08 May 2011

The $64,000 Question...

[ I wrote this post on 22 April 2011 for the OkCupid journal in response to questions and criticisms as to why I remain on there. No changes are being made to this text.]

With my profile coloured the way it is, I am asked not just by site users and friends, but the general public:

"If you see dating, relationships, marriage, and sex in such a negative light, then why are you still here?"

This indeed is a fair question, and to be honest, I do not know the answers. However, I do have my hypotheses and I also have several ways of answering this question, ranging from the snippy to the "more-thought-out" and quasi-diplomatic.

At times I am indeed tempted to answer such questions with the old "Well, this is none of your damned business!" line. While it is a short and brutally-honest answer, I also believe that it doesn't provide any helpful insight as it neither reflects on the original purpose as to why I joined to begin with, nor as to what my expectations are.

After all, I did not join this site with the expectation of looking for connections, dates, or intimate liaisons. Nay, I joined originally to take a few tests that a couple of my friends wanted me to take. So, I figured that I'd join just to make the sharing-of-results easier. It also explains why I took a battery of tests even though I thought most of them were at best rather irrelevant. Considering that this purpose has been done months ago, I suppose one can say that I stand out in that my existence here is still largely undefined.

I imagine that most of you are here for one of three broad reasons:

a.) to meet new friends

b.) to find someone to date and/or otherwise enter into a relationship with

c.) to position oneself for sexual activity with presumably like-minded individuals.

Yet it is clear that I have none of these three broad objectives clearly put. Indeed, based on my own profile as well as the "match question" answers, it certainly appears that I'm not so keen on finding friends, much less to find a woman to engage in an "intimate" relationship with.

It appears that the "running hypothesis" explaining why I'm still here at this point is this:

-Part "train wreck" -- in this sense, perhaps I cannot help but watch at this point
-Part experiment -- can I confirm my suspicions and observations that I have previously made by simply watching the activity here and communicating with other users on this site?
-Part Satire -- a veritable anti-profile with trumped-up and nerdy stuff that seemingly goes against what people would find in a social or "dating" page
-Part Curiosity -- which so far hasn't appeared to kill the proverbial cat, but hasn't really done anything to make said proverbial cat less grumpy.

In the end, perhaps my goal is just to let things slide by being a "perpetual" third-party. With all honestly, I cannot in good faith say that I expect to attract someone at this point--the way I see it, if I was truly dating material (and thus actually deserving of someone's affection), I would have found them and settled down a couple of years ago. Needless to say, even at 25 I am past my prime and just concerned with grinding away with the unknown quantum of time I remain on this rock. To be sure, it is an incredibly bad hand to play. And, if the hand is that bad, I thus figure that no matter how things are sliced, I might as well pick a way less played and just roll with it.

And, why not?

Cynicism aside, does anyone honestly think that I would be a good match, let alone relationship material? What woman in her right mind genuinely sees the likes of me as boyfriend or husband material? Though I am (quite obviously) not a woman and am admittedly hard-judging against myself, I just don't see how that could be. For more on this point, I recommend reading all of my non-technical (read: non-computer) journal entries.

Thus, the purposes of dating and/or sex are out the window.

So, that might leave "well, what about trying to find new friends?" Given the way the site is structured, I have to limit searches to that of the opposite sex, which makes things quite difficult. Further, there are other sites and fora out there that aren't geared at least in part to dating, and therefore would be more efficient tools should I decide to want to try to make friends online--which I don't think is necessarily a wise idea.

Why? This is the Internet, and it is still easy to be whoever one wants to be thanks to the degree of relative personal anonymity posting online can afford. Yea, there are image macros and jokes about this point (see [1, 2] for examples). The point is that it is incredibly naive to read a personal post such as an online profile and assume by default that it is genuine and honest. Mind you, I am not saying a profile online automatically means they are being dishonest or are otherwise lying.

[2] http://imway2fat.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/fat-internet-man.jpg?w=294&h=300

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