The end of an era….or maybe just intermission…
Recently I hid my last remaining “active” online dating profile, marking the end of not quite three years of what can only be described as hilarity (among other things). In fact, there was so much material gathered that I can’t possibly contain it to one post. Additional stories await you. [Note: I am completely inept, because I continue to get notifications from that last site. I can NOT figure out how to disable/hide/delete my account. WTF?]
I dabbled with four different sites, two free (Plenty of Fish, OKCupid), two pay (Match, Zoosk – which is quasi free). Plenty of Fish was first, so I began referring to all “suitors” as fish. (You’ll see.) I realized the time had come to take a break because I had developed a very bad attitude about the whole thing. I was most successful when I viewed it as a lark. Keep in mind, “success” can only be defined here as loading up on lots and lots and lots (and lots and lots and lots) of ridiculous, crazy, unbelievable, stories for my friends. One pal I think is still mad at me for no longer having absurd adventures to share over lunches. Another told me no one will believe my stories were true. This I promise you: I’m not making any of this up. Everything in this and any future posts happened to me or someone I know. Mostly me. Unless it makes me sound bad. And every grammatically incorrect or incoherent message is verbatim. Believe me, it hurts me more than it hurts you.
Three years, four websites, 192 million emails received, 92 million emails responded to, 86 million emails of my own sent, eleventeen bajillion first dates, and maybe 4 second dates. Two people I might sort of refer to as friends and/or be willing to have a conversation with today. (No offense, fish who might be reading this.) Mostly what I have is a collection of people whose real names I can’t even remember. Fortunately, we have nicknames! When you’re playing the game, you interact with a lot of people, so you have to give them monikers to help keep them straight. Nicknames including, but not limited to:
- Fish Tacos
- Tad (whose real name I could never remember, and I actually called him this to his face)
- The Happy Camper (ooh, wait, I didn’t meet him online….)
- The Bad Speller
- Captain Pea Hater, Esquire
- Dave the Racist (The only person I’ve ever blocked on a dating site or Facebook.)
People had lots of opinions when I ventured into online dating; the most memorable advice I got was from a friend who urged me to “make him kill me in the parking lot”. Um….what now? He elaborated further: if a dude ended up being crazy, do not get in a car and think I could ride around and talk said crazy dude out of harming me – make him kill me right there, in the parking lot. I got it. I prefer not to be murdered, but so noted. I did enjoy this follow up tidbit: leave lots of DNA evidence. Touch things. Maybe lick them. (Don’t be perverted, I’m talking about things like tables in restaurants and windows of cars.) Of course, this did cross my mind when I was on a date with a fish who kept making jokes about where he would hide my body. Cuz that’s funny to joke about with a woman you just met online. He was a real catch, anyway; he said awesome things like, “That’s a big word for a girl to use.” Go fish.
You would think common sense would take a front seat in this crazy online scene, that perhaps men would go out of their way to make women feel safe and comfortable, given the sometimes scary world we live in. Thus I was astonished to encounter not just one, but two separate fellas who got angry with me because I wouldn’t go to their respective homes for a first meeting. They each assured me they were completely trustworthy. Um. Pass.
Of course, a certain amount of trust and honesty has to play into this. You can be anyone you want to be on the internet, but if the intention is truly to develop a relationship, it’s gotta be real at some point. Hence, I will never understand why people lie in their profiles. The most pervasive distortion of the truth that I found among men’s profiles? Their freakin’ height. As if I won’t notice that I’m actually taller than you are when I meet you? I don’t care how tall you are nearly as much as I care that you’re either lying or delusional. For future reference, any man under 6’ tall is actually 2” shorter than he says he is. At least 2”.
And then there’s the flip side of honesty: Over sharing. Now, I get it, when IS the right time to tell someone you have a foot fetish? Maybe putting it in your profile is appropriate, if you include other worthwhile information about yourself. But I guarantee you, this is not a strong opening email:
“hi, you’re very hot!
do you like your feet massaged and kissed? what size are your feet?
i have a foot fetish. i hope thats ok. Lol”
(LOL. LOL seems to be the thing guys say in an email to make whatever jackass thing they just said, what….a joke in case it’s inappropriate or stupid? If you feel the need to do that, you probably shouldn’t have said it.)
This brings us to a story about my favorite over-sharer, a guy named Jarrod from South Bend. (Amazingly, I remember his actual name, as well as several other players in this story.) We had been emailing back and forth a little, talking about benign topics like music and movies and books. He was engaging and articulate, but something was a little curious. He kept making reference to his “situation” and his “current circumstances”. Finally I asked what exactly that meant. I got back a very long missive with many details about the prior two years of his life, surrounding a chick he’d met on MySpace named Tonya, a guy she met named Thomas, time spent crashing on his ex-wife Kim’s couch, and on and on, culminating with the revelation that his “current circumstances” were that he was living in a homeless shelter. A HOMELESS SHELTER. A. Homeless. Shelter. Now, I have to give the guy snaps for having the balls to pursue women given his “situation”. But dude. Perhaps there are more pressing matters to tend to than dating. Bye-bye, Jarrod.
