We need to stop treating our potential significant others so carefully, formulaically, differently.
Ya know that crude you, you show to your best friend? Or that goofy side to your family? Or that weird crazy side to your cat or dog?
THAT is what you should be showing to someone you want to get to know. The small moments of you. The moments that when you add them all up over time, make who you are unique and personable. Choosing the perfect text, or trying to come up with the best jokes, or getting your outfit just right has zero context in the grand scheme of the time it takes to get to know someone. It is sterile and boring.
Time, this crazy little thing we all have to endure, is the only way to really know someone, so why waste it? One day at a time you learn who someone is, and if you are enjoying today, you should look forward to tomorrow as well, and then when you have a day you don’t enjoy, you ask: Why? And if the “why” is more important than the time spent, you know it won’t work, but if the “why” was just a bump in the road of getting to know another human’s complexities, you go to the next day more informed and stronger together.
I mean sure there is a level of “lovey” or “puppy dog” personality that goes with a new relationship but that should be in addition to you. Not a subtraction.
Why do we need to facade for x amount a “societal determined acceptable standard” days or months or even years or titles; “Well you aren’t my boyfriend” “Well you are a stranger” “Well all we have done is texted”. No shit, we are meeting in a new inorganic yet oddly similar to real life way of meeting with online dating: “See cute person, say hello”. We are missing the 3D aspects of it and the sensations of real life, yes, always tempted by the next swipe, but it is still very similar if you take it to the core of what it is.
My wish is that people would treat me like we’ve known each other for years, even if we just exchanged a “hello”, but with a strong enough sense of self to be careful and protective of their own experiences, sharing with me as we go so I can know what you experienced the last X amount of years of your life. I am not asking you to be flapping in the wind vulnerable, I expect you to be somewhat guarded, but also open to yourself and others, so it isn’t a struggle but a dance getting to know one another.
But what I find is people are just less communicative. Less themselves. Less goofy. Less real. More closed off. More guarded.
Do you call your friends on the phone? Or FaceTime them silly shit? Why can’t the potential significant other you just met see that. It’s always a game. But it isn’t a fun game for one party. Time doesn’t go slower the more you hide. So stop wasting it. Open yourself up to rejection. If you swiped the face you thought was pretty, awesome! Nothing wrong with that, but the face only gets the conversation started, because if the conversation sucks, the face means nothing. So start a conversation! A real conversation.
Instead of embracing it as the main form of dating now, we are wasting our time making excuses about how it is horrible and inorganic. We use it as a social experiment for an ego boost or we blame our failures on it because of it.We make up personas. And instead of choosing how it works and how we use it, we just make it an uncomfortable place to be.
We are wasting our time. We are wasting others time. We aren’t ourselves and therefore we aren’t truly allowing others in. What happens if the other person likes this fictitious version of you? I’ve been in that relationship, it sucks when the other person finally decides to change for themselves and you realize you have no idea who they are and that it really isn’t someone you liked to begin with.
Who has time to make so many rules to who they can and can’t be. Just be one human. Yourself. And let it be what it will be. The truth. And if that means someone may not like you it means they wouldn’t have liked you even if you were fake, because eventually we are all just in our rocking chairs yelling at the kids to get off our lawn.
Don’t even get me started about the stigma of going to the bathroom on a first date… (everyone poops)
But speaking of that first date, what about just the first text? People do everything they can to avoid interaction these days that is beyond an emoji. Hiding behind the guise of “If we knew each other, it would be different”. Ironically(for multitudes of reasons including how do you get to know someone if they don’t let you get to know them), when you disconnect from them because you know, personally, you dislike that approach, all of a sudden they try to reach out to you in every form of contact available(all social media), just to tell you what a mistake you made, and how they are different when you get to know them.
Well STOP that. Be YOU before I get to know you. And perhaps I won’t feel the constant need to move away from the small talk and 2 – 3 day waits for 1 line sentences about the weather. I need more than banter. I need more than knowing you like hiking or sarcasm. I need the in between. That is what makes you and that is what invigorates me to want to share my time, my life, and maybe, if we get there over time, my love with you.
And with that I double click it, and scroll to the next, thinking to myself, I’ll see it again later cause Instagram stores my likes, but guess what, I never do. So I spend less time properly absorbing what is in-front of me, and more time, scrolling to the next.
The average user spends less than 3 seconds per image on Instagram, that includes time to click like.
We are archiving the things we are seeing these days and putting them into meaningless “lists”, never to be seen again. Kinda like that time you shot the fireworks on your phone’s camera and later in the year were like:
“FUCK YEAH I AM SO GLAD I SHOT THESE FIREWORKS ON MY SHITTY ASS CAMERA WITH A HORRIBLE MIC, I AM WATCHING THIS AGAIN!”.
But if it wasn’t bad enough that we endlessly scroll through each “firework” of our social media lives now we create “Pods” and “Bots” to do the scrolling for us. We automate the scrolling and liking process because we want to grow our “influence” faster.
But what are you influencing when 99% of the instagram nobody is doing the exact same thing. You are converting a society that created Beethoven’s Symphony, put men in space, into the digital simulated “drones” that Elon Musk believes we are living in. And even if we are not in a simulation, powering our alter simulations lives, we have pretty much become so many steps disconnected from actually connecting with one another that the idea of others botting us as we bot them to grow our “influence” doesn’t seem to matter.
Why doesn’t anyone understand that the like or “Awesome!” comment on their photo means absolutely nothing if no one is actually there to mean it? Or to spend the time walking between photos or places or people and interating with them like you might in a museum, or intimate party, or exotic vacation. Without documenting it, just looking at it, seeing it. Soaking it in for more than the 3 seconds allocated for an archival process never to be looked at again.
Barney Bailey could sell you fire in water, but this is far worse and you all, myself included, bought in. Because we know, or we hope, that perhaps if I bot longer than subject 2917271 bots that I will grow .1% more followers and likes and “engagements” to be recognized for a brand deal that actually pays me for all this time I am spending.
Engagements.. Haha how do we even quantify this anymore. I comment on your photo, hoping you comment on my photo, hoping that will drive me into the algorithm of “seen posts” and someone else will comment on the photo, but they are commenting on the most popular photo in hopes that someone else will comment on their… DO YOU SEE THE ENDLESS FUCKING LOOP OF ABSOLUTE NOTHING?
We have created a system in which nothing, not a damn interaction, not the “color scheme” of your page, your content, your “engagement”, matters. Not even brands who endorse “influencers” understand this shit fully, and to be honest, if I were you and you have paid endorsements, ride it the fuck out hard until it eventually either implodes or our new currency in life becomes likes. Like cryptocurrency mining, but like and “engagement” mining. We are already putting enough energy and “effort” into these kinds of actions that we could most likely have randomly typed Shakespeare faster than the monkeys if the likes were random keystrokes.
But this is the world right now. Never seeing, only archiving, with no intent of looking back. Wondering why they feel empty, alone, and stuck without a sense of permanence in the world. We created this world.
We fuel this world.
Wake the fuck up and fight for your right to be human again and not an automated system.
We define how technology defines us, not the other way around. But if you keep clicking “like” in hopes for your “like” or because “well I will look at it later”, the cycle continues and those who benefit from it, will encourage you to continue feeding the system that makes them money.
We have more choices than we think when we decide what defines as in society, online, commercially. We have the power to stop using a product, stop putting money into things that hurt us or we dislike, and we have the power to change a lot, by smacking those in the wallet who would try to have only their own interests in mind to stop it from happening.
So let’s challenge ourselves in 2019 to be present more and utilize technology to make us better not… automated.
This is what I was told just recently after asking if I could call someone I swiped on from an online dating site. I thought, let’s see if we can hold a conversation before we meet so make sure we don’t waste time at an awkward dinner or coffee meeting. If anything I wonder why more people don’t want to do this! It is a great way to weed out the weirdos! But that aside, we talked for about 20 minutes as she got ready to go to a class and was running around her house getting dressed and seemed kinda stressed. No biggie, nothing big was being talked about, it was just a general, “Hello, I am real, you are real, nice to hear your voice with inflection!”
The next day I texted to see if they wanted to grab a coffee and I got the response above.
I sat there for a moment, kinda dumbfounded. Is this how quickly people expect to find romance? To feel the “connection” to another human being that is multi faceted? Someone you never met, never smelled, never looked into their eyes? Never shared physical space with?
