August 22, 2005 2:11 PM   Subscribe question for the straight guys in tha hizzouse.

I've posted a profile on in the hopes of meeting a man for an LTR.

I've gotten several "winks" from guys who seemed relatively interesting, so I "winked" back to them. Not a single one of them has contacted me again.

Guys, why would you wink at a woman, she winks back so she's presumably interested, too, then never say another word? Why wouldn't you follow up her wink with a quick "howdy" email for her to respond to? Are Seattle guys too wimpy to just drop a line after I've let them know there's a mutual interest? I'd love to know your thoughts if you've done this, I really can't figure it out.
posted by tristeza to Human Relations (31 answers total)
Is like other dating services in which a wink is free, but further contact like e-mail costs credits? If this is the case, then perhaps these men are just cheapskates? They might truly be interested in you, however they might also be hoping that you're interested enough to do the paying.
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:16 PM on August 22, 2005

posted by cardboard at 2:27 PM on August 22, 2005

Best answer: Are Seattle guys too wimpy to just [fill in the blank]?

posted by matildaben at 2:28 PM on August 22, 2005

Response by poster: You pay by the month, not by the credit, so an email should be as free as a wink, 'cuz you're already signed up.
posted by tristeza at 2:29 PM on August 22, 2005

It is easy to wink. It takes more effort to:

1. open the file containing your initial-email template

2. actually read the girl's profile (instead of just looking at her photo)

3. find bits from her profile that you can plug into your template to make a personal-sounding intro letter

4. read the results over eight times to think of ways to make it more impressive and then send it off feeling like you just wasted 45 minutes because no girl will respond to that.

Some of them will send an email. Others won't. But it's not you so much as overcoming procrastination when results are far from guaranteed. I know from experience-- I'm marrying a date in a few weeks.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:29 PM on August 22, 2005

No, on Match, anybody who signs up to put up a profile can send a wink, but only paying subscribers can send an e-mail.
posted by willnot at 2:31 PM on August 22, 2005

Response by poster: OK, willnot and others, I guess that makes sense. It also, of course, makes these guys seem like even more complete LOSERS - they want me to do all the work AND pay all the money? Sheeah. Yeah, they're probably cheap and lazy (tip for the men: not a good first impression)
posted by tristeza at 2:34 PM on August 22, 2005

No, no, no - you've got it all wrong:

Someone winks at you, you write back if you're interested.

A wink is an initiatory move, it's not an eye for an eye, as it were... :-)
posted by forallmankind at 2:35 PM on August 22, 2005

Some are wimps. The others are cheap. Either way, consider it a filter. Be thankful.
posted by cribcage at 2:39 PM on August 22, 2005

No, no, forall: It means the guys haven't paid. Guys need to send an email rather than a wink, or if they wink and get winked at, they need to send an email. I realize it's a vestige of a patriarchal society where the man's supposed to pay, but ... *shrug*

I just wish Match was a little cheaper. $15/mo, OK, I spend that much on beer. $40/mo is money. At $15/mo, I wouldn't have a problem turning on my subscription and leaving it on. At $40/mo, there'd better be someone that knocks me head over heels before I'll turn it on for one month and one month only.
posted by SpecialK at 2:41 PM on August 22, 2005

That's the biggest problem with, that monthly subscription. I much prefer those sites that sell you credits and deduct from your account for each contact, like lavalife.
posted by mischief at 2:41 PM on August 22, 2005

(P.S. ... not that I'm cheap, I'd just rather have the $40 to spend on a date rather than have it go to the matchmaker. I do spend more on league soccer every month, but I get more exercise and a guaranteed endorphin rush from soccer!)
posted by SpecialK at 2:43 PM on August 22, 2005

No, SpecialK, I'm with forall. The idea that the guy has to make the first written intro in online dating is just so much bullshit.

Tristeza: maybe they're cheap, and maybe they're not, but it doesn't matter: they winked at you, so the onus is on you to introduce yourself or to ignore them, not on them to repond to your wink. That's the general etiquette.

IMHO, Lavalife is a better site, and is pay-per-contact, not pay-per-month.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:48 PM on August 22, 2005

Response by poster: Tristeza: maybe they're cheap, and maybe they're not, but it doesn't matter: they winked at you, so the onus is on you to introduce yourself or to ignore them, not on them to repond to your wink. That's the general etiquette.

In general, I probably agree that the "onus" is on me here as I look at it now, but I guess I'm still stuck on "I was interested in her, I let her know, she's interested in me too, so now I'm going to ignore her." Just seems odd.
posted by tristeza at 3:05 PM on August 22, 2005 is good too.

