Setting Up Your First Dating Profile

I think my friends are completely taking over the OKCupid scene in the DC area. It’s the first website I recommend for girls who are looking to start online dating because it’s super simple, free, and a little bit less of a hassle than other sites since the guys typically come to you.

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My best friend joined recently and asked for some advice on setting up a profile, and I realized I actually had a lot to say on the matter. Here are the first five things you should do when initially setting up a dating profile:

  1. When choosing a screen name, choose something that represents you, but doesn’t give away any personal information. Do not use your name, numbers that signify your birthday or area code, or the school you attend. An OKC profile is public, which means anyone in the world can see it. Some ideas for a username could include a sports team you root for, an activity you enjoy, or a pop culture reference. Something like TeamRavenclaw, RedskinsFan, or Swiftie13 could be a good start. The people you will potentially date don’t have to understand the reference, but it can be a good conversation starter for those who do have that interest in common with you!
  2. Answer only questions that are truly important you. OK Cupid has a nice little feature that shows what percentage you and a match are with one another, and this can be super-helpful if you’re trying to sort through your matches quickly. If you’re not looking for a hookup, smoking is a deal-breaker, and you only want to date someone who is neat and tidy, answer those questions so that the percentage will reflect what’s really important to you. Questions like, “Do you enjoy discussing politics?” or “Is astrological sign at all important in a match?” may end up messing up the algorithm if those questions don’t matter to you very much, whereas questions about religion and seriousness of a relationship have more importance.
  3. Use recent photos that reflect who you are. When I was on OKCupid I started off using some of the best photos of myself that I had — some of which were from modeling I did in college. I had a couple of “regular” photos as well, but quickly switched over to all normal photos of what I looked like in my everyday life. When I used the glammed-up photos I actually felt more insecure about my profile, as I felt like guys might think I was catfishing them when we met up and I didn’t meet the standard of my perfectly-lit, lightly airbrushed photos. I felt a lot better knowing people were looking at the girl who would show up to the date we had planned, rather than the more perfect version of myself.
  4. Change your location to wherever you’d like to meet up with your dates. For example, if I technically live in one city, but am closer to DC than most of the rest of my area, I might just say my location is DC to eliminate an explanation of why I’d like to go on a date there instead of in my own town. Plus this makes it just a tiny bit more difficult for someone to track you down on Facebook.
  5. Fill out the entire profile, but don’t write a novel. I think making your profile reflect your personality is important, but the messages you exchange with someone will definitely play more of a role in whether or not you want to meet up with someone. A profile is a good place to write about a few things that are really important to you and showcase your personality. Don’t be afraid to put one or two things that you want in a date on your profile, but be careful about crafting it in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re being demanding of your dates. For example, I always wrote that I wasn’t looking for a hookup in my profile, as I didn’t want guys who just wanted a very casual date sending me a message. That saves both parties time and energy that they can use on other people on the site.

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Bonus tip: Don’t take online dating way too seriously, and have fun with it! The more pressure you put on trying to find something meaningful, the harder it is to relax and let things fall into place naturally. I know online dating can get old quickly — and sometimes get frustrating — but instead of giving up on it, take a break, enjoy some time with your friends, and come back to your profile when you feel like you can take things slowly again. There are so many fish in the sea, which is great because you have a lot of options, but it also means you’ll probably go through a lot of people who aren’t right for you before getting to a good match. Breathe, pace yourself, and enjoy. You never know when you might meet someone who will put an end to your online dating days, so enjoy this season of your life while it’s still around.

Men Are Not Dogs

Well this is a strange headline, huh?

What I mean by “men are not dogs” is that men, unlike dogs, do not need to be trained. Yes, they should be raised to be respectful and kind, but when you are looking for a grown man to date you should absolutely not go into it with a mindset that you need to teach him how to treat you.

“I can train him to buy me flowers,” or open doors, or hold my hand, or [insert task you want your dream boyfriend to do]. It isn’t your job to mother a man, and one really surefire reality of life is that you can rarely change another person. Sure you can tell someone what you like and watch their actions closely after a conversation, but you should never go into a relationship expecting someone to change a laundry list of things for you.

