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Dear OKC,

It has (only recently) been brought to my attention that new users can neither post nor read journal entries.  In light of this development, I would like to make the following statement:

FUCK YOU.

That is all.

The Dark Side of Kruncha

Now we’re getting closer to a balanced representation of me, but we’ve still got a long way to go. One glaring issue is that all of my entries still read like an advertisement: “This is why I’m awesome.” That seems to be good enough for everyone else on this site. And why shouldn’t it be? Nobody wants to admit to his/her shortcomings and reduce the likelihood of receiving messages, even the girls who are inundated with dozens of them every day. In any case, it’s not good enough for me, and I’m going to correct it right now.

 

The preceding entries have all made me out to be someone who embraces his introversion and his selectivity with his interactions. And the vast majority of the time, that’s true. But there are times when my frustration with people descends into desperation, and I start to feel like the pathetic basement-dweller that I’m sure many people perceive me as.

 

The following entry is another one from my private weblog, but it is not like the one I used for this journal’s debut.  It is the story of how I came to be on OKCupid.  This entry is neither glamorous nor well-written, and it portrays a side of me that I am far from eager to reveal. But recently I’ve heard a lot of people throw around this quote by Marilyn Monroe: “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” I don’t believe in deserving, but I do believe that you need to understand and accept everything about a person to truly love him/her.

 

—–

 

I went to Cache Creek the first night back into Berkeley with Jose and Larry. It was a fun night. I lost 100 bucks in no-limit and made it back playing 3-6 limit with a few bucks in interest. I should probably stick with limit from now on, at least until I have enough money to play seriously with. But that’s not what this story is about.

 

That night, we were almost back to Berkeley but since we had skipped dinner, and it was getting close to midnight already, we were all starving. We went to the first In N Out we saw, which was in the middle of nowhere. As we sat down with our food, I noticed Natalie out of the corner of my eye. “Natalie!” No answer. That happens a lot with me. I really ought to learn to call people louder. “Natalie!” Still no answer. Jose and Larry started to debate the likelihood of my actually knowing this person.

 

Finally I caught her attention. We talked a little. She asked if I was still living with Andy and how he was doing. I told her he still spent most of his time hanging out with Animage. “Oh, yeah, he would,” she said and smiled, while I smiled back.

 

She was with a guy friend whose name I can’t remember. Jose and Larry both thought he might have been gay. They sat at a booth separated from ours by a glass railing. The glass was mostly soundproof, so we had to stand up if we wanted to say something to each other. We opted instead to exchange looks and smiles repeatedly. Jose was anxious to get back to Berkeley to hang out with his girlfriend, so we weren’t around for more than ten minutes. Jose and Larry gave me shit about it when we walked back to the car. It was a good night.

 

It didn’t take long for my high to end. It took less than a week for me to become disenchanted with Berkeley again, and I began spending a lot of time inside on the Internet again, especially after getting sick.

 

Perhaps it was partly as a result of this lifestyle, which I believe must promote obsessive behavior, that I started thinking about Natalie again. I went back and reread what I wrote more than two years ago now about her, lamenting the fact that she had a boyfriend she was probably going to be with forever. I remembered that about a month or two before leaving for Hawaii–not long before I broke up with Naomi, actually–that her Facebook status had been set to “Single.” And, naturally, since I was desperate for a story, for a sign to point me in any direction, all I could think was, What a strange coincidence to see Natalie again on my very first day back in town, completely randomly in the middle of nowhere at midnight, after a vacation that was just what I needed to get past Naomi, and just a couple months after Natalie had become single.

 

I commenced Facebook-stalking, as per usual for me. One of her latest status updates complained about OKCupid, a dating website that was matching her up with free-spirit loser types. She blamed it on her listing of video games as an interest.

 

It took a lot less curiosity than I had at that moment to create my own profile and check out the site. Before I worked on my profile at all, I searched for Natalie. With OKCupid’s search engine it was the easiest stalking task I’d ever undertaken. In fact, all I had to do was search for video games, and hers was one of the first profiles that came up. I looked it over eagerly.

