“Should I write that I can do the splits on here?” I asked my friend Kevin after a large gulp of wine.
“Uhhhh. I think you might attract the wrong kind of….” He gave me a horrified look and I knew he was right. The Internet does not care how impressed I am with myself that I, only recently tried, and
landed accomplished, the splits without practicing yoga in years.
I found myself doctoring up an OkCupid! profile last Wednesday as part of an ongoing joke between us. I helped him make an account months ago in an attempt to bring him out of his year-long glum, but it turned into a self-forum for deprecation and cynicism. Either way, I knew he would see to it that I enter the same excruciating humility of Internet Purgatory, even if it was for a night’s worth of entertainment. [God made friends so they could make each other dating profiles when they are jaded.]
In an age when everyone meticulously curates Internet personas for themselves due to the wide array of ego-driven, identity-building platforms, otherwise known as social media, you would think coming up with the perfect Internet dating profile would roll off my fingertips like Liberace on a baby grand.
When it comes down to it, do you list skills, favorite quotations, bladder irregularity? It’s a super intimidating process. How do you summarize yourself in 622 characters? It’s like a goddamn cover letter for a job you really want, or a job you want for a day [Creeps!]. Needless to say Kevin just started typing it for me.
“No, don’t word it like that.” I would chime in every now and then.
“I don’t think I would call myself that….” I had a hard time with how I wanted to be perceived, virtually.
“Well, I think you’re that way.” He would argue.
Gawd, is there some kind of Internet dating template you can follow? Could I have just Shia Labeouf’ed my profile? But Julie you’re not the former president of the Maldives, and you haven’t mastered Scarlatti on the harpsichord.
I finally just took over the keyboard, and cruised through that sucker in a few minutes. A couple of facts about my life experiences, just quirky enough to not be considered “wife material.”
Those familiar with OkCupid! and I am sure many other Internet dating websites, will be familiarized with the 1 million long questionnaire you can answer to find the highest percentage match. I cannot help but be reminded of sixth grade slumber parties where we would sit around asking each other juicy questions from a questionnaire book I would have purchased through a Scholastic Book Club. Anyone who grew up in the ’90’s, and had involved parents, would remember carefully selecting each quarter’s product line, marking the quantity on a newspaper quality slip, and bringing it to your teacher. By the time I hit sixth grade, in a pre-adolescent stupor, it was reduced to five-page celebrity biographies that could be unfolded to reveal a poster, and neon pink questionnaires. Slumber parties were all about Truth or Dare, TP-ing, and answering superfluous questions until you died.
And thus, Kevin and I entered the Second Circle of Hell.
One of the questions on OkCupid! is “Would you prefer to date someone from your race?”
Fine, yes, I understand… I’ve seen Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends enough times to know that people like THIS still exist… What I don’t understand is, why someone who answered “Yes” would take the time to message ME….
Was he drunk, illiterate, an ironic racist? Were there no other available Caucasian women in West Michigan that night? [Not likely…] Does he have an astigmatism, where he would be able to leave his glasses at home in order to better ignore how Asian I look?
“If you were going to have a child, would you want the other parent to be of the same ethnicity as you?”
“I am going to set aside my racial eugenics ideology temporarily while I send this Asian chick an awkward message that starts with ‘hey hunny.'”
Last summer, a close friend casually told me he thought his dad had caught “Yellow Fever” while working in Southeast Asia for big-time business. This is a term I’ve heard tossed around, usually in jest, since Jr. High. As I get older, having any particular racial preference has remained strange to me. Once it was compared to preferring blondes over brunettes. [Easy peasy Japanesey.] Another time a man told me “Asians are the Cadillacs of pussy.” [Throws up. I hope you all can erase that from your memory.] I am honestly interested in discovering why certain people have racial preferences.
Although, I should have known OkCupid! would not be the best forum for intellectual debate. Something tells me if the two of us were at the same t-shirt dating party, and it was left to pheromones alone, we would still not be higher than a 37% match.
I believed giving a cold, crisp response would highlight how insensitive they were being. Apparently responding at all only provokes them more. (I appreciate the, “You are female right?”)
[DEMURE!?] (So he basically described what I was criticizing….)
Do you want to admit this stuff to a stranger you don’t actually know in real life? Sure you can understand how hilarious and intelligent I am from my brief profile [Kidding!], but can you read? [I mean, HELLO, Kevin and I didn’t answer all of those damn questions so I could get messages from someone below an 80% match!]
Discovering the answers to any questions I have regarding why people have racial preference for partners in 2014 should be left to doctoral thesis papers and Youtube videos. I don’t really have time to argue racial stereotypes with older men on an Internet dating website known for cavalier sex and nothing else.
All of this solidified how I really just want to Eat Pray Love my way through this year. Yeah, sorrynotsorry literary friends. My mom suggested it to me years ago, and I secretly loved it, but never had the courage to allow it with the rest of my books on my bookshelf. Now that I’m older, I feel completely comfortable with announcing that I am modeling my year after Elizabeth Gilbert’s life post divorce. [I am looking at YOU Bali.] And when that’s done, I suppose I’ll probably live happily ever after with one of these fellows….
(If none of these options end up working out [sobs!], I am completely fine with leaving “love” up to an algorithm.)
Yeah I was originally pretentious about OkCupid! blah blah blah “desperate” “sick” “STDs” blah blah blah…
BUT, what’s even weirder is trolling for someone at a noisy bar where you can’t even hear them speak. [Probably for the better anyway.] You end up listening to their oh so funny story about that one time when they were drunk, and banging your head against each and every tap handle would be more stimulating than anything else that is happening. They’re trying to tell you how awesome they are, and Modest Mouse or some song that was popular 10 years ago is blaring. That is a fucking strange environment to try to be enticing! That is not a better representation of yourself than sitting in your own home behind a screen, eating homemade soup, learning french at the same time, in the comfort of stretch pants without the looks of judgement….