The Private Man

Attraction and dating information for all men

Reader Email – Online Dating Edition

The email is in italics and my commentary follows it.

Hello and thanks for your site. It and a few others have helped me tremendously in the past year. I am very much a recovering beta, a 56-yo divorced white man living in a medium-sized (~300,000) city in the southern US. I have a question about online dating (OKC and PoF):

I get unsolicited interest almost exclusively from women who are older than I am and overweight. No thanks. I am often successful, however, at getting a more desirable woman to reply to my opening message in which I use information from her profile to kid around a little, sometimes including an ambiguity she might see as a very mild neg. Her reply usually seems open and pleasant. And that’s the end of it. I cannot get her to say anything further AT ALL (not even “no thanks” or “fuck you”) regardless of whether I continue with the small talk (and that’s hard – not many hooks in most women’s profiles) or propose a meeting. Here’s the most recent example (the gist, not the actual words used):

Me, 11:00 am on a weekday: Refreshing reading your profile, you’re out of the mainstream. Your stated awareness and appreciation of the smaller things in life is perceptive. We share an interest in old books. Your photos are unusual and cool (NOT “You’re pretty”), though I think one of them is photoshopped. Tell me more about your grad studies.

Her (37-yo bisexual, 7 or 8-ish but hard to be sure from the photos), 9:30 pm the same day: “Thanks!” Other people have said that photo is shopped but it isn’t, and was taken in a fairly daring situation I describe. The other photo (flexing bicep) may seem vain but was meant to be ironic. I’m in grad school studying X, to advance a career. Some things you mention in your own profile “sound like a great combination.”

Me, 11:30 pm the same day: Daring indeed, I’m impressed. (Do you like motorcycles?) I saw the irony in the bicep photo but nice definition anyway. Your studies sound good and relate in stated ways to my educational experiences and tendencies. Silly gag about getting lots of degrees. Where are you in school? Not surprised you’re (apparently) not a native of this area; where are you from? A comment or two about the things in my profile you mentioned. Do you play a musical instrument too? Happy to hear from you. Hope to talk more soon. Good night.

Her (definitely online before I send my next message): Silence

Me, 9:30 pm the next day: Your writing and thinking and freckles intrigue me and I like to meet sooner rather than later in cases like that. How about coffee and looking over the books at X bookstore (new books only) tomorrow morning at 11:00? PS: An author you mention in your profile – saying you often think about what that person would do or say in a given situation – would definitely come.

Her, 11:30 pm the same day: Views my profile a second time. Silence.

This seems to be becoming a pattern. I’m tempted to call them out for their bad manners but mostly I want to get laid so I’d want to call them out in a way to further that goal, if that’s even possible. Is it? What’s my best move in cases like this? Next? Or maybe you can spot the mistakes that are getting me into this spot in the first place.

Thank you.

Your very much welcome for my blog. Also, thanks for the demographic and geographic information, that is relevant.

At least you’re getting some incoming messages even though they’re women to whom you’re not attracted. Preferences exist for both sexes. Your experience with online flaking is common, regardless of age. You’re sending out solid (if a bit long) messages to the most attractive women online. That’s natural. You’re getting responses, excellent. But these women, like attractive men, have options and are usually quite ruthless when cutting off contact. You’re just yet another guy sniffing her out online.

As for that written “hook” in the profiles, it saddens me that women don’t put much efforts into their online dating profile. Many don’t have to because so many sexually thirsty guys send out copy and paste messages to almost every woman with the right age and geography. Those kinds of desperate men have seriously degraded the online dating experience for all women and for men who are serious about online dating. Oh, and the “dick pics” that women receive is another blow to the online dating experience for women.

You did make some mistakes. To start, you are assuming that these women have online manners that match in real life (IRL) manners. This is simply not the case, even in the South where manners are more important than up north. As well, if this woman is truly in graduate school, she’s incredibly busy. You have no idea why her responses are timed that way.

Another mistake you made is responding too quickly and expecting an equally quick response. You’re a busy guy and you have options. You must telegraph that by responding the next day, preferably in the morning or evening. Being online on a weekday at 11AM sending out messages is not a good thing. Women notice when a man is online and how often. Limit your online dating time because this projects an abundance mentality. I too made the mistake of being online too much and at that wrong times.

You also sent two messages in a row. That makes you look desperate. Granted, I can see the Hail Mary element when you actually proposed a date with details. But you sent that too soon. I empathize, here’s a woman who is physically attractive, bisexual, and almost 20 years younger than you. I’d be excited and over-eager, too. Hubba hubba! Some of my  commenters will say that the profile is fake. I will give it the benefit of the doubt.

It really doesn’t matter if they simply stop responding, it’s pointless to call them out. Remember that women actively look for reasons to reject a guy, especially online. Age matters. She’s probably looking at your profile to confirm the reason(s) because I’m speculating that she dropped contact because she found a guy closer to her age. The words in her messages are now meaningless at this point. Her actions have told you everything you need to know. She stopped responding. Move on.

This has happened to me many times. Hell, it happened just this week. Women respond positively to my message, we have a friendly back and forth (not more than four times), I move to escalate, and then they simply stop responding. My reaction is to move on to the next woman and never looked back. Amazingly, sometimes a woman who reached out to me with a messaging doesn’t even respond to my return message showing mutual interest. The world of online dating is an uncouth place. Long ago I stopped taking it personally.