 

The consensus these days seems to be that there’s no such thing as love at first sight, and that there’s no substitute for time when it comes to getting to know someone. That said, it’s funny how accurate first impressions can be sometimes. How well did I really know Natalie, after all? Even now I’ve only hung out with her a few times in my life, and always through Andy. In any case, Natalie had exactly the kind of profile I expected she would have. To summarize it, she was everything I wanted in a girl (video games and all) without any of the annoying hangups that I didn’t want. She was what I was looking for.

 

I thought about contacting her of course. I went as far as to think about how we would be dating weeks later, and I’d have to confess to her that I only got an OKCupid profile so that I could “accidentally” find her on it, but she wouldn’t care because by then we’d be so enamored with one another that she’d think it was cute.

 

But then I decided I was being rash. First of all, wouldn’t it be conspicuous to contact her a couple of days after she mentioned OKCupid on her Facebook status update? Actually, no, of course it wouldn’t be, because no one else is a fucking obsessive freak who would notice shit like that, but really I was just making up excuses not to contact her because I was afraid. Because as soon as I contact her, shit starts getting real, and you can’t live in Fantasy World anymore.

 

In the meantime, I developed my OKCupid profile. I mustered a self-introduction that I find mildly satisfactory, which I consider a grand achievement, and answered a few match questions. OKCupid put me and Natalie at a 94% match, with the highest possible match for my set of questions being 96%. Still I trudged on, and actually started to enjoy the site, and appreciated the fact that it was geared more toward college students in my age range. I probably browsed through hundreds of profiles overall. Some were interesting, others less so. I talked to a couple of very attractive girls briefly, but for some reason or another they tended to lose interest. As I read more and more profiles, I began to lose interest too.

 

And then, perhaps a week and a half later or so, on a day of no particular importance, I sent the message. “Wow, I haven’t seen you in like, two whole weeks. How’s it going?” I was at Damon’s apartment in Santa Cruz when I read her response. She expressed embarrassment about being discovered on OKC and talked about her classes. At the end she said, “How much would it cost to hire you to sing for me, and would I get a discount?” And all I could think was, that’s exactly the kind of thing I would ask a girl that I liked. I spent the weekend at Damon’s completely relaxed, and decided to wait on a response until I got back.

 

I sent the response that Sunday night. For days nothing came back. Frustrated, I browsed through her Facebook profile again. The feed mentioned that she was no longer listed as single as of Friday, hours after I’d sent my original message over OKC. Hm. You’d think I would have caught that sooner with all of the stalking I do.

 

The next day it was official; she was listed as in a relationship with some guy named Tristan. Back to wallowing in depression. I thought about how it was poetic justice that I’d waited too long, and let opportunity slip away. It was my own damn fault. Except she listed their anniversary as being in late December. Before I even got back to Berkeley.

 

Then, finally, I clicked the profile and lo and behold, a FUCKING MOHAWK. Really? I had to rub my eyes and look again to make sure it was still there. Ugh.

 

Why couldn’t you have just stayed with Tyler? Tyler I liked. Not that I knew anything about him, but he just looked like the kind of guy who you would have been happy with. That was the worst. You won’t let me have my sick vicarious fairy tale that you knew what the hell you were doing with him, that you were going to be with him past college. You won’t even let me have my poetic justice, which is practically all that keeps me going these days. You give me nothing but more anticlimax. You leave me with nothing to show for this agony except this lame-ass Xanga entry and the IMAGE OF A FUCKING MOHAWK BURNED INTO MY VISUAL CORTEX.

 

After that there was nothing. I don’t log on to OKCupid anymore. There really isn’t any point. My girl’s going to stay a sick, pathetic fantasy in my head for a long, long time.

Variety

Okay, so I’ve clearly established that I’m an elitist with a condescending disdain for all things mainstream.  I’m certainly far from the first person to express the sentiment.  But I want my representation of myself to be as balanced as possible, which means what I’m going to say next is essential.

 

The thing is, I like parties.  I like getting buzzed off of cheap beer (since my taste in alcohol is very unsophisticated, I actually feel kind of guilty when I drink good beer because I don’t appreciate it enough).  I like beer pong.  And damned if I don’t like dancing at parties–dry humping and all.

