Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Guide to Online Dating Profiles

OK. I was checking out profiles on some online dating website things. I do this about twice a year to make sure I'm not missing out on anything by not making an effort to meet people and date. I'm not. There's no one in a 25 mile radius that I would want to even have a first date with. But the process of looking always manages to get my ire up. There are a few things that tick me off about how men do profiles. This might be how women do things, too. I'm not trying to slam on men particularly, but I don't look at girl profiles, so I don't know about them.

Stupid Sports Stuff

OK, so there are plenty of girls who know sports stuff and like sports stuff. But there are also a lot of girls who don't. So if you're choosing a screen name or an opening line or a list of favorite activities to describe yourself to a potential mate, you might want to make it intelligible to a girl who isn't into sports. Sure, most sensible women will respect your sports insanity. A few might even share it. But most of us don't want to hear about it. If you put that your favorite activities are listed as "watching sports with the guys, playing team sports with the guys, reading sports magazines in the bathroom, and scratching myself," I'm kind of left wondering whether you are actually looking for a girlfriend or just for someone to have sex with when you're not hanging out with your guy friends. If you are that sporty, you should really say "I'm looking for a girl who will share my fabulous sports obsessions with me." And you should really only say this if that's a deal-or-no-deal sort of thing. That is, is this the sort of thing that is so very important that you'd be willing to give up the prospect of having regular sex if you don't find a girl who loves sports?

Spooky "Submission" Stuff

There are a lot of Christian guys who write things like: "I want a Biblical marriage" or "I'm looking for a submissive wife" or "I believe the husband is the spiritual head of the family." -- [deep breath] OK. I was brought up fundamentalist. My mom and sister are way more conservative than I am. All three of us agree on one thing: statements like these are code for "I am an abuser. I intend to hit you and demand sex whenever I want and control our finances and make you my brood mare, keeping you perpetually pregnant until you have birthed my 14 children (which you are almost completely responsible for raising except when I need to take them out to the woodshed and discipline them), and not let you out of the house because you must be there keeping it spotless and making me three fabulous meals a day which you must figure out how to do for our little family of 16 on the grocery allowance of $11.37 which you are allowed per day."

Let me say something in defense of the whole "spiritual headship" thing (which will surprise the heck out of everyone): being the spiritual leader does NOT depend on the submission of your wife. You want to be the spiritual leader, buddy-boy, then start being spiritual. You get yourself holy and humble and faithful; you get responsible and do-or-die integrity driven and passionately intent on submitting yourself to Christ (rather than focusing on how well someone else is submitting to you) and you'll be the sort of person that a woman can trust enough to defer to a good bit of the time. Because -- damn! I'd love to find someone who I could trust would be completely committed to trying to discover and advocate and do the right and faithful thing (and who had half a clue about what it was). I'd probably be so absolutely thrilled that I wouldn't care if he left his clothes all over on the floor and the toilet seat up sometimes. But the guy who is that into discerning and desiring the right thing is way more interested in pursuing God and wisdom than worrying about whether his wife is going to do what he says or not. Any decent Christian is going to be a bit more worried about whether they're actually advocating the right course of action than about whether they're going to be obeyed without question.

And if you know that you've put a lot of thought and prayer into your position on some decision, why is it you don't want to explain or justify it? Either you think your wife is basically spiritually inferior (in which case you should certainly try to educate her -- and why did you want to marry her anyway?) or you don't care if she has seen something you haven't and you'd rather be obeyed than to actually do the right thing if doing the right thing means that she has any part in your decision making. Oh, and you might want to take a hint from Jesus and think about the good of the other people you're planning to be providing "headship" for. And since you, Mr. Spiritual-Head-of-Household, aren't actually God and don't know what's good for them in all circumstances, you might want to ask them. It's kind of crazy, I know. Just a thought.

Better way to spin this in a personal ad: "I want to follow God and I want to seek what God wants me to do to serve Him and to serve those with whom I am in relationship. I will put all of my spiritual energy into being faithful to God's will in every area of my life, including my dating relationships and marriage. I hope to eventually marry a woman who shares these commitments." Look how less abusive that sounds!

