into or you bang a tree knot or a horny sympathetic bear. Fuck out of here with that nonsense.
You're in Toronto, dollface, I hear there's at least 5 other women there, and at least 2 are pretty. Exactly whooooom do you think shows up for something like this, a confident well-adjusted guy with his shit together? The only people, male or female, who could run this kind of shindig, are the ones who don't have to.
Back on the old Loveline radio show, Dr Drew and Corolla got a lot of stuff off, but they did get one thing right – anyone who says 'I'm too smart/funny/tell-it-like-it-is/hot, and I scare away anyone who might date me' has got a prob or two, but it ain't being too good for the masses.
And I agree with whoever said it above, if you lead out the gate with 'I'm only looking for serious LTR,' some guys, actually the more thoughtful/sympathetic ones, may well think, well, she's not knocking my socks off, don't want to lead her on, so maybe I'll just quietly slip away, and not just because the catering sucks here and it's a cash bar.
After a pretty 50-50 mix of good and bad first dates off dating apps, I have a hard and fast rule of 'First date, daytime coffee.' Either side not feeling it, they can make excuses, head for the door without over loss of face either side. I've had dinner first dates that went well, some I wished the earth had swallowed me within the first ten seconds.


So a lot of people are harsh on your idea, but how about this. Do you have 4-5 single woman friends? How about a more balanced meet and greet with an approximately equal mix of genders? Try to get about five guys to confirm rather than mass inviting twenty guys and letting the chips fall where they may.

You might even be able to see if the dating site/app you have has any local mixers in your city.


Good to see you again, Cat Brother!


"[playacting as] a creative, motivated, interesting, achieving woman in your thirties will make you undateable because [all people] don't want a [partner] [who takes their queues from hollywood and TV depictions of "powerful men" who are universally loathed in real life]



@56 Cat Brother
"Maybe in a bomb shelter with nuclear winter raging outside..."

That reminds me, if I may go off on a tangent:

In the novel 'Cat's Cradle', Vonnegut claims that after an apocalypse people wouldn't want to fuck. Could that be true?


60 Curious - You understand that I lack direct experience, but I have to believe that the exact opposite is possible; thinking of General 'Buck' Turgidson mentally cranking hog to the thought of being one of the few males among tons of chicks in the new underground post-apocalypse cities.


@10: The amusing thing about your post is that, reading between the lines, you're essentially dismissing men who haven't accomplished as much or more as the LW as irrelevant, delusional losers...

...which means that you 100% buy into conventional gender roles, and think that the man in a hetero relationship should have an equal or higher status to the woman (and make AT LEAST as much money), or else be a contemptible leech. Congratulations, you and the right-wingers are in agreement!

If the LW is highly ambitious and accomplished, the law of averages dictates that she's going to have a hard time finding a partner of comparable status. But it's not only patriarchy that's given us successful relationships where one person is ambitious and career-driven and the other isn't -- it's a dynamic that flat-out works well for a lot of people, of whatever gender pairing.

It's totally fine for one person to be a homebody who, instead of pursuing huge professional goals, has a modest or part-time career, and takes on the majority of the household tasks and/or child-rearing. If that person is male, it doesn't make them a loser.


Fichu @ 52
BDF mentioned men, then people’s, “willingness to overlook mismatches and dealbreakers in order to get laid.” While not exactly an exoneration still far from “men will do pretty much anything inethical to get laid,” as you put it.

Sporty @ 59
Don’t be shy, ask her out.


@44 BiDanFan. Exactly. I make it a point to look like I do on most work days for first dates. I consider it managing expectations. And in fact, my first dates with my current partners were after work. So that’s working for me. Also, if LW is literally taking “hours” to get ready and it shows, then she’s likely coming off as insecure and trying way too hard.

To all of those suggesting LW beef up her dating profile-that’s all well and good, but a huge number of cis men on dating apps don’t bother reading past your age and body type. I know this from the numerous messages I’ve gotten over the years from guys looking for a single woman and/or a monogamous girlfriend, despite the fact that I have poly and partnered right up top.


@61 Cat Brother
I really should (I have been meaning to) re-watch 'Strangelove'.

In Vonnegut's apocalypse, everyone on the planet would die soon (since nearly all the water had frozen into lethal Ice 9).

Yeah, if like in that General's fantasy life could continue into the future, surely the sex drive would too.

I guess what I'm wondering is if, like in Vonnegut's book, humanity was hours from extinction, was he right that we'd give up interest in further sexual activity. In my limited understanding of the mechanisms of depression, it seems possible he might be correct. Let us hope we never know for sure.


