Every morning, Match.com sends me my seven daily matches. Are they kidding? Who exactly is doing the matching? With the gems I find in my box, I have to seriously question the ability of whoever is doing the matching to match even a pair of socks. Do they really think I’d like any of these guys?
I already know that online dating is not an appropriate venue for me. I dabble in it every couple of years, have a bad experience, and run away screaming. Plus, I’m far too judgmental and initially shallow to be a good candidate for meeting someone online. However, at the moment, I live on a remote island that is pretty much closed for the winter. The only men in the dating pool are 75 year old fisherman playing bingo down at the Angler’s Club, so I signed up for Match.com to make me feel like I still have options.
Am I ever really going to electronically “wink” at any of these guys? Absolutely not. I don’t make first moves. Am I ever going to respond to their emails? Highly unlikely. That would increase the chances of actually having to meet them, even though, thankfully, most of them live many states away, making it almost impossible to coordinate a meeting. Yet somehow, finding seven new matches in my inbox every morning makes me feel like I’m being proactive, like I’m taking an active interest in my future, like I haven’t given up all hope that I’ll ever actually fall in love with anyone again. And even if all I ever do is review my matches and deposit them into the NO pile, or leave them languishing forever in the MAYBE pile, without ever communicating with any of them, at least I feel like I’m still in the game.
Here’s the innate problem with online dating: real-life personality can either make a hot guy unattractive, or an unattractive guy hot, but since the “man in action” dimension is missing from the online experience, I have no choice but to play the hand I’m dealt, which, first and foremost, are the pictures. And that’s too bad, because pictures are where I’m at my unapologetic, judgmental best. And without the redeeming dimension of real, live Personality, almost nobody has a chance.
It has been said about me that I only date guys who look like movie stars (although I can point out examples where this blatantly wasn’t true … Frank Nicholas, for one) so I can understand why a guy might not want to include a picture of himself in his profile, if there’s the chance that I’m going to be looking at it. But without a picture, I automatically X him into the “NO” pile: no passing go, no collecting two hundred dollars. And the “request my picture” ploy? Forget it. I’m not going to read your poignant, heartfelt profile only to find out that you look like Cousin It, because then I’ll have to keep talking to you so that you won’t think I’m shallow, and I am, so forget it. Man up and post a picture, for crying out loud. Stop wasting my time.
And, it can’t just be one picture – it has to be many pictures. Up close pictures of you, yourself. Not pictures of your car, your dog, your mother, the view from your living room window, your boat, your airplane, you with another girl, or you in a picture with 10 other people, because odds are, there’s someone cuter in the picture than you are, and that’s the one I’m going to want, so no fair getting my hopes up. And the pictures can’t be tiny little thumbnail pictures, or far-away pictures of a dot skiing down a mountainside that could be Jean-Claude Killy, for all I know. Clear, up-close, recent pictures of YOU. It’s not rocket science, but it must be, because so many people get it wrong.
And if you’re bald, that’s too bad, but take off your fricking baseball cap. You do not need to wear a baseball cap in every single picture, because not only does it show your lack of confidence but all I can think of when I look at your picture is what the heck are you hiding? No one likes surprises, especially not me.
It takes me all but a second or two to decide MAYBE or NO, and if I haven’t X’d them out based on their looks, I can usually find something in their profiles to earn them a spot in the NO pile. Like, WHY ARE THEY WRITING IN CAPITAL LETTERS? DON’T THEY KNOW ABOUT THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON? STOP SCREAMING AT ME, YOU LAZY DOUCHEBAGS. EVER HEAR OF UPPER AND LOWER CASE LETTERS? USE THEM! In my profile, I am very clear about these things. I blatantly state that I hate the use of acronyms like “lol” or “rotflmao” in written conversation, and shun people who use smilies and over-use exclamation points. Yet, mostly everyone finds the need to punctuate what they think are their funny comments with an all-caps LOL, followed by a dumbed-down little :).
Then there’s the “Body Type” part, and even though I applaud the guys who are honest enough to list themselves as stocky, or as having a few extra pounds, I automatically put them in the NO pile too. And the guys that think they’re “athletic and toned”? To quote Inigo Montoya, I do not think it means what they think it means. What part of muffin top means “athletic and toned”? And outlandishly-sized biceps do not cancel out a beer belly … they just don’t.
And the guys who wink at me, or email me? I’ve already told them in my profile they have to be smoking hot (I like to scare away the faint of heart), and taller than me, and that I don’t like planned facial hair. So why do I keep getting winks and emails from guys who are 5’5″ with facial hair that make their mouths look suspiciously like vaginas? Can’t these guys read? Literacy is also an important quality in a potential date. If he can’t read, he’s never going to be able to appreciate how smart and funny I am.
Further, I get electronic introductory explanations from Match.com itself, trying to sell me on the reasons that Stocky Vagina Beard Guy is the man of my dreams: “you two share the same birth month.” Really? I also share the same birth month with Mahatma Ghandi and no one would ever claim that would be the grounds for a brilliant love match.
So. Here I cynically sit, like a Russian judge in the Olympics, meting out stingy scores as the Parade of Men goes marching by – 3.2! 2.1! – on a remote and practically empty island, between a rock and a hard place, waiting out the two months left on my Match.com subscription like it’s a jail sentence.
Life can turn on a dime, though. At this point, it’s my only hope.