 

And besides that, I like top 40 music, B horror movies, 3D movies, Disney movies, fast food, reality TV, cheesy romance novels, Facebook, Costco, Pokemon (actually, I LOVE Pokemon), and anything else you can associate with mainstream consumer whorism.  And I don’t mean that I like these things for ironic purposes–I’m no hipster (although I think hipsters are awesome).  I mean that I genuinely enjoy them.

 

I don’t object on principle to anything mainstream any more than I object on principle to anything sophisticated.  What I do object to is the tendency to choose what is mainstream to the exclusion of everything else.  In fact, if you are the kind of person who refuses to watch TV or listen to rock and roll and spends his/her nights listening exclusively to classical music, eating only at 5-star restaurants, and attending nothing but symphonies and plays, you annoy me for the same reasons as do those who only pay attention to what is mainstream.  My grandmother is that kind of person, and while I admire my grandmother for a ton of reasons, her condescending disdain for all things mainstream is not one of them.

 

I mean, there are so many experiences you can have in this world–why limit yourself to having the same experiences over and over again?  Especially if those experiences happen to be the same experiences that everyone else experiences?

 

I recently had a conversation with a new friend, and we found out that we both considered XTC one of our favorite bands.  We were both amazed, because nobody our age has usually even heard of XTC, much less regularly listened to it.  It made me think about how little most people expand their musical horizons.  There are plenty of critics who would say that Andy Partridge is one of the most brilliant songwriters of all time.  Yet of all the songs in his prolific career, only “Dear God” is ever mentioned by anyone in my generation, and even that song is far from well-known.

 

I realize that I can’t really claim superiority in my music tastes over everyone.  After all, my taste in music simply came directly from my mom, so it’s not like I discovered XTC on my own.  And obviously, I’m not saying XTC has to be one of your favorite bands.  But you should at least be the kind of person who, after reading this far, is curious enough to learn more about XTC and actually try listening to some of its songs.  And not because I want you to and you think I’m a pretty cool guy, but because you’re the kind of person who’s naturally disposed to want to discover something new.  And once you’ve listened to some XTC songs, you should at least be able to recognize how awesome XTC is, and maybe even genuinely enjoy it a little, even if it’s not something you would listen to regularly.  (I genuinely enjoy your top 40 music, after all.)  There was a whole generation of music that came before the music we grew up with, and willfully ignoring all of that music is an affront to music lovers.

 

I’m starting to get preachy again, so I’m going to wrap this up.  What I’m trying to say is that my brand of elitism is not snobbery.  It’s just the opposite–it stems from my love of virtually everything under the sun.  I want people to appreciate variety the way I do.  The kind of person I want to meet will go to a party one day, a symphony the next, a five-mile jog the next, a basketball game (either attending or participating–take your pick) the next, a summer blockbuster the next, a dance workshop the next, a poker tournament the next, an art museum the next, a video game marathon the next… you get the idea.  I want to meet someone who is completely fearless when it comes to doing something different and will gladly step outside of his/her comfort zone at a moment’s notice.  And again, I don’t want you to step outside of your comfort zone because it’s good for you to do so; I want you to step outside of your comfort zone because you’re excited about doing so.

 

One last thing, and this may be the most important of all.  All of this goes for people, too.  Just as I’ll listen to music that’s different from what I’m used to hearing, I’ll meet anyone who makes me step outside of my comfort zone, and I’ll do it with gusto.  It doesn’t matter how poorly our personalities match.  Show me a person who’s different from the people I’m used to interacting with, and I’ll get to know that person.

The Critic

As I explained in my previous post, I take online dating very seriously, and that means that I take the creation of my profile seriously.  That’s not to say I am satisfied with my profile; after all, the whole point of this journal is that it takes an awful lot for me to be satisfied.  However, it does mean that virtually everything in my profile is essential to understanding who I am.  I could write an entire essay on just about every line in my profile.  And, since my goal for this journal is to provide as complete a representation of myself as possible, that is exactly what I intend to do.

 

I’ll start with the first line: “I love being around people but spend a lot of time alone.”

 

—–

 

This line reminds me of the scene from the movie Ratatouille in which the food critic Anton Ego makes his first appearance.  Anton tells Linguini, “You’re slow for someone in the fast lane,” to which Linguini retorts, “And you’re thin for someone who likes food.”  Anton’s response is one of my favorite lines from the movie because of the creepiness with which it is delivered: “I don’t LIKE food.  I LOVE it.  If I don’t love it, I don’t SWALLOW.”