I was talking to my trainer about it this morning and I said, it is kind of like if someone came in for a session, worked out hard, and at the end of the session looked in the mirror and told him, “Yeah, I don’t see any results, this isn’t working.”
What the fuck has happened to us as human beings? Are we that addicted to the dopamine of the instant “click”, the “excitement of new people that if we don’t have the nearly 1 in a million experience of “love at first sight” (yes I was on the pilot for that show), that knowing we can keep swiping until we get our fix for it, we can just toss away the idea of anything that remotely resembles “getting to know someone” and “learning to love them for who they are, what they believe in, how we get along, and in person interactions experiences we have together”?
Shit if you want fireworks that badly at the first meeting, if you have iMessage I can send them right away!
Now there is the one obvious answer to all of this which is that people are just not strong enough to tell you the truth as to why they are not interested in you. So they make up a reason that they feel is the least intrusive. But seriously, in this case it’s OK to tell the truth. It is OK to answer a text with an unpopular answer. It is OK to tell someone what is on your mind. It is OK to be uncomfortable doing it as well! (I have talked about how we really need to start “getting hurt” again) So stop with the “I didn’t feel a romantic click” lines after texting someone for 10 seconds and just say “I don’t think we are compatible for X reason”. 99/100 times it will give everyone closure. Mind you there are the crazies, but they don’t define the majority of us. So please, just be honest. Shit I have gone on a date where I told the person when I met them in person, “I am sorry you don’t look like your photos and I feel a bit deceived, so I am going to head out, but thank you for coming to meet me regardless. Good luck!”
But to me I think it is a deeper problem. An addiction to the feeling of “new romance” the addiction to the massive exposure to so many people and the excitement of puppy love, that what is happening is people are no longer aware of how to actually build a foundation for a relationship. How love comes in time. How you can grow your love based on experiences and interactions together. How love doesn’t always have a set path or reason. How it isn’t a rush to the finish but a step at a time, enjoying the moments you get to spend with another human and allow them into your life, and to share yours with them. The love that comes from truly “falling in love” not pretending we are legos and “clicking” it all together.
So again, I am taken aback by the way we as a society are assimilating to what these dating sites tell us to do. How we should feel. How we should interact. Taking out more and more of the personalizations and adding more emojis, quick responses, canned responses, and cheesy “List your fav color for match percentages”. These dating sites have a business model. And if you actually form a long lasting relationship, guess which site doesn’t get paid? Think about that for a second. Now take those extra seconds and give people a chance with the extra time. Don’t take excitement and enthusiasm as bad signs, but use them to grow. Stop swiping just for a minute, figure out if we can create some moments together, and inspire each other! Then let that go wherever it may go, even if it ends up not working. One must be open to conversation and not afraid of debate as if it is confrontation. Opening yourself up for rejection to see if you truly understand the complexities of another person.
Hardest part though is this all starts with you. So yes perhaps there was another reason that text was sent, but from my experience, it is no longer the logical answer, but the illogical endorphin rush needed to make the tedious task of swiping and telling your favorite color over and over entertaining and feeling worthwhile, but at the expense of true connections.
One of the things I had to learn in life that has been instrumental in building me as a human being has been the ability to tell people when something bothers me at the time of it bothering me. Often times I find myself or others will hold in these things until they boil over which never ends well for anyone. Being able to say “Hey, I know you had no ill intent with your comment, but it bothered me and here are the reasons why. Perhaps in the future you could be mindful that this has history with me and while I do not feel you need to censor yourself around me, when it comes to this specific thing, it would be great if you could approach it will care”
This sometimes backfires. I often get told:
“Well how can I be myself around you?”
“Now I have to censor my way of speaking?”
“I am an honest person and will always tell you what i am thinking”
To the last one, I love honesty, and I would never want someone to feel hindered in their ability to talk to me honestly, but I think there is a difference between honesty and understanding another person’s life experiences and feelings due to them. Being courteous of how you phrase something so not to trigger a bad experience or past moment is important. However I have always found those boundaries are hard to explain and even harder to express in the moment.
But, with work, I have gotten pretty good at it. And, let me tell you, it has helped me so much in my relationships. First if the person is open to hearing why the thing they said may have made me uncomfortable that is a great start. Second if they broach it in a different way the next time it may come up, allowing them to still be open and honest, but not invasive on my own personal “space” it is truly a magical moment. To be aware of how what you say can affect others is so important, especially in the age of inflectionaless texts.
So, while I am not some poor snowflake that will crumble, there are things from my experiences in life that will make my brain go “EEEEKKK” and can affect my entire mood. But if someone is aware of those, and I make a conscious effort to inform them, as they will have no way of knowing as we get to know each other, I feel like we can grow together, being mindful of each others triggers and past experiences that are not specific to one another but can still make one another uncomfortable. So that freedom to speak up at the moment is so important to me and it is important that others do it with me too. I cannot dodge every mine laid down in the field by past experiences, relationships, etc. Eventually I will hit one. And as unintentional as it may be, as I have no intention to cause harm or discomfort, letting me know, or I letting you know when you hit one, can help two people really move forward in the communication that truly builds a relationship, friendship, or amicable human interaction.
We all have some baggage. We all have bad experiences. But we also don’t know these things when we are new to one another. Exploration is part of getting to know someone, so if both people approach it with this attitude, I find those “oops” moments to be something less of a “FUCK THIS IS NEVER GOING TO WORK” and more of a “My bad, learned, noted, will broach differently next time”. This isn’t censorship, this is compassion and understanding of a fellow human.
So please feel free to step on all my mines. Just know I have learned over time, to let you know at the time of explosion, what just happened, why it happened, what it makes me feel like, and how I would prefer we approach it in the future. And if you have a suggestion of your own as well, please feel free to chime in and I will do the same for you! Afterall, even though with all the left and right swipes of people we can bring in and out of our lives, we are both getting to know one another for the first time uniquely.
If we hold onto to too many of our past experiences and judge others upon them without speaking up, just looking at them as “oh man they are about to step on that moment in my life, they must be just like the last person who placed it” the other person has no chance in hell to ever navigate the “minefield” of “experiences”. So please help me navigate and I will you so that even if we do happen to stumble, we know and can grow as humans, as two people together, and become stronger because of it.
So as important as it is to be mindful of others and how they feel. Being able to express your own comforts and discomforts is equally important.
Something I truly believe in is this: I am not your ex, but if you go into the relationship assuming I very likely could be, I stand no chance to be a unique person that grows with you as an individual. It is like gambling at that point and the house holds all the cards. This also lets you know a lot about how open a person is to actually meeting someone new or if they need to do some self healing exploration first.
Question: What’s more dangerous these days then the lack of inflection in a text?
Anwer: A friend reading that text out of context without the inflection and being asked to “interpret” it.
This has been going on way before texting existed but before you could scroll back up through a conversation you had with someone else, you had to remember the experience and then explain it in your words. Most of the time this one factor “in your words” needing you to explain how you interpreted the situation would give a friend the ability to go, “Ok this is your crazy showing” or go “Nope that shit is fucked and you need to get a restraining order”.
But not today. Today we get judged based off our ability to drop a stand up routine straight out of the gate. Do I look like Eddie Murphy? I mean he is one sexy bitch, but let me at least get your name first before I entertain you for free. What happened to “be yourself” you may ask? Well no one wants “yourself” because that may include having a shitty day and wanting to talk about it. Not to say everyone hates it, some people understand interaction and compassion and don’t feel like you are bringing them down by being in the moment. But for the majority that want an adventure and sarcasm, good luck saying anything other than George Carlin’s greatest hits as an intro.
Also don’t share. They don’t want you to have walls, they want you to be this open book, but the minute you share something with them, be it a piece of writing that is in context to the conversation, a photo, or a past story, they immediately go: “Well fuck, now he thinks I am that person, I am not that person, fuck, am I that person, why do I need to explain myself to this person I don’t know, fuck I need to show this to a friend!”
Now you are done. The minute it is in their head and they don’t bring it up right away to you to clarify it’s over before it even had a chance to start. The friend will obviously side with them over you the random creeper on an “online dating” platform. Because, it is never them who is the problem, it is always the other person. They have their shit together. They are open. They have a Myers briggs profile. They know their astrological sign. And so without you knowing, they are taking your text, the one line or two or ten that they selected and letting it fester in their brain, picking it apart to the point where logic is no longer even in the equation, mixed with a second or third opinion of someone else who has no idea who you are. Then they wait, they formulate, they speculate. This is where the game of telephone with their own psychi starts.
