Monthly Archives: August 2013

The One About the Guy Who Thinks Men are Smarter

In the “you should message me if” section of my profile, I wrote silly things, like “if you want to share pictures of baby tapirs” and “if you just want to talk about Harry Potter”, because I like to make sure people are paying attention.  My favorite one is, “if you know where all of my missing socks are”, and whenever someone responds directly to that, I respond immediately, if only to find my damn socks.  I’ve been keeping their lonely mates for far too long.  I once found a guy who includes a similar plea in his profile, and also cites an addiction to book buying.  For a good two hours, I was convinced he was my soul mate.  I messaged him, waited and watched as he viewed my profile (twice, might I add), and didn’t respond.  Perhaps the shortest relationships in the history of the word “relationship”. 

So when a guy messaged to say that he knew where they were, I perked up.  “Where?” I asked.  He answered indirectly, and we traded one-liners (and not particularly clever ones) for a few days.  After awhile, this grew a bit boring, so I did some more serious searching of his profile, which of course meant time to look through his answers to the match questions.  You can tell a lot from this section, especially from what people choose not to answer.  There are several questions about concern for appearance, including at least a few that ask whether or not the person would ever date someone who is overweight or with an otherwise “less than ideal” body type. As this is one that actually matters in my case, I tend to look for these, and also notice when someone answers none of them, which is a red flag.  That almost always means that they wouldn’t, but that they don’t want to admit that and seem shallow.  Some people avoid the gender equality questions, the intelligence questions, or the political questions.  I tend to skip most of the overly private sex questions, mostly because I don’t want to share all of that information with the internets.  But this guy didn’t seem to avoid anything.  He answered that, in general, men are smarter, men should be the heads of their households, and that he doesn’t think voting is important. 

A year ago, I would have just stopped talking to this guy cold turkey, and left it at that.  But the more recent me has been trying to be more confrontational about things that actually matter to me, so I decided to press him on it.  Did he really think that men were smarter?  “Well,” he told me, “I was kind of joking when I filled some of those out, so I don’t remember my answers.  But it asks about in general.  I know some specific women who are smart, but overall, on average, I think it’s men.”  Yikes.  He gave no statistical or research-based reasoning for this, so I imagine he is just of the type who has instincts and assumes that they’re always right without bothering to follow up on them. I argued with this, but didn’t get far.

I was unhappy with this response, but pressed in another direction.  Why didn’t he vote?  As someone who woke with jitters on the first election day when I got to vote in person,  who stays up to watch election coverage, and who spends countless hours reading articles about Supreme Court decisions and the recent failures of Congress, this raised my hackles a bit.  “The system’s a mess,” he said.  “It can work, but it will fix itself on it’s own, so I don’t get involved.”  I can sort of understand not wanting to take part in a system you deem corrupt, but his logic is heavily flawed.  It’s as if he’s saying that he really likes snowmen, but he doesn’t want to put in the effort to build one, so he’s just going to ignore the snow and hope that it happens to fall in the exact shape of a snowman.  The odds are not in his favor.  If you think something needs to be changed, hoping that someone else will fix it won’t work (I’ve tried this system of “hoping and waiting” when I shared a roommate and he seemed to never replace the toilet paper.  Eventually I caved and bought some every time, because this method sucks, and because when it came down to it, having toilet paper was more important than principles in this scenario). Also, if you’re not voting, you give up all rights to complain about the people in office.  I told him some version of my view on this, and he felt very attacked.  He blabbed on about how his job involved a lot of conflict, so he didn’t like it in his personal life (as if that’s possible in a successful one).  At some point the conversation dropped off, and I assumed I’d never hear from him again. 

A month later, a message pops up in my inbox: Didnt realize I never replied! I do think dodgeball as a metaphor for life is very apropos. How are things going? How’s feminism?

First off, if someone doesn’t realize that they haven’t responded in a month, and didn’t notice that they weren’t talking to you, it’s not the kind of connection you need to rekindle, usually.  Also…how’s feminism?  For serious?

Of course, I had to take the bait on that one: Oh, you know, we had out usual monthly meeting that’s held in a room shaped like fallopian tubes. We talked about how to emasculate men some more, and laughed about women wearing aprons.

*our.  That’s bothering me. 

 

So, yes, men and other non-feminists (because, of course, only women can be feminists.  And all feminists hate men and want to destroy and emasculate them), that’s where the meetings are, and what happens at them.  Mark it down in your secret calendars so you know when to target our members.

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On Questions

As a certified question-asking expert (okay, that’s not a real thing, but I’ve been told that I ask interesting and unusual questions), I take some issue with some of the questions in the OkCupid arsenal.  For you non-users out there, once you fill out a profile, you can also choose to answer a bunch of questions in order to be more accurately matched with other users.  Some ask about your lifestyle, some your ethics and beliefs, and others about your behaviors and preferences.  You can always skip questions that either don’t interest you or that you don’t like, but I often wonder if they think some of their questions through. 

