Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lessons learned this year

In June I shared five lessons that I'd learned in the first six months of online dating. You can read them here, but I'll summarize them below before adding a few more to the list.

1. No profile picture/one picture = bad sign
2. Less than 65% match = probably not worth it
3. Introverts are often attracted to introverts; therefore, one of them is going to have to be a bit extroverted long enough to message the other.
4. Leaving one's instant messenger open at night = craziness
5. Editing online profiles often = more profile views and messages

Now for the more recently learned messages:

1. Poor spelling does not an idiot make. I will qualify this by saying that if someone writes like Nelly sings, he's really not my type; however, I have had some serious lessons in dyslexia at work over the last few months, and they have given me a new understanding of the way spelling correlates (or doesn't, really) to intelligence. Yes, there is definitely spell check, but if one is not even sure how to spell a word, spell check may be worthless.

2. As Ily stated incredibly well on her blog, Asexy Beast, it is so easy to read a profile and then automatically try to place that person into a category (i.e., hipster, frat boy, trust-fund baby, etc.). This is like trying to place someone on the Mean Girls high school cafeteria map, only for adults, and that really isn't that much of a difference. Just because I don't have a "scene" doesn't mean I should be OK with discriminating against someone who obviously does.

3. (This lesson probably should have been quite obvious, had I given it more than a minute's thought, but…) people who match really well, may be too perfect. While I don't believe that opposites attract in the sense that a greasy gamer and a preppy princess are going to suddenly fall madly in love, I have come to realize that, say, having different general tastes in music—while still maintaining a bit overlap—is a good thing. Great, so we both like Bajofondo and we can go to a show together, but then what?

4. It's worth taking a chance, provided it's a safe one. I mentioned last week that a guy from out of town had messaged me and asked if I might like to hang out with him while he was in my area for the week. Had he just left it at that, I might not have said yes; however, he indicated that it was highly likely he'd be moving up here soon. I thought about it for a few days, but I e-mailed him back and said I'd like to meet him. I'll write more on this later, but let's just say that I'm quite glad I met him.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

One Year

Last night, when I was returning home from Christmas with my parents, I was struck by how fast the year has gone by. It seems like it was just a few months ago that I did the same holiday lights tour through the city and it's hard to believe that was actually a full year ago.

It was also one year ago that I officially joined the dating site. I joined it on a whim—I was sick with a bad cold, lonely, and on vacation and I figured I had nothing to lose by joining it. So, in a list of numbers, I present a recap of my year of online dating:

6: Guys I met in person
5: Guys I met in person as a "date"
1: Guys I met in person as a friend

3: Personal ads to which I responded on Craigslist
2: Responses and subsequent e-mail exchanges from said people on Craigslist
0: Dates resulting from Craigslist ads

321: People I rejected on the dating site
50+: People I rejected on the dating site solely because of their horrible username

110: Posts on this blog

So this is part one of the anniversary post. I'm going to aim to write the "lessons learned" post tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Irrational Fear of Possums

Aack! I can't believe I've not posted for four days. It's not the greatest excuse, but I've been going back and forth between my place and my parents' and my routines (including posting to this blog) have been obliterated.

Anyways, I heard last week from a guy (yet another guy whose name starts with D) who lives far away, but grew up in the area and is trying to move back here. He wondered if I might be up for hanging out while he was in town for the holidays. After much hemming and hawing and consultation of friends, I decided to go ahead and e-mail him back. In the last week we've exchanged numerous messages and he seems cool. At this point, friendly-cool, but I'll take that. We're going to meet on Saturday for chai and board games at a favorite cafe of mine. I feel like there's nothing to lose, so hopefully I'll only gain from the experience.

Tomorrow is my one-year anniversary of online dating, so I'll be writing a big post about that. Until then, check this out:

"I'm going to do this as a series of random thoughts- I have no appendix…I am enamored with my own abdominal muscles…I have extensively modified my epidermis…I think White Castle cheeseburgers are quite possible the greatest food in existance…I have an irrational fear of possums…I like anything stereotypically punk-rock (ie. cheap beer, loud/fast music, women with excessive eyeliner, etc.)…I am a huge nerd, and hence, love nerdy chicks…" (Witsch-Boy)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Where are all the nerds?

