Letters From a Young Dater

Every now and then I get asked a question like I’m some kind of dating expert. I don’t think I am, but some of the questions only require a little bit of experience to answer.

Here’s one I received recently:

What’s with guys who don’t bother with spelling, grammar, and punctuation on their profiles? To me that’s like showing up on a date with his shirt untucked and hair unbrushed. Am I wrong?

Here’s my response:

Dear Young Dater,

Spellcheck is a wonderful thing that everyone ought to use on their profile. That being said, since our profiles tend to have loads of squiggly red lines on them under words like “yeshiva” and “hashkafa,” it’s easy to overlook one or two. I’d go easy on those guys.

But if it’s more than just a word here and there, if they persistently refer to themselves as “i,” then I feel your pain.

For example, right now I’m corresponding with a fellow who thinks that punctuation and capitalization are optional online. When I read his emails, the image that pops into my head is of someone with slanty eyes trying to talk around an oversized tongue that doesn’t seem to fit in his mouth. I keep telling myself that he’s probably fairly intelligent, but I struggle to see this beyond his slurred online accent.

The fact is, many guys are under the misguided conception that the internet is still some wild and woolly frontier where the old rules don’t apply. Between you and me, that’s kind of like assuming the gun is still the law in Texas. It’s quaint idea that will get you in trouble.

bec maybe writing like this is fine for teenagers who arent known 4 gr8 self represntation @ the best of times but not 4 grown ups who want 2b taken seriously

So, should you dispense with a guy for clearly being clueless? Or should you try to move on to verbal communication as soon as possible, so you aren’t tempted to type small words in big letters when you write to him? (I AM BAD4, BAD4 I AM. DO YOU LIKE WALKS ON THE SAND?)

Personally, I try to give everyone a fair chance. Moreover, I have not found excellent online communication skills to correlate with excellent life skills. (Although a professional guy will rarely type pidgin at you.) So I’m going to recommend you take the latter tack. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and if everything else sounds okay, say “yes.”




5 thoughts on “Letters From a Young Dater

  1. 4 gr8 self represntation @ the best of times but not 4 grown ups who want 2b taken seriously

    I’m a guy, and once a girl wrote me emails in modern text-ethque, and it would have been an improvement if it would have been like my quote of Bad4 I cut and pasted above.

    I couldn’t stand those emails.

  2. I only write in txtspk while corresponding with people I know, unless it’s on a google chat or something where it’s more fast-paced. But in an email to someone I don’t know and on whom I’d really like to make a good impression, to use a more girly comparison, it would be like showing up to a date in a jean skirt and oily hair in a messy ponytail. RUDE.

  3. aap – Yes, I did. I decided I didn’t want to write the sentence in txtspk because most of the emails I’m referring to aren’t actually in txtspk.

    Tis true: there are girls who do it too. But among my female correspondents it doesn’t seem nearly as common. And they’re not even trying to impress me!

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