I’m going to share a personal anecdote to show how I learned this lesson the hard way.

I used to date someone I really liked, but our relationship just didn’t feel  very romantic. I am someone who absolutely loves the little things in life. I adore little gestures that say “I love you” like leaving each other notes, cooking for one another, and yes — I love chivalry.

Boy #1

This first person that I dated wasn’t into showing me he loved me in any of the ways my heart wanted. I remember even telling him at one point that I thought it was nice when he opened the car door for me and I really appreciated when guys did that; this struck a pretty strong nerve for him. #1 told me he didn’t know why in the world I wanted him to do something like that and that it wasn’t worth fighting about.  I didn’t realize something like this was fight-worthy, I thought to myself. I wasn’t trying to argue, I just thought it would be nice for him to know that I appreciated the gesture so there might be a repeat. Later I realized “the door” wasn’t really even about the door at all. It was about the pile of things I felt I wasn’t getting out of this relationship. That was the most one-sided relationship I have ever been in, and although I gave up so many of my dreams for this gentleman (huge mistake; I will write about this another day!), bought him presents and little gift baskets to show that I cared, and even abided to his wishes of talking to him less,* I never felt fulfilled in our relationship, even when he did.

This wasn’t because he was doing anything wrong, though. He just didn’t show love in the ways I need to feel loved. Back then I thought I was being kind by giving him “tips” on simple ways to love me in ways I understood better, but now I realize we just weren’t the right fit.

I want someone who will remember our anniversaries and enjoy celebrating them together, someone who gives me his time, and someone who is as kind and caring to me as I am to him.

*In hindsight it is hilarious that I once “showed someone I loved them” by agreeing to cut off most of our communication.

Gentleman #2

This second person is the complete opposite of #1. He is someone I’ve often wondered how I had the pleasure of meeting, as he is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.

On our first date he was chivalrous, but this behavior continued seamlessly into our 30th date. He opened my car door any time we went out, always wanted to be the one to pick me up and take me out, and goes above and beyond to show me that he cares. He has written me letters, cooked complicated five course Italian dinners, and often called me during his lunch breaks just to say “hello.” This is someone I think is so incredibly special that I don’t know how I got lucky enough to meet him and see that many of the sweet little joys in life aren’t just “Krista things” that are unrealistic traits to want in a boyfriend. There are men out there who are a million times better than the ones you see in the movies. They’re real, raw, and far from perfect, but they love you so fiercely there isn’t any room for you to question where you stand in their life.

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Today’s lesson: Dogs are smart, loyal, and loving companions. You really can’t expect any human to measure up to this amazing animal, but wait for the person who does make you feel loved in the same way your dog loves you. This is a kind and selfless love with so much joy that your heart feels like it might explode.

“Bean” The Marine

Apparently I have a thing for military guys — noted.

When I first started dating again after my ex and I broke up I realized quickly how many people you don’t click with online. Whether it’s because you have different morals or nothing in common personality-wise, I learned that although talking to a bunch of guys was a lot of fun, it took some work to find people who might have a chance at working out for a second date.

I started off my dating ventures giving a lot of people very different than me a chance. I think you can learn a lot from people who aren’t like you, so I enjoyed meeting people from all different walks of life. After being on a handful of first dates that didn’t materialize into anything I realized I wanted to go out with someone who was more or less on the same page as me.

Then I met “Bean.” Obviously I changed the name and won’t mention where we met, but his name was something that rhymes with “Bean.” You’re smart– you can figure it out. 😉

Bean was smart, witty, loved dogs, and yes — he was hot.

We had a deeper connection than most of my other online conversations, and I was actually really excited about going on a date with him. I daydreamed about going on a date with Bean and felt like regardless of what happened after, it would be nice to have a really good first date with someone. And sparks! It can be difficult to tell whether or not you’ll have chemistry with someone you’re chatting with through a computer screen, but I had a good feeling about this one.

