We're just like you.  We connected through an online dating service--OK Cupid, to be exact.  Our first date was at a fun Seattle tapas-and-sangria bar.  We fell in love.  We are engaged to be married.  We know that you, too, can find love.  Let us help you.

For ages, there has been the idea that men always must make the first move, swooping down out of the clouds on their white steeds to steal the woman away.  Nice, but unless you're living in a fantasy world, that's not how things really work. In the online dating world, the playing field is leveled.  Women can make the first move as much as men can.  More importantly, that first move is of far less significance than in the off-line world.

As we've previously written, not making the first move is one of two mistakes women tend to make--which doom women to a life of spinsterhood (maybe we exaggerate, maybe not?).

Show Off Your Ankle, In a 21st Century Way

One courtship ritual from the past was called "showing off your ankle."  Before oversharing became the norm, women would remain largely covered up.  So, any display of flesh was recognized as an invitation to a come-on.

We're not advocating that you display flesh to attract guys.  We've already highlighted one major Plenty of Fish profile fail where the woman tries to compensate for her poorly written profile by including pictures of her tanned, oiled melons and hamhocks.

It's a figurative ankle.  It's an indicator, a kind of flare that you shoot into the sky that says, "Okay, I might be amenable to a pass."

If you're still bothered by this idea, take heart.  In a way, you're still letting the guy make the first pass.  Your initial "flare" isn't much at all.  It's just a way of making yourself visible and showing that you aren't resistant.  The real pass comes next.

What Your Message Looks Like:  Short and Not Too Sweet

Instead of short and sweet, make it short and light on the sweetness.

"Short" because you don't want to waste your time on an unanswered message.  In the online dating world, well over half of your initial messages simply disappear into the ether, unanswered.  This is not necessarily because you suck.  You might be contacting a zombie member (a fake member set up with the intent to scam).  You might be contacting a legitimate member who just doesn't tend to his account much anymore.  You might be contacting an active member who simply feels that the both of you aren't a good match.  And yes, some guys will feel that you suck.

We say "not too sweet" because you don't want to be too fawning.  Don't hold back the sugar so much that your entire message is abrasive, cynical, biting, or sarcastic.  Some edge is fine, but don't overdo it.

Sample Message

What's with the velvet Elvis painting collection, Bikr43?  Got a thing for the King?  Myself, I'm more a Duran Duran circa 1981 girl (purely ironic, of course).  Drop me a line if you'd like to grab a cup of something liquid sometime.

Why This Message Works:

You're commenting on an aspect of his profile that has personal meaning to him (the Elvis paintings), but you're not going for personal features (his rippling man-chest).  It's playfully combative, not too harsh.  In the last line, you issue a direct question.

Now, that wasn't so hard, was it?





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