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We’re tackling one of the most fundamental questions of online communities (and all existence): how do guys and girls start talking? We’ve asked the ladies, we’ve asked the guys, we’ve harvested their insights and now we’re laying it out for you, peppered with a bit of our commentary from Tastebuds.

This is Part One: How Guys Think, brace yourselves for next week’s mysteries in Part Two: How Ladies Think!

THE GUYS

It was one of the more intense forum discussions that made us want to post our ideas about how to talk to girls and how not to behave with them. That being said, we also talked to a handful of relatively active male users who shared their thoughts with us about a few issues like taking on different personas or girls not replying to messages. We’re giving you their real name, age and location – but not their usernames.

Nickolas (20, Germany): My current occupation is the U.S. army as a dismounted 240 gunner/ team leader.
Matt (23, Williamsport): I work one-on-one with students with special needs, and I’m studying jazz guitar, playing music in the band Clouds Make Sounds, and composing/recording music under the moniker Moñecho.
Jay (21, Fresno): I’m a marketing assistant for an online content generating service.
Julien (21, Paris): I’m a former guitarist in a touring hardcore band, and I have been involved in a few music-related jobs. I’m studying IT engineering but I never miss a chance to see live-music.
Juan (29, Maastricht): Guitarist, Blade Runner fan, loving Marilyn Manson, Deftones and The Mars Volta! Working as a political scientist at the Maastricht University.
Juan (24, London): Working in the Cinema industry as an Editor (basically, putting everything together and creating the final output).

THIS IS WHAT YOU TOLD US

SHOULD THE GUY MESSAGE THE GIRL FIRST?
General consensus says yes. Notable comments:

Nickolas (20, Germany):
Haha, I believe that a guy shouldn’t have to talk to a girl first. BUT, is it something that most girls see more suitable? Yes.

Matt (23, Williamsport):
I think girls should be just as empowered to take the first step as guys. However, in the reality of my experiences, guys are generally the initiators. It’s good to realize this, just so that you don’t feel like you’re an online dating failure.

Jay (21, Fresno):
I’d say that’s all guys can do for now. It seems rare for a girl to write a guy first as they don’t want to come off as needy, or maybe even eccentric.

DO YOU WRITE YOUR EMAILS FROM A DIFFERENT PERSONA?
General consensus seems split on this. Noteable comments:

Nickolas (20, Germany):
I’m quiet in person when meeting new people but here I’m completely open to say whatever. I couldn’t tell you why but it is just how it is for people in general.

Matt (23, Williamsport):
Everyone has a million different facets of their personality; I choose to show some in some messages and others in others. All are true to my integrative personality. Sometimes I act very whacky and strange and say off-the-wall things in all caps; other times I respond more seriously about film, literature, or art. Whichever seems the most pertinent. It’s as if you were talking to someone in real life; if someone says something about Anna Karenina, and you respond by quoting Workaholics, yelling, and jumping up and down, it probably won’t work out for you. The reverse is true as well.

So if someone you are contacting has a certain tone in his or her profile, try and find the Venn diagram overlap of your personality with theirs based on that, and use that tone and content. If the circles are completely separate in the Venn diagram of your personalities, then chances are you have no business messaging the person.

Julien (21, Paris):
I don’t, even if lying online seems very easy I don’t see the point. If you need to lie to make a girl interested in you, it will be a waste of time.

Jay (21, Fresno):
If you’re shy and write messages as if you weren’t a shy person, that sounds a bit like improvement.

MR. NICE GUY vs. THE BAD BOY
Consensus seems to be split on this. Noteworthy comments:

Matt (23, Williamsport):
I think you should always take your cues for message length and time lapse between messages from the other person. There’s a lot of subconscious power dynamics to this that I’m not really sure I believe in, but I think it’s just safe to avoid any possible steps towards the perhaps existent stereotype of the guy on dating sites that checks them constantly and is completely and utterly emotionally involved in them. I’m not sure if that’s even a thing, but if it is, it’s not attractive. Don’t be obsessive over these things.