 

Such is the paradox of elitism.  To casual food lovers, Anton Ego’s slender figure seems to directly contradict his love for food.  In fact, however, the opposite is true: it is his love for food that makes him selective about what he eats.

 

It also reminds me of my experiences with a cappella music.  Four years ago, I was a freshman at UC Berkeley and completely new to a cappella.  Once I heard the Men’s Octet sing at a welcome week event, I was hooked.  I started going to the all of the groups’ weekly performances on Sproul Plaza every chance I got.  I probably spent upwards of three hours a week just listening to a cappella groups.  Then, over the course of my four years at Berkeley, I gradually became an a cappella expert.  I have joined a new group every year since then, and each new group has taught me more about what a good performance is.

 

These days, I don’t go to nearly as many a cappella performances as I did back then.  And when I do, I can’t stop analyzing everything I hear.  “They’re not blending very well.”  “The basses need to come out more.”  And so on.  I do sometimes miss that feeling of excitement about a cappella that I had four years ago, but the truth is, I love a cappella more now than I ever have before.  Because I’ve been exposed to so much a cappella music, it makes the experience of seeing a truly stand-out performance all the more mind-blowing.  During my last year in Artists in Resonance, for example, I wasn’t that crazy about our repertoire, and although there was a lot of talent in the group, I felt like we weren’t doing anything I hadn’t heard before.  But just a few months ago, I heard Artists in Resonance perform at the West Coast A Cappella Showcase, and the energy and spirit they brought to the stage made me remember why I love a cappella so much.  I don’t think I would have appreciated that performance nearly as much as I did if I had seen it before I knew anything about a cappella.

 

When Anton Ego finally tastes Remy’s ratatouille, despite his high standards and his low expectations, he is so profoundly affected by the experience that he drops his pen to the floor, forgetting about his review entirely.  You can say what you like about Anton Ego’s attitude, but there’s one thing you can’t deny: that guy REALLY loves food.

 

—–

 

I often feel like Anton Ego, like a critic, when I observe people.  Here in the age of information, there’s so much opportunity to interact with people.  I now have about 500 friends on Facebook, and that’s just a small fraction of the people I’ve met in college.  But the more I meet people, the more I notice how similar everyone is.

 

Have you ever thought about how constrained people’s interactions are?  Everyone does everything in a very prescribed way.  Take parties, for example.  Parties at Berkeley follow a very strict formula.  They play only one game (beer pong), drink the exact same cheap beer and vodka, and blast the same kind of shitty music.  If you’re lucky, there’ll be dancing, and you can dance in exactly the same way as everyone else–by dry humping the fuck out of your dance partner.  (God forbid anyone should learn how to dance for real).  And that’s one of our primary modes of interacting with people.

 

I could say the same about OKCupid.  I’ve gone through hundreds of profiles on QuickMatch, and I consider myself something of an aficionado when it comes to profiles.  What I’ve noticed is that the overwhelming majority of people use their profiles in exactly the same way.  I understand that what I’m doing with this journal is weird, and I can understand why people would not want to expose this much of themselves on their profiles.  But after perusing so many profiles, it’s mind-boggling to me that absolutely NO ONE uses the journal the way I do.  Why does everyone have to present information about themselves in the same superficial way?  Why does everyone seem to hate talking about themselves beyond more than a few spur-of-the-moment sentences?

 

Let me make this clear.  I consider profile creation an ART, just like cooking is an art for Anton Ego.  Someone who makes a half-assed profile is like someone who expects to become a famous singer by singing in the shower.  If you’re just doing it for fun, fine–it’s none of my business anyway.  But don’t expect me to sign you onto a major record label.  And don’t expect me to waste any more time on your profile or bother to consider you as a potential match if you’re not taking it seriously.

 

—–

 

So, as you can see, I may seem jaded and critical about people.  But, as in Anton Ego’s case, I say these things because of the depth of my love for people, not in spite of it.

 

It’s just like a cappella.  Back when I first started going to college, I was always excited to meet more people.  I thought I would never get tired of meeting people.  These days, however, I often find myself torn between my love for humanity and my boredom with my typical interactions with people, and the result of all this conflict is that I often don’t bother to go out and socialize even when the opportunity presents itself.

