Girls Love Grammar

18 Jan

(Editor’s Note: I’ll use OkCupid as a point of reference for much of what you’ll read here. You might have more love for jDate or Match.com, but many of us have long since wised up and migrated to this FREE dating zoo. Consequently, the demographics are somewhat skewed to twenty- and thirty-something urban, quirky, college-educated, socially and personally aware set. For neophyte professionals, have no fear: you’ll still find lawyers to date, but they’re likelier to practice environmental and art than corporate and insurance.)

If there’s one universal truth about any girl worth dating on OkCupid, it’s this: she loves grammar. Or at least she professes to love grammar. But I can confirm that the vast preponderance of women whose digital profile reflects a strong penchant for grammar really mean it. And the ones who don’t will at least stipulate this minimal requirement for contact: “You know the difference between your and you’re.” What gives?

First, to be fair, this reflects very poorly on the “men” of online dating (more on guys in future posts). One can shiver at the thought of activating your profile, your spine tingling with anticipation of sexy, mysterious strangers sweeping you off your swivel chair and whisking you off on an endless adventure, only to find dozens of illiterate and un-spell-checked messages from bros cluttering your inbox moments later.

Still, there must be more. Indeed, the OkCupid universe, forged in the fiery bowels of Mordor, just off Harvard Yard, is one that draws a disproportionate amount of not only educated, not only hyper-educated, but wonky and word-obsessed Scrabble players, bloggers, and crossword fanatics who either majored, minored, or dabble in one communication art or another. To the highest elite in this word-ly set, a guy (or girl, for that matter) who can’t reference Eats, Shoots, & Leaves or namedrop Strunk & White, the conversation is over before it began. For the rest, who either aspire to or admire this cabal of wordsmiths and grammarians, a standard is set, a line is drawn, and it’s “your and you’re.”

And let’s not forget one obvious fact: it’s a writing medium! Making redonculous spelling mistakes in an introductory email is the equivalent of drooling out of the side of your mouth when you approach a girl at a bar.

Who knows why grammar has such a hold on online daters, but the fact is that grammar offers a wonderful synergy between soft arts and hard rules, a beacon of objective certainty in a sea of doubt. So do yourself a favor, forget dangling participles and give up on split infinitives. Just make sure your leading with you’re best line.

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