Here’s one that strikes me as odd:

What is your opinion on freckles?

-They turn me on. The more the merrier!

-They turn me off. Give me flawless skin, please.

-I could take them or leave them.

-A light dusting can be cute.

Am I missing something?  When did freckles become a make or break criterion for a relationship?  Do other people actually spend time thinking about this?  Apparently, because this is a separate question:

Do you find freckles attractive?

-Yes

-No

-I’m Not Sure

-It depends where on the body they are

Man, I really hate when a guy has freckles on his eyeballs.  That’s the worst.  In addition to answering questions, users can choose what answers they accept as “correct” or “acceptable” from potential matches, which is why this next one seems like the dumbest question ever:

Have you ever had sex with someone you first met online?

-Yes.

-No.                           

If you don’t accept “yes” as an answer, why are you on the site?  I suppose if you are anti-premarital sex you might assume that a user would sleep with someone from this site if they were to get married, but it seems like there should be more answer options here.
Sometimes the questions are just poorly worded, like this one:

Do you believe in dinosaurs?

  • Yes

  • No

I’m never sure exactly what they’re asking for here.  They ask it the same way someone would ask if I believe in God.  Are they asking if I believe dinosaurs existed, or if I believe we should worship them?  Do I believe in the concept of dinosaurs?  Just in case, I clarify my answer with a note: I believe both that they existed and that they are awesome! (Also, if someone answers no to this question, stay away from them.  They are crazy, boring, or both.  Either way, run!)  There are also a series of questions that I can’t imagine would be relevant to anything in a relationship, ever.  I could have listed many more of these, but I found these to be among the funniest:

Do you use hand sanitizer?

Yes.

No.

Really?  I could understand “do you use soap?”, which could be relevant to germaphobes (which, oddly, spellcheck corrects to “semaphore”.  Silly spellcheck), or germaphobe-aphobes.  But who cares enough about this to consider it in their search for a partner?

Which do you prefer?

Shower

Bath

It depends / Don’t make me choose!

Again, a dealbreaker?  I know many couples like to shower or take baths together, but if you prefer showers, would you really not take a bath if your significant other wanted to?  That seems like a bigger problem than your washing preferences, if you ask me (which you didn’t, but I don’t care). 

At the movies, do you stay for the credits?

Always.

Sometimes.

Never.

 

I have zero clues as to why this is a question anyone would ask, ever, not just on OkCupid.  What difference could this possibly make?  Are you constantly in a rush, and someone’s propensity to watch the credits would drive you to insanity?

How ticklish are you?

Extremely.

Somewhat.

Just a little bit.

Not at all.

 

Okay, I have at least one ex who would be concerned about this question down the line.  He thought that me being ticklish was the most hilarious thing ever.  For anyone out there who is also ticklish, you know that it the opposite of that.  But even my ex who took great joy out of catching me off guard and getting a good tickle in wouldn’t consider this to be important dating or friendship criteria. 

Of the following, which do you spend the most time doing while taking a bath or shower?

Washing and/or conditioning.

Shaving.

Relaxing.

Masturbating.

 

The person who wrote this person is sitting in a corner laughing at what he/she thinks is a really funny question, but really, it’s pretty pointless.  I suppose some people could be turned off (or turned on, depending on your preference) by the last answer, but I can’t see anyone giving even half a shit about any of the other options.  You might spend a long time shaving because you are particularly hairy, or because you are very careful and don’t want to cut yourself.  You might not shave at all.  None of these answers really give any additional information about a user.

Then there are some questions that bother me for completely different reasons.  This one isn’t necessarily a bad question, but the answer choices don’t make sense:

Can overweight people still be sexy?

  • Always

  • Yes

  • No

There is no reason to have an option besides “yes” or “no” for this.  What kind of answer is “always”? Even if you have a preference for overweight men or women, there’s no way you find all of them attractive. Like most humans, I have a type.  I tend to prefer pale skinny dudes in glasses, but that doesn’t mean that I find all pale skinny guys attractive.  That’s like finding all tall men attractive, or all Italian men, or all blond men.  That just doesn’t make sense. 

There are also, of course, questions to test intelligence.  Some target use of grammar, others a grasp of logic.  But the knowledge questions bug me, like this one:

In the line Wherefore art thou Romeo?, what does wherefore mean?

  • Why

  • Where

  • How

  • Who cares / wtf?

I’m a literature nerd, so of course I know this, but I don’t care if other people don’t have this info in their brains already.  If you don’t care, don’t answer the question, and if you don’t know, look it up.  You’re filling this profile out on the internet, so use google.  I know you know how.  And then there are the questions that just strike me as offensive:

Who’s smarter on average?

  • Men

  • Women

  • Neither; they’re the same on average

I can’t believe this is even a question, or that anyone ever has the audacity to chose one of the first two answers, but I’ve encountered some who have (again, a story for a later date.  Look forward to some attacks on feminism!).  Even if someone really believed that, say, men are smarter than women, if they’re straight men on OkCupid looking to meet women, it’s pretty risky (read: moronic) to answer honestly.  There’s also this:

Which best represents your opinion of same-sex relationships?

