Dating is hard. Meeting new people can be a challenge. First impressions can be tricky.
That being said, I recently signed up for the free online dating site, OKCupid and I think it may be that I do not completely understand all the rules of engagement, like that you’re not supposed to use your real first name, but especially when it comes to messaging.
I’m not particularity fantastic at it.
My only other experience with online dating is the app Tinder. This has allowed me to, with simple swipe of right or left, choose a prospective partner based almost solely on physical attraction. However, I wanted to take an avenue where I could know a little more about another human being besides how close they are geographically, if we have mutual Facebook friends, or if they’ve ever been in close proximity to a tiger—seriously, there are a lot of guys on Tinder posing with tigers.
After a couple glasses of pinot, I began the process of creating my OK dating profile. For a recently single individual, this exercise forced me to take stock of my assets. I answered dozens of questions ranging from topics such as: relationships, ethics, sex, drug use, and preference in pets. The questionnaire sparked a quiet introspection facilitating a wine soaked pause wherein I pondered various aspects about how I feel about the world, what I am doing in it, and what exactly I’m looking for.
First I was all like:
Then I was all like:
After THAT, I threw together a little blurb about myself with a genuine attempt to be honest and straightforward, all the while trying to make myself sound appealing. For example, I did not include the fact I eat chips for dinner at least once a month. Or that last night I feel asleep in my clothes listening to Sam Smith’s acoustic version of Latch ON REPEAT (I recontextualized this into describing myself as a, “Lover of music”).
It was more work than I had expected, but after a couple hours my online dating self was ready for the world.
Being the punctilious human being that I try to be, I had this notion that I would—whether it be a yea or nay— respond to each and every message I received. It’s rude to just not respond right? Oh, how naïve I was. As opposed to Tinder where both participants must “like” the other in order to begin messaging, OKC is an open market where ANYONE can message you. The messages I’ve received have ranged in tone and approach from: the mundane (Hey is for horses!), sweet, complimentary, poorly spelled, oddly capitalized, neg filled, or obviously formulaic.
Listen, I don’t pretend to be a perfect conversationalist. I know I might come off here sound all high and mighty as I criticize these individuals for their approaches, but like, REALLY?
I’m sex positive. Some of these gentleman are just asking for what they want, however, there are some instances where I feel that the sender of these messages has very little, if any, consideration for the fact that an actual living, breathing, human being with complex emotions is receiving them. For example, a long ago deleted messagewas a simple: handjob?
My reaction was thus:
- Is handjob one word? Oh… it is… well, I guess the hand and job work together creating a single term. Huh, you learn something new every day. LANGUAGE!
- Dafuq? I’ve spent all this time making myself seem like a fun, interesting, dynamic person and you go ahead and reduce me to some king of handjob dispensary? This is the first message I’ve received from this individual and he’s just jumping right in to ask for a handjob? How exactly is this working for him? Does he just send the same message to every single potential match in the hopes of getting a handjibber in the single transfer washroom at Wendy’s at King and University (this is where I imagine these handjobs are happening).
- A handjob? Really? You’re going to just put yourself out there and ask for a sexual encounter and you ask for the most basic (kind of saddest) act that I can provide you and it’s something you can essentially do on your own? If this is the direction you want things to go, I mean, aim higher, man, just… aim higher.
“He’s just getting to the point, what’s wrong with that?” one friend responded after I relayed the story. So much. So much is wrong with that. As a heterosexual female identified person who does not want to be sexually objectified and would like to be able to find potential sexual partners in a space where I am comfortable, a lot is wrong with that. I don’t like when men catcall me on the street, yell at me from cars, or try to touch me inappropriately, so why would I tolerate it’s equivalent on the internet?
I propose an Elevator Rule. If we were both waiting for the lift to take us to our respective floors and you wouldn’t articulate this sentiment to me, don’t type it. If you wouldn’t risk the consequences of my reaction if you say, asked me to go down like the elevator, don’t press send. There’s nothing on my profile that indicates this is the kind of first interaction I’m interested in—and I’m not judging anyone who is—it’s just, personally, I’m looking for a little tact, and a little less aggression.
On my profile, it lists that I respond “Very Selectively”, but for the gentleman requesting the use of my hand, I couldn’t help myself, and answer: