S’s fall dating to do list

Good morning, readers. I trust that we’re all in a…fragile state after a long holiday weekend and the official end of summer.

sobbing-uncontrollably

Source: wifflegif.com

Speaking of the end of summer, how much do you hate me for putting the word ‘fall’ in my post title? I’m like those ill-informed Starbucks executives who think people want to drink pumpkin spice lattes when it’s still 90 degrees out. I know I may be rushing it, but I’m just so. excited. for fall.

so-excited-sbb

Source: popgoesthearts.blogspot.com

Sitenote: DID ANYONE WATCH the Saved by the Bell Lifetime movie?? Was it as horrific/amazing as it looked? Was this iconic scene referenced?

Anyway, if you’ve been following this blog, you may recall that it’s been a somewhat dark summer (darker than Jessie Spano’s pill addiction-hiyoooo), at least in terms of dating. Basically, things started out low and continued to suck pretty much right up until now. The Summer of YOLO, while a an inspiring idea, didn’t lead to much of anything, unless you count L and I continually embarrassing D with our unironic use of the term ‘YOLO’ (a delightful, albeit unintended, bonus). Psyching myself up to just sign onto Okcupid currently looks something like this:

paul-rudd

Source: flavorwire.com

So yeah, mama’s excited to move on from all that (and to stop designing my date outfits/hairstyles around how much I’ll inevitably be sweating. East coast humidity is no joke, people.) Fall always feels like a fresh start, and it’s a great opportunity to hit the reset button on my tired dating practices. With that in mind, I’ve outlined my fall dating plan for you lovely readers because 1. posting it here will hold me accountable to actually do these things, and 2. I currently have no actual dates to tell you lovely readers about #datelessdatingblogger.

S’s Fall Dating To Do List

  • Update the ol’ profile pic–I have an assortment of cute pictures from this summer where I look arguably tanner than my pasty self has ever looked, and as we’ve covered previously, profile pics are pretty much the only things Okcupid users pay attention to. So why the hell haven’t I uploaded those babies? I’ll change that ASAP before I go back to looking like a Vitamin D-deficient basement dweller. Done.
  • Brainstorm new first date locales, and be open to unorthodox suggestionsI’m not saying I plan to retire my go-to first date suggestion, because it’s convenient and I love it. But there’s something to be said, I think, for throwing out a fresh location, mainly because at this point in my online dating…career… I have a lot of history in my standard bars. For instance, I couldn’t help but think, while being fist-bumped by the Good Message Unicorn outside Strangelove’s, that just over a year beforehand I was having the best first kiss after the best first date of my life. Right there in that very spot. Oof, was that depressing. Depressing and unnecessary. There are plenty of bars in the city and damn it, I’m going to try some new ones (I realize I have to actually secure a date first, but shhhh details). Also, if hell freezes over and a date actually makes a non-bar suggestion, unless that suggestion is ‘Tea Party rally’ or ‘anonymous orgy’, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and just say yes.

staying in

Source: the-girlieshow.tumblr.com

I really only started to think about this after reading L’s tale of downgrading her first date location and remembering that I’ve also pulled that move (making two out of three Stucu bloggers the worst!) Last year my ex, D, who was an unusually thoughtful planner, suggested go karts for our second date. I remember thinking at the time that this suggestion was totally random and weird (which let’s be honest it kind of was) so I pushed for a bar instead. But looking back now, all I can think is, what the hell was wrong with me?? A cute guy was attempting to plan shit, fun and different shit, for us to do. I should have done it! I should have capitalized on dating a planner while I could, loosened up and had some fun, because Lord knows I may be waiting a long ass time (read: forever) for that to come along again.

  • Try Hinge, because co-blogger D is having wild success on it–Okay, “wild success” might be a slight overstatement, but co-blogger D’s been thrown some seriously eligible bachelors in our extended social circle in the week that she’s been using Hinge, including a college friend of L’s who she and her friends refer to as “the one that got away”. Okay, Hinge. I’ll bite. Let’s do this (comically, I just tried to download the Hinge app while writing this and it made my phone semi explode. Foreshadowing?)
  • Don’t be an asshole about replying to messages and then complain incessantly about messages–Real talk, I will never not complain about messages. That’s just a totally unrealistic goal. But I am going to work on being a more decisive replier. Example: sometimes I will get a message from someone who seems kind of meh, and I’ll mentally earmark him as a ‘maybe’, but really I only mean ‘maybe if I’m bored or there’s no one else promising or I stalk an ex on social media and feel bad about myself’. L revealed a similar pattern of hers in her delightfully real post last week (seriously can we all tell how inspired I was be her realness?) As my girl pointed out, this is kind of a dick move, and if we’re going to call dudes out for being dicks, well, we’re going to put ourselves on blast, too. In the future, I’m going to try to give every message a simple yes or no, and move the hell on.
  • Stop taking everything so personally–If you online date, you know how easy it is to take “I’m not getting any good messages” and twist it into “I’m not getting any good messages

 clueless what's wrong with me

Source: sarabynoe.com

In other words, just because it’s been a slow, shitty summer date-wise doesn’t mean this is about me. People have been outside, on vacay, enjoying the beautiful weather and living their damn lives. Everyone is on Okc and other sites less, and the people who aren’t tend to be looking for a casual summer fling/jump off. It’s been a slow summer for almost every single person online dating that I know, and if it hasn’t, congratulations/I hate you/please don’t tell me about it and just let me live in ignorance believing this theory. Thanks!

  • Continue to gleefully boycott and malign eHarmony–You didn’t think my to do list included giving that wretched site my money, did you? HA! I’ll see you in hell, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, before that happens. What I can promise is to follow up on my original post with some more hilariously awful things I encountered during my tenure as a fake free member of the site. Because as L said when I asked her if a second eHarmony post was overkill: “Hating on eHarmony will never go out of style, on this blog or in life”. Wise words, Lady L. Wise. Words.
  • Repeat the affirmation: your time will come. This is some serious zen shit, am I right? It goes hand in hand with one of my favorite quotes that I may need to have tattooed on my forehead by the time I turn 30: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” God damn, Teddy Roosevelt, not only were you a bonafide badass, but you also threw down some sage advice. Seriously, though, I have to stop focusing on what everyone else has (successful relationships/boyfriends/fiances/husbands) trust that things will work out some day, and just continue to do me. While I wait for someone else to do me. HAHAHAawkwardsexjokethatmymomwillread. Basically…patience. I need some. And now this beautiful song is in my head:

Lest you think I’m making a wildly ill-advised attempt to compare my silly little dating woes to the Civil Rights Movement, let me assure you that I really just love the Dreamgirls soundtrack. A lot. And I wanted us all to rock out to this amazing jam. So enjoy, maybe with a pumpkin spice latte?

Just kidding, it’s 92 degrees here.

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Thoughts on the Okcupid experiments from three reluctant guinea pigs

Happy Friday, readers!

When the story of Okcupid’s experiments broke a few weeks ago, the Stucu ladies were already in a bit of a dark place. Dating-wise, it’s been a wildly unsuccessful summer for the three of us, so it was total insult to injury when Okcupid plopped a big cherry on our shit sundae by announcing that we may have been unwitting, unwilling participants in some… experiments. If you haven’t read up on what happened, check out some of the coverage here, and here and here. Awesome. We appear to be dating in The Truman Show! Which come to think of it would explain a lot.

ts rain

Source: gifstumblr.com

Sure enough, soon after the news broke, LSD received this fun email from Okc’s evil masterminds:

okc

janice

Source: meangirlgifs.tumblr.com

If you’re scratching your head after reading that and saying, “What the fuck?” then that makes four of us (five if we include Janis Ian). First of all, I’d just like to point out that this company clearly has a fetish for dehumanizing its users by comparing us to gross, thoroughly un-cute animals. In January it was scorpions, now it’s large rodents. Okcupid, if you’re going to compare single people to animals, can you at least use cute ones? Or funny, nostalgic ones? These guys seem particularly appropriate:

Pues no hay nadie perfecto..