  • Girl-on-girl is okay, but guy-on-guy is wrong.

  • Guy-on-guy is okay, but girl-on-girl is wrong.

  • All same-sex relationships are wrong.

  • It’s all fine by me.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think the first two answers might be worse than the third.  I don’t understand the mindset of anyone who thinks same-sex relationships are wrong, but at least the person who answers that way is consistent in their closed-minded beliefs.  Anyone who answers either of the first two is a hypocrite.  Why would two guys be okay, but two girls isn’t, or vice versa?  I understand if someone who has no interest in watching either of those combinations in porn, but thinking that one version of being gay is fine while another isn’t strikes me as ludicrous.  And, of course, my favorite:

Is a girl who’s slept with 100 guys a bad person?

  • Yes

  • No

There is no equivalent question about men, which makes me think that the question is  sexist.  Why should a female “slut” be a bad person if a male one isn’t?  I know a lot of people, without acknowledging it, do believe that, but it’s odd to see it phrased this way on a dating site.  It’s impossible to guess how another user is answering, either.  Are they saying yes because they think anyone who has 100 sexual partners is a bad person, or because they think that a promiscuous woman is inherently bad?  If the question means to test a user’s adherence to gender stereotypes, than it should focus on that, rather than pose a question with ambiguous intentions at best.

And, just for fun, here’s a question that was only meant for douchebags:

Which type of wine would you prefer to drink outside of a meal, such as for leisure?

White (such as Chardonnay, Riesling).

Red (such as Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz).

Rosé (such as White Zinfindel).

I don’t drink wine.

 

Okay, yes, I have my preferences, but I can’t imagine giving a rat’s ass what kind of wine the other person drinks, or if they drink it at all.  They could just as well have asked if they prefer Coke or Pepsi.  It doesn’t matter.  And if this kind of thing is important enough that you would bother to answer and care what a potential match would answer, you might be an asshole, or you need to go look up the definition of “priorities” and then go find some new ones.

 

 

 

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And Now for Something Completely Different!

So a lot of people lately have told me that they miss/enjoyed my old “goofy kids at work” status updates.  And so do I.  So I figured I’d put together a greatest hits of kid quotes/observations.  For those of you who don’t know, I used to work in a before/after school program in a K-5 school, and for whatever reason, me + children = completely ridiculous exchanges of words. 

So, this was the tail end of a conversation with a kindergartner about a special kind of train.  The entire conversation was a lot like this excerpt, but I only have so much memory space in my brain what with all of the Will Smith lyrics and Arrested Development quotes knocking around up there:

Kid:They’re so big, they’re like as big as this (points to nothing)

Me: But where are they?

K: They’re like really big. They keep them outside.

M: Right, but you said there were only 6 in the world, so where in the world?

K: The world is like, the whole world. You know, like the entire world. There aren’t really zombies in the world, I know there aren’t. Everyone thinks there are.

(I should mention that zombies were not mentioned at any point before this.  Or after.)

Sometimes kids are really, really specific:

Kid: You’re going to be dead as a rat!

Me: What? Not all rats are dead.

Kid: Fine. You’re going to be dead as a rat in a trashcan behind a Chinese restaurant.

Me: Okay then.

You can’t make these things up:

Kid 1: Do you know what gay is?

Kid 2: No

1: It’s when a boy likes another boy

Me: Don’t forget the ladies!

1: Oh yeah

2: Well, if it was a woman with another woman, they’d have lots of babies!

1: Yeah, and with the two men, they wouldn’t have any babies!

And another slight misunderstanding of how babies are made:

kid 1: My children will be silly bands

me: Will you…build them that way?

kid 2: You’ll have to put a silly band in your wife!

kid 1: Oh, I know how babies happens. My dad told me. It makes sense that the dad should tell you, since he has to do most of the work!

This kid was my absolute favorite, and it will become really obvious why:

Kid: Yeah, so he’ll die, and then he’ll be recarbonated.

Me: So…he’s coming back as soda?

Kid: Oh. No, what’s it called, then?

—–

Kid: So there’s this line in a Katy Perry song, and it asks if you’ve ever felt like a plastic bag. What does that mean?

Me: Well, that depends. Do you mean a plastic bag like you’d get groceries in, or like a ziplock bag?

Kid: Ziplock bag.

Me: Well, if she means, “do you sometimes feel like you have a sandwich inside you?” then yes.

——

Me: Alright, now walk like Egyptians!

Kid: I can do that. (Gets up and walks normally)

Me: ?

Kid: You never said an ANCIENT Egyptian!

Me: Dang it.

——

Kid:I went snowboarding.

Me: Cool, where?

Kid: In Steven’s Pants.

Me: Huh. That’s…different.

Kid: I mean Steven’s Past.

Me: Not sure if that’s less weird.

