#8 On Internet Dating
Someone asked me what I thought about internet dating.
First, I think it’s a misnomer. It’s the interweb, but it’s not dating. It’s typing. There’s a big difference between typing and dating. Though both could give you carpal tunnel syndrome if it's not ergonomically correct. There's a big difference between a pen pal and a partner.
I’ve never actually dated anyone I met over the interweb. I was lucky enough to meet my wife in the Dark Ages when you actually had to talk to people and get them drunk to trick them into liking you. Now you can e-stalk people and think about what you want to say to your prospective mate (or page) via email (or IM). I’m of the opinion that people are a lot bolder in print than they are in real life. And you’re less likely to get slapped or a drink thrown in your face over the web.
Second, I completely understand and advocate the use of the interweb to meet the right person. The trouble is the people. Because I embrace (and love) technology, using a database to find someone with common interests makes perfect sense to me.
When I was in college, I had a major crush on a girl whom I only knew from afar. Then we had a “Screw Your Roommate” dinner on our dorm floor. Luckily Screw Your Roommate is not literal since I roomed with an Air Farce ROTC candidate. Instead, you set each other up with blind dates for dinner. Surprisingly, it’s very easy to find a blind date for someone else. You’re not so picky when you’re not going out with someone. But paybacks are hell. Anyway, my roomie set me up with my crush. She turned out to chew gum while we drank wine (classy), be a Socialist, and not be very bright. Now had I known these three swell attributes about whom I longer for from afar, I’d have probably told my roomie to zag. If I'd have had the interweb, I could have opted for someone who liked their gum after their wine not at the same time.
So when when you fill out (and read) those swell profiles on interweb dating sites, you’re probably going to err a bit in your favor. I don’t know anyone who would volunteer that they were dim. They might tell you that they like Ernest movies and Hee Haw. You’ll have to read between the lines and deduce that they’re not too bright.
So you have to be able to know what people really mean when they use adjectives to describe themselves. Here’s the universal translator for men's profiles:
- Weight proportionate to height = fat
- Husky = really fat
- Slim = bulimic
- Slender = skinnier than you
- Skinny = crack addict
- Fun loving = likes to drink
- Spontaneous = like to drink a lot
- Entrepreneur = drop out
- Educated = still paying off student loans 15 years later
- Striking good looks = ugly
- Handsome = egomaniac
- Nurturing = Still lives with Mom
- In touch with his feelings = cries during sex
- Knows How to Treat a Lady = Gay
- Athletic = Likes to watch football all weekend
- Into S&M = Sports & Music (seriously that's what that stands for)
Despite that very helpful list, you need to actually meet someone if you’re ever going to know if you can get along. Before you have an interview with the threat of sex, it's just typing and you're just pen pals.