In the past five years, Denise has lived in Austin, Chicago, Brooklyn, and now Queens. Read on for her worst first date (the guy was already talking about honeymoons and life partners), the uncool way some people react to her being a redhead, plus what it’s like to date in Chicago vs. NYC.
What she does: Personal assistant/Nanny
Lives in: Queens, NY
Go-to app: Ok Cupid. “I like the question format of OkCupid. Based on how people answer, you can really get an idea of that person: whether they’re taking it seriously or if they’re not taking it seriously. I kind of like when there’s more humor in the profile than anything. You get a better judge of character. ”
Her ideal guy: “Someone funny. Someone balanced—they have all of these interests, but they’re not snobby about it; they don’t bully others at the sake of their own opinions. Someone ambitious, they have a job and a direction. Their interests are what I really find attractive: when they’re into all sorts of different things like cooking or being outdoors; they have lots of hobbies so we can do that stuff together. I’m not the sit-on-the-couch type… except when I’m really tired (laughs).”
Best first date: “It was really casual. It was in Chicago. I met this guy at a bar I had never been to before. It had all of these board games. It was just so much fun. We sat there for hours and played these board games. It was low-key and the person was pretty cool too.”
Worst first date: “The worst dates I’ve had are the ones where they just talk and talk about themselves and they don’t get any of the clues that I’m not interested or I’m not having a good time. One date I had in Chicago, a guy was doing that: his whole life story. It was just the craziest stuff that I didn’t need to know. And then he started to talk about life partners and by this point I’m like so checked out. He asked me what my ideal honeymoon would be. And before I could answer,he answered. He’s like, ‘Because my ideal honeymoon would be just going to Toys“R”Us and having a Nerf gun fight.’ And I said, ‘Maybe if Toys“R”Us is in Paris…’ Yeah, that didn’t go anywhere.”
Dating in Chicago vs. NYC: “In the last year, it’s been really only two serious dates here [in NYC] from OkCupid. Where in Chicago, and even in Austin, I could have a date every day if I wanted to. I don’t know what it is. I think the guys in Chicago are definitely more low-key and friendly. They put themselves out there, or maybe I was putting myself out there more.”
Deal-breakers: “Anyone who smokes. You can do what you want with your body, it just grosses me out, I don’t want to be around it. A college education, I sometimes feel like I’m the most judgmental person when I’m online dating, looking through the profiles, but that’s important to me. I want someone who’s always striving to be their personal best, seeking to improve, and who’s an intellectual. At this point, I’m 28 years old, if you live with your parents, it’s a deal-breaker.”
Dating as a redhead: “A lot of people say things about [my] red hair. It sends off such an uncomfortable vibe that I won’t respond. I won’t engage at all. As a woman with red hair, there’s so much sexual tension put on it. They don’t know you and they’ll attribute certain things about you to your red hair, like you’re fiery in the bedroom. And when I would go out to bars in Chicago, I remember on more than one occasion, a guy would point to me and say, ‘Redhead, redhead.’ I really think there’s a fetish thing to it. If a guy says, ‘I’ve always loved redheads’ or ‘I really like redheads,’ I take it as a warning. They have a very clear vision of what they think a redhead is and what they’re going to do with them. I’m like, ‘Ugh, can’t go there.’”
Initiate conversation or let the guy come to her? “I have taken initiative and started the conversation, but I don’t want to. I want him to take notice of me and make the first move. It’s funny because there’s such a huge percentage of profiles on OkCupid where guys say they want the girls to message them first. There’s a section at the bottom [of their profile] that says ‘You should message me if…’ and then it says below like, ‘you’re not afraid to make the first move’ or ‘you believe in feminism and you want to make the first move.’ Again, that’s something else where I cross them off the list. It’s not that I’m not a feminist… I want you to take control here.”
Her advice on making the most of online dating: “You have to have a very good judge of character and screen and I think a lot of people make the initial contact and then they meet up, and I find that’s a mistake. Have a conversation back and forth, talk on the phone, and then agree to meet up, so you kind of know what you’re going into. I’m becoming more selective and that could be why I’m getting less dates. In Austin and Chicago, if I was interested in someone, we’d talk for a little while and then we’d meet up, but now I feel like I can decide, ‘Uh, I’m not into you,’ and I don’t feel badly about it.”
Last concert: Austin for SXSW this past March. “I loved seeing The Wind & The Wave. I went back and stayed with my friend and her husband—who met on OkCupid!”
Last book: “Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso. “I like her attitude. She is who she is, she’s owning it.”
Favorite place to eat: “I love Born Thai in Prospect Heights. It’s one of the things I miss most about Brooklyn.”
Didn’t catch part one of the Online Dating Diaries? Check it out here.
Photographs, courtesy of Denise (above, she’s pictured with her niece).