One of the main reasons for the longevity of my enamoured relationship with the internet is that it’s always handing me something new, or at least a new way to look at things I already know. It also offers up fantastic people-watching and all the opportunities for psychological analysis that a girl could ask for.
Over time, internet technologies become faster, more efficient, and more functional. Online dating appears to be no exception. I don’t recall it being quite so… pragmatic. It seems to be down to a science now. Though I notice the attempts at sneaking Hotmail addresses into ads hasn’t gotten any more sophisticated. Alas, the only science I was ever much good at is biology, so it’s going to take me some time to figure this out. (Do I even want to?)
I had mentally compared what I’ve been seeing to a business deal, or an interview. But that isn’t quite right. In a business deal or interview, there are a lot of non-verbal cues and unspoken analyses and whatnot, same as in navigating the waters of online dating, but there are also a lot of questions you can’t legally ask. Not so in online dating. You might offend someone, but really, anything goes. You want what you want, be prepared to pony up the goods (in this case, information).
It’s more like giving blood. I show up to donate and they can ask me anything about my background that they want. What or who I’ve put in my body. Where I’ve lived. How I’ve earned a living. What I might have contracted or been treated for. I’ve not only been asked similar questions online by people I’ve never met, I’ve been handed all kinds of opinions and unsolicited advice on my choices in life. (Fyi, 99% guys do not understand remaining friends with exes, and they will think that means you’re still hung up, and they will be threatened.) All I can say is, thank the deities for my love of dork factor. I don’t get any sense of goofiness in the initial conversation, it ain’t going anywhere.
Of course, photos speed up the selection/discard process. Which is fair enough. We are a visual species, and it’s the main factor in the basis of attraction. It’s also, of course, the first place you find lying. I don’t remember so many guys posting pictures of their torsos only in the past. Yes, you have abs. And appear to spend more time on hair removal than any woman I know… Much entertainment is to be found in the choice of photo. Frequently crude cropping takes places, and so fragments of ex-significant others and/or offspring can be seen. That never stops being funny. 🙂
The pithy one-liner intro has lesser importance, though for some people it can be a good sorting criterion. For example, if you’re me, anything with egregious spelling or grammar errors or the use of abbreviations of the “how r u 2day?” variety is an automatic discard. I mean, I date geeks, I expect a certain lack of spelling expertise, but communication style says a lot about who you’re dealing with. Almost no one has a good opening line.
Of course, you can get a better idea of someone once you actually get into the profile, but really, by the time you start reading, your mind is already 99% made up. (The preset questions are just confirmations, really. Sorry, fat chicks.) Besides, most of the profiles? Boring. So. Very. Boring. Did you know everyone is honest, open, outgoing, average, and likes fun? Movies and bottles of wine are very popular. Did you know everyone is incredibly athletic and fit? Did you know that if you admit to not being the same you will not exist? I feel terrible for all those lonely hot people.
To date, I’m not sure what a better dating option is. Moody and difficult, and antisocial as I can be, I don’t actually like being single (though really I should be pretty good at it by now). I’ve never had friends or family try to set me up with someone they know. But hell, my own mother has told me I’m intimidating. Plus, see “sorry, fat chicks”. The kind of guys I like? They’re here. On computers. They don’t like bars any more than I do. They tell you to volunteer at something that interests you. I do. There are very few men at the Humane Society, and among the volunteers the males are young enough for me to have birthed them. Maybe if Larry and Sergei get bored they can turn their attentions to how to introduce introverts to each other.