Thursday, May 24, 2012

Process of Elimination

It doesn't generally take much for me to eliminate somebody as a person I'm interested in talking to, but some make it easier than others. Tons of people on this site are looking mainly to hook up with random people, which is fine, but if I want a random hookup I'll go to a bar and play eenie meenie minie moe. Putting the time into doing this online is supremely unappealing. Others, however, seem to do exactly this all of the time. Thus one of the things I look out for is a guy who is focused on physical appearance (his or mine). The following guy was borderline:
Him: So me.... I like that your witty and you semm very confident! If you likw what you see drop me a line! 
Me: I'd rather like what I read. 
Him: what??
Grammar, typos, and spelling aside (sheesh!) I was concerned that he wanted me to look at his pics and then decide if I wanted to talk (usually a short conversation... "u wanna hook up, babe?" "not really"). I decided to use this opportunity to educate on the importance of having interesting things written in a profile rather than just nice pictures. I really think I made some headway. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The secret to boys is to be about as subtle as a bomb

I've always had lots of guy friends. I've heard their stories about girls being unnecessarily mean when turning them down. I've never wanted to be that girl. I think it's better to treat people with kindness and respect. That said, I've been trying the nice girl approach, letting guys down gently or hinting at it through facetious comments and such so as to give them the opportunity to walk away with dignity. It doesn't work.

Over time I'm becoming more and more sure that guys want, or maybe need, a girl to shoot them down, no gentle let-downs, no easy outs. They seem to want to be slapped in the face with a NO or they think that persistence is going to wear down your barriers. It won't.

If a girl's interested she'll show it from the beginning. She'll laugh at your jokes, be interested in what you do, and jump at the opportunity to hang out with you. It is very rare that you'll be able to weasel your way around her disinterest.

A prime example of the oblivious-to-the-obvious gentleman is the following exchange which came after I turned down this guy's offer of a date. He's nice enough, but I'm just not interested.
Him: Do you ever like to meet up after a while of talking it up?Me: I have met people, but it's rare.Him: Oh man. That's a bummer. You might miss a good guy like this. ;)Me: It's a risk I have to take.Him: Man something about u brings risk taker n all... Something has me hooked and I don't know what it is lol
Subtlety doesn't work. Apparently what I should have said was: "Not meeting you is a risk I have to take" or even just "I'm sorry but I'm not interested in meeting you." I feel badly because I'm usually very direct and I guess what I'm learning is I should do this in online dating as well.

So boys, the next time a girl is mean to you when turning you down, try to remember that there were probably a hundred boys who came before you, couldn't take a hint and have now screwed it up for you. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. Either get better at taking a hint, or be prepared for our wrath.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In the category of "Things I Didn't Need to Know"

I'm sure many of us have had experiences where we shared things on the internet that we would not normally have shared in person. Something about the protective distance between us and our audience gives us the courage to offer up our desires, thoughts, fears, and other potentially sensitive information to people we might not normally share with. Most times this is pretty innocent and the consequences are negligible. I've certainly let slip a secret crush that I'd had no intention of ever letting see the light of day. Sometimes, however, a healthy filter on what leaves our brains is a good thing even if the internet makes us forget it. 

On OkCupid there is a space in the profile to fill in "The Most Private Thing I'm Willing to Admit." In mine I share the story of when I knocked over the Christmas tree at my boyfriend's house after dinner with the whole family. It was pretty humiliating. One gentleman decided that this was the perfect opening to share his own Christmas fiasco story with me:
One time I watched as my brother and cousin lit the dinner table on Christmas Eve on fire by accident. No one else but myself was at the table at the time. I watched as they put a paper napkin over the flame to put it out and went about their business as if nothing happened. Everyone eventually found out due to smoke but not because of anything I said/did; at that point I got a good seat to watch from a distance. I was dying, though it was fucking stupid of me not to do anything. In my defense I was 10 at the time but still. Your Christmas tree story made me think of that. 
I didn't need to know this. It's a little scary. The clarity with which he can describe the situation and that he did nothing is a bit weird, even if he was only 10. I can't figure out if the situation was funny or frightening. The good news for me is that I have this story up front so I know to stay away. Why would a person decide to let this be the first thing they shared with a person? More importantly, why share it in this way? This could have been a funny story, but instead he sounds like some devious little pyro. No, thank you.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