Julien (21, Paris):
It’s fun because it reminds me of a very famous French dating website. It used to be free years ago so I tried for a couple days, and had the worst time I ever had online. There were so many guys hitting on girls that the girls on this website got extremely confident, and in that case if any guy was looking for any kind of interaction, you needed to be extremely arrogant. That was fun, but a terrible human experience.
Things are a lot different on Tastebuds, first because I don’t believe anyone feels like visiting a dating website. The conversations don’t need to be awkward like on a basic dating website (where both people speaking know this has to result on dating).

Juan (24, London):
I always found that being natural is the best approach. Which I guess it works best if you’re not a shy person, which if you are, I guess that trying to turn the shyness into niceness is the best approach. Trying to act like you aren’t can’t work well, sooner or later something goes wrong.
My opinion would be that girls reply to messages which appeal to their personality… a shy girl might feel intimidated by a “bad guy” and vice versa… I don’t think it’s a good idea to generalize these patterns as it’s completely up to personalities.

A GENERAL RULE OF THUMB!

Juan (24, London):
“If you wouldn’t say what you’re about to type in a face to face situation… Don’t type it”

HOW DO YOU REACT WHEN A GIRL DOESN’T REPLY?

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Matt (23, Williamsport):
If I do send a follow up, it’s usually only in the situation that I’ve gotten an initial message back, but not a response to a subsequent message. That always kind of irks me, but hey, people are allowed to choose. And they can choose for a variety of reasons, many of which don’t have to do with how you are personally, physically, or anything-ly; something beyond your control.

Juan (29, Maastricht):
It really depends on how much do I like her. But if a girl doesnt reply at first is unlike to happen later. However if I feel absolutely charming, I try a couple of times more. Taking into account that the border between persistance and annoyingness is very thin!

Jay (21, Fresno):
A good reason why girls don’t reply is because of the amount of similar messages they have probably gotten. It’s the online equivalent of going up to a girl and starting a conversation the same way every other guy has in the past, and being ignored. It’ll always happen. I’m betting there is a plethora of material on preventing this, it just takes more finding out.

WHICH MATTERS MORE ON A GIRL’S PROFILE – TEXT OR PICS?
Consensus says text definitely matters. Noteable comments:

Matt (23, Williamsport)
I think pictures sometimes are as good if not better indicators of personality than the actual textual information on a profile. Fashion is good indicator of personality, neutral and expressive faces, etc. I look for those things a lot. I almost never message girls with very composed, smiling sorority-esque pictures; I’m just not into the personality that that seems to correlate with, even if I find the girl’s actual features extraordinarily attractive.
I also will almost never message a girl with bad grammar/spelling and/or text-speak. I just don’t like that, and the way a person expresses themselves, via aural or textual communication, is very important to me as far as attraction. Holy lord, semicolons are attractive. Anyway.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TASTEBUDS MATCH METHOD HELP YOU PROFILE A PERSON MORE?
General consensus would say A LOT. Noteworthy comments:

Jay (21, Fresno):
Common interests are a big factor, but I wouldn’t let that stop me from talking to another person who doesn’t share any of my interests. If you are a guy who doesn’t know anything about the opposite gender and wants to be more successful, the more girls you talk to, the better. But it is good to make sure there is at least a genuine interest somewhere instead of sending out multiple messages/openers without caring.

Julien (21, Paris):
I guess I am a bad person as I kind of “judge” people according to what they listen to. It does not mean I’m closed minded, but as I love talking about music and discovering new things, I like interacting with someone passionate about it. Those music matches are great, for example if I see a girl who listen to a few hip hop artists I have on my profile, and because I am really not an expert with that kind of music, I’ll ask her to make me discover more underground ones I could not know.
I go on Tastebuds for the same reason I went on Myspace a while ago, and the music match feature was absolutely not working as well there ! I believe anyone going on Tastebuds love music and care about meeting someone who does too. I sincerely believe Tastebuds is a new Myspace.

Matt (23, Williamsport):
Not much. Tastebuds’ music match system is merely a way for people to connect. Everyone on the site cares about music more than the normal person, which is a more important thing. Most people that care about music can appreciate different things, even if they don’t like them themselves. It’s just a non-obtrusive way to make connections that’s very relaxed, which is why the site is just in general much more casual, right down to people’s profiles: brief and concise, in general.
However, I do recognize that I listen to some (pardon) weird-ass shit, so I never really expect to find anyone that overlaps much, besides the obligatory Sufjan, Radiohead, and Jeff Buckley. When I do find someone that listens to a little-known band that I love, I will admit I’m very much more inclined to want to message them. But the personality as expressed through the pictures and profile holds much more weight for me.

