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 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 suggestions—I’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.
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…
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?
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.
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 wasscorpions, 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:
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.
Of the new conversations that were started in that period, people responded more often, and allegedly exchanged contact details more often.
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.
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…)
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:
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.”
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?
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:
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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:
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:
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.
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):
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
In case you are just joining us (in which case, welcome!/fasten your seat belt) this post is technically aPart 2. When we last left off, the Good Message Unicorn had apologized for his lame behavior and asked if I wanted to meet. And sweet baby Jesus, it was about time.In keeping with my Summer of YOLO affirmations, I decided to go for it. I gave GMU my phone number, sat back, …and waited for him to take the reigns, which he did. We made plans to meet for drinks, which in my mind was going to go one of two ways:
We’d meet, hit it off immediately, and begin a hot mid-summer romance, thus validating the entire Summer of YOLO plan
Hmmmm let’s see. Which of those options seems more likely in the world of LSD, and the world of online dating in general? The night of our date, I arrived at my old reliable (yes, he asked me where I wanted to meet and yes, I was annoyed about it). I didn’t see GMU at the bar, but he’d just texted me that he was there, so I headed up to the second floor and…. literally ran right into him on the stairs. Now, if you’ve ever online dated, you know that the first moment of a first date is almost always excruciatingly awkward because neither party knows how to appropriately greet the other person. Do you shake hands? Hug? Wait to see what your date does? Before I even had time to consider my greeting options, this happened: GMU: Sorry, I don’t want to touch you because I’m really sick.Me (internally):Me: Oh. Sorry you’re sick. We could have rescheduled…?GMU: I know, but I was looking forward to meeting you, and I also felt like since I kind of disappeared for a bit, it would have seemed extra shady for me to cancel at the last minute. I didn’t want you to think I was blowing you off. Despite that fact that we were still having this awkward ass conversation ON THE STAIRS as waiters and customers brushed by us, GMU earned some points for that. Because he’s right: the fact that he fully disappeared once, coupled with the fact that more often than not, the ‘I’m sick” excuse turns out to be bullshit, (and maybe the fact that Stupid Cupid is the patron blog of pessimistic over thinkers) means that I probably wouldn’t have believed him. Well played, GMU… Source: memecdn.com …even though I was now at risk for contracting the “summer cold” he claimed to have come down with. Welp, that’s what they make Purell for, right?Finally we moved from our creepy perch and I got a chance to fully check my date out. He was:
shorter than he claimed to be, because duh, but still respectably tall
almost as cute as his pictures
All in all I was pleased. We sat down, ordered drinks, and GMU launched into telling me about his job. I don’t know why this seems to be a trend with me lately, but I’ve encountered some serious Chatty Cathys. Luckily GMU had a cool job that I was mildly interested in (small/independent film distributor–I’m sorry but no one can top Keith Mars in that department) so I peppered him with a lot of questions. Homeboy was smart and well spoken and unlike a previous Chatty Cathy, didn’t bore me to tears with tedious anecdotes that no one cares about but him. But, even though GMU was holding my interest, at the same time it all seemed very…official. And oddly business-like. We were chatting like two strangers exchanging platonic pleasantries, not two people on a date. Our messages had been filled with all the flirty, loquacious banter of some snappy Aaron Sorkin dialogue, but that just wasn’t translating in person. This is actually pretty common, I think mostly because it’s easy to sit in front of a laptop and type and re-type a message until it’s the perfect blend of sassy, witty, and hilarious, but when you’re sitting in front of a complete stranger yeah, that shit’s a little harder. Men appear to especially have a hard time with this… I can’t tell you how many have been literally PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR over messaging and then come off like a wet blanket in person.Midway through the date I went to the bathroom and thought about how it was going. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. Two things needed to happen for the night to tip the scales toward positive:
We needed to stop talking to each other like two co-workers in a conference room at a Scottsdale Ramada and start flirting, ASAP.
GMU needed to actually ask about me and my life, and then shut his mouth and let me speak.The talking thing seemed like a nervous habit, so I was trying not to take it personally,but at a certain point it’s hard not to feel like you could be replaced with a bag of rusty nails and your date might just keep going because he literally has zero interest in getting to know anything about you. If you think I’m exaggerating, read this article. More great news for single women!
