It’s been over a year of this crap.
As you can probably predict from my word choice, I’m not enjoying it.
It’s not exciting–it’s exhausting. There are some days when simply checking my messages is another duty in a too long list. It’s hard to work up the extra time and energy for a date most times. And the pickings are slim; sometimes, I am tempted to open my parameters a bit–maybe a guy doesn’t have to be close or maybe I could do the poly thing–but the second I think of driving to Folsom regularly or having to talk about more than one relationship at a time (when I hate relationship talks), I just want to hang a “closed for business” sign around my neck.
When this adventure started, I made a rule: I wasn’t going to choose anyone that I’d have to explain to my friends. My last long term relationship was one of the few I’ve had in which I didn’t have to say “but” constantly–he wasn’t perfect by any means, but there wasn’t anything obviously, unforgivably wrong with him.
It was a wonderful reprieve from years of people whom I could have counseled my own friends to dump if they’d been in my place.
Instituting this rule has made me incredibly picky. And I don’t want to live with someone; I have no burning desire to get married, and I’m done having kids. Since I don’t want to settle down, I have less reason to settle.
On the other hand, for a long time now, I’ve been giving guys lots and lots of chances: going out on a date if I couldn’t find an obvious reason not to, agreeing to a second and third, even if the thought of a second date filled me with that “meh” feeling.
I’ve had that “meh” feeling with almost everyone.
I’ve had that “meh” feeling so much that I was starting to think it was normal–that it was the highest level of enthusiasm I could muster.
There have only been a couple of guys who have inspired more than a “meh.” And some guys have had a “meh” feeling about me. And even on the rare occasion when neither of us are “meh,” other things aren’t working.
But because of the very few, now when I get that “meh” feeling, I remember that I am capable of more, even if most people can’t inspire it in me.
I want more than meh. And I’d like to think I deserve more than meh.
But then we’re back to me being picky.
Even if we discount all the people who are incredibly wrong for me–the smokers, the homophobes, the white supremacists, the conservatives, the baby crazy, the far away lovelorn, the fakers, etc.–so many things have to come together in the Venn Diagram of relationships:
Okay–I just tried to make a Venn Diagram for this, but I could only find software that would make PDF versions–and it would only let me have three circles.
In the interest of getting other stuff done this week, I ask you to please imagine the following in a Venn Diagram:
Similar life desires
Actual readiness for a relationship
If even one of these is missing, the whole thing falls apart.
So, at the start of the summer, where am I? Where I was last year.
Thinking about circles and saying “meh” a lot.
You are too good to be here, why no luck yet? I can feel the passion in your face,so please let this be for me,i can going to be all yours and honest.You can text me now on [xxx xxx xxxx]. Waiting patiently.
It was his profile name that caught my attention, however: whitesociety1
Umm–that means he’s a racist, right?
Slightly less, but still notably, creepy fact about him: in his answers, he says contraception is immoral.
Why no luck yet indeed.
Context: Our match number was in the mid 80s (I usually end up on a date with someone in the 90s). In his answers to OKC questions, he said he wouldn’t be okay with a partner having pictures of her exes or spending time with them. This is the entire conversation, plus what I wanted him to hear.
Him: hey there, pretty girl.. excited about the long weekend? We seem to match pretty high on this site (some topics more then others, lol), wanna put it into a test to see if this site works?
Me: I’m getting caught up on a lot of work this weekend, which is important if not exciting. 🙂
We match up on some things, but from your answers to questions, it looks like you wouldn’t be comfortable with me being friends with exes–that’s a deal breaker for me.
What I wanted him to hear: I DON’T DATE JEALOUS GUYS. IF THAT’S YOU, GO AWAY.
Him: Well, I guess we could cross that bridge when we get there..
Me: Usually, when guys say that, they mean they’ll try to change my mind.
What I wanted him to hear: I’M NOT FALLING FOR THAT. IT’S CALLED A DEAL BREAKER FOR A REASON–IT’S NON-NEGOTIABLE. NO JEALOUS GUYS NEED APPLY.
Him: Is that how you feel? Don’t want to even meet up first?
