Writing and reading profiles
Your profile name and/ or headline can grab people’s attention so make it original. Keep what you say truthful, accurate and light. Write something that is distinctive, special and unique about you. And think carefully before falling back on the clichés of liking long walks and enjoying cosy nights in.
While you only have to write a few lines and others will say more, there’s a balance between writing an essay (which nobody reads) and a blank profile (which kinda says it all). However true they may be for you, whinges, gripes and moans are unattractive, and pessimistic downbeat profiles will have guys clicking away fast.
If you’re reading…
If a guy takes time to write something about themselves then read it. If not, then maybe a guy who can string a sentence together and use punctuation correctly is not for you.
Avoid men with profiles which make aggressive/ negative statements about ethnicity, HIV and STI status, age and build. Flip it and think how likely is a guy to pick up in a club, sauna or bar if he says " I'm disease free, and not into fatties or Asians. Any takers guys?"
Granted there maybe be characteristics about men which push our buttons sexually, but sexual racism and body fascism is unacceptable, though visible and seemingly tolerated online.
Chat and messaging
For some, this a doddle; for others, we get nervous or struggle to even start. It's not so different plucking up the courage to speak to someone we like for the first time. So don't write somebody off immediately if they don't come up (or down) to your standard or style of writing.
Chat and messaging is 'voiceless' so we create one in our head which perfectly natural but this can lead to over analysis, mis-interpretation. However, bear in mind short snippy messages can be fun and sexy and but also can make for an equally short shag.
Exclamation marks suggest energy but overuse (including emoticons) can indicate he may be high and/ or highly strung. BEST AVOIDED IF HE WRITES ALL HIS MESSAGES IN CAPS.
And it's not an interrogation (unless it's what you want it to be).
Being HIV positive
Some guys say explicitly they are HIV positive, often using shorthand such as HIV+, +ve, poz, or [+]. The reasons for this include:
- It is nothing to be ashamed about
- It is nothing to be stigmatised
- The nonsense some untested or negative guys come up with
- It can provide clarity in terms of who you want to have sex with
Would you date an HIV-positive guy? | GMFA
Stop HIV Stigma | GMFA
HIV isn’t dirty, stigma is | GMFA
What is stigma? | NAM aidsmap | January 2018
The Stigma Project: Ending HIV stigma one image at a time | The Stigma Project | 27 Apr 2014 1m47s
Rather than assume anything, it’s worth checking your settings; eg: alerts, privacy, and tracking/ following. If your profile has an option to tell guys why you’re online then set this correctly; eg: if you’re not looking to actually meet anyone, say so and use a ‘chatting’ or ‘picking up messages’ option. It may stop some guys thinking they’re in with a chance when in fact they have none.
When you finish writing don’t forget to check your spelling or run a spell check. While correct spelling and grammar shouldn’t be a deal breaker, a little effort to show you care can go a long way.
For many guys, picture-less profiles are a non-starter. So use a clear pic taken in the last year. It should be a straightforward shot, without pipe work, litter boxes, laundry or family members in the background, for example. Unless it’s what you’re ‘selling’ avoid cutsie, posed, glamorous, funny (at least you think so) and/ or photoshopped.
Face, body, and dick pics send out different messages, so make sure you're sending out the message you want. Unsolicited dick pics usually mean a guy's horny. We all have dicks, we use them and we get horny. It’s just part of the language some of us use and can be just what you want to see! If you are offended then you're not going to sleep with him are you? Job done, move on.
It’s tempting to be funny. Sometimes it works, but our rule of thumb is that it usually doesn't travel well. Guys get confused or offended quickly, particularly if your sense of humour is dry, acerbic, or slightly left of field. We sometimes forget this online, where we don’t have the additional signals we take for granted when you’re standing opposite someone.
One man too many
If you can juggle several men at once successfully we’ll give you a gold star, but it’s exhausting, often self-defeating and can end in tears. You have to remember individual profile names and characteristics if you’ve been chatting (so as not to confuse them with someone else), and it really starts to go downhill if you confuse message strings or pick up a conversation with the wrong guy.
Step away from the man
If someone is rude or argumentative avoid the temptation to answer back. You can spend hours in meaningless dialogue, eliminating any chance of you and he hooking up. In fact, that ship sailed the second he called you an arsehole and you replied. So, step away from the man, say something like "hope everything works out for you" or "have to head out now" then block ‘em.
Stay away from the office
Office environments are getting savvy in monitoring what goes in and out across their Internet, with many employers having strict guidelines about what it is you can/ cannot do with your PC. In some ways, the solution has been smartphone apps but, there again, people notice if you keep looking at your phone repeatedly, or spend a disproportionate amount of work time tapping messages. Bottom line: keep your work/ office life separate from your personal life and only pick up messages during legitimate breaks.
