How To Even…Probably Not Find Love Through Online Dating

By Michael Gushue & CL Bledsoe

It’s hard to meet new people. This would be true even if the world was not being overrun with clones. We’re all busy as heckers, and the truth is, all the people we know already know us, so they probably don’t want to date us. But we’re lonely, and our biological clocks keep threatening to kick our asses if we don’t get our act together. We could try some new activities in the hopes of meeting like-minded people, but that would involve doing stuff and meeting people. The truth is, we want to meet people without having to, you know, meet them. Or go outside. Or talk. Or leave the couch.

It’s a conundrum. But the fact remains that even the dog is starting to find us needy. There’s this image of what life is supposed to look like, and ours doesn’t look anything like it. Mostly, it involves there being someone else involved. And maybe less cheese dip splatter on the walls. Who could bring anyone into this shot show of a life and then look them in the face? But that way lies madness. Here’s the thing: the loneliness is the loudest voice in the room, we can’t help but listen to it. And hope it says nice things about our hair.

Along comes online dating with the potential solution to our problems. From the comfort of our bathrooms, we can interact with people and maybe even set up dates. We would then have to attend those dates, but that’s next Wednesday’s problem.

Making a Profile

The first thing you have to do is put out a little information about yourself — the lure to entice the fish, the coffee smell to draw you out of bed, the past-due rent and threat of eviction to motivate you to go to work. The first part of the profile most people focus on is the photo. This is just going to be a horrorshow. If it’s oversexualized, it will draw out the wrong sorts (or no one at all). If it’s too mousy, no one will look at it twice. Men seem to have a problem smiling in their pictures. So many of them seem to have been taken in bathrooms.

Why not skip the whole thing and post a picture of the thing you’re most proud of, the thing you love most in life? That’s right: your couch. After all, if anyone falls for this charade of a dating profile, that’s where they’ll end up.

Let’s say, though, that you don’t own a couch (it’s been repossessed). You’re stuck with having to settle for a photo of yourself. Here are a few tips that will help.

>>Do not draw fangs and devil horns with felt tip pen on your portrait

>>Do not use the photo of a well known celebrity instead of your own.

>>Do not use your feet, navel, or any other part of your body for your profile photo

Other, Less Obvious Picture Don’ts

>>Do not use a picture of your truck, unless you’re just looking for someone to give your truck to, which would be cool of you.

>>Do not use a picture of something you’ve killed. Do we really have to explain the message that sends? Also, do not include any kind of weapons in your pic, except for your killer smile.

>>Seriously, smile.

>>Maybe split the difference and show you ON your couch, smiling.


Once you’ve taken twenty pics of yourself and decided to go with one from ten years ago, it’s time to write something about yourself. This is the time for you to really shine. You’ve drawn them in with your couch; now knock them dead with your book learnin’.

Some people quote a poem or some inspirational line they saw on the internet. Those people never get laid. The same goes with rants about political or religious beliefs, but we actually encourage you to go ahead and put those, since it saves everyone the trouble of having to read any further, similar to the way a rattlesnake’s rattle warns animals not to step on them. Some people write out a big autobiography about who they are inside and what they’re looking for. No one will read this. They’re just looking at the pics. Unless, of course, you’re ugly, which means that they’re desperate. In that scenario, they’ll read every word you’ve written in the hopes that you’re secretly brilliant or something, which you are not.

Basically, your description is like a job ad. The only reason people read it is to pull out keywords they can slip into their cover letters (or texts, or whatever) to convince you they’re not who they are. Which is okay, because you’re trying to convince them you’re not who you are, either.

Some things to avoid

>>Do not write your description in a fake dialect. On the other hand, if you really feel like “It’s-a me, a-Mario” or “something in Welsh” (we mean literally writing the words “something in Welsh”) brings a lot to the table, but all means, go ahead (see “rants about political or religious beliefs” above).

>>Do not copy your description from a Wikipedia article on Cary Grant, Jason Momoa, or some other attractive person. If you found it online, so can anyone reading about your idyllic childhood on the paradise island of Kaua’i. On the other hand copying anything from Morrisey’s Autobiography is fair game.

Hobbies and Interests

Here’s the thing, it probably seems like a good idea to put down that you’re into skydiving and bear-wrestling, but what happens when you meet someone who is legitimately into those things, and now you’re jumping out of a plane with an angry bear who’s determined to get a ten count? If you live (you probably won’t) you’ll have a good story to tell to people on the bus, as you travel back to your empty, desolate apartment. But unless that bear is really cool about some stuff, you’re not going to find love.

Of course, you can’t be completely honest, because anyone who looks at your profile will be so bummed out, they’ll probably swear off dating completely. (But hey, the same is probably true of them.) You’re going to need to pretend to be interesting, but only as much as you can convincingly lie about. Instead of saying you like to jump out of planes, maybe say you like to jump out of tall buses or fall off of very short ladders. Instead of saying you like to wrestle bears, maybe say you once argued with a picture of a bear, but agreed to disagree and left on amicable terms. This demonstrates your reasonable nature and problem solving abilities, which are desirable traits.

There are certain hobbies and interests you can honestly mark, but those are so generic, either everyone marks them or no one does. Like watching movies or eating things. If there’s an option, maybe you can make up hobbies, like competitive trepanning or slow motion walking away from explosions. These are likely to inspire discussion, and might even prompt someone to message you, if only to ask, wtf?