As we were talking about our favorite books — we happened to have a few in common — he asked me for my number. Finally! I thought. It’s about time he asked me out!

Another thing that drew me in to this mysterious marine was that he didn’t just jump right on asking me out. He made me wait a little, which is actually quite intriguing. Kind of like a first kiss, it’s nice letting the anticipation build up a little bit before going in for the kill.*

I sent him my number and waited for the text… And waited. And waited.

What the heck? It had been a few days since our last contact, and it was becoming pretty clear that Bean wasn’t going to be messaging me.

At first I was really disappointed. This guy had been one of the first people who really got me excited about a first date. Then I realized a few things. First, I didn’t really know this guy. The things I knew about him were:

  1. He was cute
  2. He had good taste in books
  3. He was a Marine
  4. He had good grammar

That was about it. Sure I had a little crush and that was okay, but it was more of a Theo James kind of crush — because let’s be real, I think I tricked myself into thinking this guy was “such a great match” because he was someone I thought was super-attractive.

I don’t know what happened to Bean. I’ve seen him on a few different dating apps, but haven’t tried to pursue that any further. We weren’t a match, he never texted me, and you know what? That’s just fine. There are a million other fish in the sea.

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*Guys, don’t take this as a tip to make a girl work too hard for you, though — that’s not a good idea either, as we’ll just move on if we think a guy is uninterested. There is a very precise art to playing “the waiting game,” and I don’t want you to miss a shot with someone you really like because you’re playing games with her. This is more of a “playing it cool” technique.

 

I Probably Need Glasses

Every time I go to my annual checkup I ask the doctor to check my vision. Why? Because it’s terrible! My night vision is particularly bad; I have literally bumped into walls in the middle of the night when trying to find the bathroom.

I never realized this might affect my dating life, but now I have a new story to tell my doctor when he asks why I think I have bad eyesight. I was on OKCupid mindlessly clicking through the site and decided to try the “Quick Match” feature. I had never used it on a PC before, so was checking out the differences between that and the app on my iPhone.

Anyway, I scrolled to the “Quick Match” section and noticed that they offered three different photos and you could click on one that you liked. Interesting, I thought to myself. I guess you choose your favorite guy and it will “like” him before going to the next group of pictures.

Right. Right. Middle. Left. Middle. Right.

I clicked through about ten groups of photos until I realized the system was glitching.

Why are there three pictures of the same guy? I wondered to myself. Am I supposed to help him enhance his profile or something by choosing one of his profile photos? My thoughts of helping him in his dating endeavors immediately trailed off as it all clicked.

“Oh no!” I exclaimed to myself. I had just liked ten profiles in a row — the photos weren’t of different guys, but rather they were offering me a small sample of one man’s profile photos to see whether or not I was interested in him. I saw a small “X” in the corner and realized you “like” a profile by clicking on any of the photos, or you can “pass” on it by clicking the small white “X.”

I laughed awkwardly, embarrassed at my mistake.

I’m not sure whether these gentleman had mixed in old and new photos, making the photos all look fairly different from one another or if I was just terribly unobservant. Either way, this might explain why I sometimes have trouble recognizing my dates when we meet up.

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Today’s lesson: My doctors have been lying to me for years now. There’s absolutely no way I have 20/20 vision.

You Asked For It…

It’s been awhile since I’ve told a funny date story, so now I’m going back to my first Match.com date! Everything started out fine; we met in front of the restaurant and walked in together to get seated.

Our conversation started with the typical first meeting interview — what we’re doing with our lives, what we enjoy doing for fun, etc. My favorite question to ask is always, “What is the weirdest date you’ve been on?” People have given me such crazy answers, as most of the guys I’ve gone out with have been on other online dates. My favorite story was something that contained going to Kim Kardashian’s home, saving dogs from flooding, and a prize-winning pig, all wrapped up in one (I looked into it later and the story was, in fact, true). It’s a long story and not really mine to tell, but trust me when I say you have to ask this question on your next first date.

