Thursday, November 08, 2007

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't: Online Dating Edition

I'm going to start a new, possibly semi-regular and violently cynical feature that proves the only right answer is a choice between two wrong answers.

Everyone knows that writing an online dating site profile is difficult because it asks us to do things we're not that comfortable with doing, such as describing ourselves, our lives, and what type of person we most desire. Not only do we have to describe ourselves, but we have to do it in an appealing way that will sell us to people who are judging us primarily on our personalities since they can't always see our charming smiles and killer bods.

Is there a right way to describe yourself that will make you seem appealing to the bitterly jaded, heartbroken, and skeptical souls who have shunned traditional social interaction to turn to the Internet for a prospective mate that might live hundreds of miles away? All sources point to "no." So I'm going to collect some common dating website profile clichés, describe what's wrong with them, and then present their opposite clichés, and describe what's wrong with them, too.* Sounds like fun! Let's do this!
  1. "I'm new to the dating world and don't have a lot of experience."
    Great, this means you're going to go and unintentionally muck things up, scarring an otherwise decent mate for years. No one wants a project.

    "I don't normally go too long without being in a relationship."
    You like to play stupid fucking mind games, scarring an otherwise decent mate for years. You have lifetimes of baggage you can dump onto this fully innocent person. No one wants a wreck.


  2. "I'm really not interested in sex; I'm looking for a long-term relationship."
    This makes you seem frigid. It'll take months, maybe years for you to decide to put out. No one wants a prude.

    "I enjoy sex and I've been told I'm very good at it."
    Not only are you a whore, but you're a needy one. Your possible sexual expectations are intimidating. It won't be long before the one you're with can no longer satisfy your sexual appetite. No one wants a slut.


  3. "I am a cheerful person and I enjoy life to the fullest!"
    The only people who can be happy all the time are annoying. Generally, they're either religious zealots or lobotomy patients, and they have nothing interesting to say, ever. All that suppressed negativity is going to blow up in some poor, innocent person's face some day, or you're going to happily slit your wrists when the world gets to be too much. No one wants an optimist.

    "Stupid people frustrate me, and I hate them. The world is going to shit and no one cares. Life is pain."
    No one can enjoy life with someone that negative. It's difficult to believe anyone could be that negative and still be alive. Chances are they're faking it to fit in with the emo crowd, which makes them the most annoying people ever. If you're seriously that depressed all the time, seek therapy before seeking a relationship. No one wants a pessimist.


  4. "I don't know what to put here. I really hate describing myself. I just like to do whatever. Hang out and stuff. I'll try anything once."
    So you don't really have any concept of self. You sound boring. No one wants someone indecisive.

    "I know exactly what I want and I go after it. Everything I want in life is mine for the taking. I'm constantly busy, so message me if you think you can keep up."
    Oh hell no. There's nothing "exciting" about being fit into a schedule like you're some sort of escort service. It's one thing to exude confidence; it's another thing entirely to look like you're too busy chasing your dreams to have a proper relationship. Let us know when you're ready to settle down. No one wants competition.


  5. "I like to get wasted drunk and party all the time!"
    Contrary to popular belief, being a party slut does not make you popular. Most prefer people who can hold their liquor and not be an embarrassment in public. If you say you party all the time, you're pretty much sending the message that you're an irresponsible moron with no ambition. No one wants a disgrace.

    "I completely abstain from smoking, drinking, and drugs, and I hate to party."
    People see this as putting yourself and "not being fun" together in a sentence. People may not want a heavy partier or drinker, but they don't want someone who can't loosen up, either. No one wants a robot.


  6. "I try to be nice to everybody. I am a sympathetic, loving, loyal, and honest person. I want to make the world a better place."
    When you identify yourself as something everybody knows everybody thinks everybody wants, it automatically makes it look like you're hiding something. Being nice to everybody is just too sickeningly sweet. Some people deserve being mean to. No one wants a pushover.

    "I'm sarcastic and blunt. Don't ask for my opinion if you don't want the truth in the most unflattering way. I'm serious, just don't bother. Don't message me unless you want to be made fun of and ignored."
    Although there's a time and a place for sarcasm, too much of it makes you look petty. It makes it look like you're going to attack them for no reason all the time. A profile that starts with anything like this can only end in domestic violence. No one wants a bitch.


  7. "I prefer to start out as friends as a basis for my relationship. If we click as friends, then we can see where to go from there."
    Although this is the ideal, this is a kiss of death for Internet dating. People who use online dating sites want some sort of instant gratification. They want to talk online for a week or two to see if you have anything in common, and if you do, they want to start the dating process, because they are needy. They signed up with the expressed purpose of finding a mate, and so did you, so stop beating around the bush. If it makes it sound like it might be years before you enter any sort of meaningful relationship, they're going to move on to someone more ready for a commitment, or at least sex. No one wants a series of promises possibly leading up to nothing but disappointment.

    "I'm eager to jump back into the dating world. I miss companionship and am ready to start a new relationship now."
    This makes you look too lonely. You're probably on the rebound. You probably haven't gotten over your last relationship and will take a lot of feelings out on the next convenient person. Even though no one likes the prospect of being strung along for years, people are inherently wary of anyone too anxious as well. No one wants codependency.


  8. "You should message me if you think we might have anything in common."
    The only thing guys think you have in common with them is their penis and your vagina. You need to narrow it down a little more. No one wants a pervert.

    "You should not message me if you're old enough to be my parent, you're just looking for a casual sex partner, you don't know how to write, or you have nothing in common with me, because I'm not interested and probably won't respond."
    In that case, the only messages you should expect are from exactly what you listed because nobody bothers to read your profile. No one really wants a relationship anyway.
[* Bear in mind that my responses here do not necessarily reflect my own personal views. I'm writing this from the point of view of the average, typical Internet user.]

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