There are many weird twists and turns in my life, even on a daily basis, and recent experience of the romantic variety has led me again to the realm of needing to date.
Given what you might already know about me, you’re probably look at the word “need” and saying to yourself, “WTF!?!?”
That’s okay. I did, too.
What I came to realize is that for single parents, having a life outside of the kids is not a luxury. In many cases, it’s a necessity that allows us to keep our overall lives in perspective and thereby be better parents. For me, it’s maybe a little more important than that because I also have a special-needs kid, and that alone can be enormously overwhelming. “Special needs” is hard enough, but when you don’t feel that you’re getting solid answers or that maybe they/we could be doing something more to handle it, you start looking for answers on your own, and then it gets even more intense… but that’s the topic of another post.
This post is about my return to online dating sites.
In the past, I’ve tried a few of them. There was Plenty of Fish, which I determined was really good if you liked the low-brow approach and were more open to casual hookups than serious relationships. Then there was PunkMatch, which was … well, let’s just say it was a total sausage-fest, which might sound like a great resource for women, but the majority of the time, it was pretty clear why these fellows were still single. And then there was HerWay, and that was pretty neat. On HerWay, the men cannot contact the women – the women have to initiate contact, and then they can talk. It’s a typical pay-to-talk-more site, but it’s a nice concept.
Recently, I decided instead to go with a tried-and-true and give OKCupid a shot. After all, the ex met his love there, I know a great number of people who have used it with fantastic results, and I’m always up for an adventure.
I don’t mean to make this a review for all dating sites, or any really, but I do appreciate the metrics that OKCupid use to match people up. On other sites, the factors were highly limited, but with this one, the questions can go on indefinitely. I’m given to understand that there are thousands of questions you can answer and tons of tests you can take, but the basic rules still apply: be honest on your profile or you’re going to end up attracting the wrong end of the dating spectrum.
I’d like to take a minute to explore this concept more completely, because (as per usual), there was a huge response off the bat of people who clearly did not match my profile metrics at all but insisted on trying to get my attention anyway. I do my best to be very polite and clear when speaking with these folks – “I’m sorry, but I don’t see that we’ll be able to get on well.” – so it’s not something that I find immediately offensive, but it is potentially enormously offensive in the long run.
The apparent logic behind this tactic of contacting every single woman on a site like this is the same as a guy who goes into a bar and propositions every single woman there, figuring that “it only takes one ‘yes’ to make up for ten ‘no’s.” While it may make sense from an economic point of view wherein all products are essentially equal, it does not make sense in a human setting.
Here’s what the dating world does not seem to realize, at least on the “dishonest profile” level:
- You are not an interchangeable cog.
- You cannot be replaced by something of equal or lesser value.
- You will only be truly satisfied in a relationship when you are regarded and respected for who and what you are, so if you are duplicitous, you will never achieve that.
- Likewise, the person you are trying to attract also wants to be regarded and respected for who and what they are, and if you’re just going down the list like a sugar fiend looking under every rock possible for the next piece of Easter candy, the chances that you’re going to be cognizant enough to recognize the value of the object of your desire is minimal.
So, again, please. If you’re going to try out the online dating sites, do so with a hefty dose of honesty and clarity. You have to honor yourself before anyone else can honor you.
To illustrate this, a fellow I spoke with recently wondered that girls in high school some ten or more years ago seemed to have no interest in sports or politics, but if you go to online dating sites, especially, you see dozens or even hundreds of women who talk about their sports fanaticism, their strong political stance, and often their deep love for camping and fishing. These are all traditionally “guy things”, and I know that doesn’t mean that girls “shouldn’t” do it, but the impression is that many women got into the sports and outdoorsy stuff, at least, because they wanted to have something in common with the guys they liked. And the guys were thrilled at this at first because they suddenly had to work less at finding commonality with girls! And then, they started going to sporting events together and the guys realized… that often, sporting events were supposed to be “time away from the romance”, that “personal space” that is critical when you’re in a relationship so that you can maintain your sense of self.
It was a brilliant plan to bring people together, this “common ground of masculine pastimes”, but before you ladies decide that this is what you need to be “into” to attract a man, try to think it through a little more. If you like it for the sports’ sake, then more power to you, but maybe pick someone who roots for a rival team. (The grudge sex could be amazing.)
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Stay tuned as I share my adventures and maybe try to break my previous record of consecutive “first dates”. Yes, I’m still poly, and very picky, but human contact is necessary. (Or not.)