About the Experiment

Thursday, September 4, 2014

An OkCupid Message That Makes Me Want To Hulk Smash

I try to be a kind person, both in the metta sense and a general daily Golden Rule kind of way.
But sometimes, someone or something really bothers me, gets my goat, and ya know, makes me want to Hulk Smash...

We've had the new profile up for a few days, and I've noticed that we're getting different types of messages than we've seen in the experiment so far.  There are more clever messages, a few messages say "you seem like an interesting person," "a sweetheart," or "down to earth."  But there's also a few NSFM (Not Safe For Mom) messages, which we hadn't gotten before (even during Tracy's week).  All of it is interesting in the Marketing of Dating conversation, and eventually I may pull keyword data from each week.

But there's one message that really stood out.  The sender is 42 years old (the age range we set: 25-38) and the message is about 10 paragraphs long (584 words, 2,462 characters without spaces).  It starts like this:

"So you candor on your profile makes me worry that you are not really looking for a relationship or love, but for fodder for your stand up, blog, short films, what-have-you."

*(please note the typo ("So you candor"), it comes into play later)

I won't focus on one message often, but this was a great example of a type of guy I don't want to date and I can tell from the first sentence of his message.  I don't know what particular candor he is referencing, perhaps the description of the dating experiment at the beginning of the profile.  Regardless, if my candor in a dating profile is a problem, then you won't like me in real life.  You know how often people say, "Gee I wish people were less honest in their online dating profiles"?  Basically never.  I try to be a very honest person (honesty with tact, specifically) and I do not apologize for it.  Also, I am a writer/creative person/artist.  Everything is material.  I have a writer's brain that is always looking for funny and weird things, and then trying to figure out the funniest ways to write about it.  I know that may be strange to some people, but anyone who spends a lot of time around me should know that and the best ones embrace it.  

But this guy seems to say that because I'm so honest, he doubts my integrity.  And those are fighting words.  My integrity is very important to me, which is why all the details about the experiment are in the OkC profile (including the url for the blog), and I try to write about everyone involved in the experiment in the most fair way I can.  I ask permission from my family and friends before sharing their stories, and on the dates talk to the Bachelors about the blog.  I don't want anyone to feel misled or tricked.  This is not a cheesy Romcom and I'm not dating anyone because of a bet.  I'm trying to learn more about what kind of guys I'm compatible with, and get insights and wisdom from my friends and family about what kind of guys they think would be best for me.  If I meet my next boyfriend or my future husband through the experiment, great!  If I just meet new cool guys and learn things, that's great too!  If I can entertain others, and maybe make them think a bit, that's also excellent. 

Anyways, back to Mr. Anti-Candor.  He continues, "In terms of dating different guys. Here is my philosophy (which I touch on in my profile)."  And then he proceeds to Mansplain some things, make a bunch of assumptions about my taste in men, the type of guys I've dated in the past, and the type of guys my friends date (and all of his assumptions are incorrect and at times insulting).  He says, "So you want to think outside the box - don't go out with any white guys." (spoiler alert: he's not white.)  But wait, it gets better!  In his own words, he's "an intellectual elitist" and "I only am interested in women who are insanely smart and went to a top notch school."  (Remember the typo in the first sentence?  Color me unimpressed.)  In case I hadn't gotten his disdain for all womankind yet he includes "Sadly, based on the list of 'People's Sexiest Men Alive' women do not have the same standards" (right...because all men/society share his views on brainy women, which is why female rocket scientists are regarded as the most desirable women in the world.  OH WAIT.)

He ends his diatribe/OkCupid message by writing:

"So all I care about is where you went to college."

And commence Hulk Mode.  I could never date a guy who only cares about where I went to college, I couldn't even be friends with someone who only cares where I went to college.  I did go to a very good university, I even went to two good universities, but where I went to college does not define me.  And I would never discriminate against others based on where they went to school.  I'm less interested in what college a guy went to or what degree he got, I care more about whether he's constantly trying to learn about the world around him, if he's passionate about the work he does, if he's a caring and kind person who I am compatible with emotionally and intellectually.  I'm looking for a guy who likes that I have a brain, but also likes that I make him laugh, enjoys my zany stories, and might even find it endearing when I get overwhelmed and interrupt myself without finishing the previous thought.  

I like smart people, but to me smart isn't about a piece of paper from a university or an IQ number.  And I really don't like people who use "being smart" as a weapon.  The Know-It-Alls, the people who are always trying to prove how smart they are (or how dumb other people are), I find exhausting.  I prefer life-long learners, the intellectually curious people who explore.  And that's part of why I'm doing this experiment, because I'm hoping to find guys who say, "Hey that sounds interesting," "Why not?" and "That's something new and different, I'm in."  Not someone who needs to see my resume before they know if they want to date me or not.

I know that part of why intellectual snobbery drives me crazy is that I have been very guilty of it in the past.  I tested into GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) classes in 1st Grade (age 6), I graduated from high school and college with honors, i.e. I've been told that I'm smart for as long as I can remember.  I used to think that Being Smart and Being Right were some of the most important things in life.  It was only while traveling during a break from college that I realized that sometimes I was Being An Asshole because I prioritized Being Right over Being Kind.  That brought about a paradigm shift for me, in which I realized how important it is to be kind.  I realized how hurtful I could be to people I cared about because I so focused on Being Right.  Being Kind doesn't mean I never correct anyone's spelling, grammar, or word choice, but I try to keep it to a) people I know, not strangers, b) if it's WAY off, not just a little, c) in a kind, gentle way ("I usually hear that word used as..." instead of, "Ugh, that word actually means...") and d) often only after asking ("Do you want feedback on what you wrote?").  Also key are being able to admit I'm wrong, and (gasp) when there's something I don't know.  And then I usually look it up because I'm curious.  :)

And yes, pointing out Mr. Anti-Candor's grammatical error was not the kindest thing to do, so Hulk says she's sorry and she has to go find some new pants (Hulk yoga pants?).

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