Tag Archives: dating profiles

The Profile: Who Am I? (Part II)

5 Feb

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with some of the archetypes of the online dating world, I’d like to devote some special attention to a special group: Rabid Travelers . The demographic seems to be engendered by the very process of filling out a profile. If you’re a guy and have perused a plethora of female profiles, you’ve no doubt run into a number of RTs. They are sometimes hard to isolate and separate out from the casual travelers prior to a face-to-face date (F2F), but some profiles are dead giveaways.

Granted, the average OkCupid profile includes a nod to geographical escapism. Americans, and New Yorkers in particular, are more likely than other Americans to hold a passport and to have actually used it. Add that to the fact that our generation has much more leisure time and economic freedom to explore–whether through semesters/work or volunteering abroad, extended backpacking tours through Europe and South America, or just using that odd week here and there on more exotic places than cruises and all-inclusives, and social media portals quickly become a shrine to wanderlust. Perhaps we’re rebels without a cause. With no wars to fight or protest (or the desire to do either) for most of us, maybe our generation pours the energy and soul-searching of baby boomers into global exploration. Who knows?

After a while, it becomes expected and your eyes are desensitized to the mere mention of other places; no more compelling or eye-catching than anodyne statements about gadget or food preferences. The modern consumer experience prizes long menus of options and travel, once a privilege of the leisure class, is now as ordinary as choosing a drink at Starbucks, a craft beer at a bar, or cruising Netflix. And so we pick from an endless adventure menu: BeNeLux, Uruguay, Tibet, New Zealand, Jordan, Venezuela, Iceland. For some RTs, everything is a stamp on the checklist of authenticity–World Cup in South Africa; Carnival in Brazil; Mardi Gras in New Orleans; mountain-climbing in Tanzania; bullfighting in Spain. Others choose human interest–building homes in Haiti, working in African schools, or teaching English in Nicaragua. But within the RT domain there’s one startling trend: Machu Picchu. I don’t know when it happened, and perhaps it’s already jumped the shark, but it’s undeniable that a significant percentage of ladies on OkCupid fetishize Peru and would forego their yoga mat, smart phone, and a month of NPR to walk the Inca Trail.

Why Peru? Why the Incas? Where’s the love for the Mayans and Aztecs? Outside of doomsday predictions and Roland Emmerich movies, we barely cast a glance of tribes to the north. I myself look forward to one day checking out Peru and Machu Picchu, but my initial gusto has been tempered somewhat by the frequency with which this appears on women’s bucket lists.

Ladies, no disrespect to the Incas, but there are so many other trails to walk! Check out the Highline, for instance. Or the Freedom Trail in Boston. Nature walk, anyone?

The Profile: Who Am I? (Part I)

1 Feb

Love Life, Hate Dating

So, you’ve created a punny username, secured your password, and uploaded some rad photos including your trip to Bali, karaoke night shenanigans, and scuba-diving underwater closeup; or, if you’re a guy, some shirtless hotpics and a shot of you in your striped button-down pounding a Rolling Rock. If you’re on OkCupid, you’re even answered some arbitrary questions about your personality, sex life, and moral judgment. Congratulations! You’re ready to be matched…Not so fast, you’re gonna need a profile. That’s right, that pesky little summary of your entire life encapsulated in a few sentences. This is where so many of you are totally stumped, as we can see from the very first lines of your profile. “Why am I being asked to fill this out?” “This is ridiculous.” “I can’t sum up my life in a few paragraphs.” “I don’t have time for this right now.” These are all reasonable reactions, but, like dishes, it has to be done.

This might be a nice time to take a deep breath, make a cup of tea, and take stock of your life. To me, what’s troubling is not that your life can’t be summed up in an online dating form, but that it can. Seriously, unless you’re thinking about the 75 academic publications you’ve got under your belt, or insist on listing every song in your iTunes library, it’s really not that hard to imagine a summary of your life to this point. For example: “Born, went to school, made friends, left for college, drank a lot, went to grad school, drank some more, graduated, had quarter life crisis, tried community theater, went to some live shows, left corporate law to be a midwife, enjoy yoga, read Murakami (more on this phenomenon in future posts), the end.” Your story may differ somewhat, with fascinating details like the model of your smartphone or your average running distance or your opinions on holistic living and dietary choices, but generally, with the exception of some TRULY quirky outliers, you’re going to occupy one of several social buckets that I will now attempt to “summarize.” (“But how can you summarize my social bucket in just a few sentences, pretentious blogger?” – It can be done.)

