Saturday, February 09, 2008

Online Dating! Yea!

So, I did it. I joined an online (free) dating service. I haven't made many friends here at school, and I know I haven't been here this long, but I'm already tired of weekends sitting at home working ahead on my homework. And as most of my fellow students are drastically younger or older than I am, or female, it looks unlikely that I will meet many potential dates from there. I have been getting involved in the community and I start work in a few weeks, and hope to make friends through that, but what I really want is someone to go out with on a Friday night. Someone to dress up for and a reason to put makeup on, and the excitement of going out on a date. And sooner rather than later.
So, I signed up for this dating service. Apparently it is hugely popular. There are hundreds of people signed up for it within ten miles of where I live and thousands once you count 45 minutes away from where I live.
So, I've set up my little profile and put some photos of myself on, and even taken the personality tests and checked out the people I match most closely with, and rather than learning things about other people, I'm learning things about myself. And not nice things either.
As much as I hate the Millionaire Matchmaker, and her emphasis on looks, on hair and clothes, and her insistence that we live in a visually driven society, I can't debate it. And my best arguments that it will continue to be a visually driven society until we stop making it that way fall by the wayside as I click past the men that don't strike me in some way visually.
I want to meet people who know that what's on the inside is most important, people who will look at the real me. People that scoff at the importance society puts on appearance. And while maybe those people exist, I have learned that I'm not one of them.
Plenty of nice, respectable, funny guys have sent me messages on the service. After a perfunctory glance through their profile, I usually delete their messages without even a reply back. And to be 100% honest, it doesn't really even matter how witty or original their profile is, the deal was made or broken on the photo. Sure it matters to me what they’re doing in their photo. A guy rock climbing is more attractive to me than a guy in his favorite basketball jersey, all other things being the same. But the most important thing was (and always will be, at least on dating sites) looks.
I look through their photos and discard them because they are 1)-too boring 2)-too ugly 3)-too fat 4)-too anything else I don't like. And if, again, I'm being 100% honest with myself, number 1 should be number 3, because looks are more important than boringness, I just hated to put that first.
I hate that I put so much importance on looks. I've always thought that it was "other people" that were superficial and shallow. I guess that's either not true, or I have become an “other person.”
With the utmost respect to my ex-boyfriends, who have all been kind, respectable, funny, exciting, smart, great guys, I wouldn't have given most of them a second glance if I had seen their profiles on a dating service. And then I would have missed out on meeting some of the best people I have ever known, because of the value I place on looks.
What I have loved about past boyfriends hasn't been their jaw line or trim stomach, it's been their humor, their spontaneity, their ability to challenge me, to make me try to be a better person, and their efforts to give me experiences that I wouldn't have had on my own. And 90% of them, I started off not attracted to them in the least, but grew to be attracted to them through our friendship.
So, what do I do? Option 1)-Online dating/matchmaking is not for me. Not a big deal, go back to meeting guys the old fashioned way, which has worked perfectly well in the past. That way I can get to know a guy and rate him based on the whole package, rather then a photo and a blurb about themselves. 2)-Ignore my initial desire to click past people because their physical aspect doesn't appeal to me 3)-deal with the fact that while I'm not a "Real Housewife of Orange County," looks do matter to me, and it is a visually driven society, and that I am more superficial than I thought. And maybe that isn't the worst thing in the world.


M. Paul Bailey said...

I've thought a bit about this as well. I like to believe that I am a person who cares more about what's on the inside than on the outside. But I must also admit that appearance matters a lot to me. Recently I realized something though. Truth be told, someone's appearance often times says a lot about what is on the inside. So, I think it is totally fine to judge based upon appearance as long as one is using appearance as an indicator of personality rather than simply for the purpose of sex appeal.

Jeff B said...

This is a fun essay of excitement! I love very great!