The anonymity of online dating is probably the thing I hate the most about the whole process. The ability to abandon your identity and hide behind a clever username can really bring out the worst in some people, especially on dating sites. Seriously, it’s like the Wild West out there. With that in mind, I spent the first month or so of my online dating experiment just testing the waters, exchanging a few emails and basically weeding out the freaks. I learned pretty quickly that when you’re fresh meat on a dating site you get a LOT of unwanted attention from sexual deviants, cretins and assholes. Like…
* The foot fetish guy. Wanna know how I knew he had a foot fetish? His handle was FootFetishGuy. So yeah…no.
* The hordes of the illiterate masses. A majority of these men will have shirtless pics taken with a cell phone as their profile photo so they’re pretty easy to spot. Their email correspondence usually goes something like this, ‘UR HAWT!!! WHEN WE GUNNA GET ON THIS????’ First of all, if you’re going to abbreviate some words, don’t add extra letters to others. It’s confusing. Also, easy on the punctuation there buddy. You’re gonna take someone’s eye out. Lastly, WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME? WE HAVEN’T EVEN MET YET!!!!!! And we never will.
* Creepy wannabe sugar daddies. Like the late 50s guy who sent me this stock email the first day I joined OKC: ‘I am looking for a fun-loving, mellow 22-30 yr old woman willing to come live with me in the Cayman Islands – sight unseen. All expenses paid. Call me.’ I’m pretty sure that all the women who responded to that email are now chained up in some weird guy’s basement, so I let that one go without a response.
* Then there was this guy: The following is a real conversation I had with a guy (who seemed totally normal at first!) on G Chat. It is completely unadulterated, though I removed his name for obvious reasons.
10:21 AM Anon: hi
10:22 AM me: Good morning
Anon: how are you
10:24 AM Anon: i think you’re an extremely pretty woman
me: thanks 🙂
10:25 AM that’s always nice to hear first thing in the morning
Anon: i am in europe for work right now, i am back in nyc in a few days
me: where in europe are you?
Anon: i am originally from vancouver, but i was just living in new zealand for the last three years doing a phd, then i was in germany for a bit, the company i work for is based out of frankfurt, then they sent me to their americas office in nyc, i have just been back in north america for a few weeks, glad to be back, i missed north american women, new zealand women are no good
seriously the worst
10:26 AM me: is that so?
10:27 AM Anon: yes
i can tell you what the problem with new zeland women was, but it is kind of a personal story, i dont mind telling but i just dont know how open you are and i dont want to scare you off just yet
i mean i dont mind talking about it, but you need to promise to keep an open mind
10:28 AM me: ok, well don’t feel like you to need to divulge too much personal info right off the bat
you can save the juicy stories for another time
Anon: well are you open minded?
me: i’d like to think so…
10:30 AM Anon: ok well its just that this is going to sound bad, hear me out, i am pretty big (and i dont mean tall), and yeah its presented problems in the usa/canada before, but i just think american women are just more open to trying, kiwi women are so shy and reserved, i was there for 2 years and i couldnt find any women who could physically accomodate me
sorry if that is too much info too soon, i am not just looking for sex, but it is frustraiting when you spend time getting to know someone, and like them, and then have this ruin things, i am not trying to brag or impress you or turn you on, i just want to be open from the start
i hope that doesnt scare you off
10:31 AM me: wow
10:32 AM Anon: do you have any idea what I am talking about? have you ever been confronted with shockingly big before?
10:33 AM me: ummmm….
Anon: im not trying to brag or impress you, this is actually a serious problem for me
can i ask you a few questions? i know its maybe way too soon for this but it would be great to know about it from a woman’s point of view, that ok? sorry tell me if i am being too weird
me: you’re being pretty weird
open is one thing, but we are complete strangers
He signed off immediately after that. Cut to two months later:
2:46 PM Anon: hi
2:47 PM me: hello
Anon: remember me?
me: from OkCupid, right?
2:48 PM Anon: yes
me: Happy New Year
2:49 PM Anon: im the one you thought came on too strong
me: a little too much information for a first conversation, yeah
2:50 PM Anon: well only because you really seem like such an awesome woman, like totally what i am into, but honestly, this is such a problem for me
i need to be honest about it from the start
and i really need an open minded woman
2:52 PM me: well, i’m sorry to hear that that’s such an issue for you, but I’m not about to start talking about your penis again if that’s what you’re after.
Then he disappeared again. I went ahead and blocked him from my G Chat account after that. I seriously couldn’t make this shit up.
I know what you’re thinking, they can’t all be idiots and pervs. Of course not. I get plenty of normal emails from guys who seem perfectly nice but who don’t particularly interest me. To those men (and that one really persistent chick) I generally try to send the following response:
Thank you so much for your email. I checked out your profile and I just don’t think we’d make a good match. Best of luck in your search!
That said, there have been several guys to make it through the pre-screening process. Most of these meetings turned out to be a massive error in judgement on my part, but they did teach me some valuable lessons about dating and led me to develop the following ground rules:
1) No phone numbers or non-OKC messages until we’ve met in person and I can be sure you’re not an ax murderer – Sending or receiving an email through the OKC app is just as easy as texting, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of flack I get for this one. Some guys straight up refuse to meet me because of this. Whatevs. It beats having to keep the contact info for ‘Adam – Bad Date’ in my phone so I’d know not to pick up when he wouldn’t stop calling six months after I explained nicely, but firmly, that a second date simply wasn’t in the cards for us.
2) No last names – I didn’t wise up to the beauty of this rule until after a few of my dates added me as a friend on facebook (also potentially alerting them to the existence of this blog) but I’m pretty sure they have all un-friended me at this point so I’m not terribly concerned. If any of my former dates happen to be reading this right now, sorry it didn’t work out! Thanks for providing me with such awesome stories. Hopefully, I’ve done the same for you. No hard feelings!
3) Always have an escape plan – Because there is nothing worse than trying to extricate yourself from an awkward date. Learned that one the hard way. On one of my first OKC dates, when I didn’t yet understand the art of the well-timed exit, I had to sit there while the dullest man on the planet talked at me for TWO HOURS. I don’t think he asked me one question. He was the worst, but I couldn’t get away. He just wouldn’t stop talking. As a result, I’ll never be able to un-know the entire plot for his prohibition-era crime novel. Now I always set a time limit for a first meeting. Sure! I’d love to get together on Thursday, but I have a dinner thing with friends at 9pm… Can we meet beforehand? Fool proof. Plus, if things are actually going well your ‘dinner thing’ can magically get cancelled, though mine never has. Sigh.
Tune in next time to find out which of our lucky bachelors actually made the cut!