This week on "Your Future Has Been Decided"

Sometimes it's hard to balance the weird with the awesome. Some messages fall so close to the line between creepy and amazing (who knew there was a line there?) that when asked people will split 50/50 when asked which it is. The following is one of those messages. I thought it was pretty great and it certainly made me laugh though I had friends flinching at how creepy they found it.. For all I know he may send this message to everybody, but I don't care because this came dangerously close to many things I would like in my life.  If only it were this easy. 
So I was thinking, we are clearly the two best looking people on this site and we should take advantage of it. What do you say we go to Barcelona, and start a happy family of perfectly aesthetic, multilingual children who are so awe inspiring they make world leaders drop to their knees and beg to pay us huge sums of money for the genetic code. Then we can live happily ever after, throwing money in the trash and partying like Charlie Sheen. As you can see I have this whole thing planned out... so you can just sit by the pool, and drink margaritas while I conduct business. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the wedding booked at the Sagrada Família. But this really trustworthy street vendor showed me a place down the road that’s just as nice. So I'm really banking on you to say yes to this or I'm going to have to just find some Spanish stripper and I don't think the plan will turn out as well.
While I couldn't simply accede to the wishes of a perfect stranger I could (and did) give him:
1,000 points for writing me the most interesting message thus far in my OkCupid experience!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What? You DON'T want to kiss me? Oh yea? Well... well, you're fat!

One of the more ridiculous conversations I had involved a guy who tried to hint, without any sublety, that I am fat after I told him I wouldn't want to kiss him.

So many of the people on this site are incredibly presumptuous about what is okay to suggest or talk about. They should learn that somebody who does not have "casual sex" listed as something she's interested in probably doesn't have any interest in talking to them about kissing, sex (oral, anal, or otherwise), or anything that involves them touching me in any way. Instead, being online gives them some sort of ill-advised confidence which leads to awkwardness and ultimately blocking them from ever contacting me again.

On the up side, if I feel the need to vent, these guys can provide the perfect outlet for my frustrations. Here is the aforementioned conversation, edited for brevity and clarity but not for content. Before I even begin, please note his username. I would usually change the name for his protection, but I feel no need to spare this particular gentleman:

IeatItandSmile:what's up?
me:i'm sick. you?
IeatItandSmile:just chill. what's wrong?
me:nothing too drastic, i just feel tired and blah
IeatItandSmile:ewww. definitely not kissing you. lol
What makes him think I would let him kiss me regardless? Okay, I'll teach you the error of your ways and then we can move on.
me:no kidding
me:joking or not wouldnt change the likelihood of you kissing me
IeatItandSmile:you don't like to kiss?
me:of course i like to kiss, but i'm not really sure where that plays into an assumption that i would like kissing you
IeatItandSmile:you would. they all do. lol
I'm very curious about who "they all" are. Also, we're clearly not going to be moving on as I had hoped.
me:yet you're single and on okcupid. i'm bored with this conversation. bye
Here is where I close this conversation for the first time.
IeatItandSmile:it's easy pickins on this site
me:then go find somebody else and stop bothering me
IeatItandSmile:hey, i like to occasionally give fat girls my lovin too
Not so subtle attempt number #1 at telling me I'm fat. I choose to ignore this because, really, is that all he's got? A sad attempt at undermining an assumed fragile female confidence with a body image attack. To insult somebody it needs to be something that person is already self-conscious about. Better luck next time.
me:then go find a fat girl. dont let it bruise your ego too badly when she lets you down though
I have no issues with girls of any body shape, but I'm trying to make a point on a level he can understand. Let's be clear, I can't imagine a girl that would tolerate this guy.
IeatItandSmile:why do you think i'm talking to you? 
me:no idea. to bother me? becuase success
I close the conversation again, but wouldn't you know it pops open again seconds later.
IeatItandSmile:oh, you didn't bruise my ego at all. :-) come on.... you have cankles.
Smiley face? Really? Also, any attempt at subtlety has now been dropped, so I can no longer ignore the fat girl comments as I did before.
me:and they turn you on? you can find them elsewhere
IeatItandSmile:i'll be honest. you have a pretty face for a chubby girl.
I think this is his attempt at back-tracking to see if he can't still win me over. A compliment dripping with insult, how nice.
me:i'm sorry that i can't offer you any compliments in return. nobody else really seems to have a problem with me so why don't you scurry elsewhere? who knows? maybe you'll even find someplace where you're wanted
Awfully optimistic of me, I think.
IeatItandSmile:it's ok... i like bothering you. you're the perfect fatness
me:you're boring me, which i guess is bothersome
IeatItandSmile:and do you think icare?
me:you seem to. i said goodbye and x-ed out of this conversation
IeatItandSmile:that i'm bothering you? not at all
me:you keep coming back. you care about something, it's a little hard to tell what. i'm not even sure that you know
Finally, he doesn't respond. FINALLY. He is now blocked so I don't have to deal with him anymore, but you'd think a thirty year old could at least be cordial and if not at least his insults could be a little more... refined. Apparently I hope for too much from people.