You basically now killed their first born with your charming Eddie Murphy stand up one liner. Somewhere in between the first text and the few hours you were excitedly waiting for them to be done with their evening so you could continue talking and (the key part) “GETTING TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER”, they have started their textual breakup for a relationship that never got started. A textual spew that is created for one reason and one reason alone, to make them feel less insecure about themselves. To give them the upper hand in a situation where no one needed the upper hand. To lull themselves into false sense of approval. “OK, he is going to get defensive when I say the following, and when that happens, me and my friends will have been right”. What they are missing is the fact that we probably have known each other for less than a 24 hour period and when you throw a wall of text at me saying “You are X Y AND Z” of course I am going to try to defend myself. I mean honestly at this point I should just turn off texting, but alas I am not that strong. So, I, as calmly as I can via text, try to figure out what is happening, why it is happening, when I said all these things I am being accused of saying, even though I am 99% sure I didn’t, and where they got expounded so out of proportion. Problem is it is impossible, I cannot make out where it is derived from anymore. But I already know the outcome here regardless of even if I was to deliver a speech that rivaled that of Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men definitively proving my “innocence”.
So in under 24 hours we are about to have our first fight. We have skipped the line, did not pass go, and when directly to jail. Guilty unable to prove innocence just waiting until someone hits the block button.
“I feel judged”(you feeling judged is not on me, that is something you are holding onto)
“You are so defensive, why would you be like that”(cause you are yelling at me for shit I don’t even understand at this point)
“You said people do this horrible stuff, I AM NOT THAT PERSON” (yes people, not you… I was giving you the benefit of the oh fuck it, you just kinda proved my point)
“You need a therapist”(ok.. After these interactions I don’t disagree.)
“I am just the innocent bystander here”(who literally just made up an entire fake scenario you needed to spew at me instead of just moving on, so you felt vindicated from a story you made up)
“See you are still being defensive.” (you are still texting me bullshit, having counterpoints is not being defensive, back in my day this was called debate, conversation, or interaction. But we did it with voices and face to face, try it sometime, you may be surprised at how the other person may not be yelling at you and may actually be calm, collected, and a bit surprised.)
“You are judging me for things I haven’t done” (nope, I am talking about my past openly, you are applying it to yourself out of context for some reason, actually the reason is probably you holding onto something from YOUR past, the same thing you said: you wish I would not apply my own past to you.)
“My friends were right” (hahahaha)
The problem is I could continue this. It only goes on and on. But it is based in a baseless world of inflection-less words. Words people don’t seem to understand can be changed or clarified these days if more context is needed. But nope, let’s form the worst case scenarios and just go bat shit crazy on someone else.
I run across this enough and I wonder, hmm, perhaps I am the crazy one. But then I take a step back and realize, nope I just avoided a seriously fucked up scenario with a person who will fester ideas and not tell me until they are sure they have a winning Trump card. Problem is, there was never a contest or argument to be won. So, maybe I share too soon, but if it allows me to weed out these types of people who can only see one dimensionally in a very 3 dimensional world, I guess I can endure the frustration and angst a little bit more.
This is one of those cases by the way where I suggest the usage of the block button. And we all know how I feel about that.
We are breeding a generation of pampered “feelings”. We are breeding a generation protected by the “block” button. We are breeding a generation of “ghosts”. We don’t understand what it is like to plan how you are going to meet a person face to face to let them know that things just aren’t working out.(because we used to believe a phone call, not a text, was too informal and rude) A ritual that used to take time, consideration, and thought. An uncomfortable situation, but one that ultimately gave closure be it with tears, screams, or a kiss on the cheek. You will remember this moment and grow from it. You won’t remember the person you erased from your life.
But why take the time to consider someone else’s feelings when we have been taught by every app, every program, every avenue of our life, that we can just “mute” the other person and focus on ourselves.
When I say a generation, I don’t just mean “millenials”, I mean everyone who is adopting online dating into their life. It is easier this way. It is convenient. Because honestly, no one likes being hurt, so if you show us a way to avoid it we will. It is part of human nature. We forget that our lack of pain, often brings it to others. But we are sheltering it so much, that instead of touching the hot pot and learning not to do it again, we “ghost” the stove.
Example: You are talking to someone, something during said conversation triggers you in one way or another, you say nothing. You wait until the conversation is over, and start frantically searching for the “block button” before they realize they even made a mistake or slipped up on a sentence that could have had different meaning. There are no second chances, there is just the rush to purge. Because immediately after the purge you don’t have to feel bad, have a moment of self reflection or healing. You just swipe right and start talking to the next person, waiting for them to trigger you and the process repeats.
I have talked about this “ready to purge” state in depth before. But I believe we need to look further than the consequence of our society and look at the process of resolving it. Receiving a little heartache or prepping human consideration in how you deliver the bad news to another is one of the missing ingredients. How can you grow, when you have all these apps and online portals holding your hand with the “block button” at the ready?
There is no more growing from our experiences, only pushing them down into a repressed memory state, called the block list. We have taken the human connection out of the human connection and it is hurting us as a species. The amount of times you could totally avoid the “weird text I got from my friends friend”, by just giving the other person the humane benefit of an explanation. But why should you do that? Facebook, instagram, okcupid, tinder, they all just have the block button. Why should I do anything above and beyond what society is shoving down my throat as the norm? Well I guess here in lies the rub. You don’t have to, but you should. You should start getting hurt again. You should be open to “hurting” as well. Because ultimately it will make you stronger, kinder, more compassionate, and less of an automated process in a system designed to keep you entwined. 99 out of 100 times someone will be happier to “move on” if you are honest with them, then waking up to “this person doesn’t exist”.
You think Tinder’s business model benefits from you finding love? No it benefits from you coming back. Think about that for a second.
I meet so many people who are under the assumption that I want them to “impress me” when I meet them. That I want them to be the ultimate version of themselves that is unsustainable for any elongated period of time. To be this person who will make me love them.
Only one problem, if I do fall in love with that person, when you stop caring, who the hell am I left with?
See, this is a major issue for me. I have written how “Love is not enough”. And this feeds directly into that. I myself am the same with my family as I am with my bosses as I am with my friends as I am with a first date. I don’t know how to be different. I only know how to give my all of who I am today, tomorrow, etc. I feel like it would be exhausting to create an alter ego to please you. If you don’t like who I am here and now, that is OK. I am happy to feel it out and go our separate ways if it isn’t meant to be.
But that is not what I encounter 99% of the time. 99% of the time I finally get to know the real person after I have told them “this isn’t going to work” because all of a sudden, a veil of “expectations” has been lifted from their shoulders and they make inappropriate jokes, use my bathroom, and tell me things they would tell their best friends. Isn’t the whole point of finding a partner to find a best friend you can have sex with? Share with? Experience everyday with?
From experience you may assume that is not the case, and it is about tricking the other person to put a ring on it, then letting it all loose and what then… yelling SURPRISE!
When I ask you what you want for dinner this isn’t code for “Figure out what he likes and pick that”. When I ask you how you are today, this isn’t code for “Great!” just to make the facade of happiness. See the problem on my end, and I have explained a little bit of it via “Give my Brain a Breather”, is that once I feel as though I can see the expressions and feel the connection, I often don’t look for the “facade”. The veil of “I will totally clean his dishes cause I want him to like me more”. To me I am thinking, wow how nice she is, and what a kind gesture that I can expect in the future. Not “well that was nice since we just met, but god if she does that after we fall in love, this shit is over!”. So when I end things in a relationship because I feel as though something is wrong, or too perfect, it often is because it was. And then this new person I meet is one hundred times more interesting. But at this point it is way too late to forget all the past experiences and meet them with a clean slate.
So please, please, please, please, stop caring! Stop treating me like anyone other than a best friend. Let me into the parts of you that might scare you. Who cares if we don’t work out, at least we gave it an honest try, with an honest version of ourselves, and didn’t waste time trying to please one another off of assumptions and half baked ideals created in our own minds. Because my problem is, because I don’t do it, I often don’t look for it in you, thus missing it completely and being caught way off guard when I get to meet this “real” you. The you I thought I could fall in love with.
