No one ever wants to admit that every month $39.99 gets automatically deducted from their checking account to pay for their eHarmony or Match.com account. And for those of us who think the "science of love" is total crap, or at least not worth 40 bucks, there are free sites like okCupid! or gk2gk. No one wants to admit that they spend the hours of 11 pm to 1 am answering personal questions about their likes and dislikes, or scouring profile after profile, looking for the 90% or more match of their dreams. And absolutely no one wants to admit that their date on Friday night with Peter, the 27 year old male from Castro Valley, CA who loves computers, working on his dirt bike and cooking, was arranged by a cupid-themed marshmallow.
i.e. this guy:
...thanks, marshmallow. That'll be a riveting conversation.
That being said, now I will divulge a very true, only slightly pathetic fact: I have an online dating profile.
There are several reasons I signed up on okCupid.com. The truth of the matter is that meeting guys in bars is a terrible idea. This was a trial and error realization. The guy you're looking for is not in a bar. Which I often argued, 'but erm, I'm in a bar, so...is he not going to want to hang out with me?' He's in a cafe. He's in a bookstore. He's reading "Atlas Shrugged" on his way to volunteer at a soup kitchen on the SFO/Daly City BART train. He's standing next to you in the Indie Rock section of Rasputin Music, reading the credits on the newest Bon Iver album. 'Have you heard this one? Is it any good?' he'll ask. He doesn't even really know who Bon Iver is, he just wants an excuse to talk to you. You will love telling that story when introducing him to friends as your fiance.
Here's the thing, I don't talk to strangers in cafes. I don't go to bookstores to buy books, I order them from amazon.com, or steal them from friends. I don't talk to anyone on BART and being poor prevents me from being able to buy new CD's. And if I go to a music store, I'll walk out with enough records to disqualify me from the express lane at any grocery store.
I don't go out much, and when I do, it's a bar, or it's the movies, and you know all those golden opportunities to meet adorable firemen in a dark theater with everyone shushing everyone all the time. And it's always with friends. Man friends. Giant man friends. The point being, I spend approximately 86% of my life entirely inaccessible. So unless I reach the point of sheer desperation that I start setting small fires to try to draw my soulmate to me, which has crossed my mind more than once, I'm left with few options.
So my okCupid account was born. I think that vanity and my compulsive desire to talk about myself all the time played a big role in the initial sign up. When most people don't even like to write "self-summaries" in 500 or less words, I excel. It's all about the simple declarative statements. And try to make them as unrelated to each other as possible. "I like the internet. I don't play games I'm bad at. I like to give high-fives. I am a fan of sandwiches." See the picture I just painted? Don't bore people with your autobiography. If you're looking to make a connection with someone, you won't do it by telling him/her about how many times you've moved back and forth between Omaha, NE and Dansville, CA, or the name of your childhood pet. These are online banking security answers, not charming, interesting banter.
But I think the main reason I have an okC account is strictly for validation purposes. Am I interesting? Can I get my sense of humor to translate based off my dry, snarky responses to general questions? I use my social networking accounts and online profiles as writing practice just as much as I use them for their intended purposes. Sure, I love to meet new people, whatever. More than that, I think I like new people to meet me, and tell me I'm funny. Looking for love? Meh, not really. Looking for an ego boost? Heck yes. Always.
Still, I don't honestly believe that I will find my soulmate on the internet. Not because he won't like the internet, because I'm positive my adorable fireman who loves baseball and Harry Potter has a facebook, but because when it comes to technology, and internet etiquette, my standards are off the charts. If you use the wrong form of "your/you're," I've judged you. If you misspell simple words, e.g. intregued or my self, I've judged you. I have a "no response" policy for any messages sent with complete disregard for punctuation, or excessive use of ellipsis. Yes, it's a real grammatical thing, but not...everything...needs...to...trail off... Also, it should be noted, that it's just the three periods. Not six. Not eight. Eight periods does not mean it's a longer trail or omission of words. Eight periods makes you look stupid. I don't support text speak on the internet. In a character limit situation, I can understand the use of "u" instead of "you." I still refuse to use "u" or "ur" in texts. I will just send 2 messages. However, when it comes to typed messages, writing out the words is imperative with me. I think shorthand writing online makes a person look lazy, under-educated and obnoxious. If your message starts out, "how r u," please understand that I never plan on telling you "how i is."
No, after much debate, I'm sure that the person I end up with will not be from an internet dating site. Because even if he doesn't know the difference between there/their/they're, at least I'll learn to like other things about him more before I figure that out. And then I'll just be stuck. And isn't that what love and marriage is all about?
But for now, I'll just practice being witty and charming with written word, and get a couple free movies or dinners out of the process.
Hey, don't judge, a girl's gotta eat.
and I just really love movies.