Intentional Dating

On my 27th birthday, my best friend (who at that time was just a guy I’d recently re-met after we’d both moved to San Francisco a month earlier) drove me up to the top of Twin Peaks and stopped his car.  We looked out at the beautiful lights before us and the city we’d come to call home, and he told me to wait a minute, then went to his trunk — and came back with a birthday cake, full of lit candles.  He sang “Happy Birthday” to me, and my jaw dropped — my friends never remember my birthday, let alone bring me cake.  He then went on to tell me that over the last month while we were getting to be good friends, he realized that he had more than friendly feelings for me and was wondering if I felt the same.  It was an incredibly romantic gesture — but I felt no romantic or sexual feelings for him at all.  Zilch.  I was very honest with him; I’m sure it stung a little, but he got over it and we remained great friends.

Over the next two years, I watched him fall for the same girl over and over: charismatic, energetic, full-of-life women who wanted to sleep around and be rootless.  Which would be fine – except for that what my best friend wants more than anything in the world is to be a married father.  He’s a traditional guy who believes in traditional gender roles.  And he will be the best dad ever — that is, if he can ever manage to fall for a woman who wants the same things he wants in life.  He’s not doing anything to seek out this woman; rather, he’s putting his happiness in the hands of fate, as most of us do.  As we’re told to do by every romantic comedy ever made.

He complained to me for years about how no women ever liked him back because he was just “too nice.”  He’s not a Dr. NerdLove Nice Guy ™ — he actually is a nice person — but he chooses the wrong people.  He looks for his “type” instead of women he’s actually compatible with.  I finally told him this recently after he and his fiancée broke up because she’s not ready to get married.  And while I was telling him that he should specifically be on dating sites looking for women who want a serious long-term relationship and children, it hit me: I am absolutely fucking terrible (I’m sure most of us are) at taking my own advice.  My whole life I, too, have been dating people who I was immediately physically and mentally attracted to because they were my “type” instead of looking for people who want the same things I want.  And as I was recently forced to figure out exactly what it is I do want*, I thought it might be an excellent idea to use that to my advantage.

This year I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with a couple of men who I would never have pictured myself with, and they’ve both been really wonderful experiences.  I feel cared for and valued, and much happier because of it.  I finally started seeking out people who have a similar communication style to me and who want similar things in a relationship instead of just expecting people to fall out of the sky in front of me.  And surprise!  It’s working.  Intentionality is a beautiful thing. 

The moral of the story is: Figure out who you are and what you want, and specifically and purposefully look for people who also want these things.  Because amazing things can happen when you do.

*I used the questions at the end of the chapters in More Than Two; seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough.

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The Great Divide

I was at pub quiz last week telling a friend about the ridiculous spam messages I get on OK Cupid that say absolutely nothing, such as “hey whats up” (notice the complete lack of punctuation and capitalization) or “I like your picture, plz reply me I think we’d be good friends or more,” or my new favorite, “you are a graceful lady” (obviously the bloke’s never met me…).  As I was going on about how no one must answer to this shit, he starts laughing and says, “What are you talking about?”  I look at him quizzically.  “Why would I respond to someone who obviously hasn’t read my profile?”  I ask. He then tells me something which completely blows my mind: When he was on OKC, he got way more responses from a simple “hello” than he did from asking questions or writing profile-specific comments.  “In fact,” he went on to tell me, “If I did message women with more specific questions or comments, they never wrote me back because they thought I was weird.”  What. 

“Besides,” he continued, “No one writes a long profile, anyway.  Everyone’s profile is just a short series of sentences and doesn’t really say anything about them.”  I countered that immediately, because most of the profiles I look at are long and detailed.  “Let’s take a look,” he suggested.  I opened up my OKC profile (he couldn’t open his because if he went on OKC his “girlfriend’s friends would see him and then she would kill him,” which is a whole other can of worms) and started doing a search of women seeking men.  We looked at the first few profiles that popped up, and they all had long, well-written, detailed profiles.  “See?”  I said.  “People DO write a lot about themselves.”  But then, a little light bulb went off in my head.  These profiles were the first to pop up because I have my OKC search set up to rank the people who pop up in my searches from highest match percentage to lowest match percentage, meaning that all the people we were looking at had over a 90% match with me — meaning further that they were likely to answer questions saying that they were attracted to intellect and that grammar mistakes bothered them.  I told my friend as much, and he suggested that we scroll on to find people who had less than a 50% match with me.  So we did.

