I’ve been doing online dating on and off for several years now. Here is an exchange that highlights one of the reasons that the off times are so much longer and more frequent than the on times. It’s from OK Cupid, which I like because of the questions it allows people to answer. Based on the way that you answer these questions, which are submitted by users and cover a wide variety of topics, the OKC algorithm comes up with a likelihood percentage for match, friend, and enemy.
OKC evaluated this Potential Suitor (PS) as 61% Match, 67% Friend, and 16% Enemy – not promising. His answer to one of the questions indicates that he is not ok with homosexuals; this is a nonstarter for me. My policy, though, is to respond to the e-mails that men send me, because they at least deserve a reply. I probably strung this exchange out too long, but I had a feeling it had some potential. (I’ve copied and pasted directly from OKC, so any grammar, spelling, syntax, and usage mistakes are intentional, in that I didn’t correct them for purposes of this post.)
May 28, 2013 – 2:52pm
PS: Hi how are u doing? Whats your name? My name is [REDACTED] and I would like to get to know u better
[Editrix’s note: it is so unfair, I know, but starting an e-mail chain with “Hi how are u doing?” says to me that you’re lazy, and it makes me want immediately to delete the e-mail. I didn’t, because not everyone is good at e-mail, but he’s starting at a deficit. Also, please note the lack of respect for punctuation. I know, I know, grammar/spelling/syntax/usage-fu or lack thereof are not leading indicators of the goodness of a man’s heart. Against my instinct, I tried to give this guy a chance.
Jul 22, 2013 – 3:22pm
CC: Hi there, sorry for the delay in responding. My name is Charlotte. What would you like to know?
[Editrix’s translation: ask me an insightful question. Please.]
Jul 22, 2013 – 4:10pm
PS: Hi Charlotte I would want to know what do u like to do for fun?
[Editrix’s note: this is one of the most frustrating things about online dating. I put in a fair amount of time creating my profile and having friends (single, married, male, female) edit it. So it annoys me that people e-mail me without having read my profile nor having checked out the questions I answered.]
Jul 23, 2013 – 2:01pm
CC: I like to travel and cook and read.
[Editrix’s note: all of which you would know if you read my profile. My run rate of crabby is higher than average, and it’s ratcheting up. I really shouldn’t online date.]
Jul 23, 2013 – 2:16pm
PS: What do u like to cook? What are u looking for?
[Editrix’s note: I like to cook lots of things, mostly things that either involve chopping food into small dice or deglazing fond from a pan with wine. For some reason, I did not want this guy to know that. Also, what I’m looking for in a man is IN MY PROFILE.]
Jul 24, 2013 – 11:31am
CC: What in my profile caught your attention?
[Editrix’s note: this is my small hint to him to go read my profile. Subtle, right?]
Jul 24, 2013 – 3:56pm
PS: I like your smile and u sound like u are a woman that’s likes to go out and have fun
[Editrix’s note: so basically he saw my pictures and thought I’m pretty enough, but he’s proving that he didn’t read my profile because there’s nothing there that would indicate I like to “go out and have fun.” My profile indicates that I like to travel and cook and read. Only one of those things requires leaving the house. I didn’t check to see if he actually went back to read my profile, because if he didn’t, I’m even more irritated. If he did, he’s confirming that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about my personality and only cares how I look. It’s lose-lose.]
Jul 29, 2013 – 6:24pm
CC: I actually don’t like to go out that much. I wish you good luck in your search.
[Editrix’s note: I’d had enough.]
Jul 29, 2013 – 6:25pm
PS: Ok your loss
[Editrix’s note: yeah, I don’t think so, but the fact that he tried to make me feel guilty or bereft amused me.]
Jul 29, 2013 – 6:27pm
CC: Yup, understood.
[Editrix’s note: the angel on my shoulder knows that I should disengage as quickly as possible and move on, but the devil on my shoulder wants to see what he’ll write next.]
Jul 29, 2013 – 6:28pm
PS: That’s a shame u let a good man pass u by
[Editrix’s note: I wonder what PS thinks he’s going to accomplish with this line of response. Will I suddenly realize my mistake now that he’s pointed out what a great guy he is? That the prospect of losing a “good guy” who couldn’t be bothered to read my profile but still claimed to want to get to know me is going to turn me around and make me offer to meet him for coffee? I don’t understand.]
Jul 29, 2013 – 6:32pm
CC: Yes, understood.
[Editrix’s note: I mean, I do understand that he’s going to pass me by, and I am totally ok with it.]
Jul 29, 2013 – 6:33pm
[Editrix’s note: I gave him the last word, which is hard for me because *I* like to have the last word; in combination with the devil on my shoulder, it leads to no good. I do have to concede that there’s nothing in “Ok” that would require a response, so I don’t really deserve any credit here.
This exchange left me weary, so I had no patience for Potential Suitor 2 (PS2), 76% Match, 70% Friend, and 25% Enemy.]
Jul 25, 2013 – 2:28am
PS2: Hi, lets meet. PS2
[Editrix’s note: I am suspicious of people who e-mail at 2:28am. I know it’s unfair. Maybe he has insomnia, and he’s hoping checking women out on OK Cupid will help him get to sleep. But I don’t think I’ve ever received an email with honest and pure intentions in the wee hours of the morning. And then I got annoyed because PS2 turned me into a hypocrite. I went to read his profile, and there was too much of it. I couldn’t read the whole thing. In my skimming, I did glean that he believes he’s a total catch, that he’s underestimated, and all the things he is and is not looking for in a woman. And maybe this is also unfair, but all I could hear was someone criticizing the way I live my life in very measured, reasonable tones that imply that because he is making me mad, I am obviously wrong. Baggage, friends. We all have it.]
