Are You “Just The Tip” Dating?

June 1st, 2017

NEW!, Online Dating, Texting, Tinder


Name: Annabelle
Question: I’m late to the online dating game. I’m 50, cute but not gorgeous, and been doing online dating with moderate success for only about two years. So, I don’t know what’s normal and not normal. Lately, something weird has been happening. Men who contact me first will ask me out, or start a conversation, and then just disappear. It’s like they can’t take yes for an answer. For example, one attractive gentleman, after a few exchanged messages over a few days, asked me for coffee and provided his cell number so I could respond. I responded, a day later when I saw the message, that I’d love to, and haven’t heard from him since. This morning, a man started a conversation with me, asked about my job, etc., and then, after what I thought was a friendly but innocuous response on my part, BLOCKED me. (My response to his query that got me blocked was “I’m a marketing coordinator … not exciting, but it pays the bills. How ’bout you? What do you do? Also, are you as serious as you look
in your pictures?:)”).
I have other similar examples, including guys who seemed interested until I suggested they text me or we meet (too aggressive?).
Am I doing something wrong? Or, are these men just ambivalent about dating to begin with? I’m developing a bit of a complex about this.
Age: 50


This is probably the most common question I get asked these days. What does that tell you?

The experience you’re having is a universal one. As I have said countless times now, a large majority of online dating users are ambivalent about dating but participate in the process anyway. Using these sites and apps makes them feel like they’re in the game when they really aren’t. They’re going through the motions and playing the “Everything, but” or “Just the tip” version of dating. You remember those games, don’t you? “Everything, but” is where people performed every possible sex act on their partner that didn’t involve penis to anus/vagina penetration.  That’s what tmany people online are doing. They’re participating in the charade up to the point where real-life interaction would be required. Then they ghost. They want to stay online.

Another sub-section of these people are throwing anything against the wall hoping something will stick. They’re sending out a ton of messages and swiping everyone without reading their bios or looking at their photos. Then, after they match with someone, they take a closer look and decide they’re not interested.

And finally you have the people who are jumping at the first person that responds out of desperation or who is juggling multiple people at once. Taking a day to respond to a message in Tinder and Bumble land is a no-no. You’ll get unmatched because the other person will assume you’re a flake or they’ll find someone else who responds quicker and set up plans with them. In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you could miss it.”

The guy who blocked you is a weirdo. Either he got offended by your harmless comment or he was using fake photos and was worried he’d get caught.

As I’ve said before, dating in the age of Tinder is dehumanizing. It’s almost impossible not to develop a complex from the whole thing. The way to combat that is to remember that – in 90% of the cases you experience – the guy’s disappearance has nothing to do with you and keep on keepin’ on. It’s frustrating, I know, but besides posting recent and flattering photos of yourself and responding quickly, there’s not much else you can do. You just have to wait it out until something clicks.



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5 Responses to “Are You “Just The Tip” Dating?”

  1. Bluegrass Says:

    Thanks for posting on this topic, as this is what I’ve been struggling with lately myself. Finding that guys I match with don’t respond to my messages, or they suddenly stop responding inexplicably, or I’ve even had a case where we were gonna meet up, then the day comes and nothing happens, and yet he responded when I checked up on him (which I shouldn’t bother doing I know, I just don’t like leaving the loop open–he didn’t mention that we were supposed to meet up, and I didn’t have the heart to).

    I am just wondering what, if anything, could change to avoid these scenarios you mention. Would these “just browsing” kind of people reliably self-identify on dating apps if they gave them an opportunity to (I know people can specify dating versus hookups, but this feels like a separate axis, or at least a different value of the “Interested In” field). Should dating apps flag people that scroll to the bottom of a profile, to make it easier for people to potentially identify those that are more serious?