Source: ffffound.com

Anyway, next time you have something controversial to tell us, maybe don’t let a 17 year old unpaid summer intern put together the “artwork” in MS Paint and fire it off to your users. You fools.

Before my rage bubbles over too much, let’s get to the point of this post, which is to share our thoughts on the experiments themselves (SPOILER ALERT: we’re not thrilled). If you’re Bill Nye or something, and want to read the full, original text about the experiments before you take our incredibly unbiased words for what they are worth, check them out here. Three of them, three of us. #winning.

Experiment #1: LOVE IS BLIND, OR SHOULD BE

Quick summary: for a period of time one day back in January OKC declared it Love is Blind Day and hid all user profile pics. What they “found out” shouldn’t surprise anyone. At all.

First, while profile pics were hidden, there were WAY less first messages sent, compared to a “typical Tuesday.” It looks like an average of around 3,000 messages per hour for the entire time the experiment was running, when it’s normally around 20,000 – 30,000. Essentially, most people didn’t want anything to do with Love is Blind Day.

love is blind

Of the new conversations that were started in that period, people responded more often, and allegedly exchanged contact details more often. 

compared to a typical tuesday

I wasn’t surprised by this either. Far fewer conversations were started. So it makes sense that of the ones that were, they progressed further/faster. The people who participated in Love is Blind day were the very types who don’t place a really heavy emphasis on looks. Or at least the ones who don’t think they do. More on that in a little bit.

As an aside, while I had a depressing personal reaction to some of the results (see below), this is actually the only part of this experiment itself that bothers me. Are the people at OKC routinely monitoring the contents of all messages exchanged, like some creepy big brother matchmaker? Or was it just during this “experiment” to see what happened? I mean, I know I’m using their service, so I don’t expect that messages are totally private. But the idea that rather than just policing messages that people report as inappropriate, someone is over at OKC headquarters watching conversations progress and timing how long it takes for phone numbers to be exchanged, makes me never want to send another message.

Lastly, OKC kept track of how many of the conversations started during the Love is Blind period actually continued once profile pics were restored. The trend was overwhelmingly to abandon the conversation. No matter how deep into the conversation people were. Even after the exchange of 12 messages, there was still a more likely chance that the conversation would end rather than continue. 

convos in progress when pics came back 

This is one of those results that surprises me, but also doesn’t. I mean, on the one hand, I don’t routinely exchange 12 messages with someone who I don’t find interesting. And yet, even those conversations that were going seemingly well tended to end once profile pics were restored. But, on the other hand, we live in a world that places a high value on certain kinds of physical attributes. So basically, Love is Blind day proved that the majority of people who claim “personality is more important to me than looks” are big fat liars. Because like I said above, those are the people who were much more likely to give Love is Blind day a chance. OKC users are big fat liars? That is SHOCKING.

I’d like to think I’m open-minded enough that if we were having a good conversation, but the person turned out to not be my type physically, I’d continue the conversation. i’ve responded to great messages from people whose pictures didn’t strike my fancy right away. Because, despite my tendency to form extreme crushes on total strangers (just last week I fell in love with a stranger on the T), physical attraction is also something that can build for me. Obviously, there has to be some baseline attraction. But much like a hot guy can become hideous based on his personality, a normal guy can become really attractive once I get to know him. And similarly, I’d like to think that there are others out there with the same outlook. But then I read about this experiment, and quite frankly, it made me super sad about the future of my dating life. I’m not especially attractive. Now, I don’t think I’m hideous either. It’s just that I would categorize myself as fairly plain. At least as far as looks go. I’m far from plain personality wise. I’ve got that in spades, and I like who I am. But if looks really are as important to online dating as they appear to be, then I don’t know why I’m bothering with this in the first place. Lord knows I get fewer messages, and go on fewer dates, than L and S. That’s never really bothered me before. I mean, we’re all different people with different tastes, living in different cities. And I tend to be more attracted to country boys (read: hicks), which is not the most populous type of guy in Boston. But then this “experiment” came out, and all I could think was, “well now I know the real reason I’ve been so unsuccessful.” (Oh man, D, now I’m sad. I’m going to resist the urge to throw out a patronizing “Ra-ra you are so amazing I wish we were both into women so I could date you right now”, even though that’s what I genuinely think. Instead I’m going to agree that the dating game can be a serious self esteem crusher. Show me a person who online dates and doesn’t go to this place at some point or another:

and I will show you a liar. Or possibly just a straight man (badum-ching!). Anyway, D, I just wanted to say I love you. Publicly. On our blog. And totally derail this post. Sorry, readers…)

have a lot of feelings

Source: perezhilton.com

Okay, I think I’ve gotten a hold of myself. Carry on, ladies.

I mean, the take-aways here are essentially: 1) virtually no one is interested in pictureless online dating; and 2) the world is a shallow place.

Experiment #2: SO, WHAT’S A PICTURE WORTH?

Did someone say shallow? L here, LSD’s admittedly most shallow contributor, ready to take on experiment numero dos. Basically, OKC asked a sample of users to rate other users’ profiles and pictures separately, and here is what they found:

looks-v-personality

In case, unlike me and S, who had a high school statistics teacher who was so amazing that his last name actually RHYMED with a deity, you have trouble interpreting scatter-plots, let me break it down for you: OKC users, by and large, rated people the same rating for looks and for personality. Now, this means one of two things:

1. People are truly as nice, kind, funny, and cool as they are good looking. Naomi Campbell is a good example of this. She is not only beautiful, but a really nice person.

That’s why she just hit Oprah with her cellphone. OPRAH, PEOPLE!

And before Gandhi passed away, “People Magazine” was frequently putting him on their “50 Most Beautiful People” list. I believe that Paul Wellstone will be remembered not as one of the most compassionate, progressive legislators of our time, but as 2008’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

OH WAIT…

2. What’s that you say? The above paragraphs reek of sarcasm? You’re right, dear readers, they do, because the much more plausible explanation for this graph is that OKC users are just really shallow and care WAYYY more about what you look like than what you write in your profile. Clearly, the mad scientists at OKC had this hypothesis as well, so they decided to take their experiment one step further: Remove profile text altogether and see if users’ rankings of people differed at all from when they could see profile text. And sure ’nuff, what did they find?

profile-text-experiment

Yup, same basic trend: profile text had very little to do with rankings.

Is this surprising to me? No. As the mastermind behind Tacosdelish, I’ve actually seen firsthand that many people could care less about what you put in your profile, or even what you say when you’re messaging with them. But does that mean that we should all give up unless we have really hot profile pics to post? Not at all, and let me tell you why:

  1. You can screen out a lot of crazy by looking at a profile. One of our mottos here at StuCu is “live every day like it will be your last because there is a good chance you’ll meet a murderer when you’re online dating and he’ll kill you.” Believe it or not, there are a staggering number of potential murderers (as well as womanizers, mentally unstable trainwrecks, perverts, and general fools) who actually just admit to being these things on their profiles. And no matter what a guy looks like in his pictures, if there are major crazy flags in his profile, I screen him out.
  2. A profile gives you something to message about. How many times have we complained on this blog about getting generic messages? Or messages just about our looks? Or messages that were actually intended for Angela Merkel? Your profile gives people the ability to start some sort of conversation with you, or, at the very least, make a witty joke before they ask you out for drinks. 
  3. Most people are just average looking. I’m not trying to pretend I’m better then the average OKC user. I didn’t message a single person or return messages on “love is blind” day because love is not blind.  I am actually legally blind in my left eye, so I know what it is to be blind, and LOVE IS NOT. I need to be attracted to the person I’m going out with, and he needs to be attracted to me, or otherwise the date is a huge waste of time (unless we end up starting a book club or write a plan for world domination or something). Now, I know that attraction can develop over time, but I do think this is only true up to a certain point. That is why, when I’m evaluating people’s profiles and deciding whether to message them or message them back, I put them into  one of three categories. (See, now do you understand why I’m the shallow blogger?) :
    • Category 1: I can’t get past his looks. The pics they posted are just not attractive to me. (15% of men)
    • Category 2: They look passable. This means they have at least one picture that I find attractive, and no pictures that scare me. (65% of men)
    • Category 3: They look super hot. Every picture they posted is attractive to me. (10% of men)

So here’s the thing. Most men fall into Category 2. (I actually think even MORE men could graduate from Category 1 to Category 2 if they stopped posting idiotic bathroom selfies or creepy pics of them in bed.) And, if you’re Cateogry 2, I read your profile to get more information.  Because I believe there is a chance we could have a decent date/you could be the love of my life. So, if there is nothing in your profile, or if it is full of stupid adjectives and not so subtle digs at women, then I will GTFO and move on (sadly, I’d say more than HALF of the Category 2 guys weed themselves out this way). But, if we have even a little bit in common and you are not a She-Man-Woman-Hater, I’ll message you back.

