Tag Archives: Inca Trail

How About We… First Get a Cup of Coffee and Make Sure Neither of Us Has Conspicuous STDs

12 Jun

Muff-Dive Before You Skydive

So I’ve joined this relatively new dating site, How About We (also served up through the Someecards website), and I really love it. I think it’s the best 2.0 dating site I’ve seen, with a gimmick that actually works, a simple layout, and an elegant way of collecting feedback to make improvements. The concept is simple but innovative: online dating based around experiences and interests rather than just arbitrary filters and profiles. You propose some dates you’d actually like to go on and only then do you fuss over whether your picture makes you look too fat or just how much you should reveal about your bug collection.

The coolness of the concept, however, has an amusing side-effect. Once you start scouring the ladies’ profiles, you run into some very amusing “unrealistic first date proposals,” or UFDPs. Some of these, localized to NYC, include:

  • Rock climbing
  • Shooting range
  • Parachuting out of an airplane
  • Ziplining over a mountain
  • Trapeze class
  • Spontaneous travel to an exotic locale (i.e., Peru/Inca Trail/Machu Picchu)

Now, not to be square and old-fashioned, but are any of these dates actually viable? With varying degrees of plausibility, even the ones that sound doable, such as a shooting gallery, in my humble opinion, do not create the best environments for getting to know someone (unless you’re both NRA members, in which case it just might be).

A first date should be about getting to know a person, not about extreme adventures. There should be some healthy awkwardness and a lot of conversation. You’re both feeling each other out, looking for common ground while looking for any really bright red flags. So, yeah, maybe it’s not very original, but a coffee or a glass of wine at a chill venue is usually pretty ideal. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, check out a museum or art gallery for some conversation pieces.

I’ve done my share of quirky dates. From Pickle Day on the Lower East Side to an interactive off-Broadway show to a Michael Jackson/Thriller outdoor tribute, I’ve tried to spice things up or just fly by the seat of my pants on a first date. Some were good, some were bad, some were neutral. What I’ve come to realize is that adventures are most awesome when shared with the right person, and your first goal should be to find that person, not going on a safari or arranging a flash mob date.

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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?