JDate, block these creeps already.
April 13, 2012 12:34 AM   Subscribe

JDate Filter: Am I being rude/off-putting by including a semi-terse "I'm not for you if you're older than X" message at the top of my profile?

I joined JDate a month ago and I've gotten a lot of pestering messages from men that are old enough to be my father, and from some who are just very much out of my age range. With most of the super creeps I've just blocked them and moved on, but some of the younger ones are persistent and have circumvented JDate's weak blocking protocols by keeping tabs on my profile and visiting it over, and over, and over (which is actually rather distressing).

I now have a gentle, but kind of terse disclaimer at the top of my bio that explains I don't want to date anybody that's outside of my explicitly stated age range, and that I am absolutely not the right match for men who are 35+. I am still getting messages from older men who say really condescending things like, "You just need an older guy to show you around the world, honey" and crap like that.

In the long run, am I going too far by being up front about my age preferences right away? I am not flattered by the influx of interest from men 10 to 30 (!) years my senior. Is there a way to set this boundary but still present myself positively or should I just ditch my profile and move on from the whole site in general?

(Please don't suggest OkCupid as an alternative. That's where I was when I met my last boyfriend and I am super, super over it as a result.)
posted by These Birds of a Feather to Human Relations (26 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think it's rude.

Rude would making a practice of waiting for two guys to totally ignore your helpful note and message you anyway, then messaging them back asking for their phone nubmers, and when they give them to you, sending messages back with "Great, my number is nnn-nnn-nnnn, CALL ME ANYTIME!" but you're really just giving them each other's numbers.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:04 AM on April 13, 2012 [35 favorites]

OK. Some Mefites have privately memailed me because I mentioned once in an AskMe thread that I used to play a game with friends where I could accurately guess their online date's issues before a IRL meeting... JDate definitely came up a lot.

The problem with Jdate is you are dealing with a particularly annoying subset of single males (sorry, all of the complaints I heard were from females concerning this site) that aren't super female-positive, and I think that is your issue here.

You should carry on if you are dedicated to Jdate and just FULLY ignore fully folks that bother you.

You can also quit Jdate, which seems to be a magnet for men who don't respect women. I don't say this except for all of those memails I received. It was a noticeable pattern.

Disclaimer: I grew up in a predominately Jewish neighborhood and my first husband was Jewish. According to my anecdata regarding other Jdate users' experiences, that site is just broken. There are uncool people in every sub-genre of society, and apparently sexist males who happen to be Jewish favor Jdate. That is my direct experience.
posted by jbenben at 1:15 AM on April 13, 2012 [7 favorites]

First, the brutal etiquette of online dating is: if a woman is not interested in a guy, she ignores him. If a guy messages you and you send a polite reply saying you're not interested, this will be interpreted as "please pursue me, I like you but I'm playing hard to get".

Second, a significant minority of guys on online dating sites adopt a shotgun approach where they fire out lots and lots of generic messages to as many women as possible. Wading through these is pretty much inevitable for a woman on a dating site that allows unlimited messaging. If you really can't stand that, you could try sites like eHarmony which don't allow unlimited messaging, you can only message people who are high matches in their personality test. But I don't know of any site that does that and still lets you filter to Jewish men.

Third, this may not be fair, but I regard negative statements ("I don't want X, I hate Y") on a profile as a red flag, especially when they're prominent. I believe books on online usually advise against them as well. You're trying to convey a positive image of yourself, but they make you come across as negative.

Also they tend to suggest you're a long-termer, someone's who's been hanging around for a long time dealing out rejection after rejection after rejection. Guys who aren't using the shotgun approach are likely to be put off by that, they don't want to waste their time on someone who may have unrealistically high expectations.

So I would say: take the negative message off your profile, instantly and silently block anyone who messages you and is outside your age range.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:24 AM on April 13, 2012 [28 favorites]

TheophileEscargot makes some great points, but here is how I learned to decipher online dating issues...

If you are female and below the age of 40, you will get "spammed" by all types of men. Full stop.

The persistence and nastiness, IME, is often indicative of Jdate.

I wish this was a unique complaint, but there ya go.
posted by jbenben at 1:32 AM on April 13, 2012

A friend had this problem years ago on Myspace, creepy old dudes writing stomach-churning posts devoid of affection or self-dignity.

Solution? Start a blog called something like OldManLOL, linked to from her myspace profile, posting the contents of the message and a link to their profile. I don't think it reduced the volume of DirtyOldManSpam however hilarity ensued.

