Tag Archives: online dating

Dating like a feminist

Last week I joined Molly and Brian on Vocalo’s Feminist Wednesdays to talk about dating while feminist. As usual, it was a blast and a half. What part should gender roles play in modern dating? How much should we rely on traditional who-does-what? Should we just mimic the gays? They seem able to figure this out without pointing at genitalia as the reason one person should or shouldn’t buy the other person dinner…

Listen away!

Related Post: Dating should not be a meal ticket.

Related Post: Why online dating is hard for guys.

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How to Have a Conversation on a First Date (Or: How Not to Have a Conversation on a First Date)

Today’s Role/Reboot post comes to you inspired by the following Facebook exchange:

Screenshot_11_14_13_10_14_AM

I realized after I posted this that it might not be a gendered issue, but I don’t date women, so I really have no idea. There are probably lady-monologuers out there, too. That said, I do think there’s something about the economics of dating (especially online dating) wherein men are encouraged to try to impress, and women are encouraged to sit back and be impressed. The thing is, I’m mostly impressed by curiosity, which gets lost if you’re too busy telling a twenty minute story about CrossFit.

Screenshot_11_14_13_10_08_AM

Related Post: Why online dating sucks for men.

Related Post: OkCupid by the numbers!

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Filed under Gender, Republished!

I Think I’m Doing OkCupid Wrong

This week for Role/Reboot, I did a little internal investigation on how I behave on online dating sites. We already know how I feel about gendered traditions once we’re actually on the date (i.e. Who pays?), but what about the sending of and responding to messages? Why do I sit back and wait? Is the answer really because it’s just so freaking easy? That seems like laziness to me, and no one should rest on their laurels when it comes to equalizing the playing field, least of all ladies who write about gender and equality on the internet…

onlinedatingRelated Post: Comparing dating to church.

Related Post: Guest post: the dangers of dating while freelancing

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Filed under Gender, Republished!

Nicks, Davids and Mikes: OkCupid by the Numbers

I’ve tried to count and tally the last two years of okcupid dates with limited success, so here’s a different approach. Still can’t remember who Paul is….

Parents during the 80s were not super creative. Can you guess which guys weren't white?

Parents during the 80s were not super creative.

While my roommate makes fun of me for consistently visiting the same four restaurants, the data would suggest otherwise (though I do obviously have favorites):

Restaurants2For you Chicagoans, that looks something like this:

Dates - Google MapsAnd now, most important of all:

kissed?Related Post: OkCupid had a kickass blog

Related Post: An OkCupid message contest

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Courtship

Ahh, the good old days

Ahh, the good old days

Bluuuuurgh. So many people have sent me this idiotic article in the Times on the “End of Courtship” and asked for comment.

I tend to assume that anything that starts with the “end of X” is bound to be histrionic, and this doesn’t disappoint. I have so many strong, negative reactions to this article that I’m having a seriously hard time putting them on paper. The words that come to mind are the following: dumb, moron, silly, archaic, inane, yuck, blech, for realz? See? Those are not even all the same parts of speech!

Slate already did a pretty great job of tearing this bad boy up, so go check that out. In the meantime, here are my biggest beefs:

1. Could you get any more heteronormative? You know what makes courtship a lot easier? When people view each other as people (you know, like other human beings with interests and opinions and preferences and experiences) and go from there. We could all take a couple of pages out of the queer dating handbook and maybe not rely on chromosomes to determine who buys the beers…

2. Ladies, if you want fancy dinners, pay for your own goddamn meal! We are all in our twenties. We are all broke as shit. We are all paying off loans. Do you seriously think an equally broke, equally debt-burdened dude should be buying you stuff because he has a penis? For real? How does that make any sense?

3. What was so great about back-in-the-day? Yeah, courtship looks different, but were the olden days really so golden? Look around you, do you know what you’d be doing if you were dating in the 50s? There might be some malted milkshakes or a whatever, but you’d also be married at 21, you probably wouldn’t have gone to college, and you’d have two or three kids running around your ankles right now. There’s nothing wrong with that, but man, isn’t it nice to have choices?

4. Buying shit is not the way to be gentlemanly. Paying for my crab rangoon does not show me you’re “gentlemanly,” any old schmuck can apply for a credit card. Listening to me talk, answering my questions thoughtfully, asking follow-up questions, respecting my opinions, that’s gentlemanly behavior. Also ladylike behavior! Isn’t that cool how basic courtesy and conversational skills are gender-neutral? Neat-o!

5. Respecting my autonomy is sexy. Do any women ever find it sexy for a man to order on their behalf without asking? Is this a thing? I really can’t imagine a scenario in which this doesn’t result in me leaving the table. If we’re sharing wine, ask my opinion, okay? If I don’t care, I’ll tell you, and you can pick. But the presumption ordering for me? Ick, you don’t even know me!