Now,  if you’re Category 1, I do just skip your profile and continue on my way. Sorry. I’m not as nice a person as Naomi Campbell, ok? And, Category 3 guys do get a VERY LENIENT read on the profile, and I’ve been known to go out with a couple Category 3 guys whose profiles have expressed thinly veiled chauvinism or some pretty egregious spelling errors. But this has almost NEVER turned out well for me, so honestly, I do this less and less.

The big takeaway here: Most of us look like average, Category 2 people, and so what people think of our looks is pretty subjective.  So keep on writing those profiles boys. Unless of course, you’re so hot, you look good even when you’re pumping gas

RYAN GOS PUMPING GAS

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/15-insanely-sexy-pictures-of-ryan-gosling-pumping-gas#3qqsag1

Then my answer is YES YES YES.

Experiment #3: THE POWER OF SUGGESTION

I actually asked L and D if I could take this one, because I think it’s the most brazen (and therefore, offensive) of the three experiments. While the first two covered looks and how much they matter (shocker: they matter a lot. I could have told you that, fools) this third one was about compatibility. Basically Okcupid attempted to figure out whether people’s behavior on the site could be influenced by being told they were “good” or “bad” matches when in reality they were the opposite. They did this by manipulating the match percentage of a sample of users and watching what happened. Here’s what the Okc nerds say about match percentage in their blog post:

“By all our internal measures, the “match percentage” we calculate for users is very good at predicting relationships. It correlates with message success, conversation length, whether people actually exchange contact information, and so on. But in the back of our minds, there’s always been the possibility: maybe it works just because we tell people it does. Maybe people just like each other because they think they’re supposed to? Like how Jay-Z still sells albums?”

burn

Source: www.goodreads.com

Um, let’s leave Jay-Z out of this, shall we, Okcupid?

Anyway, I’ll come back to my thoughts on match percentage in a sec. For part one of this experiment, Okcupid told people with low match percentages (30%)  that they were super compatible by making the percentages appear as 90%. Unsurprisingly, those people sent more first messages than those who saw the actual lower percentages.

okc1

Then they wondered, does this perceived compatibility cause people to actually hit it off and send more than just a first message? According to their data yes, it does:

okc2

Anyway, these results were stressing the Okc peeps out, because they basically suggested that their match percentage algorithm was worthless. So they flipped it and reversed it: this time around they told actual “good” matches (90%) that they were “bad” matches (30%) and saw the same general trend. Here are all the results displayed all together:

okc3

In summary, according to Okcupid, users can be influenced to message more often if they’re told they’re a good match, and less often if they’re told they’re a bad match. Unsurprisingly, people have the best chance of hitting it off if they appear to be a good match and actually are a good match (bottom right number).

My one real beef I have with the experiment itself is: for bad matches who are displayed as good, why is four messages considered some magic number of compatibility? Okcupid had this to say about it:

“The four-message threshold is our internal measure for a real conversation. And though the data is noisier, this same “higher display means more success” pattern seems to hold when you look at contact information exchanges, too.”

True, four messages technically constitutes a conversation, but you can’t then conclude that those people actually hit it off. I’ve exchanged four messages with plenty of dudes and decided that I actually hate/could never date them. Same goes for exchanging contact information… if I had a dollar for every time I seriously regretted giving someone my phone #, I would have enough to cover happy hour later today. Which would be awesome.

happy hour

Source: modernmagnolias.blogspot.com

 

Mmmmm happy hour. Focus, S.

Anyway, if Okcupid had instead polled the people involved in this experiment and asked what they actually thought of their match after four messages, or checked back with them a week later, then that data would be much more revealing and accurate. I suspect that for many people it just took that long for the other person to share some detail about themselves that horrified them (and that could have easily been discovered earlier if that person’s info. had been provided truthfully and accurately in the first place). Maybe five messages is how long it typically takes for people to casually reveal whichever of their answers are deal breakers, like that they hate gays or love nuclear war.

Also, not to get all ‘big brother is watching/NSA is listening’, but I’m with D on that last quote from Okc about “looking at contact information exchanges”. The idea that some 23 year old statistics nerd may be reading my messages to see whether I exchanged phone #s with a dude is gross. And creepy. And gross.

So, regarding experiment #3, my first takeaway is that dudes appear to actually look at match percentages, which given the two above experiments and L’s own experiments with Tacos Delish, I wasn’t entirely sure about. Hurrah! Second, I’m not surprised that people can be influenced to some extent (as you can see we’re not talking huge numbers here) by match percentages. Because, if I may remind the nerds of Okcupid, match percentage is not some random, arbitrary number. If you really want to get nerdy, check out their formula for calculating it here. Basically the number is representative of two people’s answers to questions and how important or unimportant they consider the questions to be. The Okcupid people themselves insist that some of these questions are a very reliable predictor of compatibility. Some questions are stupid and meaningless (I hate camping and horror movies, but they’re certainly not deal breakers), but others, likes these, are pretty big deal (you can literally mark them as ‘mandatory’, and I do):

dealbreaker

Source: modernmagnolias.blogspot.com

Yup. A guy’s answers to these matter to me just a smidge. It’s true, a 30% match could probably make me laugh, or we could have off the charts chemistry or even really like each other. But at the end of the day, if he answered his questions truthfully, we’d still disagree on some fundamental things, and odds are those things would become an issue somewhere down the line.

Now on the flip side, a high percentage is no guarantee that I’ll actually be into the person. I look at a guy’s stats (age, location, education level, height etc), then profile and pics. Then match percentage. Then if we message, he could be ass numbingly boring, or reveal that he has only a basic grasp of the English language, or be mean-spirited. Or we could meet and have zero chemistry. There are a million different reasons why a 99% match could still not be the guy for me, but the point is at least I know when I message a 99% match (or even an 80% match) that we’ve presumably cleared the hurdle of agreeing on things that are important to both of us. In short, it saves time. Unless, of course, you’re an Okcupid guinea pig, and like I said above, I have a sneaking suspicion that these poor souls came to the exact same conclusion, just not as quickly. Such is the life of a lab animal.

 

pinky

Source: www.thedailytouch.com

Conclusion

I’ll admit, there’s a part of me, the secretly nerdy psych major part, that finds this all fascinating. We spend so much of our time on this blog being utterly baffled by people’s behavior, so anything that may shed some light on why people do what they do is, on some level, really cool. People are cool! Human behavior is fascinating! Science! Discovery! Progress!

But then there’s the other part of me, the painfully single part who accidentally goes out with bros, cries in public after being dumped, and experiences fade aways on an alarmingly regular basis. That part of me is

not impressed

That part of me thinks that online dating is hard and confusing and ridiculous and soul crushing enough without some Harvard BA in applied mathematics fucking with my user experience for sport. Yes, I realize that I signed a “user agreement” and it basically says Okc can do whatever they want with me. And I think it makes total sense for Okcupid to study the data they already have (and they have plenty) to draw lots of interesting, informative and helpful conclusions. Experiment #1, while stupid, was at least clear cut. Everyone realized what was happening. Nobody was being deceived. Experiment #2 was more deceiving, for sure, but still an A/B test (two versions of something with info. included or left out).