Kid: Pass. Stevens Pass.

It’s like Aotocorrect Live.

 

So, I like to dress up for Halloween, and generally go all out. My first year working there, I went as a taco.  A surprising amount of kids asked, “what’s a taco?”  The next year, I went as the Weasley twins, so I bleached my hair before dying it red, and then built a twin to strap on my back like a backpack.  Here were some things that resulted:

When you work with the same 80 children every day, and make a drastic hair change, you get some interesting comments. Also, it’s clear that most boys have no idea how to talk to people. While girls say things like, “Cool, you changed your hair!” Or, “Whoa, I really like your hair!”, boys say: “You dyed your hair? It looks awkward.” “Is that a wig?” (and then tug on it to check) and “You should undye your hair”.

And…

My dummy twin, George, got dragged around most of the school today. By the end, his eyeballs were gouged out, the paint on his face was partly scraped off, and, oddly, all of the buttons of his shirt were buttoned (which I hadn’t done). Children are strange people.

Sometimes kids play games, and funny things get said:

2 kids are playing Pokemon, and another one is watching.

Kid 1 (to kid watching): Who’re you rooting for?

Kid 2 : I dunno. Which one of you has the better looking face?

Kid 3: Uh…what?

 

I need to work on my pretending-to-be -interested-in-pokemon skills. Pretty sure I said that I liked “the shiny ones”.

 

During a game of Life:

Kid: Jess, you’re married, and you are having two kids. Why would you do that if you don’t have a job yet? You’re going to run out of money. Isn’t that breaking all the rules?

Amen, kid

Kid during gym game:

Jess, I haven’t touched a ball in 10 minutes

Me: Um…(keepstraightfacekeepstraightface)

I am 12.

 

The opposite game:

Me: “What is the opposite of a tree?”

Kid: “A person on fire.”

Other counselor: “What is the opposite of Kids’ Time?”

Kid 2: “Fart Time.”

Kids like Justin Bieber.  And Canadians:

Kid: You’re Canadian?

Sub: Yup.

Kidr: So you must’ve met Justin Bieber.

Sub: Um…

 

The other day, a second grader told me, apropos of nothing, that I was getting married to Justin Bieber. Then she asked if he was going to have sex with Selena Gomez. I’m not sure which disturbed me more – that she asked that, or that he would cheat on me so close to our impending marriage.

 

Kid: Vampires are real. They sleep in coffins. Like Canadians.

 

And the rest of the time, they are totally random:

3rd grade boy: Jess, are you going to get married?

Me: Not today

boy: Soon?

Me: Uh…

Another 3rd grade boy: You know, King Tut was 11 when he got married.

Me: Well, that means you have only 2 years left. Start looking.

 

Me: (handing kid spaghetti) Do you need a fork?

Kid: Jess, I’m not a pig. Of course I need a fork.

 

Today, a kid told me that I laugh too much. I didn’t realize this was a. possible or b. a problem.

 

Kid 1: It tastes like money!

Kid 2: Yes. You gave us yams, and they tasted like money.

(Oddly, knowing the context of this makes it even more weird.  Now if only I remembered what it was…)

 

 

Me: You’ve had a computer for 12 years? That’s an old computer.

Kid: Jess, you’re an old computer.

Me: I’m not sure what that means, but I think I’m offended.

Kid: You probably shouldn’t be. I don’t know what it means, either.

 

In a birthday card book:

Beyond (yes, this is a kid’s name, not the preposition), Happy Birthday from Andrew. I lice you.

 

Today, I spent about an hour on a playground on the roof of a children’s museum stomping around as a T-Rex and chasing kids in and out of tunnels. Some of them were not kids from my camp. And somebody pays me to do this.

 

That’s all for now!  Hopefully my middle school counselees will be just as colorful.

 

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Mr. Fancypants MBA

This isn’t even really a date story, but more proof that match percentages are not an exact science, even for making friends.

I had been talking to this guy (a 96% match) for maybe two or three days.  Nothing tremendously deep: red pandas, Seattle weather, board games, Game of Thrones.  All things I like (okay, I haven’t seen or read Game of Thrones, so I don’t technically know that I’ll like it, but enough people have told me that I will that I’m fairly confident).  He asked me out (his words, not mine) for coffee or drinks or whatever for the weekend, but I cringed a little at the suggestion.  I’m mostly looking for friends at this point, and I’m not generally comfortable enough to meet people after only a couple of days of conversation (unless it’s a snowy week in Seattle and I’ve done nothing but send messages and wonder what the outdoors looks like), which I told him.  Instead, because he expressed interest in game nights, I invited him to one my sister and I were having over the weekend.  He claimed to be on the same page in the friend department (a little odd after he’d asked me out, but perhaps doing some face-saving), and agreed to join.   I’m glad I came up with this alternative, because otherwise I might have had to spend a few hours alone with this man.

