I've noticed lately that an increasing number of people seem to mention in online profiles that they don't want endless back and forth chats and that they would like to meet in person instead. Or they lament matching and never receiving messages, which comes from a similar place psychologically.
I think that as more people gain access to online dating through greater cultural acceptance and normalization, more and more people that are married (and nominally monogamous), in some other type of long term relationship, or are otherwise physically or emotionally unavailable are using these platforms in order to fill those typical aching gaps that can occur in coupling and normal everyday life; not feeling important, wanted, or desirable. So they use Tinder, Okcupid, and other internet platforms in order to get tiny, intense doses of validation- primarily from the dopamine provided by mobile notifications and any other available immediate signs of interest. In-depth communication, meeting in person, falling in love, or fucking were never among their intended goals- the entire point is to appear available (physically, emotionally, or both) while remaining safely at a distance.
Once this goal is achieved they feel desired and return to their lives mildly invigorated. This is arguably a type of love affair, but the object of affection is not a person- the true source of pleasure is the device or devices they use in order to get those delicious hormonal doses. I am not particularly interested in that type of remote objectification, as I would categorize it as similar in depth and connection to a typical one night stand. But if you are I will do my best to entertain you for a few moments before things dissolve into disinterest and we scurry to the next blinking light.
Our frivolous, tenuous connections increasingly serve to isolate us as we wait to engage in the punctuation of this mundane equilibrium, desperate for affection or violence- any kind of intensity- when what we really want is intimacy.
And Now, On Attraction:
I have this perception problem, or maybe a problem of intention, or both, that I would like to explain to you. I can't really tell what people look like, beyond very obvious features like extreme thinness or obesity, for example, or the color of their hair or skin, by a collection of photographs. I can't put together photos in my mind and create a three dimensional model of a person in order to decide if I'm physically attracted to them or not. And photos don't show me the sound of a voice- or the nervous, calm, or blank and robotic combination of sensory inputs that communicate so much when you're talking to a person who is right in front of you. So I have to meet you in order to figure out if I'm attracted to you. Because without that I'll never know. I like knowing. But I also like many people that I'm not sexually attracted to at all. It's not the most important part of my criteria for determining my interest in interacting with a person, even if it is pleasant to be around attractive people.
But there's a further complication even after that. If I meet you, I still may not know if I'm physically attracted to you. I'm attracted to people when they are attracted to me, and I don't know if you're aware of this or not- but the majority of women don't often directly communicate their attraction to men that they don't know very well. So there would be a high probability that even if we met, neither of us would ever figure out if if the other person were attracted to us. Which is hilarious! But also unfortunate.
Now to intention: I have never intended to have a one night stand, and due to a combination of the fact that I do not drink alcohol, my lack of impressive hair and height, and my missing one night stand desire gene, I've never had one. I'm not opposed to it ever happening- it's just that I don't know how it would ever happen given those factors. I also don't understand what I would gain by only having sex with someone- which is an activity that is hypothetically very enjoyable- for only one night. Why would I have sex with someone that I'm presumably attracted to, have a good time while doing it, and then never want to have sex with them again? Unless the sex is bad. But that seems like it generally only happens from a lack of effort, in my experience. And why do things at all if you're going to do them poorly? For me, sex is a form of communication. And if I had a conversation with a person, and it wasn't absolutely horrible, I would probably have another conversation with them. Things might peter out after a few conversations, sure- if nothing interesting ever came up, why force it? But not everybody is on top of their conversational game at all points in time. Sometimes you need more than one opportunity in order to show what you've got linguistically. And if the first conversation is amazing? It seems like more conversations would then follow.
But very clearly, I am a weirdo.
Everybody is lonely. This is what drives nearly all human action.
There is very intense cultural pressure to obscure yourself in an overall strategy to ensure that you will not be alone. This is prevalent in all social contexts (not just in dating- online or otherwise). Most people won't go to extreme lengths like going to the trouble of inventing a false persona in order to attract others, but nearly everyone is guilty of initially (and continually) putting as little of themselves forward as possible in order to allow people to freely project their hopes and desires upon them. We engage in this willful obfuscation because it works! Obscuring oneself is an incredibly effective way to maintain access to as many people as possible for when the horrors of loneliness strike.