But when these assholes start changing match percentages, now people are just straight up being lied to and that’s when I hop onto my soapbox. Because you, Okcupid, an online dating service that people use to meet their significant others, may have legitimately prevented people from crossing paths who would have otherwise seriously hit it off. Many of us, LSD included, are using your service to hopefully meet the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with, sparing a lot of time, money, misery, humiliation and heartache in the process. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but if you were looking for a blog free of drama and ended up here, you clearly took a wrong turn somewhere.

drama

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Believe it or not, Okcupid, we’re not thrilled to sign onto your site day after day and cruise for thoroughly undatable sociopaths and illiterate weirdos, while our friends get engaged and married around us. It sucks. It’s the worst. And your comical disregard for that fact is not only infuriating, it sort of makes me want to stop using your site and go elsewhere. Except as we’ve covered pretty well here…. there is. no. elsewhere.

Plus the site’s arrogant, flippant tone throughout this whole thing (go reread that email above), combined with the way they’ve been dressing it up as if 1. if we’re on the internet period we should expect to be lied to in the name of research on a daily basis and 2. it’s some benevolent way for them to help us have a better experience, is also totally gross to me. This WSJ interview with Okc co-founder Chris Rudder sums it up pretty well:

okc4

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/08/12/qa-okcupids-cofounder-on-the-growing-pains-of-data-science/

Blech. Sure, Chris Rudder, we’re in control, but we base who we interact with on certain criteria. And if we’re given the wrong criteria or you withhold information from us, then that control is a fallacy. Don’t patronize us, buddy. Also, you’re lucky, so lucky, that a Stucu blogger didn’t wind up in one of these experiments, because you and our poor readers would probably never hear the end of it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The return of the Good Message Unicorn (or how S learned to not GAF)

Something is happening here at Stucu. Maybe we’ve got the 1.5 to 2 year itch (a figurative itch, people. Gross.) Maybe it’s the recent rejection my co-bloggers and I have endured. Maybe the summer heat is making us crazier than usual…

crazy

Whatever the reason, we have kiiiiind of stopped giving a fuck. About rules. About conventions. Especially about being breezy. When I started online dating, I was fairly preoccupied with not coming off as pathetic or crazy or desperate, to guys, to you readers, to myself, to anyone. I’m not sure where this weird stigma comes from that says single girls in their 20s are batshit insane…

(OH WAIT)

…but I wanted to stay as far away from that stigma as possible.

However. As L mentioned, the more we date, or maybe the older we get, or maybe both, the less this stigma affects and concerns us. Two years into online dating, I’m basically like…

sound of music

Source: www.somegif.com

The other issue is just general human decency. If a guy acts like a douche, I’m feeling less and less inclined to just let it go. We know from experience that the standard of online dating behavior is laughably, pathetically low, but to quote a certain Disney ginger heroine…

Ariel-i-want-more

Source: justgraphicinterchangeformat.tumblr.com

Co-blogger D, what do you think of this GIF? (Co-blogger D has an inexplicably intense hatred for The Little Mermaid, which was my FAVORITE Disney movie as a kid. I know, she’s insane.) (It’s not inexplicable. In fact, I can easily explain it. Ariel is a selfish twat who shits all over her family, signs a deal with the devil, completely changes herself for a man she barely knows, and then is SHOCKED when it all goes awry. That is, until Daddy comes along and, despite all of her bad behavior and poor life choices, fixes everything with magic and gives her exactly what she wants. There is literally nothing to like about that horrid movie, other than “Kiss the Girl.” And Flounder is kinda cute. Yet everyone goes around touting it as great and “a classic.” THAT’S the inexplicable part.) (You see? Insane. Tempting as it is to take the bait and get pulled into D’s crazy world where animated movies for children make total sense and Disney characters are “twats” for not behaving like realistic, responsible adults, I’m going to spare you readers an impending Disney cage match and get back on topic.) (One last thing – the real Hans Christian Andersen version is so much better, and Ariel gets exactly what she deserves. Ok, carry on S, I will now abide by the cease-fire agreement and not comment any further.)

ANYWAY. As you read in her post last week, L and I have christened this summer ‘the summer of YOLO’. (What’s that? YOLO is a thing my roommate’s little sister said two summers ago when she was eighteen? It’s tired and lame and completely over? We can’t hear you, haters, because we’re too busy unironically YOLOing).

Basically, our goal is less of this:

clueless what's wrong with me

Source: rrrrubberbiscuit.tumblr.com

And more of this:

beyonce

Source: www.iworeyogapants.com

Now, for a real life example of this attitude shift in action.

Remember the great message I received literally days after D dumped me? When I was in what some might call a “fragile state” that essentially consisted of sobbing, sleeping, and ordering Thai takeout?

Refresher can be found here. In summary: I received a great message from a cute, seemingly eligible guy but was in no way ready to date again. This Good Message Unicorn and I messaged back and forth a few times until I revealed that I was post-break up and like a newborn foal wobbling around on its shaky little legs out in the single world. I asked him if I could contact him when I was ready to date, and he said that would be great.

Fast forward six weeks. Feeling confident that I was up for sitting across from a stranger over drinks again, I messaged GMU. He messaged back immediately and enthusiastically–WOOHOO! Then I replied, and…

tumbleweed

Source: choualbox.com

You guessed it, readers. Just like the mythical creature for which he was named, Good Message Unicorn disappeared into thin air.

Now, 2013 S? She would have been annoyed, and confused, but she would have dropped it at this point. She would have been afraid to demand an explanation for fear of seeming, well….

But 2014 S? Summer of YOLO S? She’s like…

life goes on

Source: pandawhale.com

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not rolling out some plan to go after every dude who’s ever pulled a fade away. Most of the time, if we haven’t met and a guy disappears, I take it as a sign that he lost interest, shrug it off, and move on. Because most of the time my interest level is only slightly above ‘would rather be watching House Hunters International’ at that point anyway, so it’s no skin off my nose.

But I liked that Unicorn. He had potential, and he seemed pretty into me before he rudely disappeared with zero explanation. I decided I wasn’t cool with things ending this way, so I messaged him. SUMMER OF YOLO, people.

In my message I pointed out that he’d disappeared without warning in the middle of (what I thought was) a great conversation, and told him I wanted to know why. I decided if he’d lost interest, met someone else, or was turned off by something I’d said, whatever it was I could handle it. And more importantly, I wanted to make him say it. No more slinking off like cowards, single men of Okcupid. You jerks.

Use your words

Source: theonlygirlamongboys.blogspot.com

Unsurprisingly, GMU didn’t reply that night, so I thought that was the end of my little experiment. But the next morning I woke up to a semi long-winded response. Allow me to summarize:

  • GMU was super apologetic he’d disappeared and insisted it wasn’t because he’d lost interest
  • He claimed he’d been “really busy at work” and hadn’t had time for Okc lately (sidenote: I call BULLSHIT on this excuse. It had been a week and a half since GMU disappeared, not two days. Are you a brain surgeon? Are you Secretary of State John Kerry and are you currently negotiating a cease fire in Gaza? Oh, you’re not? Then you’re NOT. THAT. BUSY. We all work; we all have a lot going on. If you don’t have literally four minutes out of your day for some human interaction, then don’t join an online dating site and initiate conversations with people. OR alternatively, just shoot me a message saying ‘hey, it’s a crazy week for me but can we meet up next Tuesday for drinks?’ Do I have to bust out the ‘use your words’ GIF again??
  • He claimed he had started to respond to my message, was trying to be witty and funny, never finished it, and by the time he went back to it was afraid too much time had gone by and he’d blown it.
  • He ended with something to the tune of “clearly I’m really bad at this online dating thing, but I’m definitely still interested, so if you’d be up for it, I’d love to take things offline and meet for drinks.”