Leading off we have the Reluctant Online Dater (ROD). This is the girl (pardon my unisex references but I do speak from the other side of the fence) who will preface everything with a long, defensive explanation about why she’s here. “Long hours at the office,” “tired of the bar scene,” and “just moved here from ______, Not New York” are commonly spotted in these profiles. Unless they are an extreme ROD, they’ll move on to normal prose in the other questions. The extreme ones will vex you with more apologism until you quit on their profile altogether. Then we have the New-to-Towner (NT).  Admittedly, this is one of my favorite groups because these folks tend to friendlier, more curious, and less jaded than more seasoned New Yorkers. Everything is still fresh and new; even a ride on the subway is fun! Central Park at night? 5/$1 dumplings?  Free ferry to Staten Island? All of these will sound like great ideas to the NT. The downside of dating an NT is you can’t always be sure if they want to date you or use you as a city guide. But chances are if you’re down on your own city they might rekindle the fire in your belly that’s yearning for adventure and help you notice places and people again.

Unfortunately online dating gives rise to a subgroup of Cynical Daters (CCD). Here we have guys and dolls who, perhaps setting their expectations too high or not vetting their partners rigorously enough, end up meeting weirdoes, crazies, cheapskates, liars, and stalkers. I would love to solicit stories from guys on some of their strangest dating experiences, but I’ve heard enough from ladies to appreciate that they are very vulnerable to disaster dates. I’m always amazed with the wherewithal and poise of so many ladies when presented with awkward and unwanted situations (“Sorry I didn’t tell you about my paraplegia,” “I can’t wait to finally meet you. What’s your apartment number?” and “Suck me, beautiful” are not unheard of. OK, fine, that last one is from American Pie, but is it so farfetched?). All I can say is, more power to you, ladies. Stay strong. A non-stalking, bill-paying, mostly honest guy is lurking just around the corner. OK, not lurking…waiting in the open.

Check in soon  for Part II of “The Profile: Who Am I?”

What’s in a Name?

30 Jan

Alright, we know the profile setup process is fraught with a number of stressful decisions. But before you decide whether to set the playful photo of you with a cute animal or that headshot from 5 years ago as your profile picture, and before you begin the daunting process of describing yourself to the online world armed with nothing but naked words, you’ve got to pick a name. So let’s take a step back. That’s right, a name. While this will excite some among us, I feel like many will see it as yet another cumbersome step in an already ridiculous process. But you’ll need to suck it up and christen yourself like the rest of us.

So what shall we call ourselves? Whenever I cruise through girls’ profiles, I’m struck by a few very obvious patterns that I will categorize into a few simple baskets:

Geographical Affiliation. Ladies, if you have no inclination to be creative or express anything unique whatsoever about yourself, choose this route. “ParkSlopeGrrl, VillageGal, LadyLES, or UESandy” are all acceptable choices. If you want to take it up a notch and add a simple pun, you’ve reached Level 2: the Geo-Pun handle. Try “FortGreener, WilliamsburgerWithCheese, ChelseaLately, or if you’re more inclined to be racy, AssToria.” Guys, you can take it from here.

Those with less neighborhood pride/interest in attracting people within a 5 block radius who also happen to be Jewish may be fond of the Schmaltzy Pun. With a very large number of Jewish daters in New York, you’ll come across these folks even outside the vaunted halls of jDate. Here the possibilities for irritating nicknames really explode within a large subset of Jewish daters. If, like me, you’re a relatively indifferent Jew, these will make you want to wretch and subsequently block people who choose to hit Enter after typing in “DreidelDave, Lisa_Latke, SchvitzingSchwartz, MeshugarDaddy,” or, god forbid, something more direct, like “Jewlicious, Jewcy, Jewbilation, JewnBug, or NYJew” (if you’re a clever NYU student). There should be a special circle of online dating hell reserved for these nicknames/profiles once retired.

More eggregious than a Schmaltzy Punster and Geo-Affiliate combined is the Elitist Flag. This is a not-so-subtle signifier that not only do you lack a healthy amount of shame for attending an Ivy or Ivy-caliber institution; you actually demand that the world knows it. It’s also an academic mating call to others of the same stripes. You’ll find this group well represented at the lower-Ivy level (think Penn, Brown, Cornell). Thus you might see a “BigRedBarb” or a “UPenny,” or, if you’re really lucky, a “JewPenn.” It bears mentioning that schools with good sports also inspire guys and gals to identify with their alma maters (e.g., “GatorsGal” or “FoghornLonghorn”) but I put these squarely into the category of good old sports affiliations.

Once you’ve successfully avoided the urge to do a Geo-Pun or to raise your Elitist Flag to full mast, you can choose a decent, unimpeachable nickname. I myself haven’t been entirely immune to the lure of the punny handle. This has led to such fiascos as my recent MustLoveBlogs decision, which was quickly undone after some timely intervention from good friends. If you’re not sure, find a good friend and ask. Better yet, crowdsource it with a few people. Names may not make or break your online dating portfolio, but they can make a dent that will be hard to fix.

Think about it…then think again.