Sure as shooting, if I sign onto a certain social network for more than a few minutes, my mailbox will start filling with woo notes — messages from men who purport to think that I’m their kind of woman. A handful are from young men who are not entirely subtle about their desire to score with an older woman. Most, however, are or seem to be from mature men seeing their soul mate/ideal woman (insert your preferred term here). Based on my profile (which does not show dating or a relationship as an interest), they would like to find out if I am The One.
Most of these woo notes have a few things in common.
- They’re generic. They’re not addressed to me or my silly handle, nor do they allude to any of my displayed interests. They don’t even ask what I like to read or watch.
- They refer to my appearance in some way (which may change while my photo has been temporarily replaced by a satirical political button).
- The spelling and punctuation are so bad that often the notes are undecipherable. I try not to be a language snob, and I understand that for many using a keyboard and computer would be like me operating a jackhammer or even a needle and thread adeptly — unnatural, unproductive, even disastrous. Still, what does the lack of basic literacy say about the 21st century?
Here are excerpts from a couple of examples:
- . . . kind of man that loves completly,maybe thats the reason why im being taken advantage of ,makes me feel like im a fool loving, is it always a crime loving from the bottom of the heart, my friend told me if you show all your love to someone, that the person will take advantage of you, is tha true? i dont think it is ,someone women are just being heartless, all i want is someone that can share the same gift of love with me , not just for a day or a night stand i want what i call forever love, . . .
- . . . nice to write to you and will like to meet a woman like you someday . i am single man hardworking and honets faithful lovely sincer caring and kind . i dont have kids.i will really like to know you more because you are pretty and i may think you have good sence of humor ..and will like spending some time with you as well . . .
Now, I’m not actively seeking a relationship, and (spelling and grammar aside), these woo notes, as positioned, aren’t going to change my mind. I’m no expert on wooing anyone, let alone a woman, let alone myself. I can tell you what might attract my attention if not my interest:
- Addressing me as an individual vs. shooting me a prefabricated woo note that sounds like it’s dropped en masse in the hope of luring a lonely fish.
- Addressing me personally.
- Foregoing the direct approach of seeking romance (sex) and engaging me in a topic of mutual interest. Were I to write a woo note, it might begin, “Robert, I read your comments about Henry Miller and think you’re off base. Here’s why” — in which case right off I would appear to be disagreeable, not to mention honest.
This is part of why I don’t write woo notes. I would introduce myself, but I wouldn’t ramble breathlessly about myself and my desire for a soul mate who loves all the standard stuff of bad personals — walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, and other things that people say because they think women want to hear them. I would try to engage in a dialogue that could lead to more dialogue and — dare I say it? — friendship. I wouldn’t try to convince anyone that I’m a lonely, misunderstood romantic tapped in a cynic’s universe. If he’s perceptive — that is, someone I could be interested in — he’ll figure that out without me having to spell it out. I would tell him what I’m looking for. Connecting with another person isn’t about making lists and ticking off each point. If we develop a relationship, that too will come out naturally.
Woo notes, which I’ve received since the days of Love@AOL, are monologues without an opening for dialogue. “I’m here to talk about me. I don’t need to ask you about you — whoever you are — because this woo note is a template I send to every woman whose photo strikes my eye. A few are bound to get a response someday, and that’s all I need to get an online chat or even a date or two.”
Besides, it looks like I’m not that special after all.