Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Online dating makes me shallow.

There, I've said it.

Online dating makes me shallow.

In real life, I believe that I judge people by their actions, and I'm drawn to kindness, intelligence, emotional connection.  I like the way that a person looks right at you when you're talking, I like people who choose not to stare at their phone screens for most of the day, and I like people who are kind to the waitress or the receptionist or the flight attendant.

I see dads out in the world, and I'm drawn to the way they interact with their kids.  Or I see the way a man walks down the street, and there is something in his stride that's really attractive.  Or I see a stranger on the bus, and the way he's intense about his book is fascinating.

But online, I can't see any of that.

Online, it seems like there a few kinds of profiles:

1) Major mismatches with me.  This includes right wing politics, dogmatic religion, men who hate the outdoors, and also men who only like the outdoors and feel uncomfortable putting on a suit.  This also includes people who live too far away, and people half my age.  (The youngest to contact me so far was 19.  Seriously.)  Also people who don't like to read, and/or profess a major love of reality TV.  These may be lovely people, but they are not my people.

2)  Super-duper hotties.  They declare, all over their profiles, in big bold letters, that they LOVE going to the gym, and that you'd better be hot, too.  (One guy had in his profile that if his date showed up and she was a few pounds overweight, he'd "commando crawl outta there.")  They often have an abs shot that resembles an Abercrombie ad.

3)  Sex seekers.  They're looking for hook ups.  One wanted to lick my feet, one wanted me to dominate him, one wanted to talk and talk about my hair.

4)  Super sensitive guys who spell out in a fifty point checklist what they are looking for.  They are in touch with their feelings and so they are putting it out there for all of us to see.

5)  "Good guys" who are "laid back" and "easy going" and "drama free."  They "love to travel" but they are "equally comfortable watching a movie at home with someone special."  The problem is, they all sound the same.  (When did "laid back" become the siren call of men?  And what does it mean?)

Now, I want a good guy.  And a laid back guy who loves to travel and is drama free is exactly what I'm seeking, so you'd think I'd just rule out 1-4 and focus on #5....

But online makes me shallow.  Here I am, looking at checklists, and I find that I'm ruling out guys who are my height.  (At 5'7", I often wear heels, and I'm drawn to tall men.  But am I saying that a guy who is 5'8" isn't partner material?  Isn't that, ummm.....crazy?

And I rule out guys who don't have kids.  Because they couldn't possibly "get it."

And I rule out guys who haven't written much in their profiles.  And I rule out guys who have written too much in their profiles.  And I tend to rule out guys who have a picture of themselves sitting on a motorcycle, or taken with a cellphone in a bathroom mirror.  I look at education.

I rule out guys who seem too busy, and who seem not busy enough.

I think I've ruled out everyone, and I recognize that's about me, not then.

But what is a girl to do?!  I am genuinely busy and don't want to spend all of my free time going out with strangers I will likely never see again...but at the same time, if I reject everyone, I'm not exactly going to find lasting love.

What I'd like is to bump into someone in a bookstore, find ourselves in conversation, and take it from there.  Or meet someone at one of my friends' homes over a glass of wine.  Or on the beach in the morning.  Or next to me on the bus.  But those opportunities aren't materializing, maybe because I'm in a hurry at the bookstore, my friends all hang out with marrieds, and there isn't anybody on the beach at 5:30am when I get there, and on the bus we're all plugged in to our music or our books or both.

So, I keep going back online.

Please, someone just send me The Guy.  I promise to be my best self, just show me someone who can make my eyes sparkle.....because I'm having a terrible time finding that guy myself.


  1. Hey Polly, I feel for you here because I've become some kind of ridiculous shooter-downer of guys that I'm sure I'd lap up attention from in a bar or something. Rather than making me shallow, my membership at lovestruck has pretty much pushed my standards up above the clouds and beyond! I've become the pickiest person in the world because the choice is so huge.

  2. Ballee Jones and Polly-

    Impossible to feel any sympathy for you, and there is a sinister pleasure in seeing you continue to stumble in your pursuit for "The Guy" when you are so shallow and superficial. Reading your posts, you sound like 14 year old girls. You get out of people what you give. . . when you treat people like objects, they will treat you in turn the same way, and you can continue to be 'fuck buddies' for men online.
    "Someone send me the guy please"?? What have *you* done to deserve "The Guy"? Have you been a kind person? Have you appreciated men for good quality attributes ? The world is LOADED with good quality men, men who save lives, men who take care of sick people, men who stand by their girlfriends dealing with health issues, men who write books--- loaded with these men! But none of these men would've received your attention on a dating website because you were too absorbed with height, income, and looks. Bailee. . on the contrary, your standards are not "high" at all, they are just plenty more shallow.

