“Wow!” I said, “She seems amazing! A triathlete, well educated, funny, good grammar and the toughest measure of all – I actually find her attractive.” – Me, too many times.
I’ll be honest, I’ve got a pretty impossible criteria. Could this criteria be the fatal flaw? The chink in online dating’s armour? The Achilles heel? I used to think that was the case, until just a few months ago. It dawned on me when I was rewriting my profile that our selection criteria wasn’t the problem.
I try to be honest and objective when I write my profile. It is mainly why I write things like “good kisser”, and “hard to be nervous around”. Those are attributes you can just pull out a measuring stick to measure, right? Wrong. If I listed all the cold, statistical attributes about myself, I probably wouldn’t have much success. Sure, I could list my ability to start a fire with two sticks, or my advanced know-how of zombie apocalypse survival, but “hard to be nervous around” sounds much more slick. And who doesn’t want to be with a “good kisser”? Definitely no date of mine.
So herein lies the problem. When you read someone’s profile and look at their pictures, you are getting a view that is skewed.
- First, it is skewed by what they want you to know. They are selling themselves, and showing you what you want to know may not be in their best interest.
- Second, and more dangerous, is that you are seeing their self perception. Who do you know that sees themselves in a completely honest light? Some people have a much more warped sense of self than others. That’s why I think I could take GSP in 2 rounds or less (might be more believable after his last fight). My point is that as dishonest as some profiles are, I think those people honestly believed what they wrote, regardless of whether I saw anything different.
- Third, gauging someone’s online persona is nearly impossible. Email, text and chat can be terribly deceiving. With seconds, minutes or hours to think of a clever or witty response, research a topic on Wikipedia or YouTube your favourite artist, responses are seldom completely genuine.
- Fourth, we choose the pictures that we think are our best. I learned a lesson when I decided to try a long distance fling for a bit. She would occasionally ask for another pic of me so naturally I started with the one I thought was best. About 10 pics later I sent one that I thought was dopey, and she loved it. She commented so often about going back to that one picture that I decided to put it as my main online dating pic. Messages increased tenfold.
When you read my profile, it is actually a pretty honest representation of me. Once I figured out the fatal flaw, I took some measures to ensure I wasn’t contributing to the problem. Lets be fair though, I didn’t take out any of the “sales pitch”, that part is completely necessary. What I did do is have some close friends read it over and tell me if it really did represent me, my character and my persona. I made changes based on their feedback, some that I liked, and some that I didn’t.
So back to the triathlete…it turned out she had decided to start training for a small one a few months out. She had never been to the gym, and certainly couldn’t run 10-15 km with me like I had hoped. I had to carry the conversation and we had very little to talk about when she didn’t have access to Google to research mountains sports like she had when online. Don’t get me wrong, she was a great person, just not great for me.
So is all hope lost for Online Dating? No. But you’ll have to wait for the next post so hear how I make it less painful.