This lovely dating-site journal entry comes from katastrofei:

Why are there no nerds? WHY? Seems like Portland collected them all in a tight, hipster bundle and possesses them like a jealous mistress. Ironic, that. Might be the only mistress we ever have.

Seriously though: I want to play some frakkin Magic, roll some ridiculously sided dice and relax to the bips and beeps of a video game symphony. LA had a distinct poverty of qualified nerds, and in San Francisco, it seems, they all hide in the East Bay. Guess I need to buy myself a BART pass and haul dice.

On the other hand, I could just play on the trapeze. That I now posses. In my loft....but I'd rather play Apples to Apples.

A trapeze-swinging, Apples-to-Apples-playing, dice-rolling, video-game-playing hipster… hmm.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Perhaps I should pay someone

to write my online profile… just joking. There's no way I'd a) shell out money for such a service, or b) feel comfortable letting a stranger write about me. However, the last two times I've written about the difficulty of writing a profile or ad, I've gotten a comment from someone (the same person both times) who had directed me to his profile-writing service. A quick Google search of "write my online profile" turned up oodles of results (including that guy's website), and it makes me wonder how many people actually farm out the profile-writing process.

I did read one profile that was aware of this phenomenon, perhaps overly and obnoxiously so; however, I find it amusing enough to post here:

You think it's so easy, writing some sort of description of yourself that is clever and witty. Well, I've got news for you, smarty pants, it's not. That's why I outsourced it. Yes, this paragraph is not actually written by me, but rather by paid professionals. I've assembled a crack team of Ivy League graduates who have recently realized their student loans need to be repaid and that the ability to quote every notable Simpsons line combined with a degree in European History doesn't get you far in the real world. Their work has been carefully examined by psychologists and usability experts, tested on a sample group of volunteers to measure their response, and continually refined to obtain the best performance one can expect from such a composition. Ultimately, their magnum opus stands before you, a monument to my inspiring awesomeness.

We're going to try to avoid the usual cliches. Wait, no, we're going to take a detour for a bit. This is addressed to a special section of the populace, you know who you are. You're the one whose profile includes the sentence "I like to have fun." Seriously, if you're reading this, please, please write me an email. I would love to know who you think doesn't like to have fun. I honestly want to know. I promise I won't make fun of your inability to classify yourself more specifically than to acknowledge that you are pleased by things that you consider enjoyable. I personally enjoy safety, food, and shelter, with the occasional love and self actualization.

Wow, that tangent got a little bitter at the end, don't you think? Here, have a Lifesaver, it'll get the taste out. C'mon, it's Wint-o-Green. Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, long walks on the beach, romantic candle-lit dinners, global conquest, and so on. I'll leave those for my other profile. Y'know, the one where I pretend I'm a lawyer / doctor and have a picture of myself riding a bicycle built for two at sunset on the beach (if only I had someone to fill the other seat... *sigh*). If you have some time later, you should really check that one out. Your mom would love it if you were dating a doctor-lawyer. Where was I going with this? Oh yes, the non-cliched me. I do my thing, I'm happy, life's good. The rest is just details.

So, there you have it. In summation, you know nothing more now than you did when you started reading. What a ripoff. If I were you, I would totally demand my money back. Well, you can't have it. Someone has to pay the writers. Listen, if it were up to me, I would love to help you out, but there's union rules, nothing I can do. Was that last sentence just flagrant comma abuse? I think it was. We had best wrap up before it happens again. (StuntPants)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Honestly, I'm a bum.

As I have said before, writing a good online profile or ad is really pretty hard. One wants to draw others in with wit/humor, intelligence (in whatever degree one thinks others will find attractive), and enough personal details to give readers a sense of who one really is.

So, that said, a lot of people seem to have trouble with this.