Oh, P.S. -- Don't say "I want to find a wife". Christian men say this all the danged time, trying to show how ready they are for commitment. You find a woman. Then you marry her. Then -- and only then -- is she a "wife". Otherwise, it looks like you're looking for someone who is already a wife -- to someone else. And that's a no-no. But it does make me giggle since I know you're trying to look all serious and chaste.

Spooky Chivalry Stuff

This is a bit different than the above. I have no problems with chivalry. I like having the door held open. What worries me are the men who promise the moon and manage to make you sound kind of skanky at the same time. These are guys who say things like, "I want to treat my lady like a queen" or "I want to snuggle and buy you flowers and jewelry and worship the ground you walk on and then rub your feet." It's like the opposite of Stupid Sports Man. And it's just creepy.

For one thing, it makes it sound like you're very... ah... "experienced". How many other ladies have you been treating like queens? Are you a gigolo? Are you unemployed and looking for a sugar-mama? Are you looking for needy women with low self-esteem because there's something really wrong with you? You manage to make it seem like you're hiring yourself out. Basically because you've said nothing about yourself except that you seem to derive every bit of your sense of self-worth from fawning over your "lady". Your hobbies are "taking my lady to the beach, cooking her a gourmet meal, watching romantic comedies, listening to my special lady talk about her day and her feelings...."

We the special ladies are suspicious. What do you do when you aren't in a relationship? Are you ever not in a relationship? Do you measure your relationships in weeks? days? hours? -- Forgive us if we don't quite believe you that you want nothing more on earth than to make us happy. But that's a lot of a burden to put on your "special lady." What if we'd really like you go have another hobby besides us so that we can have another hobby besides you? We are worried that you would cry about this and we would feel really guilty and uncomfortable. Because you know you're a real bitch if you make a guy cry who enjoys rubbing your feet.

Stupid Religion Stuff

Why does someone put down that they're a Christian and then say "I don't go to church, and I don't believe anything in particular about God, and I'm open to all faiths. I think there's some reason for how things happen in the world and that we should all be nice to each other." OK.... So I guess "Christian" now means "white"?

Or what about the guy who puts that he is "Christian" and goes on and on about how "Jesus is #1" in his life. He says that he wants a girl who "believes in Jesus Christ and is trying to be a Godly woman" but then in the requirements bit puts that he's looking for someone who is "Hindu" or "Spiritual, but not religious"? (I'm so not making this up.)

And then there are a bunch of people who put "Christian/Other" (as opposed to /Catholic or /Protestant or /LDS) and then say that they're Baptist. Or Presbyterian. Either they're some "special" non-Protestant version of Presbyterian or they have no idea what "Protestant" means. Neither bodes well....

Stupid Stupid Stuff

The big one that irks me: the education preferences. Guys just don't want to date smart girls. They do want, however, to say that they want to date smart girls so that they don't look superficial. And I should mention that I was specifically looking only at guys who have advanced degrees.

So here is what they do: they ramble about how they find intelligence a turn-on and love witty banter and high culture. They talk about all their degrees. Then in the "About my Date" bit, they put that they're looking for someone with an education of "high school--Bachelor's degree". Yeah. You've got a PhD and you're looking for someone intelligent who maybe just completed high school. Did you actually go to high school? Did you perhaps just repress memories of the general intelligence level of high school students because you were so traumatized from having your head flushed down toilets because you were a huge nerd? Did you go to a special high school just for people with genius IQ's? Or did you just get your PhD online?

No, it's actually because you, Dr. Smarty-pants, want a stupid woman. Why? -- Because you want to feel smart by feeling smarter-than. Despite having earned a doctorate, you are deeply insecure about your intelligence. Maybe you plagiarized your dissertation. I don't know. But it makes me insecure about your intelligence. I'm starting to agree with your evaluation of yourself and I haven't even met you. I couldn't date you because I'd be wondering, "Really?! They gave this guy a PhD?!" So you should date high school grads. They won't know the difference.