Solid-one-love, I couldn't disagree more.

Tristeza, maybe you need a masterclass not just in online dating but in female psychology.

Women get men approach them all the time. Men "wink" at women in real life just as they do online - all the time. Women have tons of options. Some of the most interesting, most beautiful women are not waiting for a guy just to smile at her before she goes all weak at the knees.

Most women - whether they admit it, know it or not - are attracted to guys who take initiative. Who are confident. Who are unusual. Who do something different from the pack. That means the "wink" is the easy, obvious, cheap way out.

Girls can wink at you. That's fine. When that happens, you should go straight ahead and write to them. But instead of you winking at them, you should choose the few that interest you the most and write to them. Follow Mayor Curley's advice and write a really good, maybe funny, maybe cocky e-mail that shows you have paid attention. If they don't reply, brush it off and write to the next person on your list.

It's tough being a guy on these sites, but get this... once you've figured out to play the system to your advantage (as I and some others like Curley are explaining to you), you will be head and shoulders above other guys on the site who are acting like wimps and firing off winks.
posted by skylar at 3:19 PM on August 22, 2005

Response by poster: I'm the chick.
posted by tristeza at 3:20 PM on August 22, 2005

skylar, you need a masterclass in reading the fucking question.
posted by grouse at 3:22 PM on August 22, 2005

Oh dear. I messed up. I thought Tristeza was a guy asking about girls. .
posted by skylar at 3:24 PM on August 22, 2005

posted by bricoleur at 3:31 PM on August 22, 2005

Best answer: It goes like this: wink, wink, e-mail. The person who sends the first wink sends the first e-mail.
posted by luckypozzo at 3:44 PM on August 22, 2005

Yeah, you aren't doing anything wrong. I think you can wink with match for free, but it costs money to email. Many, many people online are willing to spend money on dates, but want the meeting portion to be free. Springstreet has the same idea, though you pay per-contact, instead of per-month.

Speaking as a man who has had some success with online dating, I recommend nerve. Match has been good to me too, and you might have better success searching out men at whom to wink. The good ones will pay to chat with you. I almost always respond to winks, but it's harder to figure out who to send an unprovoked email to; there are so many choices. If a girl shows interest in me, I know that there's SOMETHING worthwhile there, and I can proceed to attempt to exhibit something vaguely resembling something that might eventually evolve into charm.
posted by Pacrand at 3:45 PM on August 22, 2005

I don't wink, or smile, or whateverthefuck. I pay the money and send an intro message. But when I get winked at, my response is to either message back or to ignore it, not to wink back. That I am a guy is not relevant. It doesn't matter what gender you are: the appropriate reponse to a wink is either a message or no response at all.

Yeah, skylar, you can disagree with me all you like, but, see, online dating has worked for me (over and over and over), so I figure that my advice is sound. And I have basic reading comprehension skills.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:50 PM on August 22, 2005

Best answer: Tristeza: maybe they're cheap, and maybe they're not, but it doesn't matter: they winked at you, so the onus is on you to introduce yourself or to ignore them, not on them to repond to your wink. That's the general etiquette.

I don't believe this is true. I've been internet dating for... oh, 9 years now I think. Eek.

The etiquette used to be "wink at someone you like. if they wink back, you write them." In fact, Lavalife, which used to be called didn't used to have a wink system. Instead, they had a 'carrot' (no, I'm not making this up). You 'carroted' someone and they then carroted you back and and then you wrote them.

Then, Nerve (the best service hands down, in my opinion) had a wink-like service where you winked, they winked, you wrote. However, without telling any of their users, they changed it so you couldn't wink back at anyone who winked at you because they found out that people would wink, change their profile so it said: "dobbs (or whatever), I winked. please write me at (or whatever)." Nerve was losing money so they said to hell with this and removed the function (the workaround is that you can wink back at them if you search for them but you can't wink back viewing their profile directly from your inbox).

That little move on Nerve's part fucked up the etiquette of winking, imo, and since then this "i wink, you write me" bullshit started.

In no way should the onus be on you to break the ice when someone winks at you. That's a fast trip to the poor house. (I get a dozen winks a week on Nerve but only 2 or 3 emails. If I wrote all those winkers back I'd be broke.)