    I also wonder if more accurate photos would help? I don’t really like the way I come off in most photos. However, I saw a product coming out called ShapeScale that basically can generate a 3D model of One’s body that sounds promising–I think I would feel more comfortable making one of those of myself (appropriately clothed), and just letting people check it out from whatever angle they like. The idea would be, if people can get a better idea of what your body looks like, they can feel more confident in their attraction, rather than thinking that perhaps it’s just a trick of the lighting and so being apathetic. But perhaps I’m being naive. I’m pretty new to the online dating thing.

    I remember Nia breaking down some possibilities in a comment on another post, and I think she did a pretty good job. What I took away from her comment is that, while online dating can be discouraging, it’s a numbers game. What little success I’ve had with online dating came about with very little fanfare. It didn’t work, until it did for a little, and that was great.

    In the end, I can only hope that a shift in the ethos of online dating makes things better in the long run. It’s fine if people wanna do whatever, but there should be a way of telling who is really serious about dating from people that are more just seeing what’s available.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Nia Says:

    Thanks for the shout out :)

    Here’s my (not perfect) metric for “is he serious and a good match”?

    More than one, recent, good lighting, BUT not professional head shots or “way out of my league Instagram hero stuff”
    Weaponry or “boy’s toys” in the picture featured prominently
    Him with groups of shot girls or “dancers” OR very attractive female “friends”
    Series or sets of pictures where every single one is _____ (him outdoors, him holding a drink, him with his huge dog, etc)

    Text is complete, has good grammar and punctuation, does not use emoji or “internet speak” (u, LOL, IKR, etc)
    Text shows some thoughtfulness and seems coherent and intelligent (proper use of words, flows, etc)
    Text shows an orientation towards others (ie “I love to explore new areas of town with that special someone on my arm” rather than “I’m looking for someone to respect me, show me loyalty, and love me” me, me, me!)
    Text red flags:
    Uses emotionally inflammatory words like “loyalty”/”respect”/”honesty” or other similar terms. These should be a given. If a man is insisting on a “respectful” woman in his 500 characters, run.

    Is his first text thoughtful and seems sincere?
    How long do responses take?
    Are you doing all the work and getting one word replies?
    Does he work pretty quickly toward a meetup?
    Does the conversation flow or is it pulling hens’ teeth?

    Setting up the date:
    Check in the day of
    Set a place that is convenient for both of you
    If possible, do something fun and out of the ordinary: enamel pin show, boozy ice cream food truck, see performance art—make it easy to have fun, and make it easy to have something to talk about.

    Good luck!!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  3. Betty Says:

    All this but also willingness to set up a date quickly. Every time I’ve gone out with someone who was in and out of conversations and took a lot of time to set up a date, he was invariably a commitmentphobe. They literally cannot commit to anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  4. Nia Says:

    Also, I would forgo posting 3-D renderings of your body. You are not an object or a commodity. I personally believe this will actually make people treat you WORSE. You are not for sale.
    Reasonably (within a year) recent, well lit pictures of you looking good-but-not-your best day ever, one face straight on, one full body shot (you can do the “starlet”–hand on hip, elbow cocked, one foot in front of other, to slim body, that’s not “lying”) and one “action” (like you hiking, walking, at a restaurant or in a group or whatever).

    People who are going to reject or ignore you are going to do so no matter how many pictures or detailed dimensions of your body you give.

    You want someone to fall in love with your total package: your face, smile, “aura”, words, and attitude. Not your body alone. That’s going to change anyway!

    Just keep doing what you’re doing now and best of luck!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  5. Yvonne Says:

    I think I can safely say that many online daters are recently out of a relationship/marriage and not emotionally available, on a temporary break from a more serious relationship, or already involved or married and lying about it. A few others are weirdos or batshit crazy. Some are contacting several people at once and you end up falling by the wayside. Finding a relatively normal, available person is not as easy as it might seem when you’re scrolling through pages of seemingly innocent profiles.

    Nia gives pretty good advice on how to avoid these people, but sometimes you have to put some time into getting to know someone to find out who they really are. I would say concentrate on people who seem genuinely interested in you, who provide thoughtful responses, and who proceed in a timely manner. Trust your gut, because if something feels off to you, there’s probably a reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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