Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I'm So Not Your Type

Not once, but twice, I've been virtually hit on by someone who publically proclaims that they don't really find me attractive.

Let me explain.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, a quick-and-dirty lesson on how, online dating service extraordinaire, works: You post a profile, and you browse others' profiles (for free). You can send, still for free, a "wink" -- the virtual equivalent of just saying "Hi there" -- to anyone on the system. However, a "wink" is really insufficient to establish any kind of communication. In order to send emails to your fellow, thus being able to actually convey information like, oh, a meeting time and place, you must pay a fee.

When setting up your profile, you get to fill out several different fields, none of which is particularly relevant to this post, except for one section entitled "About My Date." This section basically is where you describe the ideal characteristics of the person you want to date. This section includes the physical (height, weight, hair color, eye color, body type, ethnicity, etc.) and the not physical (smoker or not, education level, income level, dogs or cats, wants kids or not).

Obviously, you are also encouraged to post a photo (or two, or ten) of yourself.

I've had a profile up for a while, just for shits and giggles. My picture is in my profile. And I self-identify as "Asian."

From time to time, I get random "winks" from people. Which is flattering, I guess. Once I even winked the guy back, but he apparently wasn't willing to pony up the money to actually contact me, so that one died in the water. (Me, I figured if he winked me first, he should pony up the cash to send the email.)

I've received two "winks" in the past few weeks that leave me scratching my head. Both of these people -- whose profiles seemed nice enough -- had one glaring problem with their descriptions of themselves... or, rather, what they would like of me, their potential date: Both of these people explicitly described their ideal date as "White/Caucasian."

Top left side of profile: Not insignificant face shot of me. Five lines into my profile (wherein I describe myself): "My ethnicity: Asian." I am pretty freaking clearly not "White/Caucasian."

One guy's profile went even further than that little tick box. In two different places in his profile, he said that "Blond, blue eyed guys really turn [him] on." Uh, hello! To his credit, he did say after that "... but if that's not you, no biggie." Okay, well, it's definitely not me.

I can't help thinking that this is idiocy. Match gives you a long list of options when it comes to describing your date-of-choice. Among those options is "Any." Or, you can check off more than one "ethnicity" that you fancy. So when you make the conscious effort to publicly proclaim on a dating site that you want to date white guys (with no indication that you think non-white guys are good too), why should I respond to your wink?

Let's put it this way: If you knew your friend was exclusively into African-American men and you had a single friend who was white, would you ever make the effort to set them up on a blind date? No, because your friend's preference is clear to you. That's just what I'm saying with respect to these online profiles. You've declared your preference. And you've taken me out of your realm of interest.

Some of my friends disagree with me when I say this. They think that if someone sends me a "wink," clearly they're interested, whether or not they've indicated so in their profile. "You can have a preference," they argue, "but that doesn't mean that they're exclusively attracted to guys who don't look like you." Fair enough. But, to my mind, any date that results from this kind of a match-up would be fatally flawed at inception: I'd know from the get-go that I'm not the "ideal" date. I'd already know that I'm not what melts this guy's butter. And I know myself well enough to know that if we got together, I would spend the entire time wondering if he's busy scanning the room looking for a good-looking white guy instead of focusing on me, a/k/a the guy upon whom he settled for the evening. Who wants to start a date with that kind of handicap? To the point, who wants to be the guy your date "settles" for? "Couldn't find the white guy I was looking for; lemme give you a shot. For now." Please! Even I, with no overflow of self-esteem, am not going to go for that one.

My Match profile states that my date can be of any ethnicity. Sometimes when I randomly surf through others' profiles, the first thing I look at is what they're looking for. If the "ethnicity" box doesn't say "Any" or contain "Asian," that's a kaibosh right there. I'm not going to waste my time on trying to chat up someone who already says he's not interested. (Hey, at least I play by the same rules I hold other people to. Well, in a sort of twisted way.)

If you truly find more than one ethnicity dateable, say so on your profile before you indicate an interest in someone who doesn't match that preference.

And if you "wink" someone first, it might be a good idea to be willing to spend the money to send an email in the event that your target actually wants to meet you too.


Steve said...

I don't have a profile on I do pay for one on Hot or, though... it sucks, but I still keep renewing it. WTF?!? Anyway, I would 'wink' at you, and if you did the same, I'd pony up the cash. While I'm on the subject, an (Asian) friend of mine called me a 'rice queen'--then had to explain what it meant. Guilty.

Great blog, BTW.

Matthew said...

This isn't anything too extraordinary. It's just part of the magical world of online dating.

I used to have a Yahoo! Personals ad about five years ago. It's how I met "the husband." I explicitly stated in the ad that I wasn't looking for hook-ups or people who just wanted a primarily sexual relationship, etc. Of course, about a third of the responses were from weirdos saying that I sounded "hot", and did I want to fuck? Some of them were quite persistent. Oh, and I seem to remember stating in the add that I preferred caucasians. Of course, some non-caucasians responded to the ad, as well.

It's pretty typical that there are people out there who just don't pay attention to details. Or, it could just be that, while the two guys who've winked at you prefer white guys, they might not be totally averse to trying a different ethnicity. It happens. I prefer white guys, but also, sometimes, find half-Asians/half-caucasians extremely attractive. It just depends.

Oh, and don't start crushing a possible relationship before it even exists. Make sure you're not erecting too many excuses for not going on dates with people. Perhaps you should try seeing where things go with one of these guys. If it goes nowhere, then no harm, no foul. I seem to remember awhile back you were posting about how you poo-poo things quite easily? Or maybe I'm thinking of something else?

Be careful not to be as paranoid as your friend Mark, only in the relationship category. Loosen up!

Take care.

Jon said...

I'm always sort of wary of people who list what ethnicites they like on dating profiles. How do you know if wouldn't be attracted to someone of a certain race- do you know what everyone looks like? Dunno, I'm probably coming across as bitter, but it's better to be open and then choose based on the individual.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the whole "if a guy *winks* you first, they should pony up the fee to email," though I would amend that one, since I've been guilty of *winking* a guy in the hopes that HE has already ponied up the money and might like to chat. I don't necessarily feel it's cheap on my part to do that, since I can't actually afford that extra whatever just to send an email to someone I don't know, and whom may or may not respond.

Also, as for the ethnicity part, is there a CHOICE on the profile area to choose more than one ethnicity? If so, and they chose ONLY white/caucasian, I can certainly understand your frustration there. If not, that may only be their FIRST choice, but not their defining choice. Just sayin... LOL

Dennis! said...

Thanks for your comments.

Steve: Welcome to my blog!

Matthew: I understand your point. Your point is what my friends argued when I mentioned this to them. I'm not sure I buy into it, because:

Jon: I totally 100% agree you that it's so wildly stupidly limiting to say, in one blanket statement, "There are absolutely no persons of [blah] race whom I will ever find attractive."

Christ: Yes, there's an option to check off more than one box. You can say your date should be "White" or "Latino" or "African-American." This presents its own subtextual messages, because when some people check off a lot of boxes, it's just as telling to notice what they don't check off.