Hypothetically, we are all here specifically because we desire freedom from such blankness with at least one person; a person with whom we can be our true selves and share our most intimate thoughts whenever we feel the need. But I think we all understand, at least subconsciously, that this is generally not the case here any more than it is in our workplaces, or at the grocery store, or when meeting our lover's parents for the first time. It's a very difficult switch to flip.
If you scroll down, or even back up, you will notice that my profile is extremely long. This shit just keeps going. There is absolutely no mandate to read it all- we would get to all of it in person eventually if the circumstances were right. And yet it's there, and because it is there, most people can't resist at least picking through the carcass for pieces of meat that either attract or repulse them, depending on their particular inclination. It's a trap! Don't read it! Or do?
Here Is The Interesting Part:
If my goal in being on this particular dating website were to go on as many dates as humanly possible, or to have sex with as many women as possible, all I would have to do is delete 95% of what I currently have presented here. It would require practically no effort at all! Our current culture actually penalizes us for providing more information- which is a fascinating paradox that all of us actively contribute to nearly every time we interact, or choose not to interact, with another human being.
Also, I've recently heard from a very reliable source that guys who are big into nipple play often develop long, banana-shaped nipples as a consequence of all the action down there. Similarly to what babies do to teats, you know? I'm looking for someone, or a group of people, to regularly play with only one of my nipples- my left nipple- for at least six months in order to see if there's any truth to this. Serious nipple inquiries only. Frankly, it's shocking- shocking- how difficult it is to find people who are willing to contribute to this very noble and purely scientific endeavor. I don't mind rejection, but this is getting ridiculous. I really thought I'd be getting my nipple licked at least daily by now. And time marches ever on!
For fun I like to summarize certain things in one comically long, grammatically incorrect sentence.
A One Sentence Summary Of Game Of Thrones, Season Five/Episode Ten:
The best and most satisfying outcome for those who wrong others, as any member of the internet can tell you, is shame (public or private, but preferably public)- especially after catching them in an act that is currently out of fashion, thereby allowing us to subject the entirety of the offender's past actions to intense scrutiny, scrutiny that would destroy practically any randomly selected individual (if only our prying could provide universal omniscience and omnipotence) with brutal shame, shame that could be argued to be inhumane if not for our divine freedom to dispense malicious justice, completely free from doubt; eyes gouged and blind to oncoming doom, true terror, isolation, torture deserved and delivered with a virtuous insult, an unfortunate person marched through filthy digital streets filled with pious and universally blameless peasants; joyous in the rare (or not so rare) instance of a taste of terrible and vengeful power granted by Should and the shadowed mournful masters of destiny, gawking and baiting incorrigible gentlemen and jezebels, wagging fingers and genitals in the face of the current sacrificial animal, who frankly deserves far worse than naked obliteration by ignorant mob psychotics tasting influence by watching and taking part in the moral virtual lynching, the best of the best (signaled irrefutably by fervor, their nude erupting anger) whose noble goals include the destruction of jesters, or the specifically and unforgivably ignorant, or misrepresentative women, or very specific criminals, or anyone who happens to be perceived as having while they have not (or those caught simply refusing to play the game)- an animal for whom there is no punishment too awful, or awful enough, to satiate those godly and pristine individuals who find themselves on the correct side of current political fashion and zealotry.
I am good at everything I have ever done more than once. Since good is a relative term, it is relatively easy to say that. But what I mean to say is that the average person generally sells themselves short when they consider what it is possible to achieve. We are all capable of so much more than what we believe we are capable of.
I like to explain this by illustrating the fallacy of expertise. In this world, there are people who have a vested interest in enabling ignorance of both your potential ability and your current ability. They are generally known as experts. Choose a field of interest, any field you like.
I suggest automotive repair for ease of illustration. Feel free to make up your own hypothetical as you read, however.
