Turns out my friend Miss Mice Maze and I have one more thing in common. We have both signed up on online dating sites to increase our chances of meeting someone we might find interesting and possibly date-able. I can’t speak for Sarah, but in my case this decision represents a complete loss of faith in my friends’ ability to manage the whole fix-Stacie-up mandate. The string of blind dates I have found myself on were utter failures. While I’d still like to believe one of them will come up with a passable prospect, the interwebs seemed like a way to be a little proactive while waiting for that possible eventuality.
Again, can’t speak for Sarah, but this has been a bizarre little odyssey for me. Strange and educational. Hysterical … and hugely annoying.
My first mistake was pulling out what should have been the big guns: going with the sites that claim to actually think before pairing you up with someone. One of them touts its analysis of “29 levels of compatability.” Twenty-nine. That sounds like a lot. Surely that’s going to be better than my list: tall, not a Republican, good kisser …
I’ve looked at the list of compatability levels. It’s pretty comprehensive. Includes things like “self concept,” “autonomy,” “intellect,” “curiosity,” “artistic passion,” “emotional status,” “character.” It’s a great list, full of things that might be hugely important to me but which I wouldn’t necessarily find out about a guy until after I’d
wasted spent a considerable amount of time with him. So, you know, great. Let’s jump on that. Start serving up the bachelors. Who’ve you got?
Who have they got? Man after man after man who match me on 15, on 20, on all twenty-nine levels of compatability … and yet who don’t match me at all.
The “how” of that is simple: these sites ignore some ridiculously obvious things, each of which are absolute deal breakers. Size matters. So does race. If a man checks the boxes that say he wants to meet only white and Asian women … he doesn’t want to meet me. If a man says he likes skinny girls and slender girls, he should not be paired with me. It doesn’t matter how many of the other fabled levels of compatability connect us. There is no level of compatability that trumps prejudice.
“Prejudice” is harsh. I’m actually not faulting the men … at least not much. We can’t help who we’re attracted to. And while it’s true that I find it a little suspect when men check off every possibile ethnicity box except “Black/African-American,” I won’t pretend to know that those men are in any way prejudiced. My point here isn’t to begrudge the men their
irrational biases. My beef is with the sites. Ethnicity and body type aren’t even on the comptability list.
The last overlooked predictor is politics. In this case, I’m the bigot. I’ve gotten messages from men who are avowedly ultra conservative, despite my check mark next to “very liberal.” And maybe that’s very big of them. Maybe they don’t let politics stand in the way of true love. Or maybe they imagine they can coax me over to their side of the purple line. I harbor no such illusions. We could match on every other level … but Maria Schriver I’m not. There’s no room in my love shack for a man whose political views make me want to poke him in the eye.
I did go on a handful of only-dates. Not thrilling, but not the end of the world, either. I drank a lot of coffee, had a couple of good dinners, but I was ready to hang up my dating spurs, had started eyeing the Spinster Sisterhood with new respect.
Then a friend nudged me toward a couple of other sites, ones that would, in theory, eliminate the annoyance of running up against the same deal-breaking non-negotiables. I had my doubts.
But there are a few questions I need to look at before I get to all that. (To be continued …)