The problem with your message is that men will take it as a challenge -- as you are finding out. I have been shocked by the messages some of my lady friends have received on internet dating sites. It's as if the id has been released into the wild, with nary a sense of decorum or respectability.

What I recall from internet dating sites is that each has a 'pool' of candidates. Not sure about JDate, but Match seemed very generic, The Nerve was a bit too… edgy. E-Harmony seems to produce great results, however it does as it says on the tin and makes marriages. If the signal-to-noise ratio is too low on JDate, you probably want to move on. I've heard good things about Chemistry.com.
posted by nickrussell at 2:11 AM on April 13, 2012

Seconding TheophileEscargot that negativity in a profile, especially up top, is not a great vibe to be putting out. As a guide, imagine your profile is only being read by people you'd want to be reading it, and I think you'll get better results.
posted by alphanerd at 2:34 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think eHarmony pretty much does let you select only Jewish mates. You would do this by selecting Jewish on your profile and then rating that as very important to you. Personally I think eHarmony is really worth a try. I got lots of great quality matches when I was on there and didn't have to worry at all about the problem you describe.

From what jbenben says it sounds like JDate isn't a great place to be, so maybe eHarmony would be a decent alternative for you. It certainly has its problems but they're more endemic to the company ethos and don't impact as much on the user experience.
posted by hazyjane at 2:49 AM on April 13, 2012

I met my wife on JDate. My sister met her husband on JDate. I know plenty of people who married or found long-term relationships via JDate. In London, we call its subs the Jewish Singles' Tax...

You do need to be somewhat tough though. If you don't want to meet men outside the age range shown in your profile data then repeating this in as many words within your profile is unnecessary although also entirely reasonable. If someone pesters you, just block them, ignore them and move on.
posted by Dan Brilliant at 3:10 AM on April 13, 2012

Second, a significant minority of guys on online dating sites adopt a shotgun approach where they fire out lots and lots of generic messages to as many women as possible.

This. My solution, when I was dating, was to always include a keyword--say, bumblebee-- that respondents should use as the subject line in their initial message to me. I ignored any messages that didn't contain my keyword, knowing that the men hadn't really read my profile. You should plop the keyword request in the middle of the profile, because if you put it at the very top or bottom some skimmers could still see it.

This one action made online dating so, so much more pleasant.
posted by parrot_person at 3:16 AM on April 13, 2012 [19 favorites]

I'd be put off by that, and I am not old or looking to date a younger girl.

First, there's no way it will be effective, and it could have a paradoxical effect. Second, it just makes you seem ill-tempered or lacking in perspective (for lack of a better word), and it is therefore unappealing. Seriously, girls' profiles that angrily tell creepers and cheaters and whoever else not to bother are just a turn off.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:14 AM on April 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

What J.Wilson said. Putting things like that in a profile says one thing: "It is so very tiring having to swing this stick around and fend off the hordes who are screaming for me."
posted by Etrigan at 4:56 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Rude" isn't the problen. "Negative" is. It's off-putting. The highest-quality guys (in your age range) will feel free to move on from profiles that give off a negative, jaded vibe. After all, they have plenty of options. Think about it.
posted by John Cohen at 5:13 AM on April 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, it just plain doesn't work. I used to have one of those in my profile, and all it gained me was the older guys angrily messaging me why they were really a catch!

Nthing the blocking.
posted by corb at 5:31 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, it just plain doesn't work. I used to have one of those in my profile, and all it gained me was the older guys angrily messaging me why they were really a catch!

Exactly. What, do you think these guys who clearly already lack boundaries are going to read that line and suddenly say "oh, my mistake, sorry to bother you miss!" No. Creepers will be creepers. And yes, some guys in your age range will be put off by it because it seems negative.

What you COULD do, if you absolutely must do something besides ignoring these guys, is say "I am looking for a guy between the ages of x and y", like you can do on OKCupid. That way, you are stating your preferences without being negative.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:57 AM on April 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

Unfortunately, this is an important life lesson we all have to learn at some point: there are many annoying things in life that you really can't do anything about, except to ignore them. The sooner you learn to not aggravate about things you can't control, the happier your life will be.

And I agree with those above who say that putting in strong wording about your age range is only going to put off people whom you might have been interested in, and will be seen as a challenge by those you don't want.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:52 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Right, as stated, it isn't helpful and could possibly be hurtful to your chances. Your getting all those messages has nothing to do with JDate and everything to do with you being a woman online - I had the same experience on different sites. It's just the nature of the beast, and if it really bothers you that you can't control who messages you or view your profile you should probably jump off the online boat, or go to a site where the site does the picking for you/doesn't allow messaging outside of protocol.
posted by sm1tten at 7:27 AM on April 13, 2012

some people will say no, some yes. but you do need it to get what you want. your only concern is will it piss off guys in your dating range? I doubt it.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:39 AM on April 13, 2012

If you put it in a positive or neutral tone, I don't see a problem with it. But adding any tone or commentary is seen as a turn-off by lots of people. In fact, the more narrowing you do of potential matches, the more it seems needy or high-maintenancy.