@65 I'm just glad someone took this thread to another level.


Ain’t teachin no sense in those phd classes


If someone told me they were incredibly busy I would assume they were self important.


I can only imagine that the deaths or looming deaths of multitudes of your friends and family, the lack of comfortable surroundings, etc, would do a dinger on someone's sex drive. People nowadays shut down because the ending of Game of Thrones sucked.

@62 SLOG commenters, as a whole, subscribe to traditional gender roles at a rate much higher than the general population. They only decry one particular traditional female gender roles, while lauding the rest.


64- Beedeetee- Right. The vast number of me won't read the profile-- and OMG will know that from the way they answer and be able to weed them out before the initial coffee-meet. She doesn't just say she has a PhD, she mentions in what field of study. She doesn't just say she likes music and dancing, she says what sort. She doesn't just say she has a job, she says what sort of job(s). She doesn't even say that she's looking for monogamy, she goes into some detail about how she envisions her future marriage. Then, when a guy merely looking to get laid answers her, she knows in an instant that he hasn't read, or hasn't read carefully, anything she's said. The guy who says in effect "yes! I learned to love that sort of music when I went to a concert ... " or "coincidence! my field of study dovetails with yours, and here's how ..." There are guys who will lie to get past those steps, but then she'll know they don't have anything much in common over coffee. She gets to paint herself as choosy from the start-- which is more honest in the long run when you think about it because she does mean to be choosy.


@68 I don't think that's totally fair, but to the same effect I would take it as a "not that interested." I can always find time for the people I'm most interested in and expect others in my life can operate on the same level. Unless you've got a newborn, you can find an hour if you really give a shit.


Mx Wanna @63 - That reminds me of how one of the more "woke" universities, the last I heard, still had an "Ask Her Out" Week.


Fichu @70 - That’s my point. Beefing up her profile (which we are all assuming to be pretty bare bones when that might not be the case at all) will not significantly reduce the amount of messaging the LW has to do to figure out the most basic compatibility issues.


@63 Why?

Instead, I'm going to line up 20 women to be evaluated by me one-by-one, until I choose the one I want to fuck for a little while before getting bored. Forget "asking someone out" or "respecting the humanity" of these women - why bother? I've got other things I want to spend my time on, I shouldn't have to waste time getting to know someone just so I can get free blowjobs.


Based on my own history as a perfectionist overachiever trying to date, I’m wondering if you might be spending too much of your time trying to present/create a custom version of yourself based on a close read of what each potential partner might want.

If so, that truly is a tremendous waste of time. You will never be able to sustain it long-term (the most I ever managed was 18 months or so) and therefore it will end in confusion and disappointment for everyone involved. I’d try the opposite strategy of failing fast by leading with a slightly less kind, less attractive, and less compelling version of yourself. Try radical honesty and see where it gets you. If nothing else, it saves time and stress.

Ignore the projection if this doesn’t apply!

But yeah, trying to save your own time by wasting other people’s won’t work and is rude.


Don't a lot of people go to grad school specifically to find a life partner? You have a built in social network of people with similar interests at school.


Ytterby @62, you're overthinking. Flounder merely meant that despite being such a great catch herself (ahem), she'd had no luck with men. Can't imagine why not.

CMD @63, thanks. I tried to be diplomatic! :) The sad truth is that many men on dating sites don't even bother to read profiles before they send messages. This is not unethical, just plain lazy. I won't disagree that putting "looking for a long-term relationship" is something she should do; it will indeed weed out -some- incompatible men. Though Cat Brother @56 makes an interesting point that it may also weed out men who, understandably, don't want to feel pressured by someone they don't even know. Indeed, many -- if not most -- long term relationships don't happen because you're specifically looking for one; they happen because you meet someone you enjoy dating, and decide to keep dating them, and realise you've fallen in love with each other. Doug @14 and ThatOtherGuy @48 may be right: there just are no shortcuts, and she has to keep dating until something does work out.

As an incredibly busy person, Dougsf @71, thank you. Isn't "incredibly busy" standard for the American work ethic? "Incredibly busy" just means they don't have much time, so if you're looking to spend several nights a week with someone, move on. But if you aren't, they might be great company. For someone who is incredibly busy themself, or capable of filling their spare time.


