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Profile Writing Tips
21st Century Dating
Online dating advice? Fat lot of use!

Personals sites are included on this page strictly at the webmaster's discretion. I can't guarantee the quality of the sites/services listed below, but I have tried most of them. I've also tried out most BBW sites (and/or had correspondence with the owners) not listed! Several have been banned from this list. I use the same discretion regardless of whether companies offer affiliation or other rewards.

Be cautious whatever dating site you use. Both for the individuals you may meet online, and for the honesty of the services provided:

Large Passions (free)

A good site that the webmaster has used, and one of the last free sites specifically for BBWs and admirers. (UK based)

This has been the best UK site that I've used, having met my (ex) wife there, and also a previous girl friend. It's less sophisticated than some sites, but that can be a positive attribute. The only drawback with BBW/admirer sites, is the relatively small number of members, meaning it's harder to find someone local. (UK based)

This is a sub-section of a larger, general site, and therefore not strictly a BBW/admirer specialist. On the plus side, they seem quick to remove members who are abusing the site, and almost instantly approve your profile and photos. Like with most commercial sites, be aware that membership auto-renews unless you cancel this feature.

Plenty More Fish (Cuddly Pond)

This is actually the same service (and members) of Cuddly Free and Single. But the two sites offer different deals on membership.

Here are some other sites that the webmaster has not had a chance to thoroughly assess or try out:

BBW Admire (UK based)

BBW Friends Date - free.

One BBW - UK based.

Tip for browsing personal site profiles: If you find someone you think might be worth contacting, see if you can find his/her profiles at other sites too. It can be surprising how varied some people's self descriptions are, and it can help to weed out those who are not honest (or who are unbalanced!).

Scams to beware of

There are some highly organised scammers who abuse the dating sites. You are mostly likely to be at risk if you are mature, especially if female, and lonely. If you are recently divorced or widowed, then your usual guard might be low, making you vulnerable to such an attack. Be on your guard if you are corresponding with someone outside your country. If you can't meet in person within the first few weeks, then be extra cautious. They are experts on writing convincing messages with plausible excuses for whatever happens. Make sure you have a friend or relative to give a second opinion on such a relationship, since they will not be emotionally involved. Ultimately, the scammer will ask for money, probably for some alleged emergency. The photos used in the fake profiles are probably stolen from some innocent real person's profile. Try doing a reverse image search on their photos to see if they belong to some other (innocent) party?

Be cautious of free sites. Some are genuine, but others might be harvesting your data to sell to commercial interests.

Be cautious of commercial sites too! If you subscribe to paid membership, be aware that most sites automatically renew your membership. Make sure you have turned this feature off, if you join.


Profile Writing Tips

The following advice on writing a good profile for dating websites, is only one man's thought's, but I am a veteran of the BBW sites (and to a lesser extent the general ones) since 2000. I've seen the sites evolve, and the changes in the folk using them.

Firstly, I'll list a few things to avoid, as these are very common, but serious, mistakes by profile writers. Keep in mind at all times that a personal profile at a dating site is supposed to be an advert, intended to attract (hopefully the right person):

Ranting has no place in a profile for the following reasons:

1 - A rant gives the impression that the advertiser cannot handle problems without anger and bitterness, and that they think they're the only ones having such problems.
2 - The people actually reading the rant will more than likely have had equally bad experiences, and they do not want to hear moans from a complete stranger (ranting should happen between friends or on an appropriate forum).
3 - The sort of people mentioned in the rants probably don't bother to read profiles properly.
4 - A profile should be positive if it is going to attract the right sort of person, and a rant will probably make him/her move quickly onto another profile. So a rant may make your troubles at a site worse.

Silly Exclusions
Give some thought as to the types of people you say you definitely don't want to hear from. I often see requests for "idiots" not to reply, which tends to mark out the profile writer as an idiot! After all, how many idiots believe themselves to be idiots?! And assessing idiocy is highly subjective anyway. Requests concerning honesty and liars can also make the profile writer appear foolish. How many liars are going to own up to their lying tendency?! As fools don't always read profiles properly (or just look at the photos), it can be futile to take up valuable profile space trying to tell them not to write, while the nicer and more intelligent readers will be put off by having to read so many negative points. It is rather like placing a sign on your house: "Burglars. Please don't break into my home". Great deterrent, huh?!

Subjective Attributes
When describing yourself or the person you seek, don't attach words such as "good" to purely subjective issues. For example, "good sense of humour", "good fashion sense" or "good taste in music" are meaningless unless you give examples of your own taste. And asking for someone good looking, handsome, beautiful, etc. really is very silly! One person's view of good looks is another person's view of unattractive. And for men who grade women on a 1 to 10 scale... please grow up!

One person's view of being "normal" will be another's view of eccentricity. So, avoid writing that you do all the "usual things" or "normal things", or that you are "normal" and/or seek someone "normal". That can come across as arrogant, since one should not hold oneself up as a personality that all others should aspire to.

Many profiles look the same because they are full of clichés, often the same ones over and over again. Apart from being irritating when browsing lots of profiles, they can fail to get across just what the person is like, since the phrases are open to interpretation. Clichés such as "laid back", "down to earth", "don't suffer fools gladly", "work hard and play hard", "what you see is what you get", also fail miserably because it makes one's profile blend into many others. It needs to stand out as being individual, since it is after all advertising an individual person, and not some cardboard cut-out pretend person! So write something that describes your character. A party-goer? A quiet, creative type? A world traveller? A lot about yourself comes across in the way you write it rather than actually stating it, such as the type of sense of humour you have.

Annoying the BBW Admirers
For the cuddly ladies advertising in BBW/admirer specific sites, please make sure that the text of your profile is not a copy of what you have been using on the general dating sites. I often see firm statements made about the lady's physique followed by a request for those wanting a thin lady to push off! When written on a BBW/admirer site, that looks pretty silly! Virtually all the men reading will not prefer thin ladies, but they will be irritated by that out of place request. Again, it makes the profile writer look like a fool, when it may just be carelessness. Profile writing should not be hurried. Potentially, they can be very important for your future life.