6. Women are not prizes. “Cheryl Yeoh, a tech entrepreneur in San Francisco, said that she has been on many formal dates of late — plays, fancy restaurants. One suitor even presented her with red roses. For her, the old traditions are alive simply because she refuses to put up with anything less. She generally refuses to go on any date that is not set up a week in advance, involving a degree of forethought. “If he really wants you,” Ms. Yeoh, 29, said, “he has to put in some effort.” Ummmmm, what? Asking for a plan in advance is not unreasonable (see: basic courtesy), but this is the most one-sided load of baloney. If he really wants you? What if you really want him? Does he have to spend a certain amount for you to put out? Is this some sort of transaction? Gross.

Related Post: Online dating, how to make it less unpleasant.

Related Post: Why I like first dates so much…

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Litany Part 2

And this isn’t even half of it…

A while back, I wrote a post influenced by a Modern Love column and a book with an excellent title. The post chronicled a series of dates with just a sentence or two apiece. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget two hours of stranger talk the minute you walk out the door.

You may have seen the picture at right already on Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Thingsbut it just fits so well. A few more recent entries….

Ate tacos with a teddy bear of a guy who distributed beer in Chicago for a Brooklyn brewery. As a parting gift, he gave me two bottles of a new line out of the trunk of his car.

Bearded lumberjack in red flannel and a newsboy who had just moved to Chicago. Worked as a developer for one of the Chicago papers.

He was 22, but I went with it because,… well, why not? Spent most of college commuting to Chicago for school so he could take care of his grandmother in Indiana. Lots of tattoos, spoke with a lisp, reminded me several times that he had lots of older friends.

An extremely attractive Indian-American doctor who worked 90 hours a week and was mostly fascinated by the story of my parents’ relationship. “I’ve always been fascinated by divorce,” he said.

A 34-year-old graphic designer raised by his mom and two sisters. He didn’t drink at dinner because he was training for a muy thai fight that weekend.

Thai lunch with a 33-year-old guy two weeks before he moved back to Los Angeles. We mostly talked about his multi-racial “Benetton ad” family and Chicago segregation.

Two dates with a short contractor with the same name as my dad. Too bad I wasn’t feeling it, the third date was going to be pumpkin carving.

Three dates with a 36-year-old divorced trader. Well, three dates if you count the beer we had at the airport after meeting on the orange line. He wore a lot of jewelry and all his Facebook photos were of him skiing.

Related Post: Litany Pt. 1

Related Post: The break-up museum

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Sweet Potato Fries

This week at Role/Reboot, I wrote about one of my favorite subjects, online dating! I know, I know, I just have so many opinions on the subject that I just can’t help myself. My focus this week was how to actually have a good time on the date itself. Key words: low pressure + honesty.

Related Post: My piece for GMP on happier hunting on the interwebz.

Related Post: An OkCupid message contest.

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Filed under Gender, Republished!, Sex

Guest Post: The Dangers of Dating While Freelancing

Meet Jessica Leigh, today’s guest-poster! Like me, she is pursuing that miserable beast known as “online dating.” Except instead of the reasonably safe waters of Chicago, Jessica is swimming with the sharks in New York City. What happens when an aspiring freelancer dates other aspiring freelancers?

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New York is lousy with freelance writers. Surely this is not a revelation to anyone who has ever seen a film or TV show about twenty- or thirty-somethings’ stumbles and sexual exploits in the Big City. (My interior monologue is still read in Carrie Bradshaw’s smirking cadence.) I’ve always known that lots of wordsmiths flock to New York to lurk in coffee shops and write snarky reviews or thoughtful long-form exposes, but the size of this demographic didn’t hit me until I became unemployed and joined their ranks full-time.

I’m on the prowl for another job, but in-between firing off pitches and resumes and trolling boutiques and restaurants looking for work, I sit in coffee shops and creep on my writing competition. I’m generally mild-mannered, empathetic, and non-confrontational. However, crankiness spurred on by my non-existent paychecks, air-conditioning, and promising prospects has brought out the worst in me. My warm-weather, no-income alter ego is ferocious. Cute guy with the thick specs and tousled locks, hunched over his laptop and squinting in concentration? Better stop fantasizing about his eyes behind those glasses and start thinking of him as The Enemy. There are dwindling numbers of 500-word columns about arts and culture, and this island isn’t big enough for the both of us.