@50. Bi. There are sites, I understand--like Okcupid--where you can leave off what kind of relationship you're looking for i.e. whether you're open to non-monogamous or not. OMG may have been on a site where users could choose not to reveal their single or coupled-up status. I wasn't urging her necessarily to date among the pool of her classmates and coworkers--rather to be open with them (if she wasn't already) that she was after something serious in the way of life-partnership. However, these are just my clarifications or slight restatements--and substantially I agree with you.

They say that if you're single and minded to settle down as a PhD student, you have two routes: pair up with a fellow early-career academic where the match is strong on paper (strong common interests, same educational and probably social background, shared frame of cultural reference) and be prepared to make personal sacrifices for your dual-career family to work, or get the PhD, get the job (or aim to get it) somewhere where you're at once relatively rich, then date among the white-collar population of e.g. your small college town or state metro area. Both are daunting. Both impinge on the start of an academic career.

I have a lot of sympathy for OMG, especially over the awful guys she's dated. My sense is that online dating (rather than broadening her social contacts) plays into an individualistic fantasy that she will be able to make all things well (find her guy) through her personal excellence and strength of her personality. Maybe. But I think it just sets you up for arbitrary rejection. (To me, the reasons anyone gets picked over countless others on nonhookup sites are pretty arbitrary). It might be an easier-to-cope-with experience of disappointment, a more human one and one more accessible to further self-reflection, for her just to put feelers out for dates among friends of friends.


@56. Cat Brother. I don't think OMG has a plausible suggestion for a way of finding a long-term partner; it's instead the fantasy of exercising power and choice of someone who feels powerless.

@52. Fichu. I say, 'meet immediately'. You won't care about his grasp on late Russian nineteenth-century literature if you can't live with the wart by the corner of his eye. The good Tolstoy is mid-century.

@69. Fichu. You're looking at it from the wrong end of the telescope--trying to reverse-engineer her happy marriage. Maybe she can't imagine what it will look like now? Maybe the guy will surprise her? Go on the blasted date, for heaven's sake!

@69. Sportlandia. That's interesting. Part of me thinks you're entering into special pleading for non-gender-traditional men; part of me is willing to consider whether you're right.


Cat Brother and co, you are being merciless to this woman. Though I do see how she’s ripe for ridicule.
LW, back up a bit. Getting a man has no rules, except, soneone falls in love with you. Be someone who somebody might fall in love with.
Right now, you’re treating finding intimacy like a study subject. Sure the boys over at whatever, boringsville, that’s right, have rules to manipulate women.
If you’re looking for the same, you’ve come to the wrong place. Chill. Shake off the weirdo numbers/ time counting routine, and enjoy your life. You sound like you’ve got enough going on.
Sure date, make it casual because you don’t have the time to develop intimacy. And you’ll stretch yourself thinner. Be in your life and others will see that. A man will see that. When you’re not so busy.


Lava, yes, you're right, we're coming down a tad hard on LW; one part because indeed her idea is a terrible one, which if attempted will go down like a lead balloon and further cement her idea that dating sucks and send her further down the road to #10-hood, one part because, come AWN, anyone who thinks dateables will line up like you got the patent on pussy/penis needs to re-adjust those expectations stat. But upon rereading her letter, she comes off more as clueless than Terence Stamp going 'Bow down before Zod!'

To quote a Harry Callahan, the (app-dating) System stinks, but it beats the alternatives, like your dad sending you off to marry Lazar Wolf because it's nice to have a butcher in the fam. Bad News – yeah, most online dating is bullshit. So is most literature, most food, most movies...Good News – there's so much of it, gold can still be seined from its rushing waters.
Yes, absolutely beef up your profile. If it's clear that they didn't read the important stuff, or if they send an inappropriate pic or a 'Gurl are you sitting on the F5 key 'cause that azz is refreshing,' stop block and roll. You can absolutely put 'not looking for a hookup' in there (on Tinder, which BTW was not the ticket to Poundtown I've been promised for years, about every third woman's profile says this, so you won't be blowing minds.)
Be ruthlessly correct and accurate in your pics – If you only have gauzy face-shots from long ago, and when your first date sees you and their face falls through the floor and into a series of sub-basements, you have no one but yourself to blame.
Think hard about what's really important – Man or woman, it's hard, damn hard, to find someone who you find attractive, personable, intelligent, and with shared values. Who feels the same about you, and is not in a relationship. And is in your area. Everything you stack on top of this – ice-blue eyes, big tits, 5'11 or taller (and on sites like where you can specify desired height, y'all would not be-leeeve the number of women, many identifying as 'liberal,' who are 5'2 or some shit and want someone 8” or more taller than them) you decrease this pool, often drastically.
You may want to end up in a LTR, but maybe don't lead with that, it's different than just 'I'm not looking for a hookup.'
“I'm very busy with (stuff) but would like someone to hang with in my free moments” is also not unusual on dating sites.
Short coffee date for first meetup. Trust me. If after that you're dying to get their mixtape into your boombox, there's plenty of time. If no chemistry, firm handshake, 'nice meeting you,' scoot for the door, putting-down-Old-Yeller style.


