I’m a little more than a week into my experiment with online dating. And (surprise!) I have some thoughts. I’ve been trolling a few of the big ones, but the one in which I chose to actively participate is the one that starts with OK and ends with -upid. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that “stupid” also ends with -upid…
Some background on this site: I chose to start with this one because it’s easy. A quick page of bio info (a summary, list of books/movies/music/TV shows liked, six things can’t live without, something private). Answer any, all or none. Upload a few pictures. Answer multiple choice questions – your answer, what answer you’d “accept” in a partner, and how important that question is to you. You can also skip questions without answering or decide to answer some privately. You can also comment on your answers, which is nice because several of the options are black/white. Based on your answers, the site determines your best matches, giving a percentage to those you’re most compatible with as a partner, friend, and “enemy.”
- What’s up with the algorithm? How am I answering the questions that would lead the site to believe that I’m compatible (with a surprisingly high percentage of compatibility) with someone interested in an open relationship or a kinky fetishes or looking for a super-skinny/model-esque/ditzy/blonde/no kids/heavy drinker and big time partier companion?
- I have a huge appeal to men in the medical profession who are age 55+ (if they’re closer to my mom’s age than mine, I’m turned off), men who are under the age of 25 (mommy complex?), men who are unemployed and/or make under $20K/year, and men who are ridiculously dorky. I can appreciate dorkiness – heck, I have some dorky tendencies, but hot diggity these guys are beyond stereotypes. Oh, and I also rate highly with atheists, men looking for a third-party for their marriage (wink-wink), and men who want to be dominated. Great.
- And on the issues of doctors, with whom I’m very compatible (allegedly), why are there so many docs on the site? Am I really to believe that these men can’t find dates any other way? By their descriptions of themselves and their photos, I’d think women were flocking to them. Red flags much?
- I’m convinced that the majority of men on these sites are lying. (Maybe that’s where I went wrong with the kind of man to whom I appealed – I TOLD THE TRUTH!) Photos are old, and even if they were uploaded recently, some of the (alleged) 42 year olds looked at least a decade or so older. And if they’re not lying, the profile language is so cliché: how many hardworking, dependable, reliable, honest SINGLE men can there be in the world? And why, then, would they be single if they were so ridiculously fantastic?
- Or maybe they can’t read, as evidenced by the responses to the questions. I’m certainly hoping that there are literacy issues that have caused men to answer questions in certain ways – drugs as a romantic activity but you detest smokers? Really? Men who would like there to be a nuclear war? (And why is this even a question?) I really hope that low literacy levels have caused men to miss words like “always” or “never” as part of the questions because for some of the questions, there’s NO question what the answer should be…
- Let’s talk about the photos for a moment. I don’t need to see you shirtless before we’ve even met. Really, put the shirt back on. Why would you include a photo of just your eyeball? What are you hiding? How come so many men are posing next to “toys” like big boats or motorcycles or fancy cars? Pretty sure they’re not yours, buddy. Or include photos of their kids or pets? I’m not looking to date your child or your labradoodle, so why do I care what he/she/it looks like? Or photos taken from a distance with the man wearing a helmet of some sort – or scuba gear. Like I can get a sense of anything with a breathing apparatus or wearing a snow mobile helmet.
- Oh, and I live in the land of milk, cheese and beer – I do not believe that every man on this dating site has an “athletic” physique. Unless, we have different definitions of “athletic” – sorry dating site dudes, but the “six pack” in athletic terms refers to “abs” not how you buy your beer…
All this aside, I have had a few “conversations” (online only) with a few men. One claimed to be a widower working in London, but was so short and uninteresting in his responses that I let the conversations drop.
A second was one of those “too old for me” guys who just wanted to talk dirty – or try to trick me into talking dirty to him – PASS!
Another is a local dairy farmer with a history degree who volunteers at the local historical society for fun. Farm-guy and I seem to have some things in common, but I have some reservations: 1) he lists his height as 5’4″ (I’m two inches taller than that). If he’s anything like the other guys on the site, he’s probably lying and even shorter. Height isn’t a deal breaker, but I do like my heels to be at least two-and-a-half inches tall. 2) he’s excruciatingly formal in his written expression. Hey, I teach writing, and I dig a guy who can craft a complete sentence (they are few and far between on a dating site!) but it’s just VERY formal in his sentence structure and word choice. 3) he’s 39 and never been married. I don’t know why this bugs me, but it does. What’s the problem – with him?
In our last email exchange, farm-guy is hinting that he wants to meet. I’m surprisingly nervous about the prospect of meeting someone from a dating site in person. I mean, what do I have to lose (as long as we meet in a public place and people know where I am)?
Ha! Great observations! I did some on-line dating years ago. The first thing I learned was that it’s best to meet for apps & drink / or a coffee / maybe walk around farmers market (something you can escape from) rather than a full, seated meal. There’s nothing worse than having to sit through a meal with someone who immediately disappoints in one of the many possible ways you described. Just my two cents…I suffered though some awful meals. If you like him, then you can move on to discussions over spaghetti bolognese. Good luck with farm guy, I say give him a shot!
Thanks bedraggledandkicking, for the advice. Being almost two decades out of practice, I’ll take all the advice I can get!
Every time I read a profile with the word “orientated” in it, I want to scream. That, and many have no idea when to use a contraction…sigh.
So true! I’ve weeded out those who refuse to use capital letters, punctuation, or seem to have a limited grasp of the English language!