Monday, July 29, 2013

Some observations from the world of online dating

[Alternate (pessimistic) title: People and the Internet are Horrible]

In late March, I ventured into the world of online dating. I've met some genuinely awesome people as a result, but this post is not about them. It's been an alternately curious, terrifying, hilarious, WTF glimpse into what humanity does when it doesn't have to talk to someone face to face. It's also been an interesting psychological experiment on myself.

Here's some things I've learned:
  • Venturing back into the dating scene when you're six weeks out from completing graduate school and about to take the biggest exam of your life is either the best or the worst idea ever. I haven't decided yet. 
  • Taking their dating profiles at face value, I should believe that approximately 99.9% of straight male Portlanders ages 28-33 are "laidback and easygoing." Way to not be a cliche, dudes.
  • Asking a dark-skinned man who messaged you whether he enjoys hiking or camping (since he never mentions it in his profile or has any pictures of said activities) can result in him accusing you of racism.
  • I feel the need to shower after finding out that a 58-year-old with a Pomeranian in his profile picture has viewed my profile. 
  • The vast majority of acquaintances who learn that I am meeting people online seem to require some kind of justification for my actions, and to be confused as to why I would be driven to such a desperate means of finding a man. To the point that I feel the need to give an explanation before they even ask. As in, I work (and went to school) in female-dominated fields, all of my friends are paired off so I don't often meet new people through them, and I sure as hell don't go to bars to meet guys (do people actually do that at my age?), so my venues for meeting someone organically are limited. In this day and age, I think meeting people through a website is a perfectly acceptable way to find dating partners, and I don't feel any shame in it. In fact, I think I kind of prefer it. You get the chance to screen out people based on issues that might not come up till much later in a non-online-meeting scenario.
  • Oddly, at least half of the guys whose profiles I have viewed seem to feel this same shame of being online, with taglines such as "I won't tell anyone we met online" or "We can say we met at the park."
  • A good rule is to only go on dates with guys who can spell and use punctuation properly.
  • If you're on a date and the guy starts vocally judging you for how long it took you to get back into dating after your last breakup, it's acceptable (actually, it's recommended) that you ditch him and go home to watch The Big Bang Theory and drink wine. 
Questions I have for guys on online dating sites:
  • What, exactly, compelled you to make your username Stud_Beefpile?
  • Do you honestly think that messaging a girl with the one-liner "Let's make a baby" is going to get you anywhere? 
  • Same goes for "hi just at work being bored lol :)"
  • Ditto "I bet you read National Geographic to look at pictures of naked tribesmen, and then claim you're just reading the articles." What the f***? (I'm looking at you, Stud_Beefpile)
  • What possible reason could you have for casually mentioning on your otherwise sane profile that you think racist jokes are the funniest ones? 
Yes, online dating can bring out the worst (and weirdest) in people, but it's getting more and more common and I know many people who have married someone they met this way. So it gives me hope. Also it gives me the opportunity to engage in messaging exchanges like this:

Guy: "When did you go to New Zealand? I have been there twice."
Me: "I was there from fall of 2010 to spring of 2011."
Guy: "Wow, we overlapped! I was there in the spring of 2010 and again in December 2011."

The powers of deductive reasoning are not strong with this one.

There are many excellent blog posts out there about the horrors of online dating. This blog (WARNING: a bit graphic!) made me realize that the worst messages I've gotten are Shakespearean sonnets in the scheme of things. This Buzzfeed post just cracked me up.

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