04 August 2011

Fishing in The Sewers

Recently, I was working on a paper for sociology and doing research on the Internet and social constructions of reality, which led to some interesting thoughts regarding Western society and "being online." One facet that I explored was the usage of online dating sites, and I am still doing some more of that research on my own time. While not technically scientific or academic at this point, I do feel it would be enough to warrant more research--my own sociology professor even suggested that not only should I do research in this area, but check around with major universities and see what scholarly research (if any) is currently being done.  

As I have mentioned in my previous posts, I do have an account on OkCupid. I also set up a basic account on the popular site "Plenty of Fish." While browsing through a couple of hundred profiles on each site (and hoping that maybe, just maybe I might find a decent girl who would actually prove to be worth the investments of time and money--thereby praying that somebody can prove me wrong on many of the previous assertions I have made with regards to dating), I did notice several things among the ladies' profiles: 

a.) Most of them seemed to have a "cookie-cutter" appearance to them. Specifically, I kept seeing a recurring theme with the descriptions/essays/profile-texts. Indeed, I can probably say that phrases like "I'm laid back and easy-going", "I'm looking for a REAL man, not a boy",  "I'm hoping to meet my best friend", "everyone notices my eyes and boobs", etc. ad infinitum are a staple. Seriously, I'm quite sure I could take about 15 of these phrases, add some fake information and a fake picture, and create a "generic" profile for a woman on most any of these sites. 

b.) Many women complain of men who post pictures of themselves posing shirtless in front of the bathroom mirror, yet I also see many of these same women do it. In fairness, men are just as guilty of such shots--but I haven't seen many that complain about women's "mirror" pictures where they're wearing lingerie, a towel, etc. 

c.) Directly related to point b, there are also quite a few women who don't want men to message them and comment on her breasts and/or derriere--but make those areas of her body the focus of most (if not all) of her profile pictures. 

d.) The amount of single women with children on these sites is quite high. This I can understand to a point as I myself am a man who does NOT want to be a parent at all. After talking to quite a few men online, as well as friends and colleagues, the general consensus is that many men simply do not want to raise children that are known not to be their own. Consequently, many of these women have a lower value in the dating "market" and thus try their hand online when traditional/conventional means seem to fail. 

e.) There are several people who set up "duplicate" and/or "fake" profiles. Why this phenomenon happens would be a good question to look into, but for now, I do believe it is sufficient to state that the majority of female "fake" and "duplicate" profiles seen are doing so with the intent of looking for sexual liaisons--they either have links/URLs that point to sexual-personals (to its credit, Plenty of Fish itself has a page that encourages such people to just join Adult Friend Finder), or have profile pictures that are much more risque in nature and may contain nudity. 

So, looking at these and other observations that I have made, it is no wonder that I have taken to referring the entire cyber-sector known as "online dating" as veritable sewers filled with mostly garbage and low-quality people (both men AND women) who often couldn't pass muster either in traditional dating scenarios or even the bar scene. This isn't to say that all people who use online-dating services are low-grade people or are so inept/ugly/undesirable/undateable that the Internet is their last hope for mating--many college students and young professionals who have extensive presences online see it as an extension of their persona.

But, there is a dearth of quality people online. I know full well that I am not a quality person in the eyes of your typical American woman. It is true that the idea of a "quality" person that would be compatible and match is subjective--and the standards used by people vary considerably. Personally, I have four items upon which I would judge a woman's profile in determining this "quality person" status: 

a.) she cannot have a spoiled, "wild," or "entitlement/princess" mentality to her. If I see that she enjoys partying, getting drunk, posting racy pictures online, I'm much more likely to write her off as someone who'll just party--and perhaps be unfaithful or leave the relationship in a short span. Why? I am quite conservative in the risks I take with other people--and I would like to see some evidence that if I do invest a fair quantum of my time, energy, and perhaps even money, then I would like to have a reasonable chance of a positive return on that investment. 

b.) she must be able to consistently treat me with a modicum of respect. If I see a profile containing jokes or negative references to men, or an implication that she is demanding (such as saying she wants someone who's tall, rich, handsome, popular, intelligent, caring, Christian, etc. ad nauseam), I'm more inclined to believe that she may be someone who's looking to use me for her social and financial gain. The same is true with the phrase "knows how to treat a woman right," which in my eyes is a huge red flag. 

c.) she must be competent and exhibit personal responsibility on a daily basis. Crucial factors are outward signs of intelligence and an ability to make sound fiscal decisions. Some things that would likely point to a positive presence of this would include using proper English grammar, syntax, etc. in her profile and communications, having at least a couple of years of college (or, an Associate's degree or technical diploma from an accredited vocational school--though having a college degree does NOT inherently make one intelligent). On the other hand, if a girl puts down that she enjoys shopping trips, appears to wear designer clothes all the time, and (at least on OkCupid) is willing to admit she spends hundreds of dollars on shoes and handbags I am then inclined to think that she's a major fiscal risk that may not be worth taking.  

d.) she must not have children (e.g. being a single mother). This one is pretty easy to explain: I don't want to be a parent at all--I don't want to father any, and I have no interest in adopting any. Therefore, it would not make sense for me to want a relationship with a woman who already has children regardless of the reason why she has them.

Why do I put these four criteria into place? I figure that if I want to be in a relationship with a woman, I'd like to make sure there's a reasonable chance of staying together in the mid-to-long-term. I also tend to believe that the first three are almost universally-applicable and are likely to be found in decent, law-abiding, and intelligent people. Finally, the four boil down to: be a respectful and responsible person who will treat their partner with respect and affection that can be easily reciprocated.  

After viewing numerous profiles on both OkCupid and Plenty of Fish, I have found that few profiles even come close to meeting these criteria. Hence, I have taken to referring both sites as "The Sewers." This moniker fits quite nicely in my opinion because when I think of what flows through sewers, I think of foul waste such as sewage/wastewater, chemicals, trash, sludge, etc. In short, not much that would be commonly thought of as valuable. As I see few profiles that adequately pique my interest, the rest of the women on there are undesirable, unsuitable, or carry too much of a risk for my tastes.

In that regard, here's a couple of trolling images I've made in Photoshop just for grins: 




So, for all the people who are looking for good people in The Sewers--best of luck! =) 
 

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