Me: Not if you would need me to change that part of myself. My friends are very important to me–and some of them are exes. I’m not going to throw their pictures away or cut them out of my life.
In two weeks, I’ll be in London for a conference. While I’m there, I’ll be staying with an ex, whom I was with a decade ago, and his wife. Three summers ago, I was [. . . ] in their wedding.
I believe in being honest with myself and with other people. This is who I am.
So even before we meet, you would have to be accepting of that. I don’t want to waste a lot of time trying to change each other into what we want.
What I wanted him to hear: UNLESS YOU WANT TO CHANGE, FUCK OFF.
He hasn’t answered, so I think he got the subtext on that last one.
There weren’t as many dick pics as I thought there were going to be.
As some of you may remember, several months ago, OK Cupid asked me to be a “moderator” on their site. Users can “flag” photos, profiles, and messages. Several moderators make recommendations. I’m not sure what happens after that–whether the majority vote trips an algorithm or whether a professional moderator makes the final call.
I was ambivalent about doing this. It is, after all, unpaid labor. I would have been a lot more willing if OKC had offered to upgrade my membership for providing this service.
On the other hand, I was curious.
So for a couple of weeks, I looked at flagged items. I wasn’t asked to weigh in on messages, though they were what I was most curious about. (Just last week, someone with a blank profile sent me this lovely message: “u ready for my guuuuuuu?”)
Instead, I was mostly asked to look at pictures.
Several members do violate policy–dick pics are not allowed, neither are pics with nipples or labia. A pic of a mostly naked person, however, as long as it doesn’t include those three things, is allowed (and there are lots of both the disallowed and allowed forms of nudity).
Members are supposed to put up pictures of themselves–the two violation types here are pics of nonhumans (a dog, an inspirational quote, a sunset, etc.) and pics that clearly aren’t the user. In that second type, most people post pictures of models or porn stars. However, some users post a picture that could be them–it’s just that someone believes it isn’t, since they could find that picture on the internet. In those cases, I remind my fellow moderators not to jump to conclusions–my pictures can be found both on google and on OKC.
Extreme close ups are also banned–a close up of your tramp stamp, your right eye, etc.
However, many people flag pictures that shouldn’t be flagged. It’s not forbidden to include another person, even a child, in your photo. Many dads do the latter–it’s easy to see why–they want to emphasize their fatherhood AND guys usually don’t have any pictures of themselves unless another person’s in them.
Another piece of confusion: some believe that the photo must include the user’s face. Although an extreme close up of your elbow is not allowed, you are allowed to post a picture of yourself facing that cliche sunset picture, facing away from the camera.
So what have I learned?
1. Women put up some very explicit photos too.
2. I generally hate it when people put up pictures that don’t have them in it–your Ghandi quote does not make me like you. However, I find the pictures of guns and confederate flags extremely helpful–they do tell me a lot about you.
3. Many, many people are fakes–that picture isn’t of them. I’m not sure what they’re after, but they’re inherently annoying.
4. There are many, many other people who apparently do a google image search of every picture they see, so they can report you. Beware.
At any rate, my curiosity is sated enough, and I’m generally bored enough, to stop doing this.
I’m fairly certain that the men who message me grew up on Looney Tunes, as I did.
I’m now fairly certain that many of those men learned the wrong lessons, especially a lesson about taking no for an answer. In the world of Pepe Le Pew, no doesn’t exist. Penelope (the cat) makes her position clear. Pepe doesn’t listen. And sometimes, he wins.
I have a vivid memory of catching one of the cartoons as my son watched, years ago. Pepe chased Penelope. She was running for her life. She ran into a cave–an ice cave. The last shot of her showed her terrified face, reflected in the ice shards, as she realized she was trapped. Pepe rolled a boulder in front of the entrance and hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign.
For a couple of days, I’ve been nicely explaining that I don’t want a long distance relationship. In fact, this is the only conversation I’ve had with the gentleman in question. He complimented me. I thanked him. He said he wanted to talk more. I said I didn’t want to pursue anything, since he was far away. We exchanged this information several more times–him saying he wanted to talk, me saying I didn’t. (I’m also inherently not interested–his profile is generic and he hasn’t really answered OKC’s questions). This is the end of the conversation:
Picture Pepe bouncing after me; a French accent may even help some of the grammar/writing problems:
Him: But I do you think I’m suppose to find that’s perfect woman, if not by getting so close with me woman that my spirit tells me much about.