We started finding profiles that had lots of photos, but very little writing.  Profiles that had no punctuation in and around sentences, but LOTS of punctuation marks used as emoticons.  Profiles that were just a series of clichés. These were the women who would find it “weird” if someone actually wrote them something of substance. 

This left me wondering about whether there’s a direct correlation among online dating site users between profile length and the types of messages they send to new people.  I’d also be really curious about a correlation between objective attractiveness (e.g. facial symmetry) and the types of messages a person sends / what’s included in one’s profile.  It seems to me that the people I have lower matches with are more conventionally attractive (or at least photogenic).  I’m convinced of one thing for sure: I’m pretty happy with the logarithm they’ve devised if it’s matching me with other people who take the time to write specific details about themselves.  Now if only those women dated women…

Needle in a Haystack

A couple of weeks ago, I did a search on OK Cupid for all the gay and bisexual ladies within one hundred miles of my city, and eighteen came up.  Yes, you read that number right: eighteen.  One is a woman I’ve slept with (and prefer not to again), four of the women are ex-girlfriends of friends, four are friends I’m just not attracted to, and the rest are either way too young (I have zero desire to date anyone who’s near the same age as my students) or have less than a fifty percent match with me — or both. 

I already knew it was a small community, but that’s really fucking small

So I thought to myself: “I’m bisexual (which sounds hilarious in my head as I type it — as though I’m saying, “Hey, I’m resourceful.”)… maybe I should make my account visible to men.”  Despite ALL THE HORROR STORIES I’ve heard from straight and bi female friends, I took the plunge and unchecked the box that would allow my profile to only be seen by self-identified LGBT folks. 

And then this happened:

hi! how was your day? did you enjoy it a lot??

hi i have interested in non-monogamy but I’m not the bi woman lol I’m straight but interested in you

Heyy Do u like asian cock?

hi

How are you doing?

Hey there ! Nice to meet you. I have been looking onto your profile and would love to extend the conversation further. Profile seems quite impressive. I’m kinda impressed by the way that you have described yourself.  If you are interested then we can talk further with a coffee or a meetup. Well, writing grammatically correct ?? I’m not sure about it. Have a nice day !

Hey how are you doing this morning

Hello dear, I hope that you are fine.

hi how are you?

Hi, where are you from?

Hello

hi nice to meet u~~^^

I should be careful not to make grammatic error 🙂 Hello \

You are awesome!!! Had to say Hi

Hi

hi, how are you

Hey there

Hello beautiful girl ….i will be very glad to get acquainted with you. ..would you like to talk with me I kinda hope you message me back because you seem really cool.
(Note: this person has a 41% enemy rating with me.)

what is your sexual preference?
(My reply: People who capitalize their sentences.)

Hello

That’s twenty messages in ten days from men that have absolutely nothing to say.  The PUA community says that online dating is a numbers game, so I guess that’s why men aren’t bothering to write anything of note.  Do these guys actually have nothing to say, are they too lazy to read profiles, or are they just willing to date anyone?  I am really curious to know: Who responds to this?  Are there actually women out there who write back to “Hey there”?  Also curious if there are women who send messages like this to men; all the messages I’ve received from gay and bisexual women have contained real content.      

In addition to these twenty messages, I received two messages from guys who actually read my profile and wrote something related to the things I said, and I was SO DELIGHTED!  At first, anyway.  One of them made a comment on a Star Trek reference from my profile but then followed it up with, “But I’m not that nerdy, so I really don’t know.”  I am that nerdy.  That’s why I wrote about Star Trek in my profile.  Good job, dude.  The other guy said in his question responses that a) he would never consider an open relationship (red flag number one) and that b) he wouldn’t be cool with a partner hanging out with an ex (red flag number two). 

OKC for straight people is a whole new world.  It’s kind of like a video game where you have to find your way through / around / over several obstacles in order to get to the next level.  Luckily, I AM a resourceful girl — and a proactive one.  I’ve had much better luck searching for people who I’m compatible with and sending messages to them.     

For now, I think I might go back to my preferences and re-check the “I only want my profile to be visible to gay and bisexual people” box — just for a brief reprieve from all the empty messages.    

If anyone out there has a hilarious or horrifying online dating story, I would love to hear it!