Example #1 (For the dating site prompt "What I'm Doing With My Life"):
Honestly, I'm a bum. I might look all legit since I have a job, car, steady paycheck, health insurance, haircut, selection of fine wines, penchant for art deco furniture, and unwavering balance, but still just a bum.

Example #2 (A self-summary I sure hope has been re-written since this user first joined the site):
Just moved to the bay area from Georgia originally from so cal was in ga for school im deathly afraid of clowns (seriously) my name is johanan but most people call me joe, mutt, or clown boy i hate snakes but want to buy a baby boa i love surfing, skating, snowboarding, and wakeboarding i play video games (sometimes, its not my life) im a book worm. id rather read books then watch movies i hate cell phones and would live completely without one but its necessary to have i love sushi…

Example #3 (Another self-summary):
6" defines me darkness all over this one but still shines under pale skin headstands are my usual every other day routine alternate states are in favorites without taking it, risks are worthless so is life without risks i am brave and vulnerable but that makes me stronger i am sensitive cause i am smart i can feel everything but feelings are all relative

I really like tall guys; HOWEVER I really don't feel comfortable with tall guys who don't realize that " stands for inches, not feet.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WTF, Craigslist?

Here's a collection of, um, interesting Craigslist subject lines and posts.


A volatile mix of libido, despair, sarcasm, angst, hunger, naivety and farce, sharp as a razor, in the shape of attractive tall white male specimen seeks slippery sleek catalyst for frequent controlled combustions.

Looking for a temporary escapee from Munch's Scream to noodle with around the city and feed SSRIs to pigeons.

Tall fit overeducated professional cynic is looking for mildly deranged & quite clever sexy girl for fooling around (tm). Uncontrollable libido and ability to simultaneously discuss modern theatre are definite plusses. Aliens welcome.

If this last subject line doesn't make any sense to you, go back to French class and remember that "poisson" means "fish." Then, look up "gaussian distribution." Dirty—too dirty for me, I think. However, I'm not sure I'd mind if I stumbled upon a young Ira Glass…

Monday, December 15, 2008

Attention Shoppers…

Does this guy sound like a spaz or is it just me?


Generally speaking, the townspeople do not chase me with torches; I dont make children cry and animals like me. Phew! Aren't you relieved?
My basic stats? 6ft and 175lbs, black hair and brown eyes. I take care of myself. I'm 28. I like to joke, laugh and be silly. I'm pretty optimistic and I enjoy meeting people. The zoo? I like the zoo…I like the museum too…I like a lot of things…outdoors and indoors. Oh, and I've been known to go out on a school night, oh my!
You? Height/weight proportional and you want to have some fun, laugh and joke and enjoy life…spontaneity, passion are a must. So what are you waiting for? Your pic gets mine

Oh Craigslist, you never cease to amaze!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An unnatural love of bacon

Velcro4's going to be out of town for the holidays, so the chances of losing momentum and never going on a date are quite high. If there's one thing that I've learned in this year of online dating, it's that optimism only goes so far.

For today's oddity, I've chosen a bit from JimClak's profile:

"I really don't like filling these things out. Let's see, I drink much more coffee than is healthy, I smoke an amazing amount of cigarettes per day, and I have an unnatural love of bacon. I also studied holistic health for a year."

I never understand people like this: they've studied health, and yet their lives are anything but healthy. Can anyone explain this to me?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Patience is a virtue…

Virtue is a grace,
Grace is a little girl who doesn't wash her face.

So goes the rhyme I learned at some point in childhood and have delighted in ever since…

I'm being terribly patient with velcro4. He's a grad student, in the last year of his Ph.D program, and as such, he's super busy preparing for a big conference presentation this week. I really would like to meet him, so I'm going to wait until he's got time on his hands again and see if he's up for a date.

Until then, I'm continuing to peruse the dating site and Craigslist, the latter of which offered up this crazy ad earlier in the week:


Hey ladies, I just realized how long it's been since I was last involved in a relationship and I'm really dying to get with someone who's down to earth and willing to date an actual crab. Yes, yes, I am literally a crab. Thick exoskeleton, chelae claws, a propensity for rocks. It's not easy finding love as a crustacean, let me tell you!