The barrier to entry to expert status as an auto mechanic is merely as high as the most outwardly qualified person you can easily locate. In one room, Jim is an expert auto mechanic. In another, he is a novice. In another, matter does not obey what he perceives as physical law and he disintegrates. However, all that matters is that Jim maintains the perception of expertise in your eyes- the humble and ignorant person in need of a repair. It is likely that 75% of the maintenance and repairs performed on your car in its lifetime could be done at home with a modest set of tools, possibly even a communal set of tools owned by everyone on your block. For example, with a small investment of time, you could learn how ridiculously simple and fast repairing your brakes can be. You could marvel at the difference between an $80 home repair and a $500 shop repair. You could take joy in the experience of learning, the gaining of knowledge that will aid you for years to come. Or Jim himself could take the time to show you how simple it is, so that he might devote his time to more fulfilling pursuits, having conquered the art of brake repair, his mind growing stagnant from repetition. But he chooses not to do this for many complex reasons- need of money, need of family, need of usefulness. Without his expert status he is simply another man among a sea of men and women who know how to repair their own automobiles at home. So it is in his best interest to make things seem complicated, difficult, and disgusting so that you may not know that you could do his job yourself if you desired. And so his interests are served. And yours are preserved, remaining unmuddled by the possibility of diversity.
Though it is true that there exist some activities and occupations that require years of intensive training and preparation, these compose an infinitely small percentage of all activities and occupations. And to focus on these examples is to miss the larger point- I do not claim that all people can be the best at all things. I claim that we are each capable of much more than we allow ourselves to achieve. So do something new. Until you do it well.
I find the tendency for people to leave this website completely to be fascinating. I've been using social networking websites since I became aware of them circa 2002, and I have always enjoyed looking for trends and interesting phenomena. This website, and "dating" websites in general, seem to have a certain guilty shame tied to them- I don't know if you've noticed this in the profiles of others, but something like 10% of all women's profiles seem to have some variation of "I can't believe I am on a dating website", "I hate this", "I don't like dating websites", or "having a profile on this site" as the answer to the most private thing they are willing to admit. I have a couple of friends who have on again/off again relationships with facebook, but that seems to come from paranoia about Their Super Important Personal Information being stolen by gremlins rather than guilt or shame.
Myspace provides a curious example- I went back through some old emails on that site once and found that it was kind of like a time capsule. Despite the fact that nobody used it anymore, almost everyone had left their profiles intact rather than delete them. People didn't kill Myspace, they just abandoned it- it's a ghost ship floating in the vastness now. But this particular website seems to compel people to erase themselves completely. It's not enough just to jump ship here, you must utterly disappear, leaving nothing searchable, no trace other than disembodied words in forgotten messages. I am thinking that this must relate to the fact that this website is mostly designed, marketed, and used as a vehicle for romantic interest rather than simple social interaction. Strong emotions create polarizing responses and encourage all or nothing thinking. And the prevalence of that response is enormous. At any given time, 30% of my most recent messages can be from dead profiles. Not abandoned profiles, but obliterated profiles, deletions.
So I am wondering if the average person's relationship to this website, because of the intimacy that is hinted at within- even if that intimacy proves illusory- and possibly due to the things that are said while it is in use, is inextricably linked to the physiological and psychological responses present in a romantic relationship with an Actual Individual Person. Do wires get crossed and cause us to associate the site with the same emotions and thoughts as the people we are attracted to, have loved, and have been hurt by? Like Joel in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, do we seek to eradicate rather than curate those interactions, in order to make moving forward simpler and more achievable? And like Joel are we destined to end up in the same place repeatedly regardless?
The perceived importance of which manufactured goods we enjoy seems like it must be hitting an apex with the advent of social networking sites. What were potentially titillating clues to how in tune a person was with their culture 50 years ago became conversation starters 30 years ago. Ice breakers became subtle divisions 20 years ago, which became concrete signals of which group you could be categorized into 10 years ago. Vague labels like "screamo" and "bromance" were invented to make things simple and easy to understand for the elderly and uninitiated. And more recently, with the advent of websites like this one, the things that we enjoy became banners for some and outright definitions of self for others. Lists of bands longer than the tax code became normal, and competitions arose to see who could simultaneously be both more exhaustive and obscure. To define yourself primarily by the work of others- whether works of art or works of profit- has become the standard as the concept of self dissolves into a solution of increasingly fluid waste.
Here is a story to illustrate one of the many peculiarities of the things we enjoy:
My first long term relationship began as many relationships do at the age of 16- with a message from a friend explaining that a girl was interested in me. The added intrigue of the middle-man who is in the know seems to be essential to the level of excitement produced by courtship at this age. I wonder how many messages never get delivered?
