This is a short and sweet Message Monday, brought to us by an inquisitive young gentleman:
It’s times like these when I really wish we could reveal usernames, because this one is a classic. Spoiler alert: it involves a phrase from Jersey Shore and the number 69.
By far the best thing about this message is the order of the questions. #1: sex. #4: my name. Slow clap.
Audacious though it may be, perhaps there is something to be said for his direct approach. So naturally I came up with my own corresponding questions to ask a potential date in my next introductory message:
- Are you a rapist? (Inappropriate lead off sex question)
- Can you fix a garbage disposal and change a tire? (“Manliness” question)
- Have you seen Dirty Dancing so many times that you know the Kellerman’s anthem by heart? (stereotypical girl interest question)
- What is your name?
If I do try this out, I promise you guys will be the first to know!
S, how do you call your lover boy?
Come here, lover boy!
PS the three of us are super impressed by your extensive knowledge of all our references. What kind of a (straight) dude are you?
Haha, I was super shy as a kid, so I grew up on A LOT of TV and movies. So during college and after, I felt the need to make up for lost ground using what I knew, e.g. ’80s movies and ’90s sitcoms (I once entered an ’80s party by playing Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” on a boombox outside the girl’s window, only one picture survived that night and there was no video). I’ve just always been very affected by pop culture; for instance, I use Ryan Gosling as a template for my fitness routine and style cues. So in short, I like to think of myself as a pretty upright and cool dude.
But there’s a lot funny stories and segments here, so I’ll stop hijacking your comments sections.
I don’t find this message particularly troubling. Sure, it’s a bit short, but I think the female equivalent is something like:
1) Do you like cuddling?
2) Are you manly?
3) Do you like rom/coms and reality TV?
4) What’s your name?
In some sense, these are exactly the things that you might want to know if you’re trying to figure out if you want to be in a relationship with someone. In other words, this message’s biggest undoing is being too forthright–hardly a vice at all, in my opinion.
Your loyal reader,
R, you’re telling me you think it’s totally kosher to message a stranger who you’re potentially interested in and have the very first thing you say to them be ‘do you love sex?’ Three questions before you ask their name? Would you (hypothetically) strike up a conversation with a girl in a bar that way? Honestly? Also, forgetting that it’s wildly inappropriate, it’s also a really senseless, obvious yes or no question that only someone with serious issues would answer no to. He should have also asked if I liked free things, vacations, and compliments.
I agree that this message isn’t necessarily “troubling”, but I do think it absolutely qualifies as obnoxious, lame and lazy. Dude, I filled out a whole profile and this is the best you could do? How about asking me one of the literally dozens of things I talk about on there and trying some complete sentences on for size?
PS Love having you as a loyal reader, R, even if you take us to task in the comments section!
It’s certainly not going to knock anyone’s socks off, for sure.
But I’m not sure it shouldn’t be more acceptable to ask questions in that order. Certainly your name is the least important thing in trying to determine whether you’re a good match, right? We don’t buy houses based on the name of the street, or the title of its floorplan. We ask the important questions: how many beds, how many square feet, HOA fees, etc.
Maybe not the most romantic way to buy a house, but certainly the most practical. Why shouldn’t we advocate a similar system to dating? OKCupid suggests that these simple questions are wildly predictive of relationship success. http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-best-questions-for-first-dates/
Perhaps the guy in question was just trying to be practical.
What I was saying about the name thing is that’s not something you ask someone whose name you don’t even know. It’s not appropriate. Of course my name isn’t an important factor in determining a good match, but if it’s so early on that you don’t even know what to save me in your phone as, don’t ask me about sex. Period, end.
Okcupid does suggest that a few questions are highly predictive of certain answers. But what they’re saying on that blog post is that certain questions can predict with high probability other information… e.g. “do you like the taste of beer” predicts “will my date have sex on a first date”. I agree that this is very interesting, but we’re comparing apples and oranges. The point of that blog post is that a normal dude cannot and would not ask his match if she’ll have sex on the first date, because that’s inappropriate and offensive. If someone asks me if I liked beer, well that’s a perfectly normal and acceptable question. They can infer what they want from my answer and they’ll find out if they’re right or not eventually. All fine by me.
