Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Rhetoric of Online Dating

I have tried online dating off and on for the past several years. I start out hopeful but always seem to end up across the table from a post-operative transsexual, acne-ridden adolescent, or sexually-confused man. And so I quit for a while, and I have my fictional mystery characters spout lines such as, "Men, like leather pants, should never be shopped for online." Then I remember I really like men, and that Minnesotans are too polite to flirt or pick one another up in public (and prefer white food), and so if I want to date again, I have to go back online. It's a vicious cycle, one a friend and I are going to plumb to our journalistic advantage. We're going to research the rhetoric of online dating and try to publish an article on the topic. We're both college English instructors, which lends credibility to our seedy topic, don't you think?

Here are three random online profiles featuring men in my immediate area. Join me in my research, if you will, and help me to study how they use and misuse language to reach their goals:


WhiteyBlue69
My favorite thing to eat is barbeque ribs. My color is purple. When it's raining out I like to work on my crafts, sit and cuddle watching a movie with the special person in my life. I love music & reading the newspaper. I Like to go bike riding. I love to eat at Famous Daves Barbeque or even a nice romantic restaurant.


OK, I'm gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the "69" refers to the year he was born and is not a crude sexual promise of beautiful things to come, and I'm even going to ignore the "See Dick run" construction of his sentences. What I can't escape are the double references to his love of smoked meat and the use of "cuddle," and "special person" in the same paragraph. That's gotta be code for something.


Duckfiend
i like all wild game, seafood, pizza and a good steak. i'll watch anything that is funny, south park old sitcoms.scary movies.i listen to music alot, e-bay, nap, my dog, and of course duck hunting. I WANT TO MEET A WOMAN WHO IS NON-JUDGEMENTAL OF OTHERS, NOT A GOLD-DIGGER, HAPPY WITH HER LOOKS AND BODY AND A CUTE SMILE.MUST BE WICKEDLY SEXY AND NAUGHTY. NO FATTIES. HOPEFULLY SHE LIKES TO FISH AND AT LEAST NOT BE AGAINST HUNTING.THE MALL ISNT ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES, I'D RATHER GO TO THE GROCERY STORE. SOMEONE WHO LOVES ANIMALS, ESPECIALLY DOGS.DONT WANT A HEALTH NUT OR VEGETARIAN. SOMEONE WHO LIKES TO GIVE AND GET A MASSAGE.


I'm guessing that the only handle worse than "Duckfiend"--FreeMustacheRides--was already taken. But what I'm getting from this is that I have to be slender, not care that he's fat, and hang out at home watching the dogs and waiting to be wickedly sexy and naughty as soon as he gets off the duck blind, reeking of elk urine and Schlitz lite. Have I already sufficiently horrified you with the online dating prospects in rural Minnesota, or do you want one more?


BestKisser1
Have youever seen stars after a kiss I can make it happen. I like doing all kinds of outdoor activities like fishing, camping, hiking , sitting around a campfire, Ilike to cook for someone special like to cuddle on the coach and watch movies with the fireplace going and have some hot popcorn (I like to surprise the one Iam with flowers, little notes a hug or a kiss when they are not expecting it like to have candles lit in the house makes for a romantic setting I like to run a hot bath for that special person and have candles lined along the tub I also give very good back rubs. I like to watch football sometimes

You can see someone tried to help this guy--tell them you like to cuddle and bring flowers!!--but he has his own idea of what women like, as you can see from his posted picture. And who am I to say he's wrong? There are surely women out there who like a simple man who can provide, as well as decorate their double-wide with dead animal parts whilst running them a bath in the rust-stained tub. My point is that Duckfiend, WhiteyBlue69, and BestKisser1 are all you get on the rural Minnesota buffet of love. From this well springs inspiration to continue my Murder-by-Month series, featuring an amateur sleuth looking for love in greater Minnesota and ending up with dead bodies, instead.

Any advice for me, or the guys above?

UPDATE: I've expanded my online dating net to Iowa and surprisingly, may have scored. Who would have guessed?

21 comments:

Gaelen said...