Winning message exchange

It's always fun to see what new and interesting techniques a guy will use to start a conversation. I really don't need things to be fancy, I just want more than "Hey, Baby." Despite this, many guys will try things that are just silly, and when this happens I tend to let them know. One of my favourites has been this short-lived message exchange I had with a gentleman:
Him: Hey, sweetie, what's look a bit familiar.
Me: Really? Because you do not.
Him: Yea
Where did he go wrong?
  1. "Sweetie." If I don't know you, and haven't yet decided if I want to, sweetie is not the correct form of address.
  2. "What's up" is a) a question and should be punctuated as such and b) the most overused and least interesting question in the history of forever.
  3. "You look a bit familiar." Liar. If I did maybe you could come up with something clever like my name to address me by, or at least give me a possible situation where we could have met.
What did he do right?
  1. "Yea." This awesome one word response was nearly enough to win back my respect and at the very least made me laugh. He could have been offended or responded angrily but he stuck with the yea and no explanation. So this wasn't a total loss.

o·ver·sen·si·tive (vr-sns-tv) adj. Extremely or excessively sensitive.

I mentioned at the end of my last post that sometimes my interactions on OkCupid make me feel like I'm picking up social work as a hobby. As mentioned before, I am not here to make fun of anybody, but some exchanges just should not happen and there are no excuses. This and the next couple of posts will likely involve epic OkCupid fails. Think of it as instructions of what not to do... EVER... when talking to somebody, doubly true for somebody in whom you may be interested. Thus, I am not making fun of these people. They mock themselves and don't need my help to do it. I'm simply putting it here for all to see.

This post is the story of a young man from RPI and his incredible self-sabotage. The following are the messages we exchanged with my own internal commentary along the way:
Him: Hey..

.am new to this so not sure how exactly this goes, but cupid thinks we are 90% match!! So here goes it. Besides what my profile says, I am a grad student at RPI in Troy working towards my PhD in Engineering. So if you want and intelligent stimulating conversation for more than five mins :)…message me back and we can go from there. 
He seems like a pretty okay guy. He's getting a PhD in engineering, which could possibly create some concerns regarding ability to socialize and interact with girls, but let's give him a shot. I happen to know a little about RPI, maybe I can express interest and get him to offer a little more information about himself.
Me: My brother went to RPI for a semester. He said they have 2 full-time counselors for videogame addiction. Have you found that? I suppose the graduate experience would be significantly different from the undergrad experience, though. 

I do indeed want an intelligent and stimulating conversation that can last more than 5 minutes. Thanks for the Italian! 

I think this was a pretty normal response. Not too long or detailed, and with at least one question or thought that should elicit further discussion. Let's see how that goes...

Him:  Well, if that is your opinion of RPI I have nothing to say to you, coz I am not the one who goes about prejudging people. 
So yes, Ciao Indeed.
Clearly I have made some serious miscalculations.
Me: Wow. Who was judging?
Not me... at least, not before. Now I'm all up in that judging.
Him: Ok, your sentence "…videogame addiction. Have 'you' found that?" led me to believe that you had the typical misconception people have about RPI guys.

However, if you did not mean that, I am really sorry and I take back what I said. There are certain meanings/emotions behind sentences that cannot be conveyed without the sound behind the words. And I guess I misinterpreted what you meant. Its called the exformation, the content of information that is lost when information is sent without sound or video behind it. See, we are having intelligent conversation already.

