The Continuing Adventures of Karma’s OnLine Dating (Entry 23): This is about to get strange.
Jan 25th, 2016 by Dr Karma

Um, I have to do this, right?

From OKC (the company):
“Thanks for being a loyal and active member of the OkCupid community! We wish everyone could be such an upstanding citizen, but like any user-driven website, OkCupid attracts its share of trolls, scammers, and people who just don’t follow directions well. To help minimize this element, we’d like to invite you to moderate the many reports of misbehavior that we receive daily.

“Moderating can be fun, but it’s not for the faint of heart. If you’ve never seen a rated-R movie in your life, you may want to sit this battle out. Otherwise, accept our gratitude for embarking on a journey into the dark recesses of online dating!”

The Continuing Adventures of Karma’s OnLine Dating: Entry 22
Jan 18th, 2016 by Dr Karma

After some discussion on line, a guy* asked for a date, suggesting the next Sunday afternoon.

Me: How about 4 p.m. at Barista Brew Cafe in Davis?

[He didn’t answer, until the day after the date was supposed to happen.]

Him: Hey Gorgeous, I def would like us to meet. I find you very classy and sensual lady. think we will enjoy each-others company. Cant wait to meet you.

Me: What happened on Sunday? I was really surprised that you left me hanging.

Him: sorry, it was a busy day for me. request, can we meet somewhere in Sacramento? what’s up with you ladies of match living anywhere, but Sacramento? I look forward to seeing you Lovely.

Me: Is me living in Davis a problem for you long-term? Would we always have to meet in Sac?

[At this point, I’m worried he may not have a car.]

Him: oh no, distance it’s not a problem at all Lovely. It was just me. I got asked to go to Granite Bay for coffee the other day. Thought to myself, it got to be a charming lady in Sacramento..only looking for one 😉 ? I am eager to meet you. Hope to see you soon.

[Oh, you have a car, but I’m not worth the 20 minutes in it.]

[& then, later]: Cafe some day ?

Me: We can maybe set something up. I have to admit that I’m less excited than I was. It bothered me when you asked me to do something Sun afternoon but then didn’t even write to tell me you were too busy. And then in the next messages, you basically complained that the women you’re meeting don’t live in your city, which I thought was a bit tacky, and also not very empathetic, since none of the people I talk to are in my city either.

[6 days go by]

Him: when are you coming to Sacramento?

Me: At this point, I’m not coming to Sacramento.



*Readers may remember another guy insulting my intelligence after I told him we weren’t a good fit, since he expressed a desire for children. I had to send the guy described in this post a similar message, but rather than being offended, he said he was open to children but not set on them, thus paving the way for things to wrong for other reasons. 🙂

Because My Love For You Would Break My Heart In Two
Jan 12th, 2016 by Dr Karma

NPR yesterday: mumble mumble mumble [I had not yet had my tea] . . . David Bowie has died.

I felt like I’d been punched in the chest.

I won’t claim to be the biggest fan in the world; I’ve never even seen him live.

But he meant something to me.

Labyrinth premiered when I was 13. The combination of medieval scholar/screenwriter/Python Terry Jones, Henson sensibilities, and David Bowie rocked my young world. Is it a coincidence that I was coming into my sense of sexuality (aka puberty) just when David Bowie appeared as a sexy stalker/s&m king/rocker?

Of course not.

That man started everything.

I know the whole point of the movie is that Sarah learns about being strong and independent, but every single time Jareth/Bowie says, “I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave,” I say, “fuck, yeah!” (Coincidence that the Heathen album has a song called “I would be Your Slave”? I think not.)

My step-father took a strange pleasure in telling me that Bowie was gay when he learned of my crush (he was trying to crush my crush). I didn’t know then that Bowie was bi if anything. I just had my step-father’s word on things. Now, I was being raised in the South, being forced to attend Southern Baptist churches.

I know I was supposed to be disgusted. I don’t remember how long I ruminated, whether it was hours or days, but I do remember coming into the living room and announcing that my step-father’s news didn’t change anything. Bowie was famous; I had no chance with him; thus, who he loved didn’t matter in my life or to my crush at all. DSCN2007

I named my last little kitten Jareth.

I dressed as Jareth for Halloween a couple of years ago.

While wearing that Halloween costume, I first met my niece, Artemis. She was screaming at her parents, as one month olds are wont to do. I showed up in my costume and took her in my arms. She fell instantly asleep on my corseted-up breasts. The Goblin King is so good with babies.

My first piece of fan fiction (before I’d ever heard the term) was written when I was 13 or 14. I started writing a sequel to Labyrinth: Between the Stars.

After I discovered Bowie in film, I discovered his music, playing the albums my step-father had, and getting cassettes of my own when new stuff came out. Never Let Me Down (1987) was my first acquisition. “Beat of Your Drum” is one of my favorite love songs. “Time Will Crawl” is an apocalyptic masterpiece, and I sometimes listen to it when I fear my migraine will last “three long years.” “Glass Spider” is epic, despite its terrible intro. When Bowie was bad, he still managed to be awesome.