As I stated before, your experiences are common so don’t get too frustrated. This is one more reason why I am now advising that post-divorce singles use live singles events for more of their “get a date” efforts. Online dating has a poor return on time invested, especially for men. It can work, but it is frustrating. Check your local for active singles groups. Also, Plenty of Fish has live events as does Here in South Florida, live singles events are popular and well-attended. I can’t speak for your city, of course. Also, consider speed dating as part of your IRL dating efforts.

Be aware that if you find yourself going to such live singles events, I guarantee that you will run into women you have sent messages to, or received messages from. When this happens, be cordial and lighthearted. Don’t even ask why they didn’t respond or stopped responding online. You live in a fairly small city so you don’t want to get the reputation of being a dick. When you do go to live events, dress one level up from all the other men. You’ll stand out better that way. You’ll also have the opportunity to brush up on your charm and charisma.

I hope this is helpful.

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10 thoughts on “Reader Email – Online Dating Edition

  1. Pingback: Reader Email – Online Dating Edition |

  2. Dear Recovering Beta,

    You posted ” I get unsolicited interest almost exclusively from women who are older than I am and overweight. No thanks”

    Guess what,,,she feel’s the same way.

    • cheesetrader on said:


      It’s not “overweight”, it’s attention from someone “older”/”something or other”/unwanted.

      Look at it this way – were one of those older obese women write to you, how long would you engage in conversation if you knew that you simply weren’t interested in them for whatever reason? Do you respond to all the emails you get from them – or just maybe one or two and hope they get the hint?

      That’s where you are. And it’s perfectly fine actually. If they’re not interested, they’re not interested – no big deal. You move on to the next one and tighten up your emails and profile.

      I’m in the same age demographic, FWIW.

      • Mike on said:

        You’re right, CT: it should be no big deal, I need to just move on and tighten my game.

        But to answer your questions, in that situation I either don’t reply at all or I say “thanks but no thanks.” I don’t just go dark after sending one or more friendly and open replies. I see now that I can’t expect the same from others and that I need to thicken my skin.



    • Mike on said:

      Dear Sus,

      Making a newbie mistake, I replied to you via a new comment on the post rather than a direct reply to your comment. Please see below.

      A couple more points: As I say below, I don’t contact women who say they only want to hear from men younger than me. Older women who contact me, on the other hand, are ignoring my stated upper age limit (56).

      And I don’t mean, by making these points, to suggest that you’re wrong in general. I imagine women – like this man – get unsolicited interest mostly from people they find unattractive. I certainly don’t expect all women who indicate they’re ok with a 56-yo man to want to meet me or even to reply to my opener. My irritation was not with “no-reply-at-all” women but only with “went-dark-after-initial-expression-of-interest” women.



  3. Mark on said:

    I am 56 years old too. When I did online dating I was able to get about twenty percent of the women to meet me and twenty percent of them to date me. I was looking more for a girlfriend than just sex and I was able to find one until she moved to another city. Many of the women I met seemed to have lived multiple places, worked many jobs and been through many relationships. I think there are two kinds of people: ones who like novelty and ones who like the familiar. People who like the familiar are probably married by their fifties and have been married many years. For the middle aged, the online dating world is made up mostly of people who can’t stick with a long term job, living location or relationship. Many people on there say they are serious about finding someone but they aren’t really. Beside not seriously looking for a relationship, a lot of the divorced middle aged women I met seemed unhappy. They had divorced with some fantasy that they were going to go out and get a better guy. When I met them they were in the middle of a process of realizing they miscalculated and weren’t going to get a better guy. Hence the unhappiness. A few will settle for what they can get but most will just eventually drop off online dating. Many of the women who aren’t responding to you have just divorced and are looking for that nonexistent fantasy guy they left their husband for.

  4. Mike on said:

    Very helpful indeed, thank you. (I wrote the email).

    PS: Sus, I suspect everyone, male and female, is aiming up but I don’t contact a woman if I am older than her maximum stated preferred age (60 in the profile I wrote about). And I’m not overweight! Thanks.

  5. With middle-aged broads
    Sane and unmarried is rare
    Just the way it is

  6. Reggie on said:

    It’s the motorcycle, silly.

  7. Johnny on said:

    “To start, you are assuming that these women have online manners that match in real life (IRL) manners.”

    Well, for starters, if these women were all that likeable IRL, they’d not have to resort to using OLD in the first place. Most of these women don’t have jobs that take them out of the reach of people. I work jobs behind barbed wire fences that require chipped cards to open. Most women have some sort of customer service job and they interact with enough men daily…yet are still unattached. You get the drift.

    “Limit your online dating time because this projects an abundance mentality. I too made the mistake of being online too much and at that wrong times.”

    Most people aren’t CEOs and don’t work 15+-hour days are sit in on board meetings all day, so most aren’t very busy at all. No big deal. The real problem is that most women using OLD are of the “you must appreciate my sarcastic wit” and “you must make me laugh” type. So, not only are they unlikeable as I mentioned above, but you also have to play court jester with them while they are being hounded by dozens of other guys who are trying to play court jester to them, too, all in her vain effort to find her next dopamine rush. Remember, you have to take her travleling, too. She likes that. The thirteen countries on six continents she has been to on her dad’s dime wasn’t enough.

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