I was recently contemplating taking a sabbatical from online dating. While the barrage of misspelled emails and inappropriate propositions are flattering, they also get a bit tedious. However, the morning I made this declaration of going on hiatus, I received and email from the people at Match.com telling me I had a free subscription.
I couldn’t possibly turn down free, even if it meant a few more months of online sexual harassment. I reopened my profile and began sifting through the gentleman that had “winked” at me and in this process, I noticed a common theme running among most of these guys: their photos are freakish.
Match offers up some pretty decent guidelines about what types of photos to post: clear, (clean), recent and decent. No prom pictures c.1998, no obscure art photos and certainly nothing that resembles and Olan Mills serial killer-esque family photo.
It appears that none of my matches bother to follow any these guidelines. Perhaps they laugh in the face of all advice? Why else would they post five blurry camera phone photos of themselves standing in front of their bathroom mirror?
Other great photos on Match I’ve seen:
- One guy posted 20 photos of himself in a fencing tournament. Yes, fencing, the Dungeons and Dragons of sporting events. He also sported a slicked back George Carlin ponytail: Follicle death up front, party in the back.
- Photos of the Grand Canyon. I’ve seen at least three guys who have done this and I have no idea why. It’s not that I would doubt that they’ve been there. It’s a fairly popular tourist destination. And if I wanted to see the Grand Canyon in a profile, I would go to the Arizona board of tourism.
- Family photos where they are one of the blurry heads in the background, but you have to guess which one.
- More blurry bathroom camera phone photos, but this time topless. I love a man who shows me his armpit hair before we’ve even met.
- And a lot of Fabio-style lounging on their side giving me their “sexy pout” face.
Perhaps I’ve had the fundamentals of marketing drilled into me for too long. If you’ve got five seconds to make someone interested, shouldn’t it be something better than a photo of the top of your head taken from your phone?
Lesson learned: First impressions online are still first impressions.
When I was in college, I agreed to let my roommate set me up with one of her childhood friends. I had met him once at a party and he had asked her to arrange a formal introduction. I wasn’t entirely enthused with this arrangement since I found him to be less than appealing in our initial encounter, but first impressions can often be wrong. Just not in this case.
My new prince charming had decided to get his hair done in honor of our date and arrived with his hair carefully sculpted into a smurf-blue Mohawk. Even at 18, I wasn’t enthused with crunchy blue hair, but I shrugged it off and walked with him to his car. Along the way he let me know he had also dyed his pubic hair to match the Mohawk, just in case I was “into that.” I asked him if this was because, like a smurf, he was diminutive in size. He assured me that he wasn’t slouching and was indeed six feet tall.
I could tell from that moment that we weren’t going to work out.
Smurf decided to whisk me away to a small Mexican café not far from my dorm suite. It was quaint, romantic and classier than I would have expected from him. Perhaps I was being too judgmental. When our food arrived, he compared the appearance of my meal to excrement and went on with this in some detail. I lost my appetite.
The rest of dinner conversation was a lot like a job interview administered by a confused golden retriever. He was enthusiastic, and totally unable to understand me. He asked me how well I did in school. I told him I had a 4.0, which prompted him to ask me if I wore glasses. Fortunately, my ability to think and show up to class had not impaired my eyesight. He asked how many siblings I had and then concluded that my lack of siblings made me an only child. I merely nodded at his expanding skills of deduction.
Somewhat befuddled by my reluctance to let him grope me once we got back to the car, he backed his father’s BMW into a pole. “Um, I think the car’s OK. Do you want to go to gravity hill and make out?”
Tempting my blue-haired friend, tempting, but I think I’ll opt for going home.
When I ducked away from his outstretched tongue at my door, he shoved his way into my living room, sat down and lit up a joint. He wanted to wait for my roommate before he left.
Being too tired to care, I locked myself in the bedroom and fell asleep. The next morning I found him curled up on the couch, roach in hand, and his blue Mohawk awkwardly folded to the side.
Lesson learned: Blue hair should be left to old ladies.
Since I started my blog, I’ve received a lot of questions from readers (and from some of my friends) about my experiences with dating and being single. Here are some of the most common questions from my readers.
Q: These stories seem a bit far fetched. Are they real?
A: Yes, all of the people I mention in this blog are real people and the events are very real. I have in fact dated two men that were deported, one that fell off a cliff and yes, my mother did set me up with a guy with a breathalyzer in his car. I have always attracted strange people and circumstances, not just in dating.
Q: Do you only date assholes?
A: No, I try to go out of my way to NOT date assholes. And I have actually dated several nice guys. I am, in fact, still friends with many of the nice guys I’ve dated. Just because they aren’t terrible people doesn’t mean we’re meant to be together.
Q: Are you really that obsessed with zombies?
A: Yes. I love zombie movies. And I am also mildly afraid of an impending zombie apocalypse.
Q: Do you write about everyone you date?
A: No. I have had guys ask me not to write about them, and out of respect for their privacy, I don’t. There are also several guys that I’ve dated that are frankly not interesting enough to write about. (Do you really want to read about guys who play video games all day? They’re boring to watch let alone read about.) Plus, my blog is not about revenge. I just want to share my experiences because frankly, they’re weird.
Q: Have you ever been in normal relationship?
A: Define “normal.”
Q: Why do you hate romantic comedies so much?
A: Because they are awful.
Any questions on dating or my bizarre life in general? Post a comment. I’d be happy to answer them!
Last week, I was inspired to look through some of my old CDs from high school. What can I say; I felt it was important to drown myself in nostalgia. One of my favorite CDs from c.1994 was Hooverphonic (who doesn’t love techno pop from Belgium), which I discovered was missing. After some pondering, I remembered where it had gone: one of my ex-boyfriends had it. He “borrowed” it before our break up and never returned it.
For those of you who grew up before the mighty MP3, this was fairly common after a break up. For many years, CDs and their predecessors the cassette tape and 8-tracks, were considered collateral damage. They were an acceptable loss that you either replaced or forgot about. In theory, you would have held onto several of the exes CDs in compensation, but for me, this was never the case. Over my dating history I have lost 33 CDs and gained only two. And I don’t really consider Evanescence to be a great gain.
As you can see here, there is a significant loss over gain in my CD collection. (Which has been collecting dust in my closet for the past 5 years).
Of all the non-monetary losses I’ve sustained while dating (I don’t include time theft because that’s just too much to fit into a blog post), CDs have been the largest. They rank above dignity and the astonishing amount of hair care products that have been used up by my exes. I also don’t discount the rather expensive feather bed that was urinated on and had to be replaced. See: Tea and Pee)
CD loss has made me a huge fan of the MP3/iPod. It’s revolutionized my breakups. No longer do I have to search through dozens of jewel cases to realize that my CDs are now being used as coasters on someone else’s coffee table. Of course, what happens if I let a future ex borrow my iPod?
Lesson learned: Keep your friends close. Keep your music collection (and hair care products) closer.