Sunday, February 24, 2013

Online dating -- if it feels like torture

You're probably doing it right.

But, as I was flipping through profiles on Match last night, I started thinking of ways to make it better. Is it still going to be awful? Yes. But perhaps there are ways to make it a little less like the worst thing you've ever paid to do.

I've only been on the two sites, and Match is the only one that has asked me to on the spot decide if I like a person or not. And then I can "favorite" that person. First, the website shouldn't tell the person who's been favorited that this happened. It should be solely an organizational tool for the person who clicked yes. And second, there should be an option to explain for people who said no. This sounds really mean, and maybe there needs to be a filter so there are no notes that say, " I hate your stinking guts. You make me vomit. You're scum between my toes!"

I wouldn't take advantage of this all the time, because sometimes it's just a matter of not feeling any excitement or not having much in common or there are dealbreakers. That doesn't indicate anything wrong with either of us, just incompatibility. But there are some people whose profiles are turnoffs. They don't use apostrophes. (Maybe that only bothers me.) They list no interests or hobbies, or they click every single interest Match offers. There are roughly 27 categories. No one has that much time. They write the minimum 200 characters about themselves, and even that's a stretch. You honestly have nothing to say about yourself? They write things like, "I have a past," "I've made mistakes" or "I believe everyone has a past but we just need to move forward." Dude, really? Of course everyone has a past, even an imperfect one. That's like announcing, "I have a nose." I'm pretty sure no one on this site is perfect or looking for someone perfect. Get over it.

It would be in these instances that perhaps a gentle note encouraging them to share a little more, or a little less, or use punctuation.

And it should go both ways. I for one would love to know if I'm doing something wrong on my profile. Maybe the fact that I reference good grammar in my opening paragraph turns guys off. Maybe I don't spend enough time talking about how important my family or the gospel is to me. Maybe guys aren't looking for girls who paint their faces for sporting events.

Maybe I should see if one of you wants to write my profile for me. It could be an experiment! See how well it goes when somebody else describes me than when I do it. Any takers?

My other major beef is the variety of ways to express interest in someone. It may seem like a good idea, but, like poking on Facebook, it's not. See, I can wink at someone, favorite someone, like someone's photo. Really, there should be one option: emailing someone. Or chatting them, so two, I guess. But seriously, we are all adults here. Most of us have been adults for quite a while. If you cannot string together a couple of sentences to send to someone you could be interested in, you probably need to go to a counselor instead of a dating service. No winking. Say something real, or don't say anything at all.

Speaking of saying something real ... I got this email from a Match subscriber this week:
"Hi, I assume that you work for the DailY Herald?  I gave 25 different letters to Jim *****, an editor about 2 years ago and nothing happened. When I inquired about the articles, I was told that Jim no longer worked there, and that they didn't know about the articles, or what happened to him? Anyway, I have some monumental stories. If you are interested in what they are, they're yours. i.e. 25 articles on Utah Lake restoration, travel, economy, pollution, fireworks, treason, tourism, poisoned foods, political in-efficiency, inept officials, billion-dollar federal savings, UFOs, legal system, black-listing, health, etc. I not only list the many problems, but the solutions. I am retired Air Force, teacher (4 sciences), pilot, writer, inventor, etc. If I don't hear from you in a week, I will give info to S.L.C. papers."

I'm debating whether I should report him to Match, for a couple of reasons. One, he emailed me once already. While I debated responding in the negative, both on a personal and professional level, I learned from 'DULTG'G that ignoring people is at least as ineffective as responding and it wastes less of my time. Anyway, this seems a little excessive. But also, I'm not on a dating website to get harassed about my job. And, in the duration between the first two Match messages, he actually sent me two emails. I have no idea if he knows I'm the same person, but I do, and I'm tired of seeing his name in my inbox.

On the other hand, he's a harmless, delusional old man who, if I'm lucky, will soon be taking his conspiracies elsewhere.

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