Him: I don’t care about the distance, because I can’t get my eyes of you.
Him: You are a good looking woman, if you don’t really believe in long distance relationship, why don’t you give it a try.. And what about talking and texting you on phone?
[That last one confuses me, causing me to stumble. So because I’m pretty, I have to do something I don’t believe in? I pick myself up, keep running, calling this out.]
Me: I’ve done long distance before; it’s not what I want for my life. And I don’t want to spend all day talking and texting on the phone for a relationship I don’t want to pursue. […] Look–you don’t know anything about me, really. You just seem to be attracted to me based on my looks.
Him: Yea I know I don’t really know you, but I know it only takes a day to know someone and be close friends.. You are attracted to me by your looks yea.. And that makes you a woman and I’m proud saying you are attracted to me and I’m interested in you. I’m the the kind of in-person that likes meeting someone that is been attracted to me, and that who my spirit accept as a woman. My spirit tells me you are a good looking pretty woman. I follow what my spirit tells me, I just wish things will work out between us, I’m going to make you proud and you will never regret having an meeting me. I’m not ask you of that forcefully, take your and think about it.
[His spirit tells him what? And when did I say I was attracted to him?]
[I raise the mallet.] Le sigh.
So many men say on their profiles that they’re just looking for someone who loves them for them.
I know where that feeling comes from–they’ve been asked or expected to change before–finding out too late that love came with conditions.
I’ve been asked/expected to change
into a Canadian
into a blood letting dom
into someone “laid back” instead of driven and alert
into a good Christian woman
into a stepmother
into a trophy wife
into a dog person
into a woman with more than one child
into a biker babe
into a sports fan
and so many other things.
Naturally, these guys haven’t gotten what they wanted, since any hope of change has to come from a desire to change.
There are some attractive, interesting guys out there, but there’s usually something that keeps me from messaging them–it’s that I would need them to change.
If a guy smokes, I don’t tell him to stop; I just don’t tell him anything at all.
It’s the same with guys who want kids, guys who want someone really thin, guys who want someone who’s up for a spontaneous hiking/fishing/camping trips all the time, guys who need someone to watch sports with them . . .
There are also a lot of guys I’m not tempted to message because, and let’s be brutally honest here, they would have to change into someone who can come across as interesting in a dating profile, but most guys are desperately normal, with interchangeable, instantly forgettable profiles.
I’m really tired of guys who want me to change–especially when a major change would have to occur for a first date to happen.
In addition to the changes listed above, there are lots of guys who would like me to change into someone who wants to be poly, or who wants “no strings” sex, or who will be thrilled to enter into an adulterous relationship, or who is open to long distance, or a combination of the above.
The oddest (to me) request I get, though, is the frequent request for friendship. Dating sites generally allow you to say what you’re looking for: casual, long term, new friends, etc.
I am very clear that I’m looking for a long term relationship.
Some men, when I tell them I won’t date them because of x or y, will ask to be friends. I get it: they’re lonely, but I’m so not. My friends are wonderful and plentiful. Between them and my workaholism, I am never, ever bored, never wondering what I’m going to do for any given stretch of time.
And then there are conversations like this recent one:
Him: Hello there. I love your smile. Maybe we could be friends?? hope to hear back from you..
Me: “Friends” always seems like a weird word to me on dating sites. Some guys use it to mean they want dating with no strings (and of course there shouldn’t be strings at first, but they mean ever). Some guys use the word to mean sex without even dating. Some guys are lonely and need someone to watch tv with. I’m not bored or lonely–I have a vibrant groups of friends. What’s your definition?
Him: I hadn’t really thought about it. I guess this might paint a better picture: I don’t really have time to “date”, just hoping to find someone who wants to hang and watch stupid tv shows and fool around sometimes NSA. If something more develops, fantastic. But it’s hard with 2 little guys and 50/50 custody to really get into anything serious right away. So I guess it sounds like I’m being a typical male pig but it’s more necessitated by my lack of pure free time
He’s not a pig, of course, for wanting what he wants. But I’m clear in what I want–and it’s not a bad tv companion whom you get to fuck sometimes.
