You. Are. Killing. Me. WHO IS PLANNING YOUR EVENTS?? CALL ME. WE NEED TO TALK.
1. I only have to make half of the bed every morning.
I swear to god there used to be more of these…
Last Thursday night, I was settling into my window seat on a red-eye to Miami. (Bachelorette Party. Those two words pretty much summarize my my entire social calendar and budget in 2012-2014. I’m so happy for you all. Really.) Anyways, I’m sitting in the exit row - score - already looking at the menu to decide what kind of alcohol I will order before bedtime…when I see him.
He’s still in my phone as “Alex Miami Match Nope.” I have a pretty complicated filing system in my contacts. You don’t know anybody’s last name, so I need to add an identifier. He’s from Miami, so that explains the “Miami.” And then I add Match just so I can search “Match” in my phone and see all of the contacts from Match at once…that’s really just for personal shock value. It’s like a cemetery. And then I add Nope, because I quickly decided that he wasn’t the one for me, about 40 minutes into our first date. He sent me like 20 more texts after that date, so the Nope reminded me that I do not want/need to respond.
Alex Miami Match Nope is super tall, so I spotted him right away when he started making his way down the isle. Eye contact. Beat. Beat. RECOGNITION. I break eye contact immediately. I’m really bad at this. A normal, nice, well-adjusted person should just smile and say hi. It’s not like he’s going to start up a weird conversation in the middle of this crowded plane. But no. I decide that I’m going to take the other route. Pretend I have never ever seen him in my life, and that maybe I have a condition that prevents me from recognizing facial features. I aggressively start rummaging through my carry-on in my lap, digging for my self-respect. I was also probably blushing my ass off.
After about 7 MINUTES and several Moms carrying like 4 babies each, he finally makes it past me and sits down directly behind me. I thankfully fell asleep shortly after takeoff, making it the first and last time I sleep within 10 yards of Alex Miami Match Nope. Nobody looks good after trying to sleep completely upright for 5 hours. So when we landed in Miami, I practically punched a grandma trying to get out of that plane. Eject. Get me out of here.
Sigh…Mistakes on a Plane….get it? Get it?
“Hello, I live near downtown Los Angeles and write about entertainment. I’m looking to get to know more people around the area and possibly date. Take a look at my profile and let me know if you’d like to talk.”
I just received this message, and probably 60% of messages I receive follow this format. Let’s talk about how this message makes me feel. It makes me very aware of the fact that I am online dating. Nobody would EVER come up to me at a party or at the store, and be like, “HELLO. I LIVE DOWNTOWN. DO YOU WANT TO TALK WITH ME AND MAKE CONVERSATION UPON WHICH WE MAY BUILD A PERSONAL EMOTIONAL CONNECTION.” This doesn’t just make you look like a fool, it makes ME feel like a fool. Suddenly, I am reminded of how freaking weird it is that I’m online attempting to connect with strangers. That’s super embarrassing if you think about it too hard, so let’s try not to think about it.
The goal is to have online dating feel as much like real life as possible. You notice something they said in a profile, and you make a comment…sort of like if you were in a group of 8 friends and friends-of-friends. A cute girl made a comment about a band you’ve seen live, and you want her to know you exist so you chime in with a charming/inquisitive/thoughtful/funny/relatable remark. That’s all you need to do in a message. Make me feel like you’re real, like I could see you hanging out with people that are like my people.
For example, I mention A Visit from the Goon Squad as the last book I read on my profile. The message below is a good example of a simple way to break the ice.
“I read A Visit from the Goon Squad and loved it — but! Do I think it should’ve won the Pulitzer that year? I don’t know. I really don’t know. Thoughts?”
There are a few things that happen when I read that profile. I know he actually read my profile. So (#1) he can read, and (#2) I also know we read the same book! This is the sort of thing I’m into. So then I go to his profile (Guess what: you don’t have to TELL ME TO GO TO YOUR PROFILE. Thanks, I think I can figure that one out on my own) and I find that he has a really witty profile, and we have a lot in common. I message him back.
Stop making things more awkward than they should be. Talk to me like you are talking to a friend of a friend. Please don’t burst my bubble and remind me that I have a personal webpage dedicated to getting myself a date. I don’t need that, and I don’t know what you’re talking about.
From Miss Match’s real life, where she walks around like a real human and pretends to not write this absurd blog.
(4:00 PM - Santa Monica Parking Structure)
Man (stranger): hey. HEY. EXCUSE ME.
Miss Match: hmm? Yeah…you gotta pay here first, before you drive…
Man (stranger): No, no. I like your dress. I like your outfit. Can I have your number? I have a show I’d like you to come to.