Of course, he drove up to our house first, as I was digging through my car for a deck of cards with my ass sticking out of the open door.  Not really the ideal way to meet anyone.  I’m not great in caught-off-guard situations.  They usually lead to more of my rambling.  I mumble some words and lead him into our house.  Luckily my sister’s in the kitchen and ready to do some talking.  We played the “where are you from where did you grow up what do you do” game.  He works in pharmacology, but the business aspects, not the actual drug making.  He recently graduated with an MBA.  I tend to get matched up with math folks, scientists, computer geeks, teachers, and occasionally creative types, so this was a new one for me.  I now know why.  I’m sorry if you are a business-type person – I’m sure some of you are genuinely nice people.  But really, who wants be involved in the pharmacology business?  I can see wanting to be the person in the drug store, filling prescriptions.  That’s an important job!  You’re helping people to stay or get healthy.  You can go home feeling pretty satisfied that you are doing good for humanity (though unfortunately often must overcharge for it).  But the business side?  The drug business is a messy, gross world, with chemical compounds being priced up in impoverished countries, and with drug companies squeezing as much cash out of the patients they know rely on their products as they can.  And I didn’t getting the impression that he’s a “get into the system so that I can help fix the system” kind of guy.  He talked about hitting up an MBA friend to use his discount for a $1000 suit.  Your potential suit costs about what I make in a month.  Do you…want a cookie?

I was relieved when other people arrived, people I’ve met before and actually like.  We could stop talking about suits and Sephora discounts.  Our interactions took a downward turn from there.  He picked on my sister for talking to my hamster.  “Who talks to hamsters?” he asked. 

“So…you can talk to dogs, but not hamsters?”

“Yes.  Hamsters don’t have the brain capacity.  They can’t understand you.”

“Well,” I said, “dogs don’t speak English.”  Yes, many dogs can understand and follow certain commands.  But if you have conversations with you dog, she can’t understand that you’re telling her how badly you want to strangle your boss, or how your friend needs to stop hitting you up for cash.  We don’t expect them to.  We talk to animals, to dead people, to objects – we’re not crazy.  It’s just our nature. 

Then we got into an argument about superman.  I say that he’s one of the more boring superheroes (come on, his power is strength, and his weakness is…a rock?).  He didn’t contest this, but further criticized Clark Kent’s lifestyle choices.  “That’s not a very glamorous job, being a reporter,” he said.

“Really?  That seems like a pretty sweet job if you can get it these days.  It’s not an easy world for writers. And he gets to be aware of stuff that’s happening before the rest of the world,” I argued.

“Eh.  Boring.  And how can he live off that?”

“It’s…a legitimate job.  Especially when Superman first came out,” I said.  I grew bored of the argument.  He clearly has little respect for jobs that don’t earn the big bucks. 

Later, I was explaining that my undergrad university had “first years” rather than “freshman”, and he lashed out on that one, too.  “What kind of stupid feminist thing is that?”  he asked.

First of all, I consider myself a pretty strong feminist.  I get frustrated when people (frequently menfolk) confuse feminism with feminazis, or with man-hating.  We’re not a group of bra-burning, ball-busting bitches whose only goal is to emasculate men.  And sometimes there are…gasp…feminsit men!  His comment dissolved into a lot of eye rolling, face-palming, and sighing from the group (mostly me, I’m sure).  While I agree that changing the name probably didn’t do great things for feminism, I recognize that language is both a powerful tool and litmus test for our biases.  If we don’t like things, the words for them are negative.  It’s not rocket science.  Also, he clearly doesn’t understand the “I can make fun of my family but you can’t” rule.  I know my school was sometimes teetering on the ridiculous side of liberal, but I have to defend it when others attack it. 

He said a few other things over the course of the evening that generally turned me off.  Philly is all a giant ghetto, while New York is the center of high culture.  Don’t get me wrong – I love New York.  It’s easy to navigate, it’s energetic, it’s got pizza.  But Philadelphia’s not a bad place to be either.  Yes, some parts of it are dangerous, and not great to look at.  But some parts have art, music, theater, and general awesomeness.  Also cheese steak.  This just seemed like another snobby comment that was completely unnecessary. 

And then he said something really, really stupid.  Someone else joked, after I said a few particularly weird things, that I should see a psychologist.  He asked, “which is the one who can prescribe stuff?”  After I answered, he said, “oh, well that’s the important one, then.”  Um…what?  I’m a school counseling grad student.  I’m essentially being trained to be a therapist.  He was basically telling me that my job isn’t important because I can’t prescribe drugs.  It was probably best, for his safety, that there were other people around, otherwise I would have strangled him.  Does he know anything about the mental health field, or the purpose of therapy?  Obviously not.  So shut your mouth and only pipe in when we’re talking about pharmacology, Penn Sate fraternities, and expensive watches.  Thanks for playing.

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Perhaps the Most Obnoxiously Picky Guy Out There

Sometimes, I get a message from a guy who is so hilariously terrible that I just have to share it.  This is that guy.  I almost hope he forgets that he ever sent me a message in the first place, and sends another.  Sadly, I didn’t save the actual conversation, but I remember the important bits.

