October 14, 2009

Open Letter to My Potential Matches

After years of being single - really, since December 2004, when I discovered that I was not the girlfriend being cheated on, but rather that I was the other woman - I gave into technology and joined this week.

I'd already been rejected by eHarmony, who cited my various personality quirks relatively accurately while stating that their pool of singles wasn't quite a match for someone like me.

I'd gone on a coffee date courtesy of that traumatized me forever and was so bad that I had to report my date to their authorities and get him kicked off.

But still, tired of all the insults and back-handed compliments that I'd been getting in NYC bars, I turned to Match as a kind of online shopping alternative to the window shopping I'd been doing. At least with profiles, I'd know whether they were single, had kids, smoked, or were interested in curvy women. Most importantly, I assumed that whoever I would find on would want to be in a relationship. And right now, that's kind of the most important thing.

It hasn't exactly worked out that way.

So here is my open letter to my potential matches, a plea to make the system work in my favor, and to not totally turn me off to the human race or the male gender for all of eternity:

My dear men of

Thank you for winking at me. I'm sorry that I haven't winked back, but I am puzzled by your profile and am not sure how to respond.

You are not 39. I don't care what your profile says, you are not even 40 or 45. You are clearly at least 49. I am not interested in being your daughter or your trophy girlfriend or the one that suddenly makes you feel alive again. Perhaps your vision has deteriorated so much that you cannot see the keys before you, or the results of your keystrokes on the screen.

You are not Caucasian. I know it's not politically correct to say I only want to date a white guy, but if I'm given the choice and I need to narrow the pool down by various factors, and it's ok to request someone between five-foot-seven and six-foot-five, then it has to be ok for me also to request someone of a certain ethnic or racial background. But why would you, when clearly you're Asian or Middle Eastern or Inuit or Polynesian, claim to be something you're not? To appear in more search results?

To be frank, there may be a day when I change my search and look only for an Indian guy, wistful of the love I had for an Indian college friend I had who would always sleep over but never touch me. And you, kind sir, would not appear in my search results, and I would never find you.

Gentle men, let me offer you a few words of advice. Misspellings on your profile are not ok. Proclamations that you don't write so good and are better on the phone lead my finger almost magnetically to click on the "Not Interested" checkbox. Profile photos with cute girls make you look like a player or, worse yet, gay. Profile photos of you holding a baby - is that yours or someone else's? - freak me out. And, yes you Grandpa, sepia tone photos circa 5/10/20 years ago when you were once attractive and at the height of your game don't fool me.
Even though you're cute, you have too many self-portraits on your profile, pouty lips and half-closed eyes. It's sexy when I do it. When you do it, it's embarrassing.
It's a sick game we're playing, we online daters. We say we want someone to make us laugh and who likes to cuddle in front of the fire, but the first thing we do is look at each other's photos. If we don't like what we see, we move on.

The only problem is, there aren't many of us in there. Unless I want to respond to the guy in Austin or the guy who's "moving back to New York any day now," I've only got the firefighter from Flushing, Vinny from Staten Island, the "stocky" guy from Ridgewood, and one really handsome fellow named Michael, inactive for three weeks, to choose from.

Good luck to you, fellows, and keep trying. I respect your audacity and tenacity. I wish you love and affection and the many dinners-and-drinks that you wish for.

I just have this sneaking suspicion that none of that will happen with me.

Name Withheld

Maybe I'll go on a coffee date with this one guy who seems innocuous enough, though he may be guilty of using old, younger-looking photos to sell himself to younger women. I guess I won't know unless I meet him.

I've got three months on this thing. If I don't get harassed, insulted, called filthy names, or otherwise degraded, I'll be relieved. I have a feeling I'll just be perpetually disappointed. But at least I tried.

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