There are Japanese sex dolls for that, right?
As my faithful readers know, politeness is a double-edged sword in online dating. Men hate it when their overtures are ignored, yet polite nos are met with badgering bullshit. The overwhelming advice I get from men and women is to quit with the politeness already.
Today presented a new challenge.
A man “liked” me. In other words, he didn’t send a message, but hit a button indicating interest. A quick perusal of his OKC profile led me to one conclusion: No.
He’s homophobic, thinks creationism should be taught in science classes, rates his faith as “extremely important” in his life, etc.
So I logged back off.
Unfortunately, some lonely people spend all day hoping that someone, anyone, looks at their profile.
Him: No hello
[Please note that I did not comment on the irony here. He didn’t say anything to me when he read my profile; he simply clicked on a star.]
Me: I don’t think we’re very compatible. You seem to be more old fashioned than I am. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day!
[This is me being nice. It is code for “go away, you homophobic bigot.”]
Him: Why would you say that how do you know?
Me: I read through some of your answers to questions. You said homosexuality was a sin, that creationism should be taught in science classes, etc. As I’m a passionate advocate for gay rights, for science, etc., I don’t think we’re compatible.
Him: Omg I don’t give a shit about that
Once again, I wished him well. I did not mention how he just took the lord’s acronym in vain, etc.
And then I blocked him.
I’m so sick of this.
I’m coming to the end of a three month experiment with Match.com.
I’m very ready for it to be over.
Are there some good guys on there? A few. I’ve been out on dates with two of them. But that’s only two guys who got to meet me in over two months.
1. The layout is ugly.
2. The layout doesn’t encourage men to give any useful information. There are fewer prompts than we have on OKC; only the most basic questions for compatibility (do you smoke? do you want children?).
3. The site doesn’t seem interested in actually matching me with anyone at all. Even with only the basic information, it keeps showing me men that I would not be compatible with–men who “definitely” want children, etc. It also keeps showing me people I’ve seen already–sometimes whom I’ve talked with before–just so it can keep claiming it has all these matches for me.
4. There seem to be fewer men on this site who are willing to narrow the net, especially politically. 98% of the guys I see say they’re “middle of the road” politically. In this political season, I’m not even sure what that means. When I do check in with guys, they aren’t actually in the middle. Just yesterday I asked a “middle of the road” guy if he was socially conservative–he expressed interest in dating me although his profile states that his ideal match is Christian. He admitted to being a conservative and became quickly convinced that we wouldn’t be a fit once I told him I’m committed to equality, to universal healthcare access, and to being pro-choice.
It may be that women on this site also say they’re in the middle–one man who contacted me expressed surprise that I admitted to being a liberal on Match.
5. There’s an option in their questions to say, “I’ll tell you later.” I would just prefer that the guy not answer it at all. When you say, “I’ll tell you later,” it seems like your answer is going to be awful.
I want to know now if you’re married.
I want to know now if you want more children.
I want to know now if you already have children. (C’mon–if you say “I’ll tell you later,” then YOU HAVE CHILDREN.)
Many men also say they’ll tell me what their religion is later. I always assume they belong to the Muslim faith or that they’re atheists like me. I know that there’s a cultural bias against these two groups, but why would you want to date someone who holds that bias?
6. Match guys love cliches in their profiles. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, match gives guys lines they can use–and they do. So their writing tends to look the same, which makes them all boring. The guys are all carefree and want no drama. They all seem to have this idea about us, since I keep seeing it: “Looking good in a little black dress is a plus, but so is looking good in a comfortable pair of jeans.” They mostly want us to go camping and hiking.
7. More guys on Match than on other sites I’ve used have a problem with older women. (Though it’s common on all sites). By older women, they mean women who are their age or older. In other words, it’s extremely common for a 40 year old man to be looking for women between 22 and 38.
8. I’m really tired of guys calling themselves “single dads,” and guys on Match love that term. I’m a single mother, which means I provide the financial and emotional support for my child. I do the housework and the work work. I do not get to hand off these responsibilities for even a few days a week.