Anyway, our conversations were pretty normal, but this particular gentleman and I didn’t seem to have a lot in common. I like dogs, he likes cats (This is an important question in my book; I am not sure if I could date someone who isn’t a dog person, as my dream is to have around six one day). He loves hiking, I can’t do that right now. He loves politics, I am more into entertainment news. The topics of conversation flowed pretty seamlessly, even with the lack of chemistry.

My incredibly awkward moment didn’t come until the token “most uncomfortable part” of any date — picking up the check.

Goodness knows I’ve been on enough first dates that I should be used to this part by now, but I absolutely hate it. Please just let me pay my own way, I always think to myself. I don’t even know you; you don’t owe me anything. 

Right before our waiter brought over the check, this gentleman and I were talking about my dream to work in the entertainment industry. I told him that I watched embarrassing shows like The Bachelor and then trailed off before bringing up my guiltiest pleasure of all — Keeping Up with The Kardashians (Please don’t tell anyone, though. This is our little secret).

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Yes, I went out of the way to go to the Dash store in Soho. Just call me “Krista Kardashian.”

 

Anyway, he seemed to read my mind, as he slyly asked, “Do you like KUWTK?”

I blushed and nodded, “But I only really watch it when I’m at the gym.” This is a half-truth.

“Do you?” I fired back, trying to take the attention off of myself.

Enter: the waiter.

I had been fumbling with my wallet trying to grab the cash I always keep on hand for dates. After awkwardly offering — and getting turned down — to pay, we went back to chatting.

“Thanks for dinner,” I said.

“What would you have done if I had said yes?” He asked me.

I looked at him, confused. Umm, I would have totally paid for my food. I thought. I don’t expect you to automatically take care of the check; I understand that it’s our first time meeting and am happy to split it. 

It wouldn’t have been a big deal at all!” I replied.

“No, but what would you have described me as in one word?” He pushed.

This is odd, I thought. Why couldn’t you have just let me pay for myself and skip over all this awkwardness? I wondered to myself, frustrated. I wish there was a way to skip this entire part and just enjoy meeting someone new. 

“Umm, I’m not sure.” I replied, clearly uncomfortable with the question.

“Come on,” he urged, failing to sense how awkward I was feeling.

“Uh, I guess I would say you were frugal maybe?” My mind was racing. Was that rude? I wouldn’t have thought he was frugal, I would’ve just figured he wasn’t into me or maybe wanted to be friends first. I certainly didn’t want him to think I was being unappreciative for the nice dinner!

He furrowed his brow, confused. “Huh? Frugal? You know what that means, right?”

OH NO, I suddenly realized. HE WASN’T TALKING ABOUT THE CHECK. I had completely forgotten about the conversation we had right before the waiter interrupted. Darn Kardashians. You embarrassed me yet again!

“Oh,” I laughed, “I don’t think frugal is the word I was looking for.” My face was flushed. I felt like such an idiot, as I definitely know the definition of “frugal.”

“Aren’t you getting your Masters in English?” he asked with a look of concern on his face.

Crap. How do I get out of this one? What kind of English student doesn’t know what “frugal” means? Scratch that. What kind of 25-year-old doesn’t know the definition of “frugal?” Ugh, this was another typical Krista move.

I laughed it off and changed the subject as quickly as I could, ditching the Kardashian conversation as quickly as possible.

Today’s lesson: Guys, please know that paying for a meal is super awkward on the girls’ end. Whether or not you let us pay for our share, we will feel uncomfortable. If you go out with me in particular, I cannot seem to hide my flusterdness very well, so forgive whatever dopey thing I say and move on with the conversation, please and thank you.

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Catching Fire

He was my hardest goodbye.

Our time together was short, but it felt like we had known each other for a lifetime.

I’m not sure if we’re having an extended honeymoon stage or if he’s just as amazing as I think he is, but I think it’s the latter. His light has me captivated and we are burning blindingly bright.