Long Wish Lists
Unfortunately some website profile pages encourage folk to write out long and unrealistic wish lists about the potential partner that they seek. When a maid told Mae West that she seeked a man who is "tall, handsome and rich", Mae replied that the maid wasn't seeking a man, she was seeking 3 men! Apart from being realistic about who you would like to find, one should not have too many strict criteria because every person is a balance of many qualities, quirks and faults. He/she may fall slightly short of one of your preferences, but compensate by being very good in another aspect. If you set a long list of uncompromising criteria, then you will exclude almost everyone. Had you been meeting someone in real life, there might be a chemistry there, or some attraction that you can't describe, yet that person might fail to meet your written wish-list.

Causing offense
When expressing your preferences for a potential boy/girl friend, there is no need to be offensive about those who do not meet your requirements. At BBW sites, this may well be deemed hypocritical, as a number of larger ladies, evidently seeking acceptance, then make remarks about men who are large, thin, short, etc. I've read profiles that are unkind to men who are short or losing their hair, and even though the comments don't apply to me, I would avoid that person because she sounds cruel-hearted.

Keep it logical!
Sometimes I read profiles with statements and requests that make no sense. For example, insisting that replies must only come from men who are taller than the advertiser, but the advertiser has not revealed her height! Or requesting someone who shares the same interests, without actually revealing the advertiser's interests!

Photo captions
I often see photos 'dated' as having been "taken last month", or "taken 3 weeks ago" or even "today". These are meaningless statements unless the reader has some way of knowing when they were written! If the photos are to be dated at all, then the actual date (or at least the year) that they were taken should be stated. If you look young for your age, it helps to emphasise how recently the photos were taken.

Photos of yourself only!
When dating sites ask you to upload photos, they don't mean pictures of Ely Cathedral, a house, a dog, or a car. They mean a photo of yourself! Amazingly, quite a few people actually display photos of their children, for all the nut-cases browsing the web to see. That is not a wise thing to do, for the children's safety.

Your appearance
For the ladies, don't apologise for your appearance. Even if you have a low opinion of how you look, resist the temptation to convey that in a profile. A touch of modesty is fine, but anything more will give the impression that you are very lacking in confidence. That can attract the wrong kind of man, while putting off those who genuinely admire you. Starting profiles with the cliché "Don't judge a book by its cover", (as many profiles do) gets you off to a bad start!

Proof reading
Take some care and proof read your profile. One typo can reverse the meaning of a statement. Sometimes mistakes can look highly amusing to the reader. I read one lady's profile, stating her job to be a "fiance administrator"! I could guess what she meant, but it highlights the importance of avoiding errors: One mistake might cost you the price of putting off that elusive companion.

Built-in obsolescence
Avoid writing things that will quickly make the profile appear dated, or else be prepared to keep updating it. Such as being new to the site or online dating, or even writing your age within the main text. When it states age 35 in the main part of the profile, but the current age is shown as 39, then it gives away how long you've been on the site, while showing you have not kept it up to date.

Personal security
Be careful not to reveal your surname and date of birth on your profile. I've seen user-names that appear to reveal these details (assuming they are genuine). You don't want to become a victim of identity theft.

A few more don'ts:
- Blank profiles: Or a brief comment to "Ask me" or "We won't have anything to talk about when we meet". How would you meet, other than someone judging you by photos alone?

- Stating that you won't reply to messages if you are not interested: This is an extension of the old "no reply" problem, backed by various lame excuses for what is actually laziness and bad manners. A common excuse is the angry reactions of some idiots to rejection, but that is not a licence to become ill-mannered to everyone else. Warning in advance that you won't reply, will send all well-mannered readers moving onto the next profile.

- Profile ultimatums: "This is your last chance before I close this profile and leave". Boo-hoo! The cry-baby approach is likely to cause laughter, not a sudden rush to grab that despairing and desperate sounding person. And they are usually still there, online, after their promise to bow out. What a surprise!

- Demands: A widespread complaint by men is that ladies' profiles are often a list of strict demands. Sometimes a huge list. But when men make demands, they receive a torrent of abuse for being so picky! But if you are determined to stick to a big list of strict, uncompromising criteria, then be prepared to remain single!

And having covered what not to do, here are some tips on what you should do:

1) Take profile writing seriously and put some time and care into it.

2) If your writing skills are not good, get a friend to check over your profile. Spell-checkers might help, but won't solve all writing problems.

3) Write positive and optimistic things about yourself (including appearance) and the partner you seek.

4) Write about what makes you unique.

5) Be honest and open, but don't write at great length.

6) Keep sounding happy and optimistic in your profile no matter what online experiences you may have.

7) Don't be too restrictive with the age range of partner you seek. That would defeat all the trouble you have gone to, to set up a profile, only to exclude too many potential friends/soulmates.

8) Say what you will bring to a relationship, rather than just listing what you expect from a partner.

9) Avoid addressing your readers in the plural. For example, don't greet them with "Hello boys" or "Hello ladies". Write as though only one person is reading.

If you are using a dating site with a very large number of members, then it is important to have a really good headline to grab attention. Remember that people browsing the site may be skimming fast over lots of profiles. Your headline needs to stop them in their tracks.

Humour is often a good approach, but there are two things to avoid: Firstly, sarcastic humour can cause problems when it is read by folk who don't know you. They might not be sure if your words are serious or a joke. Secondly, avoid humorous lines that are being repeated all over the site. Instead, write something that relates to yourself, or perhaps demonstrates the kind of humour you like (but nothing offensive!).

Alternatively, write a headlline that is heart-warming. You might be limited in the length of headline permitted, so be careful that the end has not been chopped off. Also, keep the headline truthful, if it relates to anything about you.

As with all profile writing, never put in the headline anything negative (even hinting at anything negative) and never put anything that sounds as though you are desparing in your soul mate search.