I got back to the table, these thoughts still on my mind. As if on cue GMU said, “Where was I…? Oh yeah!” and immediately launched into ANOTHER STORY. And I just sat there with my mouth agape, thinking: My eyes started to glaze over. But then, as if he could read my mind (or possibly my facial expression), GMU stopped mid-sentence and said:“I’m sorry, I can hear myself talking your ear off. I’m talking too much, aren’t I?”Well. That took me by surprise. I appreciated the self awareness, though it took a lot of self control not to shout “YES, YES YOU ARE TALKING WAY TOO MUCH AND IT’S REALLY OBNOXIOUS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??” Instead I went with a much kinder: “Yup, maybe a little too much.”“I knew it. I’m sorry! I just want you to know it’s because I’m having a really nice time. Let me finish this thought and then I promise I will shut up and you can tell me more about you.”I had to physically bar myself from rolling my eyes at ‘it’s because I’m having a nice time’ because LOL, yeah. You’ve been listening to the sound of your own voice for the better part of an hour. I bet you’re having a nice time. To GMU’s credit, though, he did shut up and listen. Thank God. As the conversation became more of a back and forth, we started to banter a bit. GMU had obviously gotten more comfortable, and even managed to pull out some of the teasing and volleying he’d been so good at over messaging. Then it was revealed that he knew my alma mater, BU, very well because he dated a girl for three years who went there and visited frequently. The highlight of the entire date was when GMU started to talk shit on CGS, which is something that every BU student knows about. The College of General Studies is a school that freshmen are admitted into when they’re…not…ready?…for BU itself. CGS has an infamously bad rap at BU–it’s affectionately known as crayons, glue and scissors…So it totally tickled me that GMU knew about this and was in on the shit talking (PS, most of this shit talking stemmed from the fact that his college girlfriend cheated on him with a CGS student, which explains his surprising fervor on the subject). I know this all probably comes off as mean spirited and douchey, especially coming from a school that lives in the shadow of the capital of elitist doucheland. And yes, it kind of is, but it’s also a time honored BU tradition. Sidenote: I actually have a few friends who were in CGS (if you’re reading this, hi guys!/I’m sorry, I’m the worst xoxoxo), and who are smart, successful humans with good jobs, so clearly all this snide judgment is meaningless. Funny, but meaningless. ANYWAY, I was still LOLing from the BU/CGS tangent when my date surprised me again:GMU: I’m having a lot of fun. Would you like to do this again sometime?I mean, what single girl doesn’t like to hear that from a cute guy, even one who talks incessantly? I’ve just never heard literally it in the middle of the date in the middle of a conversation. A part of me was like, wait. Is he ending the night right now? Is GMU just going to get up and walk away after I answer him? Only one way to find out. Since the date had markedly improved during the second half of the evening, I decided the Good Message Unicorn was worth a second look. Me: I’m having fun, too. And sure, I’d love to. GMU: Awesome. Anyway, back to what we were talking about…So the date continued but started to wind down. 15 minutes later we got the check and left. We stood outside the bar, saying an awkward goodbye. GMU repeated that he’d love to see me again, and told me he’d be in touch soon. Then something…unprecedented happened. My date fist bumped me.
My date FIST. BUMPED. ME.
