Cupid shot in the back by arrowDo’s and don’ts for online lesbian relationship success.

Okay, so as a single lesbian living in a small town, my options are pretty limited when it comes to love. Or dating. Or even having more than one lesbian friend at a time (they usually start dating each other and get a cat within a week). So finding a partner can be a pretty long and painful process.

Short of resigning myself to travelling to Brighton every weekend, my twin sister (also gay, from Brighton. No, we won’t be in your movie) talked me into joining a well-known dating website to expand my horizons a bit.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… desperate, right? But since I could not spend another night in a straight bar with my straight friends (listening to them talk endlessly about make-up and the Kardashians) I thought why the hell not? If nothing else, at least I may make some new friends that won’t spend our evenings preaching to me about their man-friends and why I shouldn’t wear Paisley. (I fucking love Paisley)

So I signed up, inserted the usual witty comments in the appropriate boxes and tried to choose five pictures of myself where I’m not wearing my onesie or holding my cat. (I found four). And within a few clicks that were it, I was uploaded! Twinny and I kicked back as I chain-refreshed my browser, waiting for the inevitable flock of women I was expecting. It didn’t come.

“You need to be more pro-active!” said my aggressively flirtatious and very confident double. “Start talking to someone!”

And so to the “search locals” box I went, selected one or two potentials (even that felt a little slutty…) and spent some time composing the perfect “Hi, I’m Emily, Please think I’m a nice person” message.

Within a few minutes, I see that potential-love-of-my-life number 1 has “viewed me” and so surely it’s just a matter of time, right?

Obviously not. The girl goes offline within a few seconds, no reply, and my foray into online dating seems doomed forever.

“Don’t worry!” Twinny told newly-single and fragile me, as my eyes started to well a little. “You need to be thick-skinned… I ignore people all the time! Just pick another.”

The slow realization dawned upon me that my identical twin had probably snubbed half of the lesbians in the area. Which isn’t helpful, is it? But back to it I went, and within a few hours I’d sent maybe 8 messages, all personally tailored to the likes and dislikes of the smiling face that the profile belonged to. Smart huh?

No. Those of you who have been online dating for a while in Gay-Land have probably been rolling your eyes for a good few paragraphs. Because the sad truth is that, generally, online dating is the romantic equivalent of idly strolling past the shelves of your local supermarket. If you like something, you pick it up and put it in your trolley (“Favorites”) but if you don’t, it waving desperately at you and acknowledging all of your common interests isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference. Turns out, Internet lesbians are heartless. And here’s what I learned…

  1.  Don’t send long, rambling first messages.

In my first week, I spent quite a long time reading up on the profiles of those I was about to message. I thought it would make me look considerate and thoughtful. You know… just the person you’d want to date, right? But it doesn’t.

As my sister puts it – “Women don’t like desperate.”

Apparently, sending a long, courteous message is the online equivalent of walking straight up to someone in a bar and gushing your hopes and dreams at them without stopping for air. Twinny’s advice was to send them a “Hi” or “Hey how are you?” at most because if they liked the look of me, they’d reply. And, as she kindly put it… if they don’t like me, “They aren’t going to read all that crap you wrote about your cat.”

As my bottom lip started to tremble, I glanced over at my sister’s full message box then decided to buck up a bit and take her advice. Imagining myself just standing in the corner of a gay club somewhere, giving sultry and fleeting flirty nods to various women, I started to shoot out the “Hi’s” and before you know it, I had some replies!

Who knew that being short and dismissive would actually work, eh? Apart from every-straight-guy-ever. Lesson learned.

2. No Sarcasm

Now we all should know by now that sarcasm doesn’t work in anyone’s favour on the internet. Unless you’re arguing with a 12-year-old about the best character in “Friends” (obviously Chandler) then sarcasm has no place. Especially not in online dating.

Most people will check their dating app when they have spare time, or if they feel like a bit of a boost. Like on a train or after hanging up on their screaming ex. So, as I learned, what you think is a witty message may just come across as you being an ass. Take, for example, my attempt at humour with one of my first interactions.

So this woman (let’s call her LezzyLesbo87) had quite the array of plus points. Nice pictures of her actually having fun (Don’t be a pouting-in-a-club-in-every-picture lesbian. Just don’t.), varied interests and a decent introductory paragraph. Mainly, she’d actually written something in her box, rather than some peoples “Oh God, I HATE these things, they’re so embarrassing…!” which not only brings to mind an image of a tantruming teenager but also makes you feel like a dick for writing your own properly. I mean, come on, we all have to do it. Let’s play the game.

