Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"You're Great, But I Don't Want to Date You"

Nope, that isn't the latest book from the Sex and the City writers. It's just the topic of this post, inspired by two posts from two separate bloggers on the blogroll... First up is P-Life, with his nice, well-intentioned words run afoul. He found a profile of a woman who seemed great but had four kids. P-Life, having decided that he doesn't want to go from having zero to four like that, wrote her to tell her that although he wouldn't date her because of her children, he thought she had some great things in her profile and he wishes her the best of luck. Her response was cordial. Way more so than I might have been, frankly. I have no doubt that he was well-intentioned. But I can tell you that in a sea of non-response that online dating can be, a message represents hope: and getting a message that says "I think you're great but I cannot date you" is pointless and annoying, even if the intentions were pure. Moving over to one of my fave L.A. girls (see you soon, chica!), Superjux tells the tale of a JDater who contacted her to tell her how great her profile is. (Think the Usual Suspects: "And then, like that--[whoosh]--he's gone.") I have to say that it would never occur to me, unless I already knew the person, to tell someone he had a great profile if I didn't want to get to know the person behind that profile. But apparently, there are guys who do this, and do this NOT to be jerks, but just to express appreciation. My point is that on JDate, or Frumster, or any other dating service, people are online looking for love and connection. For someone to initiate contact with you to say something nice about you seems like it should be totally fine; but for people who are looking for a meaningful connection and who are discouraged by the selection, it's adding insult to injury. In essence, that person (who has been me on more than one occasion) hears "You're great, but I wouldn't date you," which can be torture. They might even hear "I appreciate you for all that you are, but forget about dating guys who appreciate you and concentrate on someone who will treat you poorly." Or "you should totally run for Mayor of the Friend Zone, because you're livin' there and you ain't never comin' out." And so I offer you this. An open letter to the guys of online dating from some of its disgruntled women: Dear Boys, We have no doubt that you meant to be kind. Your intentions were as pure as the driven snow or as the High Priest's holiday garb right before Yom Kippur. But your words didn’t help us. It made us feel, again, like the perma-residents of the Friend Zone. Telling us that we are “great girls” or that you “love” our profiles, but still don’t want to date us is a unique form of torture. Because such responses are rare, every online dating response we receive is precious. When that response turns out to be a rejection, it wounds. If you really like us, set us up with a friend. Otherwise, keep your platonic admiration to yourselves. Wishing you all luck in finding what you're looking for, especially if for some reason it's not us, because we rock something fierce. If you liked our profiles, the live show's that much better. But we guess, now, because of some unknown set of parameters that you have deemed to be dealbreakers, you'll never know. And you'll just have to live with that. Cordially, The Fabulous Single Ladies of Internet Dating

10 comments:

Gail said...
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Gail said...

I had a guy contact me on jdate and his first and only email to me,went something like, "Too bad you have cats. I'd never date a woman who owned a cat." Um, ok . . . thank you and please drive through. Get a life!

Anonymous said...

I didn't think it was possible for a woman to get into the "friend zone" HAve you ever seen the ladder theory? http://www.intellectualwhores.com/masterladder.html

Passionate Life said...

I think its just plain sad that we fellow daters cant give each other encouragement along the way. Dating is hard and if the environment wasn't so charged with this, in my opinion, very hostile attitude of, "Marry me or don't even think about talking to me" the dating experience could be a much more pleasant one.

Why cant someone say a few nice words of appreciation? Why must we live in a world where the response to, "You have a great smile, or that is a lovely outfit, or your profile was very enlightening and enjoyable to read" is disappointment and a feeling of rejection?

If anyone ever contacted me and for whatever reason wasn't a dating prospect and just wanted to give me a compliment, I would be flattered and appreciative.

Lets remember folks one of the greatest principles of being Jewish (this is afterall J (Jewish) Daters Anonymous) is Vhavta Laraicho Komocho - Love your friend as you do yourself. It does not say, "Love only those that you are able to date!"

Call me an idealist, but I believe we should break this cycle of cynicism and jadedness by being able to share positive feedback with each other.

After all, its a Mitzvah to, "Spread The Love!"

Anonymous said...

And in return, here's what a guy asks:

Women, please don't write to tell me that I'm perfect for your daughter and here's her email address please write to her. If I'm so perfect for her why hasn't she written to me herself?

This has happened to me several times, and I've been decent enough (in my opinion) to write back, give my email address and ask her to have her daughter write and actually tell me something about herself. And not once has the daughter actually written to me. Perfect for her? She obviously didn't think so. Accepting of having her mom find guys for her? Probably not that either.

-Shaun

Ken Wheaton said...

I'm going to have to go with the girls on this one. It's mind boggling that someone would, unsolicited, offer such commentary. Isn't it bad enough when a person you know personally (and perhaps you see as potential dating material) says "Boy, you're a great person and you'd be a great match... for someone else."

As to the idealism and being nice and supportive, that's what we have our friends for. I don't want a random stranger offering me advice. And while I don't know what's going on on JDate, I don't necessarily think it is a hostile attitude of "Marry me or don't even think about talking to me." You're on a dating site to make dates, not friends, not chatting buddies. Every time a new message pops into your box, it lifts your hopes "Hey someone might be into me, someone might like me. This might be a date right here." And to find someone you don't know offering you constructive criticism or even just being nice... well, that's a hell of a let down in the minute it takes to open the message and read it.

Halfnutcase said...

many appologies but, girls aren't the only ones with that kind of problem. actualy i've never met the girl who i was intrested in who didn't not only crush my hopes with another "lets just be friends"(or the hey you're to valuble a friend to risk in a relationship! you could seriously help me catch my next boyfriend, but don't worry every girl i've ever met would be mad to have you!) type of additude but, in addition paitently told my why i just couldn't be intrested in them as they where just not good enough. why on earth would i even be interested if they where not good enough for me?! sorry for kvetching just been using an empty day to explore the blog world (unfortunately all day but oh well)

Anonymous said...

OK. As a guy, I have been asking women on JDates about this for a while now and I get a different answer every time. I agree, one shouldn't just write (initially) to say they like your profile but aren't interested. However, I've been told by more than one woman on JDate that they like when a guy at least writes back to say thank you for the note but I don't think we have enough in common (or something to that extent). I've done it both ways, and have had some write back to thank me for my note. Tough call.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Fair enough, anonymous. I always used to write back if the guy made the effort of contacting me. But I stand by my previous stance, that the proactive "hey, nice profile, but you're not for me" is just cruel.

Diane Marie said...

Hahaha. I love the letter at the end its so funny! Guys really don't know what they're missing.