LOL--I, too, have tried the online dating pool, and here in CNY the pickins' aren't exactly stellar, either.
Try telling them you have Stage IV cancer (in remission), a colostomy, two dogs, and are 53 with 'a couple of extra pounds.'
The conversations in the world of online personal ads can be truly scary. I'm thinking of trying Twitter's version (Radaroo), if only to limit the pain of the interactions to 140 characters.

Cricket McRae said...

Hilarious post, Jess, yet bittersweet, too.

You could always try stalking an old boyfriend. Worked for me.

Sending happy dating thoughts your way!

rachelbirder said...

In 2002 I tentatively tried online dating, but after seeing what kind of people were responding I chucked conventional advice and made my ad about what sort of person I WANTED to meet. I made it very difficult-extremely athletic, my age, health food nut, musician, at least a Masters degree, well traveled, willing to be a missionary. The first person who answered (I was shocked anyone would answer) was a former Navy pilot, an airline flight instructor, and all of that and more. We were married the next year, and he gives me hour long foot rubs every night as well!

Jessica Lourey said...

Ha, Gaelen, I like the practicality of limiting the pain of online dating by limiting the word count. You've won through all that and have a sense of humor? Any guy'd be lucky to have you.

Jessica Lourey said...

You're joking, right Cricket? Looking at my old boyfriends only serves to remind me that evolution is a theory, not a fact.

Jessica Lourey said...

Whoo-hoo, Rachelbirder! There is something to be said for visualizing what we want, and for going for it, isn't there? You're a good reminder that we should dream big and never settle.

G.M. Malliet said...

Rachelbirder's response is so very spot-on.

I think all the references to liking to cuddle are a secret code for "lazy couch potato." However, Bestkisser1's variation "cuddle on the coach" might actually be fun, if only you could find a stagecoach these days.

Jessica Lourey said...

Gin, you're too funny! You know, that's why it's so hard for a literate person to date online because in the cyber-world, grammar errors are the equivalent of bad breath.

Alan Orloff said...

Wow.

(Yes, I'm at a loss for words. Hard to believe.)

Wow. Men can be such goobers.


(I wonder if it's too late to change my official "author name" to Duckfiend. Jess, do you think that would be okay with YOUR Duckfiend?)

Keith Raffel said...

Jess, maybe you should move out here to Silicon Valley? There are more men than women here and as long as you are conversant in Boolean logic, Java coding, and firewalls, you will be swimming in eligible nerds.

Jessica Lourey said...

Alan, I don't think MY Duckfiend reads, so he probably wouldn't even notice if you stole his handle. Go for it!

Jessica Lourey said...

That's quite a siren song I hear you singing, Keith. :) Thanks for the tip.

Craven said...

Wow - it sounds like doe urine should be part of every girl's arsenal in Minnesota. These petroglyphs left on internet cave walls are more telling than I think the scribblers intended. While great book fodder, it does make the adult dating scene look bleak in that state. Seeing this makes me more grateful than ever to be happily married.

Jessica Lourey said...

Craven, are you a writer? I love your turn of phrase!

Cricket McRae said...

Yeah, I'm kidding about the stalking. I did, however, serendipitously reconnect with a guy I dated casually 20 years ago. Instant zing, and we've been going strong for three years now.

A friend of mine did the same as rachelbirder. She only got one response to her rigorous online demands. One was plenty -- they've been together almost four years.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Online dating - been there, done that, still single. Although my last two long-term boyfriends came from online and were lovely, and we're still friends.

This has been a hilarious post and comments session - one of our best.

Keith - any of those nerds in Silcon Valley chubby chasers?

Asian Women said...

Interesting post! Well…online dating never promises anyone that they will definitely find success in their hunt for finding a perfect partner for lifetime. Many have made great friendships through online dating sites. They start out as people looking for dating partners and ultimately find out they are better off as friends.

Jessica Lourey said...

Congratulations, Cricket! I love a long "how we met" story. :)

Jessica Lourey said...

Thank you, Sue Ann! And you make an excellent point--online dating doesn't have to be about finding Him. You can fall short and make good friends, too, or at least get a better idea of what you're looking for in a partner.

Julia Buckley said...

Jess, as ever, you have cracked me up.

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