How To Not Be Terribly, Blatantly Shallow On OkCupid

Everyone on OkCupid is at least a little shallow. But don’t be so obvious about it.

There are a lot of ways to go wrong in an initial message to a potential paramour on an internet dating site. Be insulting. Be rape-y. Be racist. But one of the most common – and least obvious – ways to torpedo a potential love match? Comment on their physical appearance.

It’s not that intuitive. After all, everyone wants to hear that they’re attractive, right? Well, yes – but not from random dudes on the street, and not from random dudes on

Think it through: If you’re messaging someone, they know you’ve seen they’re pictures and you clearly approve of how they look. Commenting on their appearance comes across as creepy (“nice tits”) or uncreative (“you have beautiful eyes”). Even if there’s something particularly notable about their appearance — one arm, blue Mohawk — they’ve probably heard comments about it before. So keep your mouth shut (or your typing fingers inactive) when it comes to comments about someone’s face/head/body. And that is one place (among others) where this guy failed:

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it…..Only God’s creations can compare to the beauty that I see in you!…..What you feel is what you are and what you are is beautiful! I admire both u and ur beauty. i admire both u and ur beauty! U RE INDEED BEAUTIFUL. REALLY WISH TO KNOW U BETTER DEAR! N HAVE U CLOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!HOW MAY I REACH U~!

It is very nice to hear you’re beautiful. But maybe not from a guy who moonlights as a Nigerian email scam artist. And while his ALLCAPS efforts are laudable, they're not as effective as this next gentleman, who wants to tell you you’re hot in verse:

I am writing you this poem because i don’t know you and since i have no idea what to say to you all that comes to mind is this poem. i hope that just like i took a moment to write you, that you take a minute to reply

Is always a blessing to come across you,
i don’t know why i am so curious about you,
but i sure want to find out.
perhaps are your mysterious eyes that want to love.
the type of eyes that remind me the promise of love.
i don’t know why i gotta meet you this way,
but i sure hope to grow where ever your love hides.
forgive me for not finding more ways to get your attention,
all i had in mind are this words to bring you joy,
with the hope to grow in your heart.

We've discussed poetry before, and it’s a clear THING TO NOT DO. But this poem – “poem” — is extra bad because of the emphasis on both her “mysterious eyes” and her “type of eyes that remind of the promise of love.” There is nothing else in this entire poem — “poem” — that is actually about her. And it also pretty much ensures that this poem — “poem” — was mass-messaged to several OkCupid targets.

Then there's this guy:

I… don’t even know what that means. Are there women out there who aren’t “all woman”? Is he calling her fat?

At least with the next suitor you know exactly what he’s getting at:

Her:I’m not even going to pretend to know what ‘thickyyy’ is or involves.
Him:i kno realty hurtz, n case ew pretnd r wat, realty nva chng… :) u r thickyy chubby humpty dumpty sexy beuty… bt no doubt boobs wd legs… :p
Her:I only speak English… I’m actually smaller than average.
Him:oh is it soh??? think m lso usin eng nly.. lil shorthnds…… :p
umm smallr en avg?? nah, ua above avg… ur googli woogly chicks….. damn cute <3

His spelling leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m pretty sure he just called her “boobs with legs,” right? Right. And also used the term “eeewww” to describe her body, after he called it “thickyyy.” But also then had a major boner. MIXED MESSAGES. Just one more reason to avoid talking about appearances on OkCupid.


The A(n)nals of Online Dating is a weekly column about How We Date Now, from the proprietor of the website of the same name, showing off the best of the worst internet dating has to offer.

Illustration by Leslie Wood

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