Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mostly Mismatched ...

Regular readers know the story of G. We met on Match. We had a few good months, until we didn't.

When it ended, friends asked me if I was going to resume my Match membership. No, I told them. I just needed a break. And then, in July, I received a letter from Match. Turns out, due to a settlement (not that Match used the word "settlement"), I had a month of service coming to me. All I had to do was submit an e-mail with the customer number in the letter and Match would activate my membership again for one month, no strings attached.

So I submitted the requested information and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And on August 1, I heard from a Match employee, letting me know that my account had been reactivated. He apologized for the delay. The response, the letter said, had been overwhelming.

All those people, wading back into the dating pool, taking another chance on love.

Faced with the prospect of getting back on the merry-go-round, I had one reaction: Ugh.

As I wrote in this post, "Do I not really hunger for the food pellet of love?"

"... lately I've been wondering just how much I want it," I wrote. "If I'm so reluctant to wade into the waters, do I really care about getting to the prize on the other side?"

I figured that my account would be activated the day I logged in. So I waited, mustering up resolve to dive in. I'd updated my profile, posted a new photo (the one on this blog). I was good to go. All that remained was for me to flip the switch and make it public. I took a deep breath, and at 7:23 p.m. on August 26, I unhid it.

At 7:45 p.m., I had my first wink. Match has a winking feature. You don't have to write a word, not a single keystroke. All you have to do is click the wink icon, and the person whose profile you're viewing receives an e-mail. "What a compliment! Out of millions of users, UserName winked at you!"

Yippee! Some guy is so interested in pursuing a relationship with me, he depressed a button on his mouse! A girl could swoon from so much flattery!

The e-mail alerts started rolling in. Some were e-mails, most were winks. Some included pictures, many didn't. I asked one of my would-be suitors, "What's the deal with the winks?" And he told me that for every 20 contacts he'd send to women, he was lucky to hear from one. So he wasn't winking to be lazy. It was just part of the numbers game that is online dating. If he winked at a woman and she winked back, then he'd take the time to actually write to her.

Oh. Well. That's some seriously bad PR for my gender. It seems terribly rude to simply ignore someone who takes the time to say hello. I feel compelled to write to everyone, winker and writer, even to say I don't think we're a match. And I take the time to read their profiles first, so I can cite something from the profiles in my replies. Maybe they read my profile, maybe they didn't (I suspect a lot of guys base their decisions on pictures alone), but it felt like the right thing to do, to read theirs.

If finding a life mate is like a search for a needle in a haystack, you better turn over every rock you happen upon, just in case. It's always the last place you look, right?

Some guys' missives were brief. One simply said, "Hi." Some guys' missives were overwrought, effusive and flowery and what I can only surmise is the male take on what they think women want to read.

But we don't. Not this woman, anyway. Just plain honest and funny go a long way.

I've spoken to two guys on the phone. One last night, one tonight. Last night's conversation was more like an interview. I felt like I had to keep asking questions to keep the conversation from dying out. He's German. Apparently, listing German on my profile as the language I speak is like a beacon for Chicago-dwelling German guys. He told me he was shy. It was sweet.

Conversely, within seconds of getting on the phone tonight, I was cracking up and 83 minutes later, we were still laughing. There were serious moments, but the zings were flying. I love conversational sparring.

So I hid my profile tonight. My Match "month" was really only five days. My profile got 543 hits. I didn't hear from all those guys, of course, but I've written more than 60 e-mails over the last few days. Several guys wrote back to thank me for responding. Eeesh. Basic kindness shouldn't be in such short supply. If a guy approached me in a bar, I wouldn't just ignore him. I see no reason why cyberspace should be any different.

A few guys have my e-mail address. We'll see where things go.


Blogger Marc said...

Oh. Well. That's some seriously bad PR for my gender. It seems terribly rude to simply ignore someone who takes the time to say hello.
Welcome to what were my high-school years!

2:51 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Amen to that, Marc. But Beth, I was thinking - why did you get the shaft because Match was so slow in informing you that your free month has been going on for three weeks? They really should have given you the option of having the entire 30 days you were entitled to. Grr.

Verification: pzuzh

3:32 PM  

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