Hmm. Well. I’d gotten my response. A long-winded response, some of which made no sense, but a response nonetheless. Now the real question was, what was I going to do about it? I briefly considered sassily telling GMU that he had blown it, dropping the mic and exiting stage left…

mic drop ben

Source: theonlygirlamongboys.blogspot.com

….but I thought about what the he’d said, the fact that he’d sincerely apologized, and the fact that he’d ended with getting to the effing point and asking to meet me in person. Sure, I was annoyed that he’d pulled the ‘I’ve been soooo busy’ BS excuse, but he was otherwise appropriately contrite. That’s what I was looking for. So, wouldn’t it make no sense at all to go to all this trouble and then not at least agree to meet this dude who claimed to still be into me? And who I clearly was still into?

1371257249_tumblr_lo9et1q9711qzbyhpo1_500

Source: genius.com

Yup. I YOLO’d again. I messaged back, gave him some shit for the ‘I’ve been busy’ line, gave him my phone number and left the rest up to him and the universe. I was done putting in any effort at this point; if homeboy really wanted to meet me, this was his chance, and I wasn’t doing another thing to make it happen.

Spoiler alert: we did meet. So, was it worth all of that trouble? Did the YOLO approach pay off? Stay tuned, dear readers, for a post on my date with the Good Message Unicorn with answers to these questions and more.

Lastly, D, nice try attempting to have the last word on our Disney feud, but it’s my post. Please enjoy some of the great Disney songs of our time, readers, and have a great weekend!

Realness rankings: Date scenes from cinema classics

In case you haven’t noticed, the ladies of StuCu blog are pop culture DEVOTEES, especially when it comes to a good rom com, and especially especially when it comes to a good 80s or 90s rom com. Up to a year and a half ago, I formed my ideas of what dates looked like largely from TV or movies.  When I actually entered the dating world, I realized that, for better or for worse, some of those scenes were realistic, and some of them were as far from reality as one can get, which, much to the delight of my friends, left me shouting things at the TV like, “OH PULEEZE! GIVE ME A BREAK!”

So for your viewing pleasure this weekend, I bring you:

daytime realness

http://giphy.com/gifs/k7EfYv6OHGDSM

L’s realness analysis of some of our generation’s most treasured films. Realness rankings are as follows:

Not real at all-REALLY??

Real-ish-REAL

So real I’m getting PTSD from watching: REALNESS

1. Fever Pitch: If you haven’t seen it, go ahead and watch the trailer.

Now here’s what you need to know: that cute little scene at the beginning of the trailer, where they are exchanging witty banter, walking through the park on a crisp, winter day, that scene, is proceeded by a first date scene, where Ben goes to pick up Lindsay at her apartment, finds her sick to her stomach, and instead of leaving, spends all night cleaning up her vomit. 

REALNESS RANKING: REALLY??

Look, while there is no denying that Jimmy Fallon is a gentleman (I mean, have you seen him lip sync??), the truth is that no man, even him, would stick around to do that in real life. And no woman would let a near stranger into her home when she was feeling like hell and just wanted to spend the night with her toilet, sipping flat ginger ale. 

What would have been more realistic? She would have sent a text and cancelled, and he would never have ended up at her apartment in the first place. Best case scenario, they reschedule. Worst (and more likely) case scenario: they exchange a series of meaningless text exchanges and then someone disappears. 

2. Clueless: God bless Amy Heckerling for actually being the voice of our generation. Remember when Cher invites Christian over for a date at her house and all he wants to do is watch Tony Curtis movies (because he’s a really great actor)?

REALNESS RANKING: REAL

There are many elements of reality here:

  • Spending your post-date hours wondering “what is wrong with me?” in response to some guy’s behavior that actually has nothing to do with you? CHECK.
  • Obsessing about what happened to your friends? CHECK.
  • Finding out that you are dating a gay guy? I mean, maybe this only happens to me. But still…CHECK.

Let’s also take a minute to point out how much that Murray/Dionne scene on the freeway reminds me of my high school boyfriend teaching me to drive (if you replace the convertible with a maroon Buick Oldsmobile that only has one working door).

3. Bright Jones Diary: I wish I was talking about Bridget’s first date with Mark Darcy, but they never really have a first real date, unless you count the birthday dinner after the Eleanor Heany and Kaffir Aghani interview. But I’m not. I’m talking about her first date with that alcoholic, workaholic, sexaholic, commitment-phobic, peeping tom, megalomaniac, emotional fuckwit pervert, Daniel Cleaver.

REALNESS RANKING: REALNESS

Let’s review the story line, shall we? Bridget attends a party where she manages to feel like both a social outcast and a professional failure, leaving her self-esteem in shambles.

She gets drunk, and agrees to an impromptu date with that scoundrel Daniel Cleaver, where he basically sexually harasses her and insults her intelligence the whole time. They go back to her apartment, and she sleeps with him anyway. (Sadly, I can’t embed a link of this into the post, so you’ll have to watch her further humiliation here: http://www.miramax.com/watch?v=5seXBiYjpp5frUg4VgjMwQCo6dnnNGyX

They proceed to have an ill-advised fling that ends poorly.

Oh, Bridget, this is why billions of people paid money to read your diary. We feel you, girl. Cause we’ve all been there.

I refuse to end this blog post on a depressing note though. It’s the freaking weekend, it’s soon to be June, the flowers are in bloom, other obligatory pleasantries, blah blah blah. The point is, at the end of the day, Bridget gets Mark Darcy, who is delicious.

just as you are

http://wifflegif.com/gifs/449622-bridget-joness-diary-just-the-way-you-are-gif

REALNESS LESSON: We all deserve someone who likes us, just as we are. And he’s out there.*

*He may not look like Colin Firth and sound like a top human rights barrister though, so do keep an open mind.

Got any TV/movie date scenes that shaped your (possibly misguided) impression of romance? Leave it in the comments readers!

Message Tuesday: a different site (and a conspiracy theorist)

You may be wondering, dear readers, what happened to Message Monday. Welp, season 2 of House of Cards happened. Sorry to keep you waiting, but Frank Underwood’s Machiavellian scheming kind of took precedence. What’s that? Tuesday’s almost over, too? Shhhh. Quiet, my pretties.

Today’s Tonight’s featured message was, in a way, a nice break from the typically offensive, insane, and generally terrifying rants that make their way into our Okc inboxes. However, it was also a first for me:

different site

Huh. I clicked on this dude’s profile and stared. He looked vaguely familiar, but nothing else about him was ringing a bell. Since I canceled my match.com subscription ages ago in a fit of rage and disgust, I had no way of checking my old messages to cross reference. 

I kept staring at his pic, and still, nothing else came to mind. Not a name, not a topic of conversation, nothing. But I did recognize him. Confused and a little creeped out that a random dude not only remembered me from so long ago on an entirely different dating website but also knew my name, I sought the advice of an expert:

L convo2

Do you like how after one (admittedly traumatic) incident, we now automatically assume every display of odd behavior in the opposite sex relates back to our blog? I mean…

narcissism

Source: PandaWhale

Also, L seemed so shocked that I couldn’t vividly recall my match.com message history from over a year ago, and it made me wonder if I was being presumptuous in assuming this dude’s story was true.

L convo

That’s actually a totally fair point, L.

my bad

But now I was stressed out, too. L’s conspiracy theories continued to pour in, the last and most outrageous involving an ex of mine:

L convo3

After freaking me the eff out with her insane theories, L ended up being right, of course. NOT about the message being from an ex of mine, which was a completely wackadoo hypothesis. She was right about it not mattering. As I’ve mentioned to you lovely readers, I’m seeing someone, which means that my Okc profile is currently being used for blogging purposes only. I’m not messaging people, and I’m not replying to messages unless it’s to politely decline a request to chat. In other words, I’m not going to go out with this dude, so whether he’s an old match.com acquaintance or one of our exes trying to out the blog, it really doesn’t matter.

Conclusion: next time we’d best leave the conspiracy theories to the experts.

frank

100th post: Worst online date ever contest

About a month ago, S, D, and I realized that we were close to hitting our first huge blogging milestone: our 100th post! That’s right readers, between the three of us, in the last year, we’ve received literally almost 1000 messages, been out with over 40 men, and yet here we are, all still single, and still blogging. You’re welcome. The only reason we haven’t entered into functional, meaningful relationships is because this blog is too hot to stop. Just ask Reddit.