 

It’s not that I don’t enjoy people’s company (indeed, I suspect that notwithstanding the large population of introverts on OKCupid, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t want to spend time with people).  It’s just that after so much exposure to so many people, it’s not enough for me to just interact with the same kinds of people that I always do.  I always feel the need to be selective about my interactions, in the same way that Anton Ego is selective about the food he eats.  I ache to meet someone who challenges my preconceptions about people, someone who makes me drop my pen to the floor.

My OKCupid Journal: An Introduction

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.

Written one and a half years ago.

Congratulations, you’ve stumbled upon a piece of writing which, since its inception, has been frozen in the bowels of a desolate place where time has no meaning: my private weblog.  I hereby deliver it exclusively to you, humble OKC user.

I do not mean this entry to be representative of my personality or my usual disposition.  I do not mean this entry to help you determine whether or not you are a good match for me.  I have chosen this entry simply because it is one of the most honest things I have ever written, and I hope that one day, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps years from now, the whole world could be so honest.

Because, frankly, I’m getting bored of reading your boring-ass journal entries. *grin*

 

——–

 

There’s no doubt in my mind that it was right, and furthermore that it would have been right for it to have happened much sooner than it did. Like I’ve told my parents, I’m just weak. I really could have deluded myself into thinking Jen was the one. I could have eventually married her even. Love’s such a stupid thing. I’ve said that a lot lately too. Life would be so much easier if we would just fall for the people we’re compatible with, but I guess it never works that way. I’m always going to love girls who aren’t right for me at all.

It still wrenches my insides to say it. That she’s not right for me, that she never was. I can’t stand to face that fact, but a fact it is.

It makes me not know what else to say. If you aren’t right for each other, then that’s that. Nothing else to say. But there’s so much more to say. There’s so much more that I should have said. I hate that almost all I have are IM conversations. I want so desperately to remember the good times, and yet I can’t go on living my life if I remember too well how good they were. It’s probably better that I didn’t document this relationship, just like the other ones. But I can’t stand having nothing but my own patchy memory to think about her.

I still wonder if it could have worked out, and I’m sure I always will. Even though I know for a fact she was wrong for me, I still wonder if it could have worked out. A lot of my feelings these days don’t make sense.

Christie came to the Clark Kerr reunion party Andrew had at our apartment a week ago. She was still the same girl that I had been attracted to before. She was still attractive to me now. But I found that I could look at her and feel nothing of what I used to, good or bad. It was as if the whole relationship had happened to someone else, some third party that I knew very well and identified with more than any other person on earth, but still another person. She was still the same girl, and I remembered things we did together, but we no longer had a history. That was long gone.

Most would say that it’s healthy, that it’s proof that I’ve completely gotten past her. I’m sure it’s true. But it occurred to me that someday, years from now, I’m going to meet up with Jen again, and she will look to me as Christie looked to me last week. I’ll look at her, and no feelings will surge back, good or bad. And I’ll remember her face to every last detail, and I’ll remember everything we did together, but as for what it was like to LOVE her–that will be… gone forever, far away.

I’m sure it will be a fine day for me, when it comes. Maybe I’ll be with somebody else, maybe somebody I’ll be spending the rest of my life with. Maybe she will too. Perhaps, when we meet that day, everything in our lives will have worked out perfectly, for both of us.

But it’s when that day comes into my mind, it’s when I stop and really think about that day, that it’s hardest of all for me. Even now, I can’t talk or think about this anymore, or I’ll be in tears for hours. There’s nothing I can’t stand more in this whole goddamn planet than the thought that I might forget just what it was like to love Jen.

It makes me want to never leave this room again, so that this experience won’t be crowded out by newer ones. I could go on being the exact same person I am today for the rest of my life, completely unaltered by experience. Every day I live she gets further away from me, and it makes me want to shut out everything else and think of nothing but her for as long as I live.

I won’t, though. I’ll keep living exactly as I have been, just like I always do, because that’s what has to happen. You can’t really stop the flow of time, even if you try. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that everything has to move forward; nothing ever goes back.

I just wish there was some way. Some way to bring it all back to the way it was at the beginning.

I’m tearing up. I have to end this entry now.

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