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My OKCupid Journal: An Introduction

June 28, 2011

How can I possibly begin?  Even as I write the second sentence of my entry, the task I’ve set out for myself is so daunting that I am inclined to (as I have done on countless other occasions) dismiss the whole undertaking as yet another product of my social-reclusion-induced madness.  Already I am shifting my thoughts toward various distractions, which is regrettably easy to do at 2:30 a.m. in front of a laptop.  But just moments ago it seemed incredibly important to finish this entry, and I intend to do so before the impulse fades any more.

 

Although it puts me at risk of diluting my resolve still further, I feel it necessary to start with a couple of disclaimers.  First of all, I have just ended  a ten-month relationship.  While that period of time may not be particularly impressive, the relationship happens to be the longest I have ever experienced, and I therefore have no intention of entering another anytime in the near future.  However, because of the nature of this project, I expect that by the time I am finished to my satisfaction (if, indeed, such a condition is even achievable), I will be more than ready to reenter the dating pool.  In the meantime, I welcome all messages, provided of course that they are strictly friend-seeking.

 

As for the other disclaimer, I’d like to point out preemptively that, yes, I am overanalytical, perhaps to an unhealthy degree.  I am also aware that this exercise will deter the overwhelming majority of otherwise suitable matches from ever contacting me, because my writing will be judged as maddening by half of them and intimidating by the other half.  Not only is this a consequence I am prepared to accept, it happens to be precisely the point of the exercise in the first place.  Which leads me to yet another disclaimer: I am also keenly aware of how pretentious I sound.  I’ll provide my justifications for my attitude in good time, but for now, just know that there is no need to explain to me the absurdity of the existence of this journal on an online dating site.

 

Now, disclaimers aside, the first thing you should know is that I take online dating sites very, very seriously.  What that means is that if you have one-sentence responses to all of your profile questions, or you say something like, “I always hate filling out these self-summaries,” or “A self-summary box cannot possibly describe who you are as a person,” or, worse yet, “If you want to know something about me, just message me,”–if you have any of this garbage in your self-summary box, you thoroughly annoy me.  No offense of course.

 

It’s not that it isn’t true how inadequate these profile blurbs are.  But even besides the fact that everybody and her mother feels the need to state the obvious, the whole point of online dating is that you try to give someone a sense of who you are before you even exchange a single word.  In today’s high-pace, impersonal society, people turn to dating sites because it’s just too hard to find someone who matches their tastes, their interests, their philosophies, or whatever else they deem important in a significant other.  Online dating, and OKCupid in particular, is founded on the principle that you can determine a lot about people without having to talk to them directly.  If you provide no information about yourself except through direct contact, nobody has any way of distinguishing you from among the thousands of other OKC users, and the only people who will contact you are the equally annoying guys who send one-liners to dozens of girls at a time, knowing that by sheer probability they’ll get at least a couple of responses.

 

For me, the natural extension of this principle is that the more information you provide on your profile, the more accurately potential matches will be able to determine whether or not you are right for them.  So that’s what this project is about.  Over the next few months, I am going to update this journal with everything that a potential match could ever possibly need to know about me–at least, everything about me that can reasonably be expressed in writing.  Sure, writing is limited; I don’t deny that.  But I think, in many ways, my writing reveals more about who I am than a first date ever could.

 

That is why I suggest that you read my journal in its entirety before contacting me, even if you are only seeking friends.  If you’ve already made it this far, there’s a fair chance you’re the kind of person who’s willing to accept that challenge–and if you are, there’s an excellent chance you’re the kind of person I’d want to be friends with in the first place.  I conclude this entry with one final tidbit about me: if I find you truly interesting, I would be willing to read the entirety of any blog, journal, or other collection of personal writings you may have, no matter how long.  Just make sure it represents YOU.

 

Perhaps we can learn something about each other.

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