When you’ve been badly burned before you try to stay away from flames. They scare you and you know from experience that even though they burn so beautifully bright, that if you get close enough to touch them they can hurt you. A burn is one of the most painful things your heart can experience — even after it heals parts of it remain numb. You have scars from the fire when it’s all fizzled out and you are suddenly surrounded by darkness. At first the pitch black sensation is claustrophobic and suffocating. After awhile, though, you get used to it. You realize you aren’t as alone as you feel and that everything is going to be alright.

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When you finally see a spark fly again it startles you. At first it starts off small and you are intrigued. You get close to the beautiful shimmer and all of a sudden you see it turn to flames. It’s captivating, breathtaking. Before you know it there is another fire burning. You finally realize what you have done. You have trusted this new fire to keep itself in line and not burn you. It’s a huge risk you’re taking, but if it keeps you warm and takes care of you it will be worth it.

You begin cautiously, putting your hands up to the fire to warm them, and quickly soften enough to dance around the flames. You let your guard down. You will either get badly burned or have the most beautiful story of your life. You pray it’s the latter, but in the meantime you throw caution to the wind. Because right now your heart has a warm and comfortable glow. This is falling in love.

 

 

 

 

My Six Word Love Story

I fell in love on accident.

This is my six word love story.

As you all know, I have been dating around for about 7 months now. There is one particular gentleman, though, I can’t seem to shake. He was one of the first guys I went out with, and has just kind of stuck. We really hit it off from day one and I’ve grown more fond of him every day.

This is so ironic because as soon as I was done with my long-term relationship I decided I wanted to take a lot of time to date around and fully enjoy single life. I didn’t in a million years think I’d meet someone so incredibly special so soon.

He’s an army man, possibly the funniest person I’ve ever met, thoughtful, a gentleman, and genuinely selfless. He supports me (Including this blog and my need to be single until I’ve figured out more about what I want in a future relationship), and is loyal and kind. We get each other and are on the same wavelength. My best friend and I have always been able to read each other’s minds, but I’ve never had this kind of relationship with a guy before.

The timing of this is so weird. I have fallen for someone at a time when I wanted to take awhile to be single and casually date around, and he had just decided to stop dating until he got back from his deployment. It’s off for both of us, but we are such a great fit that we aren’t going to let everything fizzle out. We’re going to keep in touch and see where things go when he gets back — and I absolutely cannot wait.

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Buddy the Elf gets it.

In the meantime, I am going to be taking time getting to know myself better and what I want. I’m not giving up my life to a guy like I did with my ex, and I have overwhelming peace that everything is going to fall in place. Although it is early and I want to be careful with my heart, I think this guy and I could have a bright future. Love is scary and vulnerable, but I think it has to be in order to eventually find someone who will be a good fit for you and stick.

Today’s lesson: Love really does come to you when you’re least expecting it. As inconvenient as it seems sometimes I do believe things happen for a reason. I will be writing about this in the near future, but have realized if my ex and I hadn’t broken up at the time we did, I wouldn’t have found this incredible guy I am so crazy about. Timing can really be key, and why waste it with someone who doesn’t make you feel happy and secure in your relationship?

Krista The Creeper

My detective skills have been on point since I started dating.

Like, I can usually find a lot of information on a guy with only knowing a few key things about him. For the most part this has been great because I’ve felt safe meeting up with everyone so far.

There is one particular fellow who I kind of wish I had been bad at finding.

I woke up at 5:15 the morning I was supposed to go to the beach with some friends. I was still kind of groggy, so decided to go on my phone until I was a little more alert to finish packing.

A guy I had been talking to for awhile online had finally given me his number, so naturally I clicked on it to add him to my contacts. Apple, you really dropped the ball in programming the iPhone… Instead of having an option to add his number to my contacts, my phone immediately started to call him!

I dropped the phone on my face in a panic (You know how that happens sometimes, right?), and it bounced onto the ground. I leaped to the floor to try to hang up, but before I was able to I heard a muffled, “Hello?”

