Archive for November, 2006

i can see for (too many) miles

this kind of sweet story got me thinking about all the Internet peepholes I wish I didn’t know about. Besides googling-the-ex, there’s also “Last Logged In [date]” on the dating sites as well as one that disturbs me so much I never use it — “Who’s Viewed Me.” The first time I realized my every idle peek was being recorded, I felt my brain had been invaded. I’m just looking, man!

Online dating friends tell me this is a whole form of communication, the viewing of the view, and then the return viewed view, but these shy cyber-glances had never been, as they say, the way I roll.

Does anyone else hate Who’s Viewed Me? And knowing exactly when everyone, including you, was last online? Does anyone else long for shades to shield you from peeping Toms out there and blinders for your own Tom tendencies/temptations?

self-deprecation as seduction

As anyone who’s a sucker for funny knows, this is the eternal online dating dilemma: If a guy describes himself as utterly unmateable, but he does it amusingly, do you answer? If I lived in England, it seems, it’d be an easier choice. Obviously these brainiac Brits can separate out their content from their style. Their boasting about their repulsiveness is so perverse it’s practically French, but it seems to work for them.

I remember a nerve ad whose headline was “You had me at ‘bend me over the sofa, stallion'” and I laughed and was tempted — but I didn’t write. Maybe I need to be more European.

MrSentitive

I don’t have many blog rules for myself (obviously nothing like Post every day). The only one I strongly advocate is Don’t be mean. Mean can be compelling, but it ends up making you feel a little sick. And there’s way more of it than anyone needs online.

So all I’m going to say about MrSentitive is that MrSentitive is his handle. I won’t even tell you what site he Winked at me from.
I wrote him a note and fibbed that I have a boyfriend. I truthfully added that, nonetheless, as a copyeditor, I thought I should warn him that his headline lookth thilly. So hopefully, he’ll fix the misspelling and find love.
And thus do I justify my mocking an illiterate bachelor as not just not-bad, but proactively kind. I am a cyberangel, or at least Myth Thentitive.

“horror”? “nightmare”?

the second-strangest thing about this story and others like it is how the women characterize meeting a guy who’s balder than his picture as something so horrifying they’re permanently suffering PTSD or something. It ain’t Darfur, babies, it’s an hour out of your life with someone who put up an old picture.

The first-strangest thing is of course paying someone who doesn’t know you 25 grand to find you a mate. Who are these morbidly sensitive, seemingly friendless, obscenely rich lonelyhearts?

love stories

I’m filling out this e-mail interview for a book distributor and it’s all been easy and fun til this question:

I imagine that a person who writes a book on modern love and online dating might just be a romantic at heart. What’s your favorite love story (in book form)?

So far I have this [should I not worry that it’s not literary? Should I worry that so many of my favorite writers-about-love paint it as such a hopeless mess? is there another term for “traditional gender roles” that won’t put people off? Or should I not worry about being a feminazi? I can’t help it, it’s how I see the world and always have…]

I liked Norman Rush’s Mating, partly because it was romantic in a way that had nothing to do with traditional gender roles. A woman crosses the desert to be with the man she loves, a man whose jokes and adventurousness and avocation and mind and body she loves and vice versa. I believed they had each found The One. I read it in an all-woman book group and I remember the other gals saying “she seems kind of desperate” and I was defending her, “Now if it was a man risking life and limb to be with his love, we’d call it incredibly romantic! Why does the girl always have to sit in the tower waiting for the prince?!?” I also liked the title story of Melissa Bank’s Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, which was written to answer Francis Ford’s Coppola’s challenge to please write a story that refutes The Rules, which was very popular then. I loved that Coppola was as horrified by The Rules as I was, and Bank’s story has the girl ending up with someone who really likes her the way she is.

OK, that’s what I have so far. To me, it seems terrifying enough to make yourself vulnerable to someone and let your hopes get up that he/she might love you back, that most versions of “romance,” with girls playing hard to get and guys playing their games seem like way more pain than is necessary.

I looked at my bookshelf and realized I also like how Nicholson Baker and Ian McEwan write about companionate love. Anyone else? I’m not going to steal your ideas or anything; I’m now just very curious about what sorts of love stories in books people most identify with.

80s flashback

this wrap-up of an online dating convention is taking me back to the Reagan years. (Scroll about halfway down for the stuff on video dating. Though ladies night is also a rather (w)hoary concept.) I remember the show thirtysomething and SNL doing things on video dating; the SNL skit was a guy making his own rock video dancing around singing “My name is Herb, I’m a dental hygienist.”

So video dating has been right on the verge of tipping for at least 20 years, sort of like my old neighborhood, Mount Rainier, Maryland. Though Mt. Rainier may have tipped by now. I heard the little house I almost bought for 95 grand in 2000 is now worth 250.

If it were me marshalling out the tech resources, I’d forgo the videoconference and just go meet my online date while my robot maid cleaned my apt. And I’d get to the date via my jetpack. Something about the videoconferencing disturbs me: In my book, it’s the two older, and most sexist, guys who most wanted to check out the girls on film before committing to a drink or coffee.

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