  3. Anonymous, perhaps you missed the point of my post. I am fully acknowledging that online dating sets us all up to fail, because we can't see the real person, only their data set.

    As for the your rant about me, I can only say that your judgment of me is comical. :-) I haven't been anyone's fuck buddy - and those who have tried are summarily dismissed. (My rebound was a rebound, but not a fuck buddy. Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

    Yes, I've been a kind person. Yes, I've appreciated men for good quality attributes. And yes, I still find it difficult to search for men online, because so many of their attributes do not show online. The twinkle in the eye, the quick wit, the way they treat the waitress with kindness - none of these things come through an online profile. I can, however, see height, a chiseled jaw, educational background.

    It is the nature of online dating, of chemistry, and of human nature. I have men contact me regularly who are seeking things that I absolutely am NOT, but they are drawn to me because I have a nice figure and present myself well. They don't notice that I'm liberal and they're conservative, that they're looking for someone "spontaneous" (and my life as a single parent is anything but), that they want someone to snuggle with as they watch reality TV and I want anything BUT that - and if they read my profile they'd see that, but they don't even look past the pictures. This is a two sided equation, and we're all a part of it.

    Yes, the world is loaded with good quality men. I've been on dates with some of them, some of them are my friends, some of them are my family. But I am not looking for thousands of men, I'm looking for one man with whom I have great chemistry - intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and yes, physical. I offer as good as I get, as well, and I only ask for what I'm willing to give, what I already have to offer.

    As for your sinister pleasure - funny! - I must, alas, ruin your fun. My life is beautiful, rich, and full, and I've never been happier. I've continued to go out with interesting gentlemen, and though I haven't met one I'd like to spend more time with, I'm enjoying the process. I'm holding out for incredible chemistry, and I'm not in any hurry, and I'm not willing to settle. I'm worth waiting for, and the guy I'm looking for is worth waiting for as well.

    But you'll never hear me say that there are no good guys. There are lots of good guys out there. I'm just waiting for one guy, not the whole world full, and it'll happen when it happens. :-)

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  5. Torrey recommended your blog to me. Oh, my goodness, do I relate to this piece. I feel so shallow, too. So judgmental. So mean. I have to have SOME kind of criteria, and the ones I have seem kind of...SHALLOW.

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  7. Here's the thing you aren't considering- the type of guy you want who hits all your checklist items is out there- but you may not be a contender to land one of those guys. There are so many people out there especially in online dating and you rule them out so quickly in the name of "looking for the perfect guy for me".

    But it isn't only about what you like; its also about what you are able to get. And if you are striking out this much it isn't only because you are so picky. Its also because you don't bring to the table what those guys want.

  8. Anonymous, it's true that I don't bring everything to the table. I am talkative, not quiet. I like hiking, not clubbing. I am a snob about literature, food, and television. I am tall, not short; I am brunette, not blonde. I am not for everyone, any more than everyone is not for me, and I have no problem with that. Do you like petite, quiet blondes who love amusement parks? That's not me, but I hope you find her. Are you hoping to go to baseball games or four-wheeling with your beloved? That's not me, either. I bring many things to the table, but I can not bring it all and I'm okay with that.

    I haven't had trouble finding dates or being asked on second dates, I have had trouble finding people with whom I have chemistry. I've met nice people - men who are worthy of love and happiness - but I haven't met someone I could imagine spending a great deal of time with.

    And for the record, I don't think of this in terms of "contenders" as if we were boxing and "landing" men as if they were fish. I want chemistry on the many levels (physical, intellectual, emotional) and I am not in a hurry.

    What I'm able to "get" will not dictate what I accept. I learned a long time ago that I'd rather be alone than with the wrong person. If the right guy comes along - great! But I'm prepared to be alone for a long time, and at peace with that.

    I do know that I won't meet him online dating, though. I've given that up, because.....online dating makes me shallow. I'm not shallow, so I left that pool. ;-)