My advice is to end your profile with 'If I like you, I'll wink. Wink back if you dig me and I'll email you. If you wink, and I like you, I'll wink back. Otherwise, save your cash and write to someone more in your ballpark." Or whatever. ;)
posted by dobbs at 4:00 PM on August 22, 2005

I agree with all the previous folks who suggested SpringStreet, the system behind Nerve/Onion/Salon/etc. I've had good luck with them before and including my current squeeze. I particularly like the credit system. Those monthly fees stink.
posted by phearlez at 4:04 PM on August 22, 2005

I like the credit system, but the people I've met via SpringStreet/Nerve/Onion/Salon/etc. have been uniformly flamingly, cool-aid drinking liberal and pretty stuck up. I've actually had better success with craigslist or
posted by SpecialK at 5:50 PM on August 22, 2005

Which would explain its popularity here on MetaFilter, perhaps... ;)
posted by kindall at 9:42 PM on August 22, 2005

(Not the stuck-up part, probably, but definitely the liberal part.)
posted by kindall at 10:32 PM on August 22, 2005

If you don't like the subscription, check out, it's entirely free, and I prefer the way it's run (it's been years since I've been to, so it might have inproved, but there was sub-standard stuff like letting untouched profiles stay active longer to give users a false sense of the size of the database to encourage subscriptions). I think the profit motive often ruins dating sites. (I'm not affiliated with okcupid, I've just been fed up with subscription sites)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:03 AM on August 23, 2005

Best answer: I've had a free membership on for ten years. I don't really know why, I think it's because I answered a painfully long market-research questionnaire for them back when I was in college and the web didn't exist yet. Anyway, you shouldn't take this as me being a dating king, because I've honestly found the quality on to be pretty dreggy compared to springstreet or (best yet) craigslist.

But, I'm an expert at looking at hundreds of profiles and keeping tabs on how people try to finesse it.

So here's the deal with winks. If you get winked, it means that the person who winked you sees you as a second-tier match. That's really it. This is a variation of the "He's just not that into you!" stuff that has been going around. If the guy is really legitimately interested in your profile, he's going to pony up and write you.

Especially for systems like match. There's no financial incentive for someone to wink and not email on match. On springstreet there is, because you can ask someone to wink you back if they're interested before you waste the credit. But match is just a monthly fee. The best they can do is email you, and try to give you their email address in the mail so you can write them back without having to pay.

So if a guy winks you, that probably either means that you are only remotely attractive to him, or more likely, that you appear to be his type but there isn't a lot to go on.

And that brings me to the best advice I can give for women on . Don't be vague in your profile! Keep away from that crap of "I like to work hard and play hard! I am equally comfortable in hiking clothes and a fabulous evening gown! Family and friends are very important to me." I mean, my god. It's as if there is a generic woman mad lib template out there. I know that women get slammed with responses on these sites, and that can cause cautious instincts. But all that happens then is that you'll get responses from the guys that write *every* woman, and disinterest from the quality guys. What is much better is to be specific - show some personality, and share a bit of yourself. When that happens, you might actually get even more slammed, but you increase your odds of getting responses from guys that are legitimately interested in *you*.

So don't sweat the winks. You're doing it right. If someone winks you, go ahead and wink back if you think he's interesting, but don't get disappointed if you don't hear back. Instead, juice up your profile and wait for the real responses.

By the way, the respondent who said the winkers are being cheapskates is incorrect in the case of match. Last I heard it doesn't work that way. If someone winks and you write him, he *still* can't write back unless he pays. So it doesn't have anything to do with him wanting you to pick up the tab.
posted by tunesmith at 2:07 AM on August 23, 2005

Oh good god. How could this wink protocol even matter at all? If you like a guy, email them. 99% of the time it's the guys doing the email, so getting an unsolicited email from a girl is a great way to get their attention.
posted by delmoi at 11:13 AM on August 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

tunesmith: By the way, the respondent who said the winkers are being cheapskates is incorrect in the case of match. Last I heard it doesn't work that way. If someone winks and you write him, he *still* can't write back unless he pays. So it doesn't have anything to do with him wanting you to pick up the tab.

Well, in that scenario, the guy is being a cheapskate by not subscribing and shelling out the cash to be able to make an e-mail response. Both parties have to 'pick up the tab' for themselves, but the guy is slacking on his part.

(I'm guilty of this on the non-Match services, myself. I have a proper subscription on Match, but only free wink-only accounts on the others. So if I get winked on, say, Yahoo Personals, I only wink back -- I'm too cheap to maintain subscriptions on all the dating sites.)
posted by LordSludge at 11:28 AM on August 23, 2005

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