I really just want a casual relationship with someone. We can get to know each other through a few e-mails. Exchange pics. Maybe go on a few romantic hikes along the coast a little down the line. Who knows what'll happen! You just might be the one that'll lock abdomens with me in a pre-mating embrace, lasting many days, before you finally molt and then YOU KNOW WHAT! LOLL!! JK JK JK!!

Anyways, I'm 24cm, purple-ish, recently molted. I don't like cats. LOVE DOGS!!! That's my Kilulu in the pic below. She loves new people and she LOVES TO PLAY!

You: Human

Thanks! Look forward to e-mails!

Believe it or not, the post did include a picture of a purple crab. I really wonder if this person got any positive responses to this ad. It's just so weird.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Online Dating Fail

Failblog had this gem the other day.

In other news, I asked velcro4 out for coffee. We've e-mailed a few times now, and I'm going to be in his neck of the woods next weekend, so I figured it was worth a shot. We'll see…

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My 100th Post

I was going to post something horribly trivial, but when I realized that this one was going to be post number 100, I figured I ought to write something a tad more meaningful. I'm going to save the wrap-up of my year of online dating for December 26, as that is my official online-dating anniversary, but I will offer a reflection on being single during the holidays.

Holiday parties, family gatherings, and wintertime activities are full of opportunities to do something with a significant other. When one is single, one can, of course, go to or do one of these things by oneself, but it takes a lot of confidence. Questions like, "Oh, who'd you come with?" or "One pair of skates or two" can be frustrating for a single person, because as much as one would like to say, "My boyfriend X" or "Two pairs, please," those responses are impossible. While most will be supportive, some will show pity.

Spare me the pity please. If I'm at your event, offer to introduce me to someone new (and single) or talk to me about anything other than your date/partner/spouse. If you've got a moment free in your holiday schedule, offer to go on a friendly date with me or another single friend of yours. There's nothing like this time of year to make single people feel like we shouldn't intrude on our coupled friends, since they've probably got two (or more) sets of family members to be with.

However, all of this isn't to say that I won't be looking for a special person with whom to spend what's left of the holiday season. I might, if I'm feeling particularly outgoing, use some of the tips given by Wayne Elise (founder of social coaching company Charisma Arts) in an article in today's SF Chronicle to try to secure a "holidate." If all else fails—and I'm feeling really desperate (which, hopefully, will not happen)—I can always go to Craigslist where there's a plethora of men looking for dates for their company holiday party…

Finally, I'll leave you with a bit of thoughtfulness (with a dash of zany), as written by a random user on the dating site last night:

Identity is such a slippery thing. Bhuddists would say that our personas are an illusion and that we are all part of the same cosmic fabric, the universe pretending to be people. I really like this idea...I also like curly fries!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh Craigslist, how I love thee…

I found this ad on Friday night. Wow. Just wow.

I <3 monster chicks - 26 First of all, this post is real. I don't remember the name, but I saw an old movie where a priest consummated with a demon and gave rise to a scary, infernal, and totally awesome kid. I believe in magic the gathering, the unseen, fairy tales, and the supernatural; and I believe in you, girl. I'm a sam, Asian, and you're an smf, sdf, or whatever you call yourself. Skin of crimson, skin of onyx, horns, fangs, wings, venom, or flame - any or all of your charms figure skate across the surface of our attraction. Maybe you drink blood. Maybe you eat people. I'm okay with that. I drink water. I eat plants. Our meals together see the most interesting of table fare. Whether you live in SF or literally have hellish commutes, we can hang out here, there, or anywhere - the beauty is that amusement and novelty spring up wherever we're together. Although it would be rad to have a demon jr. running around, neither you nor I are rash to skip the swanboat ride and hurtle straight into the tunnel of love. We'll initially just see how we click. Perhaps by late winter we'll be strolling the fields, baskets in our arms, unearthing poisonous toads for you to turn into potions. As our companionship warms up to the Bay Area summer, you may save me from a shark by ripping it apart with your talons. I have several degrees. You have about 800, in your scorching breath. I walk and see people on Powell. You stalk and leave people disemboweled. Our blend of personalities scrawls out sheet music for the diabolical symphony that we clang and crash throughout SF.

hand for claw, pic for pic

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I may not always hear back from the guys I message, but at least I don't have the following problem, which was posted by a user on the dating site recently:

"What in the hell?

