Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adventures in Online Dating - Part 4

The "Don't Go Back to Snarkville" Edition. 

Oh wait... we never left Snarkville. Carry on, then.

So, apparently I have a lot to say about this whole dating thing.

I’m glad that I’ve taken a step back from it all, because, quite frankly—I totally get why so many folks get discouraged quickly in the online dating scene.

I’m not discouraged, per se. A little disappointed, maybe?

It helps that I am incredibly busy—which helps me stay detached from all the potential discouragement I would feel if I made dating and trying to find someone amazing a central focus in my life.

So, since I’ve got a virtually endless amount of fodder for the ole blog… I thought I’d have another go at another snarky post. Aren’t you glad?

I have my profile on two sites: Match (a paid site) and okcupid (a free site).

What’s interesting is that I have completely different experiences on both sites.

On Match, the trend seems to be men who are looking for Barbie with a Perfect Body™ who are approximately 5 years younger than they are (I mean, one guy actually said that in his profile: “Ok, I want someone who is 5 years younger than I, because that’s what I’m supposed to look for”).

(No individual thought necessarily, apparently…)

And… generally speaking, these guys are also looking for women who are ready to pump out babies.

You might gather that I don’t spend a whole lot of time on Match.  

First of all, the site is clunky. And after going on one date with someone who almost worked for Match, I now understand why the site feels so squicky to me.

If you’re in the online dating game, pay attention to this part.

Match actually use algorithms that are designed to bring two people together who will date for a short while… and then break it off… therefore, sending both parties back to Match.com.

In other words, the actual matches who end up getting married are flukes.

(Side note to say how the nerd in me is whirring like crazy, wanting to know the ratio of Match hook-ups to actual marriages and failed relationships, the standard deviation, etc...)

Kind of brilliant, when you think about it, but if you’re on the receiving end of that, or if you’ve been on Match for a while and have paid them a lot of money—it kind of sucks.

And while the quality of men has the appearance of being somewhat better on Match vs. on okcupid… the general consensus is that they also seem to be looking for some sort of invisible standard of perfection that just doesn’t exist in a human.

The level of bitterness I see in Match profiles is also far higher than on okcupid. Men who have apparently been in the circuit for quite some time (looking for that elusive perfection?) who have plenty to say about what you should or should not bring to the table if you dare to send them a message.

I think it’s reasonable to say that I get much more actual fodder for my blog from okcupid, though, since most of the profiles I’ve come across on Match are written by men who can actually write a sentence containing a noun and a verb, and the messages I’ve received there have mostly been polite, and I can’t say the same for okcupid. I think most all of the tidbits I’ve posted have originated from okcupid, but that makes sense for several reasons.
  • I spend more time on okcupid
  • It’s a more user-friendly site
  • It’s a better site overall, with better matching capabilities
  • Frankly, there are just more people
  • There doesn’t seem to be any sort of literacy clause for okcupid

And while it’s not quantity vs. quality, certainly—quantity helps, when you’re trying to find quality. Maybe it’s the old adage of finding a needle in a haystack… If you’re searching through a larger haystack, it might take longer to find the needle, but maybe there are… more… needles?? Ok, maybe that doesn’t work so well after all. Hm.

I want to stress that so far, the folks I’ve gotten past the messaging stage, texting stage, and to the talking-on-the-phone and meeting-in-person stage have been at the very least interesting and engaging. I’ve had some really great conversations, some amazing connections, and some wonderful laughs. I’ve even learned some great things along the way.

Again… what I’m referring to here are exceptions.

Or worse—they start out seeming relatively normal, but as time goes by, the insecurity, control issues, and desperation are revealed.

Here we go.

First, some more one-line messages:
talk to me
I don’t know what to say about this. I don’t take to being bossed around very well. Just ask my ex-husband, or anyone who knows me at all. I don’t like being told what to do. Especially not by a stranger. This sort of message will, again, garner zero response from me.
Hey, I would really enjoy talking to you.
So, I looked at his profile, just out of curiosity… then got sidetracked because I was in the middle of doing something else. This is as good a time as any to mention that I’m ADD.
Twenty minutes later, I got this message:
I guess that means "no"...LOL ;()
Well, fine. You guessed right, buddy.
Sadly, I hadn’t meant anything by not responding right away, other than—I got distracted, and then forgot about it.
What turned me off was the fact that he jumped to a conclusion so quickly and assumed that I wasn’t interested, even though I hadn’t really made my mind up—until he sent that second message.
hello would you like o go boating or motorcycling?
Sure. With someone I know, who I am certain won’t use the opportunity to conveniently dump my body somewhere…
you are irresistibly gorgeous.. can i have your number?
Except, this same guy emailed me when I first signed up on okcupid, with the exact same message: You are irresistibly gorgeous. Can I have your number?
Back then, I responded with “It’s a bit early for that.”
(This was back when I responded to every message—which didn’t last long!)
U r deffenalty cute n funny, that's a big plus for me, hi I'm (name removed—I do at least have that much decency) is great to meat u
Auuugh!!! I have no words for this spelling and grammar nightmare. Mostly just screaming. And I really, really don’t want to MEAT anyone.
hey hope u dewing good
Gross! I mean, I know this is Texas and all, but I really don’t want to talk to any stranger about dew, unless we’re talking about Mountain Dew (the soda) or dew that appears on grass on a humid morning.
Hi Linda, can you chat?
Thanks for assuming I go by Linda, and thanks for not noticing that I have the chat feature disabled on okcupid.

