A significantly over 40-something Phoenix-based writer, author of On Being Eight Again and The Tao of Coyote. Divorced with no children, he has been exploring the dating scene and collecting tales of woe for many years.

COVID dating

During this lackluster season of un-romantic COVID’ation, want to know what’s filling up the message section of nearly every single woman’s online profile?

“Hey,” “Hey!” Heyyy!!” “Hey what’s going?” “Wsup!” “What’s going on?” “Whatcha up to?”

Not to let the ladies off the hook, the Male Call Advisory Board™ hears that the message notifications men get are not exactly immune from mindless opening lines. Typically, a woman breaks the ice with the less-than-exciting phrase: “Hello there.”

Now, this never really worked in ordinary times but nowadays it’s even more important to have a good opener…and we don’t mean a bar pickup line. (“Heaven must be missing an angel because…”)

So, no “WYD?” or “Ur hot!”

These seem like harmless messages to send, and we’ve all surely sent one at some point. We mean no offense. However, seeing it from the other side is eye-opening. When your introductory message box is filled with that stuff, these generic messages come off as super-dull and lazy.

Of course, not everyone can be an Andy Borowitz, much less Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker (as is pretty dang obvious from the typos and clichéd “love to laff” prose in your online profiles).

But it’s really a two-sided issue. First, you need to have something in your profile that incites a comment. And, trust us, “Ask me anything” (a favorite of the ladies) doesn’t cut it.

On the other side of the fence, you recognize that you’re not blessed with the gift of opening repartee, so what do you do when you know nobody’s in a rush to get out for a meet n’ greet?

One thing you can do is acknowledge the sorry state of our romance economy by posing a playful or whimsical question on that very theme:

  • “How are you celebrating COVID these days?”
  • “Binged anything fun recently”
  • “Forget toilet paper, I need to know where I can find baker’s yeast!”
  • “Are you a Zoomer or a Skyper”?
  • “Care to see my etchings? I’ve got my Google Hangouts set up in the loft.”

But seriously, the second part is that you need to find something to comment on, nicely, even if it’s as simple as “I liked your profile — would you like to explore a bit?” Or “Looks like you enjoy traveling — what’s on your wish list once we’re out of this lockdown?”

Your goal is to get the conversation started, hopefully with a question, so you can move to the new next stage: a face-to-face (F2F) meeting — but not “in-person.”

Fact is, video conferences are dating à la mode and you really should be prepping your personal computer area for an F2F.

Start by investing in modestly priced ear pods. Next, preview your computer background with a friend. You can even play with the lighting. In a way, this is almost better than the week(s) of messaging back and forth because people get to see the (more or less) real you, much as they would on a meet ‘n’ greet. Ladies can give it a homey touch by nestling on a couch, perhaps with some interesting art or décor. Candles are a nice touch. Pets are welcome since they offer a point of conversation and your prospect might as well find out about them sooner than later. And a bookshelf is always good because it gives the other person a chance to ask about your favorites. (But don’t pull a John Legend by displaying all your Grammys and Oscars on the shelf behind you).

So, remember the two-way street concept: You want your own profile to offer a “point of entry” — something the profile viewer can latch onto to break the ice. And when you’re checking profiles, try opening the door with a question that’s more than three words.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at jrobertpenn@aol.com. For more words, ideas and whimsy, visit jveeds.wordpress.com.

PHOTO: ID 180385852 © Melinda Nagy | Dreamstime.comCC BY-SA

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