Online dating has a major catch. I call it the “Oh and one more thing”. This will probably be the name of my book or the next stand up comedy routine. These are the things you will not find out about a person until you are
A: About to centimeters away from their vagina. (before sex)
B: They are laying on you naked afterwards. (after sex)
C: You just won’t find out until you have had at least a month of dates. (lots of sex)
It doesn’t matter how many correspondents you have enjoyed with the person, how many texts have been exchanged, how many facetime calls you have done. These are the things where you are sitting there thinking, “Oh, this is nice, I wonder what she is doing tomorrow….” Then bam, they start saying, “OH AND ONE MORE THING”.
Now before I get into the heavy ones, let’s talk about the normal things you can expect to experience on online dating before even getting to the OOMT’s. (Yes that is the abbreviation I have created for it)
First you have the normal “white lies”.
Profile: I am 20, see my amazing awesome modeling pictures?
Reality: I was 20, 20 years ago, when I posted those pictures, 20 years before that.
This can break off into I am “athletic, skinny, fit, etc”
The weirdest part about this one is, do you think I am going to like you more or less if you told me your actual age? Because you tell me when we meet. So why are we bullshitting and setting up the meeting on a lie?
Now you have the subtle ones:
Profile: I like traveling, people who are sarcastic, long walks on the beach, love dogs, have a kid, and kitty cats.
Or it is a little more subtle…
Profile: Photo on their profile of them at a Gwar concert doing shots and in the background is a tiny child holding up a sign that says Mom and an arrow pointing at them.
And lastly before we get into the “OOMT” ones expect many people to have these following reasons for being on online dating:
I wanted an ego boost.
I just broke up with an ex, in no way am I ready to date, but I signed up because I didn’t know what else to do.
Feels inadequate for some reason.
Friend made them do it.
Wants to fuck.
One thing you will never have to worry about finding out later:
“I am a vegan”
Usually followed by, “but this doesn’t mean you have to be one and I can eat anywhere.” Which is a blatant lie, unless of course you don’t eat pizza, hamburgers, or are a Vegan as well. But don’t worry they will make sure to hold that Vegan status up in the air like Rafiki did to Simba over the cliff.
Ok, now here are the OOMT’s I have encountered in my time with Online Dating:
Setup: We had a beautiful day of talking, laying in the park, having dinner, maybe some drinks, and we go back to her place fall asleep together without having sex. Wake up the next day, go sunbathing on their rooftop, walk around NYC for a little and head back to get take out. So what do you think would happen next after such a nice two day excurtion, if you guessed sex, you are correct.
OOMT: So I am about a hair length away from consummating this wonderful extended date as she leans into my ear and whispers, “Oh by the way, I have herpes”. To which my penis retracts into my throat and I am not sure what to do as I am suspended only by my now wobbling muscles. I get up, sit on the side of the bed, I ask “uhm, can you explain this more to me…” and they say “most guys don’t mind”. Yup. The infamous, get him to think with his dick so he doesn’t make an educated decision on whether or not he wants to engage in this. While this is one of those situations where I am not upset with the person because an STD sucks and I am not sure when the best time is to tell someone, I definitely know it isn’t when you are about a centimeter away from her vagina.
Setup: Meet at the bar, sit down for drinks, they say they are hungry and begin to order an extraordinary amount of food. Which at first seems awesome, because they are comfortable eating infront of you and just being comfortable.. However…
OOMT: After the order is placed they say, “I am just looking for a friend right now” the catch, and usually not verbally said, “that will buy me dinner”.
Setup: You meet a very nice person. You get along extremely well. Shit you even have a connection that feels out of this world good. You can see in her eyes she likes you back, the conversation is fantastic, everything is just going well. Around the second or third date you go to kiss her.
OOMT: She pulls away and says, “I currently live with my ex boyfriend because it makes sense monetarily, I just broke up with a guy who broke my heart, but we still text regularly, and I am just not emotionally available for someone in my life right now.” SO WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING ON A DATING SITE?! You can break this one into a two parter as well, where you meet someone and they say they live with their ex and it is over, but if they find out about you, they will flip the fuck out and ruin the others life. To which they will hold you accountable for it and daemonize you regardless of the time you spent together.
Setup: You have had a few dates and are at the point where they come over to have sex. You begin to kiss and get naked and start sexing…
OOMT: They have a traumatic past with rape and submission to the point where all of a sudden this person is pushing at you, squirming, and saying no very loudly. You jump off because you are now scared shitless that you hurt them, read the signs wrong, or did something wrong. You ask if they are OK, they say yes, sorry, and to keep going, so you try one more time and are met with the exact same reaction. You get up, take your condom, immediately flush it down the toilet because at this point you don’t know what the fuck is happening, come back into the room, they are smoking a cigarette at the window. You sit down next to them and ask, what just happened? Are you OK? They look at you with a confused look on their face and say, “What? I thought you were done.” To which you then explain what just happened and they say, no that didn’t happen. You ask them kindly to leave, they then tell you about their rape fantasy due to past trauma which they basically were blacking out not remembering the moment for the time being. At this point you let them sober up and walk them to their car, not sure what the hell to think and trying to figure out how to change your address.
Setup: You meet someone who you believe is kind and you would like to spend more time with. You end up spending a good amount of your time getting to know them and growing your connection. Then…
OOMT: You find out they are self medicating for severe bipolar disorder and don’t believe in doctors to help because they have their shit together. On top of that they are only a vegan because it allows them to foster their eating disorder. Ultimately leading to them sitting in your bathtub telling you they are afraid of your moving boxes and threatening to kill themselves, so when you call the cops, you are shocked when confronted by someone with a badge how all of a sudden they are coherent and no longer afraid of your moving boxes, leading you to only one logical next move… ask the police to stay while she gathers her stuff and leaves.
Setup: You fall madly in love with someone who says they used to have a problem with drugs but they fixed it. Knowing little about addiction of this magnitude you take them on face value.
OOMT: Eventually they look up what an overdose of vicodin is and take triple the dose before coming over to your house where you have to hold them in the shower, call a hotline, and almost call a hospital. In my case this eventually lead to me learning a lot more about addiction, how she was an EMT but could only function if she took morphine, eventually helping her check into rehab, and realizing I was no longer able to be a part of her life because she needed to change so much that I didn’t even really know her anymore. All while being cheated on with her ex drug dealer boyfriend and so many other wonderful moments. Honestly though this one was one of the most amazing moments for me because I learned a lot about the subject and people in general.
Setup: You have gone on a few dates with someone and everything has been pretty great. You ask her to dinner again and she accepts. You meet at her place and suggest a few places. She says OK to your first choice of Thai food.
OOMT: As you walk into the restaurant she loudly says, this place smells like they eat cats here. She is overtly rude to the waiter for no reason, she coffs at the two languages on the menu and emotes loudly via huffs and puffs about how everything sounds horrible and she hates these people’s food. You realize, holy shit, this girl is racist. You ask if she wants to leave as you are secretly apologizing to the staff around you while she isn’t looking and she insists that you should stay since you are already there. Her food comes, probably with a side of spit, takes one bite and goes, “wow this is really good”.
Setup: You are on your 3rd or 4th week of dating and you go to a restaurant. The check comes, you ask her if she wouldn’t mind splitting it after carrying the bill for the previous dates.
OOMT: Her face goes blank, she slaps her card on the table, she stops talking to you for remainder of the dinner. As you are walking her home, you try to figure out what the hell just happened and finally get out of her, “I have never had to split a dinner with any of my previous dates or boyfriends, I don’t know how to react to this. It’s fine… it’s fine… ” But it is not fine. Now let me be clear sure I could pay for all the dinners, but I want a partner in everything in my life, not just the romance, but the mental parts, the financial parts, the partnership of life. I don’t see it as a disconnect from chivalry but a realistic approach to a sustainable relationship.
Money has always been something I have loved and hated, had lots of it, had very little of it. So to me it is just something you work on together, and when it is assumed immediately that as the guy you are supposed to support everything it is a turn off to what i see as an unbalanced relationship this day and age.
Setup: You go over to a girl you have been seeing for a bit’s house to watch a movie. She gives you her laptop to pick a netflix movie while she freshens up. As you are browsing Netflix you see the other open tabs on her laptop.
And then you combine everything you just experienced into one:
Setup: You meet someone, everything is going really well, you have great chemistry, conversation, interactions. You have some really great sex. As she lays on you afterwards and you are in your happy place thinking, this she be nice to continue to get to know more about and the awkward parts are out of the way, she says
OOMT: “Oh by the way, I have a sugar daddy. I fuck him 1 or 2 times a week and he pays for everything for me, bills, expenses, etc. I don’t plan on stopping.” Then on top of that she says, “I don’t really want a relationship and don’t see you as someone I would marry because you won’t financially support me and you want an equal relationship monetarily, but I think we would make great partners until that time comes when I want that.” Meanwhile you are butt ass naked, her on top of you, unable to move because you don’t know how to react to everything you were just hit with, and stay quiet for majority of the evening before she leaves. Now thinking, why would I want to share my life with you for an extended period of time, knowing I am not the person you are looking for, thus wasting my time, just for some sex?