Like everything I love, Bowie intersects with my work. Years ago, I wrote a movie column: 13 Facts About Labyrinth. When I teach poetry, I always start with a couple of songs, to both demystify poetry and to encourage students to pay attention to words. “China Girl” is a staple of the lesson.

My work on Hanif Kureishi (I wrote the encyclopedia entry on him for World Writers In English) includes Bowie; Kureishi went to the same high school as Bowie and models a character on him in The Buddha of Suburbia. Bowie did the soundtrack for the film version.

When I teach Sandman, there’s Bowie–Gaiman had his artists model Lucifer on him. Gaiman also wrote a piece of fan fiction about Bowie.

In Y: The Last Man (another graphic novel series I teach and do work on), almost every man in the world dies in the same instant. One woman mourns when she realizes that all the male rockstars are dead. Grief is especially painful when Bowie’s death hits.

We’ll miss you so much. We are honored to have shared this time with you. Thank you for everything.


The Continuing Adventures of Karma’s OnLine Dating (Entry 21): I Can’t Win
Jan 11th, 2016 by Dr Karma

I used to have a note on OKC saying that I would answer messages other than “hi” etc. Faithful readers know that this causes problems.
Thus, I now have a note on my profile explaining that I used to answer all messages, but that I have to be more discriminating due to the rudeness some guys exhibit. I apologized to awesome guys for letting the un-awesome guys wear me down, but still invited awesome guys without dealbreakers to message.

This morning, this was in my inbox:
“After re-reading you message me if, I just want to say. You kinda get what you put out there in the universe. With that said I think you may be getting what you deserve. not to be rude but we reap what we sow.”

The Continuing Adventures of Karma’s OnLine Dating (Entry 20): I Want to Give Up
Jan 7th, 2016 by Dr Karma

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?

A selection:

“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.

The Continuing Adventures of Karma’s OnLine Dating (Entry 19)
Jan 4th, 2016 by Dr Karma

Why Can’t I Find An Easy Going Guy?

A small selection of the beginning of the profiles I’ve seen in the last couple of days:


I’m a very easy going, alway happy, love being outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Love going to new places. Really enjoy going on walks or bike riding. Spending time with family and friends.

I am a calm easy going guy who believes in the golden rule. I treat people with respect. I like to keep busy and unwind when not working.

Hi my name is [x] ,Im easy going fun to be around,I like to cook ,I like to be around positive people ,who care about people. life is to short ,so i try to be a good example to my two boys.WE have a great relationship,I lead by example.Respectful hard working and clean.

You’ll find that I’m fun and easy to be around. I like to stay in synch with the flow of the moment. I love to laugh, adore the excitement of adventure, and take great delight in life’s simplest pleasures ,honest, and caring. I am a passonite and loyal person with a great sense of humor! ( Humor makes the world go around )

I’m easy going, fun and friendly, loving and caring , looking for someone to share my life with , laugh with,laughs that could be so hard to make you cry. lol. Looking for that one time connection. Looking for home.

I am easy going and love to have fun!

I’m easy going, laid back and loyal and am in search of the same. I am looking for a partner. Not a mother or a daughter. Mean girls and liars need not apply.

Easy-going guy looking for connection with the right lady.

I’m an easy going guy, looking to share experiences and fun times. I enjoy good company with a chat, on the couch, or out and about. I’m looking for someone to help when I need, a sense of humor and can challenge me.


I deleted a bunch more of these. Note that, most of the time, this is all the guy says about himself.

I wish I could hold a writing workshop for these profiles; I would give guys the same advice I give my writing students, especially those who are writing personal statements.

Lesson 1: avoid cliches.

Lesson 2: use specific details to stand out from the rest.

(With my pre-med students, for example, I explain that everyone says s/he is passionate about medicine. It means nothing because everyone says it. Also, if they’re passionate, they should be able to show me that. I’m never going to go through a pile of applications and say, “Give me that student who likes science/got good grades/etc.” Here, of course, no guy stands out for being easy going, for liking to laugh, for liking to hang out with friends, for wanting to have fun, etc.)

Lesson 3: proofread!


P.S. I could have done this post with “I work hard, and I play hard,” “laid back,” and a ton of other meaningless nonsense.


Update: Just read another profile, and I discovered one of the causes of this problem. is modeling bad writing.

The guy literally cut and pasted a sample bio as his paragraph about himself. At least he was upfront about it:

“I borrowed this intro from the provided examples, but it works for me. 🙂

‘I’m a laid back person with a fun sense of humor. I’m a lover of all music and movies. I enjoy nature and can walk around a museum. I’m a sucker for someone who is compassionate and likes to get out and play and can stay in with dinner and a movie.'”


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