The main benefit of dating websites is that they’re incredibly targeted. You can search for exactly what you want in a mate. It’s like a giant game of red rover.
“Red rover, Red rover. Would Jewish women 25-35 who like baseball and don’t smoke come over?”
Of course, to find exactly what you’re looking for, you have to be honest. Yes, that’s right – you’re not perfect for everyone. I know it’s a terrible thing to realize. I’ll give you a minute to recover.
The vast majority of us grew up fairly unpopular. That’s how it works – there are two or three popular kids at each school, five to ten hangers on, and then a big pile of the rest of us. Fear not, being part of the rest-of-us-pile is what gave you a personality. I pray that my kids will not be popular. I’d rather spend my Saturday nights reminding my son how wonderful his life will be after graduation than bailing him out of jail.
Because of our rest-of-us-pile upbringing, we have been trained to want as many dates as possible. We had so few options when we were young and awkward that by the time we’re older and actually desirable, we want to make up for everything we allegedly lost out on; except most of what we “lost out on” wasn’t something to lose.
Think of Yom Kippur, and how hungry you are after the fast. The first few years, you pig out the second you hear the shofar. But after a few years of getting sick from eating too much, you remember that it’s best to have a bagel and be done with it.
I’ve seen some JDate profiles designed to elicit as many first dates as possible. They are generic, probably due to a fear of turning anyone off, lest the dating pool be cut down by a few drops. So you found a way to maximize how many first dates you can get. I don’t see the point – unless you’re writing your sociology dissertation on awkward conversation.
One date with a deep connection is better than ten dates with little to no compatibility: on your heart, your schedule and your wallet.
If the goal is to find someone you’re truly compatible with, you need to be honest about who you are. There’s a great line in Annie Hall where a couple is asked why they’re happy. She says, “I’m very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say.” He responds, “And I’m exactly the same way.”
Despite being relatively worthless, they found each other through honesty. But, enough about Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag.
So how do you find your match? Be honest – both with your potential mate, and yourself. If you don’t like dogs, talk about why. If you are a political activist, discuss your party affiliation. And if you’re a New Jersey Nets fan, well, write that and maybe you’ll get sympathy.
Don’t write that you’re smart. If you were, you’d be smart enough to know not to say something that egotistical. Don’t write that you’re funny – funny people are funny enough to simply be funny. When you write those kinds of things, you’re saying that you’re only smart and funny in comparison to the boring friends you surround yourself with. But, enough about Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag.
As a writer, I understand I have a slight advantage on dating websites. It’s the same advantage lawyers have when they get a speeding ticket and realtors have when selling a house. Though right now, I don’t think anyone has an advantage when selling a house.
But anyone can be a writer when it comes to finding your match. Because you don’t have to be creative or suspenseful or rhyme – you just have to be honest. And someone will be attracted to that.
I know some of you are reading this and thinking how hard it is to tell the world about yourself in such a small space. And you’re doing that while updating your Twitter status 140 characters at a time.
So take your time when crafting a profile, and be confident about who you really are. Ask friends to read it over and see if it accurately describes you and what you’re looking for. But don’t change to trick someone into dating you – you’ll revert back to the real you in a few months, and have to start all over.
If you’re honest, there might be fewer people to play with; but the game will be way more fun.
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