So I am now definitely, unequivocally single and It’s time for me to delve into something I’ve never explored before: Dating in the D.C area. I left the leafy suburbs of northern Virginia for the higher (more polluted) altitudes of Bogotá when I was 22 so I don’t really have much experience as a single young professional in the U.S, much less as a young professional hitting the dating scene. In high school I was what you might call an ultimate nerd, so there wasn’t much (any) dating going on. You can find out why in the last paragraph of this entry. Then I went to college in a small town where I continued my nerdsome ways, and met a few fellow nerds, but that was about it. When I moved to Latin America my popularity skyrocketed thanks to my foreigner status, but I have a feeling that I won’t be quite as popular in D.C, where everyone runs marathons. But still, I’ve optimistically embarked on this new endeavor. Well, embarked is probably not the right word, considering I haven’t actually gone on any dates. Nor have there been any tantalizing propositions. Actually, there haven’t been any propositions, tantalizing or not, but this whole dating decision was just made five days ago so I’m still in the strategizing phase.
As I mentioned in my last post, my trip to New York City last weekend helped me break out of a mini slump. During my trip I was persuaded of two things 1.) Dating can be fun as long as you aren’t desperate and looking to get married right away (which I am not) and 2.) Online dating is probably the easiest route to kick-starting a dating career. Yes people, I actually joined an online dating site. I never thought I’d do this, but I met/heard of enough normal people doing it that I decided to give it a try. I’ve actually been surprised to find out how many people do this, but I’m still a little uncomfortable with this idea, so I’m calling it a “dating experiment” to make myself feel better. What I’ve learned so far through this dating experiment is that online dating is kind of like being at a beach bar frequented by vacationing frat bros during their college spring break, so you can imagine what kind of meaningful interactions they are looking for. Let me set the scene: It’s closing time and the bar has been handing out $1 tequila shots all night long. The lingerers, those guys who came alone and haven’t found anyone yet, are desperate. They’ve lost all inhibitions as well as their grasp on what is and isn’t socially appropriate. What does this mean in terms of online dating website messaging? Some of my favorites so far include: “Hey sexy eyes, staying out of trouble tonight?” (I was…it was sent at1:30am on a Wednesday night); “Hey, recently moved to town, wanna spend a night on bed with me?” (Afraid not…you’d think they’d at least use proper grammar when making this kind of illicit proposal) and “Can I ask you a crude question?” (No you may not) There are others too inappropriate to publish, but I think this gives you an idea of what’s out there. And I have gotten some perfectly nice, interesting messages as well, so it does seem like there are some decent guys out there.
This whole online dating thing makes me a little bit uncomfortable, mostly because it’s so easy to disqualify someone based on their photos and “stats.” You have more filter power than you do in real life, where you can actually meet the person first then decide if you’re willing to live with the flaws. A little short? Fantastic sense of humor makes up for it. Space between the teeth? Beautiful eyes compensate. Only makes $40,000 a year? He works for NPR, a dream come true!. It’s harder to see these things from a few pictures and stats sheet. It’s a cruel world online. Rather than discount someone based on profile details, I’ve been trying to focus on their chosen online dating name. I think this tell you more about a person than anything else. I figure that I’m probably not going to click with anyone with names like “Lady Killer,” “Mr. Broken Heart” or “Dope Boy.”
It’s also hard to decide what kind of pictures to put up. Because I am not exactly a size 2, I consulted with a male friend: Should I post only head shots in hopes of increasing the hits I get or should I just go for full disclosure and post full body pics, knowing the simple matter of being a size 10/12 will likely reduce the number of hits I get by at least 50%? My friend, one of those brutally honest types said (regarding posting full body pics and getting less hits), “Yeah, that’s what happens. At the same time, putting only face pics will get hits but later let downs. So pick your poison.” I’ve opted for full disclosure. Any thoughts on this?
Hope to provide some new and exciting updates in the weeks to come!
Categories: D.C, D.C Dating Scene, The Urban Anthropologist Files, Trying New Things
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