Online Etiquette and the Written Word


The written word, proper grammar and language usage are the tools of a writer.

We bloggers and writers constantly work on perfecting our language skills to achieve maximum effect in our writing-whatever the genre. A field where these skills are essential as well may not have occurred to you if you haven’t dabbled in online dating.

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My novel Next Time Lucky is about dating, in particular on the Internet. Everybody who has tried their hand there will have noticed that a well crafted profile is the starting block for your launch to find a partner. There is a plethora of self-help manuals when it to comes to dating. “Dating for Dummies” is a title that appeals to me for its comic effect. I wonder how well it sells.

My working blog as I call it gives up to date advice and deals with trends in the dating business, although I’m no longer a professional. (I used to be matchmaker in Ireland). One piece of advice I read recently is that ladies, you have the right to remain silent when approached by some unsavory specimen of the dating race. I chose to do so many a time over answering to some Tom, Dick and Harry who had just spotted my pic or profile, started drooling over what he saw and hadn’t even bothered to read my most basic requirements which were clearly open to see for everybody. Why approach a smoker when she clearly wants a smoke-free zone? What business does an alcoholic anonymous have in chatting up an out on the town-every night party-girl other than for a laugh maybe? You would think he can’t read.

To convey these simple common-sense ideas to someone who is already smitten by your profile – or probably rather your picture- is not always as easy as you might think. I’d like to give you an example where I chose honesty and precision in my chosen words that proved to be too graphic for the recipient in this context.

Cherie: “The men I was chasing were elusive.  On the other hand, I was approached by some, but I had no interest in them.  One short-ass by the name of Ken annoyed me over the course of several evenings, contacting me again and again after I told him I was not interested.  After all, I was free to pick and choose.  I don’t remember the exact words I wrote, but it was something to the effect of I liked a man to be taller and somewhat more handsome.  Oh boy, did I poke a hornet’s nest!”

(That’s where style comes into the equation, you writers may advise.)

Ken’s answer:”I suppose with your looks, requests to you border on the annoying.  It is bad enough for one’s ego to have to send 10 messages off to get one reply, but when the reply is such as yours, you might as well have kicked me when I was down.  I’m sure with a mind and a tongue as caustic as yours you will get the man you deserve, but it won’t be me.  Ken.”

What a jerk! I had no intention of hurting his feelings.  But he had not got the message the first time round.  How explicit does one have to be? There you are, Cherie, you and your caustic tongue.  I know diplomacy is not my forte, but neither is arse-licking.”  …..

“Now Ken-the-Persistent had confirmed I was not cut out for diplomacy.  So be it.  But next time, I would just say “stop” emphatically as many times as needed and squelch any explanations that might provoke my more resistant wannabees.  So, Cherie, in some situations on the net, like in “real life”, it’s better not to know why you were dumped despite feeling other times that “If I only knew why…” it would somehow ease the blow.”

What advice would a dating guru give under the circumstances? What advice would come from a writer? You tell me!

1 Comment
  1. Avatar of Andrew J. Sacks
    Andrew J. Sacks says

    Thank you for the intriguing and informative post. Sounds like a must-read!

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