New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. Read some of the most popular Dear Wendy posts here. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
His Take questions are answered by our panel of smart, opinionated, and funny dudes.
I was married straight out of high school and with my late husband until he died, so I have forgotten how to “flirt and date.” Whatever happened to the men making the first move and asking for the number and all that? Can you give me some insight on what men who ask for sexy pictures really want? I’m so confused, but lonely and ready for a relationship; it’s been more than two years. — Lonely in Alabama
First of all, props to you, hot stuff, for getting back out there in the big, bad world of dating. I wouldn’t wish dating-after-becoming-a-widowed-parent on anyone, and that includes several former employers and the Republican presidential field. Your positive outlook and readiness for a relationship are strong indicators that you will find the latter and probably forthwith.
Of course, there is a caveat, which is that the issue you’re facing is a larger problem with dating in the ’10s (or whatever the media calls it), although ultimately beneficial. First, allow me to update you on dating since your last go-around. In 2015, men who receive your nudie pics before the first date are either a) planning on staying home to touch themselves instead of going out with you anyway or b) going to take the photos as a sign that they are 100% definitely going to get laid and will be furious if they feel tricked.
Men who are likely to be serious about you will put on a clean shirt and pick you up at 8, not meet you at a bar at 11:30 p.m. and say, “Hmm. I see why you sent me photos from the neck down.” (Not kidding — prepare for the worst). Men who are likely to be serious will not risk sabotaging a relationship by asking for a nude photo; they will, as you hope, ask for your phone number and make real plans.
As mentioned, there is a benefit to this. A nude photo solicitor is helping you see that you can immediately ignore him. Even more good news: In the past, it might have taken several dates to determine who is being a creep; nowadays, you can easily detect unworthiness in a suitor in just a few “words”: “What r u wearing?”
I’ve been with Wendy for ten years and don’t know anything about dating these days. (I barely knew anything about dating before I met her). Is this really how people meet now? Does everyone just send each other naked pictures of themselves? Aren’t they worried they’ll end up on the internet? Maybe nobody cares? Maybe there’re just naked pictures of everybody all over the internet and it’s not a big deal anymore? I don’t know. It all sounds a little crazy to me.
Anyway, I’m sorry you’ve had such a difficult time and I guess my advice is: Try not to let your loneliness drive you to do things you’re not comfortable doing. And, for the record, I don’t think you’re the one who’s forgotten how to “flirt and date.” If these guys want to see you with your clothes off, they need to buy you dinner and take you to the movies first — you know, date the analog way.
Men want sex. Also, water is wet.
No, but seriously, I think you’ve overthinking this. Much in the same way that ancient cavemen probably wanted cavewomen to draw naked pictures of themselves on the walls, men are by and large a visual lot, and they like to see naked women. I don’t think GUYS are different; I think the MEDIUM is different. Online dating has made it easy to connect from the comfort of your own home, but it’s also made it easier to do very little work to get lots of fun.
If a guy sends out the same “got naked pics?” message to one hundred women, it probably takes him ten minutes, tops, to cut and paste that. If even three respond with pictures, that’s a solid return for him for ten minutes worth of work. And I think the “newness”, so to speak, that people see this as is really just because the World Wide Web as we know it now is only about thirty years old, and it’s only been about ten to fifteen years at most that it was really publicly used because of the uptick in personal computing. If they had had text messaging and online chatting in past generations, I suspect you’d have seen the same percentage of picture requests.
I like to tell people who are new to online dating that it’s a lot like meeting someone at a bar: You see the perfected image they want you to see, but it’s superficial, and you can’t judge the merits and compatibility of another person in either environment. So no one trusts one another, and it’s easy to be fooled by the right camera angle and filter.
If you like the guy, and you trust the guy, and you want to show him a little skin, go for it, but do so with the understanding that you might not hear from him again and you lose control over the dissemination of the picture. With how lonely you sound, I might exercise caution on the naked pictures until you know the guy well enough to feel safe that he won’t show them around.
If you’d like to ask the guys a question, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.