Friday, June 8, 2007

Thoughts on internet dating!

One of my favorite bumper stickers reads, “Tact is for people who are not witty enough to be sarcastic.”

I have intimacy and commitment issues and have spent a lot of time coming to terms with my problems with men and sex. Over the past few years I worked to redefine my relationships. I thought I made tremendous progress so several months ago I mentioned to a friend that I might be ready to try dating again. When she picked herself up off the floor, she suggested I try one of the internet dating sites.

Three months later (because I never do anything that has the potential to be life changing without thinking it to death anymore) after she and my other friends badgered me relentlessly every day about my “need” to do it, I signed up at one of the big national sites which shall remain nameless because I don’t want to get sued.

I’m a no-nonsense person and I don’t take crap from anyone anymore – just ask my bosses and the other people with whom I work. My philosophy is, if you can’t truthfully say something nice just walk away smiling. It confuses the heck out of people and makes me pretty happy. I decided my profile needed to be absolutely truthful – no lies - because I didn’t want any misunderstandings of whom I was or what I expected. When it comes to men, I lived a lie my whole life. This seemed like a good time to be completely honest.

So, first I included the word “mean” in my screen name. Now I’m not really mean but occasionally people who don’t know me have interpreted things I said while being sarcastic (see bumper sticker above) as being mean. I am incredibly sarcastic and make no apologies for it. So, I thought I should put “mean” in there just in case. Here’s the profile I submitted:

“Perfectly happy and content woman living a good life. Friends think I need a man because they all have them and want me to suffer too. No strings, no nutcases, no needy men should respond. Only those who are financially secure will be considered, because I do not need or want to be supported and am totally unwilling to support you financially.

You must be emotionally and spiritually well adjusted and basically liberal to middle of the road - willing to see all sides and not be firmly rooted in any religious or political crap. You must also be very intelligent and have a great sense of humor and be fairly busy with your own life because I really don’t want a clinging vine.

You must be good looking and in good shape. I walk my dog often and you have to be able to keep up with me. I am incredibly picky and like people who are nice looking and take care of themselves. If you are a Dr., it would be a plus because I seem to be falling apart piece by piece.

Overall, I’m a nice looking person in pretty good shape. Way too intelligent for my own good and extremely intuitive. Also extremely honest and totally uninterested in playing games. Don’t I sound like a great catch? Hopefully this will satisfy my sadistic friends who are making me do this.”

This was the toned down version. My friends thought the original one was a bit too harsh. What do you think?

Original Version: Total Bitch in need of a booty call. No strings, no nutcases, no needy men should apply. Only those who are financially sound will be interviewed. She doesn’t need or want to be supported and won’t support your sorry ass financially. Must also be emotionally and spiritually well adjusted and basically middle of the road – willing to see all sides and not be involved in any fundamentalist crap. Must also be very intelligent, have a great sense of humor and fairly busy as she really doesn’t want to spend a great deal of time with anyone. You must be good looking and in good shape. She is incredibly picky and won’t be seen with any skanks.

I think they objected to words like “skanks” or something. I personally liked the original version, but went with the other one on their advice. Anyway, I thought it was a rather good synopsis of me and what I was looking for and the site people didn’t reject it. I figured if anyone responded they must either be able to see past all of the rhetoric and into my true self, which would pleasantly surprise me, or they must be totally stupid and desperate. Either way, since I had no intention of initiating anything, I would be firmly in control.

I had hundreds of hits on my profile and bunches of e-mails and winks, all of which I promptly rejected. It’s not that I didn’t want to find someone. It’s just that the right one never appeared in my in-box. Or, maybe I really wasn’t ready. Who knows? But no one was able to tear me away from the “no thanks” button.

One response really floored me. This idiot had the nerve to e-mail me to tell me he thought my profile was “crap”. (Wonder where he got that word?) He told me my profile lived up to my screen name – especially the mean part – and if I ever had any hope of finding a nice person and a good match I should change my profile. He said my friends were probably right and having a man in my life would do me good. (Choke me now!) He also said I was probably lying about the mean part and I shouldn’t do that because honesty was very important. Then he had the nerve to wish me well in my search.

I was flabbergasted. Why did he even bother to respond? If he wasn’t interested, why didn’t he just move on to the next profile? I went back and reviewed his profile to see what had inspired him to be so absurd.

Religion was important to him, so my comment about not being rooted in crap probably didn’t sit too well with him. He said all the same things I read in a hundred other profiles about long walks, cuddling, intimate dinners, romantic evenings, loving and spoiling someone, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Did all these men take lessons from the same college – Boring U?
But one thing I noticed he had neglected to mention about himself – self important hypocrite!

Hey, at least my profile was honest. The more I thought about it the angrier I became. This bigheaded jerk had never met me. He didn’t know anything about me and was passing judgment on me based on a few paragraphs on the internet.

For about thirty seconds, I seriously considered responding to him and giving my opinion on his lineage. And then I hit the delete key and ate a small chocolate Santa.

When my six months membership was up, I quit.


John Elder Robison said...

Well, even with my limited social skills I can see that the profile you posted would probably not work to acquire a mate.

First of all, beginning the ad with "perfectly content" would deter many responders. Guys want to be needed, and you clearly state your own lack of a need, so why respond?

Second, your ad is filled with "must be" specifications. As someone who's owned an automobile dealership for many years, I will draw a comparison between used boyfriends and used cars.

Those who come in saying, "it must be red," drive away with a piece of junk just because it's red, where someone who says, "what's the nicest mid-size Mercedes you've got within my budget" gets the good car.

It sounds like whatever issues you speak of may still be preventing you from engaging in a productive search.

I recently read a book on the history and evolution of marriage. One thing that struck me is this: You can now post an ad on the Internet, and search among thousands of guys for the ideal mate. Just as they can search for you.

And yet, many studies have suggested that the rate of marital satisfaction obtained by these modern methods (using a huge field of choice) is the same or lower than was obtained by the parents who arranged marriages in India in the past century, or by the farm kids who married the girl from the next farm here in America in 1900.

Merry Jelinek said...

Oy... 'Guys want to be needed...'

- Everyone wants to be needed, it's not dependant on anatomy. If I were single and searching for someone to spend my time with, the last thing I'd want is someone who is happy that I'm not content... I don't need saving and I'm not interested in pretending to in order to stroke some guy's ego - most self respecting women would feel very much the same.

And I love your ideals on the evoluction of marriage... Marriages stayed intact historically because it was socially unacceptible to do anything else. Period. A woman could be beaten, bludgeoned, cheated on, and degraded. She would still choose that existence over divorce. It's evolved a touch since then. Regardless of your mode in meeting a mate, spouse, life partner, you are not forced to stay in the relationship through any outward pressure, other than perhaps economics or pressures you're instilling upon yourself.

Marriages succeeded in previous centuries - yes. But how many of those marriages were happy and how many continued because there was simply no choice?

I'd rather be happy and alone than married and miserable... I don't consider the later to be a triumph.