Do I want to spend time getting to know you, knowing I am not your money maker? Do I want to share my experiences and life with you knowing I will eventually have to retell it to the person I actually want to end up with afterwards?
Setup: You meet someone, you have a wonderful time. You date quite a few times. You obviously have sex at some point. Eventually it doesn’t work out and you end it.
OOMT: You get a text at 1am saying “I am pregnant”. Now this from a person who if they broke their nail would send you 50 texts throughout the day about said nail, you have a feeling this is some fucked up vindictive way to get back at you for ending the relationship. But you sit there for weeks with a pit in your stomach wondering if they will call or say more or if you should just wait it out. Wanting to do the right thing regardless, you are stuck feeling the worst you will ever feel. Spoiler: it was a vindictive lie.
Setup: You have a fantastic conversation via text and email before meeting. You find their textul wit and intelligence fascinating and you are looking forward to meeting in person.
So these are just some of the “Oh and one more thing” moments I have experienced. I am never prepared for them. I never see them coming and I consider myself a pretty intuitive person. But unfortunately online dating has become this place where people use it as the last bastion of internet anonymity. Thinking that if they either play off your hormones or “relationship status” they can drop things on you that are absolutely relationship changing tidbits of information. So whether they made the profile for an ego boost, a low sense of self confidence, believing online dating is a place where they can be what their profile says they are, or the infamous OOMT, you are stuck looking at your ceiling, uncomfortable and questioning why the fuck you are still on these apps. And since most dating is done through apps these days, if you will actually find someone who uses the app for the same reasons you do: because it is a wonderful way to meet people if you don’t feel like frequenting a bar that smells like piss and regret every night, it could be quite pleasant. For now though, I continue to stare at my ceiling in disbelief.
It seems like today we are just itching to purge people from our lives. We have forgotten what it is to disagree with others, what it was like to not have a swipe at our finger tips when we felt down or alone or loss. We forgot what it was like to debate, let alone get things wrong when we can just “google it”. But can you google the wrong inflection, a lapse of judgement, a misguided thought? No, but you can work together with someone to let them know how it makes you feel and see how they react from there…
But why have a confrontation when you can literally just hit “block friend”, “hide comments”, “block number”, “remove follower” from the new world, the online world.
Black Mirror is a TV Series that rides the edge of what could go terribly wrong with technology, yet it is not so far from the truth. Maybe we can’t block faces, and voices from right infront of us and we still have to deal with arguments and fights with people we love, but before we love, before we give the breadth to love, we are so damn eager to purge anything that isn’t exactly what we want at that very moment, no room for improvement, learning, growth, explanation, debate… anything less than instant gratification to our metaphorical lists of Do’s and Don’t, a click of a few keys and we have erased the barely a memory person from our life. And we swipe right again, saying “This time will be different”… “This time I won’t make the same mistakes”… “This time, I will find love”.
My question is how do you intent to change or find love when you never gave a memory enough time to learn from, an interaction enough time to grow, or a possible romantic encounter the life to have it’s ups and downs. You were so ready to purge you didn’t realize you were blocking your own ability to grow at the same time.
The thing I am missing the most with this post “real life” encounter swipe to date world is the actual feeling of anticipation or joy after bolstering the courage to talk to someone. The most amazing feeling is when you actually click with said person. You know you are physically attracted them, so there is no worrying about fake profiles, old pictures, browsing their social media, it is about being in that moment, heart pumping, trying to form words, and stumbling on them. The most amazing part is when you stumble all over every word but they help pick you up and continue it.
It takes no courage to swipe or like. It takes zero effort to fill out a profile, although reading anyone’s online dating profile these days you might think the opposite as they bitch, moan, and complain about writing more than 140 characters. But let’s set aside my gripes with online dating: the mindset you need to adapt to be successful, and the fact that I don’t actually think people are truly ready for it yet, accepting it as an inorganic way of meeting, where if you embrace it for what it is, could truly be used properly.
I am here to talk about a feeling. A feeling I haven’t had since highschool and sporadically since. The feeling of “Wow, I just talked to her” and “Wow, she was beautiful and she gave me her number.” Or that amazing feeling when she texts you before you text her just saying her day was good, no prompt, no socially awkward expectations, no pre-defined etiquette, just two people who saw one another, made eye contact, heard each other’s voices, smelled each other, and didn’t run screaming in the opposite direction. But instead, two people who are genuinely excited for the next time they get to dive in deeper with one another. Then the fun stories when you do meet of what your or their friends said to you after, what you thought at first, etc.
I honestly think because of the way online dating is haphazardly thrown together and embraced, those who go out of there way to talk to someone in person and make that contact, have a leg up. It is like bringing a flower to a first date, sure it may be overly romantic, viewed as too invasive, but it still brings a smile to your face, because it is a gesture, a gesture that by all means was a norm at one point, but is now a surprise. It shows you went that little extra step out of your way to make the evening or day better. Maybe the day will turn to complete shit, but at least you got out there, gave it your all and decided to embrace it for whatever it could turn into. You embraced the fear of heartbreak. Because in the end, other than the fact that a relationship should just be two friends comfortable with each other in whatever environment they are, before you form that bond you have to be willing to let it all hang out and accept the hurt that comes with starting over.
I have started over so many times, I have created my own therapy sessions of reflection, my past, childhood, stories, and more. I have told my story. I have told it again. I have learned from my own words, reactions to my words, and so much more.
But what I miss out on these days, is that magic of day to day, that I have only ever experienced when I met someone in a form other than a swipe. That highschool romance, waiting for the final bell to ring to pick up the phone and talk for hours. The lack of needing to scan their social media for proof of life because you already saw it. The ability to think back to the day instead of look to their past. Cherishing a snap taken on your phone of a kiss. These are the things I have missed lately.
There is something in actually setting up that first meeting in person that gives the possible relationship feet. It allows our minds to wander and fantasize on that cute moment where we did trip on our words. It give us the knowledge that we both consciously made the effort to take the next step of a date. I miss all that comes with that too. The walks to nowhere talking, the trips to the park laying out trying to find that comfortable place to lay on one another without going too fast, that lack of fear of reaching out via a second medium too soon via a text or call.
I suppose I just miss the feeling that I wasn’t competing for the best opener or to fulfill some generic statement on a profile to be “sarcastic” and knowing that when you get someone to talk to you in person you have made a connection, big or small, and it is almost guaranteed you will at least get to enjoy the first date. And if there are dates after that, it is built on those dates, not on a self summary or likes and dislikes on a page. You aren’t scanning their photos over and over you are remembering their face.
That is a powerful feeling. One I miss.
P.S. Anyone who doesn’t post photos on online dating is doing it wrong. If I were to treat online dating like real life, I hate to say it, but I would approach you if there was an attraction. While sure, there could be a skillset or something in real life that made you more attractive to me than a picture, but I still saw your face, your body, your clothes, and such. I made the snap judgement and acted on it. But that is for another piece of writing.
How do you get the exposure to an online dating profile in a sea of hundreds of thousands without sacrificing integrity and a sense of self? When my dad met his wife via online dating there was a much smaller pool of people who knew what online dating was. Now it is normal for a profile to start with “My friend made me make this profile” Or “I figured, since so many of my friends use this, I would try it out”.
Now no matter what I write here, I feel like I am holding a loaded gun and it scares me. I find self proclaimed “people gurus” often have the least idea of what a person is truly feeling. I call it being observant. Would it be so bad to fall into a mold of just being a “creative person” and taking the risk of writing this article? Or is the gun going to go off in my pocket for my own dating life?
We Control Our Content
Like many others I have googled “best dating profile”. And I kept coming up with the same conclusion over and over: Be anything but yourself. Uhmm… to which I think, we don’t have to dumb down our profiles. We control what is the “norm” when the content is driven by the users. Like life we have a choice to change, but it requires all of us. We want quick information, we want truth and honesty in profiles, we want an insight to those on these dating sites to cut out the bar hopping annoyance; so why not do it? Instead we wonder why, in a world of bite sized information, we feel ill informed on our dates, why they turn out to be a game of potluck when technology is giving us a way to make faster connections. We may like our news and coffee quick, but we all yearn for a “love” of some sort that lasts; are we all willing to put in the effort? Why can’t we just be ourselves? I have come to the conclusion that we have told ourselves we can’t. We have literally said, “I am too lazy, I do not accept, I will fill this out later”. We have accepted dating sites in their current form as “the way it is” instead of “what we want!”