One evening, while waiting to meet a fellow writer in a coffee shop, I checked my messages.  Wahoo, a new one!  (I don’t get that many messages, folks.  Also, I have a low excitement threshold).  This one tells me that, based on our percentage scores, we seem to have a lot in common.  He sends me a link to the abridged version of his profile, just in case. 

First off, those match numbers don’t necessarily predict anything.  I could be matched with most moderately intelligent (or at least, moderately savvy) liberals who are interested in things and people.  The internet is filled with people like that.  I can tell a lot more from reading a person’s profile.  Do they take themselves too seriously?  Do they not bother to fill one out?  Are their answers cursory, or flippant in a way that goes beyond charming?  Perhaps I over-analyze people’s tone and word choice (a result of both being a writer-type person and being the kind of person who worries too much about the details), but I can usually tell a lot by how people choose to present themselves.  Sure, I generally don’t have much to talk about with a 50% match, but I don’t differentiate much when they’re above 90%. 

Okay, who needs a separate page for the truncated version of their profile?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep your profile concise, and link to a longer one if the reader is still interested?  Well, I found out why this guy might need an abbreviated version.  I’ll confess, my profile isn’t brief, either.  I’m a rambler, and I never know when to cut myself off when I think I’m being funny or clever, which happens often (the thinking I’m clever, not the being clever).  But this profile was a novel.  It was like reading Dickens, but even worse, and with more words.

He starts out with his dealbreakers and must-haves.  The woman needs to love video games (not uncommon) and Yu-gi-oh! (much less common).  This man is 30.  I generally support efforts to stay young, and to hold on to whatever childlike wonder you can, but this might go too far.  I may be biased, though, since I didn’t understand the appeal of Yu-gi-oh! when I was a kid, either.  Okay, this requirement is specific, but not unreasonable for some. 

In addition, you can’t shop at Walmart, or own any Apple products.  Honestly, I’m not a huge Apple supporter, and have no interest in ever owning an iphone, ipad, or Mac.  But…I have an ipod.  If a better option existed, I would use it, but no one in their right mind owns a zune.  Where do you even take one to get it fixed?  I occasionally go for walks, hikes, and to the gym, and use my ipod to listen to David Sedaris books-on-tape in my car, so there really isn’t a way to do that without an Apple product.  You must be liberal, but not libertarian.  Again, not the most unreasonable request, but still oddly specific.  He prefers that you be raised Christian, ideally Catholic, but not be “crazy” about it.  Then why does it matter?  He wants his women to be religious, but not really care about their religions?

Here’s where we get into weirder territory.  He dislikes certain “abrasive” personality traits, sarcasm in particular.  So…he didn’t look at my profile at all, did he?  I live on a steady diet of sarcasm and ridiculousness, usually washed down with some Dr. Pepper.  I mention this in my profile just in case people have trouble picking up my tone.  Frankly, I’d argue that the tone of his profile and the way he goes about finding mates is much more abrasive than my sarcasm, but again, I may be biased, as I tend to find myself charming and hilarious. 

His last dealbreakers are drinking, smoking, and doing drugs.  I have no problem with these being tipping points for someone.  I couldn’t date a smoker, a drug user, or a heavy drinker.  But thenhe goes on to say that your friends also can’t drink, smoke, or do drugs.  That gets a bit more difficult.  Unless all of your friends are eight, it’s unlikely that none of them drink.  He further explains that this is important because if you were to be in a couple with him, not everything would “be about you” anymore.  Okay, yes, ideally in a relationship you think about the other person, but there’s a weird biting tone to this, like he expects all women to go in acting like spoiled princesses, and it’s his job to turn that around.  Ugh.  I’m turned off by anyone telling what to do or not to, but his attitude was downright smug. 

So of course I couldn’t let him go without a telling off.  I listed the things I do that he would not be amenable to (I drink socially, use sarcasm more frequently than I use toilet paper, and am an atheist-leaning agnostic).  I also ask why, if he mentions several times that he is liberal and open minded (these claims are made further into the depths of his endless abyss of profile), he seems to be so intolerant.

He responds with a reeeeeeeeeealllllllly long rant.  Not quite as long as his profile, but probably longer than the average five paragraph essay (I’ve been teaching essay writing to too many middle schoolers!).  He lives in a college town, and the drunk and drug addled students are loud and rude and disruptive.  Dude, you’re 30.  Move the hell out of the college district.  Stop living in a neighborhood of drunks.  He tells me that others who smoke, drink, or use drugs infringe upon his rights.  No one smokes indoors anymore, so I’m not sure where he is that he couldn’t just walk away from anyone holding a cigarette.  I also highly doubt that my choice to drink a glass of wine with my mom and my sister while eating cookies and yelling at the screen during Project Runway infringes on his rights. 

I will, however, consider infringing my fist upon your face, jerk.  Good luck finding no one!

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And I Wanted to Go on a Second Date…Why?