So what I am trying to say is, my bad, and we can start again?
Really? So first he wants to be rude to me, and now he wants to lecture me on exformation? I get it, the counterpart to information, but really besides the point. Who would read my message with that emphasis? Analysis: damaged goods, time to disengage.
Me: I wasn't talking about some common misconception, I was talking about my brother's experience. It's factual, and not intended as a judgement. I didn't write back to continue this correspondence, just to give you a heads up that you don't need to be so defensive. It's actually really unattractive. I'm sorry that you misunderstood me. Better luck next time.
I like to think that his interaction with me will ultimately help him. I needed to be clear that I would refuse to continue our dialogue, but try to give helpful feedback so he could do better in the future. Clearly, I am simply a do-gooder in disguise. A sort of siren, calling in the broken men and sending them back repaired. I hope. I'll feel really badly if I find out I've just been doing more damage.

Prize at the bottom of the Crackerjack box? I now want to start signing off messages with "Ciao, indeed."

Go! Go! Power Rangers!!

When this guy first wrote to me, this was his profile picture (I've blacked the face out for his privacy). There was no explanation provided. I had no idea whether he was just a big fan, if he did children's birthday parties, if this was a fetish, or any number of other possibilities.

It turns out this was his Halloween costume, which is acceptable, but why make it the profile picture? Is that really the first impression you want to make? I mentioned as much to him and while he still has it under his photos it is not his profile picture, and it now has a caption explaining what's going on. Edited this way, it's actually funny and I now respect the guy.

If nothing else, I'm helping people on OkCupid learn how to interact with others and make the best possible first impression. Sometimes I like to think of it as my own little social work project.

The Things I Learn

One of the really great things about OkCupid is that most of these guys actually have real interests. While there may be a fair amount of repetition of the "What's up?" "Nothing" exchange, most of the conversations eventually lead to something interesting. Because of this, I've actually learned some fascinating things. These may not be things that actually interest me, personally, but they are more generally interesting in that I did not know them before.

1. Japanese. I've been talking to a marine who spent years in Japan and is now fluent in both English and Japanese. I haven't learned much yet, but when talking about finishing my med school applications we had the following exchange:
Him: You can do it. ganbatte (do your best).
Me: Is that Japanese?
Him: Hai (yes)
Me: Then, arigatou
Him: Dou itashimashite (you're welcome).
I can now be polite in Japanese. I won't know how to politely decline anything, but at least I can offer the most basic level of courtesy.

2. LARPing. I had heard of this once in a  Supernatural episode. Live Action Role Playing, or LARPing, seemed to be an activity for supergeeks with an insane level of dedication to a storyline or genre, generally fantasy or science fiction. I assumed it was practiced in fringe groups, with maybe 10 or 12 people together at a time. The costumes would be hokey and homemade, and few people would actually take it seriously. Turns out I was wrong.

An OkCupid user recently enlightened me by introducing me to Knight Realms, a local group that organizes LARPing weekends with some 150 participants. Each person has a name, a character, and a costume, some of which are pretty impressive:

These are based on different races and rules of the game. I can't say that I would ever be into this, but clearly many people are. The participants do fit into my original understanding somewhat, mostly in that there seems to be anoverabundance of glasses. There are, however, all different ages, boys and girls, and the guy that I was talking to seemed pretty normal. As best as I can tell it's just another way to meet people and have fun.

3. Exoplanets. One of my other conversations has been with a guy getting his PhD in astrophysics. He's studying the various methods of locating and studying exoplanets, or planets in other solar systems, and trying to develop new methods. I had never heard the term before but now I know more than your average bear. It seems that there are two main methods for locating exoplanets: the doppler method and the transit method. The doppler method measures the doppler shift of the light from a star to get the mass of the planets orbiting it. This works because the gravitational pull of the planets on the star cause it to wobble, creating the doppler shift. The transit method requires studying a star over a long period of time to detect dips in the light intensity reaching Earth. A dip in intensity indicates that a planet is passing between the star and us.

I've learned all sorts of things, these being just three of them. I also know a lot more about computer programming, guitar playing, hockey, motocross, and Drake's new album. If nothing else, OkCupid will at least have helped to educate me.

ALL the boys!

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. Maybe I should put up a fence.

I had no idea this video was so provocative until just now when I watched it for the first time. I guess I should have known.