Monday, July 11, 2005

DATING DISSERVICE

Match.com boasts the most users of any online dating service, but in much the same way McDonald’s advertises how many burgers it’s sold or Warner Bros. swaggers about its success creating “Full House.” Love seekers who don’t want first dates with a seemingly endless series of depressingly bland people — Hootie fans and Applebee’s aficionados, just to engage in further brutal generalizations — tend to move on to hipper services, such as those pitched by The Onion or Nerve.com.

The Waterbones item Sunday about Match.com inanity reminded me of my own years-old troubles with the site. For the San Francisco-based Waterbones, the killer was the many people advertising they’re “enjoying everything the Bay Area has to offer”; for me it was the all-too-common assertion that, although many women are happy to stay in some nights with a good bottle of wine and a movie, “when I go out, I like to have a good time.”

As Waterbones says:

Would anyone dare to write, “hating everything the Bay Area has to offer”? I mean, it's like there’s a formula, and if you stray, well, no cookie for you. The larger idea being that you have to represent yourself as cheerful, fun-loving, active, fit, adventurous (but not too adventurous, if you follow me), bright-eyed and bushy-tailed alla damn time.

My trigger phrase is similarly provocative in a similarly moronic way. First of all, everyone likes to have a good time when they go out (to the extent that I’d probably be intrigued by anyone who admitted otherwise). Everyone also likes to have a good time even when staying in. And these things are true even for people whose idea of a good time is a little quieter and less eventful than those people who would say such a thing as “I like to have a good time,” making that code for, no doubt, excessive drinking, rushing onto the dance floor for a “really fun song” and, pray God, perhaps a sing-along to a tune just old enough to qualify as camp.

The other thing that had me fleeing Match.com was seeing how Boston’s sports madness had infected the population of potential mates. Women, to whom I’d always turned for support for my total disinterest in sports, seemed to be almost universally writing about how they were looking for someone to watch Sox games with. No sooner had a woman friend of mine assured me they were just feigning interest to meet guys than a new phase emerged: Match.com women insisting they were “real” sports fans, not dilettantes like those others. (Soon every woman was saying this.) While this partially confirmed my friend’s assessment, it still made it pointless to spend time contacting women to ask whether they really, truly liked sports or would consider dating someone who didn’t. An answer in my favor would mean they were either lying then ... or now. Either way it smacked of desperation.

Match.com’s search feature could find “fun” and “Sox” by keywords, but wasn’t sophisticated enough to create lists of women whose profiles pointedly lacked “fun” and “Sox.” It also seemed odd to seek out women who didn’t want to have fun, or at least who considered it classy not to specify; it would be like admitting I wasn’t fun.

Which I’m not — but it’s weird to state it so flatly.

Taking all this into account, I’d have to post an ad for a single white male seeking someone not at all interested in sports who likes to have a moderate amount of fun and enjoy only some of the things the Boston area has to offer.

Imagine the responses flooding in.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Carl:

Try it - just as an experiment. Do the utter inverse of every personals cliche.

Anonymous said...

And buy a Corvette and learn to dance.

:)

e

Scape7 said...

All these suggestions sound draining, especially when I've come to consider Internet dating what you do to keep busy until you stumble across someone interesting — in real life, face to face, no e-mailing or profiles involved. (An opinion arrived at solely from Match.com experiences.)

Brian Wanamaker said...

In real life or in online communities, desperation is always the dissuading equivalent of the smell of rotting carcass. I met my wife when we, neither of us, had any ambition to find anyone to date. It worked wonders, apparently.

Indri said...

For what should be obvious reasons, I'm with you until you bag on dancing. :)

And you are fun. Just not in a sportsy sort of way. The Match women in the Boston area apparently don't understand the value of a man who can make a perfect ice-cream cookie sandwich.

Scape7 said...

I should think the ice cream would trump all this dancing/sports nonsense.

Indri said...

Nothing trumps dancing, my friend.

Scape7 said...

Actually, Emerson friends once told me that everything is dance. So ice cream making and eating is dance. So I dance.

Thanks, Emerson friends!