So when LezzyLesbo87 got back to my “Hi” with a perfectly sweet message about her day and the fact she’d been caught in the rain, this is how my brain deemed it appropriate to respond:

Me – “Hey” (insert cool Danny-from-Grease voice)

LezzyLesbo87 – “Hi! How are you? I’ve had such a busy day, I got caught in this horrible weather on my way home! Just got myself curled up under a blanket at last. Are you doing anything fun tonight?”

Me – “Oh, the weather eh? You must be British to come up with such an original topic! I’m OK thanks, spending tonight at home too. You dry yet?”

As you can imagine, I had no response. What I thought would be taken as a tongue-in-cheek and ever-so-charming quip turned out to make me look like a smarmy, generalizing dick. I think I blocked her in the end out of sheer embarrassment. Twinny was not supportive, instead of declaring this the “most idiotic message she has ever seen” and asking me to screen-shot it to her so she could Tumblr my stupidity.

Long story short… sarcasm is best reserved for face to face. At least that gives your conversational partner the opportunity to tell you in person what a prong you’re being.

3. Don’t try to let people down gently

A few weeks had passed and I’d gotten to that point where I had sent so many messages, I’d forgotten who I had contacted and who I hadn’t. As my closest lesbian community is at least ten miles from me, and even then there are only about 12 potentials within a 30-mile radius, things were looking a little grim. However, my sister had trained me well, and I wasn’t taking things personally. In fact, it was becoming a sort of fun.

At one point, there were some ladies out there who actually emailed me first. Now once I’d picked myself off the floor from shock, I’d flick through these profiles and, sadly, nine times out of ten be horribly disappointed. Now although I seem like I may be a bit hard up, even a small-town lesbian like me has some limits.

Not because I’m a dick, but I’m 26 and artistic (it says so on my profile) and I only have two big No’s… 1. No-one outside a ten-year age range (making exceptions for particularly foxy over 35’s) and 2. No career maniacs. By this, I mean “All my pictures are taken at work outings and I mistake “ambitious” for “would sell my soul for power and money”. There’s a fine line, ladies. And while some women love the whole Power-Lesbian vibe, I just can’t imagine us giggling together in the bath. Whenever I see a woman like that I imagine a Sunday of spreadsheets and business calls while I apologise for the mess my paints are making. No thanks.

When I received messages from people who aren’t my type, I remembered back to my first days of hopeful browsing, and how to hurt I was when people I had messaged didn’t get back to me. How knocked I was, how upset! So I decided to be “good-guy-OKcupider” and figured it may make these people feel a little less rejected if I at least got back to them and explained why this was “my loss”. What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out people don’t like being told what’s wrong with them via the Internet. Here are some real-life examples of how that went down:

*GinaG, 18, Hampshire – “Hey, I like your profile, I’m actually 16 but you have to be 18 so girls gotta do what a girl gotta do! How are you?”

Me – “Hi Gina. Thanks so much for your message, you seem really nice but 16 is really too young for me. Good luck!”

*GinaG – “Whatever. I’m really mature for my age.”

Me – “I’m sure you are, and thanks, but I’m looking for someone older.

*GinaG – “Lol, Ok sure. You go find Grandma then.”

*Names have been changed to protect me from being hunted down.

So, a lesson learned, I changed my profile to only allow users over 21 to message me. On to the next:

LolitaL, 22, Wiltshire – “Hi, I’m Lolita, I’m easy going and laid back and am looking for someone to chill out with. What are you up to?”

(A quick glance through Lolita’s profile showed three pictures of her smoking weed and a clear declaration that she “loves to party.” I mean I have no problem with that, but as we all have to pretend to be grown-ups, let’s not paste this all over our profiles like it’s supposed to be “rad”.)

Me – “Hey, thanks so much for messaging me. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a square and not into drugs at all, so I’m not sure I’m really your type. I hope you find someone!”

Lolita – “Uh, actually that’s not just what I’m about.”
Me – “Yes, I’m sure. I’m just one of those girls! Sorry.”

Lolita – “Well maybe you should be a bit more accepting. Try digging a little deeper, man. Or just fuck off.”

So off I fucked. Changed my settings to “no drug users” and moved on:

GeordieGirl85, 29, Newcastle – “Heya, How are you? Good day?”
Me – “Hi, you seem really nice, but I’m looking for someone a bit more local.”

GeordieGirl85 – “What, really? You never heard of driving?”

Me – “Well yes, but I don’t drive, so unfortunately that gives me fewer options. Sorry.”