Okay… This is a new one from [dating site]… And i guess it's a testiment to just how unpopular i am on here… But i officially have a number over my little mailbox reading '-1'. That's right. I'm negative messages."

I really feel for the guy. That's just really sad. I hope, for his sake, that the dating site was quick to fix the problem.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's me! Every guy you've ever dated!

I've not had much luck with Craigslist, which is to say that though I've exchanged a few e-mails with both guys I've "met" from there, I've never gone on a date from Craigslist. However, it continues to be a great source of amusement so I keep looking. Earlier in the week, I found this wonderfully written post. You really have to read it all the way through, so stick with it. I think it's worth it though, and I'll probably message him tomorrow.

"Hello! Its me! You know, the guy from last weekend! Its nice to talk to you again. I’m sorry my picture on the eHarmony ad was four years out of date, but I’m roughly the same weight I was then, give or take 15 pounds and a beard, so no worries. Also, I’m sorry I’m twenty minutes late for our date. My car wouldn’t start because I haven’t changed the oil in 12,000 miles or even checked it once for that matter, so I had to take MUNI over to your place. I’ll let you know, there were some stinky people on that bus! I think some of that funk rubbed off on me, or maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t changed my boxer shorts in a week, one of the two I guess. I never come to the Mission, so it took me awhile to figure out which bus to take. Is it me or does Valencia Street seem like a totally different city than the Marina? Must be all the brown people everywhere.


How are you? I was thinking we could go to a cheap restaurant somewhere within two blocks of here, because I’m sure that you know all the good places around here and you’re not tired of any of them. If we were in my neighborhood I would totally take you to Left At Albuquerque, because that place rocks! They have all the games on TV and giant beers, plus the food is vaguely ethnic, yet non-threatening. I hate having my horizons expanded! Oh, you’re still not ready yet? That’s okay. I’ll sit here in your front room and pester your incredibly gay roommate with questions about football while you do whatever weird chick stuff you ladies do. Then I’ll be quietly shocked when you roommie tells me that he doesn’t like football. I should’ve guessed. The fact that he’s knitting while watching the Real Housewives of the OC might have been a good clue, but there you go! SF is totally different than Newport Beach, that’s for sure!

Sweet! You’re ready to go. So, you still want to get dinner or just go get shitfaced at some bar? Oh really, dinner? Okay, I can do that. So, uh, where do you want to go? Ethiopian food? What’s that, a big plate of nothing? Ha ha ha! Hey, why aren’t you laughing? Okay, okay, we’ll get Ethiopian food. Its like Chinese right?

Wow. That was the craziest meal ever, I mean, I was half expecting to be swatting flies off my face the whole time! Wow, still no laughing, huh? I’ll guess I’ll have to just quit on the whole starvation jokes. Soooooooo, still ready for some drinks? Great! Just one thing, I can’t go to one of those weird hipster/emo Mission bars okay? Wait! Don’t get upset. Let me put it this way: I just feel more comfortable surrounded by striped shirts, okay? No, I’m not saying I’d rather be in prison in the 1920’s. Stop laughing. Seriously, now you can’t stop laughing, but when I started making fun of famine plagued East Africans all I heard was crickets. Wait, what? Of course I like punk music! 311 is the best band of all time! Those guys totally rock. Okay, we’ll go to punk night at Delirium. I usually only go to North Beach or Union Street, so this should be fun.