The Uber Lazy Guy
The guy who can’t be bothered to check his “Sent” folder. Which, by the way, is right at the top of the Messages tab. Very easy to find… Even my mom could find it.

Wait. Ok, maybe my mom couldn’t find it… but my aunt definitely could.

Hello! I've gotten so lost on this site that I honestly don't know if I've sent you a message yet or not...oh, dear. Let's hope I wasn't a dick before.
Love your smirky pics, though you have a terrific smile.
Are you still actively looking on the site? Please check out my profile and see if there is anything there that intrigues you. I'm just new and clumsy with this, so trying not to overdo it.
(name removed)
What this message says to me is that he can’t really be bothered to say something about what I wrote in my profile—only about the pictures I posted.

Let me reiterate. I am prolific in my profile—at the very least, in hopes of offering some point of connection to make it easier for a guy to reach out to me. If you can’t find at least one thing from my profile to mention to me in a message, then why should I bother responding? This is minimal effort. Really… minimal.

The I’m a Good Kisser™ Claim
I am tired of seeing “I’m a great kisser” in profiles. It’s old, it’s tired, and in my experience, it’s usually not true.

If you feel the need to brag about something so personal and so subjective in your profile, that tells me you probably aren’t very good at it.

I kind of equate the kissing thing to the “I love to laugh!” statement.

I don’t know of anyone I’ve met who doesn’t enjoy kissing, if it’s with the right person. Same with laughing, right? So stop talking about it in your profile. Kissing is something that stems from the chemistry between two people, and I’ve kissed people who have claimed to be great kissers, and you know what? It was awful.

The worst was a guy back in my college days. It was New Year’s Eve, and I was at a friend’s house in Connecticut. This guy told a lot of tall tales that evening, including how he had hitchhiked across the US. But perhaps the tallest tale was his endless bragging about how great a kisser he was.

At midnight, he made me his target.

I even remember the guy's name, too. Unfortunately, his mouth was more memorable than his name. He opened his jaw alarmingly wide—I mean—imagine a cartoon head where the head completely swivels backwards (like the Canadians in South Park)—and he aimed for the general vicinity of my mouth with his teeth.


He actually surrounded my entire mouth (including my lips!) with his teeth.

It felt as if there was a fish with teeth sucking on my mouth. It was bizarre, painful, and quite honestly, one of the weirdest experiences of my freshman year.

I can't entirely recall how I got out of that one, but I made my escape and then made myself remarkably scarce for the rest of the evening. 

Red Flags—They’re Everywhere, They’re Everywhere!
Then there’s this guy.
Hi. I was browsing the site while on a slow moment on vacation today. I saw your profile and would like to start a conversation with you but do not want to wait till I return when I have time to be witty and clever.
Since I have to get back to family and my vacation, I invite you to check out my profile and see if it can be interesting enough to get you to reply back.
(emphasis mine)

I didn’t really know what to think of that first message. He’s on vacation, yet just bored enough to be surfing okcupid… Okay, I can roll with that. But that last bit felt just the slightest bit like he needed validation, or needed to know that he was worthy of a reply.

I replied… and we sent a few messages back and forth, and then I got busy, and then I got involved with someone for a little bit…

And then this guy sent me a message where I could tell he was trying to be funny, but it just came off as pathetic. He pointed out a variety of statements he had made in his previous message that could have possibly offended me. But he wasn’t funny about it, at all.

It probably doesn’t help that I was spending time with an actual comedian at the time, who was actually funny—so to this emailing dude’s detriment, I suppose that made him seem all the more pathetic.

But I digress. I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I sent him a message that I would reply with more soon. Part of me wanted to give this guy another chance to not seem so desperate, and in the mean time, I did want to see how he responded to that.


About a week went by, and I didn’t reply back.

And then I got this message:
Passed a city sign on my way home from Bridgeport today. The city was Newark and i could not for the life of me figure out why it was ringing a bell in my head. Then I remembered you had gone to Newark recently. I then realized you had not written back yet. It has been a while since I have heard from you and thought I would try to contact you once more. Here is hoping that this message prompts a response!

Okay, now that you’ve gotten downright demanding on me, that means you’ll get nothing more from me (again with the whole telling me what to do thing). I should have gotten that clue when I read his profile, where he plainly states (as the very first thing you read on his profile) that he doesn't like okcupid's quick rating system, and he pretty much demands that you wait until you know him before giving him a rating.

People with control issues, or who are just... holding on too tightly... will show their true colors soon enough, and I'm afraid this dude falls into that bucket.

I do happen to be a very busy woman, and not actually busy with dating… but with—gasp—living my life. And if someone is going to have the patience in the early, getting-to-know-you stages where it’s no big deal if it takes me 3-4 days to respond to a message you’ve sent me, then I’ll have a whole lot more respect for you, and chances are, it will take me less and less time to respond to you.

See how that works? As I get to know someone better, and we have more and more common ground, more and more things to talk about… I begin to carve out time for that person. I move that person up the priority list, so to speak.

But it takes mutual respect. It takes a little bit of patience, and that also means—please don’t jump to conclusions, don’t assume (because, you know what they say about that), don’t hide behind your own judgments. Don’t assume that you are suddenly the center of my universe, because I responded to one message you sent me. Don’t assume that I don’t like you if it takes me several days to get back to you.

In other words… and please, bear with me at the hilarity and it’s-come-full-circle-ish-ness of this: don’t play games!

Just be real. Just be honest… be you.

That’s all I ask, and yet—it seems to be asking quite a lot.

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