@81. Cat Brother. Is her dating 'fix' a good, a nifty, fix? No, it's not. Does it bespeak an attitude of personal superiority, of contempt for men? No, not really, either.


Maybe the writer just didn't mention it, but one of the benefits of online dating is that you can be very up front about your deal breakers. Not into non-monogamy? Put it in the profile. Afraid of your time being wasted because you're super busy? Put it in the profile. Yes, you'll drive away a lot of people and your ego won't be massaged with such a flood of messages. But, you're old enough to know what you want, and to want people who know what they want, so take advantage of this superpower of the technology!


Lava @80, well said. Cat Brother @81, I agree this woman has probably let the scientific method cloud her brain and just not thought this idea all the way through rather than being so full of herself she expects men to queue up. It does make sense from her own perspective -- she just hasn't considered the perspective of the men, most of whom she is asking to waste THEIR time on an evening where they won't even be getting a coffee date amount of time of her undivided attention.

Afreschetta @83: I've also seen people put at the bottom of their profiles something like, "If you message me, put your favourite colour in the message so I know you've read my profile." Another good way to screen out the spammers.


@83: I dunno. When I see a woman saying something like "must be tall" or a man saying something like "must not be fat", my reaction is not that they're mature, together people who know what they want.

More generally, if you're looking for something that's broadly considered attractive, listing it on your profile won't help. At best it's just empty space, at worst it sounds demanding, and it doesn't cover why that attractive person should pick you over all the other options they have available.

There are lots of 30something women looking for a professional man who is ready to settle down and start a family, and demand greatly outstrips supply. In that situation, you have two things you can do. Ask yourself what flaws you're willing to live with even if you don't get everything, and/or figure out how you can market yourself to your target demographic so you seem more appealing than the rest of the competition. Listing off your requirements does neither.


This is such a bad idea that it makes me want to find this woman just so I can ghost her.


@86 geoz
Ghost her? How would she even know if we didn't show up to her cattle call?


Another 30's female dater. I have booked more than one 1st date in the same evening before to take advantage of the time spent getting cute, and to cut down on travel by picking spots in walking distance from each other. Happy hour slot, dinner slot. I am looking for a relationship, for what it's worth, so the date is to assess if we click enough to keep getting to know each other. The last time I did this, even though they were two separate locations, the first guy showed up while I was with the second guy and called me out over text, after turning beet red when we had to greet each other. AWK


@88 mco1255
I don't see any issue with dividing one's evening into time slots for multiple mini-dates if, as with any date, one shows up promptly for each. That respects everyone's time. I think it would also be find to let everyone know.

But the LW's plan didn't, it would have guys wasting their time queued up waiting and hoping for an audience with the queen.

Nothing is more valuable than time; it's impossible to buy more of it.


My above post at #81 was meant to say, '...more clueless, RATHER THAN like Terence Stamp as Zod.' Yes, maybe Bi and Lava are right, she hasn't thought it through, so we shouldn't put her on a flying windowpane and send her out into space.
Still a terrible idea, and the only guys who show up are the type who couldn't get laid in a Millennial whorehouse with a bucket of avocado toast.
How many requirements/what-I-wants to put in your profile is a balancing act, though you're often constrained to a certain number of characters. Yes, the type of people whom you say on your profile you'd rather stick it in a beehive than date WILL hit you up...didn't read your stuff? Think they can win you over? Who cares, swipe and forget. It's Chinatown, Jake, and if you cast a wide net, an Internet if you will, some unpleasant crustaceans will come up in it.

I'm down with more than one first date on the same day, but I'd refrain from telling any of the involved parties that that's what's going on, it would introduce that cattle-call vibe we're trying to avoid.


Wow. You sound remarkably arrogant and not a little bit misandrist.

The only men who will turn up at your cattle call are those who want to know if you’re for real.


I wonder what the odds are that OMG is hot.