Jul 29, 2013 – 6:31pm
CC: Hi there — thanks for your note. What in my profile caught your attention?
[Editrix’s note: I cut to the chase.]
Jul 29, 2013 – 6:49pm
PS2: Your happy smile 🙂
What is your name? PS2
[Editrix’s note: sigh. Another one who only looked at my pictures and did not bother to read my profile. Apparently, I’m just attractive enough for people not to bother to find out if I have a decent personality. I know I should be flattered, but I’m not. More baggage, I guess.]
Jul 30, 2013 – 1:00pm
CC: My name is Charlotte, and there is a lot more to me than just a happy smile. I appreciate your interest, and I wish you good luck in your search.
[Editrix’s note: the end.]
Jul 30, 2013 – 2:23pm
PS2: Charlotte, there is a lot more to everyone than just their smile. Frankly, while I commend that you have made a reasonable effort at a profile, and have used literary license English, your smile tells me more useful insight into your personality than does what you have written.
Different profile contents have different context meanings to different people. But universally, facial photos convey some unspoken communication that is either well received or avoided. You are fortunate that you are able to project your happiness via your smile.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
[Editrix’s note: am I totally jaded and cynical, or does anyone else find this to be a complete load of crap? WTF is “literary license English”? His e-mail hit me THE WRONG WAY. He is ostensibly being complimentary, but compliments come in three flavors: truth, flattery, and condescension. True, genuine compliments are welcome, but PS2’s note doesn’t ring that bell. He may be trying to flatter me, but that only serves to increase suspicion. Mostly this is hitting me as rampant condescension, which will make me run the other direction like zombies are after me. I let this exchange die here.]
I get that I shouldn’t complain about being single and about the dearth of single men in my life (which I try not to do because I’m grateful for the life I have) when I’m turning down reasonably acceptable men like this. Even over e-mail, though, shouldn’t there be a spark? Shouldn’t I be excited about exchanging ideas with the person? Shouldn’t I look forward to seeing a note from him in my inbox? If this drudgery is all that’s out there, I’d rather be single.
Are you inadvertently signed up for some kind of OKCupid for illiterates? Because COME ON. As you said, not everyone is as keen on grammar as you or I am, but very basic spelling, punctuation, sentence structure?? Egad.
You know how hard I’m trying not to hold that kind of thing against people. It is extremely hard. Language is important to me. And if the content is good, I’ve found that the spelling and punctuation and syntax and the rest don’t matter as much. But the content has to be good, and I’m finding good content is hard to come by.
you DO have a nice smile btw. 🙂
PS2 = condescending, yes. Not a good place to start — I agree.
Is there anyone in the world who thinks being condescended to is attractive? No. Why do it?
PS1 makes my skin crawl, but I should back up. What gets me is that neither of these guys is even trying. They have clear expectations of what *you* should do (write nice responses, say yes), but don’t seem to think they have to do anything. They’ve made ZERO effort to introduce themselves, share something personal, and give you the beginnings of a genuine correspondence. If PS1 was at a party and was introduced to you (and was told you had things in common) would he look at you and say ‘Hi, I’m PS1, I’d like to get to know you better’ and then stop there? If you really want to get to know someone, you make a fricking effort to share something, and to learn something. You don’t just wait for someone to say nice things to you. This guy does not want to make that effort. He wants you to gush over how great he is, and jump at the chance to meet him in person. He seems to think he’s entitled to that (‘your loss’??). And before anyone thinks that PS2 doesn’t have the same problem – look again. His reply is him, telling you what you should think. He’s still making zero effort, but in a preachy, condescending way. He’s saying ‘you should feel bad for that not-nice answer you just gave me’. Why does he think you should feel bad, when he made zero effort? Perhaps it’s the massive sense of entitlement he’s carrying around.
I have met this type of guy so many times, as (I’m sure) has every other woman reading this. I’ve been plagued periodically – especially in HS and college – by the guy who thinks he’s a ‘nice guy’, and since he’s nice – that you should like him, be nicer to him or go out with him. And if you don’t, you’re a bitch. icky.
Reading this article a few months ago threw this into stark relief for me… there’s a name for this guy! http://jezebel.com/5969737/meet-the-so+called-nice-guys-of-okcupid
You have totally hit the nail on the head with what’s so irritating about these guys. There is a LOT of conversation bait in my profile. A lot. But none of these guys can be bothered to check my profile beyond the pictures, and I hate that. Good guys (I can’t bring myself to say “nice,” because the so-called “nice guys” have perverted the meaning of that word beyond recognition) are interested in who I am, not just what I look like.
… and on this note I think you would be completely justified in changing your policy about replying to everyone – since I am not sure they do all deserve a reply!! but, maybe I am too pessimistic.
I would, but the devil on my shoulder is pointing out that I get some decent stories out of the experience. Also, it reminds me not to be sad that I’m single. 🙂
I’m too lazy to do it, but I’m tempted to create an OKCupid profile just so I can get matched up with you and ask you, first, if you like Mexican food (’cause my mama makes GOOD Mexican food) and, second, whether your breasts would like to go hot-tubbing. Thus would your trifecta be complete.
Don’t you mean, “Messican”? Oh, to be 18 and hanging out with drunk fools at the Dixie Chicken….
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