Thursday, January 16, 2014

50 First Dates: The Problem with Date-Hating

In the past week, I saw two articles lamenting the perils of online dating. One was by a woman from who made a fake profile of the most horrid human being, just to see if guys would still email her. Spoiler alert: guys still did. A second one was about a man who made a profile just to see what women endure on dating sites. He was hit with a barrage of messages in two hours, and then became shell-shocked. A lot of my friends who have tried online dating or are still trying online dating have said how absolutely terrible online dating is and that it is nothing but a cesspool and that the sites are filled with nothing but sexually predatory trolls and game geeks who still live with their parents and things of that ilk...oddly, though, only one of them has actually deleted her profile. Even I have dealt with a few “unsavoury” individuals online. I’ve had a few people troll me, I’ve had a few “wanna fuck” emails, and I’ve definitely been fetishised by a few women who simply wanted to add a “banged a black dude” notch on their bed post. The amount of these pale in comparison to the number of solicitations my female friends get, but I see how one would be a bit disillusioned.

I will not deny that there is a large swath of the online population that sucks. There is something about the Internet that makes people think that they are anonymous and get away with saying anything they want without hurting anything. Since this is a rape culture, the assumed privilege and the misogynistic tripe hurled at people, especially women, is disturbing. One woman wrote about the viciousness of online male trolls and how unwelcoming the ‘net can be. I will concede: online dating is a cesspool. But do you know what else is a cesspool? Regular dating.

Ask people why they are on a dating site, and I can guarantee you, most of them will say something like, “bars are just full of creepy shallow drunks”. Online haters seem to have forgotten that. Would you rather get inundated with unwanted missives that you can easily dismiss anonymously, or get inundated with advances that get more and more aggressive as your courter gets drunker? Plus, there is something to be said about being able to tell up front that a person is a Holocaust-denying Brony, rather than finding out with shock when he shows you his collection of My Little Pony dolls dressed in custom-made SS uniforms.The usual “proof” that online haters use is to show a sampling of about 20 messages and show how all of them are bland or boring or ungrammatical or grotesquely explicit. In analogue dating, the same thing happens. If people met their close-to-perfect match the very first time they went out on a date, then no one who doesn’t want to be single would be. Besides, this method of “proof” is the same method racists use to prove that brown people are inferior, which is a method that I am quite certain they appropriated from 8 year old children who are averse to trying new vegetables. Why would anyone trust a methodology of an 8-year old? they eat paste, for crying out loud!

In a study, 35% of people married met online. Not only that, but online couples’ rates of divorce were lower. I highly doubt that these men’s first messages to their wives were pixellated penises. I’m off and on dating sites. Am I a predatory troll because of that? There are about 54 million single people in the US. 41 million are on or have tried online dating. I refuse to believe that nearly 80% of the single people in the US are depraved, lying stalkers. You WILL meet losers, but there’s a chance you’ll meet some great people. Some of my best friendships were forged on Internet dating sites. They are the types of friends where you don’t understand how you functioned before having met them. They’re the VCRs of friendship! So you cannot tell me that online dating sites are all horrible. I do have an idea of what is going on, though.

One of my university teachers told me this when dealing with a formula: S**t in: s**t out. It doesn’t matter how pristine a formula is; if you input junk data, you yield junk. One cannot simply create a profile and expect effortless returns. Phrases like “fun-loving” are useless. One cannot simply write a few cliches down and expect someone looking to see how unique one is. All the looker will see is blandness, and that is what will elicit bland messages. Keeping your profile fresh helps. You don’t where exactly the same outfit unwashed and unpolished when you go out, do you? Why would you not update a profile made for the purpose of dating, then? Also, stating in your profile that you don’t think online dating works is basically saying that you are going to use the same metric that racists and 8-year olds use to validate their hatred of brown people and vegetables. That invites more trolls. SHAMELESS PROMOTION: Peruse my own online dating tips. Most of them help you avoid making poor profile-crafting decisions. The rest of them are really just passive-aggressive ways to rage about a few bad dates.

There is no way to completely omit trolls and boring people from contacting you online, but you cannot deny that you will meet a LOT of boring people and sex trolls no matter where you look to meet people. It really sucks that women have to deal with even more of that due to the internet’s power to make people who hide behind usernames release their hyperbolic ids. I wish there were a way to e-taser people from your inbox, but sadly not. Regardless, we should all be honest with each other: dating, analogue or digital is a cesspool. i realise that for some, online dating is just not what works for them, just as some have no interest in meeting people at bars, but if you’re not into it, you’re not. If you’re going to lament about it, then give an example of a place where there aren’t a bunch of losers sex-addled assholes. Also, DELETE YOUR PROFILE. It might give you more credence to your claim...not much, though.

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