Yes, you’re thinking of the right fist bump. The GMU and I did this:I have no words. And I had no words then. I think I actually blurted out, “wow, okay. That just happened. Well….goodnight!” and fled.So what happened next? A second date? A phone call? Some text flirting?Anything? Anything at all?Nothing. After a months-long saga of messaging, taking a break from messaging, disappearing, YOLOing, reappearing, meeting, illnesses and hand moves made famous by bros, after all that, I never heard from the GMU again. That bastard had the gall to pull a fade away.I’m not even going to go into how maddening it is to be asked out again IN THE MIDDLE OF A DATE and then hear nothing from that person, because it’s well covered territory here at Stucu. Like I said at the beginning of this post, this is not an interesting or juicy ending to the GMU saga by any means, but it’s so incredibly true to life and to the dating world as I know it. A lot of BS, time and effort amounting to… this. I realize this post took a dark turn for a sunny Friday afternoon, but if you’ve been following our blog you should hardly be surprised.I do have two positive things to end on. 1. I’m still hella glad I YOLO’d, because at least now I know. I know that GMU is not the one that got away and that I didn’t let tired dating conventions and self consciousness get in the way of figuring that out. So…go me? I mean, still alone, of course, but alone and wiser. Yup, basically just alone.Positive thing #2… our wonderful co-blogger D celebrated a milestone birthday this week!Readers, join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday! D, you’re one of my favorite people in the world, even if you do have a ‘tude about Disney classics and our use of the term YOLO.Here’s a little belated Bday treat for you…Date rating: 6/10. The chemistry that I had with GMU over messaging never really materialized in person, and he talked my ear off, but the date did improve a fair amount towards the end. Until, of course, he FIST BUMPED ME and then pulled a fade away. Given the last two points, my grading might actually be too generous.
It turns out this fool deleted his original profile and promptly created an almost identical new username (by removing the number 69 and adding the word ‘fart’. I wish. I. was. kidding.) So yes, this message does appear to be from our dear old friend Pennsyltucky.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this message is actually an upgrade #mylifeissad. I mean, we’ve established that I enjoy a good speakeasy, the word ‘tomfoolery’ is used, and there’s not even a mention of me “popping out a kidlet on the bus”. Someone clearly spent the month of May in charm school! The question is, did this guy genuinely forget that he messaged me weeks beforehand with an equally outlandish date scenario? Or is his strategy literally to pick a new setting/era every few weeks and fire off some ridiculous nonsense until I respond? Is this a messaging war of attrition?
Only time will tell, readers. Since sending that message, Pennsyltucky has continued his pattern and deleted his current profile, so if I receive a new message set in the wild west from a username including the words ‘big tool 4 u’…
I’m not sure why, but my Okc messages seem to be getting more…involved. In other words, random as shit. The pendulum has apparently swung from the standard one word “hi”, “hey”, and “sup” right on over to the to the other extreme. First it was last week’s white trash soliloquy, and now this:
First of all:
Could we cool it with the caps lock, sir? Also, don’t shout/type at me to “focus”. I’m already reading your message, you lunatic, so please take it the fuck down a notch and maybe lay off the Adderall next time.
Second, I was actually online this past Saturday night because I was at a get together with some friends and we were talking about the Tinder-esque “locals” featureon Okc. My married friends, bless their happily-in-love-and-therefore-naive-to-the-h0rrors-of-being-single hearts, wanted to know more about it, so I whipped my phone out and let them swipe away. I realize that this weirdo had no way of knowing that that’s why I was online, but I just want to establish for the record that I wasn’t pathetically trolling for dudes on a Saturday night (at least not on this particularSaturday night).
Third, that little “701,265 hours” line sounds awfully familiar…
Fourth, a “relaxing respite” at the Art Museum steps at 2 amsounds like a one way ticket to Murdersville, population: me. Also, everyone knows that you don’t go to the Art Museum steps to relax; you go to kick ass/be swarmed by a flash mob of small children:
Anyway, I’m thinking you can guess what my thoughts were on this “proposition”:
but I just want you all to know that I’ve decided to officially get back out there in June. I’m honestly kind of dreading it, and by “kind of” I mean I cried on the phone with L last night after being active on Okcupid for exactly one day. Dating is hard, man. So. Hard. And exhausting. And depressing. And it’s been two solid years of this shit. To be fair, I know plenty of people who have been been in the game for much longer, both in real life and in fiction:
but I also know people who have never had to do it in their lives, and I’m really feeling the jealousy and injustice of that fact right now. Lucky motherfuckers.
Anyway, I can’t promise that I’ll go out with someone right away, because yesterday’s cursory glance onto Okc has confirmed that the dating landscape is just as soul crushingly bleak as ever.I am definitely planning on contacting the Good Message Unicorn from last month, but knowing my luck he’s proooobably engaged by now. Either way, I promise to keep you all posted on my (lack of) progress.
