The Unreplied-to Message

I’m terrible at starting conversations online. Especially when I fancy someone. My graveyard of failed opening gambits splits into the following three categories:

Embarrassingly Predictable
‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’

Seismically Boring
‘That’s a nice house. Are you a property developer?’

Downright Weird
‘I think you should urgently give me your number because increasing radicalisation means the threat of a bioterrorist attack is higher than ever so really we don’t have much time.’

Whichever approach I take, it always has the effect of ushering Potential Miss Right into a cavernous hour of embarrassed silence in which I check repeatedly for a reply and then slowly, painstakingly realise how goofy I’ve just made myself sound.

Time flies when you’re having fun. And it drags when you’re not. But when you make a total idiot out of yourself time actually redefines all previous perceptions you had of it by stopping and actually going into reverse.

It’s usually at this time-reversing-y point that I take to a portal other than GaydarGirls to transmit a different kind of communication: ‘Urgent message to God/Buddah/All other miscellaneous humanist spirits: Please end the world immediately because I have just realised how uncool I am. Thanks.’

The thing is, everyday parlance isn’t something I struggle with. Nor are relationships. So why do I find messaging a girl for the first time so difficult? What can people like me do to stay out of the unremitting wilderness that is The Unreplied-to Message?

I called up Successful Dating Friend for advice:

‘Hi. Is there some sort of Utah-based opening line treatment camp I can be shipped off to to have my awkwardness bootcamped out of me?’


‘So what do I need to do to stop stunning Potential Miss Right into silence?’

‘You just need to relax.’

‘Relax?! How can I possibly relax when Potential Miss Right is repeatedly running to the other side of The Internet to get away from me?’

‘There’s an inherent flaw in your approach – you’re trying too hard. Yes, Potential Miss Right may well be a property developer, but opening a conversation about fluctuating London property prices just makes you sound like a belligerent Chelsea estate agent and no one wants to make out with one of them.’

‘True. So the answer is to try less rather than to try more?’



‘Do you even care about fluctuating London property prices?’


So there we have it. Apparently I don’t (yet) need to undergo a seismic personality change in order to engage with the women I want to attract, because it turns out the written equivalent of a friendly smile is more happily received than the sight of gnawing self-doubt and desperation. Who’d have thought that being yourself from day one could set you off on the right foot.

Right, I’m off to send some messages. I’ll keep you posted.



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