Anyway, in honor of what we are calling “The Centennial,” we wanted to do something special for you, our devoted friends and family readers. During an initial brainstorming session, I posed some preliminary ideas to S:

L: How about we each ask someone on an offline date? Like, go up to a guy on the street or in a bar, and ask him out?

S: Um…have you ever tried that? **

L: No, that’s why it would be fun.

S: Yes, because we are always bumping into really eligible, datable men, in the flesh. Who want to go out with us. Didn’t we get on the internet because we weren’t meeting any men in person?

L: You’re correct. Nevermind. (L forgot a critical part of the story and the main reason I shot this idea down: she proposed that we give ourselves a week to meet an eligible single dude in the flesh, ask him out, and go on a date. A WEEK. If you’ll recall, I was legitimately stressed about my ability to go on one date in a month, while USING AN ONLINE DATING SERVICE! Call me crazy but I thought that may have been just a slightly unrealistic goal to set for our sad selves.)

S: Any other ideas?

L: OMG. I just had a brilliant one.

S: Yes…? (Making a skeptical face and using a skeptical voice. Hrmph)

L: We go on a date, and then we only talk to our date using song lyrics. For example, he could say, “Where are you from?” and I’d say, “just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit.”

S: You’re from New Jersey.

L: Or, he could say, “Why did you join OKCupid?” and I could say, “I want to know what love is. I want you to show me.”

S: Do you know any other song lyrics besides random 80s ballads?

L: “Like a shotgun bang. What’s up with that thang? I wanna know, how does it hang?” I CANNOT. WAIT. TO. USE. THAT. LINE.  (Laughing hysterically at her own wit. Having trouble breathing).

S: I mean, we have enough trouble meeting dudes as it is; we probably shouldn’t handicap ourselves any more with terrifying behavior like that. (L, you are making me sound like such a sourpuss! I love a Journey/Foreigner power ballad as much as the next girl and you know it. I mean, we did attend an epic Journey concert together in college, if you’ll recall. I just don’t see how speaking to our dates only in song lyrics would make us any LESS single.) (Also, I’m really terrible with lyrics. Not as bad as “the girl with colitis goes by” or “hold me closer, Tony Danza”, but closer to that extreme than I care to admit. So my execution of this kind of exercise would be comically bad/embarrassing, though potentially very endearing? A girl can dream…)

We kicked around some other less brilliant ideas for awhile, and then we had an epiphany!

OK, it wasn’t as groundbreaking as that epiphany, but it will change our lives for the next couple weeks or so. The best online dating stories we’ve heard are actually NOT our own. In fact, the best thing about having a dating blog is having semi strangers who want to be your new friends (#celebproblemz) come up to you and tell you a hilarious, terrible, soul crushing date story. So, in honor of both the amazingly bad stories we’ve heard, and the fantastic, inspiring courage and sense of humor we’ve seen people demonstrate by sharing these stories with us, we’d like to introduce…

STUCU’S WORST ONLINE DATE EVER CONTEST!!!!

Here are the rules to enter:

1. You must tell us about an online date (any service, from Tinder to eharmony, to Christian fucking Mingle, is fine).

2. You must change identifying details (names, website usernames, employers) or be cool with us changing them.

3. We know we can be some wordy mofos, (what do you mean, L? My posts are always succint) but since we’ll be posting multiple submissions try to keep them on the short side. 

4. The story must be true (we obviously have no way of knowing this, but we’ll assume that no one is lame enough to concoct a fake dating tale and send it to us).

5. You must submit your story to stucublog@gmail.com on or before Thanksgiving 2013 (November 28th). Because then we can all spend the evening being thankful we weren’t on your dates. And you can spend the evening being thankful that date is over.

UPDATE: We’ve received a lot of requests to include non-online dates, and we here at Stucu love any dating horror story (it’s always nice to know you’re not alone). Since we’re now accepting terrible date stories of all kinds, the deadline for submissions is now extended to midnight on December 1st. Keep those stories coming, we’ve been laughing WITH you since they started rolling in!

Here is how we’ll pick a winner:

1. We’ll pick our favorite submissions and post them here the first week in December. We’ll keep submissions totally anonymous,  and if needed, seek your permission to edit them down.

2. We’ll set up a poll so readers can vote on their favorite stories.

3. The top 3 submissions will receive our first ever fabulous, exciting, Stucu blog swag! What will they win, S?

stucu tote final

That’s right, readers. Three lucky winners will receive a fabulous Stucu canvas tote! Whether you’re filling it with organic kale at your local farmer’s market or stuffing it with clean undies and a toothbrush on your way to see your jump off, this tote gets the job done in style!

Okay, not the most tricked out swag ever, but we can at least all agree we’ve got Paddy’s Pub beat:

Please please please send stucublog@gmail.com your stories, and encourage your friends and friends of friends to send us theirs. It will (hopefully) be like one big cathartic therapy session of dating awfulness where strangers on the internet also laugh at our collective misfortune. Thanks for reading and Happy Blogaversary!

xoxoxo

L, S and D

** Incidentally, I’ve been trying for weeks to work up the courage to do exactly this. You see, I’m hopelessly in love with a total stranger my commuter rail train conductor, who likely thinks I’m mentally challenged based on our limited interactions to date. Though I have no problem initiating contact with a guy online, I get really nervous/flustered trying to do it in person. Typically, one of two things happens: I turn into a virtual mute who openly stares and occasionally manages to string a few coherent words together; or I ramble endlessly. Thus far, my evening commute has been 98% the former (I don’t see him in the mornings until I get off at Back Bay and I either smile sheepishly at him or pretend to be really engrossed in the crossword puzzle, depending on how bold I’m feeling that day). For the entirety of my 45 minute ride home I lurk near the end of the car where he stands chatting with others, pretending to read a book and willing myself to say something, anything, to him. I rarely succeed. When I do, it’s just to say good night as I get off train. Once, before I could say good night, he said “see you in the morning” and I was so excited I almost fell off the train before I managed to squeak out “you most certainly will!”. The two times that we’ve exchanged more than just pleasantries, it was just a few minutes before my stop and he initiated the conversation. While I wasn’t completely awkward or terrible either time, I didn’t do myself any favors either. There was some rambling the first time. I don’t even know if he’s single, I only know there’s no ring. So progress is slow on this front (I would clearly have failed under L’s proposed one week rule), but I’ll keep you fine folks updated if/when the situation advances.

Happy One Year Anniversary (of still being single) to me!

That’s right, folks. It’s the one year anniversary of my infamous first okcupid date. A lot has happened in a year; some good, some bad, some laughable, and mercifully, plenty that’s blogworthy. And while it’s tempting to focus on this fact:

mindy single

there are plenty of other things to discuss. For instance, I thought you’d all like to know that G, or as my friends and I fondly refer to him, “the guy who couldn’t find his car”, reappeared a few weeks ago! After our terribly awkward first date he asked me out again and I politely declined, and that was that. For a year. Until I received this message:

g message

I swear, I have awkwardness PTSD from my date with G, and this message sent me into a full on Nam flashback. Initially I was so confused by the bizarre subject that I didn’t even process the improper grammar, the emoticon, the spelling of ‘hiccup’ and ‘recurrence’ (I’m going to give him a pass on ‘therefore’ and assume it’s a typo. Please, let it be a typo).  God, this is embarrassing to share with you all because frankly I can’t believe I went out with this person.

I actually went out with this person.

tumblr_m84h3tJkBC1qmxcc6o6_250

Please note that it was sent at 2:59 am. He was drunk, right? He had to be drunk. That would make me feel better so I’m going to go ahead and believe it.