And one last subtle tip for headlines: Don't simply state what you are seeking. It might seem logical to state that, but it can sometimes come across as selfish (depending on how you word it). Stating what you are offering, is what might make a good man/woman click on your profile (such as "Free hugs"!).

Photos are also vital in catching attention. The main thing is a good quality, clear photo, that is also flattering. Avoid flash photography and group photos.

But when it comes to attention grabbing photos, don't read that as meaning scantily clad, or silly or rude poses! Don't put off the reader whose attention you have just caught!

There has been a modern trend to post modified/filtered photos that don't show what you look like. Or images of the person pulling silly faces. The viewer will conclude that you are stupid! Have photos that really do show you. And date-stamp them.

Avoid selfies that are taken at very close quarters, which can be unflattering and misleading. For the ladies, note that the gents usually want to see a full length photo as well as a face close-up.

Ladies often complain about men posting topless photos. And good quality men are put off by ladies posting lingerie shots. Ladies complain about men pictured standing next to sports cars, or holding a fish. Men complain about photos of cats and dogs. I would recommend that you never post photos that don't include yourself, and including a pet alongside you is reasonable if this shows an important part of your life. As long as photos give an honest impression of the real you.

Write for the gender you seek
A common mistake (for heterosexual profile writers) is to write to impress their own gender. The result is that the readers are not impressed. I even see sexist jokes about men in women's profiles. Consider what would appeal to a potential boy/girl friend. Men aren't turned on by a woman's academic and career achievements. Contrary to popular female opinion, they are not intimidated either. They are just bored! Men are attracted by femininity. Conversely, women are unlikely to get excited over the finer technical details of a man's job or hobby. So (for men), try to express how your activities or career make you feel, and how much passion it stimulates.

And finally... make a positive sounding profile

You may need to include a few negative points, such as certain categories that you will not date at all. But try and make most of the profile sound positive by writing what qualities *do* appeal. If you have gone through some hard times recently, then don't dwell on how bad these experiences were or the effect they've had on you. Not only is that negative sounding, but it may also mark you out as a potential victim for just the sort of person you wish to avoid (control-freaks, parasites, etc.). You don't need to sound conceited about yourself to come across as positive. Just try to be cheerful, optimistic about the future, and include some humour. If you can make the reader smile, then he/she will probably read the whole profile.


21st Century Dating

I spent several years in the online world of size-acceptance (as well as meeting and dating in real life), learning as much as I could about the issues that concern the ladies, and about relationships and social interaction and prejudice. It was also interesting to learn issues that affect women and relationships in general, not just plus sized issues.

In a similar vein, I've looked into other topics where relationships are hit by mis-understandings or prejudice and judgement. For example, inter-cultural relationships, inter-racial relationships, and large age gaps. Then there are the more wide-spread topics of the way things have changed over the years due to feminism, political-correctness and the effects of modern technology on dating.

Feminism and dating

The feminism/relationships issue seems to cause a lot of excitable debate! It is interesting to analyse the two extreme views one can come across, and note that both groups are very similar, even though their views are at opposite poles. At one end, there are angry men who are anti-feminism, and at the other end, angry women who are out-spoken feminists. Both have a few things in common - apart from being angry! Both report trouble with dating. Both blame the other gender for those troubles. Both refuse to admit any blame. And both, from the way they express themselves, reveal why few would want to date them! Both groups tend to be a tad ill-mannered to those who don't agree with them. Or to be more precise, they show hatred towards their own genders, in between hating the opposite genders! Whatever our views, some will disagree. Don't lose sleep over it.

On a more subtle level, the problems for some successful career women also get debated often. If you consider both men and women who battle through education and a career to progress and succeed, there is one important underlying characteristic that helps them through: Selfishness. But (don't get angry!) that is not necessarily a bad thing in the right context. The problems come if that (and other business characteristics) are not toned down for dating and relationships. Relationships should not be about competition, or putting the other person down, or wanting everything, while giving little (in emotional terms). Years ago, this problem would have been mainly with men, but now it applies to both genders more frequently. The topic is more complex, when one considers the traditional male/female roles, and how equality has put a strain on our inherent desires within relationships. Judging by many dating profiles, many career women have lost the plot, as to what dating and relationships are. Successful relationships are usually those where each person brings something different to the 'table', thus complimenting each other's attributes. Simply trying to divide every aspect, every chore, and every role, is unlikely to make partners happy. That is partly because there may be debate (and resentment) if things don't appear equal and fair all the time. But in a partnership where the roles differ, then there is less scope for making comparisons - you just get on with life.

"Independence" is a popular attribute that women like to advertise nowadays, but there is some confusion. It is good that women have the financial independence to be able to live on their own if they need or desire to. Plus whatever abilities needed to survive comfortably. However, a happy and successful relationship will flourish if there is some dependence (in both directions) over less important things. Most people like to feel needed, yet single women seeking a mate, often boast how much they don't "need" a man! Then they wonder why men aren't interested. No man wants to feel like he's a pet goldfish - there at a lady's convenience! As with most aspects of relationships, there is a balance to find between too much or too little of everything.

There is some advice for single career women further down this page.

Age gap dating

I've always been very flexible on what age I would date, even when I was very young, and never understood those friends who placed restrictions. Such as plus/minus 5 years. That eliminates most of your potential dates. I also think that there are pros and cons of dating older, younger or same age, but the main thing is the individual person. Once we start considering larger age gaps, then problems arise. Not usually because of the age gap itself, but the reactions and judgement of other folk. When the woman is the older of the couple, then the judgement can be harsh even if the gap is not all that big. Hopefully, this state of affairs is improving as more such relationships happen and some get publicised.

When the man is much older than the woman, I find it sad when the woman breaks up with her family. A family is for life, whereas a boy friend relationship is more likely to fail than endure - regardless of the ages involved. So, to the older men, I think it is important to consider the girl friend's long-term future with support from her family. And to parents of a daughter dating a much older man, be sure to get to know the man rather than making any rash judgements. The latter may drive a wedge between you and your daughter and, if her relationship is a bad one, then it makes matters worse. A bad relationship will often fizzle out quicker if parents don't intervene.

