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"This is what you do?"; a dating site anecdote as commentary on modern times

Tuesday 5/10/22

This kind of thing is frustrating to me. Rarely on a dating site--say, maybe once a month--will you encounter anyone who writes in complete sentences, spells the words correctly, and is fit. That's the apogee of what you'll find. Not a single person will say anything that's actually interesting. I've never seen a solitary interesting remark. So, you have to grade on a curve, if you will, if you're to interact with anyone. You hope--I guess--that someone surprises you and they're far more intelligent and articulate than their profile attests, but to date, that has never happened. I play a game where I see how many words I have to go in someone's profile before the grammar breaks down. Often, it's with the first word. Rarely do I need to go further than three. We are an illiterate society. Just as bad is that everyone thinks the same way. Has the same interests. And you know what that means--when everyone cites the same interests, no one has any real interests at all. People don't have interests. They're vanilla robots of the social media age.

My profile is what you'd expect from me, in terms of intelligence, wit, how it's written. How fresh and surprising it is. I share what I care about, what I think matters in life and in people. There's some stuff about the stairs and the non-drinking and hockey rinks and the symphony, and my rascally side and preference for substance. I say that I'm open to many things, which is true. Not just the love of my love. How about a virtuoso of the carnal? A friendly voice in the night? I'm open to friends. It seems to me that we should have more friends than ever, but most people have none. I know so many people who don't have a single real friend. It's the norm. People find their immediate group--meaning, their immediate family. Then, they hunker away from the world. I see how bad people are at being friends. Being a friend is a skill. Hardly anyone possesses it now because you have to work at it in order for it to be present. The world is set up presently, though, so that we can be in Boston and have a friend in Tucson and a friend in LA and a friend in St. Louis and a friend in Belfast, Maine, and we can have different friends who bring different things to our lives at different levels of involvement. The Tucson friend might a doctor and she has medical advice and can recommend someone you should see where you live for that gimpy ankle that's lingered for a month. She may not care about sports so you don't talk about that, but your St. Louis friend is crazed about the Blues, and you talk more during the hockey playoffs. You communicate in phone calls and texts, and it's like friend networking. Everyone is so reachable, but we've never been further apart from each other. For most people, activity partners have replaced friendship.

People will say stupid things to me on these dating sites, which is always about their issues and how they can't stop themselves from projecting those issues. This is an exchange this morning with a very attractive thirty-five-year-old vet. Never married, no kids. I'm not really interested, romantically, in anyone with kids, but I'll be friends with anyone if they can be a good friend. If you are not sincere with me, it's impossible that I won't see through it and know exactly what you're doing and why. It's me. It won't work. The only option is to be honest and be yourself. There are 200 things from my profile that invite comment, and they are very diverse things; it's not hard to find something upon which to remark, and it covers much ground. So when I see the likes of the below, that's all I need to know. It's not clever, it's not funny, it's not interesting, it's not original; it's an attempt to sound smart, while holding the whole of one's person back, out of fear of not being seen as good enough. Which, ironically, is exactly what ends up happening. And I don't like plagiarists.

V: According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves

V: (winking smiley face thing on its side)

C: This is what you do?

V: Seemed appropriate after reading your profile (winking smiley face thing on its side)

C: Seems like honest, organic, substantive engagement would be appropriate, rather than some Grecian randomness sourced from the likes of Wikipedia. Already I know you have no confidence and operate in fear on the margins of life. Yes? Yes. You should work on that, and take better advantage of an actual notable opportunity when one comes along. I had higher hopes for you. But good luck. And ditch the smoking. As for your Grecian quote--it's defeatist in nature, and better suited for those who prefer excuses and to be enabled.

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