GeordieGirl85 – “Typical fucking Southerners. Lazy, all of you. Maybe if you weren’t so stuck up you wouldn’t need to be on here.”

Lovely. I was beginning to tire of being shouted at over the Internet and wondered whether this “let people down gently” approach was such a good idea. There’s no way of setting your profile to “locals only” and I didn’t want to put up “please don’t swear at me for being Southern” so I just made a mental note to not respond to those ones.

Next up, there’s the pocket of the internet reserved for clearly fake profiles created by 16-year-old boys, the “Bi-Curious” women with no headshots and, my personal favourite, the couple looking for their third player. After receiving a few messages from this treats-of-the-Internet, I lost my temper.

3Sum4U – “Hey gurl, my boyfriend and I love your profile. I’m looking for someone to join us for a night of fun, and wondered if you fancied sharing my man with me?”

(OK, so this is an exaggeration, but it’s basically a merged together example of the five or six messages I get from couples per week. I decided “enough already” and came up with this template to pingback at them. Please feel free to copy and paste this into your own lives.)

Me – “Dear Creepy Couple. Listen, I realize you mean no harm but I have to tell you how irritating it is to get messages from straight/bicurious women and their boyfriends looking for sex. It happens a lot, and let me tell you I have never met a single gay woman from this website who likes it or responds to it. The lesbian community find it very difficult to meet other women, as we are in a minority. Often, joining this DATING website is the last resort to expand our horizons, and I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to receive a message, get all excited, only to have it be a couple looking for casual sex. Lesbians do not like casual sex. In fact, there are websites specifically designed for what you’re after. Whole corners of the internet are designed for couples and swingers to connect with other people looking to explore. That’s fine by me – Find your Bliss. But I urge you, on behalf of all GAY women to please remove yourself from this DATING website and join one specifically designed for what you’re after, instead of harassing single lesbians looking for love.

I may be wrong, I’m not sure how much success you’ve had on here, but I’m sure you’ve insulted/upset/irritated quite a few of my peers in the process. It’s inappropriate and tacky. I hope you find what you’re looking for, but I strongly suggest that you don’t do so on here. It is not down to the lesbian community to spice up your flailing sex life. All the best. Maybe try Craigslist instead?”

Suddenly, this template became a treasured hobby. I’ve never understood internet trolls before, but the delicious reactions of these straight, sexually bored women became pretty hilarious. I got called everything from a “Fucking Dyke” to a “Desperate, ugly cow” and all that is spiteful in between. Which was nice.

In the end, I sort of gave up on dating. The app became floods of messages that generally consisted of me arguing with couples or receiving abuse from those I’d tried to let down gently. When Twinny visited, I showed her my approach to OKCupid etiquette and, once she’d picked herself off the floor laughing, she pointed out that obviously, women don’t want to hear why I don’t want to date them. This is why I’m single. This brings me nicely to my last point.

4. Have some fucking sense.

And then there was *Becky. Totally my type, 17 miles away, smart, funny. I remembered sending her my “Hi” message all day, checking hourly for a response. And when it arrived, I actually made a teenage-girl noise. Thank God I was alone.

*Name has been changed to stop me from being revealed as a desperate loner

Now after a somewhat catastrophic start to online dating, I was a bit wary. When I got some clever, hilarious messages back from her I had to do a quick expectation-management check, trying to find some flaws, but there weren’t any. Twinny immediately got a screenshot of her profile and an order to call me immediately to talk about our life together. (That’s the joy of having a twin. You get to be crazy out loud and no one can judge you. TwinCode.)

About seven messages in, I suggested the Facebook ad and had a request a few minutes later. Trying to play it cool (badly) I didn’t message straight away, instead of signing off “Chat” so I could pick through her photos from 2009 uninterrupted. Then I gave in…

Me – “Just got your Facebook request! I added you.”

Potential-love-of-my-life – “Yeah, I saw! There aren’t a lot of recent pics of you.”

Me – “Yeah, I put some weight on recently, so I’m de-tagging until the holiday pounds are gone.”

*radio silence*

I never heard from her again.


So having had a long month of rejection, arguments and couple-trolling, I decided to hang up my bow-and-arrow. “Delete Account”? Damn, right I am. Turns out I’m destined to a life of being set up with the only other lesbian my friends know (don’t you love that?) and imagining I’ll end up with Kristen Stewart when she comes out. So if you need me, I’ll be sat at a bar with my straight friends, learning about how to hate my body and resist trans-fats.

I’m going back to turning straight women.