Profiling   Leave a comment

Remimagesember my last post where I said I was going to take a break from online dating? Apparently I lied.  Oops.

Checking to see who has looked me up has become – in a very sad way – somewhat of an addiction for me. I find myself clicking on my current dating site several times a day to see how many new people have ‘viewed’ me. I feel like the men of the world are window shopping, and I’m the current department store display.

All of which adds to my intense, personal belief that online dating is weird.

I don’t mean weird like when I saw Halloween candy being put out at the end of August or the fact that I’m now seeing Christmas decorations out in some stores. (Don’t even get me started on either of these oddities. Cyberspace isn’t big enough. Really.) I mean weird like walking through a door and discovering you are on the auction block. Except instead of being bid on, you get to pay for the pleasure – if pleasure is the correct word; torture might be a better choice – of being there. Oh, boy.

Four dating sites in, and I have come to the conclusion that the strangest thing about online dating isn’t the winks, the awkward emails, or the hookup requests. And I will admit to being surprised by the number of hookup requests I have gotten. There was the twenty-something college student, the lonely guy looking for a friend who turned out to be separated but still living with his ex as “neither of us can afford a divorce” (in my book separated is still married), or the guy who wanted my cell phone number right off so he could send me naked pictures of himself. Really? But I digress.

The strangest thing about online dating is the profile.

Okay, you’ve got 3,000 characters to describe yourself, what you like to do, and who you are looking for. Oh, and don’t forget to make it sound interesting. Go!

Yeah, right.

I don’t know about you, but I have found over the years that I’m probably not the best person to be describing me. My first attempt looked something like this:

Single mother, likes to read, likes music, has two cats and one fish.

Not really all that catchy. And made me sound like a crazy cat lady. Which I kind of am, but not in a bad sort of way, if you know what I mean.

I eventually came up with something that I thought sounded like an interesting version of me, mentioning my love of books, music, and most things geek and was pretty proud of myself.

Then I moved on to the picture.

Oy.

Now, if there is one thing I hate even more than being single, it’s having my picture taken. I don’t believe I am very photogenic – there are a plethora of pictures of me with my eyes closed to prove this – and always feel like I’m on display in a photo. Which I suppose is the point of pictures on dating sites. Put your best foot forward and all that, right? So, I found two pictures that weren’t bad and took two others while playing with my new webcam at work. (There’s that geek thing I mentioned earlier.) I uploaded everything and gave the algorithms a chance to find my matches.

The first site basically let me know that there weren’t a lot of men within the distance I specified. So I branched out. And found out the men I was interested in weren’t interested in me. Some of them were nice enough to tell me this and wish me luck with my search. The majority of those I reached out to simply ignored me, which is one of the more rude things I have encountered in years I understand happens a lot. Who knew?

On the second site, I had more luck. I reconnected with a friend who was also searching, and went out on a few dates, which was fun but didn’t really lead anywhere. I also got stood up four times in one week. Ouch. Oh, and this was the site with the previously discussed hook up requests. Charming.

The third site matched me with a guy who said he was in the diamond import-export business who was looking for that one true woman who would provide the money to get his business back up and running. Oh, wait, he didn’t actually say that, but it was easy to read through the lines.

Currently (and I swear this time I am not renewing my membership when it goes up in January) I am trying yet another site that promises to find the person of your dreams. I’ve been contacted by a guy who wasn’t sure whether he lived in Massachusetts or California – which I found entertaining, a ‘soldier’ who didn’t understand I was intelligent enough to know there are no NATO peacekeepers in Gaza (whether there should be or not is a whole other discussion) as Palestine isn’t recognized as a state by the UN and can’t request peacekeeping assistance, and several guys who asked me for meetings only to get sick at the last minute and were so sorry they had to cancel but never contacted me to reschedule.

Who knew I was Typhoid Mary? (I should put that on my profile and wait to see the responses that gets. Hmmm….)

