Cookie cutter types: just like paper dolls

Okay, so CraigsList is full of spammers. But what about other more legitimate dating sites? The ones that cost money? Surely the cost of joining one must weed out a lot of people who aren’t serious about dating.

I’m sure that it does. But it doesn’t really help.

See, the problem with online dating is that the principal of it is still reliant on the idea of types. I am not talking about their Explorer/Negotiator/Builder types. I’m talking about people and their types.

C’mon people, get creative. What makes you unique? What makes you unlike the other million pretty faces out there?

What I noticed is that nobody really caught my attention on these sites. Sure, some girls looked cute, some of them seemed interesting. But nobody had that allure. Everybody’s profile was basically the same: a mini biography that doesn’t really represent themselves very well. Not to mention they’re usually poorly written.

I spent probably a good hour mulling over my five allotted matches on Chemistry. If I were going based on looks, I would’ve just pushed the slider forward to make them an active match. But honestly, there isn’t a single woman in the world who can capture my heart or intrigue me romantically with only her looks. The profile is far more important to me. I remember The Purity of Love and how the words leapt at me: it was as if she was reading my mind. I suppose that I’m indifferent to those cute little blurbs that everyone likes to write. It’s all boringly generic. Who doesn’t like to go to the movies and read some “good” books? What about playing sports? It’s the equivalent of Marlena in Cloverfield saying, “Wait, you know Superman? I think I’m feeling something here… Are you aware of Garfield?” C’mon people, get creative. What makes you unique? What makes you unlike the other million pretty faces out there?Then again, perhaps women aren’t as motivated to make themselves stand out. They get a bunch of guys who are interested in them no matter what they do. They can post a picture of their hand and a hundred guys will respond, telling them how beautiful her hand is and how elegant her fingers look.So why do they complain then, when they go on dates with all these losers? Just like in computer science, GIGO: garbage in, garbage out. If you want a quality guy, you have to make your profile a quality one. It’s a simple concept.

Anyway, back to online dating and how it’s a sham.

Because it’s still based on types, we can never really know just how things will turn out when we go on that first date. Profiles are essentially a one-dimensional representation of an incredibly complex thing: the human personality. Naturally, we will fall back onto our ideal types in order to guide us to the conclusion of whether or not this person is worth our time and energy. I know I am certainly guilty of prejudging. Had I qualified my matches based on my ideal type, I would’ve dismissed certain women simply because they were taller than me. I must remember that Malissa was taller than me. In fact, she was thin. On paper, I prefer petite women who are curvy. And if I just stuck with my ideal type, I would have dismissed Malissa.

Also there are plenty of people who just don’t know what they want. Well, that’s both online and off, but still. You send a couple of communications and all of a sudden they just stop. Sometimes you get someone who shows interest in you and then they disappear. I don’t take it personally, but for crying out loud, don’t waste my fucking time. Time is the most valuable commodity on earth. You can always earn money, but you can never gain time. It is always bleeding away, never to be recovered. Nobody can give back to you hours, weeks, or years of your life.

I generally read through each profile with an open mind. Most of them are disappointing. The profiles tell me nothing about them. Reading The Purity of Love, I realized that I was given a glimpse into her heart. That personal ad was not just a personal ad. It was a window into her soul. What drew me to her was that we were both romantic, we both wanted the same things out of a relationship. We shared the same ideals of what a man and a woman are supposed to be for each other. We shared the same values. All the check boxes were ticked off.

I suppose I can’t really go through the rest of my life expecting every woman to write something that sweeps me off my feet. Even so, online dating is quite a disappointment. With uninspired profiles, there is little motivation to go on that first coffee date. Not only that, but I believe that there are very few people who are photogenic. Even so, taking a photo is not going to represent the way that another person is going to see you. If your date is taller or shorter than your eye level, then they’re going to see something else. The realm of online dating presents its own set of challenges, and I’m inclined to just leave it all alone. But I find myself always saying to myself, “Hey, you paid for it asshole. Might as well use it. In order to win you must play. And Hey, You Never Know.”

Online dating can have its uses. It can put together two people who would’ve otherwise never met each other, providing for wider opportunities to find true love. But if you’re thinking about true love, try letting go of that image of the tall dark handsome man who has an Ivy League education and drives his nice little Italian sports car through the rolling hills of some quaint European village. Instead, have an open heart. You never know who might bring you the gift of a love so true and pure that it gives you wings.

Me…I don’t know. Once my subscription is over, I’m likely going to just quit the online game altogether.

The author would like to thank Larry for his contribution to the artwork for this article.