Recently, I made the decision that I should probably start working dating back into my social calendar. Like any busy, single career-gal past her ‘bar scene days,’ I turned to online dating sites to provide an efficient way of providing options for people to go out with. eHarmony seemed a little too intense for me; but, I had luck with Match in the past so thought I’d give it a shot. Relaunched my profile and was off to the races. There were some interesting emails, but a couple of big snags:
A) I ran a few searches, sent a few winks and got a bunch of emails – but if I was painfully honest, there wasn’t anyone that stood out and really compelled me to make time to either go out with them to begin with or keep up the effort that moving from “going out” to “starting a relationship” requires. (1)
B) With every search I ran, my ex’s profile came up. Now, I logically understand there’s an unwritten rule that you do NOT look at the profile. I knew it didn’t really matter, anyway… but the reality is, there was this overwhelming curiosity to see how he advertised himself. Was it on par with reality or was it attraction marketing at work??
Because really, when you get down to it, that’s what the dating profile is: attraction marketing. We are, in a sense, recruiting potential suitors (2) – trying to attract them to the written picture we’ve painted of who we are, what we want, and who we want it with. It’s interesting to see the written proof of self-perception mixed with the attempt to turn what you want from someone else into something that sounds charming. Actually working in attraction marketing in my career? Made this fascinating.
Of course, what makes it fascinating is that frankly? Most people are truly bad at it. The first foray into ‘attraction marketing’ for me was in my 7th grade English class – we had to write a dating ad. Turn out, I’ve always had a knack for it – I received more responses than anyone else. But, that wasn’t the only insight I got out of it; though it would take years before I fully understood what to do with it. I got more responses than anyone else, but most of the boys that responded didn’t realize it was me. I’d set out to craft an ad that would prompt inquiry vs one that made it easy to identify ME.
Of course, in the ‘grown-up’ dating world, it’s hard to know whether or not the “Me” someone puts out there really reflects them… or if their friends would miss them in a profile lineup. They’re strangers… and everyone’s on their best behavior when trying to attract someone. Even I spin my purported ‘shortfalls’ in a positive light. I’m not a workaholic with a controlled, detached demeanor – I’m an even-keeled, “take things slow kind of gal,” with a busy career that I love. To keep myself in check, I have had my friends review my profile.. of both gender. Does it sound like me? Even if it was positively spun, were the ‘sticky points’ available to those who cared to look past the picture & read between the lines… or was it all puffy & positive??
Speaking of positive, that’s something that men could stand to focus a little more on. After the 4th or 5th time of running into the ex’s profile, I decided it was time to make a platform change onto a different dating site that would allow for a little more space. Within 24 hours, I had over a dozen emails from guys that met my criteria and many more that had indicated they wanted to “meet me.” (3) Reading through the profiles, I couldn’t help but notice how many were chock-full of the negative: what hadn’t worked, what the didn’t want, and how bad their experiences had been with all the shallow women thus far.
Why would anyone be attracted to that kind of profile?
These were from men that should have known better; so, I can only guess that we reach a point that our experiences jade our personality to the point we can become so focused on self that we lose perspective on what ‘attractive’ to others actually looks like. Which, frankly, I’d expected to see in the ex’s profile when I finally let curiosity get the better of me and peeked at his profile (4)… based off the things he said he wanted and who he was, it would have made sense. I allowed myself 60 seconds & graded the profile. It was pretty standard, didn’t really share the flaws, but didn’t make him sound like superman, either. If I was looking for something to look & shockingly laugh at? The only thing I had to show for it was the realization with both of us in the online dating scene? More space would be required.
The beauty of the “fresh start” was that my profile could get graded, too. It had been the same for years – it may have been attractive, but putting that 7th grade insight to work – it no longer reflected ME. So, I updated it… and as it turns out? It was a good call… the guys that 2009 Crystal attracted, nice as they may be, weren’t the ones I wanted to date in 2012. Which is probably why it was hard to make the effort; and probably not a bad reminder: just because you can attract someone doesn’t mean you should act on it.
And yes, in case you wondered, my current profile did receive a “Stamp of Authenticity” from my friends.
(1) and don’t kid yourself, it absolutely takes a significant amount of effort to date
(2) Can women be ‘suitors’ or is that reserved for men?
(3) there are a lot of singles in DFW
(4) I decided if I let myself get it out of my system, it’d stop taunting me. Which it did, but is why I changed platforms.