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I waited a day to text him, but I’m sure he must have been able to put two and two together, as I have a pretty unique looking phone number. Oops.

That seems like something I can recover from still though, right?

Unfortunately we decided that we would meet up, so I began investigating. I happened upon his Facebook — I think you know where this is going — and accidentally friend requested him.

You can “undo” that, which I did quickly, but I got a text later joking me about friending him. Like, how creepy do I seem?! And guys say girls can’t be labeled as creepers… They just haven’t met me I guess.

We are still going out this weekend so I’ll write an update later if any of this comes up, but I am sure this dude must think I’m already obsessed with him or something. Yikes.

Today’s lesson: Guys must not care as much whether a girl is a creeper or not. What do y’all think; can a girl be a creep?

We All Scream For Ice Cream

I went on an ice cream date last week, and maybe it’s just me, but it’s a lot messier than one would expect.

I’ve learned that being a Krista is hard work. If I wear white and eat Italian food, I will get red sauce on something. Chocolate milk? Thanks for the mustache.

These minor embarrassments have prepared me really well for first dates.

Unfortunately, this guy must not be as clumsy as I am, because he didn’t know about the trick to choose a delicate, light colored ice cream (White Chocolate Truffle is my favorite); instead, he ordered the Blackberry Swirl.

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Needless to say, I was pretty darn impressed. Gutsy move on his part. “He must be quite the dexterous dude,” I thought to myself. I was wrong.

Halfway through our date the sun was beating down on us, so we moved under the shade. Our ice cream had already begun to melt viciously, but as I said before I am kind of a pro and had ordered mine in a cup. This poor gentleman had picked the cone.

Neither of us saw what was coming next.

He bit the bottom of the cone.

Let that sink in. He bit the bottom of the cone. On a hot day. Our ice cream was already melting like nobody’s business.

Needless to say, the ice cream exploded all over the front of his pants. I tried so hard to keep a good poker face, but literally could not contain myself. I burst out laughing, and he quickly followed.

Honestly, there was no fixing the shorts while we were there. He blotted some of the cream off, but it seemed like the blackberry stains only spread more as we tried to get them out.

This date had a happy ending, as we decided to be friends afterwards, and he even texted me later that Mr. Clean had done the trick in fixing his soiled shorts. He still has a great relationship with ice cream, and would order the blackberry again in an instant.

Today’s lesson: I normally encourage people to be themselves on a date, but when it comes to what food you choose to order, do not be yourself! Dear God, do not be yourself. Choose something foolproof like white ice cream for dessert or a plain loaf of bread for dinner. The less room for error, the better.

What is the worst faux pas you have had with food on a date? Can anyone else relate to my struggle of still being a messy eater in your twenties?

Trying Out Tinder

I just downloaded Tinder and am ready to get swiping.

Tinder reminds me of a Facebook page in which you can only be friends with the opposite sex… And literally everyone on there is flirting with you, but that’s totally “normal.” I almost feel like I am on The Bachelorette because of how many guys I am talking to on here at once.

Well, it’s only day one and I’ve already had my first major faux pas. Go figure!

My first flub was when I saw the “moments” tab at the top of the page and began swiping through them to see what was going on. I didn’t realize that by swiping them away (To the right, of course) I had accidentally “liked” all of those pictures. I swiped especially fast when I saw a gross crotch shot of a guy in his underwear (We’ll leave what this looked like up to your imagination)… To this day I’m not sure which guy had posted it, and if he is still lurking somewhere in my matches.

Anyway, I proceeded to get several messages from guys talking about the moments that I had liked. To make matters worse, I asked all of them if they were referring to the underwear shot, and they all acted super-confused. I just did not appreciate that picture and wasn’t interested in chatting about it further with the creep!

Needless to say, every single guy seemed slightly offended that I thought they would post a photo of themselves in their underwear; however most of them still chatted with me afterwards.

Today’s lesson: The men on Tinder are very forgiving, and you should get into a habit of swiping pictures to the left. It’s safer that way.