All right, this is starting to feel like The Modern Girl’s Guide to Internet Dating, so we should get into the really crazy. I dug through emails I kept to and from my girlies. Are you ready? Remember, it’s all true.
File under Boys Are Stupid
Email from me to H about a fish I’d been texting with and was considering meeting:
“Seriously…is it too much to ask to meet someone who is sort of normal and sort of attractive and has some personality? Oh yeah, and would also maybe take me to dinner before sending me pictures of his dick? AKA Monday. “
I mean – what? Who thinks it’s a good idea to do that? Send a picture of THAT before we’ve even met? Maybe he should’ve said “LOL” in that message.
File under You Can’t Make This Shit Up
Message from me to H: “I don’t know what on earth caused me to write him back – I think because I am fascinated by glass blowing [which he had listed as his occupation]. Plus, he openly says he does drugs – who says that? So I wrote back and asked him to tell me more about the glass blowing. Here’s his response:”
“I make pipes and sex toys. Please dont judge. It pays well.”
Never Gonna Happen:
“I went to Meijer earlier and ran into a guy I went out with one time last summer. He might be the world’s worst kisser. Of course I crossed paths with him 4 or 5 times while I was in the store. He suggested I call him sometime. Um, yeah. The reason I still have his number in my phone is so I know not to answer if HE ever calls ME.”
Now I’ve Heard Everything
“I’m debbie my S.O. are looking for a friend! someone to fill our lives with. please read the profile. and you like what you read then send a message!if ther are no hang ups about it. let us know if you like to chat. and by your pic i see you have a dog like we do a shellty”
Now I’ve Really Heard Everything
“Dude emailed me on OKCupid. Says he has aspergers, has never had a date, and that there is a form of therapy that would let me get paid for him to feel me up.”
I wish I could find the picture this was in response to
Message from a A-Yo: “Sha. Zam. Wish I was single. Dude has some nice taste in shoes tho. And, uh, bedding.”
No need to see the actual picture
Um, hi, the KISS tribute band called, they want their singer back.
An example of a thoroughly typical introductory email
“whats up hun how r u today”
Hun, Princess, Dear – these are not appropriate ways to address a woman you have never met and are attempting to woo. Stop it.
The Creepiest Opening Email Ever
I got an email from someone I hadn’t had any communication with previously – no winking, messaging, IMing, etc – first contact:
Were you are at Baan Thai on Friday :)?”
Why yes….I had been at Baan Thai on Friday. I had NEVER interacted with this fish before. How the hell did he know who I was? Gah! Creeper!!! And after I told him yes and asked how/why/what the hell, he said he’d recognized me, and that was the end – never heard from him again – wha???
Honorable Mention, Most Persistent and/or Clueless
You have now emailed me on two, possibly three or four, different dating websites. Multiple times on most of them. Sometimes twice within the same day. I have never responded, not once. I give you snaps for persistence, but sometimes I question whether you realize you’ve emailed me so many times before.
Please stop or I will be forced to actually send you this. (It bothers me that I split my infinitive there, but seeing as you don’t use punctuation, I doubt you’ll notice.)
Always read the profile closely before responding
I had been emailing with a fish, casually, but he seemed ok. I was in one of my feisty phases, so I asked him if he was a douchebag (I mean, why waste my time?), after which he just stopped writing back. Whatever. So a little over a month later, I got another message from him. I responded, then went back to his profile to refresh my memory. OMG. It said something that definitely hadn’t been there before. Kind of wish I’d seen it before I wrote him back:
“I have an epic girlfriend, ChestieLaRoux, with whom I am madly in love. She is teaching me the ways of polyamory. She is, in everyway, my match.”
The Wink Phenomenon
On most (maybe all) sites you can “wink” at someone. It’s a semi-lame way to let someone know you’re interested, without putting out too much (or any) effort. Of course, if the person responds by winking, then what? At some point someone has to strike up an actual conversation. Occasionally someone would wink who maybe had potential, and I would respond with a friendly email. I was amazed how many times someone would wink at me and then not respond to my message. After a while, I got a little pissy about it, causing me to draft this message which I never sent to anyone other than Mourtney, my most faithful partner in online dating crime:
When you wink at me and I follow up by sending you an email, why the fuck don’t you respond? I don’t even really care because I’m sure you’re a douchebag anyway (this just confirms it), but I truly don’t understand. Couldn’t you at least send a quick note saying, “Now that I see you’re intelligent and witty, I can tell you’re way out of my league”?
Excerpt from a guy I emailed with briefly on Match…..he was articulate, used punctuation, all kinds of good stuff. But um….well, see for yourself. Here’s an excerpt from one of our final messages.
“…on top of THAT, my renter brought her goat over and made the mistake of letting her in the house, now she only wants to be there…not smart on my part but i’m a sucker for animals!!”
I love animals, too. But goat? In house? Dude.
There’s more. Believe me, plenty more. But I’m tired, so let’s take a break for now. 🙂
ps….oh holy crap….spell-check is having a field day with all the horrific fish emails pasted above….
pps….Apparently I say “douchebag” a lot. Pretty sure I didn’t say it at all before online dating.