What Not To Say

I really wanted to write a sweet and contemplative post about the realities of dating. Sort of a follow-up on my last one, now that I had my “3-dates-in-a-day, day.” (That was not a great idea, in case you were wondering.) But I don’t have the bandwidth right now.

The things I really want to say are delicate. They have to do with the nuances of enjoying my lunch with someone and wanting to see him again, until he got too attentive and sexual immediately, and it freaked me out. But I want to handle that gently, in a way that is actually useful. And I want to let enough time pass that there’s no way anyone can connect the dots, I want to be sure to protect the privacy of people in my life. (Even though I’m not dating anyone that anyone knows, or I am Facebook friends with…..  I do not date my friends, and that’s a whole post in and of itself.)

So I thought I’d go in for some tactical advice to men who are looking to date actual human women with brains, as opposed to whoever it is that they think we are. Robots? Cartoon characters? We’ll do this by looking at my online dating inbox, because that is hysterical. It is filled with examples of exactly how wrong Darwin was.


  1. My all-time favorite, “mmmmmm….   me want kitty.” That was all. That is all class. I wanted to write him back just to ask if he seriously thought that was going to work. (I’ve always wanted to answer those “there’s 10 million USD waiting for you from some dead dude in Nigeria” emails also.)
  2. “Would you like to go out on a date with me?” And nothing else. How ’bout “hello?” Tell me why my profile interested you, something about yourself, why you think we’d get along…..
  3. “Where exactly do you live?” And nothing else. Seriously? At least the last guy was going to meet me out somewhere, you just want to know where you can stalk me?
  4. “It turns me on that you work in the sex-positive world, I don’t very often find people who can indulge my intense sexual needs, so I’m happy to have found you.” Um, where in my profile does it say that I am going to indulge your intense sexual needs, regardless of what they are? That place where it says I have no boundaries and no self-respect and will simply mold myself while opening my thighs, in both cases to meet just your whim and fancy? I thought so. Granted, I wrote that I work in the sex-positive world as a total trap, and men fall into it really easily. Those that fall in are immediately discarded. But let’s clear this up once and for all: if you are looking for random sexual hook-ups, there are sites for that. The site I am on is a dating site, people are looking for relationships of some sort – even if it’s just friends with benefits. There is no presumption of mutual horniness. No woman on a dating site is going to jump up and down in a school-girl outfit when you lead with “I want to fuck you.” And just because someone is sex-positive does NOT mean they’re positively gonna play wank the weasel with you. Gross.
  5. “You are a goddess.” And nothing else. That rocks. You are a wise man, clearly meant to be the love of my life. But you have no profile at all, so we’ll never know. Your “name” however, says it all: seekingowner. Sorry, I don’t want to own you, I don’t want that responsibility.
  6. ” 🙂 “ And nothing else. But what was awesome was the username: wetmystick. Can’t make that shit up. Seriously, who is going to respond to a user named wetmystick?
  7. “I live on the East Coast, but I would move to Seattle for you.” Nothing terrifying about that. Can you hear the Dateline NBC teaser? “It started as a love-at-first-click internet romance, but they went offline when her body parts started turning up in a local pea patch.”
  8. “I’d love your encouragement…newly divorced. Trying to re embrace my sexual desires and fantasies…. ”  I’m not a therapist. I don’t know you. I don’t know if your desires and fantasies should be encouraged, and certainly have no idea why I would (or should or could) be the one to do that for you. Jeesh.
  9. “Your first pic makes me wild with desire. Love those legs and ass from that angle….”  Seriously? Good thing I didn’t post any “sexy” pictures. Ironically, the response I was looking for with that picture was a comment on how filthy my feet are and that I’m an awesome climber. Trap, people, it’s a trap! (And a damned good one, apparently!)


I do click on the profiles and read about these people. All of them, just to see. And I don’t think that the things they say come off in the manner in which they’re intended. For instance:

  • “I’m a work hard, play hard kind of guy,” comes of as, “I’m a controlling type A guy who drinks like an immature frat boy every chance I get.” Perhaps, “I believe in work / life balance” would be better phrasing, if you are hoping to appeal to women rather than frat boys.
  • “Having conversations about Jungian philosophy, DMT and pondering the theory of quantum physics is enjoyable to me. I question everything, maybe even something you just said.” Okay, I’m sure that’s well-intentioned, but what I think many women will hear is, “I am smarter than you and can prove it because I know the names of theories and have no problem using those theories to prove why what you just said is wrong.”
  • “I do have high standards and it will probably take a bit of work to crack my exterior.” I dig the honesty, I’m picky too. But here’s the thing, let’s call it chemistry and not standards. Standards are a thing you measure up to, have to prove yourself good enough and all that. So, what I hear is, “I will judge you against not only all of my preconceived notions of what I deserve, but all women, both real and imagined, that have come before you. This is a job interview, not a date.”

Oh, and for goddsake, if my profile says, “I don’t like men with long hair, or utilikilts and bisexual men turn me off,” don’t be a bi-sexual man with a pony tail and tell me you think we’ll connect. All you really said was, “I didn’t read your profile, but your pictures are hot.”

Maybe it’s just the nature of the beast….  Online dating is weird. It’s like shopping for clothes online, you can never really tell what will fit or not. You certainly pass up things that might have been awesome, while buying things that are all wrong and have to be returned. I still think it’s great, though. Mostly because I’m learning a lot about myself.

And yes, I’ve met some cool people. No one I really want to get to know much better, but I have yet to feel like I’ve wasted my time. After all, as I said when I started this, this is about learning who I am and what I want. Once I figure it out, I suspect I’ll find it very quickly, and where I least expect it.

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About Alyssa Royse

Alyssa is freelance writer, speaker and coach living in Seattle with her husband and their 3 daughters. She is the former host of Sexxx Talk Radio on The Progressive Radio Network, co-founder of NotSoSecret.com, a site dedicated to empowered women's sexuality, and an Associate Editor at The Good Men Project. She can also be found on her eponymous blog, where she pontificates about food, family, politics and the Seattle rain. Yes, she almost certainly wants to speak at your event, run a workshop or write something for you. Just ask.

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