So, I reluctantly and half-heartedly investigated online dating sites. As much as anything, I approached it as a social psychological experiment (since I have a PhD in Psychology, this is somewhat unavoidable).
This is what I noticed…………….
Everyone has an online persona. Each photo conveys a message that they want others to believe –
I am successful.
I am fun.
I am adventurous.
I am a good parent.
I am healthy.
I look good for my age.
I lay in bed the morning after my online exposure, and started imaging funny and outrageous profile photos that I could create that were tongue-in-cheek. A friend of mine is a professional clown, and I texted her to see if she were available for a fun little photo shoot. When she wasn’t, I decided I could be bold and audacious, and solicit the public to help.
I got up, and took several hours to do my own photo shoot with friends and strangers alike, thereby creating my own online spoof persona. And I tried to match what the algorithm was matching me with.
Notable: men seem to like pics in their cars, in their bathrooms and of them partaking in fishing and gaming events. So I took note, and responded accordingly.
To participate in an authentic way, I did not try to get the lighting right, take a shower after my workout, do my hair, wear much makeup, nor dress up for the occasion. I was trying to be real, which is in contrast to much of what is out there. We try to “put our best foot forward”. What about putting our real self forward?
I didn’t have any aspirations to actually engage in online dating after my initial investigation. It just didn’t seem like it was for me, and to be honest, I just wasn’t ready. But when I posted these on Facebook, many of my readers felt I had increased my date worthiness tenfold and I should definitely add these to my marketing page (aka, profile page).
In my post-analysis FB post, here is what I shared after it was received so well.
Just for the record, my last post was a spoof! A satire and parody of online dating. I thought I should clarify since people have wished me good luck. I am passionately engaged in work that turns me on, and spending hours a week on the prowl feels like a distraction.
What I do know is that online dating can (rarely) work. The success rate of finding love via these sites is 2-3%. If you are in that percentile, congratulations! If you are a women, you have to have the psychological armor to manage the periodic, but unfortunately regular sexual violence that WILL come to you in the form of pics and words.
I had my online profile up for 24 hours, and in that time was verbally assaulted once, i.e. “I want to do (this) to you, and I want you do do (this) to me”. Friends of mine who do/have online dated experienced this as well. Regularly.
Most of us women have experienced gender-based violence more than once in our lives, and I have no interest in opening up a portal for predictable, episodic violent behavior to enter my computer, home, and mind and soul.
Finding a date is easy. Finding someone who matches up on the multiple levels that a partner needs to match up on is complicated and hardly can be quantified in an online algorithm.
An inordinate number of men who are proud of the fish they catch seemed to reach out to me. I don’t fish, but did joke with a girlfriend this weekend that if she had a koi pond in her backyard, the koi may not be safe around me anymore, as I felt compelled as of late to go fishing.
In that 24 hours, I was comically looking at what was coming in hourly, and I found the humor and irony in this fairly new dating behavior. I noticed gender patterns and it was funny.
Online profiles only contain the sparkly stuff. After all, people are advertising, and advertising what they think the opposite sex wants to see. It made me curious about this new mating behavior, and I truly sat back and saw it from the lens of social psychology.
So I am glad it made you laugh. It did me. I had loads of fun spending a day in my head, creating parodies, and at Costco which is where I am anyway on Sunday. I’ll never shop there for fish again without laughing.
We are funny creatures what we will do for love. We so want to be loved and held and seen and wanted. And that’s a good thing, no? It’s really a tender, good thing.
Taking a creative detour was good for my soul. It infused my work and soul with an aliveness much as travel does. AND SO, if you want a coach to mentor you in your creative profession, call me!!! For now, back to life.