Dan must be still recovering from his rolling Birthday celebrations. Hope all is ok for you Dan.
Oh, he’s running around doing these hugs... naughty mobile.. Dan hates hugs, I said gigs.
Go see Dan LW, and enjoy yourself. Stop pointing your searchlight trying to find that elusive other, it’s right there inside of you. Scaring the boys away honey. No man wants to be looked at on Day One as husband material. He’s said he’s interested in a LTR, he hasn’t yet said he’d like that with you. Cut your sense of self importance down a notch or ten. When you say Hello, you are just saying Hello. Good luck girl and be patient.


Dan must like hugs from some people.


@85 Haha yeah, I left out the more-difficult but rarely-explicitly-stated part of "just be yourself!" advice like this: first, make sure you're a good person. If someone's height is actually a dealbreaker, when you're looking for a life partner, then you need to work on that first.


ChiTodd @85: Afreschetta @83 never said people should list their desired physical attributes in their profiles. Where do you get that from?

CatBrother @90, I did get that, and agreed. I also agree it's a terrible idea; it sounds like what she wants is a speed dating event, so she should go to one of those. That way everyone is on similar footing -- trying to meet several people and see if there is anyone they click with. If that's all she has time for these days, she should disable her online profiles rather than write back and say she has no time for dates.

Lava @94, he probably just doesn't like to be hugged by people like us, fanboys and fangirls and fanenbies who come to his shows. Ha, what are the odds OMG hasn't read his profile and will try to hug him?

Afreschetta @95, I reject the notion that people who have physical preferences or dealbreakers are bad people. We can't help what we're attracted to. Sure, you narrow your pool, but what's worse, narrowing one's pool or cringing and dating someone you don't fancy? Yes, you increase your "life partner" chances by having no physical standards, but aren't you setting yourself up to become one of those sexless marriages, since your partner doesn't turn you on?


BiDanFan @96 - "good" was too loaded of a term in my comment. Maybe I'd just encourage thought experiments like "If you were in a LTR with a great person, and then someone came along with an underpowered shrink ray and made them 90% as tall, would that take things from "great" to 'not worth it'? ". Or I'd ask questions like "Have you ever changed your mind about whether or not someone was attractive?".


Attraction is not a known quality, or it never has been for me. I’ve been attracted to the classic handsome man, and balding chubby ones.
The biggest sex organ is the mind. Also the smell of a person matters and is a pointer to health.
What about professional dating sites. Wouldn’t our girl here do better checking those out. Sounds like she’s trying to find her Prince in the wrong pool.


Well, you can put down any wants you have, as far as what you find attractive in a partner, but as noted, each one shrinks your potential pool.
I've dated taller/shorter, big boobs/hardly any, lean&mean/sexy farmgirl, but I'm seriously attracted to fitness and a fit body, so I put that on my profiles. I'm willing to take (or miss) whatever comes with that, 'Take what you want, said God, and pay for it.' And I'm a fit guy, so I don't feel like a hypocrite. If you only want to date people 8”+ than you, that's totally your right, and you'll have to deal with trying to snag who that leaves you with.
Attraction can indeed be weird - Comedian Andrea Savage has the hottest/best-looking mouth I can remember seeing, for instance. I'm reminded of this when I see her pics or videos, but mouth shape and mobility aren't usually on my radar, as a trait to select for.
Re Dan-hugging: I'm sure he's down with some people hugging but not others, but he'd rather not tell certain people 'Nah, just shake my hand,' so a blanket declaration is kinder and easier.


It’s not clear to me why this woman submitted her big idea to Dan. She’s already run it past two other people, while working on her Ph. D and her three jobs. How much overthinking does it take?

I’d say — and my opinion is worth just as little as anyone else’s — if this is the best idea, you’ve got, OMG, knock yourself out. Go for it. Sit at a big table, order a grande latte, and chitchat with all the guys whose desire for a first encounter with you includes desiring a first encounter with x number of other guys. And bring a good book or some paperwork in case they all think this idea is as godawful as I would if I had received the invitation.

Also, since you hate ghosting so much, your cattle call invitation should stipulate that only those who pass the first audition will ever hear from you again and you should set their expectations for the second encounter, which should be just the top ten, and you, at a great little Italian place that’s convenient to the campus and your three jobs.

And what are they to imagine your test of sexual compatibility will consist of, a gangbang?

In a million years I can’t imagine that this approach will get you what you think you’re after but at least you’ll have given it the old college try.


I think mouth shape is important CatB, another indicator to me. How free their lips are. I’m into hands and necks.. not the sort of thing you’d say in a profile, right?
Hope you put cat lover in your profile as well, CatB. Another indicator. Someone who prefers cats is not into a certain kind of attachment, is how I read my preference. For cats.

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