As for the subject, it took me a few minutes to process what he was talking about, but then a light bulb went off in my head. I’d forgotten this detail of the date completely until G INEXPLICABLY brought it up again. Besides the fact that he was a nervous, stammering mess who lost his car on the mean streets of Old City Philadelphia, at one point in the evening G took a sip of his drink, tried to say something, went into an insane coughing fit and semi started to choke. Then, when he finally stopped coughing, he proceeded to get the hiccups (badly) but rather than just ignore them and try to move on, he repeatedly brought attention to the whole thing by exclaiming how weird it was, how it’s never happened to him before, etc etc. Oh God, the awkwardness. I can’t even. But the absurdity of the rest of the date actually eclipsed the coughing incident so completely that I totally forgot to mention it in my original post! Until now.

And as for ‘my overwhelming beauty’…it’s technically a nice thing to say, but it’s also wildly exaggerated and disingenuous. Most importantly, G, we went out a year ago and I said I didn’t want to see you again, so if I may: 

Luckily, I’ve come a long way since that date, and I definitely don’t feel like such a hapless amateur roaming the streets searching for a stranger’s Chevy. Here are some of the biggest things I’ve learned in my year of online dating:

  • People lie about what they look like.
  • A good profile does not necessarily = a good date. This may be the biggest revelation I’ve had since starting this thing. Men were presenting themselves as these awesome, fun, witty, gregarious people online, and I’d meet them and they’d be dull as bricks. And yes, I’m sure men experience this with women as well (possibly even with me). I think the takeaway from these two points is that online dating requires you to basically sell yourself, and more often than not, people sell who they want or perceive themselves to be rather than who they actually are. So it’s tough to “meet” someone online, form expectations based on your messages and their profile, and then almost inevitably be disappointed when you meet in person. Therefore…
  • The less time you spend messaging online with someone, the better. No matter how awesome someone’s profile is or how great they seem over messages, texts, or emails, you’re never going to know how you really feel about them until they’re sitting in front of you. Even if you know you like them, you don’t know if you’ll have chemistry. So if a guy has messaged me but is taking his sweet time asking me out (and trust me, many do), a year ago I would have been irritated and confused, but I probably would have waited it out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still irritated:

meryl

But now rather than just stew about it, mama gets down to business…

  • Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Do not fear rejection. I’ve been both the rejector and the rejectee, and while being on the receiving end may have caused me to do a bit of this:

gretchen weiners                                                                                          

I totally survived, and I definitely don’t take it as personally when it happens now. Everyone is on the site for the same reason (correction: most people are on the site for the same reason. I was once propositioned for a threesome by a couple with a joint profile. So admittedly not everyone has the same end game) and as a friend of mine likes to say, there’s no way you can become more single, so you have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there.

  • Screen, screen, screen. Before you say yes to a date or ask someone out, go immediately to the ‘unacceptable answers’ section of their okcupid questions. This conveniently lists all of the questions that are important to you which the person answered “incorrectly”. You may discover, for instance, that your potential date has rape fantasies, believes homosexuality is a sin or (LSD’s personal favorite) thinks THE EARTH IS BIGGER THAN THE SUN. Better to know these things up front than to waste your Wednesday night discovering these horrors over craft beers when you could be on your couch watching Nashville. AS YOU CAN SEE, I did not screen my first date properly. In fact I shudder to think of the time I wasted in the beginning by not doing this immediately, but boy have I learned my lesson since. 
  • Despite the annoyances, dating can be fun. Talking about it can be even more fun. I’ve met some pretty cool people this year, had interesting conversations, discovered new bars and restaurants, played quizzo, seen movies and plays, and even done a few things that I can’t mention on this blog (hi, mom!). Even with the rejection and confusion that online dating often brings, I don’t regret doing it for a second. Especially since I now have an incredibly fun and satisfying way to chat about my experiences and vent my frustration when I inevitably encounter an asshole or two. So thanks, dear readers. Here’s to you!

leo gif

(God, how does Leo still look so good?)

Pre-date rituals

Confession: the original idea for this post was not my own. It came from a post on an awesome blog, Brunch for Every Meal, that LSD are now kind of obsessed with. Go check it out when you have a sec, just promise to come back even if you think Dara is funnier than me (spoiler alert: she is). After reading her hilarious recap of getting ready to go out, I was inspired to pull back the curtain and share my own pre-date rituals with you faithful readers. Here’s what typically goes down before a first date:

Morning of date, 10 am:  Hold a strategy meeting on gchat re: my upcoming date with 4-6 of my closest girlfriends. Review all possible scenarios and outcomes. Rate level of excitement from 1 (considering faking a bird flu outbreak) to 10 (actively naming our future children). Look at date’s profile one more time to ensure I remember his general story/deal, and also to increase the likelihood that I actually recognize him. This is an uphill battle, though, since we know from first hand experience that dates often show up with completely different identities.

11:00 am: Confirm with date via text that we’re still on. If either of us is going to bail, this is the last socially acceptable moment to do it.

3:05 pm: Read some online news to make sure I’m up on current events and ready for intelligent adult conversation.

6:15 pm: Arrive home from work. My apartment is three blocks from my office so I usually have time to change and primp a bit. And by change and primp, I mean eat pop chips and commence drinking.

6:30 pm: Put on some chill but upbeat jams, pour myself a glass of vino, munch on a snack, plug in my straightening iron and let the transformation begin*:

*Lazily re-straighten the front third of my hair and put on mascara. Not everyone has a Paolo.

6:45 pm: Pretend to consider my outfit options when in reality I 100% have a (boring) first date uniform: dark jeans, black top, dangly earrings, flats.

7:10 pm: Psych myself up. Seriously. Give myself a pep talk in the mirror, compliment myself on looking cute and being hilarious/charming, glug that last bit of Pinot Grigio, grab my purse and strut out the door. This routine sounds fairly cool, calm and collected, particularly the strut, but in reality it’s a bit closer to this:

7:15 pm: Phone a friend or my mom en route. Tell them I’m going on my date and if they don’t hear from me later tonight, to call Detectives Stabler and Benson and have them get right on my case.

7:25 pm Attempt to time my arrival perfectly. I’m actually usually early but in this case I try to be five minutes late, because I would much rather make an entrance than sit alone at a table/bar awkwardly looking up every time someone walks in. I’d like to think I’m pretty breezy about the whole dating thing, but those few minutes when I’m waiting for a date to arrive always manage to unglue me. Every single time I 100% think I’m being stood up and that everyone in the bar will know/pity me (I’d like you all to know I just spent 15 minutes searching youtube for the Sex and the City episode where Samantha gets stood up and is so upset she kisses a bus boy. Clearly I was unsuccessful.) Annnywayyy, avoiding a traumatic scene like that sometimes means walking super slowly and loitering on street corners like a lady of the night, but it’s a small price to pay for my sanity.

7:35 pm Outside the bar. My date’s (hopefully) in there. He might be my future husband. He might be in a mime costume. He might have a grenade in his pocket. Literally anything is possible. Take a deep breath. This could be great or awful, but it will probably be somewhere in between. All I can do is cross my fingers, pray I don’t do this, and hope for some blog material.

My first truly terrible date

Like D, I have been light on the date posts recently. This is because the guys I’ve been out with in the past month fall into two categories:

1) Guys who are so dull I literally could not write an interesting post about our dates unless I were to get up in the middle of the them and set the bar on fire or commit a similar crime.

OR

2) Guys who I’ve seen again/wanted to see again because the date has gone well.

However, last week, that changed. I had my first date with someone whose personality I truly detested. And, I thought TGFTB (thank god for the blog), because otherwise all I would have had to show for it was 40 terrible minutes of my life that I’d never get back (and a lovely dose of textual harassment).

A seemed like perfectly normal guy when he messaged me. We shared a love of the Boss and of ice cream, and he cut to the chase and asked me out pretty quickly. He was a PE teacher, and I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I was hoping he’d turn out a lot like this:

coach taylor

And not like this:

coach carr

He looked like neither, but as long as he didn’t look like this (editor’s note: Ms. Stoeger! This is why we’re friends, L):

ms stoeger

I figured I’d give him a chance.

Anyway, A and I agreed to meet for frozen yogurt on a Friday afternoon. Afternoon dates are not ideal, because you are meeting a stranger without the social crutches of 1) alcohol and 2) dim lighting. But we were both pretty busy, and I figured the silver lining of the afternoon date is that, if it goes poorly, I could end it quickly.