DO YOU SEND OUT MULTIPLE MESSAGES WITHOUT CARING WHO READS YOUR MESSAGES?
General consensus says no no and no. An exception said by Juan (29, Maastricht): “Not really, but I’ve done it when I was a bit younger – it depends on the need that you would feel! Whether you feel the bloodlust or not!” There, ladies, you have it. Bloodlust.

WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ABOUT HOW WOMEN REPRESENT THEMSELVES ON DATING SITES?

Matt (23, Williamsport):
As far as how women represent themselves… I feel like most profiles, particularly on Tastebuds, are faithful to the type of personality each girl has. I also don’t feel like there are many instances of flagrant pictures of cleavage by girls that really want attention. Well, not on Tastebuds. OKCupid is pretty good; did that for a bit. Pretty faithful, at least the profiles that I saw.

Juan (29, Maastricht):
My experience says that they quite elusive, and you need a bit of luck to find what you’re looking for. But it doesn’t differ that much from real life, it’s all about the level of resources you can show and whether the girl likes them. Sometimes there is nothing to do even if you do malabars with fire stuff over a monocycle meanwhile a monkey throw knives at you!

Julien (21, Paris):
I used to have a very bad image of girls on online dating sites because of the experience I had on the French one, even if it was for a couple days four years ago. Girls used to be way too confident, and nothing like who they are in real life, just because there were so many guys hitting on them. On Tastebuds girls are humble, and just open to talk.

YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT ONLINE DATING?

Matt (23, Williamsport):
The advantage of online dating is that it immediately connects you to a pool of persons that are open to relationships of the same nature (if not extent and profundity) as you are. It’s the equivalent of a single’s café or bar in your house.
Because of this, and because I live in a very small town in which I know basically everyone with any common interests at all, I find myself interacting with girls more online than offline, at least at this point in my life. I’ve had wild success with online dating, sparking probably 10-15 first dates, 2 quasi-relationships, and a lot of interactions with very interesting and/or neat people. It’s also just very amusing and fun.

Julien (21, Paris):
Anyone could use online dating, I don’t see how this could be a bad thing. We can’t be in pubs talking to strangers every night. I see Tastebuds as a website where you meet people, more than a “dating website”. This is probably why everyone is so open to talk, and why I enjoy visiting it. That’s a dating website without the awkwardness of a dating website, so we meet people a lot more easily than in any other website.

THIS IS WHAT THE TASTEBUDS TEAM THINKS

These might not have been the replies our female users expected and to be honest, we’re happy about that. Not all guys ask for nude pics, hit on you with the elegance and subtlety of a chopping block FROM HELL or turn into an antenna of sticky-gooey puppy love after your first coffee together. There are some of them who do, though.

This is why we’re giving you a sequel of this article soon – giving you a selection of replies by a group of our female users, to know what ladies, girls, chicks, women and SISTERS OF ROCK think about the do’s and don’ts of dating online. If you agree with them – being on the same page with them will help you a lot, or at least that’s what we’re guessing. If you don’t agree with them – there will be some new perspectives and angles for you to digest.

Just keep three things in mind.

  • There’s no meta-communication in online dating. No gestures, no chemistry, no scents, no gut feelings of instinct to indicate good or bad times ahead. This goes out to everyone who tends to get carried away after two sentences of niceness.
  • Genders differ. Their priorities, preferences, perspectives differ. Learn to deal with that. There’s no shame in reading up on gender roles or asking girls/ladies about why they behave the way they do or what their preferences are. More often than not they will be thrilled to notice that someone actually cares about how the female opinion would be different. Ladies appreciate that, you know.
  • Respect. You’ve got to learn to treat women with respect. It doesn’t mean you’d be less than a man, it means you give women the pace and the mindset to feel good, secure and chilled out around you. Women will definitely not appreciate it if you treat them like a half-empty packet of crisps or a porn actress from a gonzo scene. Our advice: don’t do it.

See you next week.

Always,
The Tastebuds Team

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