To any mature women who rant about men who date much younger girl-friends, your ranting will only serve to demonstrate one reason why they do what they do! And if you don't like such men, then you are not going to date them, so what is the problem? And yes, I know... some people just like to vent, but it will harm your dating prospects if you vent publicly.

Most judgements levelled at age-gap relationships are based on a small minority of the worst cases. In some cases, based on pure fallacy. The cringe-inducing comments about women with "daddy issues" has no corellation with age gap dating, as confirmed in academic research (
see here). Some women do report cases of older men wanting control over their 'partner', but these are the exceptions, judging by the first-hand accounts I've read from women. Sometimes these couples were not even seeking that specific age group. The relationship evolved naturally.

Inter-cultural dating

When I first went online in 2000, there were not many British ladies on the internet. I befriended some delightful American ladies, mostly via size-acceptance, and later because of this art gallery. At least two of my American gallery ladies, married British men they met online, and I was aware of other such trans-Atlantic unions. What some of them said about American men, I will not repeat! By contrast, there are American men who seek soul-mates from Eastern Europe and Asia, sometimes with success. What they say about American women, I won't repeat! The Western man/Eastern woman romance trade has long had a very tarnished reputation, and there are indeed scams both organised and individual. Scams flourish if those men allow them to. If you are a Western male considering this approach to marriage, then you should do extensive research before taking any action. And follow any advice from those who have been through it (not me!). Remember that the grass is not always greener elsewhere, even if it looks good to you at first. Be sure to learn the culture and some of the language, which will help prevent you from being scammed, as well as showing respect to any genuine ladies.

There are 2 common scams worth describing, which you can easily evade once you are aware of them. The first one is if you correspond online with a lady found on a site (such as a Ukrainian dating site), via an interpretter. The site/agency will charge a fee for each message. But, you might simply be corresponding with a person at the site, not the lady you saw in a profile. The second common scam can happen if you travel to Ukraine on a romance tour. A lady you meet might suggest taking the dating away from the tour organisers, and instead go to a restaurant of her choice and with her own translater. You will then get a large bill for the translator, and be over-charged for the meal. The lady will have an arrangement with the restaurant owner to split part of the bill. An additional problem (not strictly a scam), is when a lady tries to get a few expensive gifts, or maybe a meal, with no intention of starting a relationship. If you are alert to these issues, you can avoid them. A common trap is to fall in love with a photo on a site, and become obsessed with that lady, and then fail to take sensible precautions because your emotions have taken over.

Early in 2018 I decided to do a little research myself, and test out one of those dating sites that claim to bring together Western men and East European women. I chose a site that did not appear to have a reputation as a scam. It was a tough task to subject myself to attention from large numbers of glamorous women, but I was determined to bring you, my reader, some useful information :) I ran my standard test and made a profile that was as empty of information as possible (and no photos), but no deceptions either. Any information given was true. I had to provide gender, age and location. Within the first 24 hours or so, I was contacted by over 60 ladies! About half of the contacts came with no written message. Of the messages, all but two looked like standard circulars that could be sent to any man. The other two were properly written, picking up on what little data there was on my profile. With my age at 52, most contacts came from those in their 20s and 30s, but covering ages 18 to 66 overall. The younger women's profiles looked the least genuine, with the text full of philosophical notions about love and relationships. The younger profiles' photos tended to look as though they were auditioning for a men's magazine - just too riské for husband hunting! Nearly all profile photos across the age groups, looked like professional shots. As a portrait artist, I was very impressed by the standard of these photographers! As to how many of the responses I got were fake, and how many from real women with limited English language skills, I can only speculate. And how many are just seeking to move west, how many are scamming, and how many genuinely prefer Western men, I'll leave you to judge. I did check some data across the profiles to try and assess if many are genuine. I checked the stated height for each lady. A random selection of ladies' heights, should form a bell-curve graph. It did so in this little survey, but it was a very narrow curve, peaking at around 5ft 6. That is, most heights were concentrated around 5ft 6, with few very tall or short. While not conclusive, it might suggest that most profiles are fakes, with heights chosen to appeal to most men? Accounts of relationships developing from this online approach, are very varied. There were a few profiles with a ring of truth to them, including full-figured, attractive ladies, maybe with children and divorced. In a UK dating site, a full, well written man's profile would receive very few replies - other than a small number of fakes initially.

An update to the above observations (Feb. 2020): The site I tested permits men and women to send out mass mailings, and these are free for men to read (normally, a fee is charged for a man to read an incoming message). At least a few of the ladies who contacted me come across as genuine.

If you are a western gent keen to seek a wife who has old fashioned family and relationship values, then there are options which look promising, despite the bad press this type of dating gets. From what I've researched, it is probably wise to spend a bit more with an up-market romance company that gives a comprehensive service. That is better than trying to short-cut the process, only to end up spending more and gaining nothing other than failure. Also, gents should go into this with the right attitude with no false preconceptions of what will happen or what the women will be like. The Ukrainian women on the singles market are usually well educated, and very capable, and are proud of their country. They are not looking to be rescued! And they are not looking for the reject men of the west. Men who struggle with dating, need to look at themselves first, before deciding if their local pool of single women are not well suited to them.

Do your research before getting involved. There's an online community to help you succeed, here: Ukrainian Fusion.

Inter-racial dating

My mother was white English and my Dad came from Sri Lanka, and they married in 1950s Britain. I'm not aware of any racial troubles in their day, but I certainly experienced abuse - both verbal and violence - growing up in the 1970s. Today, my home town has a rich variety of ethnic groups, and racism is far less apparent than in my day. When it comes to dating, I'm open to any races, but I respect that many folk prefer a specific race for girl/boyfriends. There is nothing racist about that. When writing online profiles, I would recommend some diplomacy when stating a preference. Just say who you prefer. If you make it sound negative, then be prepared for some backlash!