I really enjoyed reading through your profile actually, it shows you are a mulch-dimensional person; unlike most profiles (and messages) on this website. Although, I do fall under my own criticism, I kept mine short and quite to the surface for “shits and giggles”. “ -Okcupid User
“Hello there 🙂 It was a treat to read your profile…you have a lot too say and you seem like a big thinker which is hot in my book lol. I can’t say I’ve invested as much in mine but you have me thinking I should lol.” – OKCupid User
We are setting the standards low for these sites by not actually putting in effort. Do we not realize we are the “customer” in this case.
Instead of following some “guide book” we can choose to be whatever we want and the site, in order to maintain its monetary worth has to adjust to us, not the other way around!
We are so caught up on instant gratification and the idea that we can have the “winning” profile that we forget to be ourselves, at all of the places, a dating site. The place to potentially find someone for the rest of our lives, like my father did. We are compromising on our own happy ending.
We have accepted the fact that OKCupid is turning our dating into highschool crushes. “Check Yes or No if you ‘like’ me”. Popular kids are marked by a red mark under their message box saying they “reply selectively and then the rest have orange or green.
I felt compelled to message you (despite the ominous red message saying you “reply very selectively.”) – OKCupid User
The site plays on humanities yearn for the “chase”, even if the excitement fizzles out after we actually get to know the other person. Get rated highly often, well OKCupid will now show you to more people who also are considered “attractive”.
P.S. Did you know OkCupid scales their subscription model depending on your age, sex, and location? It can range from 4.95 to 29.95. The younger and more “desirable” demographic you fit into, the lower the price. You can game this system as well, by changing your age and sex to that before purchasing the A-List.
Breaking the “Code”
It is programmed social interaction in 1’s and 0’s. So of course there are tons of “how to game the system” articles. Someone wrote the code, so it makes sense that someone else figured it out.
I have this plethora of information I have gathered, not because I am seeking to write a self help book, a “Rules of Engagement” book, or even boost my ego. I feel a deep desire to publish this article about my experience because, finally in a world oversaturated with online dating profiles, inundated google search results for “dating guidelines” consisting of compromises that go against the very definition (mutual concession), I have found a way to be myself 100%. But how can I talk about this publicly without being considered someone who has “manipulated the system” or worse yet, the people who I am interacting with? How do I tell people about this amazing feeling I have now, that I have validated my ability to be me without pulling the trigger on my own hard work? Especially because I still am looking for that person that makes an article like this obsolete in my life. A person who makes me shut down a dating profile for good. I am actually looking for the means to an end, to create a beautiful beginning; naturally, organically, and somewhat digitalized.
I have read, watched, listened to so many of the “how I hacked online dating”. Each has their own formula, statistical analytics, and long winded explanations.(My right brained personality can’t even open excel without wanting to rip out my eyes) But at the end of the day, would I be meeting people who really just wanted a guy who was “sarcastic and humorous with a side of manliness” or would I meet people I could truly connect with? How can I maintain my integrity and personality and follow all these “rules”? The truth is, for me, I can’t. I want to be able to go on that first date and know I can be 100% myself and I won’t feel upset or empty afterwards because I was portraying someone else’s ideal man, the “norm” of bar hopping, and “sarcasm/humor”.
“Most dating advice exists to “solve” this grey area for people. Say this line. Text her this. Call him this many times. Wear that. Much of it gets exceedingly analytical, to the point where some men and women actually spend more time analyzing behaviors than actually, you know, behaving. Frustration with this grey area also drives many people to unnecessary manipulation, drama and game-playing. “ – Mark Manson
Sure I have used some of the statistics to my advantage. OkCupid being the weapon of choice, has released many breakdowns of what people on their site are attracted to, photo and profile etiquette, and subsequent articles published about the best practices for the site. But it made me cringe when I would look at the “top” profiles listed in these articles. If one more person told me to keep my profile short, I was going to scream. I have a lot to say dammit!
“Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.”
HDR Black and White main photo(for that “manliness” appeal which I address in my profile to make sure there is no deviation from WHO I am**)
a dress shirt(for that classy approach)
a cat(luckily I own two and love them unconditionally, although only one makes for a good model)
combined with a self deprecating joke caption.
I follow up this piece of the puzzle with a very straight forward blurb in my profile that let’s me still be myself even though I succumb to the “statistics”.
**“If you are looking for the guy who is mysterious, I may not be your choice, not because I am not good at keeping the intrigue going, keeping you on your toes, or being a “man”, but because I choose communication over fighting down the road over notions of “who I am with you” and “who I am with myself”. I can dress nice, I can grow a beard, I can also shave and look like a total bum. I am great with my hands, but also text faster than a jack rabbit, doing what jack rabbits do quickly. Perception really. Your wants at the time of reading this and my perception of what I want. Does that mean if we agree with each others profiles it is inception? *epic music here*”
The rest of my photos are snippets of who I am, I include pictures I think I look good in(always followed by a caption that is not serious) and then my goofy side(followed by a caption that is serious). Playing off the contrasts of oneself.
The only photo that even uses a formula is my profile photo in black and white. The rest are just as many different variations of myself that I can provide. We have good days, bad days, exciting and boring days. So I want to show all of that. I want to be transparent.
I have tried many many iterations of my profile, from a casual 1 line response, a ridiculously stupid humor only profile, to one where I tell all. Each got different types of responses, but none were even remotely personal. The less I wrote the more I got approached, but that approach often fizzled out before the first meet. I felt as if I was compromising myself by catering to the “percentages”.
The problem with all of my profiles is the length, it is said by every article about online dating statistics that a long profile is a death sentence.
I refused to believe you couldn’t write a long profile if you had something of interest or passionate to say. The problem is to get someone to actually read it. I found that if I put a disclaimer up front saying:
“My profile is long, if you are pressed on time you can skip it”
…was the tiny piece to the puzzle that made it OK. It allows those who don’t want to read it to just message me, that I am approachable, and feel as though looking at the pictures is a good enough start, but it also gives off the feeling of a challenge or accomplishment to those who might slog through my stream of consciousness.
“I actually read your entire profile…” -OKCupid User
Then it becomes difficult, how do you validate someone reading a small novel that is your “profile”? How do you not come across as too jaded or make the other person feel as though you are too good for them or have nothing left to offer? How do you convince a world addicted to 140 character limits that 500 words isn’t the finale of my personality?
“I read through your profile, and there were moment that I thought … “hmmm… This guy is a little too honest.” … Then I thought, “I use to be that honest… When did that become a bad thing?” “ -OKCupid User
This is what I thought, why can’t I be honest? Why can’t I be the un-abated version of me? I wanted the first conversations to not come as a shock as I clumsily fumble my way through the “getting to know” process. I wanted people to already understand I was not the perfect one liner, but someone who would blindly feel around to get to the deeper stuff, unafraid to humble myself or admit to it not working out. (and trust me this isn’t something you just inherently know how to do, but with some effort you can learn)
I look at an “About Me” as a place to really talk about me, not just pepper with ideas my mother has told me about myself, although those are nice too. Although, again, statistically improper:
“2) Don’t make your “About Me” opening section so long that even your mother would find it boring.“
One rule of thumb: If someone has to scroll down more than twice to get to the end of it, it’s way too fucking long. Give people an overview of who you are and what you care about. You don’t need to go into how much you’d love to find a man/woman to be your “partner in crime” (shudder) and everything you’re looking for in a relationship. Your objective at this stage is to find someone you can stand and who can stand you; don’t jump the gun. You can bore people with your hopes and dreams for love later.
Also, avoid listing adjectives to describe yourself such as the mundane “attractive,” “intelligent” or “funny” (see above). This is standard advice for writing that you’ve probably heard: Show, don’t tell. If you describe what you’re like and what you’re doing with your life, people reading your profile can see for themselves that you’re attractive, smart or funny. (Or not.)”
I mean I am not going to write a book, but I find self awareness to be sexy, so why not try my own hand at it as well? So I use the about me to give the general idea. But you need more than empty words on a website to show your true passion for your “idea” of yourself. This is where the section “What am I doing with my life” helped significantly.