I’m still waiting for the DJ to play some 311, I even went and asked her if she could play some, but she just looked at me. I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I think she’s into me or something, because I saw her talking to her friend and then pointing at me and smiling. Guess its my new haircut. I paid ninety-five-fuckin-dollars for this sweet haircut, and I know the chicks can’t get enough of…hey!....where’d you go? I just went to the bar to get you another PBR and a jagerbomb for myself and you took off? Damn, that sucks. Good thing I’ve got plenty of time to get back to the North Star and meet up with my boys. I didn’t put this much gel in my hair to not get laid tonight…

On a serious note ladies, if that sounds like a typical date for you, then you’ve been missing out. There are plenty of nice, intelligent, well read, well traveled gentlemen out there just waiting to meet a nice girl. I know, because I’m one of them. I’m a 30 year old guy with a good job, stable living situation, (fairly) normal family, no wife/girlfriend, healthy, blah blah blah. I’ve lived abroad for years at a time, speak Spanish fluently and can swear proficiently and/or order a beer in another 10 languages, and I read an average of a book and a half a week. I like baseball and football, but would rather be outside in the park on a sunny afternoon than cooped up in the house watching the game. I’m a decent cook, and a former bartender so I can whip up some mean blender drinks, if that’s your thing. I enjoy bike riding, getting out of town on the weekends to visit friends, coffee shops and Irish bars. Also, I’m 6’3 with green eyes and brown hair.

I do like to do some light boozing on the weekends, but that’s more of a social thing than anything else. I work M-F at a 9-5 for a local company that actually seems to value and respect its employees. I do have to go to work dinners a couple times a month, but those are fun and girlfriends are often invited. That’s me in a nutshell. Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Being sick definitely makes one feel less attractive

If I hadn't been too tired to type, the cold that I got on Wednesday would have been enough to keep me from messaging/viewing profiles/posting here. The fact of the matter is, I feel gross and that makes me feel completely unattractive in every possible way. Who'd want to start dating a sniffling, coughing, sleepy girl who has gone without a shower for too long? No one.

Therefore, after not hearing back from Derek on Tuesday, I decided to message velcro4, a guy on the dating site who has interested me for a while. I might not have messaged, but he'd just looked at my profile, so I figured it was worth a shot. As I waited for a reply, I got this cold and I pretty much forgot about velcro4.

Then he responded last night. Hurrah! That said, I couldn't muster up enough energy to write him back until a few minutes ago. I have to say though, this is one of the best things about online dating. One can be horribly sick, but no one's the wiser. The guys sitting in front of their computers don't know that I'm subsisting on tea and cough drops. This, in comparison to meeting guys at a club/concert/bar/etc—I wouldn't be up to going to any of those places in this state.

I can say with complete certainty that no matter how good or bad I may feel about myself or whether or not his self summary is a parody, I will not be messaging Spiritof76:

"I am hella cool. Hella. Like, how much cooler can you get than online dating, right? I mean it's not like I need to be on the internet to meet ladies, obviously, I'm just really down with the information super highway, and want to do what I can to support electronic mass media. Go world wide web! I'm behind you all thew ay. So I'd really like to meet a gal who's shares my enthusiasm for technology. Also, I rock a yarmulka, which, as everyone knows, is about the coolest, hippest thing around…"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wishful thinking

I think I did put Derek off. I've not heard from him since yesterday morning, but I've seen him online so I know he got my one line message this afternoon: "Still up for tomorrow?" Oh well.

In slightly more interesting and amusing news, NPR's "All Things Considered" did a couple of pieces on online dating today. Check them out here and here.

Finally, a bit of bizarre from the profile of simplenough:

You should message me if:
you're a homosexual black Jewish pre-op transwoman with poor eyesight. Erm… I think I just realized why no one messages me. :/
What I'm doing with my life:
I plan on opening a business in the area of "software entertainment" ('tis a euphamism lolz). I hunger for power. Mine is an evil laugh.

So you don't drink? Is that true?

Yes indeed, Derek, that's true.

Derek and I chatted yesterday morning and among the topics we touched on was food and drink. We're both foodies, but, sadly, I'm just not into alcohol. The smell (and thus the taste) is completely off-putting; however, this tends to make me an extremely cheap date.

Anyway, assuming I didn't put him off by my disinterest in drinking, I think we're on for tomorrow night.