The online dating site that I have been using for a while causes me to wonder about human nature. Recently I was asked to be a moderator of the site, weighing in on questionable content. Oddly, the questionable profiles make more sense to me than some of the regular ones. I at least understand they are trying to sell something or scam someone.
So the thing that has me wondering about the people on the dating site, and all dating/social networking sites really, is how eager people are to define themselves. A lot of people on the dating site start their self-summary by saying This is hard, I don’t like writing about myself. To which I want to reply: Go with that thought. Why is it hard? Why do you hate writing about yourself? But I never do.
The thing is, most of the time on the dating site people say they hate to summarize themselves and then proceed to label and define themselves into a teeny, tiny box. In the process they manage to exclude all but a few people who can meet their impossibly narrow relationship criteria. And then they wonder why they can’t find the right woman. Duh. Maybe she doesn’t exist. What if the woman of their dreams is every single thing they are looking for, but happens to label and define herself in ways that don’t match the laundry list of requirements and deal breakers on their profile? Hmm… Futhermore, what if, out of lack of awareness, someone thinks they only like tall blondes who ride bikes, but the woman who could rock their world is a short brunette who drives a car? You can catch more fish with a net than with a pole. Just sayin’…
When I filled out my profile I also expressed a reluctance to define myself, but I explained that I do not like to label or define myself or others. I am not interested in limiting myself that way. And though I’m certainly not perfect at it, I try not to judge others and put them in boxes. Everyone is okay with me. I might not want to date everyone I meet, but that doesn’t mean I have no interest in them at all.
I guess I just get frustrated by all the limiting language I see on the dating profiles. If a person defines themselves as one thing, think of all the possibilities that are extinguished in the process of deciding exactly who and what they are. Plus, the more labels, definitions and limitations I see, the more I wonder how much that person really knows themselves to begin with. Life sometimes presents us with situations and circumstances that make it abundantly clear that everything we think we know for sure–about ourselves, others and the world around us–is false. Generally, I’m not impressed by what people think they know because thinking they know is as definite as it can ever truly be.
Through all of this frustration, I have read some really great profiles and seen that there are still some good-looking single men in Portland. That’s encouraging. Now if they could just get over themselves and drop a few rules, I might get to meet some of them.