My occupation as a photographer carries all sorts of stigmas, the most popular being:
“ I feel like you probably meet a lot of really beautiful people through your photography, so it amazes me that you are even on an online dating site. “ – OKCupid user
My own business model has been refined over and over again to try to break free of that, so I decided why not literally take the work I put into my mission statement for my photography and copy paste it here? Is it personal and exposing, sure! But if I am putting so much effort into my job, why can’t I do the same with my love life? It is many years of work and the blunt truth. It also shows passion, which I and apparently many others find sexy. So instead of looking at me as the guy who looks at “hot girls” all day, it shows that I am on a dating site, so obviously I am not trying to date my work and looking for something real here..
Add onto that, that passion doesn’t always pay the bills, hopefully the people I will attract, will understand I am doing what I love and all others need not apply. I will lose the “wallstreet” types here but I am trying to ease the blow of my work so later on, I don’t have to defend my career choice, and instead share it and be supported for it. I had the high paying job, sports car, beautiful apartment, and feeling of “making it”, but it didn’t make me happy or fulfilled.
My work section is a topic for many to intro themselves to me with, it plays into those who put an emphasis on work over the other sections of the profile provided, but again it is 100% me, no compromise needed.
Being yourself is OK, the validation:
Instead of breaking down every aspect of my profile, since honestly it has been written over time and is extremely stream of consciousness, let me explain why I feel it has been validated, against all odds, statistics, and google results.
“Hi 🙂 so I saw that you “liked” me and after enjoying your (very detailed) 🙂 profile I thought I would send a message rather than just a like back. Since you were so thorough in your descriptions I’ll just go ahead and put my truths out there too.
I love photography but the only class I’ve ever taken was my freshman year of college and only camera I have is my iPhone but still try to capture the special people, places and things I see that I know I’ll want to remember forever.
So I think that’s a lot for a first hello 🙂 especially since it’s 4am! I’ll let you digest and get back to me.
And thank you, your openness allowed for mine in return. It’s very much appreciated as it’s such a rarity now a days in life and especially in the online dating world :)” – OKCupid User
The technical “trick”
(Image representative of an hour during a 24 hour period)
You can rate people on OkCupid from 1-5 stars. Clicking the 5 star sends an email saying you like them, if they like you back it starts the conversation via a “You like each other” canned message. It removes your need for an opener and you know they are “interested” for the first convo at least.
5 Starring everyone isn’t as dumb as it sounds, it is sort of like being your own wingman(woman). You have to talk to everyone in order to finally catch the eye of the person you really want to talk to. But the reaction I could have never predicted.
“I must say, I initially “liked” you because of your cool profile pictures (…and, you have a cat in your main one…I mean, that’s kinda unfair…). Then, I read your absolutely refreshingly honest and interesting profile (yes, I read it all), and, though I rarely message people, I felt compelled to message you (despite the ominous red message saying you “reply very selectively.”)” – OKCupid User
I “like” you
The “like” button has a lot of mind fuckery power attached to it, when in turn if the site exposed people to one another in a more organic way such as a real life encounter, there would be more people seeing these kinds of interactions. But for now it is basically throwing empty promises at the wall, hoping someone will walk by in time to catch it. It feels degrading. It has the “celebrity effect”, where you are creating a bigger pool of “views” in order to catch the eye of someone who mixes well with you, but also having to not take the “fame” to your head and act better than other.
“Engaging, thorough, and much foresight = your profile… It’s overwhelming, yet a relief! Finally, someone on this site says it ‘as it is!’” -Okcupid User
“Hello there 🙂 It was a treat to read your profile…you have a lot too say and you seem like a big thinker which is hot in my book lol. I can’t say I’ve invested as much in mine but you have me thinking I should lol.” -Okcupid User
But if they knew the site did it automatically, would the “like” still make them respond? Would we once again fall into the idea that a long profile = dating suicide even though it is clear from the responses I have gotten we truly want more from these dating sites?
“Hello! I read your profile (twice…alright, three times actually haha!) and really enjoyed what you had to say! I appreciate the honesty and detail you put into your writing. That is so rare!” -Okcupid User
I’ve gotten some of the kindest heartfelt replies and messages from being myself; A kid at heart, a thinker, and a goofball stumbling over my words in person.
You get out what you put in
“I don’t write long messages usually but I thought you seemed worth the energy.” -OKCupid User
We apply this theory to our day jobs and so many other aspects of life, but because we have “labeled” online dating as a fo-pa, joke, or don’t fully understand it yet, I feel like we still are not completely ready to use it to make true connections. Can we truly be OK with a slightly digitized way of meeting when we still hardly know how to do it in person? We are happier feeling like we can carry around the “trophies” or “abundance of choice” in our pockets via our smartphones, than actually thinking beyond the instant gratification or validation of our egos.
Directly from an article that turned me on to the 5 star “trick” in the first place:
“It’s easy to see how the attention could become addictive, so I ask James: When does it end?
“I don’t know,” he says. He describes himself as “romantic,” but, like a lot of people who log on and see thousands of singles within a mile of their Zip Code, he’s not really stressed about the end. “A lot of us want the best: the best job, the best apartment, the best significant other,” he says. And in his case, that might mean being the best bachelor as well—someone with the best stories of dating adventures to tell. In fact, he can’t stop thinking about this one incredible woman he met recently; they danced until two in the morning. Then he tells me about another beautiful, smart woman who fed him meat loaf at three in the morning. And then there was that woman with …”
Not only can online dating become almost addicting with the “choices” it can work the opposite way by us fearing the other person’s choices as well. Dating can be intimidating.. with all the different dates we go on, it feels like a rush to the metaphorical finish line of “pulling full attention”. So we work hard to get it, but do we compromise just being ourselves for the “win”? – http://lostintxtlation.tumblr.com/post/91546586723/intimi-dating
I am online for dating because I believe in the idea that technology can help us to skip some of the less desirable parts of “meeting” and truly make great connections. If we don’t invest some time into an honest profile, aren’t we just showing our faces for a physical attraction and then drudging through figuring out what in the profile was real and a boasted version of self? How does this differ than going to a bar? We have so much more control over our “self” on these sites than we admit to and I feel like it is time we start acting on it. Putting in the same effort we do with our jobs, passions, and careers into our love life as well. Eventually we have to meet face to face with the person we start talking to to really get a feel for a good match, so why waste time with “white lies”.
If I ever find someone who truly believes in this too, I think the entire date, interaction, and experience will be much more enjoyable to both people. But remember, I don’t love you….
Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, “I don’t love you”… txt me maybe? This is what present day society seems to defend harder than “I love you”.
Scenario: You meet someone, you have a good night, and now you are presented with a conundrum… do you use technology to enhance the ability to reflect on the moments you just had, using the time away from one another to use as time to know each other more through the wonderful noninvasive form of messaging… or do you get lost in their past memories on facebook ignoring the ones you just had… or even worse are you forced into a situation of who can hold off from responding the quickest to messages we all know are read immediately or at the quickest convenience. We are secretly defending our “dislike” for one another than our possible “like”. We are being punished for what used to be a legitimate way of decompressing from a date: reveling in the glow of the night the next day. There is a reason songs like “Maria” from West Side Story were written. It is because on a good date, we hear music, and we don’t want to stop singing about it. We are not in love, we are in like, and it is really fun to share that feeling rather than feeling as if it will expose our “true intentions” to love them by the end of the day…
“Trying something completely different here. I am going to stray from the long profile, just gonna express it how it is; if there is an attraction, let’s meetup and take it from there. I can write a TON here, (request my old profile if you dare lol), but then I find there is too much “Type A” or “Type B” stereotyping without inflection, voice, and just plain getting to know one another organically. I have multiple parts to who I am, as I hope you do too and would rather get to know you via conversation to portray those. So anything beyond this point is just fluff, if you liked my pictures, in my opinion.. but feel free to wander.”
The reason for this is because online dating isn’t organic, not in the slightest, but I think that is OK, as long as we accept it for what it is and skip the bullshit inorganic parts of it and try our hand at meeting if there is an attraction. I mean if I thought you were attractive in person I would talk to you right away, not text you for days until we met again. I mean how much time do you want to invest into someone who might be super attractive but pheromones are just off and you can’t stand the smell of one another?