This message was delivered, and happily the interest was reciprocal. I knew nothing about this person other than what she looked like and the vague details one tends to pick up about other people's lives in high school. We went on our first date and I was shocked to discover how much we had in common. We both liked a certain band very much, as well as innumerable other instances of media that tend to be consumed by young people. She even had copies of somewhat obscure albums by the band that we both liked very much in her bedroom. Lucky coincidences to be sure, because I was passionately attracted to her physically, the type of attraction that leaves you unable to think about much else between opportunities for close contact. What I am trying to say is that she made my penis very hard. And it turned out that I made her penis very hard too, except that she didn't have a penis per se, but homologous complementary anatomy common to women. I believe it is called a pussy. And it didn't really get hard, at least not all of it. It was generally very soft and inviting, except for the clitoris, which did get hard. As you can see, it really would have been difficult to allow these mutual attractions to run their course if it had not been for all of the things that we both liked.
So we started seeing each other more and more frequently until we were officially declared a couple by the local magistrate a few months later. Around this point I noticed that the albums by the band that we both liked had disappeared from her bedroom. I asked her where they had gone and she explained that she had given them back to her uncle because they did not actually belong to her. I found this curious but filed it away in memory. As time went on, more instances like this crept up. She hadn't gone to that concert she had claimed she attended. She had never read that book that she said that she loved- she started it, but had only read the first third. And it turned out that quite a few things she had originally told me about her past relationships were not true either. Important things, like whether or not she used condoms during sex with that one guy she did not know. Gradually the architecture of our relationship began to fall apart until there was nothing left but us. And it turned out that despite the physical attraction, we didn't really like each other.
End of story.
These things that we collect and enjoy are relative to many variables- time, place, convenience, group dynamics, etc. They are lists written in the sky, more likely to blow away than to become stars, permanently affixed and burning until we expire. The list in the story above was not important, it was a distraction from the truth. What was important were the traits that created the list- an intense desire to be accepted, a willingness to be dishonest and deceptive, and passionate sexual attraction. It turns out that those traits became clear eventually despite the distraction, and it was those traits that determined the outcome of our relationship. Judging a person's character by the things that they enjoy is a difficult task- biases are rampant and difficult to overcome in these situations. Some would say impossible.
What I can say with as much certainty as is possible is that the longer a person knows me, the more likely I am to introduce them to experiences, art, and objects that they enjoy. These things did happen in the relationship described above, despite the rest of the details. She introduced me to things that are still valuable to me today, and though I cannot say this for sure, I believe that I did the same for her. It turned out that the friend who delivered that message to me had also had a little more involvement in our relationship. She had cased me before she met me, with his help. She asked him what I liked, and with that information made up stories and a plan to procure the appropriate objects, manufacturing a version of herself that she thought would be most likely to attract me.
I wonder how much of these lists of things on websites are a subconscious (or conscious) version of that behavior. And I wonder what the substitute behavior was for manufacturing personality 150 years ago.
1. Nobody owes you anything.
2. People are inherently disappointing creatures.
3. Everyone is replaceable.
4. Sympathy is a dead currency, backed by the chronically unhappy.
5. Your existence is composed of only one fundamental hypothesis, to be continually tested and retested: I can be happy.
You may think that this whole thing is just about sex, but there are lots of activities we could participate in together in one bed (or not, if that's your designation).
Examples Of Activities That Can Take Place In A Single Bed, Occupied By Two People, Both Consenting Adults:
1. Non-sexual spooning
2. Sexual spooning
5. Listening to another person snore
6. Observing night terrors
9. The establishment of a "No Fart Zone"
11. Naked bodies not touching
These are just off of the top of my head, right now, and I'm sure that there are plenty more. Please let me know your bed number preference by personal message, with the full understanding that this specific answer is non-binding and will be able to be changed at any time. Such is the magic of spreadsheets.
We are all just looking for anybody to talk to, to fuck, to connect with; it doesn't matter who. Parlor tricks attract attention, but complacency keeps us in place; there is no bond more meaningful than proximity, no skill more attractive than availability. Everybody is lonely.