"I'm looking for someone 21-32 with no kids" is fine.

"Anyone older than 33 need not apply" or "I'm so sick of old creepers!" is not. It might sound funny or edgy, but it sounds shallow even if it isn't meant to be.

"If you are older than 33, I'm not for you" is in the middle, but it still has that tone of "I am in great demand, you are not in my league."
posted by gjc at 7:52 AM on April 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

your only concern is will it piss off guys in your dating range?

No one is saying it will make them mad. We're saying negativity is off-putting. And yeah, as a single man who uses dating sites, when I see a profile that has a long list of "You can't be this, you can't be that," I find it off-putting. I will certainly move on if those things disqualify me, but I'll probably move on even if I meet her criteria, because I'm not just reading the literal words -- I'm trying to get a sense of what she's like as a person (since I've never met her). A profile full of negativity creates an overall impression of someone who's jaded and judgmental.

Bottom line: if your main problem with online dating is that you're getting too much interest from too many different kinds of people and some of them aren't compatible with you, that's a pretty good "problem" to have. Many people would love to have your problem. There is no way to word your profile to make sure you only get messaged by men who are compatible with you. Just be glad you have so many options, and if you get a message from a clearly incompatible man, delete it. It doesn't take long to check the age and see that it's outside your range.

Also, you might want to switch to OKCupid, which lets you filter your inbox based on various criteria, including age.
posted by John Cohen at 7:55 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

It doesn't really work. What's worse is that I have found is that some guys get off on pushing people's buttons. It's a weird dynamic I don't really understand, but it happened a lot.

So this can only encourage guys like that. And saying something negative can look bad to someone you like.

No upside.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 8:00 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh lord, I don't want to come off as some Scarlett O'Hara type waving off potential suitors. Changed profile, removed the disclaimer, and am now hoping for the best. Thanks for your honesty, guys.

I would say that 4 out of every 5 messages I get from JDate men are from men who are substantially older than I am, hence my confusion and despair. After my experiences on OkCupid, where most guys seemed to respect the age range feature, it's been a little unsettling to only get messages from men who make me feel like they have a Lolita fetish. I'm going to drop the account once my subscription runs out. Yuck!
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:39 AM on April 13, 2012

It looks like the questions been answered, but something within your writing stuck out to me: the phrase "I'm not for you if..."

This is not what you actually mean, and putting words into otherwise creeper/'take as challenge' people is just inviting them to disagree with you.

What you mean is "YOU'RE not for ME if..."

Just something to keep in mind if you end up back on another site. (as a datapoint, i met my long term awesome girlfriend on Craigslist, so you never know)
posted by softlord at 9:50 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

The answer is either to ignore it or to write a canned message and say "Sorry, you must have missed in my profile that I was looking for partners aged $num to $num" and just fire it back as if it were any other spam. Don't take it any more seriously than the equally-irrelevant Viagra spam you get on your email.

This is one of the worst things about online dating, the men who are all OH I KNOW YOU SAID YOU WANTED GUYS 20 TO 30 BUT I AM A REALLY YOUNG 55 YOU SHOULD TRY ME. What the fuck are they thinking?

And there is nothing that you can put in your profile that will stop these guys from contacting you. Seriously, I know someone who wrote a whole rant like that was all "Hey, guys who are my father's age, do not send me messages! I am not playing here, you're squicking me out" and it did nothing to stem the tide.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:47 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think what you're experiencing is the backside of the online dating hazard of men aged 40+ who put their preference down for women who are 18-29. My 30-something friends and I used to call them Fresh Ovary Shoppers (which is actually giving them a serious benefit of the doubt since it was probably more about their need for power and control. If you have the misfortune of knowing these men in real life you know that a 35-year old woman is super scary to them.).

The only real answer is to ignore and block, ignore and block. It sucks to get such a low signal to noise ratio though.
posted by marylynn at 11:55 AM on April 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by zarq at 1:57 PM on April 13, 2012

I would be put off by it, but then, only because it makes you sound a little close minded. My husband is 30 years older than I am, and I could not be more in love with him. If I'd had that disclaimer in my dealbreaker bag, I'd have missed out on the best part of my life.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:57 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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