If I were a woman (which I’m not) and I was trolling the fertile fields of Match.com (which I don’t), I’d probably steer clear of any man who chose ‘Oedipus’ as his profile’s username.*
I should be studied. Why? Three times I’ve done the online dating thing and twice I’ve found pretty amazing, non-psycho women. That kind of batting average would make me a god in fantasy baseball leagues, but where online dating is concerned, it’s completely unheard of. Of course, I’m no longer with either of them, which is probably also worth studying, but that’s beside the point of this little effort in reflection. Some say that the online dating gig is stupid and foolish and reeks of some sort of social aversion. To these accusations I can only say, ‘Well, not really, but maybe sort of in some ways possibly, though it’s doubtful.’ The bonus of the online junk for me, personally, was two-fold:
First Fold: When you swap emails with someone prior to going on a date, you can get a pretty fair idea of their ability to form sentences involving words and punctuation. Unless they use a ghost writer for their email correspondance, this potentially bodes well for the person being able to hold up their end of a conversation. And the importance of conversational ability can NOT be overstated. Also, you go in knowing a little about the other person, which makes topic-wrangling less potentially deadly. Of equal importance is spelling and the non-lethal use of acronyms (ROTFLMAOOMGLOLLSKDIENDIWMDMEOAL!!111!!!!11!!). A good motto: Swap email before spit. That totally belongs on a bumper sticker.
Second Fold: Picking up women (lift with the legs, not the back) is an awful process on every possible level.
Having spent quality time on both sides of a bar, I feel perfectly qualified to state that picking up women in bars is both the worst idea on the planet and the most mind-numbingly horrible experience (to engage in AND to watch) this side of having penis cancer. When you’re a bartender, there are times when you want to have a rolled up newspaper handy to swat a guy away from certain women (i.e. those who LOVE to flirt behind their 250-pound boyfriend’s back) while yelling, ‘No! NO!!!’. Also, there are the gin/vodka camels that accept tonic-based drinks from various guys all night before finally leaving with no one, but full of enough free booze to warrant their steering clear of open flames. Admittedly, I have the slightest bit of admiration for these women, because free booze all night=yay, but this admiration is mostly canceled out by contempt.
Now, when you’re on the other side of the bar, holy shit, the exercise is just the worst thing on the planet. Potential rejection aside, even the most innocent of introductory lines sounds so contrived that saying them aloud makes you want to dip your tongue in acid. And who will ever turn down a free drink? And what if she’s with Lothar the Destructor, who’s in the bathroom cleaning off his axe? And, worst of all, what if she talks/thinks like, ‘ROTFLMAOOMGLOLLSKDIENDIWMDMEOAL!!111!!!!11!!’ that? For all of these reasons based on experience as both a bartender and a bar drinker, my aversion to the bar pick-up is at the level of ‘Epic’.
So, there is certainly a method behind my madness of defending the institution of online dating. I feel it necessary to caveat this with my understanding that the male sleaze factor is significant (though certainly not pervasive) online and that I’ve heard countless horror stories by female friends. On the other hand, I also know people that found the love of their life. The moral of the story, then, is that I would probably be willing to use the medium again, but if I had a daughter and I found out that she was about to troll the internet for men, I might lock her in a closet for fear she might take a chance on a guy like this (Thanks, Mindy!).
*True story. Some male-flavored genius actually used that as his profile’s ‘name’.
Sir @ November 25, 2008