Meanwhile, while I’ve been getting my sea legs back/being a serious Negative Nancy,my co-bloggers have been busy going on actual dates with actual men. Stay tuned for some first date tales later in the week!
I know it’s not Monday, but it’s the first day back from a long weekend, which means we all desperately need a distraction while we ease back into the work week. After spending a glorious few days frolicking in DC with L, I know I certainly do. Hopefully this does the trick:
So… that happened.
I know this guy’s location says Philadelphia, but the message screamsPennsyltucky to me. For those of you who aren’t aware, the super rural middle section of PA is fondly referred to as “Pennsyltucky” by those of us who still have all of our teeth.
So when this dude messaged me, dropping all kinds of piss poor grammar while referencing Walmart, trailers, and giving birth on Greyhound buses, that’s the first thing that came to mind. If you watch Orange is the New Black (and if you don’t, seriously get on that) you may recall that there’s a…charming character who’s been given this very nickname:
Now obviously, it’s possible that this message was a (terribly misguided) joke and this guy was trying, in a really bizarre, elaborate, gross way, to be funny. The fact that we are a NINETY ONE PERCENT MATCH (wtf/fml) suggests that this might be the case. I clicked on his profile for additional evidence (spoiler alert: his username contains both the number 69 and the word ‘panties’). Here’s what I found:
Actually the first thing I noticed about you, Pennsyltucky, was the fact that you’re borderline illiterate, but that’s just me. The point is, if this is a joke, it’s really stupid and really unfunny. And I’m not sure what the endgame is. Am I supposed to be charmed by this creepy harassment? Also, am I supposed to know what a “rodeo buffet” is? I’m from New Jersey, Pennsyltucky, so the closest I’ve ever come to attending a rodeo is:
Also, can we talk about the use of “love”, “princess”, “sexy”, and lest we forget, “babycakes”? No, Pennsyltucky (and all men everywhere). A thousand times no. Forgetting how utterly insane the rest of the message is, I’m not sure why guys think it’s okay to drop overly familiar terms of endearment on women they don’t even know. Not only is it misogynistic and insulting, it’s also downright creepy (#yesallwomen).
Then again, I suppose it’s kind of pointless to fixate on being called “babycakes” by a complete stranger when he also described me “popping out a kidlet” in the same message. I’m over you, Pennsyltucky. And so is Regina George.
Irrational fears seem to be a recurring theme here at StuCu, and this guy clearly knew how to jump right into my personal nightmares/psychoses…
Can I just say:
I can’t even address what’s happening on his shoulder just yet, because OMFG, so let’s start with the dude. Look, I know this guy. The bow tie, the shaggy cut, the facial hair, the twee little accessory. I’m guessing he also plays the banjo and worships Ira Glass.
This is what I call a fancy hipster. Not to be confused with a dirty hipster, whose skinny jeans are covered in bike grease. A fancy hipster dresses in a jaunty fashion and has a fetish for inane, ironic objects. He might collect vintage badminton rackets. Or he might…
Now, birds I can actually handle, although neither of my co-bloggers can say the same (as previously noted, L and D’s bird phobias are no joke).You know what I can’t handle?
Creepy dolls. Look at that thing. If that doesn’t scream “I’m going to come to life in the middle of the night and kill you”, I don’t know what does.This phobia probably stems from the fact that my older cousin let me watch a movie called Dolls with him when I was around 7, and I’ve basically been sleeping with one eye open ever since. That also goes for puppets, mannequins, and anything that has the potential to reanimate and come after me. Also, this is not just any doll, it’s a fucking Pee Wee Herman doll. And I’m sorry, HOW TERRIFYING WAS PEE WEE’S PLAYHOUSE???
Seriously, that is some SINISTER. SHIT. I never watched that show as a kid, really because it was slightly before my time, and thank God for that. Luckily, I was born into a golden age of kid’s television instead:
Bottom line, fancy hipster: I’m already worried enough that my actual human dates are going to kill me without you adding a potential evil doll murderer into the mix. Also, fuck Pee Wee. Nickelodeon forever.