Thus, when guys say, “I’m a single dad. I have my kids every other weekend,” I want to punch them.
Guys, if you are a divorced father and/or a co-parent, then say that. Save “single parent” for those of us who have to (had to, in my case) hire a babysitter every time we want to go to a dinner date.
9. Finally, I’m ready to be done with Match because it’s sexist.
When Match shows you a profile, they say three things on the right side of the page–they try to make this about three things you have in common. You both do yoga, etc.
However, check these actual statements out:
• You both fancy felines.
• Like you, he’s not a smoker.
• He has a graduate degree.
Oh, he does? That’s funny. SO DO I!
Match, since your whole point is that you “match” us, then why not tell me we have this in common?
And don’t say it this way:
• Like you, he’s not a smoker.
• Pretty impressive – he has a Ph.D.
• You’re both fine wine connoisseurs.
Wow–that is impressive. I can’t even begin to imagine how smart, talented, and hardworking he is.
Oh, wait. I can imagine that.
I’ve asked several men what they see when they look at my profile. Not surprisingly, Match doesn’t highlight my academic accomplishments.
I know that my PhD is off-putting for a lot of people. I can even understand why Match doesn’t want to highlight it–more guys will respond to me–I’ll have more hope that the site is working.
However, they should tweak the algorithm so the double standard isn’t so clear.
Match, I hate to break it to you, but we’re not a good one.
A few days ago, a man on Match contacted me. His profile and our brief conversation made it clear he was looking for someone who was into the great outdoors and doing all the body intensive stuff in it (whereas my favorite way to be outdoors is either finding the perfect spot to listen to the waves or watching the sun through leaves from a hammock pov).
I answered a question about ComicCon, but then said this: I don’t think we’d be a good fit. My back problems don’t allow for lots of hiking and other outdoor activities. I hope you find what you’re looking for, though!
The man sent me many more messages; he wanted to know what I did for a living, how long I’d been in Davis, etc.
I resorted to this: So I don’t know if you saw my message yesterday, in which I addressed a concern about our being a good fit. I’m not an outdoors person.
Him: Thanks for the email. I should pay attention to details. […]
Of course, I am definitely a snob about this kind of stuff. I prefer guys who read and write clearly.
On the other hand, maybe it’s not so much that I’m a snob. Maybe it’s that I don’t want my recreation time to be spent reading unintelligible things or having my comments ignored–I get enough of that at work.
It’s probably both.
That said, I give you two of the most difficult messages to parse that I’ve ever received. A 56 year old man messaged me. He was looking for women 30-40, so I asked him why.
Him: well their total abilities is still active an not as hard two get along with I notices that older women have went through a change of life that don’t let the be as nominal as a woman 30 to 40 why you ask an do my answer make a little since to you?
Me: I’m not sure what the word “nominal” means in that sentence.
It’s just a little strange for someone who’s so close to my mom’s age to think that my age is almost too much.
Him: well I been a fun an happy guy all my life so I thank an fell 10 years younger than I guess I’m suppose two that what most people tell me an the reason I never been married I was tough two put my carrier in life first an then the rest I came from a good family of poor people an they didn’t wont me two come up the way they did now I’m proud of they way they tough me if you understand that I’m saying.
*A 45 year old in Rancho Cordova: I just wanted to say hi
A 22 year old in Iowa: So this is going to be a very random thing to ask but I feel, for myself, this is a great way of expression oneself. So I ask if you mind me sending you a link to some music?
A 22 year old in Fairfield with a blank profile (except for one picture of the lower half of his face): Hii
A 32 year old in Modesto, who lists God as his most important thing, wants children, is homophobic, and thinks “evolution has no place in schools”: I have a naughty secret cutie!
A 36 year old in Rocklin (who’s a smoker and who wants kids and who only wrote this on his profile: like to go to gym having fun): Hello there I like to meet with you let’s talk
A 34 year old in Santa Clara (three hours away; has a mostly blank profile): Are you open for a relationship with an Indian born male in US?
*I’m also not answering because I can’t parse his profile easily. Take this sentence: “I enjoy cooking, like plants I work out and take care of myself.“