The internet and dating

It's amusing the number of folk who try online dating for a few months and become instant "experts" and write articles! As early as 1992, I tried out newspaper lonely-hearts advertising, which gave me a head-start when I first tried online dating in 2000. By 2002, I had a strong incentive to try out and vet numerous dating sites. I was not only receiving fan-mail for my art here, but also for my links page! It seems that many liked the high quality of links I maintained. Unfortunately, it was hard to maintain good quality dating site links. Dubious practices among commercial site owners were a problem from the outset.

I saw some major changes early on. Commercial sites muscled into the BBW niche, and most of the good free BBW/admirer dating sites gave up and closed. At the same time, vast numbers of UK ladies went online. Sadly, the quality of profiles got rapidly worse... and worse! Several years on, more folk find new ways to make profiles... yes, even worse!

Dating sites make it very easy for people to make very clinical lists of criteria for potential boy/girl friends, thus ruling out most of those people who they might have connected with in a real-life encounter. That doesn't mean that one shouldn't use online dating. Like most tools, it has potential dependent upon how you use it. Just be aware of the pitfalls. Anything that can be abused, will be abused, so you need to be able to 'sniff' out those who are not genuinely seeking the same as yourself. Also, be aware of the sneaky ploys that many such websites use. A useful trick, is to set up a profile that has no information about you (or as little as the site permits) and no photos. Sit back and observe how many people appear to be contacting you on the first day - maybe even within minutes of signing up! Those are from fake profiles, designed to trick you into buying membership.

One thing the online dating sites and the old newspaper lonely-hearts dating have in common, is that they attract a disproportionate number of people who are best avoided! Those who have trouble dating because they don't treat others with respect, are too arrogant, have short tempers, etc. So don't be disheartened at the poor quality you find. It is vital to remain upbeat and cheerful, otherwise you'll create a vicious-circle of failure. When trying out those newpaper ads in 1992, I did succeed in meeting a very charming lady (where are you now, Beth?!), so the good ones are usually in there somewhere. Keep looking, but don't try too hard!

If you want to read some level-headed and scientific articles on dating, the Psychology Today website is a good source. I'm not affiliated with them in any way.

And finally...

If you've been trawling through relationship articles, have you noticed how many of them stereotype everyone? Over 50s are "set in their ways". Under 25s "party and get drunk". Men "don't understand emotional support". Women "don't want their problems fixed". All true for some - but only some! Or maybe I'm just a whacky guy. I'm not intimidated by women who are tall, large, physically strong, or intelligent. In fact those are all appealing qualities to me. When I was young, I hated parties. Now I'm over 50, I'm not grumpy! Life is too short to be hateful, angry, or resentful. Being optimistic, but realistic, will keep stress levels down, and happiness levels up :)

Online dating advice? Fat lot of use!

Here is a range of advice covering far more than just BBW/admirer issues.

Most importantly - for women and men - is that if you are struggling to find a life partner, then you have to be prepared to change what you are doing. Or how you are behaving. But you also need to learn the underlying principles that show why changes are needed, so that you are not just trying out random tips or ploys. Popular advice to "be yourself", causes confusion. You might need to be a better verson of yourself, or maybe make tiny changes to the way you interact with potential partners.

Basic principles for both women and men

1) Being positive. If you've been abused, let down, scammed, insulted, etc., resist the temptation to convey your frustrations to potential dates. If you do, you will create a vicious circle of failure, giving you ever more and more to moan about. Give each new prospect the benefit of the doubt, be upbeat and optimistic, and that will help to attract a good quality person.

2) Taking responsibility for bad experiences. If you have fallen victim to abusive partners, control-freaks or bad tempered boy/girlfriends, then it is vital not to get into a permanent victim mode. One can easily get into a cycle of dating more such bad partners. To break free of this cycle, you have to consider what you are doing wrong. One's behaviour can attract or encourage this poor treatment. For the men, it is often "nice guy syndrome". That doesn't mean you need to do the opposite and behave badly. It means finding the right balance in many aspects of one's behaviour. See below.

3) Finding a balance. I rarely find any dating coaches highlighting this important point. For example, they might encourage someone with low self-esteem to boost their confidence, tell them they are "awesome", and they are "the prize". The problem is, that a common human flaw is to change to improve, but to over-shoot the balance point in one's character. With boosting confidence, it can mean the person becoming unbearably arrogant, but blissfully unaware. It's hard to judge oneself because our own reference point has moved when we change. This balance applies to many things such as our willingness to improve. Some say a partner needs to accept them exactly as they are. But taken to extreme, that means the person is not willing to fine-tune their behaviour, their manners, their style, and maybe unwilling to compromise. Some degree of compromise is inevitable when you meet someone, since you are unlikely to be exactly the same in every way.

For the women: Understanding men

As a very general rule, men are attracted by 2 main attributes of women. Firstly, physical appearance and secondly a positive and attentive attitude. Attraction to beauty is often labelled a flaw, and some men will say "it's what's inside that counts" to avoid criticism. It is just the way it is, so don't moan about it! A positive attitude makes a man happy to be around you, and also means that you are not criticising your partner and moaning about him. It also means common courtesy such as saying "thank you" when he helps. A surprising number of women will place a low value on men and what they do. This applies both to nice guys and jerks. Nice guys try too hard to do everything right, and this lowers their worth in a woman's eyes (subconciously - women don't always realise what is happening). An attentive attitude shows that you value your partner. A 100 year old lady told me that when she got married (as a teenager), her husband was the number 1 priority in her life. These days, many women place a boy-friend below her career, pets, social life, etc. No high quality men want to be treated as low quality.

There is a popular fallacy among women, that men are intimidated by their success, intelligence, academic achievements, etc. Trust me - they are not. In fact, it is more likely that they are bored. Beauty intimidates men. That's all! Men are also not turned on by this resumé of life achievements.