To be fair, there were some warning signs that this guy was not going to be The Guy.  I once asked him to name what five books he would choose if he could only read those five books for the rest of his life, he listed: two Dan Brown books, a Michael Crighton book, a book about sports and…nothing.  He literally could not list a fifth book.  This was a conversation by text, too, so he wasn’t on the spot.  He could have looked up a book, named a book he had no interest in, or even invented a book.  I never would have known that he hadn’t read it, or that he didn’t want to.  There was not going to be a quiz.  As an avid reader and obsessive book hoarder, this should have horrified me.  Does he really not even know the names of five books?

Sign number two should have been that, when talking about his past sexual experiences (which I did not ask about), he wrote that he had “seen various breasts”.  Not various pairs of breasts.  And not even specific individual breasts.  Of course, I immediately pictured some sort of live-action version of a Picasso, a pastiche of unidentified breasts bobbing around geometric shapes.  It also should have worried me a bit that he never mentioned that they belonged to any particular women, or women he was dating.  They may have belonged to strangers, or just been faceless women on the internet.  But for whatever reason, he was unable to attach the idea of the female body to…actual females. 

Perhaps the stress of the two-date fiasco affected my judgment, but I made plans to meet this guy at a Thai restaurant in my town (at one point I mentioned that we had a lot of Indian restaurants, and he vehemently opposed that.  Another missed warning sign.  I might be an idiot).  He gets lost on the way there, and I stand in the parking lot watching him make an illegal u-turn.  We order, and pick at my food while we talk about our jobs, since I’ve just come from working with a ten year old who thinks it’s okay to take people’s phones, or slam their computers closed in their faces.  I make sure to leave long pauses so that he can talk about his own work, but the pauses drag because he has nothing interesting to say, except about how he hates his job because all of his customers are cheap Indians.  This is a stereotype I hear a lot, since my town is predominantly Indian, and all of the students I work with are also Indian.  I try to ignore it, and figure he’s just frustrated with his situation because he’s basically working in a glorified customer service job. 

I forget how it came up, since I was rambling a lot in order to keep some form of conversation going, but I mentioned seeing pictures from an event called “corgi beach day”.  I happen to love corgis, and always enjoy pictures of them running or jumping around.  They’re just so spectacularly funny looking!  Anyway, this event appeared to be just a bunch of corgi owners gathered at a beach, and their dogs frolicking and making friends with other dogs.  None of them were dressed in frilly dog outfits, or posing as hot dogs.  Just dogs and owners, chillin’.  The guy’s face dropped.  “Why would anyone go to something like that?” he asked.  “I would be embarrassed to be seen at something like that.” 

I stared back at him.  “Really?  Why?  It’s just some people with their dogs.  No one’s doing anything inappropriate or illegal.” 

He shakes his head.  “It’s just so…ridiculous.”

I sigh.  “Well,”  I say, “I’d go.  I wouldn’t be embarrassed about it.  It seems like fun.”  A minute of silence.  At this point, I’ve finished two glasses of water, and the waitress has no intention of refilling my glass again.  I don’t even have ice cubes left in the glass to poke at.  I stare at the grain of the table and move my food around with my fork. 

It sounds silly that this kind of thing would be a dealbreaker for me, but it was.  I like to do goofy things, and I need to be with someone who’s willing to do said goofy things with me.  I want someone around who encourages that side of me, not someone who will roll his eyes at my ideas or laugh them off.  Also, how boring and serious is this guy that he thinks a gathering of dogs is embarrassing?  There are people in banana suits standing on street corners to advertise smoothies.  There are naked cowboys, and people who wear crocs to work.  I’ve gone to work in One Fish, Two Fish pajamas, a taco costume, and with a twin dummy strapped on my back.  My threshold for embarrassing behavior is pretty high, and I need a guy who isn’t going to run at the first sign of weirdness. 

At some point, the waitress brings us the check, and I whip out my wallet. He offers to pay, and I shake my head and take out cash to cover my half of the bill.  More silence.  I push my straw around my empty glass.  “I think the restaurant wants us to leave.  They won’t refill my water.”

“Well,” he says, smirking, “you don’t have to obey their rules.”

Why does he want to prolong this torture?  Is time passing more quickly for him?  Are we living in alternate universes, and his is enjoyable, while mine is tedious and painful?  In his mind, are we actually playing with fluffy bunnies while eating chocolate-covered strawberries and listening to the soft trills of a distant harp?

So I do something dumb, and something I though I would never do.  I tell him that I should really be getting home.  That my mom worries.  It’s 9:30 at the latest.  To be fair, the first time I went out with this guy, my mom did text me during the date to make sure I’d made it back from NYC safely.  We leave the restaurant, say curt goodbyes, and never hear from each other again.  Phew.

