1.15 More Online Dating

TORONTO, ONTARIO: I am going for the record of participating in an online dating website the longest amount of time without receiving any contact whatsoever. The way this particular website works, you put a profile up of yourself (including a photograph/s), view other profiles and send an email message to those you find interesting or appealing. It works both ways: You have the ability to write and receive messages. I have been sent one message but it doesn’t count. This person told me I look sad in my photograph and I need to smile more. She said nothing that was funny or remotely made the corners of my mouth turn upwards. The serious look was meant to be ironic: I smile and/or laugh as much as possible. I thought the combination of this photograph and my cheeky profile would make this point obvious. Obviously not. She was not the woman for me.

The profile is a strange form of communication. Do you outright lie? Bend the truth? In my time on this website, the profiles I have read often leave me baffled. When you meet someone in real life, people have tells. You can get a reading or have a feeling instinctively about what they are saying. This reading of someone is important, it can tell you a lot of things. It sounds like I mean judging people immediately after meeting them. I wouldn’t say you are judging them – that’s harsh. You’re merely collecting information in order to determine whether it is worth it to continue the conversation and potentially build a relationship. Okay, so it’s judging.

This radar is completely useless with online dating. First, what is with the design/fashion industry – it seems to be made up of a lot of lonely people. Every second profile is someone that works in fashion. That’s telling but what it tells me, I don’t know. Second, many profiles go to great lengths in letting the reader know that they no longer what to play ‘games’, that they don’t want ‘players’ to contact them, they are so over the club scene. These statements are more for the writer than the reader. It seems good in theory to want this but in practice, not so much. This fact eluded me for quite a while until multiple deletions of sent messages. Let’s call it an A-HA moment.

My profile is currently in its third incarnation. Admittingly, my first one was awful, put your finger down your throat earnest. I wouldn’t have talked to me. My second one was better, more straightforward with a hint of mystery. Still nothing. I recently re-wrote it a third time into something that was demanding and challenging. Not as in it is difficult to read or intellectual in some way, more like, “you say looks don’t matter, you say conversation is key, you say laughter is essential. I challenge you to send a message to a guy like me.” No, I'm not bitter.

Let’s say you are at a party and when you meet someone, the first thing you say to them has to be your profile verbatim. Nobody would hear my first profile because I was waiting for someone to talk to me. And I’m not the kind of guy that people talk to based on looks. I would approach people with my second profile and the effect would be them looking around the room for someone, anyone else to talk to. The third profile would be me yelling at them. This might not be the best course of action but I’m giving it a try and I’m running out of options. Your profile is basically a way to introduce yourself and everyone does it differently.

Finally: The messages I have sent out to users. At first, I was very hesitant to write to anyone. It was one thing to read their profile but a completely other thing to actually write an email. After you send a message, you can monitor whether someone has read it and when they deleted it. Call me pathetic but the very few I contacted at the beginning crushed me when they deleted my messages without even reading them. They obviously saw my photographs. I wrote nicely composed messages that pulled out common interests and made obscure references to a variety of subjects that they shared on their profile. They were little gems of reaching out to a person, individualized and thoughtful and complimentary in a subtle way. And still nothing.

A friend of mine that has found success with online dating in the past advised me to “cast my net wide.” So, I re-wrote my profile for the second and third time. I wrote to more people, tossing out messages, hoping for them to be like a boomerang but in reality, they were more like I was playing Frisbee with myself. I am not so interested anymore. I have now failed at meeting people in real life and failed at meeting people online. The fear is building with every unanswered message: Where I go from here?

Maybe I just need to smile more.