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The Bitter Lemon: Getting out there, online

I recently became obsessed with watching Love at First Swipe on TLC. The show stars Style Expert Clinton Kelly, along with Online Dating Guru Devyn Simone.

The point of the show is to help women (I haven’t seen any male contestants yet) present their best self on their online dating profiles. At the start of the episode, the viewer is presented with the woman’s current online dating profile.

Naturally, it’s a disaster. It usually has racy or very old photos, some sort of weird screen name and other general information that makes the woman appear un-dateable.

One recent episode featured a woman getting her Master’s in math. She only wanted men who were also math geniuses to message her online, and she made that very clear on her profile.

The next part of the show involves the contestant meeting Clinton and Devyn, and the expert pair works to get to the root of the problem: why is this woman presenting herself in a way that attracts the wrong types (if any at all) of men?

Then, Clinton works with her to get a new, flattering look, as well as new photos for her profile, while Devyn works with her to figure out what type of man she is looking for, and what she can put on her profile to represent her best qualities and attract the right man.

In the end, the contestant’s new profile is presented to 100 men, and of the (usually 70 percent or higher) men that say they’d like to date her, she gets to pick one to go out with.

I know I like this show because I’ve tried my hand at online dating, and it’s not an easy thing to do. I’ve always looked at it as a passive way of putting yourself out there, but we’re all so “connected” these days, I’m starting to realize it’s not passive at all.

As of now, I’ve tried Match, Ok Cupid, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel and Glimpse. While I’ve gotten hundreds of messages between all of these apps, I’ve only gone on actual dates with three men from them.

Just like the women on Love at First Swipe, I too, have wondered why certain men message me and others don’t, or why the men I meet online don’t end up as successful relationships.

While my profile is nowhere near as extreme as the ones I’ve seen on the show, I’ve started to realize that some of the information I’m putting online probably isn’t representing my best self. One of my main profile pictures is of me, drinking a mug of coffee. The mug also has my blog address, The Bitter Lemon, which is usually my username as well.

I think this kicks me in the ass in two ways: 1. It automatically says I’m bitter or bitchy, and 2. It leads men to a blog that has a lot of personal information about me right off the bat; and a majority of that information is about my dating failures.

Not attractive.

I’m not saying it is information I’m going to keep secret, but I probably shouldn’t lead with that. I’m also working on letting go of my past heartbreaks. Sure, it still affects me in some ways, but it doesn’t define me, and it’s not something a date needs to know.

Right now, I’m not participating in online dating, but after seeing this show and considering some ways I could improve my presence to potential suitors, I’m considering it.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be seeing you online soon.

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