As a single lesbian in a small town, my options are pretty limited when it comes to love. Or dating. Or even having more than one lesbian friend at a time. (They usually start dating each other and get a cat within a week) So finding a partner can be a long and painful process.
Sick of watching Sandra Bullock movies with me, my also gay Twin Sister convinced me to sign up to a dating site, and within a few clicks, I was uploaded! Twinny and I kicked back as I chain-refreshed my browser, waiting for the inevitable flock of women I was expecting. It didn't come.
Turns out, internet lesbians are heartless. And here's what I learned...
1. Don't Send Rambling First Messages
In my first week I'd read up on the profiles of those I was about to message, then tailor my intro. I figured it would make me look considerate and thoughtful... Just the person you'd want to date, right? But it doesn't.
As my sister puts it - "Women don't like desperate."
Twinny's advice was to send a "Hi" at most, because if they liked the look of me, they'd reply. And (as she kindly put it) if they don't, "They aren't going to read all that crap you wrote about your cat."
So I decided to buck up a bit and take her advice, and before you knew it I had some replies! Who knew, that being short and dismissive would actually work, eh? Apart from every-straight-guy-ever.
2. No Sarcasm
We all should know by now that sarcasm doesn't work on the internet. What you think is a witty message may just come across as you being an ass. Take, for example, my attempt at humour with one of my first interactions.
Now this woman (let's call her LezzyLesbo87) had quite the array of plus points, but when she got back to my "Hi" with a perfectly sweet message about her day and the fact she'd been caught in the rain, this is how my brain deemed it appropriate to respond...
LezzyLesbo87 - "Hi! How are you? I've had such a busy day, I got caught in this horrible weather on my way home! You doing anything fun tonight?"
Me - "Oh, the weather eh? You must be British to come up with such an original topic! I'm OK thanks. You dry yet?"
I had no response. What I thought would be taken as an ever-so-charming quip actually made me look like a smarmy, generalising dick. Twinny was not supportive, instead declaring this the "most idiotic message she'd ever seen" and asking me to screen-shot it to her so she could Tumblr my stupidity.
Lesson - Sarcasm is best reserved for face to face. At least that gives your conversational partner the opportunity to tell you in person what a prong you're being.
3. Don't try to let people down gently
Weeks passed and still no joy. But then there were some ladies out there who actually emailed me first! Now once I'd picked myself off the floor from shock, I'd flick through these profiles and, sadly, mostly be disappointed.
When I received messages from people who aren't my type, I remembered back to my first days of hopeful browsing, and how hurt I was when people didn't reply. So I figured it may make these people feel a little less rejected if I at least got back to them and explained why this was "my loss". What could possibly go wrong?
It turns out people don't like being told what's wrong with them via the internet. Here's some examples of how that went down -
*GinaG, 18,- "Hey, I like your profile, I'm actually 16 but you have to be 18 just soyaknow!"
Me - "Hi. Thanks so much for your message, you seem really nice but 16 is really too young for me. Good luck!"
*GinaG - "Whatever. I'm really mature for my age. Lol, You go find Grandma then"
Right. I changed my profile to only allow users over 25 to message me. On to the next.
LolitaL, 22, Wiltshire - "Hi, I'm Lolita, I'm easy going and looking for someone to chill with. What are you upto?"
(A quick glance through Lolita's profile showed three pictures of her smoking weed and a clear declaration that she "loves to party". I mean I have no problem with that, but as we all have to pretend to be grown ups, let's not paste this all over our profiles like it's supposed to be "rad".)
Me - "Hey. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a square and not into drugs at all, so I'm not sure I'm really your type. Hope you find someone!"
Lolita - "Uh, actually that's not just what I'm about. Maybe you should be a bit more accepting. Try digging a little deeper, man. Or just f**k off."
So off I f**ked. Changed my settings to "no drug users" and moved on.
GordieGirl85, 29, Newcastle - "Heya. Good day?"
Me - "Hi, you seem really nice, but I'm looking for someone more local."
GeordieGirl85 - "What, really? You never heard of driving? Typical Southerners. Lazy, all of you. Maybe if you weren't so stuck up you wouldn't need to be on here."
Lovely. I was beginning to tire of being shouted at over the internet, and wondered whether this "let people down gently" approach was such a good idea.
When Twinny visited, I showed her my approach to OKCupid etiquette and, once she'd picked herself off the floor laughing, she pointed out that obviously women don't want to hear why I don't want to date them. Who knew?
4. Have Some Damn Sense.
And then there was "Beckky". Totally my type, smart, funny. I remembered sending her my "Hi" and checking hourly for a response. And when it arrived, I actually made a teenage-girl noise.
About seven messages in, I suggested the Facebook add and had a request a few minutes later. Trying to play it cool (badly) I didn't message straight away, instead signing off "Chat" so I could pick through her photos from 2009 uninterrupted. Then I gave in...
Me - "Just got your Facebook request! I added you."
Potential-love-of-my-life - "Yes, I saw! There aren't a lot of recent pics of you."
Me - "Oh, I put some weight on recently, so I'm de-tagging until the holiday-pounds are gone."
Come on, Emily. You're smarter than that...
I never heard from her again.
So having had a long month of rejection and arguments, I decided to hang up my bow-and-arrow. "Delete Account"? Damn right I am. I'm going back to turning straight women.