Moving on from the blog post, Okcupid has an extensive list of questions that everyone is free to answer and make public on their profile. You can answer as many as you like, skip whichever you think are too private, silly, or inappropriate, and whoever looks at your profile can compare answers and see how you match up. So that already exists, and we will definitely be blogging about the questions in the future. But I think it exists for an important reason… you can flag certain questions as mandatory, i.e. if someone answers it a certain way, you can easily pull that question up when you look at a profile. If the person answers the question “wrong”, you can know instantly and move on. So the site has already provided us with a tool to find out the more “practical” information… about sex, religion, money, ethics, politics, pretty much everything.
However, the idea that like with buying a house, all you need to find a successful relationship is some basic practical information is absurd to me. And even if you believed that, we’re still human beings. We’re not machines who can spew a list of “stats” at each other without regard for social graces and just common decency. Even if you have certain things you’re looking for and find important, which everyone does, you don’t just blurt them out like that, and even if you did, and you got all the “right” answers in return, there’s no way that would guarantee a good match. This is why I think online dating is so difficult. It’s a lot of information out there in cyberspace, but there’s a living, breathing person behind that information, not a two story colonial with three bedrooms and two and a half baths. I’ve gone out with guys who technically meet my “requirements”, and I know I technically meet theirs, and it totally falls flat because our personalities don’t mix well, or there’s no chemistry or attraction. If the purely practical approach worked, they would scratch the written profile altogether and just make one long list of “requirements” for everyone to fill out, and an algorithm would just find and present you with your ten or however many matches. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.
Also, you really think this guy was methodically trying to find his match with these particular questions? We’re going to say that “Are you into sports” and “Are you girly” were “practical” questions that he wanted to get to the bottom of right away? Come on, R!
I agree with almost everything you say here. And I think it’s perfectly okay to think someone asking whether you like sex before he knows your name is a deal-breaker. But I don’t think it should necessarily be, and I don’t think it is for everyone. It’s for that reason that I don’t find the message particularly troubling. Your response (or lack thereof, I take it), is a signal to him that you’re not as casual as he is with respect to talking about sex. Good for you both, you can both move on to better matched candidates.
I entirely agree with your description of the blog post. I brought it up only to say that simple questions have predictive power. Its point is not the same as mine.
And the more I think about house analogy, the more I like it. Not every house that meets a certain set of specs is going to be livable. Believe me, I looked at a ton of 2 bedroom, 1 bath places before I found one I actually wanted to live in. Yeah, there is personality behind people, but meeting your general specs is a powerful signal that you can move beyond the specs to figure out whether there’s that je ne sais quoi. We do the same thing whether we do it in bars or in cyberspace. The kinds of places you’re likely to go out with friends already pre-screens for a ton of things (social status, geographic area, etc). Then, there’s a visual check that happens. And finally, there’s the small talk. I don’t think using messages as a way to screen people is that much different.
And yes, I do think he was methodically trying to find a match, whether he was thinking about it as analytically as we’ve described it or not.
When you describe your house analogy in that way it does seem less offensive haha. I do agree that there are a set of specs that once cleared, allow you to try to get to know a person and see if there’s actual chemistry/compatibility. I just don’t think that excuses people from things like Hi/hello, full sentences, and overall politeness. You can’t just rattle off a list like that and expect girls to swoon, or even respond. And again, that’s why okcupid has the questions in the first place, so that you can do much of that “specs” research before you even send that first message (using your house analogy… viewing a listing online!)
And yes, the sex question was definitely part of it, but the message also showed me he was rude, lazy, and lacked social graces. So yes, I agree that troubling is the wrong word, but worthy of putting on blast? Absolutely.
It is his inability to code his inquiry even a little bit that is worrisome. Not for the sake of game playing, but for the sake of showing he can live in society like a human. R, your “female equivalent” about the cuddling (while reductive – women like sex) at least codes the question in enough fabric to wear to a bar (to use S’s example). If someone went out in public without pants, you wouldn’t applaud them for being forthright, you would think ‘what a lunatic.’ Can we agree then that the only thing this bro is screening for is senselessness and not the desire for / ability to talk about sex?
Yes, E! Thank you. You said in like 6 sentences what I was (clumsily, verbosely) trying to convey in my last three comments. And I totally forgot to give R shit for that cuddling comment, so many thanks for that as well.
I guess this reveals my fundamental problem with coding requirements in the first place. It seems silly that we have to do things like in that OKCupid blog. Why should I have to hide my (hypothetical) desire to have sex on the first date if that’s important to me? Why should we spend time and energy trying to devise and interpret signals when that’s what both parties want?
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