If Someone Actually Messages You

First off, realize that they are most likely a bot. Depending on how lonely you are (which, if you’re anything like us, is very) this might not necessarily be a deal-breaker. Get to know your bot. Is it Russian? Is it Chinese? Is it just some moody teenager trying to steal your credit card info? Regardless, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a meaningful imaginary relationship. And really, how is that different from most relationships?

But hey, maybe a real person has messaged you. If you can keep yourself from frothing at the mouth so much that you short out your computer, you have to deal with this terrifying eventuality. The first thing you’ll probably do is panic, slam your laptop closed, and throw it into a fireplace. If you’re on a phone, that just saves you a step. You should probably change your name, move to a new town, and never speak of this again. (Long time readers of the How To Even blog may recognize this as our usual answer to every problem. To that we say if it works, why mess with it?)

But if you’re determined to try to communicate with another human being (and we can’t warn you strongly enough against this) then you need to try to grab their attention in a non-scary way.


>>Send a video of yourself crying from loneliness

>>Propose to them before actually going out (or, even then)

>>Sneak into their house for any reason, even if you brought gifts

>>Kidnap their pet, no matter how cute it is and undeserving they seem


Um, we don’t actually know. We’ve never gotten this far. Maybe you could, uhm…ah…oh, shoot. Sorry, we’ve got nothing.

Here’s the thing. Most likely, this person will just want to chat like like two months and then disappear. This is how 99% of online dating encounters go. This is a bad thing, if you’re hoping to not die alone, and a good thing, if you’d rather die alone than have to venture out of your comfort zone. But hey, you never know. If this person is planning to steal your liver, then they’ll probably want to meet you. So you might still get a date out of it.

Meeting IRL

Okay, so you’ve ignored all our warnings and decided to meet someone in real life. It will only end in tears, especially if you meet at a competitive hot sauce competition. (Pro Tip: Don’t do that.)

You’ve been texting with this person for a while, you both agreed on a time and place, and now you’re going to “have coffee.” The first thing you need to remember is that you don’t actually like coffee. But that’s okay. You can pretend. Maybe practice your sipping noises beforehand.

Some people might tell you that you should set expectations right from the start. This is good advice. Best that this potential life mate know that you’re a needy despairkitty right away. There’s a decent chance they are too, since they’re agreeing to meet you, after all. A good way to set expectations is to bring a prenuptial contract to the coffee shop with you. This will show the person you’re meeting for the first time that you’re not afraid of commitment but that you’re also sensible. Paperwork is always sexy.

Dress nicely. Ball gowns and tuxedos send the message of class. Bathe and put on some cologne or perfume. If you can’t find any, find something that smells really good and rub it on yourself. We suggest tacos or puppies.

If you arrive before your soon-to-be-but-don’t-know-it-yet-spouse, stand when they come in. Don’t sit until they do. If they don’t sit until you do, stand the whole time, glaring at them. This will establish dominance and show that you’re not someone to be trifled with.

Topics of Conversation

What should you talk about? There are two types of people in the world: those who want to talk about themselves, and those who will do anything NOT to talk about themselves. If you’re lucky, the person you’re meeting will be the opposite of you, so you’ll click.

Whatever you talk about will be completely irrelevant to your life and yet you’ll be judged very harshly on whether it’s interesting or not. We recommend talking about breakfast cereals. Everyone likes breakfast cereal, except the people who don’t, and they are just itching to tell someone about why.

But if you’re looking for more guidance, here are some suggested topics:

  • Your rigid political views.
  • Someone you used to know with the same or similar name to your date.
  • Pie.
  • Someone you humiliated recently.
  • The things you miss most about your ex.
  • Flaws you refuse to address or change.

Is This a Date Though?

That depends on whether you’re into the other person. If you are, it’s a date. If you’re not, it’s not. If you’re not sure which it is, best not to ask. You might not like the answer. Also, if you’re not sure, it’s not a date. Mostly, this is up to the other person, which sucks, but that’s life. Life sucks. They put it on a shirt, so it must be true.

What Next?

There’s a pretty decent chance that one of you will feel like you didn’t click with the other. This means that you did something stupid, like not tipping enough or being ugly. You’ll never know what you did wrong, though, because the other person will just ghost you. Which saves you from having to make an attempt to improve or explain or have them see you cry.

Instead, you can keep things moving. Jump back on the carousel of pain and spin the evil horse statues around to the…haunted stable of your…heart? Scratch that. You can try again, is what we’re saying. And again. And again. Keep trying until the barista starts recognizing you. You strike up conversations with them, eventually ask them out, and they flat-out reject you. Then, it’s time to find a new coffee shop. And maybe don’t bother the people working there with your weirdness next time.

* * *

Online dating is a horrorshow we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy, i.e. Timmy, that fucker. This is not something people do for fun. You’re either looking for love or looking for sex or possibly looking for host bodies to implant your eggs and spawn an invading alien force, which is a whole other How To Even. Can people have solid relationships with other people they met online? Of course. The eggs that’ve been implanted into the base of your spine actually release endorphins as they devour you, so you’ll feel great about your newfound beau, until they hatch. But you always wanted to be a parent, right? Or, a host. Basically the same thing.

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