November 13, 2011

Long walks on the beach

Of course scientists want to quantify dating and romance. That's what science is for: to suck the fun out of everything by analyzing it to death, or at least down to the little nibbly bits. I happen to love science, but this article in the New York Times looking into the trove of information on the human condition now available because of online dating sites is a little deflating, if you ask me.

A caveat: I've never used one of these sites. I absolutely believe it's the equivalent of meeting a guy in a bar, like that time honoured way of my youth, but I haven't. I have friends who actually met and married after meeting on line. I know lots of people who give it a shot. But am highly suspect for all the reasons revealed in the article: the amount that people lie in their little introduction paragraph. Apparently, everybody lies. In my head, Leonard Cohen just sang that. Anyway. Women lie about their weight and their age and use old pictures. Men lie about their height and their age and how much money they make. Seems both genders are shallow and critical. Wait. That sounds just like being in a bar.

I remember a bazillion years ago, you had to go the 'Personals' section of newspaper classified to find love. I also remember my sister Roz (who will kill me for this) and I used to read those obsessively. It was mean; it was awesome.

One day, it must have been thirty years ago, she found a keeper. Some guy had run an ad saying he was 3 and a half feet tall, had no teeth, body odour, was broke, and lived in his mother's basement. Something like that. Because this was thirty years ago, there was a phone number with it. She called him. He'd apparently had tons of calls, and they laughed for a few minutes, and then she called me. He was some English guy who thought these ads were a scream.

Now, a professor of psychology at Berkeley (of course) is trying to understand a) what people lie about and b) why they lie. Duh. A guy in the piece laments that if he puts that he is (correctly) 44, people will automatically assume he's 48. It's like the world's biggest, dumbest bell curve.

I remember talking years ago to that friend who was using dating sites about his bio. I told him I should write it, not him. He had no clue what his best attributes were, and writing your own bio is like tickling yourself. You can't do it. He thought that was a brilliant idea, and of course I decided on the spot I could set up a whole business around it. I meet you for 15 minutes, then I write you a bio. Done.

Reading this article has tweaked that, however. I read about people meeting for coffee, then having to escape because the tall, dark and handsome guy who made the date sent the 3-and-a-half foot guy from the Toronto Sun personals ad in his place.

I think all those first coffee dates should write the profiles of the person they just met. Think about it: honesty all around, and such great reading.


Anonymous Padraig said...

Oh, now you have made me feel old. When I was a lad, you met girls a) at work, b) at church, and c) at a dance. There were no bars. And now my 47-year old son is getting married to a girl he met through e-harmony. She's a peach - which just goes to prove that, in the long run, it doesn't matter a hill of beans where you meet; just so you do. One guy on our street married a girl he walked home with when they both survived a horrific commuter train crash. Top that, somebody.
My word is 'polwea' which is what my dog does a lot of when we're out for a walk.

November 13, 2011 4:49 PM  
Anonymous buzzwhack said...

Aahh, website dating.I could write a book 'bout that. My Zoosk experiences were just soul killing.
A sad menagerie of wilfully blind, ignorant,lecherous and crooked people mixed in with victims, manques, wannabees, has beens and never beens. Zoo, indeed!

November 13, 2011 5:32 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

I think Padraig and Buzz need to write their own blogs on this. Really.

I've just decided to grow old with my cats.

November 13, 2011 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried it after my divorce. It was an experience that was very short lived. I could have gone out every night of the week if I'd wanted to and I never attached a picture to my profile.
Met a few guys who were just normal, looking for some company, met one total pervert and one guy that was a total loon. I made one good friend out of the whole thing and have kept in touch with him for almost 7 years now.
If you take it as a lark, it can be fun but you have to be sooooo careful.

November 13, 2011 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Roz said...

Did I really call that dude? Vaguely familiar but seriously?

November 14, 2011 11:37 AM  
Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

Based upon today's column, I think that you already know your fate/destiny.

And that is not a bad thing, either.

November 14, 2011 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Pat Lake said...

I have had a much different experience and have met some amazing people online on dating sites, and penpal sites (I have had penpals since I was 12 the world over - I'm 56 now, and have met some 40 of those in real life) ... I've met some crazies too, like the woman who showed up for a first date (10 years older and 2 feet shorter than her profile, I swear) promptly wrapped her legs around my waist and whispered in my ear "I have an overnight bag in my car"..... which is exactly where it stayed. I've also met women who have become great friends, including the woman who I believe will someday be the next Mrs Me.

You meet great people and crazy people in anything you engage in. You wouldn't believe the crap someone told you in a bar "holus bolus"... same applies for online. Trust but verify.

November 14, 2011 12:41 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

My wife and I met when we were 18 working at McDonald's in Oakville. We went our separate ways and 10 years later had a freak meeting in a hotel lobby at Whistler.

I highly recommend meeting chicks that way. Works all the time.

November 15, 2011 10:22 AM  
Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

In hotel lobbies or McDonalds?

My word? smshlump. The sound a woman makes during a mammogram. OK, I know, bad Ozzie...

November 15, 2011 4:24 PM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

Oz... both. Combined. Oh... I was driving a Nissan 300Z and she had a Supra. And her favourite store was Camadian Tire. How could I not marry her?

November 15, 2011 10:11 PM  

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