This problem is further complicated by the fact that I’m simultaneously trying to break into writing and the dating scene. Suffice to say, I find myself on lots of dates with fellow aspiring freelancers, which means that between bites of budget-friendly food, we dig for dirt about writing opportunities. When I find myself on dates with fellow writers, I sometimes discuss pieces I’ve written. I am wont to wax poetic about the muffins I reviewed for a local site, or prattle self-consciously about articles past.

Mutual sharing usually leads to cheers and high-fives: it’s pretty fun to write pithy pieces, and even more fun to rehash the hours you spent agonizing over alliterative puns or double-fisting salty snacks while reading scathing comments on your blog and wondering if you’re the Worst Writer Ever. Generally, these conversations are hilarious, fun, and lead to another round of pity-party drinks as we strategize about getting gigs. Yesterday, though, this mutual disclosure turned daunting when it occurred to me for the first time that (gulp!) I could become an anecdote or character in one of my dates’ articles or stories.

Mid-way through my iced chai, I learned that my date authors a sex and dating column for a highly-read women’s magazine (“I know, it sounds kind of stupid,” he allowed. “How many times do I need to reiterate, ‘Just suck his balls?!’”). I immediately felt uncomfortable. Would he describe our date in his column? Would I be identified as “Girl Who Visibly Squirmed When I Said the Word “Balls” on Our First Date?” Did he invite me out because he really found me intriguing, or because he needed to conduct an informal survey for an upcoming column (maybe something along the lines of: “Do Dates Find It Arousing When You Casually Mention That You Broadcast Your Sex Life to 10 Million Readers?”)? I’m a longtime reader of my date’s column—weirdly, even though we haven’t hooked up, he has shaped a fair share of my sexual technique. Does the fact that I—and my partners—have benefited from his recounting his tales of (to put it crassly) tail mean that I should stop panicking about becoming one such story? I don’t think so. One of my previous boyfriends writes short stories, and I was always comforted when his characters evinced neuroses that where reassuringly different from my own. I don’t like unexpected cameos between the sheets of someone’s bed or pages of someone’s magazine. There won’t be a second date. I want to keep my sex life in my own bedroom—not on millions of other ladies’ nightstands.

*     *     *    *    *    *

Since the writing of this post, Jessica is happy to have disabled her OkCupid profile. Now she spends her time stalking her neighbors’ stoops to snap shots for her blog, where she geeks out about plants and people who grow them.

Related Post: Another recent guest post about Cosmo, sexual honesty and kink.

Related Post: Best online messages to date.

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Filed under Gender, Guest Posts, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sex

Best/Worst Letters of the Day

Best letter of the day comes to you from The Bloggess. First off, if you don’t read her, you should. I’m new to her brilliance and I can’t stop cackling about giant metal chickens named Beyonce. Also, she has an Etsy shop, which is “tentatively called ‘Eight pounds of uncut cocaine‘ so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.”

Her letter to the editor of Jane and the now-defunct Sassy Magazines attempting to turn down a writing gig induced even more cackling. It includes this:

Unfortunately my book is due at my publishers so I’m swamped with writing deadlines, so the only way I could do this would be to write for you a few times a year when I have spare time/insomnia, or to quit one of my paid columns, which would suck because my daughter has grown accustomed to the little luxuries of hot lunches and vaccinations. I would love to hear more about it though, and either way this email will go in my file labeled “THAT JUST HAPPENED”, sandwiched between the time Neil Gaiman agreed to speak at my funeral, and the time when I accidentally started a feud between myself and William Shatner which was covered by several news outlets.  (It was a very slow news week).

And now, in worst letters another stupid online dating message. Join me as we officially step off the reservation:

“Well aren’t you gorgeous for being so young and so very tiny (though you say curvy)…thought you were much younger at first. It’s not often I can say that about such a fragile and innocent girl being very attractive. You probably can’t keep up with an experienced, adventurous and naughty bad man unfortunately, can you? ;-) The mind is hotter than the hottest of bodies…what do you have up there cutie???”

Normally, I would feel bad about revealing someone’s actual username, but this dude does not deserve my confidentiality. He calls himself “hotandawesome1.” In the words of Kat Stratford, doubtful, very doubtful.

Related Post: Best. Text. Ever.

Related Post: More funny women. On youtube. One is called Fennel.

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Filed under Really Good Writing by Other People

Happier Hunting

Today at the Good Men Project I’m covering the exciting world of online dating with five handy rules for happier hunting. Among other things, I address the ubiquitous photobooth profile series, ab shots, how to address your Trekkie love and why online dating is fundamentally unfair.

Read on!

Related Post: More from the GMP, why online dating (and tech heavy dating in general) leave something to be desired…

Related Post: Hilarious messages from OkCupid + some of the fun findings from OkTrends data

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Filed under Gender, Republished!