So it is true that I, or others, may want to make out with you. But don't take it personally. We all want to make out with a lot of people. In a micro sense, that facet of your desirability can be easily replaced. In a macro sense, however, your company is one of the most valuable commodities in the economic model of happiness. Not because you're special, exquisite, or in any way unique as a stranger or acquaintance. The unknown is a powerful equalizer- and most of what catches our eye at first glance is illusory, projections from our subconscious neatly folding the tattered fabric of reality into something that is certain to be less pristine than we had hoped.
Focus instead on the opportunity to mix in a way that creates something new- an idea, or emotion, or even just a fleeting friendly or unfriendly look. That is what makes us all worthwhile- we are each immense, unwieldy, undefined. Variables waiting to be tested for potential reactions.
Consider yes as a response to random friend requests, open invitations, and non-specific interest in your physical existence- and let's see what happens next.
If you are inert, either permanently or momentarily, feel free to ignore me. I will not take it personally. But if you receive an invitation to climb a mountain, or to go to an incredible restaurant, or to discuss a great novel, or to see a concert or comedian- consider saying yes. Even if the concept makes you uncomfortable. Just consider it. And if not with me, then maybe with someone else. If it sounds like a good idea, but you just have no interest in me personally, become the catalyst. Do the inviting rather than waiting for inertia to diffuse and surround you, picking at your bones, making them brittle, a spiritual osteoporosis.
We are not, individually, the keys to each others' survival or happiness. But we can improve things for each other; over minutes, days, years. This entire spectrum of outcomes contains value, from the smallest compassionate moment to a comfortable lifelong bond. I am no more invested in one specific outcome than any other. I will accept every second.
If you would like to talk, you may have to message me first. I know that very few of you are interested in doing this. But I also know that the most common problem facing the women of this website is that they receive an unmanageable volume of messages, and that most of those messages are unwanted. I would prefer not to contribute to the deluge, but more importantly to me, I want to know that you want to communicate with me before I intrude on your consciousness. If I have visited your profile, I am interested in you. If you are interested in me, you are invited to tell me.
Any unsolicited message from me will likely be a Robot Detection Device or an invitation to some specific event, both of which are form messages that get sent to many people. If the idea of receiving an initial message that is not unique bothers you, I completely understand. If you ignore me nothing bad will happen. And nothing good will happen. Nothing will happen at all! If you are not comfortable with meeting based on my message, I will not take it personally. Promise. But if you would like to meet- especially if you're not interested in any specific events I might invite you to, which can often be last minute or high pressure type situations for people who are not comfortable meeting a group of strangers all at once- feel free to invite me to whatever kind of social interaction you're most comfortable with. If you wait for me to ask you out on a stereotypical date, you're far more likely to get asked out by like fifty other guys first, fall in love with one of them, have children with the jerk, get divorced, reconcile, and then die in a horrific plane crash- as a family- at which point I'll probably message you. But that message will obviously go unanswered. Nobody wins in that scenario.
You Should Message Me If:
You're just hoping to see some titties bounce! Sometimes you just want to see some titties bounce in person- and that's ok. Or balls...I guess? Do you really want to see balls bounce? Is that a desire people have? I'm not saying it's morally questionable or anything, it just hadn't occurred to me before. Titties, though- I think we can all agree on bouncing titties and their desirability.
Or, when you see my profile you are one of the following due primarily to the contents displayed therein- disgusted, disinterested, saddened, strengthened, weakened, embarrassed, intrigued, incensed, attracted, overjoyed, repulsed, or bored.
Or if there is something that is absent from this list that you feel when you see me as I choose to portray myself.
Are you repulsed by bald guys, or short guys? Let me know, I empathize. Do you have intense hatred for people who have ridden bikes? That seems unreasonable, but inform me of your feelings on the matter. Do you like the way I write? Tell me so I may make an entry in my mind, a check or x in the appropriate box. Does a twisty mustache turn you on? That is information I consider to be of great value for future development considerations in my facial architecture. Do you prefer a svelte man with little or no visible musculature, so that you may overpower him if necessary? I completely understand- and it will do no harm to let me know. Would you prefer photos of me flexing with my shirt off or better yet- holding a gun with my shirt off- in order to prove how absolutely manly I can be? Well that's just too bad. But I would like to know of your desires nonetheless.
I ask only that you be honest and tell me both what you see and what you feel. I promise you that I want to know, no matter what those things may be.
Communicate with me.