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Two Dates, Two States, One Day, and the Idiot Who Thought This Would Work

Sometimes the debacles I get myself into are entirely self-inflicted.  At some point in May, after being back on OkCupid for about two months, I was talking fairly consistently with two guys, which for me is rather rare.  One of them had given me his number, and I initiated a text conversation by asking some odd questions…to someone with a number one digit away from his.  Somewhere in north Jersey there is a very confused recipient.  After a week or so of back and forth (and a day when I’d forgotten to take my anxiety medication and came across as super needy, apparently), we made a date for a Tuesday night the following week.  At some point, I must have asked him what kind of date plans he would find most interesting, and told him he couldn’t choose movies, dinner, or walks along the beach.  Because of that, he must’ve gotten the impression that I am anti-dinner, and he suggested a 7:30 game of mini-golf.  Let me digress: mini-golf can be fun with a group of friends, or with a guy/girl you’ve been dating, but is terrible for a first date, at least, it is if you are as abysmal at mini-golf as I am.  I frequently have to take the six strokes to save myself the embarrassment of finishing out the hole.  Play? Shot?  I don’t know the proper golf terminology.  I don’t mind when my friends see me acting like a fool – if I did, I would have crawled under a rock and hidden there many years ago.  But I don’t need someone’s first impression to be of me digging into a babbling brook while balancing on one foot.  That’s second date stuff, for sure.  Despite this, I agreed.

In the meantime, the other guy asked if we should meet up.  I assumed he would pick another evening, since most normal people with normal jobs are free in the evenings, but of course, he did not have a normal schedule, either, and he picked the same Tuesday, but during the day.  Let’s meet up in NYC, he said.  It’s halfway between us (it’s not really, and it costs me about $25 to get into the city and back on a bus).  So I scheduled in grabbing tea with a friend and picking up some jewelry-making supplies so that, if the date was a complete disaster, at least the trip wasn’t a waste.  I told guy #2 that I would get in the city early and guess some stuff done.  We debated back and forth about what to do in the city.  He’d grown up there, so I assumed he knew about more stuff.  We voted against museums, as we’d been to most of them, and they’re not conducive to much conversation (he did at one point look into a museum of sex, which would be a pretty unusual activity for any two people to embark upon together the first time they meet).  I finally suggested the zoo, as I’m obsessed with animals, particularly baby animals, and had never been to the Bronx Zoo.  He had, so I assumed he would know what he was doing.

By now, I should know that assumptions always turn out horribly wrong.  We agreed to meet at 1:00, when he would get in.  When he said he was “getting in” at 1:00, I stupidly thought that meant…to Manhattan.  Where I would be.  And that we would take the subway to the Bronx together.  He thought it meant that we would meet at the zoo at 1:00.  So at 1:00, he calls to ask what entrance I’m in front of, and I answer, incredibly confused, and barely able to hear anything as I walk down the streets by Penn Station.  I ask a hot dog vendor where to find the nearest subway station, hop on a 2 (see what I did there?  I’m trying to prove that I know things.  Is it working?), and ride for 45 minutes.  It takes us a good ten minutes to locate each other after I get off the train, perhaps because he looks nothing like his picture.  Those first few moments (and the last few) are my least favorite.  Do we shake hands?  Nod at each other?  Hug?  Stand awkwardly?  We chose option four.  At some point, he must have started talking, because his voice sounded exactly like my friend’s husband’s voice.  To the point where I kept picturing their faces fusing together.  It didn’t help that they have roughly the same body type.  And that one’s Matt and the other is Max. 

So for the first fifteen minutes, I hear nothing that he says because all I can think is “notMattnotMattnotMatt.”  We head over to the zoo entrance, and the ticket seller asks my date if we’re paying together or separately.  He looks at me, like I have the magical answer for this.  I’ve never asked someone to pay for me on a first date (or accepted that offer).  But at this point, the day is getting expensive, and I only work part-time.  So I hesitate, then mumble, “separately”.  The ticket man makes me repeat my answer.  I think he heard me the first time, but that he’s just trying to make me feel more weird than I already do. 

We spend the next two hours getting ridiculously lost in the zoo.  Somehow my date remembers nothing from his many visits, and I can’t follow directions without a map, so we wander around the same six exhibits.  We get to the tigers, which he wanted to see, but never make it to the tapirs, which was the entire reason I’d wanted to go to the zoo in the first place.  We have to follow a family out because we can’t figure out what entrance we came in. 

At this point, it’s after 5:00, and there’s no way I will be home in time for date #2.  We get back on the 2 to ride into Manhattan.  While we’re mid-conversation, the subway screeches to my stop.  I get up to leave, and he holds up his hand.  Is this a high five?  A weird handshake? Is he waving?  I don’t have time to figure it out, so I high five him and run the hell off the train.  I miss my bus home, and end up meeting with the next guy for a drink two hours after initially scheduled.  I am an exhausted, ridiculous mess, and tell babbling stories while sipping my margarita.  My date hugs me when I leave (the most uncomfortable hug I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve hugged kindergartners with drippy noses.  We stupidly make plans to meet up again, but that is another terrible story for another day. 

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