Saturday, January 9, 2016

Online dating, frankly

Online dating seems to encourage a kind of window-shopping, where the process is glorified without any acknowledgement or progress towards its ultimate goal. And let's not forget the commodification --- most dating websites are incentivized to keep you on the site, searching and dating, instead of getting you out into the world to meet people and spend time with them. Because then you spend less time looking at their ads!

If you think too hard about this, you will realize that your main function on this planet is to look at, and occasionally click on, advertisements. This is depressing and beside the point, today, so let's set it off to the side -- maybe a few meters beside this point --- and try not to catch it in our peripheral (mental) vision.[1]

I confess that I am a woman on an online dating website. Wait, wait, don't message me yet! Actually, by reading up to the third paragraph, you are already ahead of 90% of all people I interact with online. Congrats! To boost yourself to the top of the heap, it is necessary to have that certain je ne sais quoi. Except that of course I do know what it is. Recently I received some stellar introductory verbal salvos, outstanding for quality.

Example the first opened with a long, mathematically sound musing on the relationship of correlation and causation, as well as a testable hypothesis about correlation causing causation. The message included the sentence: "And thus, we enter the realm of the mad gods." No reference was made to my physical appearance. (The closest he got was a game-theoretical analysis, with the interjection "your behaviour actually reinforces the statistical correlation.") Stellar. A+. Five stars, would message again. (I replied.)

Epistolary author the second began with a lengthy and verbose and self-aware description of how the resplendent majesty of my profile knocked him breathless and wordless. He went on to make several "deep cuts" references and demonstrate intellect and reflective thought capabilities. Again, no reference was made to my appearance, or nationality [2], or sexual appetite. (I mention these things as they are the most frequent topics of very, very bad messages.) Nice! Funny, erudite, and well-executed.

The third victim exposed here to infamy opened his profile with, "The problem with Internet dating's frictionless market is..." Who wouldn't fall for that? --- I ask in all nerdiness.

What have we learned? I appreciate fluency in English and good writing skills. I anti-appreciate references to my physical appearance. Bonus points are earned for sustaining message quality over a nontrivial duration.

I'm sharing to amuse you, the internet, and because these messages were such high-quality that I feel greedy keeping them to myself. May you all have as promising and engaging correspondents in the new year!

This post's theme word is duopsony, "a market condition in which there are only two buyers, thus exerting great influence on price." The speed-dating night flopped because of uneven gender balance and resultant duopsony.

[1] My thoughts have footnotes and asides and alternate phrasings branching out of them, a possible symptom of too much David Foster Wallace and Tristram Shandy.

[2] I here confess that the post title is a badly-conceived pun on dating in Paris. No apologies, but we shall discuss this no further.


G said...

Do you ever send the initial message?

Lila is a complex system. said...

Yes, I do sometimes send the initial message.