Online dating is about casting a wide net.

When I mention ‘online dating’ to my parents, their eyes glaze over. If I look closely, I can see their spirits astral-projecting back to the year 2001, when my cousin ‘Chuck’ married his World of Warcraft girlfriend (of four months) at the local Red Lobster, and was then scammed for thousands of dollars that she wired back to her grandma in South Africa.

Perhaps you’ve observed a different type of stigma when it comes to online dating. Perhaps you’ve simply observed other people (especially other women) making a little moue of condescension when someone mentions their foray into online dating-- as if taking concrete action to increase your chances of finding a quality man cheapens the ensuing relationship.

But as for me-- I needed online dating, stigma or not. For a 20-something working in a rural town where the pinnacle of nightlife was Dollaritas at Applebee’s, populated only by unemployed dudes and perhaps 50-year-old truckers, online dating just made sense. Gone were the days of college and grad school where I could meet 300 guys every new semester, and if I didn’t care for any of them, I could find fifty dudes at the nearest seminar that was giving away free Koozies. There just weren’t many jobs drawing high-value men to my area.

I wasn’t getting insane opportunities to just stumble into a great guy anymore. I needed to cast a wide net that would maximize my chances of finding a compatible, quality man. And if you’re reading this, maybe you need to cast a wide net online too.

Here is a short guide to online dating as a RP-minded woman. This advice comes from my own experience of taking a hard look at my SMV, learning to intentionally date, and eventually marrying a wonderful man that I met on a dating app.

Prerequisites for Serious Dating

Consider for a moment whether you are fully prepared to start seriously dating. Are you…

  1. Free of previous romantic entanglements? You’re not still hung up on that guy you had a crush on in grad school, are you? You’re not just doing this to occupy your time until your ex-boyfriend Rodrigo decides to start paying attention to you again, right?
  2. Within the BMI range of 18-24? This will astronomically improve your chances of success.
  3. Able to dedicate a little time each day *and* at least one Friday/Saturday night weekly to this? You could hire Kazuo Ishiguro to write you a compelling bio. You could have a profile picture taken with the Queen of England. Maybe Jason Momoa's in your DMs on OKCupid. But if you don’t have the space in your life to actually read your messages and follow up that weekend by going on a date, you’re shooting yourself right in the foot.
  4. Is your brain screwed on straight when it comes to sex? This entire post assumes a basic understanding of RPW principles. You should not be having sex without exclusivity and a serious level of commitment. ‘Casting a wide net’ should not mean your n-count is also cast wide. If you’re still in the mindset that the first, second, or third date is going to lead to sex, STOP and do a little more reading and thinking on this topic.

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the previous questions, you might consider a BRIEF stint in nun mode to fix up any of the aforementioned issues. Making your online dating debut with all of the above completed-- rather than fixing these problems after you’ve already screened through hundreds of guys in your area-- will be an asset.

But remember, online dating is a numbers game, and there is an element of time involved. It is usually possible to work on improving yourself while you continue to see what’s out there. Every day that you delay dating is a day that you could have screened five more guys and gotten one little step closer to finding a great man. This is why nun mode should be used sparingly and only when there is a dire situation that must be resolved before you can date freely.

Selecting an Online Dating Service

The ‘best’ online dating site might be different from region to region. In my area, OKCupid is the best site for a relationship-minded woman. However, here is some broad guidance:

  • You want a service that has a large user base in your area. Don’t be drawn in by sleek niche websites designed to appeal to Gen Z/millennials, and don’t be drawn in by gimmicks like ‘the female-friendly dating site’. If there’s no dudes on there, it won’t matter. In some areas Bumble and Hinge are very popular. However, in my area I found that they were not used by many guys, and the ones that did use them also had profiles on OKC.
  • You want a service that prompts all users to fully complete their biographical information. You want to be able to reliably filter based on important details. This typically rules out Tinder due to its skimpy (picture-based rather than profile-based) design.

Constructing Your Own Profile

Men are visual creatures. The foundation upon which your profile is built is your picture. This is what gets your foot in the door, like it or not-- so make it count.

Required for a good profile picture:

  1. Your primary profile pic should only be of you.
  2. No selfies. A selfie as your profile pic communicates one of two things: Either you’re the self-absorbed type that’s always taking selfies and looking to social media for validation, or you’re antisocial and didn’t have any good pictures people took of of you actually out doing things.
  3. No weird artsy filters, no weird angles. Just a nice picture that actually shows what you look like.
  4. Don’t include men in ANY of your pictures, unless it was a picture of you and Hulk Hogan.
  5. One or two pictures with other girlfriends are OK, especially if you were doing something cool, but they should not be your primary profile pic.

Now, as for the body of your profile: A high-value man will probably not be scouring the seventh circle of your online profile the way women sometimes do. However, to attract a serious, intelligent guy, I would advise that you:

  1. Demonstrate that you are literate. Spell-check your work, write in full thoughts, and make sparing use of emojis and acronyms.
  2. Demonstrate that you have a sense of humor. (That one’s on you.)
  3. Demonstrate that you took this relatively seriously. If the entire body of your profile is “Idk ask me hahah”, you might think this comes across as lighthearted, flighty, and charming-- but you might as well have written “I’m going to respond to your inquiries with one-word responses or even acronyms. The onus will be entirely on you to carry the conversation. Then I will ghost you because, incredibly, and counter-intuitively, I found YOU boring.’
  4. Demonstrate that you are used to being treated well. If your profile includes “Tired of all the games. Just ready for something real. No hookups!!!!!!!”-- you are absolutely screaming to the world that you gravitate towards assholes, and maybe even sleep with them indiscriminately, but that now you’re tired of all that and want to find some nice man, even though you’re going to bring an insane amount of psychic baggage from your crappy exes.
  5. Demonstrate that you are employed, financially stable, or at the very least, an industrious woman. High-value men aren’t going to be turned on by your five masters’ degrees, but they WILL be looking for evidence that you’re intelligent, industrious, and reasonably self-sufficient. In the year 2020, a quality man will not want to embark on an entirely new relationship with a woman who can’t currently take care of her own bills.

That’s it for Part 1. In Part 2, we will discuss the importance of your own search criteria, how to chat and secure the first date, and how Willy Wonka will fix your psychic dating hang-ups.