So, I spend most of my time looking at other people’s profiles and hoping. Some of them are quite intriguing. As much as I dislike looking at pictures of myself (and, yes, I know I’ve mentioned that already and there’s a complex blog post there somewhere), I did go out of my way to look at a lot of them and find ones I thought showed what I look like. I even checked with friends to verify, and they approved my choices, which made me feel pretty good, too. In the pictures the lighting is good, I am smiling, and clothed. Remember the clothed part; it will come up again in the next paragraph or so.

Not all the guys out there chose pictures for their profiles that used that same criteria.

There are profiles where guys have posted ten to twelve pictures of themselves… all with sunglasses and a baseball cap hiding their faces. There are pictures that are obviously ten to fifteen years old. You can tell by the clothes. Some pics look like human versions of the grumpy cat. And then there are the ones where the guy is not wearing a shirt and is flexing his muscles.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate that not everyone is tech-savvy. And that everyone looking at my pictures is doing so with a critical eye. But, and this is a big but, it’s not that hard to hand your phone to a friend and ask them to take a picture of you so there is a second opinion of it before it gets posted.

Then you have the description of yourself (remember that?) that you post with your picture to give people an idea of who you are in addition to what you look like.

Here a part of one that popped up on my match list last week:

I’m looking for simple (not simple-minded) without all the glitz. Hoping to meet a working class girl since I can’t afford the high maintenance costs of most of the suburban women on this site who seem to be the majority. I’ve dated plenty of them to know when your being used as a distraction or a dating “crash test dummy”. This tends to get prohibitively expensive after awhile, since all the dating gurus highly advise that the guy shell out all the dough during the initial first month or two. If you have kids under 18, that’s ok but only if your ex is paying his child support..again, another situation that becomes prohibitively expensive since its all to common for them not to be paying, unless your situation is widowed, then I don’t mind contributing for the sake of a child’s happiness.

Really.  I did not make that up.

Another common description includes variations of the following list:

  • no drama queens
  • no baggage from previous relationships
  • I’ll keep my past secret if you will do the same
  • not looking to be a sugar daddy; if you don’t earn between $35,000-$50,000 don’t bother contacting me.

And they wonder why they’re on a dating site…

This is not to say all the profiles are bad. I have had email correspondences with several guys who had intelligent, well-written, humorously self-deprecating descriptions that I found very interesting, even though they haven’t led to any dates as of yet. I read one the other day that completely enchanted me and emailed the guy to let him know. He responded thanking me for my comments and saying it was too bad we live so far apart. I thanked him for replying and wished him luck with his search. So not all of them are bad.

But here’s the thing with online dating:

We’re all profiling.

In the questionnaires we complete, we list what we’re looking for – height, weight, body type, income, religion, level of education, etc. We put in writing who we would like to be with, how far we are willing to travel, and what our deal breakers are. Then we look at other people’s pictures and descriptions to see if they fit the ideal companion we have created in our mind.

We’re also profiling ourselves.

Who do we think we’re good enough for? Am I pretty/handsome enough for someone to want to meet me? Should I leave off my religion, my education level, that picture of me at the beach and just keep my fingers crossed?

When it comes down to it, I am my own worst critic. The list of things I would like to change about myself is miles longer than the list of things I like about myself. But I’m working on that. It’s a long, slow road, but at least I’m on it.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t gone in to look at the profiles of women seeking men on any of the sites I have been on. Partially because I don’t want to compare myself to other people, and partially because I have no way to know if their profiles are successful either. Oh, and there is no picture of me at the beach in my profile. As far as I know the only one in existence shows me fully clothed chasing the boy when he was about four.  It’s a cute picture but not what I need for this purpose.)

In closing, it may sound like I am being overly critical here, but really, I want these guys to succeed. I want everyone who is seeking love and companionship to succeed. Especially me. And if it means I have to read profiles and hope that someone special reads mine, I’ll do it. At least until January. Then I am taking that break.

And this time I mean it.

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Posted October 21, 2014 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

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