A dating profile or online dating “resume” as I like to call it, can never summate the stuff in your head. I want to find someone who understands the idea of discussion. The idea that if I say something weird, I don’t have to dive into the ditch I just dug, but be able to continue the conversation to other parts of the plot to see if there is another hole we can fall into together. The idea that living through someones past or stalking someones profile after a date is not giving your own mind the ability to breath and enjoy the moment you just created. Oversaturating your mind with their life not the moment you just had together.
We prefer to open up with questions that are shallow, but have a proven record of working.
“Did you get into any trouble last weekend?”
“Have any trouble planned for this weekend?”
This is how we open. Our first encounter is based on a very general idea of sparking conversation but we do it in a way that is trivial. “So how did you and X meet” Oh well I asked her what kinda trouble she was getting into and she told me “lots”. Then we got a drink and boned… wow…
I am a bit old school when I think about it in terms of asking someone to be my girlfriend or date, I believe since we only get one chance to do this with someone, it should be memorable. I like to let things happen organically, but I also like the grand gestures as well.
Organic or not if two people are open to something it can work. Problem is as you most people see it as “an experiment". I think what that truly means however is “fear of the unknown”. Online dating isn’t any more awkward than meeting in a bar. It all stems on one thing, actually meeting. These back and forths mean nothing until you hear my voice, see my face, and actually get a gut feeling for someone rather than an educated guess. I have strong opinions about online dating and I believe that is healthy. Because in actuality if someone found love from it, they would not turn it down.
In the end we have to meet. Meeting is the only way to really know if the kind messages, sexy profile photos, or short or long profile are true to life. Being honest before hand is awesome and helps us to know if we want to spend our precious time with another person and online dating helps with this, especially for those of us with busy schedules. But it falls short with the amount of ways we can communicate prior to meeting. The first step to meeting is often exchanging numbers and texting. So we move away from the convenience of a keyboard where we can type many more words per minute, to a tiny screen in which we usually send texts of little to no consequence as fillers until we meet. Watching the little chat bubble pop up and down as the other person perfects their three word text to not feel too overbearing or interested.
“One of writing’s traditional advantages over speech is the time it affords you to collect your thoughts. This time empowers you to calculate your words’ effects on their reader. Rather than blurting out “YOU’RE SO HOT,” you pen a pleasing phrase: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
Text and instant messages, however, are eroding this advantage. We don’t correspond over text and instant messages, like we do in letters; we chat in quick informal exchanges, like we do face-to-face. One of the underpinnings of spoken conversation is what’s known in linguistics as turn-taking. “We need some way of determining when someone else’s turn is over and ours can begin”.
The most common-sense workaround, of course, is to prepare your thoughts mentally before you begin typing them. That sounds easy enough, but some of us actually use writing as a way of working out our thoughts, not simply recording them after they’re fully formed. If nothing else we don’t consider the words blurted out of our mouths a finality but something that can be correct as can a word be spell checked after the entire paper has been written.”
The world isn’t ready for online dating if you ask me. It is a place to go after a breakup or to get recognition when you feel you have a flaw. It is made up of tutorials created by those who have written the same self help guides to sitting in a cubicle. The amount of messages that tell me mine is refreshing but theirs is “still a work in process” is proof enough in my eyes.
I will admit, I fell victim to the “OKRebound” after a bad breakup. I, as they like to call it, “serial dated”. A few dates a week to the point where I was showering just to go back out. It was vindicating and empty. But even when I explained it to people I met, they seemed to get it and accept it as a form of acceptable behavior. It was surreal. Actually the more my phone buzzed on the table with OKCupid notifications the more likely they would “be interested in me” without me having to say a word. It was a fucked up reverse psychology thing. I got over it pretty fast however. That isn’t what I wanted. And if someone else was going to like me more because of the “likes” I had, it was not a good indicator.
I wish I could express to people how online dating has as much potential as we allow it to and right now we aren’t allowing it more than a drunken nights dare or “I was bored so I made this profile… Oops did I post a shot of my ass in a bikini… Oh and I like long walks on the beach and sacrasm and the extra attention” *breaks computer screen*
“The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.
The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.” – http://markmanson.net/fuck-yes/
Being online, is sort of like a gamification of dating to people.
“Haha I’m over it I just use it as a form of entertainment now just cuz I think what people say is funny I haven’t actually “used” it for what it’s for for a long time hAha you?” – OKCupid User
OkCupid’s Most Desirable
I got this message a month or two back. I was dumbfounded.
I knew the quantity of messages I was getting was not normal, but it was strange to get a message like this. It helped to validate that I could have a profile true to self and be considered desirable but it was a short lived moment when you compare it to who was actually picked to do the interview. I did not end up being used because they found someone who was much more TV worthy than I was, talking about how he uses “smileys” and “swiping techniques”, bragging about his lack of honest profile, how he lies on dates, and his general need to fuck as many people as he can through manipulation. You can watch that entire interview here: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/online-dating-secrets-desirable-24753151
I warn you though, I almost shut down my profile after watching this. It literally made me furious with humanity for letting someone like this exist, let alone thrive.
Why I still have a profile
Why am I on here? Because I believe there are other people who trust in a convenience like this and will use it the way they want versus how a YouTube video or article in the Huffington post tells you how to. And they will be genuine and accept it for what it is, an online meeting system in which you allow to match you with others and then go from there. Because it is convenient, not a bar that smells like piss and regret, a place you don’t want to be, or are too busy to be.
Because out of all the people I have met I have learned many things about online dating, more than I ever thought I wanted to know, and sadly these things show me how much people fall into to groups or patterns. I can change my profile picture to attract a specific nationality or put emphasis on a certain part of my profile for a specific type of personality. But it is when I go out on a date and those formulas and structures get blown out of the water and I am no longer giving my thesis or biography to the person across the table but talking to them because it is enjoyable, but mostly when I become scared… Scared that conversations break all conventions and preconceived notions Leaving me in a spot of vulnerability to want to share all but not knowing… Just feeling the need to do it anyway, that is what I date for. That 1 out of 100(that is different for every person) that will truly make me feel the the possibility of love and having to put every ounce of myself out on the table to make sure I give it my all regardless of the outcome. To open my heart I must be open to the idea of heart break. That is how I approach dating even if I start to see patterns or stereotypes or formulas for successful or unsuccessful dating profiles, first dates, and the like. Because in the end no matter what the formula is and what you think you know when you find the person right for you, the reason it is a magical moment is because you are no longer running on rails but off course, enjoying and living a moment.
But even if we go on a successful date we are still littered with obstacles to overcome.
It is so incredibly complicated getting to the second date these days. The rules of “3 days before a call” have long been muddied, if not completely forgotten. Now you are faced with the dilemma of liking an Instagram photo, responding to a Facebook post, texting an indifferent message once every day or two so not to seem too interested but still interested enough until schedules line up. The balancing act of texts between multiple dates, hoping you don’t message the wrong person the wrong response, timing your texts so not to be assumed you are overbearing.
All these unspoken “rules”, impossible to master without literally not giving a shit, because texts are usually two or three lines of nothing of consequence. So you sit there looking at your time stamps and read recipes wondering if the other person:
Someone actually suggested, after reading the article above, an app that allows you to further disconnect from your date to the online ether by having the app follow up on dates you have been on so you can let the person know without actually talking to them if you wish to go on a second date or not. I guarantee this becomes a reality and more reasons to feel completely disconnected from the person you are meeting or just met.
The OK in Cupid
I believe online dating is incomplete. It, by the very nature of humanity, is an iteration… constantly evolving to what we define it as. To say I have the answers or know where to go from here would be a farce. Whether online dating is just a way to get “experience” a so called practice date, or it will eventually evolve into a place where we don’t hide behind whatever semblance of online anonymity we are holding onto and finally realize how important we are to one another. Ultimately I just want to be able to find someone to come home to, to be real with… “the one person for me” is better than the girl of my dreams, she is real. So for now I say OK to being myself. I say OK to breaking the “online dating rules”. I say OK to OKcupid, where I am actually looking for something organic, in this inorganic clusterfuck that is online dating, because in the end, it is me I have to be OK with. And if you have two people who are just OK, you have two people in a better place than the “perfect online dating profile” you have something real, explosive, difficult, frustrating, exciting, and explorable. That there is the very inexplicable definition of love, which to me is the perfect beginning, because love is not enough...
My name is Tristan and I am a photographer/director and hopeful romantic. I am here sharing my writing, a journal entry to myself with the intent of others reading it. I talk in a very open stream of consciousness. Feel free to get lost.