The only thing funnier was the guy who had a PhD and said he wanted a woman with "some college." That was the only option he chose. Not high school. Not a B.A. Just some college. -- What's that about? Just enough education so she isn't banal but not so much that the lovely bloom is off the rose of her ignorance?

Also interesting: guys who say they want a really smart woman and that they themselves are really smart when they have only a high school education or community college and are 40-50 and cannot spell, use proper grammar, or words that aren't text-speak in their personal profiles: Rilly, u no wt i meen? i jist wan 4 u 2 b w/ me b/c idk y prolly they're brain but intelliegents girls turns me on alots -- srsly LOL!!!!!

Of course, I have seen a couple of people who had advanced degrees and wrote like this, which is even scarier. I feel glad I didn't have to read their theses. Perhaps they had someone help type up that business. But if they're really serious about finding a date who is an "intelliegents girls" then they should have someone help them type their profile. If you are 45 years old and you are writing this to try to get someone to date/marry/sleep with you, you are either a pedophile or should be ashamed of yourself. Or you have a disorder and you might want to mention that. I have disorders. I'm cool with disorders. However, this disorder seems to be a textually-transmitted disease. That guy and his iPhone/Blackberry/3G-whatever are NEVER getting my number.

To aid in all this craziness, I have devised a new system of intelligence indications for dating websites.

Here are the categories for describing oneself:

  • "Average" (because very few people will admit they're dumb) -- I read books sometimes. I can add.
  • "Street-smart" -- I can't add. I might look at a newspaper or the comics. But I can drive a car and I've managed to make it this far without dying or being imprisoned for life.
  • "Sweeter than smart" -- I am mentally challenged, but I have other gifts.
  • "Unique" -- I am artsy or musical or a computer whiz, so I'm not really stupid. I think I have important ideas, but I don't really have much of an education.
  • "Intelligent" -- I've been through college. Maybe a professional degree program. I have read a lot of books. I think I usually have decent ideas. A couple of them actually are decent.
  • "Genius" -- I'm very intelligent and well educated in a wide array of subjects. I read in multiple disciplines and genres regularly. I have advanced degrees. I might have a bit of an ego problem.
  • "Scary-Smart" -- I have multiple advanced degrees, a good breadth of knowledge and a terrifying depth of knowledge about one or more subjects. My mind works very fast and most people think I'm weird.

And then, there can be several options for what you're looking for.

  • Dumber than me -- I want someone who will make me feel smart and special and who will defer to me as smarter.
  • Smarter than me -- I want someone who will let me out of having to be smart and I am willing to make "ooh! ahh!" sounds as appropriate.
  • Let's see who's smarter! -- I want someone about as intelligent as I am, but I am fiercely competitive and/or insecure and/or narcissistic. So I will always be trying to figure out which of us is smarter and trying to convince you that it's me. This will mean lots of fighting and insulting comments.
  • About the same -- I want someone who is about as intelligent as I am so that we can converse on the same level and keep each other sharp.
  • Who cares? -- I am hoping for a purely physical relationship; I don't care if you have a brain as long as you're hot.
  • There are deeper things than intelligence. -- I am either really into something spiritual, have been abused in the past and now just want someone nice, or I am hoping for a purely physical relationship but want you to think that I'm deep.


  1. Since when has education equaled intelligence? I don't have an advanced degree and can run circles around some people who do. I'm sorry, I understand this blog is aimed to be cute/snarky/bitter about dating, but I took real offense to that. I may have an associate's degree but I am more than capable of keeping up with someone with a PhD. Having your high school diploma and no other schooling does not make you dumb, or unable to "know the difference" about someone else's schooling or intelligence.

    Please try to be a little more open minded about people who haven't had the opportunity/desire to pursue education beyond high school.

  2. Ah, the Biblical Submission fad.

    "I am [insert church] Christian and I take my faith seriously" should be all one puts down on a profile description. It seems like anything more is simply feeding pride, a fetish or both.