Hypergamy: Some deny that this exists, or applies to most, but you need to understand its subtleties and how it underpins a lot of relationship behaviour. Hypergamy originally meant when women married men of higher social status. Now it is more widely used to mean the instinctive desire of women to date men of equal or higher status. Or at least, perceived status. "Status" might refer to intelligence, education, wealth, career status (perceived), emotional intelligence (including old-fashion male stoicism), mental strength, physical strength and height. This explains why seemingly good relationships sometimes fall apart. If the man's status drops, or the woman's status rises, the woman will sometimes break up with a man who was always kind to her. That doesn't mean all women would do such a thing, as many have a stronger sense of morals and consideration for their partner. It also explains why the stereo-typical nice guys finish last. The nice guy's behaviour lowers his apparent status, because he tries too hard to be nice and compliments the woman too much, giving her the impression that she is of higher value than him - and could easily find a more exciting partner. The moral of this tale, is for you to be aware of how you value a partner. Is it for real-life attributes he has, or is it an instinctive desire to seek out someone better? There are tragic tales of women who dumped a good guy, and spent years searching for that better guy, and missed out on having a family.

For the men: Understanding women

If you've read the hypergamy issue above, you will begin to understand more about female behaviour in the dating world. That means that you need to come across as a high value guy. Don't be 'needy'. Don't place her on pedestal by complimenting her beauty excessively. Keep a balance between being too attentive versus ignoring her. Don't give the impression that you are desparate to date her.

As well as keeping your apparent value high, you need to understand the way women are attracted to men. It's not about looks or wealth - at least for most women. It is more about combining a sense of fun (i.e. not a boring "nice guy") with the right level of confidence, and making her feel safe in your company. Your confidence level needs to stay consistent regardless of what your girl-friend or partner says or does. No bursting into tears or falling apart in a crisis! And this ties in with making her feel safe. If you keep your head, solve problems, show that you can handle situations with people, and practical tasks, then she should feel safe with you.

Unfortunately, some career women will assess your value partly on your academic and career achievements. Because of hypergamy, they might seek out a man who is at least equal in these respects, so don't waste your time with a woman who sees you as low value.

One thing that puzzles a lot of men, is why women say one thing about dating and then do the opposite? That is because they often act on their instinct when it comes to choosing a boy friend, even though it conflicts with what they say when questioned. So, observe what they do, more than what they say when questioned.

For career women

Firstly, ignore some of the terrible advice that is being dished out to career women about dating. "Experts" are cashing in on this market by telling women what they enjoy hearing, rather than giving out useful advice that might seem harsh and unwelcome.

Equality in careers and life, has created a large scale problem for successful career women. Success in careers requires masculine characteristics. If those characteristics are continued into private and dating life, men will not find you attractive. And no, they are not intimidated. The more arrogant women say that to ease their egos and blame the men for dating failures. The simple fact is that high quality men are attracted to femininity. They don't lie awake at night fantasising about a lady's post-graduate degree prowess!

Note that I am not suggesting that you dumb yourself down, or put on any kind of pretence. Instead, try to understand the man's point of view. If he cheerfully tells you about his job or hobbies, don't reply by competing, and trying to top everything he says. It is simple courtesy to take a polite interest in his interests and to ask questions. Then you can have your turn to say what great things you do and hopefully he will be attentive and interested too. I've come across women who delight in putting down and belittling men they date, and are excited to think how superior they are. So happy and excited, that they miss the point that they are condemning themselves to loneliness!

Career women struggling in the dating world, seem to be devided into two main groups. Those ladies who just need a better understanding of male/female dynamics to succeed, and those who are undateable because of their arrogance which also prevents them from improving their stategy. They have started a trend for women to create long lists of demands and criteria for men, that are absurd. If any men exist that meet those demands, they would not want the women who make the lists! Seek out a man, not a fantasy. I'll be giving men a hard time too, so don't worry!

You are the "prize" - possibly!

Dating coaches for women tell them that they are the prize, and to let the men chase them. Meanwhile, men are being told that they are the prize and to let the women chase them! I can imagine them all sitting around waiting to be pursued! As with most things, there is a balance to find between too much chasing, and ignoring too much. There is some added truth in the men's advice not to chase. While it is considered traditonal for men to approach and pursue, it is often the women who initiate events by giving off subtle indications of interest. Or a "green light" for a man she likes to take action.

For western men

Men's communities have been highlighting a modern-day crisis for men in the western world, especially for relationships. Hypergamy underpins part of this problem. Equal opportunities for women in education and work has raised their collective social status, so that men are generally viewed as less worthy by a lot of women. Thus, there is a lot of "man bashing" in the media and in general discussions. I won't get into the modern feminism issue, as it will only make you depressed and despairing! And there lies a problem with the men's backlash against this issue. Many men are moaning and whining about it in a very non-masculine way. Or just giving up. Or trolling the Youtube dating coaches and insulting as many women as they can! Also, even the better informed men in the communities are too brutally blunt - or down-right insulting - to the women. Their messages are often true, but their diplomacy is so terrible that they generate hostile reactions and fail to spread the message to many women. Plenty of women are reasonable and level-headed, and will see sense on a topic if it is explained in a non-provocative way.

The answer (for men) is to stop complaining and instead do what men are supposed to do, and find solutions. That is, a solution on a personal level, rather than campaigning to change the world. The world will change if each individual tackles their own local issues and succeeds. Understanding the problems is the first step. Dr. Shawn T. Smith (American psychologist and author) is superb at explaining such issues, without being anti-marriage or anti-women, so do a search for some of his wisdom. The most obvious strategy is to start by avoiding any women who are into modern feminism (as distinct from equal opportunities). Contrary to what men's communities like to suggest, a woman's style does not usually give any clues. What she says, and how she says it, and what she posts on social media, might give some clues. If she puts men down and belittles them, for no good reason, then that is a red flag.

A lot of what the men's communities complain about, actually has nothing to do with femininism or modern times. So many things in life are far older than we realise. But some of these age-old problems have been magnified by other changes, such as the internet and social media, and by biased divorced courts. Although that latter point is really an old issue, that has been over-taken by the greater independence of women - making the court bias out-dated. Both social media and feminisim have helped to give a lot of young women an overly high sense of self-worth. This has prompted widespread complaints from men that "women feel entitled". That's modern speak for what I would have described as "spoiled brat syndrome". It's an attitude of feeling you deserve to have many things but without giving or earning or striving to be a better person (as all of us should do). And so, that is another type of woman to avoid.

