Sunday, November 30, 2008

Abandon all hope ye who enter here

My dating pool has dried up ever since I moved out to Baltimore, so just for kicks and grins I signed up for one of those dating sites (that isn't eHarmony, anyhow). Just the free version, mind you. I've no intention of paying good money to get rejected by women, as I'm already getting enough of that for free.

In any event, I can understand why people are often as skeptical as they are about online dating websites. I imagine that some are better than others, but there seems to be common issues resonating on all of these sites, and it's more of a problem with the people than the sites themselves. Although let's face it, most of these sites do have the problem of being like a party where you see a bunch of people standing around and every time you try to talk to someone the host walks up and demands $5 before he'll let you chit-chat.

In any case, let's talk about the things that make these women's profiles so egregious, as I don't have anything else interesting to blog about lately:

Photos
This is clearly the biggest issue for your profile, as it's the first thing a guy is going to notice about you, yet also seems to be the one thing that people spend no time or effort on. Common issues include:
  • The eye gouger- Seriously, you couldn't find a better looking picture than that? You have one eye half shut and your tongue is hanging out.
  • The lonely shot - You wanted to get a quick headshot in, so you held your digital camera at the arm's length and took a photo. Since you're paying $20/month for this, you couldn't spend a little time to change out of your pajamas and get a friend to snap the photo for you?
  • The ex - Why in God's name would you post a picture of your ex-boyfriend licking your face to a dating website?
  • The woman of mystery - Okay, so you like the picture of you and all your friends at the beach. Since we can't tell which of the 13 women in the picture is you, we're just going to assume you're the one who looks like she got a once-over from Hannibal Lecter and move on.
  • The time warp - We can all tell when you're using a picture older than the children you talk about in your profile. You might want to give us some credit and post something that was taken since the advent of digital cameras.
The Profile
You get a bunch of multiple choice radio boxes and a 500 word essay to sell yourself to me. Why is it that some people can't seem to get this one right?

First, there's weight. Look, if you're not going to post a picture of yourself, it's just polite to fill this portion out. Unfortunately, the websites seem to be in the habit of letting people live in Imagination Land (TM), because most have four categories: Slim, Athletic, Average, and "A few extra pounds." From what I've seen, people who pick that last one are making quite the understatement.

Next come your activities. I don't know a lot of people who will say that they hate being outdoors, and I think all of us can find enjoyment if we're at a picnic and get roped into a game of volleyball or horseshoes. But don't tell me that you regularly enjoy kayaking, hiking, swimming, tennis, basketball, badminton, water polo, bowling, competitive dance, base jumping, and speed skating. You can't possibly partake in all of those often enough to call any of them a hobby, and you certainly don't look athletic enough for that to be believable anyhow.

The biggest hurdle is the free-form profile. Spelling is the most obvious issue; again, you're spending a lot of money on this to try to find a mate. Don't you think you could have spent 10 seconds running this thing through spell-check? The biggest thing I notice is the abundance of nonsense phrases. These can include, but are not limited to:
  • "Looking for someone who doesn't play games" - Like what, checkers? What does that even mean?
  • "I love to laugh/have a good time" - Phew. For a second, I thought you might have been a kill joy.
  • "Friends are very important to me" - Me, I'm just going to hang out in the Batcave all day and be broody and emo. Friends . . . pfft.
  • "I'm looking for . . ." - This list could go on for a long time. Basically, it involves any number of qualities that only the socially retarded will be lacking. Then again, this being the internet, perhaps those things can't go without saying. You know, things like "someone who's down to earth," "someone who is a good listener," "someone who will appreciate me," "someone who is confident in himself." They all seem like a good thing to say, but they mean absolutely nothing. Oh, and if you decide to say that you're looking for someone who "shares (my) interests," it would be a good idea to actually say what those are.
So there you have it. Internet dating . . . I'm willing to concede that it might improve once you're willing to spend money on it. Until I have that kind of disposable income, however, I'm going to stick with my usual strategy: Making awkward chit-chat with ladies on the train from work, then following them in the parking lot, get a face full of pepper spray, and then run off screaming something about coffee and phone numbers.

Perhaps it sounds painful, but how could it be worse than online dating?

2 comments:

Jen said...

And people wonder why I don't date.

Barry said...

Andy and I laugh in your general direction.
Except that I'm seeing someone now, don't remember if I told you that. I made the mistake of telling her I hadn't had a date since she was a teenager. Talk about "the socially awkward."