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Hating Online: When Pictures and Profiles Punk

Cupid can’t do his thing if you’re being OkStupid about it.

Story by Kian Stave - www.kianstave.com Illustrations by Maureen Keeney
Illustration © Maureen Keeney

Illustration © Maureen Keeney

Yes, yes, I know; your mother’s in the “should” business. But, do you talk to her about online dating? Take it from a smart ass “woman of a certain age”. I’m an adult tween with many good years before I’ll want to stab someone for suggesting SeniorMeet. Don’t meet the criteria for JWed, not chosen by virtue of being Jew-ISH. Sad, because I loves me a son of Abraham. And, despite actually using my gym membership and being shot up like a drive by with botie, I am fairly certain that I couldn’t get a creepy Suggardaddie.com member to pay my bills if I wanted him to. Not smart enough for IvyDate; went to Fordham and have an allergy to the entitled. It was just research anyway, so I tell myself… Cougar Life is great if you want to be on some kid’s fuckit list, as in things to do before he marries or croaks: Asian, red head, mature. Seriously girls… Golden or other, let’s break out some cheesecake and have a chin wag. Cupid can’t do his thing if you’re being OkStupid about it. I’m saving you the humiliation of the short bus ride by schooling you here and now. You don’t need to don cruel shoes and spend way too much cash exiting cabs sorely disappointed, deceived or dejected, because I have! Here’s what I know:

Nerve Damage
My first online foray was made on Nerve.com, which was born of the phrase “literate smut” from the site’s origin, an online anthology of erotic fiction. Seems like the pioneer site has since used an ointment, but back in the day Nerve was pretty much a portal for those with a few loose screws looking for just that! I can hear the CBK readership’s chorus of middle school “duhs”, as in “what part of literate smut did you not understand?” Oh, and save the hate mail. I know a lovely couple, married and going strong after meeting on Nerve eight years ago. On Nerve I started corresponding with a gentleman who lived out of state, but visited New York often. We had a great deal in common, mostly a love of painting and a thirst for love. We spoke on the phone every day, and enjoyed a Victorian email writing campaign. Said dude posted only one picture from a newspaper article written about him, in which he was covering his mouth. Although I provided a virtual life and times of attached portraits, my mystery man proclaimed something pretentious from dry French philosophy about the “camera stealing his soul”. Such a lame excuse for lack of photogenic evidence. When we finally met after months of build up at one of Gotham’s schmansier watering holes, I found myself on a bar stool facing a Hieronymous Bosch character in an Armani suit, who resembled the strange uncle we’d all like to hide in a closet. We had dinner, got drunk and shook hands. “This is what hookers have to deal with”, I thought on the cab ride home.

Illustration © Maureen Keeney

Illustration © Maureen Keeney

Lesson learned: Only date locally and demand pictures. Or, if your fear of intimacy is so great that meeting an out of towner doesn’t hit a nerve, sign on to eSharmony. There, unless you’re twenty to thirty-five and can still pop a baby without expensive fertilizer, you’re guaranteed to be matched with dates so far outside of the tri-state area, you are definitely going to need a car. Or, if things actually heat up and you de thaw, a frequent flyer plan. Before I got real with customer service about my distance settings, my only viable suitors were from Vermont and Ontario, and only the Canuck was doable. I spoke my grievances.

Me: “The prospects you are sending me are all said to be within my age range, but they all look like they need to have their adult diapers changed!”
CC: “We don’t have a looks criteria, as looks change over time.”
Me: “But they all look bad and used up NOW. And if so many are clinically obese at fifty, what am I supposed to do if we’re not meant to see sixty together? I’m not a personal trainer. A fixer upper is a Victorian home in foreclosure, not a potential mate! It’s the unthinkable in search of the unfuckable, and you claim to produce the highest number of marriages, WTF?”
CC: “Ma’am, do not use foul language. We will refund your money.”
Me: “Damn straight you will, and don’t call me ma’am. I’m not old yet. They are!”
Needless to say, I got my money back.