Keep the man local
If you are investing time and energy in getting to know somebody who you hope to meet, make sure they’re local and/ or within reasonable travelling distance. If you can get the location check out Google maps before you start trekking off into the wilderness, or asking someone to drive into town who doesn’t know about the congestion charge or that it is usually hell parking anywhere.
Conversation or inquisition
We've a volunteer on the MEN R US team who gets goose bumps if you ask him "where are you from?" On the face of it it's a reasonable question, as is "where do you live" or "what do you do?" The truth is that these lines have been done to death, so why not actually read his profile and respond to something he’s said, or try to come up with something a little more original.
A barrage of questions has got 'ignore' and 'block him now' written all over it. Chat and messaging should be attentive but relaxed. Tease out the answers (if that's what you're after) rather than subjecting your prey to an inquisition.
Thanks but no thanks
Someone saying "no" is never nice but it happens to all of us. Most guys are polite about the way they say it, but you really don’t have an automatic right to reply. A ‘no thanks’ is what it is. Move on. Arguments start easily because guys don’t take no well (even if the rejection message is reasonable) and from hereon in it goes from bad to worse. Short answer: do you really want to meet him now?
Some web apps have automated ‘thanks but no thanks’ messages, although (we would argue) it’s a tad more adult if you have the decency to send a short personal message yourself. If your profile has an option telling guys why you’re online, set this correctly (eg: checking messages) as this may stop guys messaging you in the first place.
What do you want?
Spare a thought for what you want and need. The less you put on your profile the more it is assumed you are there for immediate sex and hook-ups; not always, but bear this in mind. Absolutely no point logging on if you're knackered, fed up, or if your profile says one thing when in fact you're feeling quite another.
- Do you want sex NOW, or later?
- Are looking for a date when in fact you want sex?
- Do you want sex when in fact you're looking for a date?
- Are you looking for a relationship?
- Are you really checking your messages, or cruising; or maybe you're bored and just seeing what passes by?
Plans and meets
Say what you mean, mean what you say and stick to the plan. If you can't follow through don't make plans which you then break with some feeble half-arsed excuse. Before you start cruising, be clear in your own mind whether you’re hosting or travelling.
And there's absolutely no point in getting horned up in chat if you have no intention of leaving your flat at 1am! Some guys are just bored and chatting to pass the time. They may sound really into you but never agree to meet. Sometimes this person is you.
It can be helpful to speak on the phone before you agree to meet. Until that point all you have are words, tick boxes and a few pics. Hearing someone's voice can make all the difference before you trek off across town, or invite a complete stranger into your home.
The Behemoth (fantasy v reality)
"Between chatting online and turning up at his flat, I had created this crazy fantasy about who he was and what we were going to do. Had this weird shit going on in my head which squeezed out any possibility that he could be anything else. The sex wasn't going to happen the moment he opened the door. He seemed a little taller (so), his was voice different (but I'd never heard it before), he wasn't wearing what I expected (as if he was going to be wearing the clothes in his photo); and he also had glasses (which I wear for reading). Our imagination can be our best asset and our worst enemy. It was me that killed the moment, not him."
Lucas | 1 Jul 2015
Partners and open relationships
Tread carefully when meeting partnered guys who say they are "just looking for friends" or guys who say they are in an open relationship. Sometimes it’s cool but it can also get messy. It gets messier still if you develop feelings for someone who's attached. Rule of thumb: meet single guys if you are single or be clear about what you're getting into.
More doesn't mean better
Making full use of a smörgåsbord of men doesn't automatically translate into better sex, or that you'll be any a happier. In fact, there’s often a feeling that you will never be satisfied or never find the right one. The prevailing 24/7 sex culture can make you feel as if you are a product or commodity, but it’s really is up to you as to how far you buy into it or not.
We suggest quality over quantity every time and some breaks between hook-ups. Scratch the surface and there is usually something deeper and constant within us about finding someone with whom we can really connect and love. There’s nothing wrong with this, though it’s almost an elephant in the room in a culture which promotes the opposite.
Online off-line balance
Add up the time spent searching, messaging, swiping and scrolling; you could also use that time actually meeting real people perhaps in a bar, or getting involved in an activity. This is not a shout against apps but a reminder that some of us spend a disproportionate amount of time immersing ourselves in an artificial construct of code, pixels and tick boxes.
There is nothing more satisfying than a guy who looks you in the eye, smiles, and says "Yes." It pushes all sorts of really cool buttons inside us which are often absent during marathon adrenaline-fuelled web app man hunts.
It's very depressing when we are less considerate to each other simply because we are using a web app. Guys are still guys even if there is there is an Internet connection between you and him. If we refuse to learn to balance authenticity and consideration, we will have great ways to bring us together but we will never be a truly great community.
Unfortunately, some guys think they don’t have to play nice because online is not real. Almost without exception, this has more to do with how they are feeling about themselves and nothing to do with you (unless you deliberately poked the bear with a stick). It's not worth taking on their pain or hardening yourself. Just acknowledge it and move on.↑ Back to top