Unfortunately, men's communities are very judgemental about each category of woman, and tend to stereo-type them in the most negative light. A better balance, is to be aware of the dangers, but don't reject a woman without understanding her properly. Otherwise, you will reject almost all women, and then give up, thinking that there aren't any good ones. An interesting way to prove that women do vary far more than men's discussions claim, is to observe elderly married couples. I have observed every extreme of kindness versus control-freaks and bullies and gentle souls, for both men and the women. Also, if you frequent the men's communities and debates, it is easy to get "tunnel vision" in your views unless you go and see what others are debating too outside those groups. In particular, what women are saying and what women are being told by dating coaches. It helps to put everything into perspective and with less sense of doom and gloom.

Having successfully avoided certain kinds of woman, men need to take a look at themselves and be sure that they are the kind of man that a good quality woman would want to spend time with. The harshest complaints about western women, tend to come from men who come across as very aggressive and belligerent. If you are bitter and angry over bad treatment from the past, then you are not ready to date again. Emotions are likely to sabotage your chances and makes things worse. As I said earlier, don't dwell in the men's communities all of the time. I've observed that most of the really nice mature ladies I encounter, are those who are in long-term relationships. Some had been snapped up when they were quite young. It shows that good women exist, and you just need to work out how to find the single ones. Online dating probably isn't the answer, unless you live in a rural region with limited social contact. Online dating sets a very clinical list of criteria for women to assess you, with no chance to appeal to her instinctive attraction she might have when there is a good chemistry. With a touch of confidence (not over done), a stylish and smart appearance and a cheerful disposition, you might find women approach you. If you have to try hard, then you have not got the balance right yet. It begins with a positive mind-set, that good women exist, and you can attract them if you hone your demeanour.

Nice guys finish last

When questioned, many women will describe how nice a guy needs to be. When actually dating, they might ignore the nice guys and date the jerks. Or the alpha males. Simply being nice, makes you a good platonic friend. A lady can find plenty of nice guys. What she probably wants is someone who excites her, makes her wonder what it would be like to spend time with him, and also to feel safe with him. You still should be a good guy, so that you treat women well, but you need to show that you have much more to offer. You might already have more to offer, but instinctively keep these traits secret because you are trying too hard to be nice to a lady. That cliché about being yourself, applies, but you also need to build up enough confidence. Show that you have a sense of humour, and don't act feminine! Unless that is an important part of your personality, and there are a few women who like a role reversal.

For mature women

I recommend that you don't read the men's communities! They are harsh about women's beauty. As a prolific portrait artist, I know that mature women can be attractive. Attractiveness is a combination of natural looks, style (that's the biggest ingredient), poise/deportment, and the personality that shines through your face. The late actress, Arlene Francis, was a wonderful example of a lady who was intelligent, witty, charming and beautiful. Men complimented her beauty when she was in her late 60s, but most men don't fully understand that this is not purely physical good looks. The fact that she was so smart, shows that intelligence is attractive to men, provided that it is used for good - and not to be negative. That sums up a really important point that many single, mature women are missing: Being cheerful, positive, kind and polite, are very appealing to good quality men. Physical beauty is in there too, but that has more to do with style.

As I mentioned above for career women, men are attracted by femininity, both in looks and behaviour. Men also like to show their attraction to a woman by helping her and doing things for her. It might be a small act of kindness, or repairing something in her house. Whatever it is, it makes him feel good to do such tasks and see that the lady is happy. Yet many women feel so independent that they keep declining offers of help, and then wonder why the guy is losing interest - or disappears. You don't have to change your whole life philosophy, but if you understand what the man is really aiming for, then you can accomodate this and both of you will be happier.

When you are trying to attract a good man, then looks do matter. Those who say it doesn't matter are really saying how they want the world to be. You'll win if you don't try to fight it! As a woman in your 40s or older, don't fall into the old rules that say you must dress a certain way based on your age. In fact, ignore most rules in fashion. Find your own style, but consider the most general preferences of men if you are seeking a soul-mate. High quality men tend to have similar tastes to most men. Most prefer long hair, because it is feminine. Most prefer clothes that flow - not too tight or loose. Not too much skin showing, because that suggests negative things about your personality. Whatever build you have, some men will have a preference for it. Knowing that last point, helps to give you a positive attitude to succeeding in love. Don't come up with reasons why you think men don't want you. Different men want different things. Another issue of style to consider is make-up. Men generally don't like to see a lot of make-up. How do you tell if you wear too much? If someone can instantly tell that you are wearing make-up, then it is probably too much. Men usually prefer none, to too much. Make-up, if used at all, should be used to subtly enhance your natural features.

Shyness and anxiety in women.

Advice on shyness is usually best heard from a shy person. I used to have the anxiety disorder "selective mutism" which was often mistaken for shyness. I can empathise with those extremely shy ladies. For the men, it can be easy to misunderstand a shy woman. If she is interested in you, she might give out some of the obvious subtle clues such as glances, and warm smiles, etc. But she might also appear to show a firm disinterest. She might dream of meeting and talking to you, but when the opportunity arises, she might become overwhelmed with anxiety and end up doing the opposite, and avoid you. Sometimes, you can read this effect from her face. She might look down and have a serious or unhappy expression. Some might look away to their side, and seem aloof. You will need to gather more evidence to decide if she is really attracted to you. Just don't feel disheartened on those moments when she seems turned-off. Wait and see how she behaves around you next time. Also, try to think how she would be feeling after missing a chance to talk to you. She might be frustrated with herself and wonder if she has missed her final chance, so make sure that is not the case. If she is really, really shy, then you will have to be patient. Maybe just smile when you encounter her, and see if she seems happy and relaxed. Later on, you might say "Hello", but nothng more, and allow her a few days to process that. Assess her reactions each time, but don't assume disinterest if she seems to back off.

