I’m listening to an amazing story on This American Life about an awful troll who ended up apologizing to the woman he actively tried to hurt for years. Over and over again, the woman explains that trolls and their insults, rape threats, and death threats are “just a part of [her] job.”
I’m thinking about two things: the few times I’ve been trolled and the awful way in which society expects women in the public sphere to accept trolling as inevitable.
Naturally, I’m also thinking about how many times this week I’ve thought about taking myself off of dating sites, just giving up, due to the rudeness with which some people respond to me (I’ve been accused of being rude too, and I’ve apologized in those cases).
I’m feeling especially pessimistic this week. I’ve had the usual problems, which I’ve written about and will likely continue writing about, but I’ve also had thee particularly bad experiences.
1) My profile very clearly states (in many ways) that I’m looking for something long-term.
However, some guys hope I’m kidding.
One man (without a profile pic, so he’s probably married) recently wrote, “Hello….how are you? Would you be interested in getting together sometime for some consensual fun?”
Isn’t it nice that he doesn’t want to rape me?
I was polite but firm in turning him down, wishing him well in his search.
That’s a little different from this recent question (sent as his very first email):
“How proficient are you at riding a nice cock?”
I had never “reported” anyone before, but I reported him.
He no longer has an account. It’s likely that OKC saw that he did that to a bunch of us and cut him off.
The site has a vested interest in getting rid of those guys. The perpetual problem on dating sites is an imbalance in the male:female ratio. Thus, the site doesn’t want guys scaring off the few women there are.
2) A 30 year old guy contacted me, asking what subjects I teach. I looked at the five questions he’d answered. One said, “Are you looking for someone to have children with?” He answered, “yes.” I responded to his message, telling him what subjects I teach, but noting that we aren’t a good match if he’s looking to have kids. I wished him well.
His immediate response was to say, “I dont understand women!” He then went on to tell me that didn’t pay attention to the questions and said I shouldn’t bring up children in a first email. I told him I always address dealbreakers right away.
Him: At least, you should have asked people what they really think about a particular subject without saying farewell in your first messages!
We went back and forth for a while; eventually, I suggested we end the conversation, since we were just frustrating each other. I was so careful to keep it light and polite, not typing any of the potentially mean things that entered my head.
Me: I think we’re both feeling misunderstood by the other, and I’m sure neither of us wants to upset the other. We should probably cut the conversation short and go enjoy our evenings instead. I’m sure you have something better to do than to have a frustrating conversation with me. 🙂
Him: I just wonder with that level, how you teach something!
Me: Did you really need to insult me right then?
Him: Lmao, i dont need anything, and i dont insult anybody! I just want to learn something because you gave me that impresssion, i dont have any problem to understand you, i just dont like the way you communicate with me! Your mind seems to work quite slowly and it might be hard to digest what i am saying! [. . .] I hope that will really TEACH you that you wont talk about this subject in your first message anymore!
3) A guy with a very blank profile (he had no picture, had answered no questions, and had only written a one sentence description of himself) messaged me, asking if I was real.
I said I was real and suggested he fill out his profile if he wants real messages from real women. He then wrote some weird ramblings about how posting anything was a waste of time and how having a partner should be a “right, not a privilege.”
I indicated that I wasn’t interested in continuing our correspondence, noting that I am uninterested in blank profiles and pointing out that he would not have messaged me if the only info next to my name was “looking for that someone” either.
What followed was a succession of stranger and stranger messages. In some, he put words in quotes or otherwise indicated that he was responding to what I said; however, in each case, I never said anything on the subject (see the “as you say” line below for an example). Maybe the voice in his head said it?
“I live alone and I have no pets. Women, as you say, often tell me I am incapable of falling in love. I am the odd one out, the one who will never conform…or at least show emotions. But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand what is going on.”
“Your smarts is letting you down. And when it comes to expressing your feelings, you Ph.D. is not helping. Thanks for wishing me well. I actually am doing well. No, you are not angry. You are just disoriented. You are talking to a smart guy, for a change. And that’s a first for you, isn’t it? You are not sure you like it.”
Those last two guys are from the same night. They partially explain the funk I’ve been in all week. Being mansplained to is exhausting, but it’s moreso when guys are mansplaining about how stupid they think you are.
Unwilling to allow the insults to go further, I ended up blocking both of them.
Many people, including my therapist, say I need to stop answering people. The very first impression of ick that I get should lead to the delete button. I’m considering it more and more. I feel like I’m in a trap. If I don’t answer, I’m a bitch. If I answer, guys think I can be bullied into a date, or just bullied.
Still, there have been a few guys who actually said thanks after I said no thanks.
Not sure what to do.