Illustration © Maureen Keeney

Illustration © Maureen Keeney

Now if money is a concern, there are plenty of free sites to join, but freegan beware. Plenty of Fish, or freaks, depending on how one fares, has one of those slide menus with pictures so up close and personal, no one’s winning any contests. It allows the subscriber to view prospects without their knowing, to see for yourself whether a nose clipper and modern dentistry are considerations for some bachelors. On POF, there are many, many bubbleheads, meaning men with sad excuses for not having a picture accompanying their profile. Some just can’t come out and say that they’re married and are on all of the cheater sites, but feel the need to cast wider net. There’s also the “I am a teacher, and don’t want my students to know about my private life”, or “I am a therapist”… You get the point. My personal favorite is “I am well known in my field”. I lost my cool with a POF bubblehead, and after some witty banter messaged back and forth, I felt comfortable having him send pictures to my email address, as he was a wisenheimer, a personality type I favor, and seemed candid with my line of questioning. I’ll call him Birdie. I LinkedIn to the Birdman, googled his company and everything came out in the wash… Except for one small stain of a detail. After my third lunch date with Bird, as twilight was settling in, and being with him was starting to give me that thump; my spry, devilishly handsome paramour revealed to me that he needed to be home by seven, as he was on parole for a money laundering charge, and there was the issue of that pesky ankle bracelet. “Just keep swimming like a shark through water”, my bestie, a serial online dater told me. And trust me when I tell you she has dispensed with such wisdom more than twice.

OkCupid, also free, is the busy body of online dating. The site attracts a cross section of humanity from around the globe, but the site Robot is an anthropomorphic spy blob, who tells tales out of school. On OKC, daters are rated on their site behavior. There are three revealing tags. A “replies frequently” might be interpreted in the following ways: 1) You are so hot, there’s actually a ton of legit introductions to get to, and all of your alcohol and nutritional needs are being met on actual dates. 2) You are desperate and horny, and will respond to pretty much anyone, even those who open up lazily with “hi there” or “hi beautiful”. 3) You feel some insane, almost sadistic need to send out cyber Dear Johns, thanking undesirables for their interest, but, sorry, you are not well matched. This is what the delete button is for! Being a “replies selectively” means just that: Busy doing important things, top shelf, discerning. No one EVER wants to be a: “No one’s contacted her in a week. Go for it!” Why? Because that just makes you day old sushi in a black out. No one’s buyin’. There’s a reason.

Illustration © Maureen Keeney

Illustration © Maureen Keeney

I once got an F for effort in my online search for love. I was unschooled. I’m still at it, so perhaps one day I too will be a testimonial writer, in the category of “one out of every five couples meets online” success stories. There are other sites left unexplored, as well as much needed intermittent rests on my journey to the unknown. But, for now, let’s just recap. If they are American born, but present as ESL cases, that’s messed up. Meaning, he enjoys “Hiking,cooking,Writeing”, but says he went to law school… If you have a zero percent compatibility rating, or any number equaling a C on a test, you need to take Ritalin if you think responding might help you graduate to getting offline with the person. Especially if “Y’all Got Issues”, a robot incompatibility warning that comes up when the questions asked of Cupiders don’t align at all. If he likes guns and you don’t, that’s something to consider. Consider also kink factor, beliefs on race, religion and politics, the whole show. If he looks too good to be true, he is. Models date each other… Because they can. Oh, and don’t let anyone try and tell you that they haven’t had time to post their details. I’m talking wants kids, doesn’t want kids, drinks, never drinks, divorced, separated, too short, a few extra pounds, etc. More than one picture, including a body shot sans speedo. An absolute must. Oh, and I almost forgot. Never meet a stranger anywhere you’re known. I once bought into meeting a one pic, with no details as of yet, “haven’t had the time”. So many years had passed since I had been Nerve gas lit, I agreed to have a coffee klatch with Joe “one pic” at a spot where I have my daily cup of Joe. There was something my date failed to mention in his messages to me. He was a dwarf.

One Response to “Hating Online: When Pictures and Profiles Punk”

  1. sandra leggio says:

    Ms. Stave’s sharp, attention capturing essay brings me back to my home land of NYC circa “the single years”. Thank you for painting a literary picture that is intelligently funny or brutally true depending on how I’m feeling about my moment in life.