Miss Match: long, long, long pause while I evaluate everything around me. I mean, what are the chances that this is the guy…the guy that finally chops me into pieces? Funny we don’t even meet online, me and this psychopath. I mean, he’s not ugly, pretty handsome actually. Is he parked in a handicapped spot? That’s weird. [he hands me his phone so I can enter my number]
And then that even longer eternity of a moment where I decide…REAL NUMBER OR FAKE NUMBER? I give him my real number because I PANIC AND CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE WHAT A FAKE NUMBER MIGHT LOOK LIKE.
And that, kids, is the story of how I started receiving inappropriate pictures from a man (stranger) named Alex.
Aaaaaaand back to online dating I go, because I cannot be trusted out in the wild.
I was wrong. I judged too quickly. I didn’t give it a chance. I spent the last couple YEARS of my life touting the wonders of Match.com while completely shunning okCupid. All while not really having success, per se, on Match. (Depends on how you define success…it’s all about personal growth…blah blah.)
Match is stale. The alternative conclusion would be that I’m stale at the dating game, and I refuse to believe that, so it’s definitely Match’s fault. First, I think I pretty much went on a date with all the normal guys on there. All of them. Second, you all remember how well that Stir event went. That shitshow speaks to a larger disconnect that Match has with what users are looking for. We’re looking for something fresh, cute, funny, refreshing. We turned to online dating because trying to meet people offline was feeling like a slog. Now, I’m just slogging through Match. Everybody’s profile is basically the same. “Work hard, play hard, bro.” “Looking for a partner in crime.” “Misquoted Ghandi Saying.” (I also just had to literally call the Match.com police and report my profile stolen. A 30-year-old woman who lives within 5 miles of me just copy-pasted my entire profile. Pretending to be mad while I’m secretly REALLY flattered.)
My new favorite activity is answering the hundreds of questions that you can answer on okCupid. They ask questions about everything: money, drugs, tidiness, spanking, creationism, sex, names of your future kids, nuclear war…every question you can imagine. You can answer them publicly and compare answers with people you come across, or you can answer them privately and okCupid tries to match you with people that have similar tastes and preferences. It’s fun, and lighthearted, and…important. I WOULD like a heads up if he plays more than 2 hours of video games every day, and I DO want to know if this guy thinks nuclear war would be fun.
If you threw a party for Match people in my area, you would get a lot of yuppies, bros, and lawyers. Nothing wrong with that party at all. I’ve been to a LOT of parties like that. In that group, there will be a few very interesting, smart, funny guys. But then, like I said, I went on a first date with all of those guys. And some of the douchey ones too. I haven’t really connected with any of them.
If you threw a party for okCupid people in my area…you would get several hundred writer/producer/actor/look-I-have-headshots, a magician, three straight-yet-cross-dressing men, and a lot of techie nerds. I think I’m ready to go that party for a while.
No dates to report yet, but okCupid has been a breath of fresh air.
Oh, and it’s fucking FREE. I could have probably bought a mail-order boyfriend from Brazil by now with the money I’ve given to Match.com.
Martha Stewart has been loud and proud all week about her recent decision to try online dating. Am I too bold in saying that this a turning point for online dating? She’s rich, powerful, smart…and she announced to the world that she doesn’t see anything wrong with turning to the magical internet to find love. I bet she will be the first of many celebs to go public. You can also bet your Handmade Persimmon-Scented Holiday Wreath that Martha is getting something out of this PR campaign. Perhaps she will be a new celeb spokeswoman? This should give a little boost of confidence to anybody who is divorced, over 50, or just a huge chicken about dating. Try it. Martha did it. Martha doesn’t do anything wrong. Well…except that one time, which reminds me…
If you are one of those people who “isn’t scared” of online dating, but just thinks you’re too cool? Too badass? Martha is WAY HARDER than you. She went to federal prison! She has seen things and done things that would make you cry! Like building gingerbread houses out of popsicle sticks during rec hours with her lady cellmates. (She really did this.) IN FEDERAL PRISON.
I also love that she is only interested in younger men. Get it gurl.
I hope my message reach you fine.
I am an overseas member. I like traveling and I am planning to visit LA on mid of May. I read your profile and honestly, I think that if you are OK with dating I would be so honored if you accept my request. Let us find our way in life and enjoy our time.
I am confident, self man made, rational and risk taker. Studied and worked in different places of the world, the rest will follow…
Looking forward to see your respond.
P.S/ First thing I thought of it when I read your profile is; Here is a girl worth fighting for.
P.SS/ Kindly reply to my email.
Has a very old-worldy vibe, no? Except for the part where he asks me if I’m “OK with dating.” I feel like he sent this message in a bottle or via pirate ship. When we wed on the Mid of May, I will present him with 400 goats as my dowry.