I arrived at the froyo place and we got in line to order. He was slightly ahead of me, and when we got to the end of the counter, the cashier asked, “Together or separate?”  And A, who BTW, is 38 years old, literally 10 years older than me, and gainfully employed, and asked ME out, says, “Separate.” 

EXCUSE ME

Now, I am a very progressive sista who has NO QUALMS about paying my own way. But, I found this rude. If I had been first in line, I would have said “together” and thrown down my card. Cause it’s a date. Otherwise we might as well be two strangers just buying frozen yogurt around the same time. So, I began the date a little put-off (Does this guy not think I’m worth 6 dollars? Is he going on so many dates that treating for froyo has become a prohibitive cost??) But, I decide to put the beginning aside and try to have a good time. We make the usual small talk: where we grew up, siblings, jobs, etc. He’s talking about being a gym teacher, and I say, “Oh, how do you like it?” And he says, “That’s a STUPID question. Of course I’m going to tell you I like it. We just met. It would look terrible if I hated my job.”

OK, buddy. Can I offer you an Ativan and a reality check?

1) Don’t call someone you just met 5 minutes ago STUPID. How old are you? Oh that’s right, 38!!!

2) There are a lot of nice, normal ways to answer that question that go beyond “yes.” For example, you could say, “Yeah–it’s really interesting. Sometimes it’s too much chaos for me, but it’s a small price to pay for how much fun I have spending time with kids.” Or you could say, “It’s OK. I’m thinking I might want to do something that has broader impact and more variety in what the day to day looks like.”

Despite my rapidly increasing horror, we continue to chat. He mentions he likes movies. I’m like, “Oh cool! What are some great movies you’ve seen recently? And he says, “Well I just saw Zero Dark Thirty. But unfortunately, people were misbehaving in the theater and really ruined my experience.” 

“Oh, what happened? ” I asked, hoping to hear a funny story about two people getting it on in front of him, an old man releasing a toxic fart, or some children having a temper tantrum. You know, NORMAL THINGS TO BE ANNOYED ABOUT AT THE MOVIES.

“Well I caught two people texting on their phones during the movie.”So I had to speak with the usher and ask that they be removed from the theater. That’s against the rules.”

HUH? This guy has a legitimate social disability!! Get me out of here!  I figure at this point, all I can do is wolf down this froyo, make up some excuse about having to go back to work, and exit gracefully. Except, the next thing A says to me is: “Do people ever tell you that you talk REALLY fast?”

(I do talk fast. And people tell me that A LOT. In a MUCH more polite ways than this guy just did). “Oh yeah,” I said, trying to laugh it off. “I just get really excited about things I guess. Can you not understand me?” 

A said, “I can, but I just thought you should know that.”

I said, “Thanks.”

Finally, I finish my froyo, check my phone and confirm I’ve been there a respectable 30 + minutes and I can bounce. “Sorry,” I told him, “Something has come up and I have to go back to work.”

So we walk outside, where I am prepared to salute this guy, or, at most, give him a firm handshake, and be on my way. Before I can move, he PULLS me into a very close hug, rubs his hands up and down my back and says, “I had a really good time. I’d love to see you again.”

say what

Good sir, you have spent the last 30 minutes insulting me and blatantly sharing your distaste for humanity and anything fun. There is no country, no religion, no culture, in which this would be considered, by anyone, a good time. But, do I say this? No. Because I am literally scared that this guy is mentally ill and if I irritate him there is a 50% chance he’ll stab me in the street. So I say, “Umm ok, just text me…” and then I SPRINT away. 

I put A out of my memory ASAP, hoping that I wouldn’t have to deal with a message from him for a few days. That night, I was out with friends for beers and basketball when I get a text from A:

a text 1

Hmm. I don’t know how to respond to that. It was NOT nice meeting you A. And I hope this weekend you trip and fall down the stairs. But I don’t want to type something nasty to anyone, let alone a confirmed psychopath, so I ignore the text for now. And besides, I don’t return every text I receive instantly, especially if someone isn’t asking me a time sensitive question.

So the next afternoon, I am getting ready to go to a babysitting job and my phone beeps. And, guess who it is? It’s A:

a text 2

Is he SERIOUS?

1) It’s been less than 24 hours buddy. It’s not like you texted 911. I have a job, and friends, and a life. Sorry if exchanging faux-pleasantries with you isn’t #1 on my weekend to-do list.

2) Again, you were a HORRIFIC date. You’re lucky I’m not using your full freaking name on this blog so women across the DMV area can be spared 6 dollars and your company. So pardon me if I’m not itching to communicate with you and hear more stories about how you tattle on people in movie theaters.

3) If you had actually texted and asked me out again, I would have happily rejected you. If someone asks me out again and I’m not interested, I always write a nice, polite rejection. And the responses I receive following the rejection are more normal, and nicer, than the text I just received from you.

4) This is the world of online dating. Sometimes, you reach out to someone, and you don’t hear back.  It sucks, but it happens. Remember that we’re all still basically strangers, and while it’s impolite to not respond indefinitely to someone you’re never met, people still do it. And I can guarantee you, no one has ever gained anything from sending a hostile text.

I really hope that’s the last I hear from A. And please know, the only PE teacher I’ll be spending time with this week is:

sue sylvester

P. S.: Ya’ll, I can’t tell you how many hours spent googling “PE TEACHER”  “famous coach,” etc. went into the creation of this post. It’s straight up embarrassing.

Message Monday: upright and cool dude

Wow. Last week’s Message Monday was a tough act to follow. This message is admittedly pretty innocuous compared to some of the ones we’ve seen. On the surface this guy actually seems (kind of) friendly and nice. But let’s dig deeper, shall we?

message monday 3-18-13

  • “Okcupid keeps emailing me to message you”. I don’t know what site you’re on, sir, but the free internet dating service I signed up for has never aggressively and incessantly emailed me demanding that I message the same random person. If it did, no one would use it. As you can see from the screen cap, I showed up in this guy’s quiver, which is when okc gives you three profile suggestions for you to take a look at. When you delete those three people from your quiver, they give you three more. Okc will email them to you if you don’t turn off email alerts, like with anything else. You can easily ignore this altogether if you choose. So what happened was, I was one of this guy’s three suggested people. The end. Clearly he has a flair for the dramatics. Also, is this supposed to make me want to reply to your message? Essentially telling me that the adorable okc robot mascot (who PS I officially dubbed Sallybot… yes I’m still single) put a virtual gun to your head and that’s why you’re reaching out to me?                                                                                                                       sally bot
  • “You seem like a pretty upright and cool dude”. Ummm….thanks? That’s a….unique thing to say to a stranger who you may want to potentially date. I guess there are worse things someone could say but let’s be honest, this is not ideal. “Upright”? I’ve got nothing. And obviously “dude” is a term that can be also be used for girls but I did have a terrible moment when I first read this where I thought this person actually mistook me for a man. The second thought that came to mind was that I’d just received a message from one of these fine gentlemen: …and a click onto the guy’s profile confirmed that yes, I actually sort of did! Oh, Clueless. Nearly 20 years later you continue to be a reliable and accurate resource for dating advice and blog material. Bless your heart, Amy Heckerling.
  • “I guess you can message me back if you feel like it”. Well. Be still my heart. Clearly I’ve received 2013’s answer to this. Look, I don’t expect some over the top super eloquent first message, but could we maybe handle 10-15% more enthusiasm? You managed to fit in multiple exclamation points, so can you apply that excitement to the actual words you typed? Here’s a helpful tip: if what you’re writing can also be used in the context of 1. adding accident forgiveness to your car insurance or 2. getting flavored fluoride during your next teeth cleaning (shoot, actually I need to make an appointment), maybe, probably, (definitely) don’t send it to a potential date.

Hmm. Just realized I’ve got an unintentional Jane Austen theme going on here. So let’s watch Colin Firth in a wet shirt now. No explanation necessary.