If you are the shy girl or woman, admiring a guy, then it is not easy to break through that invisible barrier that holds you back. You need to give the guy opportunities to approach you and talk, ideally when there is nobody else too close by. The last thing you need is an audience when you are already so nervous! You could memorise possible things to say and talk about for such an occasion just in case you do get to chat, so that the guy does not have take the lead throughout the conversation. You will fear things going wrong, or simply being rejected, but even if that happens, it is a basic part of the learning process. It is nothing to do with your value as a potential girl-friend. Learn, and move on. Or be sad for a short period, get through any emotions, and then move on and practice talking to guys. If you have a severe anxiety, then there is plenty of advice and tips online for ways to begin to improve. I used to force myself through difficult social situations. When it worked out well, it helped to cure the problem. If it went badly, it made the problem worse! I didn't have the internet or mobile phones back then. Now, you might be able to message or email online, if you know who your crush is, and this gets round the shyness problem.

For shy and anxious men

As with shy women, there is no simple cure for male shyness. There is a minority of women who like a shy man, but if your shyness is severe, it will prevent you from getting any opportunities. One strategy is to interact with women in fairly relaxed situations. That is, not social situations or venues where men are expected to approach and chat to single women. Such as when shopping, travelling by public transport, or attending classes or training that are popular with women (such as art classes). I had to get over shyness myself. One great opportunity that came up, just to break that shyness barrier, was when some train travellers were stranded for a few hours, including myself. One was a very atttractive lady and I managed to pluck up the courage to ask about her journey ordeal. I made a point of being cheerful and humurous about our situation. No moaning. It cheered us both up, and made for a nice end to a long and arduous day. And good practice for me. Other travellers were sad, angry, or whinging! I was the one who stood out. Women like men who don't go to pieces in a crisis, because it makes them feel safe.

An important point for men is to read the level of interest that a lady has, and also detect if she is open to being approached. If you get it wrong, she might accuse you of harassing her. Even if she is smiling when she replies, it might be that she is being polite. You have to try and gauge her level of interest. The lady I mentioned above, lit up when I chatted to her, and stood next to me rather than her mum. A lady I spoke briefly to a little earlier, did not seem interested in talking, so I said no more.

By the way, I don't agree with the popular advice dating coaches give, suggesting that you practice talking to women that you don't find attractive. But it is a good idea to talk to a lady you're attracted to in a similar way that you would to most ladies. That is, the same level of confidence, without letting her beauty throw off your concentration. A lady you think is beautiful, might not be sure of her good looks. But the fact that you are talking to her, should give her a clue that you find her attractive (unless she's very insecure - some women will flatly deny their beauty). Don't let the tone of your voice rise, because of nerves. Keep looking happy and relaxed. Make sure you are holding something in your hands, to help mask any shaking or nervous fidgetting. Try not to say things that are routine, cliché or boring. Perhaps make some unusual or funny observations about what is going on around you at that moment.

Single mums

Don't panic! I'm not going to be mean to single mums. Men's communities tend to be very arbitrary in condemning relationships with women with children. There are so many variables, that one should assess each person individually, just as you should with any person. Many men have had bad experiences, but these can be avoided with some care. The variables that men need to consider, are how old her children are? Do they like you? Do they approve of their mum dating? Are they well behaved and looked after? Does their dad cause trouble? Are you interested in an instant family, saving the slight inconvenience (!) of having your own? Do you have children too, that need to get on with their potential step-children? Do you have a young daughter who might be put at risk in a step-family?


At one time I dated a lady who was later diagnosed with aspergers syndrome. This condition is harder to spot with girls/women. Each person with this issue is different, but there are some common characteristics, including positive ones. Such as honesty, loyalty, and straight talking. No need to decode female language into male language! Contrary to popular opinion, they tend to have great empathy, but communication issues can mask this positive trait. If you are dating an 'aspie', then it is probably best not to try and get them to mask their condition. They might do this at times, to make inter-actions during their day a bit smoother, just as everyone has to compromise a little to exist among people. But when on your own together, it is nicer to let him/her be themselves and relax. And helpful for you to learn why they behave the way they do, so that there will be few arguments. Hopefully! They might suffer anxiety in some situations, so you need to find out what things trigger this, so you can either avoid those scenarios or help them through and be supportive. Also, be aware that they might be highly sensitive to certain light, sound and smells.

Although ASD folk often like to have some time alone, they also suffer from loneliness. Difficulties in communicating (reading body-language, and interpretting sarcasm, etc.) makes it very hard to form lasting friendships. But if they can find just one friend who understands and accepts them, then that can make all the difference. And if that best friend is their soulmate, then they have a safe haven to come home to, after the exhaustion of interacting with workmates and other people.

There is an important difference between male and female aspergers (although each individual is different): The average 'normal' male has poorer skills in reading others' emotions than average women. Therefore, a female asperger might be on a similar level to a normal male in this respect. A male asperger, is likely to be more extreme in this characteristic, which might be why we tend to hear cases of men getting into trouble over their behaviour towards women.

Further advice sources for dating.

By far the best dating advice for men, comes from
Dan Bacon. He is excellent at explaining the principles of male/female behaviour, communication etc.

It is much harder to find good advice for women. Some successful dating coaches (especially for career women) give the most terrible advice! That is because they tell their clients what they want to hear, making them feel happy. But anyone who is failing in their dating exploits, needs to change their approach. A good coach will tell the uncomfortable truths that you might not want to hear, and also the underlying reasons. Women and girls seem to receive endless poor advice, and it can take a new mindset to understand how male/female romantic inter-actions really work. A good source of advice on Youtube, is It's Never Too Late!.

For younger women, I would recommend watching what is being taught to the men (see Dan Bacon, above) for a better understanding. And maybe even "reverse engineer" the stategies? Research what men are talking about, so that you are not learning entirely from women.

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Website started 4th March 2001